Chris Kasch.Illustration

Brighton Festival / February 28th, 2014

I must thank Michael at Johnson Banks for getting me involved in this project, and also
my old tutor, Jake for pointing him in my direction (I owe you a pint sir). It was a pleasure to be stretched for once, though a little daunting.

Painting a sheep for a festival seemed a slightly odd choice when i heard the proposal. All became clear though when it was explained to me that the guest director is the radical contemporary choreographer, Hofesh Shechter and that Shechter himself uses sheep imagery in his newest piece, Sun. The sheeps coat was to be made up of dancers but still had to look like a sheeps fur. Looking at the nicely photoshopped rough that Michael had given me for the job, I didn’t forsee a problem. The problem for me came when i was asked to not copy the dancers exactly as they were and to hide detail and blur the lines a little. For someone who paints exactly from reference that was i think a bigger ask than Michael might have imagined at the time.

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I must admit that I started the painting with absolutely no clue how I was going to comply with that request and the hope was that I would work something out along the way. The head came quickly and easily and the use of texture on the hair gave me the idea to use a bit of cross hatch work on the fur to get a little continuity into the painting. Three attempts later, I managed to get to where I felt the painting was coming together, though i was still very unsure if what i had done was what everyone one wanted of me. I sent the artwork off fully expecting to have to start all over again but to my surprise everyone liked what I had done which was such a relief and something of a confidence booster.

All the way through this job i had been feeling a little odd. Headaches and nausea. I later found out that the reason for this was not the fear of the unknown or indeed a loathing of sheep but a gas leak from my recently repaired boiler that was slowly poisoning me. When I completed the job and left the house for a few hours I realised how bad a gas leak i had (I hadn’t a clue whilst in the house, slowly got used to it I guess) upon my return and I had to call out the emergency services. I’m sure there is some sort of joke about a gas explosion and burnt mutton here somewhere but i shall leave that one to others.
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Congratulations to everyone at Johnson Banks for producing some beautiful design.

The link to the festival for anyone interested is here brightonfestival.org