This drawing was selected for the 2006 Jerwood Drawing Prize. The image you can see here is a scan taken from a photograph I took of it when it was on show at the Jerwood Art Space in London. The drawing is behind glass and so it’s not a sharp image but it will do. It’s a small drawing of about five by six centimetres or possibly even a smaller (the dimensions stated in the exhibition catalogue describe the size of the frame rather than the artwork and the reproduction in the catalogue is a lot bigger than the real thing). It’s a drawing of my dad. The title of the drawing (‘A N Eastland’) comes from my copy of his signature (his mark). It could also be read literally as ‘an Eastland’.
The drawing was built up through a process of repeated re-drawing. The face you see in this drawing is only the last version of many drawings of a number of different photo booth images that were drawn over each other. The face was drawn, painted over, sanded down, and then another face was drawn over the traces and then the process was repeated over and over.
This drawing strategy (of repeated obscuration and re-drawing) is employed for a variety of reasons. It brings in an element of unpredictability into the process (the drawing ‘returns’ to me as a slightly unfamiliar thing each time it is re-drawn). The process mimics processes we might associate with the passing of time (of archaeological traces for example) and of memory. It might also bring to mind the way we see the same things differently at different times. There is never really an end-point to any of my drawings: work on them simply stops once they are framed and presented as works of art (I sometimes need the deadline of an exhibition to force me to bring a drawing to a conclusion).
My drawings are often individual works which can stand alone as distinct works of art. This way of working has been forced on me by the fact that I lack the financial means to be able to work on more than a few pieces at a time. I’m not complaining; necessity is often the cause of virtue, and these separate, individual, drawings relate to all my other drawings (through their recurring focus on themes relating to memory, trace and presence) and I like the idea of making small, intimate, works of art.
[Click on ‘Jerwood Drawing Prize’ on the list of ‘categories’ for other drawings that were selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009 and 2013.]