These drawing series are from sketchbooks I have been working with over the last nine months. Due to a set of ‘life’ circumstances I have been unable to work in the studio. In the Autumn of 2018 I suffered a traumatic injury to my arm; following surgery I found myself off work and confined to home. I resorted to working in a small sketchbook format to keep myself sane.
The drawings that emerged often resembled natural history illustrations, they all utilised the objects I have around my home, including my collection of shells brought back from a Caribbean island I have spent a lot of time on over the years. It was on this island that I first watched hermit crabs and their peculiar way of inhabiting other creature’s shells: as they grow they must ‘change up’ their home. At the moment of transition, when they emerge from one shell and squeeze into another, their soft helpless bodies are extremely vulnerable, to predators and to the elements.
As I emerged from being encased in a heavy plaster cast from shoulder to hand and started the long slow painful process of rehabilitation, I could relate to the crab’s fearful moment of transition. This became the series ‘Still Life in Mobile Homes’ rendered with a biro, brush and ink and Tipex.
Then. My world was turned upside down by a shocking and unexpected bereavement. Already physically struggling to make work, the entire notion of ‘creativity’ was put into question by the silent finality of death.
After many months of dragging this weight around, getting through the day, I finally found a way to draw again, back inside a sketchbook. But this time with something tangible to work with because I could not confront the empty page.
I dismantled some old books and randomly dispersed their contents across the empty space. In this case, a book of ‘Antique Furniture’. The past is our ruin. Life is precarious.
A train journey from Prague to Vienna shifted my inertia and I found my line and my imagination flowing again into a stream of consciousness: page after page after page…mile after mile after mile.
It’s self-evident that all the dancers, strippers and Shibari performing bodies I have been drawing from life over the last few years have filtered through my mind’s eye as I draw from imagination.
This precious drawing series I titled ‘In Every Dream Home a Heartache’