This shows my interpretation of a story that has gripped me ever since I first read the Susan Hill novel in school, The Woman In Black. A genuine family favourite of mine as I remember watching the 1983 film with my brothers way back as kids one night before Christmas and the book didn’t prepare me for what was to come, genuinely terrifying and real, no silly effects or big actors, just images that still make me go cold to this day. It was the power of the figure on the marshes that was the most gripping, the sense of isolation and truly being haunted by someone with so much subtle anger. I own one of the original video cassettes of the film and have made countless friends sit down and watch it in the pitch black, patio doors open and all, it was the first film that my partner and I watched together, obsessed?
I’ve also been lucky enough to watch the play adaptation at the Fortune Theatre twice and absolutely loved everything about the venue and the play so the chance to create my own interpretation and tell my story is incredible. The intention has always been to create a scene that was beautiful, serene and calm yet that showed details that pulled on the heart strings, that were full of sorrow and sadness and that would make you think a little deeper. I wanted to compose a piece that did just the same as the original did, to inject a small detail that turned the image on it’s head, that detail being the unforgettable silhouetted figure of Jennet Drablow dressed in her funeral attire. The thought of creating something dramatic and over the top didn’t interest me, it just wouldn’t be right for this subject.
There is one point where on the marshes Arthur Kipp knows that something terrifying is there and spins to reveal the silhouette, I wanted to create that factor where you are focused on the beautiful detail, you know something is there but try to avoid looking because you desperately don’t want to see her. The impact that Jennet had on all those who saw her was brutal and most often terminal but it is another case of not being born bad, it shows what we assume to be a normal woman who’s life is turned upside down through bearing a child out of wedlock and then losing him twice. We see hatred born towards her sister Alice who took her son from her and who couldn’t save him from the sinking mud and rising tide of the Nine Lives Causeway committing Jennet to a world of hatred and inflicted insanity. Is blood truly thicker than water?
It really is a story of the unforgiven - Jennet for having a child out of wedlock and Alice for being blamed for taking her son and not saving him. Details within the scene show the relationship between Jennet and her son, Nathaniel, an ageing teddy, a wooden train (links to how Arthur travelled to Criffin Gifford), poignant images that showed so much more before she faded to black. As with so much of my work I have created the piece to leave a lot to interpretation rather than dictating, you might look at it and think that you are looking at the point in time within the original narrative however if you look a little deeper you will notice the ruined Eel Marsh House, a broken rocking chair (I had to do that as that damned thing terrified me!) that suggest that time has moved by and the shifting tides have withdrawn to reveal objects previously hidden.
Yet Jennet remains, destined to stand there alone. It is such a terrifying story line, how could it not be when children are lost in horrific circumstances throughout, yet personally the subsequent remakes of the film seem to make it hard to find any apathy towards the woman in black because of how hyped up every detail was. My hope is that I manage to make people think, to consider the events that took a woman, a mother and made a monster. "They have asked for my story. I have told it. Enough.”
Specification: Limited edition fine art print, hand signed by artist.
Ok, so for each of the previous ‘Retrospective’ collections there has been a music inspired piece as it has played a massive part in reinvigorating my memories of growing up through to present day. In 2019 I created ‘Mad For It’, a 90’s ‘Brit-pop’ celebration that focused upon the Manchester music scene. A slightly different type of music and weather to what you now see here in EIVISSA, but the two pieces are related, to me anyway! Basically, in my late teens I was really into house music, I absolutely loved it. So much so that I wasn’t bothered with the ‘Indie’ scene that most of my mates were. This resulted in me not going to watch the little gig that was ‘OASIS live at Knebworth, that was practically on my bloody doorstep. Damn it!
Typically, I soon started to move towards Indie, Brit-pop and an increasingly heavier taste and I seriously regret not going, I couldn’t even get any shared memories from my mates as they can’t remember anything from it! A side effect that the majority of those who were lucky enough to get over the ‘white isle’ in the hedonistic era of the 1980’s through to early 2000’s. Like I said, I loved and still love the House music from that period, but I never got to go over to Ibiza and ‘large it up’. I’ve never waved a glow stick or got off my nut on mind-blowing drugs. The closest I got was the nightclub in San Jaime – Menorca and waving one of the wooden statues about before getting bollocked and told to leave. Not hardcore but good fun.
As with a good number of my pieces, I like to take on subjects that typically get overlooked in the art sense yet have a massive following. I love creating scenes that put you right back there, that pulls at your heart strings and amplifies all the emotions that you felt at the time. With EIVISSA I have created a digital still life composition that is much ‘freer’ than the majority of my works, so it truly creates this sense of calm as you either watch the sun go down or come up from the beach. It is a beautiful image, pure tranquillity, with the sun shimmering over a sea that looks like a blanket of diamonds and the stunning Bougainvillea gently framing the vista. If you look closely, you will spot that the sun is actually made from a vinyl LP, whilst graphic equalizer patterns mimic hints of distant hills over the horizon as you look towards the other Balearic Islands.
There is a narrative and another purpose to EIVISSA, it depicts the changes that have happened out there from the early period when the clubs existed but were dotted about amongst little villages and dust tracks. A time when it was all about the music and the experience before the VIP culture took a hold that made everything so much harder and more expensive. Now, sadly it seems to be that the tables are reserved for those with the deepest pockets or biggest following. So, despite this being a positive piece, there is a nod to that. It isn’t something that I will pretend to be incensed by, but I felt it right to acknowledge, more so when the true spirits of Ibiza pass, such as Jose Padilla. ‘Heaven is a place of wonder’.
This sense of shifting sands is reinforced by the objects within the main composition. Dominated by a DJ mixing deck and with cracking objects that surround it, there is this feeling of things being uncovered and recovered that were previously hidden, just like how I hope this piece brings those memories back that were blurred and hazy. It is what ‘Retrospective’ stands and aims for, to look backwards to look forward. Look closely and you’ll spot an object that brings the time of this piece bang up to date rather than it being what many would initially think is set back in past decades. However, once you’ve spotted it, do you see it as current or set in the future when the restrictions are now a thing of the past and with that comes hope that the true spirit of EIVISSA has returned, floated in with the grace of a rainbow unicorn!
I have loved creating this piece, I really have. I hope that it has offered something that many didn’t think existed and that I have done justice to the memories that you lunatics can remember. Look closely at the mixing decks, it is totally transformed with cracking references with the odd one that needs a real clear head to decipher. I love the contrast between the wonderfully calm qualities but the drama and movement of the light trails that not only depict the intensity of the clubs but reinforce the sense that things are coming back to life. At the time of writing, it is Autumn and grey skies, but I hope that I have brought a brighter horizon to you and the time when you’ll be finally back on the sand is getting ever closer. I think we will all drink to that! Just beware of the dangers of Moist, Milky Donuts, Always!
So, it just remains for me to say, ‘av it large! (or standard if the size fits better)
I’m sure I’m not alone with this one, but I bloody loved the A-Team as a kid! Classic Saturday TV memories with the family and I loved and lived every minute of every episode. I have previously created two A-team pieces; ‘Soldiers of Fortune’ was created back in 2016 and sold as an original piece whilst ‘A-Division’ was a commission. The van has featured within pieces such as ‘Petrolheads’ but I have been itching to create an image that can be available as a general release so here it is SUKKAS!
The two pieces previously captured the team’s love for creating intricate and bizarre weapons and vehicles from cabbages and egg boxes, whilst also referencing their previous roles in the US military and I love both pieces. For this image I wanted to do something different, so I planned to move the timeline forward to a period after the characters have moved on.
My favourite character was B.A Baracus, what a nutter! Apart from Pat Butcher, he was the only one capable of carrying off those whopping great big earrings! He was a unit, wasn’t he?! Probably from all that milk he drank, I guess if his hate for milk was like his fear of planes then all he would have been good enough was to play for the 'Owd Reds. Accrington Stanley, who are they? Exactly!
So, I tried to get inside Mr T’s head to see what he would probably do with all his free time and apart from becoming a boxer, (that wouldn’t work would it surely?) I thought he could continue with his love for all things gold and glittery and set up a gold mine out in the middle of nowhere where surely no one could find him, or could they?
A rickety, towering gold mine expands up from the desert that looks to be as sturdy as one of the old A-Team TV sets. Yet just look at the operation that is going on here under the name ‘FOOLS GOLD’ (you see what I did there?). Rail carts stand on their tracks full of gold, it looks like business has come to a grinding halt, is there a mole within the tumbleweed or just a jackal?
Although so much has been left for your interpretation, one thing is clear and that is B.A’s empire is under attack from above as wave after wave of attacks rain down from the sky. But hold on, the classic Corvette is being carried away by the military Chinook, is everyone on the same side here? Is he out on his own, did he cut his ties back then or has his comrades answered his call for one last battle? Blacked out windows leave everything open to your imagination.
A key component of the classic series was the constant over the top drama that played out, how many vehicles were flipped over and blown up by them lobbing sticks of dynamite at any opportunity? Yet did anyone ever not make it out of their flattened or burning jeep? I have paid homage to this by creating a cracking sense of drama and movement to contrast with the static objects laid out in front of you to decipher.
Bigger isn’t always better and that is shown with the role that the iconic A-Team van plays within the scene and its composition. It is such a bloody brilliant vehicle that looks great up close but I have done this within ‘Petrolheads’ and didn’t want to replicate this so, instead it is doing ‘doughnuts’ in the desert, but driven by who?
There have been a few calls to include a ‘big rig’ within a piece and I love what is happening here. I remember the time when they converted a rig to become a battering ram, it just looked immense. So, in true A-Team style I have got the virtual angle grinder and blow torch out and created my own. Look closely and you will spot whose truck this is! I love the end results, it has a ‘Mad Max’ quality to it, now there’s food for thought.
I avoided watching the big screen movie remake as I prefer to keep my memories unspoilt but always enjoy watching old episodes. With the exception of when Leeds used to come out onto the pitch to ‘Eye of the tiger’, I can’t think of many better intros than the theme tune to the A-Team. I only take on a subject if it resonates with me and if I feel that I can bring something different to the subject and most importantly do it justice and I can whole-heartedly say that I have thrown everything at it. It has brought so many special memories back to the surface.
So, this piece literally came out of the blue! In May 2020, as part of my ‘Lost In Hollywood 3’ collection, I created a piece entitled ‘Q-Division’ - a conceptual piece designed to celebrate and combine all of Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies. ‘No Time To Die’ was due to be released that year and I wanted to mark the finale of his fifteen-year tenure as Bond with something special. Then the pandemic took hold, and it is only now (September 2021) that the film finally makes its long-awaited appearance. I was in the middle of creating a piece for my ‘Retrospective 3’ collection when an idea was born, and I just had to run with it. Despite having a clear plan for each month, it was something that got into my head, and I just thought, bollocks to it! I’m doing it! So here we are, with ‘Underwater Love’.
Memories of the classic Bond films as a kid are vivid and special and I cherish them. I lost my way with several of them after that but became drawn to them more for the beautiful introductions that showcase the lead song, they are works of art in themselves. ‘Skyfall’ was an incredible example of this, but it was the hypnotic and surreal qualities of ‘Spectre’ that stuck with me. It is just brilliant! I guess, it is that quality that I strive to inject into my work, and it has driven this piece. The scene is dominated by the beautiful Aston Martin DB10 that is flanked by the backdrop of Rome as Bond waits to welcome Madeleine Swann. The two characters add a real quality to the piece as their eyes are on you, helping to put you in the scene, or just outside of view. If you look closely, you will see that her dress is starting to morph into a mermaid’s tail, it is a beautiful addition.
My portfolio has a good number of underwater pieces, it is the concept of not knowing if you are above or below the surface that I love. So, for this piece you will see that the octopus that creeps and curls itself throughout the intro to ‘Spectre’ is present and is coming towards you, but is it through the air or making its way through the water? ‘Underwater Love’ explores the concept of being under ones’ spell, hypnotised, giddy by their presence and power. Where you are influenced or controlled by one through being fascinated, enchanted, or seduced. Reality gets blurred as you retreat into your own, very different world. This is the point where it could get heavy, intense but that is for another day. If you embrace how I think and work then you will get what this piece can truly symbolise, but it can simply be enjoyed for a beautiful scene made up of beautiful characters, a beautiful car and a beautiful city. So, even though Daniel Craig’s time as Bond nears its end, my apparent love for mermaids lives strong!