One of the things Paddy Screech loves about London are the arctic terns living on the canals. They are a smaller more elegant versions of seagulls. Unlike the seagulls they come up into to the canals.
Arctic terns have very delicate elegant features. I’ve seen many when cycling along the canal and enjoyed their playfulness. That’s why I painted the initial sketch upside down.
The water is not usually as blue and clean, but if the weather is sunny the blue sky is reflected in the canals.
Painting is a process. Constant decision making. Inspiration play’s an important part. Tony is a peoples’ person and connector. He has the ability to see in others what they at the time might not be able to see themselves. This process is comparable with the plantation of a tree, or for that matter a bonsai tree. An idea has to be watered and cared for on a regular basis to grow and eventually become the beauty that it is supposed to be.
The inspiring person, that is Tony, combined with the intention to describe interconnectedness in a contemporary setting was the basic inspiration for the bonsai series.
What is a miracle you have encountered recently?
A miracle? Well that’s a good one. I am not experienced in miracles. I have experienced feelings that make me think something is truly amazing about life. That was for a couple of occasions, but my main one was when I was in Brunei jungle. I was in Brunei jungle for six months doing jungle warfare and survival training. I was very fortunate to be doing that with the British Special Forces. And there were times when we had time off to just hang out in the jungle. You never left the jungle during that time. And I remember I sat there one day in the thick of the jungle and it was really quiet, it was about 6 AM in the morning. And I remember seeing a troupe of black and white monkeys, moving from A to B across my vision above my head and they just stopped and they all looked at me and I looked at them. And I don’t know why but the whole jungle just sort of started making noises and with all of my senses I could smell, I could see the jungle. I felt quite lonely on my own. And I just had what they call “a moment”. I’ve had that before when I was mountain climbing where you just feel at one with the planet. And I just thought freaking hell this is awesome. What are we about, why are we on this planet? However we are on the planet to live amongst other living things and the smells and nature. That to me was kind of an eternal miracle and funny enough that feeling, I always remember. It’s one of those things that always comes back. It has been a guide to me through life, in how I approach things now. I only very rarely get stressed because I just think of things and think you know what, remember that time I was in that jungle, on that mountain, this is a special place. And we are only here for a small amount of time. Miracles happen to me every day, small miracles happen to me every day. When I do really small things. Sorry that was a bit longwinded – I could talk all day about miracles or potential feelings I have experienced. I am very fortunate.
The painting was inspired by Tony Margiotta’s encounter in the jungle.
Last month we portrayed a nuclear physicist playing a pink trombone at Victoria park – Dr. Teppei Katori. He inspired us. The painting showcased was influenced by the person we got to know throughout the interview. You can check out the full interview and photographs here: http://the-minks.net/tag/teppei-katori/
Livia Henne studied print design at Central St. Martins, a renowned school for fashion and design. We wanted to know who and what influences her work.
The Peacock Skirt (1892) illustration by Aubrey Beardsley for Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé – Komana top from the “Aubrey’s Garden Collection 2014/2015 “
“At Livia Henne’s Victorian house I was inspired by the headless boy – (mentioned in an earlier post), her various collector’s objects and her art books.” One book was of the ABECEDA, by Karel Teige (1900-1951), a Czech avant-garde artist of the 1920s. His 1926 photomontage of a Czech dancer forming letters and typography are an enduring masterpieces of Czech modernism. See two of his letters below.
The print designer Livia Henne, was inspired by these letters in the past and has created an even more abstract textile print version of Teige’s typography for her label Komana.“What inspired me for the painting was a mixture of Livia’s house, Victorian objects and Teige’s typography.”brainstorming for the painting
“Another topic that often came to my mind was creativity and where it originates.” In the 19th century physicians tried to measure the skull to localise different areas of the brain and their functions. The German physician, Franz Joseph Gall was the inventor of the discipline of phrenology. Livia has a couple of such Victorian Phrenology statues sitting up on her shelf overlooking the bay window living room.
Left image: 1848 edition of American Phrenological Journal published by Fowlers & Wells, New York City, right image: Webster’s Academic Dictionary, circa 1895
At her house there are many pretty keys, but what do they open, which treasures do they unlock?
Sketch: “key holes and lonely keys”
The headless boy – there’s a story behind him read more about him here.
The final piece is a detached floating of inspiration – the Teige Letter “K” as a reference to the print designer’s label Komana, lonely keys, the french headless boy, the thinker type phrenology statue and edged glass windows common at Victorian houses. It is a bit like a dream, where single objects come and go, but are not really connected but sort of flash into our inner mind. Maybe that is where creativity roots.