Saturday, 14 January 2012

Reflections and Cats

In the broadest context this blog is intended to be a way of communicating about and therefore explicating my own art and perhaps the art of others.  However, to do this I've realised that it isn't just about what I'm putting on to the paper but why and what motivated me to do it in the first place.

I have never really put much emphasis on the new year.  It is a date and a start of something that has no direct bearing on my life (except the odd party and a day off work).  I have long felt that I should enjoy life every day and make improvements when needed, rather than wait for the motivation to change everything on one predetermined day.  On this terribly cold day, sat inside in one of my favourite places, sipping on my favourite drink I decided that I would try instead to look back on 2011 just to see how life and the world has changed.  There were many things to be written and reflected upon, in terms of art though 2011 has been a year of metamorphosis.  At the beginning of the year I was in the midst of a complete separation from art, I had forsaken it; the reasons for which are best left to the past.  I waited and waited until I absolutely needed to put something on paper.  In doing this I was finally able to reunite myself with art, now I am sketching and illustrating almost everyday, my relationship with this part of myself is better than ever.

The point of this is to say that there are times that a complete break from something, even something as inherent as creativity, is healthy, progressive and ultimately creative in itself.

So here are two of my most recent sketches, the first (on the wrong paper with the wrong pencil) is of a tiger displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum, and the other is of an animal that has become dear to me, the Clouded Leopard.  Happy new year!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Breaking the ice with the Endeavour

This illustration has somehow become the paradigm of my portfolio.  Whenever someone is kind enough to give me feedback they always mention "The Ship".  I feel uncomfortable being defined by something like this but it is probably true.

Thomas Cook and his crew "discovered" Australia and New Zealand in this ship, essentially altering history in one small, unremarkable, floating wooden container.  The ship wasn't even made for the voyage, the Earl of Pembroke was a merchant collier (cargo ship) before it was bought by the Royal Navy and renamed the HM Bark Endeavour.  Nor was the voyage intended for discovery, it was officially intended to track something called the transit of Venus, a celestial event that was used to measure the size of the universe by taking measurements with triangulationThis is of course not unimpressive but potentially finding another continent was fairly low on the to-do-listDuring the voyage it was home to 94 crew members, pigs, chickens, two greyhounds and a goat.  It was shipwrecked, repaired, venerated, and was the first image of western civilization creeping over the horizon for many people.

As an illustrator as opposed to a fine artist, my aim is to convey information in a simple and mindful way. With all of the information above, much more research, hundreds of photos and about 200 hours of dedication this illustration came to be.  I wanted to show the tiny, intimate cabins of the captain, first lieutenant, and Joseph Banks in addition to the hull and part of the main areas of the ship inhabited by the crew.  The intricacy and pure purpose of the ship is still so beautiful.

I hope that in the future I can recreate this amalgamation of interest, history, personal insight, illustration and pure information.  In retrospect being defined by this isn't quite so bad, I shall try to maintain it.