- This was an opportunity to create something dark, dirty, random and harsh but cool with iconic references that bring a wonderful sense of nostalgia into the piece. However in-line with my style of work I set about conceiving a concept where the darkest of darks can play out their power struggle with hope and light. There is such a rich diversity in the main characters and this allowed me to reinforce the dark and the light by introducing brutal elements that sit alongside innocent home comforts, showing that despite the harshness of their addictions and subsequent traits there is still good, a light still remains and the smallest flicker of flame to guide them to the light, to choose life still burns in a dark corner.
The piece opens a window into a pretty grim looking Edinburgh flat that on first glance you would identify as being in the 1990s at the time of the first film, the room is literally littered with objects from the films narrative and also other detail to reinforce the era. Peeling and rotten walls give up music references from the original soundtrack and show scrawled messages that hint at paranoia and utter randomness as a result of being high, or low but are actually selected lines from the cult song that is synonymous to the film - Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’. A dirtied window casts light into the room whilst offering a grey view out to the Edinburgh Castle, the window also symbolises the good and the bad that exists through the dark forces that are let into the room from outside (drugs bought from street dealers, stolen goods to feed their habit) and also representing light through the darkness, a different life exists beyond their four walls.
Danny Boyles’ film was eye-openingly brutal and real, it was incredibly cool and tinged with surreal sinister moments such as the scene where the dead baby crawls the ceiling in Rentons’ nightmare. I wanted to acknowledge this and the randomness of parts of the film, to create a kind of ‘WTF’ detail so the baby is within the scene but a plastic doll, taped to the ceiling by his mates. Just a bizarre prank by those who are so high and entrapped that they could climb the walls themselves or is it done in a much more sinister way? An ageing TV plays the classic goal scored by Scotlands’ Archie Gemmill against Holland in the 1978 World Cup, the commentary from the goal spoken by Barry Coleman has also been immortalised within the scene, further reinforcing the characters obsession for ‘that goal’.
However when you look through into the next room (immersed in an orange glow to play on the colour ways and graphical execution of the films’ marketing) you will see certain objects that are placed to confuse. iPads weren’t invented in 1996?! The country didn’t vote for independence either? That is because it isn’t 1996, it is 2017 - the time of T2 Trainspotting - the sequel. Through the characters addictions and their demons growing ever taller behind them time and ultimately life has stood still for the past 2 decades. No money, no hope, just a biting reality that the bell of age has rang loudly in their heads for way too long. How can you see clearly if the sunlight is behind you? You can’t see your path if you are always looking backwards, roll Archie Gemmill. I set out to create a scene that shows a walk through from room to room that represents the journey in life, not the entire lifecycle but from that point of seemingly no return to embracing the power of ones’ choice, choose life. The brightest window in the room signifies that point of hopefully no return.
My aim was truly do justice to this epic piece of British film making and to embrace being lucky enough to be part of such a great era. I wanted to show the harshness of their life dominated by drugs, to cast light into the darkest corners and to create a intense piece of art that fans of the film would love spotting all of the references but I also wanted to add tiny details that look a little deeper at the impact of the abuse, how it can release a positive change in a suppressed soul, representing an evolution, a transition albeit a temporary one. On the flip side how it can completely and utterly crush goodness and regress the most positive person - this is subtle within the piece as I didn’t want it to detract or confuse but look through the smoke to find the chrysalis, caterpillar and butterfly, or is it the other away around.
- Released: 2017
- Collection: Standalone
- Edition Size: 10 + 1AP
- Specification: Limited edition fine art print, hand signed by artist.
- Image Size: 29” x 22"
- Framed Size: 42” x 34"
- Available exclusively with Robertson Fine Art - Edinburgh