Sunday, 24 November 2019

Hydra Horsey

This one is a painting from memory but turned out a bit more sinister-looking than I'd originally intended (quelle-surprise).
'Hydra Horsey', 2019, oil on canvas by British artist, Wayne Chisnall

It's inspired by something that I saw a few months ago when I went to see a school play with my brother, in which his oldest son was performing. The play was a mash-up of various Greek myths and in it the Hydra, a multi-headed serpentine monster, was played by a group of kids, all of which were clad in black with black tights on their heads. After the play I was standing outside with my bro whilst the cast of the play were running around the playing field, full of post-performance excitement. Whilst chatting with my brother I noticed in the distance, two of the Hydra heads from the play were on all fours and giving rides to a couple of even smaller kids, who were using the legs from the tights as reins. It was a bizarre and funny sight. I remember thinking at the time ' I must do painting or two of this'.

'Hydra Horsey' (work in progress), 2019, oil on canvas by British artist, Wayne Chisnall

I posted some photos of the painting on social media, during the various stages of completion, and received a few comments from people likening the rider figure to that of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. This wasn't initially intentional but I guess that there's often a lot of things going on subconsciously, and when you make artwork it's sometimes hard to block out all the external influences that one gets bombarded by.  But that's also the beauty of art; it's a language with multiple readings and constructed from layers of diverse thoughts and ideas. The process of creating art is one of constant discovery, where each brush stroke or unintentional mark can suggest an alternate direction. I'm pretty sure that the children I saw on the playing field that day were girls (although they were quite far away in the distance) and when I started the painting the figure of the rider I wasn't sure what gender it was going to be. All I knew was that it was going to have a mop of blond hair. Maybe the Trump/Johnson comments influenced the direction of gender or maybe the work had already decided the direction.

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