Friday, March 21, 2014

London calling

I love this girl. She came through for me again.
She is a part of me; my teenage self.
I made two drawings of her some years back. They were, I guess, memory drawings.
They were about being in love with reading.
And, er, being a bit of a slob (nothing changed there then).

Do you sometimes find that in creativity, and in life in general, I suppose, that a theme comes along, a recurring theme, and you just can't ignore it? You feel you mustn't ignore it. It's trying to tell you something. Like a message a from the universe. Well, that's what's been happening with me of late.

That theme has been books. Books, books, books.

Autumn last year the (first) book solely about my work was published; Andrea's Book (I really should go into that rather simplistic title at some point, but hey, that's another blog post). Ever since I have been signing, wrapping and packing them off all around the world. For the wrapping paper I've been using the drawings of my girl. I can't remember how it came about - it was some kind of happy accident as the late great Bob Ross would say.

A few weeks back a friend sent me a link to a project that is taking place in London over the summer. From July, there will be a trail of 'book benches' displayed throughout the capital. It is a Wild In Art project, working in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, called 'Books About Town'. You can read and see more about it HERE. The link was for artist's to submit their designs for the chance of getting their own bench commissioned. Artists could choose from a list of books, all linked to London in some way, or come up with an idea of their own. That was the only rule; the book bench design had to have some link to the capital. The issue I had was that the deadline was nearly up and I had just a few days to choose a book and come up with a design.

I really wanted this gig and my head was spinning trying to get an idea together. I'd read quite a few books on the list, but many years ago and none of them were jumping out at me. Sleepless nights ensued as I went over and over it. But I was trying to force an idea and that's not how I like to work.

I continued to get on with the other things I need to do; going to work, signing and wrapping and sending lot's more of my books off around the world. Always coming back to my girl. There she was, she was still reading. What was she reading I asked myself. What book was she engrossed in I asked her. What was teenage me reading then? Then it came to me. 
Back in the day, like many other kid of the 1980s, I was obsessed with Adrian Mole. A while ago I reread the books and they were still as funny and brilliant as when I first read them. I've grown up with the character and loved everything about him, from his political views (fiercely anti Thatcher) and his burning desire to lead the life less ordinary. I knew that's what my girl was reading. There was my book; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. But what did it have to do with London? Adrian famously lived in the Midlands. Then I recalled that he went on a school trip to London. Tenuous? Actually, I don't think so. Suddenly I was feeling passionate.
So there it was. That was my pitch; 'The book I have chosen to illustrate is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. In the book Adrian, and his classmates, go on a school trip to London. For most people living outside of the capital, a school trip is usually their first experience of London. It was mine'.

So, that's the story of how I ended up with a MASSIVE open book, or bench (depending on how you look at it) in my living room. Yes, my idea was selected and yesterday there was another book in my life. I like to think having a huge open book staying with me is symbolic. I haven't decided what it symbolises yet. I hope it'll reveal that over the next two months (yes, TWO months).

OH! Oh, and my design for the bench? Well, there could only be one thing . I say one 'thing', but I mean one girl. Yes, I was all so obvious really. It was always there. She was always there.

I love this girl. She came through for me again.


Rick said...

I guess,. if you mess up, you could always rip off a page in your giant book and start all over. (Just a thought.)

Rick said...

I guess, if you mess up, you could always rip off a page in your giant book and start all over. (Just a thought.)

eSeN said...

Yay! That sounds incredible! I love your girls :)

dinahmow said...

I shall look forward to sitting on an AJ bench next time I'm over there.

Shirley said...

Congratulations! Please show us photos of the bench as you paint it.

eye said...

Excellent story Andrea ~ thank you for telling it so well ~ a benckmark for true, well many bench marks ahead for you.. congrats (: @poetreats

eye said...

Excellent story Andrea, a benchmark for true! Many bench marks ahead for you.. Congrats.. @poetreats

Anonymous said...

Excellent story and fave drawings Andrea.. A benchmark for true.. Many bench marks ahead for you (: Congrats.. @poetreats

Anonymous said...

apologies for repeating my comment, blogger must be in a fowl mood.. @poetreats

Caroline B said...

That is so exciting! Don't forget to let us know where your bench will be when it is done.

Themes....yes, I do think it happens & my current theme is sheep...

Unknown said...

first, i have to say i am a little bummed...i bought one of the first books when they went on sale and mine was not wrapped in your girl... i have thoroughly enjoyed the book all the same. And second, awesome that you were chosen and of course you were chosen. I can not wait to see the result!!

andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

Thank you, guys. glad to hear that you get the whole 'theme' thing.

I am sorry, Stacey, back then I hadn't even thought about the whole wrapping thing; my girl hadn't even given me that idea. It was just one of those things that happened later.

I will, of course, keep you posted on the whole bookbench project. It's very exciting. Who knows it could even be 'the big break'. We live in hope.

Cheers, all.

Anonymous said...

What a novel idea! :D I did a lot of reading under the bed.

I look forward to the autographed version. Autographed means it's finished.

A Sunny Yellow Window said...

Great project, and am waiting to see the end result, Andrea!