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Posted: September 13, 2016
The lovely thing about books is that they seem to appear just like magic, complete and smelling beautiful.
They are an invitation to open a door and disappear into worlds where the impossible becomes possible and the interior world of your imagination takes flight and creates landscapes that are vivid and real.
In the Box of Delights by John Masefield, Kay Harker opens a small box and enters a world that shimmers and brims with possibility. His senses are heightened, intensified and dreamlike. He returns to find his adventures have lasted only a minute or two in real time but in the world of the Box he has travelled for hours.
Perhaps this is why I love both images and words. When I work I aim to capture as intensely as I am able the emotional sensation of what I am seeing whether it is in the physical world or the world of poetry, music or literature. When I was at college it was not considered good practice to title work in anything more than a brief description or a number but I have also always had a need to put words with the image. I like the intrigue – the clue to the story but also the trick of playing with the sensation of the sound – the sensuality of the words reacting with the image. I also like the fact that it is a little sly – you can take them or leave them, but I have dropped them in anyway.
Illustration for me has been a massive learning curve. I had a lot of preconceived ideas about how it was done before I was asked to interpret The Princess’ Blankets by Carol Ann Duffy. It took the confidence of Templar to tell me to just be myself and when the penny dropped I discovered that I had always “illustrated” in one sense but the stories were my own. The most freeing part was being able to take liberties – things that I would never have done on canvas in case it was “illustrative” were suddenly absolutely alright.
I also thought that having written the story finding the images would be easy but actually it took a long time and a real struggle to find the visual language that enhanced the words – not just copied them. It has been joyous to create picture spreads that contains words and something I want to explore further.
“The Star Tree” story is a simple journey of there and back again.
I think it is the hardest thing I have ever done.