Art of Change
Could there be a better time to launch my new website and start a Blog page? Nope.
I have seen so many changes since I created my illustration career as LivingArt in 1995. I have moved from university-taught traditional art methods to ‘self taught’ digital. No longer the need to send my watercolour artwork on CS2 board through the post as Special Delivery, with a Do Not Bend sticker in the top left corner of the package, then keep my fingers crossed that it would arrive at its destination. Incredible leaps and bounds in the world of illustrating for publishing. That was nearly 23 years ago.
And so to 2018. This year has been a culmination of everything that fuels my passion and gets the creative juices flowing. It has been the year of fulfilling a personal Creative Trinity.
I was chosen among many artists from all over the county (and far beyond it actually) to design a GoGo Hare for Break Charity, in association with Wild In Art, for the Norfolk Sculpture Trail. My hare, one of 68 decorated fibre glass creatures, is to follow in the footsteps of elephants, gorillas and most recently dragons in 2016 that are placed in and around Norwich.
In January I started work on my ‘Mighty’ hare, when all 6’ of him arrived at the close of last year. My sponsors, Ashtons Legal, wanted a Harlequin design, and so Hare LeQuin started to take shape. It took 12 weeks, from the first nervous pencil mark made to the final paint flourish with a brush of gold acrylic paint.
I worked on him at every available opportunity, in between my usual illustration commissions, often working late into the night (well, morning). The best times though were the leisurely weekends spent on him, listening to the Golden Oldies radio station in the background. Blissfully self-indulgent.
I swapped my Wacom digital pen for a loaded Sable paintbrush…how good that felt; I’d missed it. I never realised how much in fact. It was cerebrally challenging, not least because I had to revisit what I knew about the rules of of maths and geometry. Yes, I’m talking perspective; once not my greatest strength, now I’m an expert!
Art of Noise
And while I painted, and dreamed away, I couldn’t stop singing to myself ‘You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn’. For obvious reasons; this was one Mighty Hare LeQuin, whose ears touched the ceiling of my studio and took two people to lift.
Ping! Wild idea-alert…wouldn’t it be great if we could re-record Mannfred Mann’s chart topping hit of 1968 (the same year that Break Charity was founded coincidentally) as a tie-in. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. My sister and I made enquiries. We tracked down Mike D’Abo, the lead singer of Mannfred Mann. We outlined our ideas to him. “Come on down and let’s get creative!” he replied. Creating music, my second passion, was soon to be fulfilled.
We went on to record a 50th anniversary edition of The Mighty Quinn, available soon for download and streaming.
Medical Arts to Theatre Arts
Then came the official Reveal, which fulfilled another passion of mine; theatre performance.
I’m in the Planet Theatre Productions group and my sponsor wanted to utilise that. Our Director was commissioned to write a short sketch based on the old Italian Commedia dell’arte. It culminated in Hare LeQuin being ‘revealed’ to a full house at The Norwich Puppet Theatre, and with the original 60’s Mighty Quinn playing, we took our bows. Silver confetti fired from cannons showered us as we closed to rapturous applause. What a night! The publicity machine has followed us all the way, with lots of exposure in the Eastern Daily Press and BBC radio.
What makes the whole GoGo Hare commission so momentous, and so different, from anything I’ve ever done is because it’s branded as a Public Art. I’m more used to the quiet. I seldom get to meet my clients face to face and my niche work is published and bought by people that I never meet. GoGoHare-dom is the exact opposite. Hare LeQuin and I have continually been in the spotlight for many months now…it’s strange, I never quite know when a picture of my creation is going to turn up in the papers or be on the front cover of marketing merchandise, and yet he is and we are. He’s also on a Norfolk Rock.
So my personal Creative Trinity has been truly realised, and we’re only half-way through the year.
Red Carpet PremiHare
What better way then to launch this new website in time for the PremiHare red carpet event tomorrow and then the Sculpture Trail goes live on 24th June. I am sworn to secrecy as to where Hare LeQuin is going to reside for the next three months, but believe me, a more fitting place you could not imagine.
In between all this hare-raising activity I’ve also been able to add some fresh new images to my portfolio. They are the result of some very exciting commissions, not least branching out into animation and another involving meeting HRM Queen Elizabeth ll (more about that in a future Blog).
Oh, and talking of future Blogs, I’ll be able to tell you about the short film I’ve produced. And the book I’m writing as well. Creative Trinity? Perhaps more Creative Quintet…we’ll see how it all pans out shall we?
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