I heard on the “towpath telegraph” that The Artist had been hard at work again and I couldn’t wait for a glimpse. So I called to request an interview and was most gratified to be granted one the very next day!
And particularly pleased to be given this opportunity, as The Artist’s work is growing in popularity, and has already been featured in the September edition of The Tillergraph.
The next morning I hurried to find the scene of the latest work on the towpath and to interview The Artist. Who was most casual about his new found fame and noteriety.
I can see why the owner of the boat concerned has been so generous with allowing The Artist free reign with his creativity. The other side of the boat is now the recipient of two new artworks.
… And more, it seems, are in the pipeline.
We stood an appropriate distance from each other and he explained his latest work to me.
“Free Speech, Respect and Consideration for Others”
“This is the usual canal scene but what we have is a mill instead of a castle. And for those who are very bright, they will notice that the water mill is going the wrong way round. The water mill is there instead of a castle and ‘just because’… along with the red flowers and pointy mountains.”
“The bridge is scruffy, grey and horrible. Its for a limbo dancer out on their paddle board.”
“There’s a dog poo bin, and three steaming dog poos. This is water coming out of the engine room and they are water out falls like an underground pipe and water coming out. The water fall is over there with a duck. (The duck is called George).”
“If you look at the last post on the bench, it looks like its straight. Then if you go to the left and to the right of the picture it changes again.”
“I have tried to draw it in isometric style rather than 3D and I have drawn it like this so that the gunwale* can be the basis of my seat for Rosie and Jim. I didn’t make the bench quite big enough as I wasn’t anticipating having such a large pair of Rosie and Jim!”
“They only come out on dry days. On wet days I stick them onto the boat owners chimney flue with magnets.”
“I have been abused about using the words ‘in loving memory of … free speech’ … But my feeling is that anyone who speaks out against the crowd seems to be attacked on social media these days. Free speech is debating your point. Not being bullied. Free speech is not dead. Nobody has a right or a wrong opinion. Its just a different one to the person standing next to you! That’s what its all about this time.”
‘The Second Wave’
The other picture has a particularly interesting interpretation and, despite initially thinking it was visually quite plain in comparison to his other work, I was fascinated to discover the story behind it:
“We have got the basic shape of the UK minus Ireland. And Scotland is just about in there, and Wales… and what it is, is that this is the first wave gone past. “
“And this is the second wave which is bigger on the edge of the UK. This is a question mark which is on the shape of the wave.
There may be those who are sharp enough to see that the question mark is the wrong way around. What they should look at, is that the question mark is being viewed from the other side. That’s a question mark but we are looking at it from the wrong end!”
“My work is not finished. And I have plenty of paint!”
“A little girl came by this morning and she really liked the picture and she was looking closely at it. She asked me about how I did it, and she got her dad to take a photograph of the painting.”
“He asked me ‘do you mind if she copies it at home?’ – I said ‘she can do as she pleases’. I said to her she could come back and if I like what she draws I will give her the paint and she can paint it on the side of the boat! She’s 6 years old! So that’s what the next picture will be on the boat.”
“So that’s what going to happen… she’s going to school tomorrow so I think she’ll be a bit busy.”
As I turned to leave, The Artist nonchalantly told me that he has amended his work to include the address of this blog in a panel under the other artwork.
I am truly thrilled, delighted and honoured to get a mention within his actual masterpiece!
*gunwale – on a warship the name of this part of the boat so called because guns were set apon it. Also spelt ‘gunwhale‘ as on whaling ships this was where the harpoon gun was mounted to shoot whales.
On a narrow boat this word refers to a ledge which extends the full length of the craft and used for walking on. Can also be known as gunnel…