Margate Creatives, 2010s (silverpoint on gesso on board, 20.7cm x 14.2cm) is one of an ongoing series of small silverpoint drawings of people in costume, or in uniform, with a connection to the English seaside town of Margate.
How people chose to dress, or what they are required to wear for their jobs, say a lot about a particular place at a particular time.
For example, small photograph of a smiling man, dressed in Battledress and walking down Cliftonville’s Northdown Road on a sunny day in 1940, says something about Margate during a time of war; and yet it is also just a picture of a smiling man seen on a sunny day (this image may become the basis of a future drawing) .
In my drawing, Margate Imperialists, 1930s (see earlier posts), we see men dressed as women, someone dressed as a working class ‘Margate Landlady’, a black-faced minstrel and a member of the Klu Klux Klan. All of these people are assembled around a young woman dressed as Britannia. Perhaps it was Empire Day.
In 2010s Margate we see two women at a Margate-themed party: one dressed as a local businessman and the other dressed as an estate agent’s ‘SOLD’ sign. Margate is presently experiencing the mixed blessings of ‘cultural regeneration’.
If I could make money from the amount of time and I spend (waste?) working on things that never get to be finished works of art I would be a very, very, rich man.
I tell myself that all the effort will bare fruit in the fullness of time and that all the time and effort is an investment in works of art yet to come. Somehow or other, in spite of my doubts, I seem to keep the faith and keep on working away at my ideas and drawings. I couldn’t tell you why.
I’ve dug these silverpoint drawings out of their drawer to look at them and see if looking at them will suggests a possible next move. I’m showing them here because otherwise they might never be seen or become finished works of art. These are not finished drawings but they each have their moments: subtle things that suggests possible next moves.
Margate Imperialists 1930s, 2017, silver on gesso on board, 21cm x 30cm.
Work on this drawing has come to an end. I could carry on working on it but I shan’t.
The drawing is based on a small photographic image on a postcard taken somewhere in Margate in the 1930s. My guess is that the people here were dressed for an Empire Day event. This is one of a number of drawings based on the same image. It is one of a series of drawings based on images of people dressed in costumes of some sort and with a Margate connection.
In a Margate junk shop I can connect anything with anything.
A lot of my work draws on people and things connected with Margate. A recurring theme is the way in which the slightest things in life, and the humblest objects that exist, can be linked to, and imply the presence of, the world’s biggest events.
Here is a picture of some works in progress captured in a moment of a Margate sunset light. These silverpoint drawings are based on found photographs taken in Germany in the 1930s. Somehow they made their way into a secondhand shop in Cliftonville in 2017. And from there they came into my hands.
There was a point in time when a momentary look was captured in the instant of a photographic image. Now, here, l am taking time to look at those traces of those moments in those people’s lives and drawing – I could almost say conjuring – something out of them. We’ll see what comes of it.
I shall post more about this work as it develops further.
You can see earlier images of this work on Instagram.
This drawing (silverpoint on gesso on board) was recently on show at The National Portrait Gallery, in London, in an exhibition which included about a hundred A5 size portraits donated by mystery artists. The work was for sale as part of the 2017 Portrait Gala event and The Mystery Portrait Postcard exhibition. The gala event and exhibition were part of a fund raising event to raise money for the gallery. The exhibition lasted for about three weeks but the names of the artists were kept a secret until just last week. I’m now allowed to say that this one was mine.
The drawing is based on a photo booth image of my mum which was probably used for a bus pass. It’s one of an on going series of drawings based on photo booth images. Photobooth images capture little, unimportant, moments of a person’s life.
Scroll down this home page or click on the ‘people’ category to find examples of related works.
Drawings can be like little poems; they can stand alone as intensely troubled-over, individual, works of art in their own right.
This tiny drawing is of a chalk stack at Botany Bay near to where I live. The piece is about 5cm by 6.5cm in size and it is drawn with silver on gesso on card. I might make a series of drawings of this stone. We’ll see. This work stands on its own but it shares themes in common with lots of my work: presence and the passing of time.
The tides and the weather are slowly eroding this chalk stack away to nothing. In time it will no longer figure in anyone’s line of sight. This familiar (familiar to me at least) feature on the high tide line makes me think about time and about change over the course of time – it can stand for that.