Fortunes Faded (Oliver Twist) - Original

Mark Davies British Artist

  • What this piece does is naturally follow on from the previous ‘work house’ scene in line with Dicken’s narrative and shines light into the darkness of Fagin’s lair, a sprawling room high up within a large brick building with a beautiful view over St Paul’s Cathedral (the dome will be an ever-present in all 3 pieces). Again in-line with the previous piece what becomes clear through looking deeper into the detail is that the period is much, much later than the Victorian era, what we see is an evolution of the character traits from years gone by, where those who live within their darkness profit from the poor and through various acts effectively pick the pockets of youth and innocence.

    The first piece had an incredibly subtle detail that turned the concept of the piece on it’s head, this piece and the final one builds on this, making it much more blatant, reinforcing the message, the problem that still exists in our world where those who are vulnerable are exposed to darkness and manipulated to create profit for criminals. Of course the focus falls on Fagin and his role of brainwashing young boys to heading out to do his dirty work and build his fortune but he didn’t just stop there, his lair was used for prostitution, manipulating and bullying naive and desperate young women, where any light that shone towards a brighter future was replaced with one that shone red. In popular culture, Fagin (or at least his name) is used in comparison with adults who use children for illegal activities, replacing the term ‘Kidsman’ denoting an adult who teaches minors to steal and keeps a major portion of the loot. This is worst part of it, the fact that Fagin’s past and present had no interest in those in their gang, they existed purely to build their owner’s fortune while their fortune in the other sense was quickly wiped out.

    The piece shows how the original Fagin’s lair has been taken on by the modern day equivalent where objects comprise of a mix of dusty remnants of the Victorian novel’s narrative that interact with the modern replicas, where those in the current day idolised the image and concept of Fagin and continued his work. There is so much to find and to interpret within the image, did the inhabitants leave in a hurry, have they been replaced? The left side of the scene focuses upon a desk with drawers pulled out and upturned, where the details that interact here point to a later era, a complete contrast to the original Fagin’s chair that sits opposite. Was he 100% bad? Scrawled messaging on the surfaces at first trick you to thinking they have been written by the young boys or possibly one of his ‘girls’ but look towards his chair, the muddled handwriting is the same. Could what we read be from Fagin himself, a cry for help, a battle with paranoia and insecurities, a hurried apology. It is up to you to decide if this piece then starts to lighten somewhat or if you dismiss that possibility.

    The mot hard-hitting part of the novel really has to be the trauma that those so young were subjected to, victims of circumstance or poorly aligned loyalties where so many where without their parents and would cling to any figure of apparent authority. Throughout this piece I have created references to their lack of years and innocence, child doodles on the wall from years gone by through to a random rubber nose on a string that pokes fun at the oxygen-hogging Fagin! Picking up on the slight possibility that Fagin still carried some light within there exists a quirky slide that brings the kids down from their slumber to get them on their way to work, look a little closer and you’ll see another scrawled line ‘lead me not into temptation’ - a cry for help but from who? Within a desk drawer there is a hint of the Oliver Twist book, is that the artist selling out and making it too obvious as to what this piece is for those who are blinkered for a quick fix or sale or could it be a wonderfully clever way of building on the fact that the modern day Fagin idolised his past role model and chose it for bedtime reading. Picking up on the unfaltering loyalty by those who are taken into a family and become dependant on their owner and even if scorned will continue to show unwavering loyalty, never leaving their master’s side or simply waiting patiently for them to return - here Bullseye, good boy Bullseye!

    As with so much of my work there are many layers of narratives and thoughts to be considered, I chose the title ‘Fortunes Faded’ because it embraces this. Good vs. Bad, Light vs. Dark, Hope vs. Despair. Now matter how dark things are good will always win out, as per my concepts in this series it just might take a good while longer, or a few centuries even but if we accept what is happening we can change things. ‘Fortunes Fading’ can be looked on as a negative where it refers to the innocent having their hopes and dreams wiped out or it could be turned into a positive where it refers to those who once profited seeing their fortunes wiped out through being imprisoned, a fear that always hung (pun!) over Fagin. GO TO JAIL: Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200.

    The ultimate hope for this piece was to create an image that is littered with references from the Novel and the characters who we all loved whilst also putting my usual twist to the tale, to combine rawness and grit with quirkiness and little things to make you smile. As well as embracing all that was captivating with Fagin and his lair I hope I have portrayed the much more serious issue that scarily still exists in a way that will make you stop and think whilst not extinguishing the sense of hope that really is key.
    1. Released: 2017
    2. Collection: Storyteller
    3. Specification: 1 of 1 original framed embellished canvas, hand signed by artist.
    4. Image Size: 48” x 36"
    5. Framed Size: 54” x 41"
    6. Sold with Images In Frames - Wanstead

Category: spo-default, spo-disabled

Type: Original Artwork

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