Man Slain by a Tiger
While working with an artist in the studio conversation often flows freely, from discussions based around composition and print techniques, towards more wide-ranging subjects. It’s one of the joys of collaborating with an artist with whom you share a particularly close working relationship. As artist and printmaker work together shaping the print, talk is often a rich mix of ideas and insights into working practice and broader influences.
It was during one of these studio moments that I was first introduced to the work of Clive Hicks-Jenkins by the artist Ed Kluz. Ed is a great admirer of Clive’s work, and while we were working on one of Ed’s prints, the discussion turned to Clive and the wealth of beautiful paintings he has created. When looking at Clive’s work, the overlaps between the two artists were evident from the start, particularly regarding their influences and shared love for Pollock’s Toy Theatres. I was captivated from that moment and developed my interest, first through his wonderful Artlog, and then later through his Lund Humphries monograph.
Some years later, and quite unexpectedly, the chance to contact Clive arose through a meeting with Sarah Parvin in her guise as The Curious One. The Curious One has developed a substantial following through Pinterest, where her meticulously curated boards offer a wonderful insight into British Art and beyond. Sarah, who is in the process of developing her Curious One Pinterest site into something exciting, thought that it would be interesting to put Clive and myself in touch. The serendipity of this reflects the way in which some of my best projects have begun, with a chance encounter or mutual friendship leading to a new adventure.
So it was with a sense of excitement that I set off to Wales to meet Clive at the opening of his ‘Dark Movements’ exhibition.
I’ll let Clive take up the story:
“I've long had a wish to make screen-prints, but exhibition schedules keep me pretty much tied down to the studio and my work as a painter, and I've never been able to quarry the time to give the matter the concentration it needed. However, when Dan Bugg and I met up earlier this year to discuss the possibility of working together, there was an immediate rapport between us. In preparation for what will be a long-term project, Dan and I produced a print based on a rather jaunty Staffordshire pottery group titled The Death of Munrow, which itself borrowed from the automaton in the V & A known as Tipu's Tiger. The gruesome event portrayed in the automaton and in the pottery group is based on fact, though rather fancifully reinvented.
Equipped with drafting-films and an assortment of specialised drawing and painting materials supplied by Dan, I made an image. For a week I drew and painted on the various layers of film held on registration pins to correctly align them, regularly photographing and sending images to Dan for his comments and suggestions. When things became complicated, we spoke on the phone. By these means, the artwork was completed in Wales and dispatched to Yorkshire for transferring to screens ready for printing. The first proofs were returned to me, and a bit of tweaking went on at Penfold before Dan began editioning.”
And now, a few short weeks later, here it is. Man Slain by a Tiger is the first print by Clive Hicks-Jenkins to be made in collaboration with the Penfold Press. This five colour screen print marks the beginning of an ongoing partnership that will continue later this year with the first print in a series based upon the medieval poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.'