I found these images when I was sorting through the files on old hard drive. I really quite like this series of paintings, they ended up a little bit orphaned as my practice move on in other directions and they never got to be shown. I quite like the way they are a bit un-cool and outsider-ish. there is something neurotic about the hard-wood craft panels, the dodgy blending and the sugary colours. All things contemporary painting is a little sniffy about. It was really fun doing them. I might do some more.
For the most part the relationship I have with my drawings is one of interested distance. The drawings emerge doing their own thing and I attend to them with care and respect for their autonomy. Strangely, sometimes they turn out to be drawings of me. Self-portraits if you like. It is always sightly disconcerting to realise I have just drawn myself, usually in the guise of some sort of creature involved in some sort of psychologically revealing activity.
It is not that often that I draw myself; I am not so narcissistic as all that. These were drawn over a period of a few years.
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.
This is how i first imagined it.
At the opening of Come on You Little Rabbit, my first exhibition of bunny paintings, two women approached me to ask about the carrots. They were mother and daughter; the younger woman was in her early twenties and looking somewhat embarrassed. The mother explained that were discussing the possible meanings of the carrots and that she had suggested that they might have sexual connotations. The daughter countered that now that was a terrible thing to think, the carrot symbolised food and nurture for the rabbit. I suggested that the mother should trust her intuition. The girl looked at me as if I too, was terrible. She left shortly afterwards and unsurprisingly did not buy a painting. But she should have; it would have done her good.
Bunny Girl Has A Carrot.
Bunny Boy Has His Hands In His Pockets.
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.