This silverpoint drawing is presently on show in St Ives, Cornwall, as part of Anima-Mundi’s ‘Mixed Winter 17’ exhibition. It’s a drawing about people and about a moment in time in Margate (a seaside town in the south east of England).
The drawing is about the size of an A1 sheet of paper but it’s drawn with silver on thick layers of gesso on board (silverpoint). The work is based on a small postcard image found at an antique fair. Here we see a group of mostly young adults, and a few children, dressed in a variety of fancy dress costumes depicting a mix of social and ethnic ‘types’. There is ‘A Margate Landlady’, a ‘Red Indian’, men dressed as women, people ‘blacked up’, various ‘foreigners’ and even someone dressed-up as a member of the Klu Klux Klan (make of those details what you will). The presence of ‘Britannia’, in the centre of the group, makes me think they are at an Empire Day event.
This is a drawing about people and about a place and a moment in time. It might bring to mind thoughts around identity, self-expression, ‘otherness’ and about taste. These people look thrilled to be in costume and playing with identities. A few years later came The War. Their choices of costume bring into focus thoughts about British Imperialism and about attitudes to class and to foreigners and so forth. This drawing is also about a group of people expressing themselves and about people looking happy in each other’s company and they looking towards us.
The act of drawing someone’s image is a kind of meditation of their presence beyond their appearance. More accurately it’s a meditation on what I imagine is their personality as given to me via a small photographic image. It’s a drawing and I’m glad it’s being seen in St Ives right now.
A memorial event for victims of The Great Folkestone Air Raid of 25th May 1917 will take place in Folkestone next week.
My drawing, “They looked like silver birds. The sun was shining on them… ”, will be on display as part of this event which will also include a small exhibition, a memorial service, an unveiling of a memorial plaque and a walking tour. The event has been organised by local historian, Martin Easdown, and a descendant of one of the victims, Margaret Care. This has been a labour of love for both of them. I’m looking forward to having my work seen in Folkestone at last (it has been shown in various galleries all over the country but never in Folkestone until now).
My drawing will be on show at The Folkestone Methodist Church on Sandgate Road (CT20 2DA) from 2pm until 5pm. I’ll be there and so please come along and say hello if you can make it over to Folkestone. Martin has written a book about the air raid which will be on sale there too.
If you’re someone who listens to BBC Radio 4 while you work (or whatever you do during the day) you might want to listen to the Afternoon Play that day. ‘Home Front: A lightening’ will be broadcast at 2.15pm (and also on BBC iPlayer Radio) and is all about the 25th May 1917 air raid.
For more information about the memorial event go to: http://www.leshaigh.co.uk/folkestone/tontinememorialservice.html
For more information about my art work go to my previous posts on this blog (click on ‘Folkestone’ on the list of categories) or/and go to my other social media places listed here below:
Hopefully see some of you in Folkestone next week!
ps, There happens to be an excellent, and long established, secondhand bookshop (Marrin’s Bookshop) right next door to the Sandgate Road Methodist Church – it’s well worth a look around there as well!
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.
Here are some drawings from a series about Arromanches (a seaside town in Normandy which was the location of the Mulberry Harbour following on from the D-Day landings).
I worked on these small, mixed media (graphite, emulsion, ink and varnish), drawings between about 2006 and 2009. Their starting point was my memories of my dad’s memories of D-Day and of the Mulberry Harbour, at Arromanches, and about a few photographs and post cards of the town that he brought back with him as souvenirs.
One of the photographs was of a rough sea hitting the seafront (I presume this photograph was taken before the war) and this became a repeated point of reference for a number of drawings (I remember being told about the storm that wrecked the Mulberry harbour). The have been repeatedly re-worked and include writing as well as images.
‘Mulberry’, for example, is based on a postcard view of the town and the sea but my version includes my hand-written notes which locate various remembered details of events (memories of memories). As with a lot of my other work, this drawing was worked on over a long period of time and at some points in the process the words were more visible and at other times the image was the focus of the piece.
‘East Kent Daily Time Slip’ (scroll down the home page to find an image of it) is one of the drawings that were based on the view of a wave hitting the seafront. The title comes from my memory of my dad using East Kent Bus Company ‘time slips’ to make simple, schematic, drawings of things as he explained events and views. ‘East Kent Daily Time Slip’ was also the title of my solo exhibition at Marine Studios in Margate.
Various drawings from this body of work have been shown at various venues including: Marine Studios (Margate), Beaux Arts (Bath), Millennium (St Ives) and The Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
I have a drawing on show at ‘The Pie Factory’ in Margate at the moment (until four o’clock on Wednesday – so you had better hurry if you want to see it!). It’s in a group show called ‘MEMORY’ which has been organised by Nathalie Banaigs of ‘Kent Creative Live’. The work in this show is varied but broadly linked by the theme of memory. I submitted my drawing, “They looked like silver birds. The sun was shining on them…”, because I wanted it to be out on show again and because you never know who’ll find it on the gallery wall there.
The work is about the people who were killed by a bomb which exploded in Tontine Street, Folkestone, during ‘The Great Folkestone Air Raid of 25th May 1917. It’s a work of Art and so it’s also about much more than that. It’s up to its viewers to make up their own minds once they’ve spent some time with it.
This particular drawing has been on show a few times. It’s very first outing was in a gallery space on Margate Pier. That particular show was an off-shoot of the ‘Telling Stories: Hastings’ exhibition (Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, organised by Kathryn Kemp). Then it was selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and after that it was shown at the Sidney Cooper Gallery, in Canterbury, in the ‘Remembering We Forget’ exhibition. It also made a brief appearance during ‘East Kent Artists’ Open Houses’. So far this drawing has been on a journey from Margate Pier, London, Newcastle, Plymouth, Canterbury and back again to Margate. I wonder how many people have looked at it. I wonder what they thought. I hope some people took some time to look at it a few times. I hope it will find its way to Folkestone one day. I hope I have done a good job.
The work is presently hanging on the wall of a gallery in Margate old town (not far from Turner Contemporary). I wonder who will come across it there. I wonder what they will think.
I’m taking part in an exhibition, in Margate, from Thursday 3rd July. It’s at LIMBO, Substation Project Space, Bilton Square (a small courtyard tucked away just off the High Street). The exhibition focuses on Drawing. It shows a diverse range of approaches to Drawing and includes works which will evolve and develop as the exhibition continues.
It’s called: ‘SUBJECT TO CHANGE’ and it runs from 3rd July until 13 July and is open between 12 and 5pm each day. The other artists are: Dan Bass, Selina Bonelli, Greig Burgoyne, Jenny Core, Tania Robertson, Venessa Larsen, John Jo Murray and Daniella Turbin (it has been organised by Daniella Turbin).
I’ll be showing a set of silverpoint drawings and some sketchbooks. The silverpoint drawings are the first four of a series of drawings for a small solo show at Millennium gallery in St Ives in the autumn.
See also: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roy-Eastland/1495390357351370?ref=hl