Friday, 8 May 2009

I'm Going To See The River Man, I'm Gonna Tell Him All I Can

"I'm Going to see the River Man, I'm gonna tell Him all I can..."
Acrylic, Spraypaint and Varnish on Board

Near where I live there's a Chippy that has a life sized plastic Fisherman stood outside, he's holding a massive fish, and looking out across the Conwy River, smiling away. At first I was a tiny frightened of him, partly because I couldn't see his eyes [they're closed] but I soon warmed to him, and whenever we used to go the Chippy, I'd wait outside and share my chips with him and sit talking to him, mostly it would be idle chatter about school or whatever craze I was obsessed with at the time, but I'd had a particularly bad nightmare I'd tell him about it, his smiling face looking down at me was quite comforting, I felt like he'd protect me if I was ever on the river again, or if anything came out of the water.
We read Ted Hughes 'Iron Man' quite early on in Primary School and completed various projects about it, and I could see parallels between Iron Man and the Fisherman, to me both came from the sea to protect us from unknown dangers, so I saw the Fisherman as a kind of guardian, watching the river and looking out for those in trouble. So Iron Man and the illustrations became a reference point both contextually and compositionally - there's a drawing in the book of Iron Man emerging from the sea that I based the paintings composition on. The painting is fairly long [its nearly the same height as me] and it's hung height up on the wall so that he is looking down at you, just like the 'real' one did when I was little.
The original Fisherman still stands watching over the River today, and he still gets some chips whenever I go to the Chippy

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