The work I’m doing at the moment starts with a grid … well, no: it starts with an image which is then translated into a grid … well, no: several independent grids … aye aye aye, whatever — I need my grid. It’s where I start.
And it’s not just a pretext — the grid has to work on its own, to dance and to tell tales, even if I’m the only one to hear them.
But this one tickled me more than most — getting better at this. Two days ago I was convinced I’d bitten off more than I could chew … and then …
I’m sure I’m a bit weird but I find this strangely rewarding and the making of it as much like a dance as I am comfortable with — so here’s my Cornwall Boogie Woogie, Piet.
I think the hardest job I ever did, apart from a few excruciating teaching days, was in the stock rooms of a giant West End store, on the night shift.
It was relentless, physically demanding and left you utterly drained, mentally and physically exhausted.
You passed out rather than fell asleep just when the world was getting up and then as they settled down in front of their TV’s it started all over again.
In those days it was reasonably well paid and no-one monitored you on cctv.
But every night at about 12:30 the cleaners arrived. I think we were their third or forth job and there were many more to do before morning. They worked hard too.
And they ran.
They even managed to snatch breathless snippets of conversation with us in broken English.
In a grim way they were heroic.
In my on-going quest to discover in or bestow upon the most humble things some sort of “heroic” dignity, this is my Electrolux Janitor. Studio vacuum cleaner, still going after fifteen years of extremely hard work.
I joke but … it’s also kind of true — there’s so much we overlook, never mind what we unsee.
I was absolutely certain that this had been done to death … after all, it’s only the summer flip side of the stove in the corner of the studio … but apparently not.
Had no interest in some designer, hipster, vintage thing — I have no idea who designed it, where or when. Which is probably unfair because somebody did, both, and I owe them both a little debt.
Shamed, I have just looked: it was made in China and I got it from B&Q about 10 years ago and it’s still going strong.
It might be ugly but I just wanted to pay a gentle homage to my rusty trusty fan.
And it helps to keep drawing when you’re struggling with something big and scary.
There’s a struggle for civil rights in America where Black Codes are still lethally applied, people are drowning in the Mediterranean trying to escape from the hell we’ve made of their homelands, and “we” chose to let them, oh, and there’s an existential election coming up at home … and I’m posting about putting up a portfolio of work on The Association of Illustrators website … hmmm … have a powerful need to eat this month.