Wednesday, 23 June 2004

Jack in the Box

Hoppings sketch (A4 sketchbook, watercolour and pencil) Posted by Hello

Both the Frootbat and I are interested in photography; he for material from which to make darkly surreal collages, I for base material for my paintings. That was our main reason for going to the Hoppings yesterday afternoon.

I've battled with the Hoppings as subject matter for years. At one time, I was attracted to the colours and decoration of the sideshows and rides; still am, to a degree. But I came to realise that the colours are so garish, especially now that they've moved away from traditional decoration, that it's practically impossible to create coherent paintings from them.

I had a go at the frantic bustle and movement of the place - hence the sketch above - but that didn't really do it for me.

My most encouraging development in the last year has been a set of paintings, all unfinished, dealing with the people there. They had their origins in the only successful painting from the last attempt - see the detail in All the Fun of the Fair. Last time I went, I started to notice the cashiers in their little booths, sitting looking absolutely bored. This is, of course, especially the case during the slack period of the afternoon. There's something rather poignant, I think, about solitary figures enclosed in often highly decorated boxes, waiting out their time.

I hope I've got more material this time, but I can never tell until the film is developed and I get to fiddle with it in Photoshop. It would be good to be able to expand this series. My friend Mo tells me she may have wangled us a show in the Long Gallery at the University. It would be nice to have the Hoppings Series done for that.

Meanwhile, Doctor Pam is coming tomorrow night to stay the weekend. She's always wanted to see the Hoppings, so we'll be out on Friday night. Night time photography! Could prove even more useful.

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