Saturday, January 28, 2006

in a past life


I could draw. A little bit anyway.

Scrunched up on my bed with it's patchwork quilt, a pile of soft toys at one end and a collection of hand-sewn cushions at the other. My pearlescent white 'ghetto-blaster' pumping out tinny renditions of The Smiths, Billy Idol and The Cult. I really did call it a 'ghetto-blaster'. This is despite the fact that my corner of green and pleasant England is about as far removed from a ghetto as it is possible to be. I never saw the irony in it, but then I was only 17.

My desk was a kitchen tray, precariously balanced on my knee. The tools of my trade were Staedler fine tip pens and some cheap paper that dad brought home from work one day. Cheap paper, but BIG sheets - A1, I think. I used to fold it into A3 sheets and work on those. The ends always fell over the edge of the tray and I had to keep shifting it across to keep a solid surface beneath me. Sometimes I had to work upside down or at funny angle. But I would rather do that and remain in happy solitude in my room than sit at the infinitely more practical but infinitely less solitary kitchen table.

I would work from anything, and in fact I had a file full of clippings from newspapers and magazines of pictures I wanted to draw. Nothing was sacred - advertisments, record sleeves, photographs. Everywhere I looked I saw something. I just didn't have the time to do it all and that was a source of eternal frustration.

Sometimes I would draw in pencil, sometimes with those Staedler pens I favoured. Sometimes I had to use fabric and thread. I can remember being awake until dawn broke on several occasions - I has copied the whole album sleeve from Queen's LP 'A Day At The Races' and was embroidering it in satin stitch on a denim jacket for a school friend. It took me about 4 months to finish it, and it was a work of art when it was completed I haven't seen that friend for about 18 years now and I wonder if they still have the jacket. I doubt it.

I dreamt of being an artist. I took art at school, along with creative textiles, and yearned for a creative lifestyle. I failed both exams and cried for a week, all hope squashed flat. No-one understood why I had failed, especially not my teachers who pushed me to appeal. But my heart was broken and my confidence shattered.

I kept the drawings, carefully laid one of those posh artists binders that my parents bought me for Christmas one year.

I've never been able to throw those drawings away - they represent something to me, even if I can't identify exactly what it is.

The portfolio has been tucked away at the back of my wardrobe and yesterday I pulled it out and opened it for the first time in about 10 years. On the back of each is a small pencil mark showing the year I did it. All my work stopped when I failed those exams, and I haven't picked up a pencil or pen to draw since.

I can remember quite clearly working on them. They are made up from thousands, if not millions, of tiny tiny dots. I had such patience back then. Patience, good eyesight and hope.

Marilyn Monroe. I think you can tell? I was reading a book about her life and the original photo was taken the day she announced her divorce from Joe DiMaggio. The mum of one of my friends loved this so much that she made me photocopy it for her and she still has it hanging in her house to this day.

This was taken from the sleeve of a Def Leppard single - 'Animal', I think. You can see a tiny mark on the white in the centre - I dropped a piece of chocolate on it. There are also a couple of smudges where tiny drops of something - probably Diet Coke - made their way onto the paper. And there's a patch of red in the midst of yellow that shouldn't be there. I wasn't concentrating and can still remember how annoyed I was when I realised I had picked up the wrong colour pen.

Minx may well recognise this. It was the album sleeve from Genesis, 'Wind & Wuthering'. Never finished, as you can tell by the pencil guidelines that are still evident. The tree is, I think, my favourite part of this - you can't see it so well here, but that too is made up from clusters of tiny tiny dots. The trunk is hundreds of tiny lines.

Morrisey from The Smiths. I liked him, I liked their music, hence I drew him.


Blogger CycleGuy said...

You are so talented. The establishment had succeeded in repressing another true artist. What a shame.
OMG i haven't listened to the Smiths in years. I must do so now. I think I have Meat is Murder and The Queen is Dead kicking around here somewhere on vinyl...

1:51 PM  
Blogger TigerLilly said...

I can relate totaly, confidance is such a huge part of creativity I truely hope you get it back. Those pictures are amazing, my fave?
morrisesy :) of course

1:53 PM  
Blogger Sapphire said...

Beautifully stunning work. My woman is SOOOOO talented! *grins*

My fave is MM.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Bent Fabric said...

Those are fan-freaking-tastic!!! I love to draw but I don't have a fraction of your talent. You need to get back to doing it. Talent like that should not be tucked away in the back of a wardrobe.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Your pictures are SO impressive DF. You must take this up again...I for one, would love to see some recent work from you. Good lord, you are so talented, it would be a crime to keep your artistic skills locked up!

9:23 PM  
Blogger Wenchy said...

You are so talented.

10:13 PM  
Blogger MagickRat said...

Incredible...what I wouldn't give for talent like that...

12:52 AM  
Blogger JD's Rose said...

Kind of draw, my ass! They are so very good! You have talent girl!


12:53 AM  
Blogger The Bastard Son said...

I haven't words just now...

2:49 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Amazing! You have a true talent, you know that????????

4:24 AM  
Blogger Francesca said...

You are major talented, girl...These are wonderful!!!!

(I can only do stick figures... don't laugh!)


4:25 AM  
Blogger Evil Minx said...

I think your stuff is excellent. You obviously have a very good eye. You should think about re-submitting stuff... i don't know how or what... but there must be a way, online. Something.

And that picture of Morrisey is just swoonworthy...

(Btw, apropos of nothing, when driving into work this morning, "Copacobana" came on the radio and i unshamedly sang every word with it and though of you and ~S~ the whole time!)


9:44 AM  
Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

Hi you are talented
anyway come over for my sexual fantasy dedicated to you

10:52 AM  
Blogger === said...

Im an artist as have tremendous talent

1:59 PM  
Blogger Miladysa said...

Wonderful! Do you have an urge to pick up the pencils again?

11:12 PM  
Blogger patti_cake said...

Go for it!

2:02 PM  
Blogger Barnze said...

Some nice stuff you got there,You should get on a beret and start doing some more!

2:02 PM  
Blogger a fish on a bycicle said...

blimey, can I buy Morrisey?

Or, better still, can I organise a limited print, and maybe have one free in lieu of commission?

(Dude pimp my

4:30 PM  
Blogger FunkyB said...

Pointillism? These are lovely! I cannot imagine having that much patience.

4:47 PM  
Blogger art said...

Very nice drawings Deadly. I never could draw anything my one brother can but I more toward music myself. peace~art

6:10 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Marvelous drawings. Especially since you're using the dots. Thats amazing. Pick up the pens and paper again. Put your talent to good use.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Wenchy said...

hope u okay

12:30 AM  
Blogger Minerva said...

Pick up those pens and do it again..Do it with your kids so if you mess up, they will have fun with it with your kids because if mine think I draw well, and I stopped at 13 (told I couldn't draw) they will LOVE yours...

Thinking of you,


1:41 AM  
Blogger pack of 2 said...

Wow...that is amazing work. i had no idea!
That is great work.


7:52 AM  
Blogger Lil Bit said...

Holy shit, girl!! Wow. You need to be utilizing that talent, DF! I mean it. Greaaaat stuff. Tap into your muse & get back to it!! =D

2:53 PM  
Blogger ~TVS said...

I remember working on a scratchboard in college and starting to dream in little scratches....

Now that you've picked up the portfolio, won't you pick up the pens and pencils again?

12:57 AM  

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