Carry Me Anew (Ophelia) - Original

  • Ok, I’m not going to pretend to be a devoted fan of William Shakespeare and his works. However, what I do find is that there is always such a strong pull towards taking on a subject due to his ability to create such intense characters that seem to resonate. ‘Carry Me Anew’ is my latest piece that falls within an often overlooked body of work entitled ‘Stagecraft’ that houses other pieces that include the likes of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘The Woman In Black’.

    I have always been aware of other artist’s interpretations of Ophelia and when the brief came in to portray her in my own way I jumped at the chance. Being the follow up commission by Eaton Fine Art, this gave me the opportunity and freedom to further build on the previous piece (and style) ‘I’ll Take My Leave Of You’ that again focused on a female character, Mina from Dracula!

    So many of my deeper, and often darker pieces are inspired and driven by incredibly personal and genuine emotions that transform the image, opening it up to a wider audience who are drawn to the character that they see for equally personal and often very different reasons. I genuinely love this and makes me so incredibly proud to be able to create art with such powerful meaning that pulls on people’s heart strings.

    Research is always key, what became clear very quickly was the mental health aspect to Ophelia’s character and the ensuing tragedy that followed. Something resonated with me very quickly and powerfully and the more I continued reading, the more things built in my mind and there was only ever one way of portraying her then. What you see in my work is an outpouring of my emotions and thoughts, how I interpret a subject ensures that it will always only ever be unique, genuine and honest. It is how I talk, how I scream and how I heal.

    Luckily, the impact of one’s mental health is recognised so much more than before, reasons become clearer and risks become more apparent and therefore offering more chances to save that person. What a truly tragic tale, there was no way could I simply portray her at a final point, others have, but with my narrative that drives my work and the hope that fuels the fire while fanning the flames, there had to be an alternative way of depicting Ophelia.

    I wanted to ensure that my emotions didn’t distort things too much, which can mean that you go racing off in a different direction that results in a piece that, whilst still being linked, bears minimal resemblance to the aspirations of the client! So, what we see is Ophelia as a beautiful woman within the water, surrounded by the synonymous weeping willow tree and waterlilies but with those objects given another reason for being there.

    The fact that Ophelia drowned fuelled my narrative, a culmination of drowning in so many ways, mentally, emotionally and ultimately, physically. This is a tale of a beautiful woman continually let down and passed off, tricked and blamed, a woman who’s heart was full to bursting yet who’s demons had grown so tall behind her that she struggled to see the white of her walls. A woman that sought beauty but found beast, a woman that desperately needed strength but fell under due to her branch breaking under the ‘weight’ of her. Yet, here exists a woman who continues to breath under water and will break the surface and be carried anew.

    So what are we looking at? A drowned woman? Do you see it as Ophelia rising up to heaven and that the title therefore relates to her finding a happier place? From my point of view, absolutely not! What we see is a person who has effectively died through drowning but who’s lungs are now full of hope and is starting to rise upwards towards a more positive state of mind. Look closely and you’ll see the beauty of the lotus flowers but who’s roots swirl around Ophelia’s feet in an attempt to drag her further down and hold her there. Still waters run deep.

    Subtle feathers, both white and black fall downwards, signifying the impact of both good and evil. Butterflies flutter around her, further depicting the sense of being transformed and freed, a concept that runs through so much of my works. ‘Carry Me Anew’ can scream or it can whisper, it can grab and shake or gently hug you. However, what it does do is convey that there is life after ‘death’ and to never under-estimate one’s fragility and one’s strength. Write another chapter or simply just help to hold the pen to allow another to write theirs.


    1. Released: 2021
    2. Collection: Stagecraft
    3. Edition Size: Original
    4. Specification: Mixed media original piece, hand signed by artist.
    5. Available exclusively with Eaton Fine Art

Category: spo-default, spo-disabled

Type: Original Artwork

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