At the beginning of last month I was asked to create a print for a Christmas present. Kate wanted to surprise her partner Tim with a personal print that reflected both his career as a music producer, writer and pianist and also his father. Tim already owns ‘Shotgun Clare’ so Kate knew he would love this present.
At first I was worried there wasn’t enough time (I also work for the artist Ben Johnson managing his studio work and helping to create his paintings) and that the plans were ambitious. Another initial worry was that this was not going to be a typical Ceal Warnants print that subverted childhood but a personal reflection of some of Tim’s loves. In the end, Kate was so sweet and I wanted to help. I put everything else to one side. I started work and found myself enjoying it so much that I finished it within a few days. Kate really was a dream to work for, full of praise and gentle suggestions. Fantastic. The idea she had was a boy at a piano wearing a superman cape (one of the significant personal details).
This is what we ended up with.
We added book titles that were important to Tim and Kate and other small details. I am really happy with how this turned out.
When she came to pick up the print from the studio she mentioned that she worked for the charity War Child and that when she had first met Tim, ‘Shotgun Clare’ took her aback. For those who don’t know War Child works hard to help children affected by war. A great cause celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year. All of my prints centre around the steadily crumbling line between childhood and adulthood and how we no longer properly perceive the problem. Many people buy my work because they think the imagery is amusing or ‘cool’, but this is not the core reason for its existence. It is our perception that it is OK to see children in these adult situations that I have been interested in these past 8 years or so. Kate had absolutely the right reaction. My work gently reminds me about the preciousness of childhood as I remember it.
All-in-all a great Christmas project that reawakened my concerns.