Back in early 2015 I had some pretty big life changes happening, and I wanted to emerge from the chaos and confusion intact with a renewed vigour for life and a whole new catalogue of work. For many years before I had fallen into the trap of creating work that I thought would be popular at various events, and at the time I wasn’t making images that I was personally keen on or proud of. I got caught up in the rat-race of illustrators jumping on band wagons and churning out whatever the audience craved at the time. Coming from a Fine Art background, I found this particularly hard to deal with and would constantly see the disapproving looks of my tutors and peers in the back of my mind, as well as doubt my own ability as an illustrator and a printmaker.
The exhibition in 2015 would help change all of the negativity. I wanted to go back to a place in my art where I could start again, but also push it further and really enjoy the challenge. As my admiration for art had all started with fairy tale and folk tale illustrations I decided to do more of my own illustrations of some classic tales, and that was enough to get me excited. Throughout most of my time at university I had dipped in and out of exploring fairy tales and depicting them, so it felt right. I had abandoned my printmaking tools in favour of faster techniques during my foolish quest for commercial success, and was afraid I’d be a little rusty going back to them but confidence was key and soon I was cutting away and listening to Fleet Foxes on the stereo. I was quite happy with the finished results, I felt a real sense of achievement as I framed each one.
The exhibition was entitled ‘Once Upon a Time’ and was held at The Ripley Arts Centre in Bromley during March 2015. I had a small private view with some dear friends turning up who I hadn’t seen in ages, as well as some new ones, and it felt great to be back on the radar talking about my artwork and discussing the tales on which they were based on. Remembering all of this makes me want to have another exhibition soon, as before everything went haywire I used to partake in them regularly. Perhaps it’s time to get the portfolio out?