|Barbie mutation catastrophe|
Stella's children were a creative bunch , the summer they came over and the summers after they spent their time playing , as children do , with toys and little action figures , inventing games and situations in which the role of a character could be negotiated and changed , any toy or part of a board game could be dragged in, along with the sand in the old lunging arena behind Vinnies house where we had the benders and later mobile homes .
Her eldest daughter was growing up quickly and was taking on being oldest and more responsible , so one day she took one of her Barbie dolls , and the other children and held a solemn ceremony in one of the water filled ditches along the edge of the farm . She buried the Barbie at sea , in one sense burying and saying goodbye to her childhood . I'd watched them play their games in the sand , the arguments and stories they created and now this , which laid a seed in my mind about stories and narrative in my own work ( paintings are after all conversations and stories) so I crept back to the barbie in its watery burial site , retrieved it and started to make a series of paintings based around childrens toys and objects from my past , using the objects as spray masks and watching the story unfold .
The first painting from the series 'Barbie mutation catastrophe' is shown above' , Ive returned to the theme a couple of times over the years , Ill show the last version from 2012 in a later post.
The two paintings above are early on in the sequence , and show themes I use a lot in my work , keys , spacemen , biplanes ,planes and found objects ( some of the wavy lines are the fire grate from an old broken stove I had lieing around at the time , and also graffiti words along the lines of asemic writing ( something I'd first seen a friend do at college in a sketchbook)
I've always placed a charchter in my paintings which represents myself , in the Magician series it was of course the magician , in these paintings I became more and more the spaceman stencil from a childs stencil set) and later on I became a horse ( after a brass horse and cart I found in a charity shop in Portlaois)
As I regained some of the technical skill I'd lost through drink the paintings became a little more complex and more colorful. Though being red green color blind thats always going to be a struggle. The painting on the right is called saucy sue ( a reference to the Worcester Sauce free paper we used to get through the door every week which had a competition to find a character called saucy sue )
The picture on the left was based on spray painting around an old moulded clock frame which I found in Vinnie's house ( the house at the time was wrecked and hadn't been lived in for a while , having been used as a stable by the people who were squatting the farm at the time) .
The Bi-plane and planes in general I've used in my work for as long as I can remember , probably because growing up I had wallpaper in my room which had prints of first world war planes all over it and some of the few happy memories I have of my dad are him waking me up early in the morning to fly gliders I had built on the playing fields near the estate , and also building Airfix kits of planes with him.
With my dad I try not to obsess about the bad times , and prefer to think about the good times , we so often lead lives we weren't born to and that kind of bends us out of shape , but it doesn't destroy what good there may have been there , and thats how I choose to feel about him .