Monthly Archives: October 2020

Cornered

“Cornered” 28 x 31 cm, a drawing coloured pencils, October 2020

When I travel I’m always on the look out for interesting street art. I found this arresting piece on the corner of a dilapidated wall in Milan. I photographed it 23 months ago to the day (20 November 2018) and have been drawing it for the last fortnight. The title “Cornered” relates to the figure’s physical placement on a corner as well as being about the tense situation she dramatizes. Note “a disagio” on the top left of the yellow rectangle. It means discomfort.

Street art soon weathers, fades and tears. It has a very limited life span. Now and then I find a piece that I’d like to give another kind of life to – by making a drawing of it. Most of my street art collection is from sources I found in Paris including “Rebel Rebel” which I drew in 2018.

“Rebel Rebel” a drawing of a weathered political poster. Coloured pencils, 250 x 300 mm. March 2018

You can view nearly two decades of my street art drawings here. Not only is it the art itself that I am interested in but where it is placed and the (often decaying) conditions of the surrounding surfaces. While it makes its mark on urban structures it also marks time until eventually it vanishes without a trace – as indeed, in the end, do we!

Afterword: When I posted “Cornered” on Facebook, a reader identified where the original image had come from. The actress was Betty Lou Gerson from the 1949 film “The Red Menace”.

Good Vibrations

“Good Vibrations” drawn with Neocolor and Luminance. 35 x 29 cm. October 2020

It is early evening on via Fiori Oscuri in the Brera district of Milan – lights, colours, action. I’m picking up good vibrations.

Neocolor 2 undercoat.

It had been a leaden grey November day and freezing cold (2 to 3 degrees). (European cities can be so unrelentingly monochrome when it is cloudy.) I shivered around the Brera district until the lights came on. Artificial light changed sad grey to a kaleidoscope of beautiful colours. I heard a sound of bells. In the distance I could see a man pushing a red trolley. He was covered in bells! I waited until he was JUST in the right position and then I got my source photo. Mission completed, I hot-footed it back to my warm apartment.