Every Sunday morning in Yoyogi Park in Harajuku hundreds of punks, greasers, costume playgangs and generally trendy young things congregate like peacocks and strut around in all their finery.
This is a drawing that I made recently of a guy that I met at Harajuku station. I wanted a really fresh and lively feel to the background because it was a travel project. I wanted it feel more spontaneous and immediate and juxtapose that to the very tight portrait drawing of the figure which gives the portrait a very fluid context. I was looking at it the other night and the spontaneous lines of the background suggested more memories to me of the actual experience than I got from looking at a photograph of Harajuku which was quite strange and certainly unexpected. I think perhaps your brain is wired differently to interpret a drawing and it fills in all of the gaps where as with a photograph it’s all presented to you in a totally objective manner.
click on the image to enlarge
March 19th, 2009
This is my latest drawing of Ken Billingham in his house in Cradley Heath,West Midlands. It is on A1 size paper and the drawing is approximately 31″ x 23″ ( charcoal, graphite and carbon on paper ).
I met Ken about 18 years ago, man alive! I can’t believe that, in 1991 while I was doing my MA project at Birmingham Art College. I was looking at the deindustrialisation of the west midlands steel industry and the effects it had on the Black Country’s communities.
I met Ken at the foundry where he worked in Cradley Heath, Glynwed Foundry I remember it was called, long since demolished. Ken used to tap the furnaces and catch the moulten steel in metal shanks. I never felt that I really captured him properly back in 1991 so I asked him if he would mind sitting for me agian, which he did just before Christmas.
He is a deeply religious man and has had a series of profound religious experiences so I wanted to bring this out in the drawing of him where I have used the ceramic crucifix which is on his wall in the front room. I wanted to make a drawing which was connected to Rennaisance art and religious imagery, especially with the atmospheric lighting used by Caravaggio so I wanted to create quite strong shadows and contrasts. Ken gesticulates with his hands while he is talking and this is something else I wanted to work on, almost in thoughtful conversation. He’s got such fantastic, big hands which were formed in the foundries of the Black Country and were an integural part of the portrait. The title comes from the candle holders on the ceramic crucifix which I felt was very the way Ken has lived his life.
If you click on the image it should enlarge.
Look at my next entry for the development of the drawing
March 5th, 2009
I made and entry on my blog in January saying that I had done 2 portraits on postcards after the NPG approached artists to do so for their fundraising gala on 3rd March which I think they were selling for £200 . I can now reveal which 2 were mine.
They are about 8″ and the first is a B/W painting of a woman I met in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo and the second is a drawing of a dear friend of mine, Ken Billingham who also features in the next entry.
(If you click on the image they should enlarge)
March 5th, 2009