My work selected for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2018

‘Displaced Portrait no:3 (young woman in carefully repaired image), silverpoint, 21×14.5cm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My silverpoint drawing has been selected for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2018 and I’m very pleased about that!

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize is the new incarnation of what was The Jerwood Drawing Prize. It’s the main, yearly, Contemporary Drawing exhibition and I see it as a kind annual survey of Contemporary Drawing practice in the UK. It is always worth seeing.

My drawing which has been selected is one of a growing body of work which ‘resurrects’ unknown people (unknown to me at least) from found photographs which were  taken in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. All of the original images were found in a junk shop in Margate. I came across them all at different times and most of them seem to have been taken in different German towns.

‘Displaced Portrait no: 3 (young woman in carefully repaired image)’ is based on a photograph which had been torn in two and then very carefully glued back together again. This woman now has a kind of afterlife as an art object. What can we tell about a person from the way they appear to us? The fact that the photograph was damaged and then carefully repaired is intriguing.

My drawings are based on photographs but they are not simply copies of them. Details have been altered, tones have been modified, and each has been repeated scratched-away and redrawn and worked on over long periods of time to get to something which feels real to me.

I’m not quite sure what it is I am attempting to do with these drawings. I sort of know but I can’t really say beyond that it has something to do with our experience of time and of human presence. I realise that’s a bit vague but it’s the best I can come up with for now  (I might rewrite this post later). I like to think of my drawings as moments of connection between moments in time. Drawings take time. Hand-drawn lines are traces of presence and of time, and of a mind engaged in the act of looking and thinking. Perhaps in drawing these people I am drawing ghosts.

The selectors for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2018 are the artist Nigel Hall RA, the art dealer Megan Piper and Chris Stephens, Director of the Holburne Museum in Bath.

The exhibition will open in September in London and will tour various galleries across the country for the best part of a year. Look out for it later in the year.

I presently have a solo exhibtion at the Young Gallery, Salisbury, which runs alongside the 20th century British figurative artists exhibition, curated by Peter Riley from the Arts Council Collection.

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25th May 1917 Folkestone Air Raid

 

folkestone air raid 1917 Roy Eastland

 

folkestone air raid 1917

folkestone air raid 1917 Tontine Street bomb victims

folkestone air raid 1917 tontine street

folkestone air raid 1917  25th May 1917

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At about twenty past six on the evening of 25th May 1917, a bomb was dropped from a German, Gotha, bomber which exploded in the midst of a queue of people waiting outside of Stokes’ greengrocers in Tontine Street, Folkestone.  Scores of people were killed and injured.  It’s a very sad story but I want people to know about it partly because it is such a sad story and partly because this story is similar to all those stories we hear all of the time about people caught up in bomb explosions.  This story can stand for many, similar, stories.

Here are some images of a piece I made a few years ago.  I continue to work on this project as time and money allow.  My earliest exhibited work on this subject was shown as part of a solo show I had at Margate’s Marine Studios in 2011.  It consisted of an entire wall covered with A5 pencil drawings and text about the people caught up in the various bomb explosions across Folkestone on that day.  This led on to another piece called: “They looked like silver birds.  The sun was shining on them…” (the title is a quote from an eye witness account referring to the sight of the German bombers high up in the evening sunlight).  This is a framed work consisting of small silverpoint portraits and handwritten text on gesso boards.  It has been exhibited in a number of places including: a gallery space on Margate pier (this was an off-shoot to the ‘Telling Stories: Hastings’, at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, curated by Cathryn Kemp); The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013 (shown at The Jerwood Art Space, London, and at various galleries across the country); East Kent Open Artists Open Houses (part of the Canterbury Festival); ‘Remembering: We Forget’ (The Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury) and ‘Memory’ (The Pie Factory, Margate).  I’ve had a lot of interesting feedback from people who have seen the work at these exhibitions and I’ve also been contacted be a couple of people who have family stories connected with the event.  I dearly hope to include these stories in future work.  I hope I’ve made a respectful work of art.

I have a lot to say about this work and I’ve written more about it on previous blog posts (click on ‘Folkestone’ on the list of ‘categories’ to find earlier posts).

Click on the images for a better view of them.

A drawing from 2006

Jerwood Drawing Prize 2006 ROY EASTLAND

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’.Jerwood Art Space

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.]

The Independent newspaper review of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013

My drawing has received a nice mention in Zoe Pilger’s, Independent newspaper, review of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013 (this has made my day!).  Here’s a link to her article: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/reviews/jerwood-drawing-prize-2013-the-winning-picture-by-svetlana-fialova-is-a-canny-but-misguided-choice-8812716.html

tontine street jerwood drawing prize 2013 roy eastland silverpoint drawing (2)jerwood drawing prize 2013 roy eastland review

Here is part of the exhibition revue (click on the link to find the whole article):

“…Overall, the exhibition is elegant and balanced, but quite conservative. The boundaries of the medium are pushed – but not too much. The huge impact of technology on drawing is neither shunned nor overhyped

There are 76 shortlisted works on display out of a total of 3,082 entries. Some are fantastic. Roy Eastland’s They looked like silver birds… (2012) is a stunning montage of those killed in the 1917 German air-raid on Folkestone. Portraits in silverpoint are accompanied by moving biographical detail. Isobel Wilson, 80, for example, “was in the queue for potatoes when the bomb exploded.” Eastland makes you search for clues so that the narrative is unfolded through the act of looking.

Bitch (2013) by Catherine Linton is another exceptional work. A recorded voice whispers an elliptical poem about dogs (“…at your feet I lay…”), while a faint pencil animation plays on a screen of yellow notepaper on the back wall of a tiny wooden cage. You have to look through the bars to see: a young woman wearing a muzzle, running. The feminist allusions are powerful and delicate at once.

Can cutting open an envelope with a scalpel be classified as drawing? Apparently so. Important, Act Now (2013) by Lindsay Connors is an envelope from the Inland Revenue on which those ominous words are printed. This is conceptualism at its best: succinct and funny without being cynical. Any of these three artists would have been deserving winners.”

The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013

Roy Eastland silverpoint drawing in the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013

I urge you all to go and see this year’s Jerwood Drawing Prize!  This isn’t just because I have my work in it but because I think it’s a particularly good exhibition this year.

The drawing I have in the Jerwood Drawing Prize is composed of silverpoint portrait drawings and hand-written text drawing called: “They looked like silver birds.  The sun was shining on them…”.  I’ve written about this work previously in this blog and so just scroll down this ‘home page’ to find those earlier posts.  I’ve also put a couple of videos of it on youtube …and also on my facebook page: ‘Roy Eastland’.

Drawings at the London Art Fair

The Millennium Gallery St Ives will be showing some of my ‘Dancing/Dying Toy Soldier’ drawings at the London Art Fair this year.  The London Art Fair 2012 is held at the Business Design Centre, Islington London between the 18th and 22nd of January (see: www.londonartfair.co.uk for details).  A brief description of these drawings can be found on the previous blog post and on the ‘Dancing/Dying Toy Soldier’ page.  These drawings were previously included in The Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition.