Fan art has a special place in our hearts. One artist captured mine in an instant with a painting of a kid in a bin
‘Is that a Craig Davison I spy in the background?’ Of all the comments I expected during our Christmas Facebook Lives, this was not one of them. We counted down 24 sleeps with our beautiful hanging fabric panel revealing a different clay goody each day. Tucked away in the background was one of two Star Wars themed works by the Sheffield-born artist, Craig Davison. The recognised one – my personal fave – ‘Don’t put the ‘BLEEP’ lid on’.
Its true that not everyone appreciates what myself and hubby see in these grubby, scruffy, impoverished style paintings.
But I will never forget the day I first saw the work of Craig Davison
My intro to a new art hero, Craig Davison
I was a relatively new mum enjoying a moment of pure bliss. A hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows, flake – the works. How on Earth did you manage that? you may well ask. Well, the two under three were being looked after elsewhere so I could catch up with a friend in London. Apologetic, she was on the phone having been held up for another hour or so. But I was overjoyed at the delay in all honesty. It gave me a couple of hours of FREEDOM. Freedom to eat my own food, drink my own drinks and meander aimlessly to kill two hours. I won’t lie – I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. And I’m not a big fan of crowds so I abandoned Oxford street for a fave haunt – St Christopher’s Place and stumbled upon a cute stationers and then an Art shop.
I vaguely remember some cute zebras by Peter Smith, some odd sculptures, a really cool abstract of a bubble. But there amongst them was a painting of two kids; one with a colander on his head and the other inside a dust bin.
Fan art – skill in the shadows
Immediately I thought of my Dad. It recalled some of the stories he had told me of his youth. But more than that, I saw childhood. Where kids entertain themselves on the streets and stay out all hours. Where imagination rules. Where you make a game out of whatever comes to hand. Where you learn to move fast to stay out of trouble. When nothing in the past or future really matters. Where you wear hand-me-down clothes until they fall apart, shoelaces are always untied and your parents insist siblings tag along with you.
But the REAL magic moment was when behind those kids I saw their shadows.
And my heart made a leap into hyperspace
Because the boys’ shadows formed silhouettes of those most famous of droids; the iconic R2D2 and C3PO.
Art is anything that you can see emotion in
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The art of emotion
Knowing nothing about the artist when I first stumbled across him – the more I learn the more incredible I realise his works are. The imaginative elements had a immediate impact. Illustrating that feeling when you’ve been relegated to be R2 on the condition the lid stays off – akin to reluctantly being goalie for a short time. He purposely portrays nostalgia with, in his own words ‘paintings …[that] have a slightly naïve, grubby look with lots of energy – which, when I think about it, sums up my childhood’.
And the more of his work I see, the more effortlessly it seems Craig Davison captures that childhood phenomenon where objects like sticks become lightsabers, samurai swords, whips. And who hasn’t ridden a bike and pretended it’s a horse, a dragon, a unicorn or a motorbike?
‘Art for me … it wasn’t a case of that’s how I earn my money – it’s what I needed to do’
How I didn’t come home with that painting I’ll never know. I went back later that day credit card at the ready. But suddenly it dawned on me this might appear more ‘substantial investment’ than slightly bigger indulgence that the luxury hot chocolate had been to my other half. But I instantly regretted it after returning home; showing hubby a photo who was equally enamored. It took us a while to finally track down and buy a copy about a year later. Top tip – if you want it – buy it here and now!
Not long after, my husband purchased a second Star Wars one in the series – ‘Wooossh! Jhoooom!’ – the battle between Darth and Obi Wan. And much as I love pretty much everything that has come since, his newer works sparked joy once more. I’ve got my son into the A-team recently and he’s a DR Who fan so these were no brainers.
Lightning strikes twice
But that soul-filling moment came once more when I saw ‘Playtime’. We are now a fourth grandchild generation red-and-yellow car owning family. And Back to the Future is one of my all-time fave films.
As a child I went to Universal Studios with my parents and 2 brothers. We flew in a Delorian. It was truly magical. Michael J. Fox was an early teen pin-up of mine and my sci-fi-loving roots owe their allegiance in part to Doc and Marty, not to mention my love affair with the music of Alan Silvestri. (Who also brings us soundtracks for Flight of the Navigator, Avengers Endgame, and Ready Player One
Craig’s done it again I thought.
But this time, it wasn’t my Dad’s childhood I was transported to, but my own. And my sons. Past, present and future all in one. Now, if that isn’t how a Back to the Future painting totally nails it, I don’t know what does.
Inspired to get your hands on some fan art?
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