Sunday, 22 September 2013

Homage to Francis Bacon


I had another creative project on the go this summer, a slightly more unusual one. It was a charity fundraiser called Go Pig!, started by a colleague at work to run in tandem with the Go Rhino! initiative, a community project set up by Marwell Zoo to raise awareness of the conservation issues surrounding rhinos in the wild. Large rhino sculptures were decorated by local artists and placed around Southampton for people to enjoy. And very popular it was too.

Our pigs are somewhat smaller (transparent plastic piggy banks) but all two hundred were distributed swiftly with the brief to decorate and fill with cash by whatever means; this will be donated to the same charities as Go Rhino!.

Something like 70 of the 200 pigs have been decorated so far and photos sent back to my colleague to put on the intranet at work. There are some fabulous creations and pig-related puns abound.

I thought my own contribution ought to have a printmaking element to it so I have made a portrait of Francis Bacon (see what I did there? Groan...) in what is effectively drypoint on one side of the pig. My plan was to shine a strong light through it so the engraved grooves would cast a shadow, showing Bacon's face. As the pig fills with coins (hopefully), the shadow will gradually disappear but the portrait will appear in white on the pig itself. That was my plan. I have got some really great shadows from flat perspex drypoint plates in the past (a useful way to see what the final print might look like) but concave plastic - or is it convex? - that's not so simple. Add to that the fact that the plastic fractured as I engraved it, and the white spirit I used to take the permanent marker drawing off with turned the plastic opaque, and you will understand me when I say that it didn't turn out quite as I had hoped. Not my finest hour... which is somewhat embarrassing as I had a few people telling me they were expecting Great Things from me. We covered a lot of stuff on my Fine Art degree course but decorating plastic piggy banks got missed off the syllabus somehow. Or maybe I was away that day...

Anyway, picture of the shadow above and drypointed side below.



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