I always look for a hook within the original narrative that captures my imagination and where there is a particular character that I feel empathy and interest with. Studying Bram Stoker’s plot it was Mina, John Hawker’s fiancée that I chose to base this piece on.
She was bitten by Dracula and pursued by ‘the three sisters’, Dracula's wives with the battle to protect Mina from them and only released from her curse when Dracula was killed. What I have created here is an intense and powerful image of Mina stood looking at something out of view, surrounded by darkness and tiny details depicting Dracula and blood but with an open window of hope in the background.
Her face is abstract, showing 2 sides to her (more on this later) and at the point where her curse is being lifted suggesting that she and those who have fought to save her have won. That in itself is a perfect representation of darkness and light, despair and hope that drives my work yet I do like to conceive a secondary narrative that then makes the piece much more appealing outside of those the fan base for the film itself. I have created another concept for ’the three sisters’ that is more generic, they represent alcohol, nicotine and narcotics - each vampires in themselves as they can suck the life blood out of the individual that they get their fangs into and can only be banished for good when a significant shard of light is shone onto them, in this case hope.
So the character that you see then becomes someone that many more can relate to for so many a reason where they are looking at a female who is stalked by her own Dracula - her demons that she fights daily when the darkness replaces light. Exit light, enter night. The title, which is scrawled onto the wall behind her 'I'll Take My Leave Of You’ is subtle but when seen makes this piece whole-heartedly positive as it shows her determination to beat her curse. Curse itself is a pivotal word here, it suggests that the demons that she battles were not let in by choice but from being cursed, from a life event that inflicted these wounds that struggle to heal. And it is that combined with her determination to win out that generates so much empathy towards the woman within the picture.
Edition Size: 20 + 5AP
Specification: Limited edition story book with custom frame, hand signed by artist.
This piece is ultimately a gritty prison cell scene from within Shawshank State Penitentiary that features a good number of references to the movie plot which is dominated by the escape element but where this has been adapted to represent a more conceptual message that reaches out to a greater audience than just those who love the film itself.
Shawshank Redemption is such a powerful film, not just aesthetically but one that conveys such an enduring power of hope, perfect for my work and the message that I look to portray as often as possible. I have set about creating a scene that is at first study an engaging take on the plot, a window into Andy’s cell but through modifying the tunnel element to the piece it exposes a greater depth.
The tunnel is shallower yet no less dramatic, almost window-like. I have set the view through this window to show the iconic shoreline scene of Zihuatanejo - Mexico. This creates a more direct and blatant vision of where Andy hopes to be one day once free. To reinforce this I have chosen to indicate that the hole in the wall was covered in fact by a simple picture of the same scene rather than of the poster from the movie that is torn down by the Governor. This creates a different take on the original narrative whilst more importantly reaches out to so many of us that have innocent aspirations, hopes and dreams.
The beach view could mean leaving their worries and their fears behind and creating a new life for themselves or it could simply represent a holiday. Both are of equal importance as a something deemed more simple could represent a much much bigger challenge through restrictions such as money or other restrictive factors. Andy hoped to walk the sands of that beach from being wrongly incarcerated for close to 20 years and subjected to a terrifying ordeal, to another person it could represent their hope of one day being able to travel after being set free from the shackles of debt, cast over them from someone else’s doing, both represent good being restricted and caged, birds aren’t meant to be caged.
The image through the wall represents something different to everyone who has hope and fights to keep hold of it. Most often a task that appears huge and impenetrable can be chipped away at through time with something simple. The fact that the breakthrough was made with a tiny hammer is why I have placed the tool in the foreground, supporting its importance but reinforcing its size. On all levels it showcases the call to those have been dealt a bad card in life to not just accept it, to establish a way to win and to be free and to achieve ones’ dreams rather than giving up and accepting, to get busy living or get busy dying. The objects placed within the scene are a mix of actual objects that those who know and love the classic movie will recognise and some less obvious, more conceptual details that make you think.
Good has flown away, illustrated by the dove feathers whilst the bad remains only to look out in isolation, symbolised by the solitary black crow that is featured to represent the corrupt Governor who is left to peer through the hole in defeat. The browned falling oak leaves symbolise time escaping for Andy’s friend Red to gain freedom and set out to find what Andy had buried under that solitary oak tree. Andy was a lover of Chess, his time in prison and his plot to escape were a tactical battle, culminating in a masterstroke by the ‘Pawn’ in defeating the ‘King’, this is depicted subtley within the scene.
The other details I will leave for you to find and consider. I genuinely loved watching the Shawshank Redemption years ago, albeit back then more on face value, now, with way more life experience I embrace absolutely everything that it stands for and I hope that I have done justice to a true masterpiece.
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Collection: Lost in Hollywood
Edition Size: 25 + 5 AP
Specification: Custom framed, limited edition fine art print, hand signed by artist.
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!
Collection: Lost In Hollywood VHS
Edition Size: 20 + 5AP
Specification: - Hand embellished - Floated poster and double mount - Custom spray-painted frame - Sticker decals - Hand signed by artist