If a rabbit had a toy what would it be? A crochet carrot I think. After drawing many crochet carrots clutched by bunnies I learnt to crochet and made one. It turned out just like I imagine a crochet carrot looking and feeling as I am drawing it. Spookily just like it, easily, first try, as if I had practiced it each time I drew it.
Crocheting is a bit like drawing in that you just sort of imagine it as you go along, starting at the top. If you go a bit wrong you just undo that bit and do it again. Except with crochet you can’t go back and rub out that bit at the top; but then, in my experience, that is never a good idea with drawing either. Even if the top bit is wrong it is likely that if you go back and re-draw the result will be more correct but infinitely less interesting, and ultimately it turns out that the first one, that you erased, was actually the right one and you regret that you did not recognise it.
The crochet carrot was never wrong however. It was always right. I am ridiculously pleased with it. Not that I think it is great art; it just makes me happy.
thinking about it, the very first drawings with carrots were not bunny drawings at all; it was these self-portraits. I did them in 2004, they were my first move away from the painting machine work I was doing at the time. They are shown here at the Whitespace gallery in Newmarket.
A friend recently found these 50’s plastic toys in the family toy box and has let me play with them for a while.
They are great for so many reasons:
The girl is holding a carrot; I am sure in the 50’s that was just sweet, but as the drawer of many girl-bunny-with-carrot scenarios I find it wickedly funny.
The boy bunny sports a beer-belly, and with hands in pockets and workman’s overalls looks like a dodgy old-man-child.
The way they are cast in two colours of plastic is just odd. It highlights the seams and glue and from the front the ears are disconcertingly mismatched to the face. Even better, the girl bunny’s blue front is slightly transparent, so the pink glows through giving her a slightly pulp-horror luminosity.
They are rattles for baby – baby could put his/her precious eyes out with bunny’s pointy ears.
They seem to have just the wrong mix of animal and human attributes, rendering them scary and of dubious moral character. An artful mix indeed.
I tried to find my first bunny-carrot drawing, it turns out it was not a bunny at all but some sort of other creature.
Later it was all about bunnies.
Later still it was all about bunnies with crocheted carrots, but that’s a story for another day.
Today I the sun was shining so it was a good day to photograph the drawings I have made over the year. The drawings were sorted by size but not by goodness or badness. It was easier to photograph them all while the light was good, so goats and sheep, they all got clicked. But I found that as I went through them I would greet them like old acquaintances and think ‘you’re good’ or ‘you’re bad’. But sometimes I liked the bad ones better. I would think you are kind of stinky but I like you. Or, if I didn’t like them much I would think ‘you are kind of dumb. You were dumb when I drew you and you are still dumb now’, but there is something ok about that dumbness.
Conversely with the drawings I greeted as good, some were just good and they pleased me, but some were kind of good but not surprising, so not really all that good at all. And most of the ones that pleased me I had thought were failures at the time of drawing. It was only when I had finished them that I noticed that their failure was a surprise waiting to be noticed. And then I was surprised and pleased.
These are all the drawings that I thought were bad. I quite like them; they have somehow earned my affection by not really being good.
I thought that as I got older and more mature I would react with more grace and understanding when my beloved crossed that oh-so-fine line between funny and desperately wounding. But no, it seems I have if anything regressed and now say, or at least depict on paper, what i really feel.
this makes quite a nice little kiss and make up card, not sure if i will give it to him or not.
to start with, here is a drawing from what is intended to be an artist book. i have never wanted to exhibit my sketchbooks, of which i have many, as they are either too personal or too eclectic to satisfy me as an art artifact. However I have been interested for a while in the possibility of purpose made books of drawings, like a mini exhibition between covers. a little bunch of meanderings tied together with string. i like the idea of each collection or book addressing some idea or condition; so far my drawings have been fairly resistant to addressing any sort of common ideas or conditions, but i live in hope. the alternative is a collection of one-page books, which could in theory be deeply conceptual, but would more likely reveal itself as deeply tragic. sometimes the two are hard to tell apart at first glance.