Thursday, 21 February 2008

Early days

One of my best friends at Seatoun School (I had two best friends there, just lucky I guess) had a father who worked for one of the three big department stores in Wellington, James Smiths. Every year James Smiths put on a big Christmas parade that packed the city's streets with thousands of kids and their parents and my friend Bobby's Father made those floats and giant moving models and costumes of all kinds of story book characters.
I thought that must be the best job in the world, just wonderful!

One of my Father's friends was a commercial artist who did a logo for the Black Knight Licorice company. A medieval knight in black armour with a lance and riding a big black war horse. I was very impressed with this piece of art work and I thought that being a commercial artist must be the best job in the world!

When I wasn't reading or playing with the neighbour's kids in the pines or in the tracks and zig zags that went down through the bush to the sea I was drawing. Drawing was something I liked to do and my Father kept me supplied with A5 notepads and pencils from a friend of his who worked at a big place called Commercial Print. I went through a lot of those pads and pencils.

Reading and drawing came together in comics and the comics that really inspired me were English war comics. What those artists could do with black ink on white paper was amazing to me. A blinding white hot explosion in the hot desert sun as a tank took a direct hit, the dark interior of a doomed English bomber trying desperately to get home through the black winter skies over Germany. All drawn with accuracy and attention to detail.

Much later I made, with a friend, a float for a St. Patricks day parade, I've created a couple of business logos and I have a story that could become a graphic novel but my life as an artist mostly revolves around murals and portraits.