Show: May 16th. David Kirkwood.
Tell: “This drawing is from a series of 366 drawings made one a day over the course of 2012. The drawings are visual interpretations of each tweet made by 365 writers (one writer does day one and day 366). The project, 3hundredand65 will be made in to a book and we’re throwing an end of year party at Manchester Velodrome, with all proceeds from everything we do going to Teenage Cancer Trust. This piece responds to a Tweet from The Charlatans’ singer Tim Burgess, saying: “Eh, done what?” He said looking up. “What they said was impossible sir – they have finally travelled through time. Finally.”
“Two unrelated incidents came together to unexpectedly create 3hundredand65. The first was the awful news we received, just before Christmas, that our friends discovered their young teenager has cancer. Brief research will show you that it’s a common experience for many families, unfortunately. Personally it was devastating news for me coming as it did within a month of both my Dad and my Aunt being diagnosed too. The question for friends given news like this is: ‘how do I respond to that?’ I’m not a leading cancer research scientist with an instant cure, so that voice in my head was saying: ‘Dave you’re useless – you don’t actually DO anything useful!” as I walked my dogs on New Year’s Eve.
“The second happened two years ago but resonates to this day. On Feb 1st 2010 I nearly lost my sight in a freak accident; a Blackthorn branch, bent back and then let go by somebody walking in front of me, whiplashed my eyeball. Manchester Eye Hospital saved my eye but I’m under the continuous threat of it going at any time. The treatment took over 5 painful, boring months. On one hospital visit whilst sitting waiting (normally a three hour affair) I started drawing in my note book.
“My drawing obsession must have been at the back of my mind because, whilst walking the dogs nearly two years later, two and two came quietly together and proudly came up with the idea for 3hundredand65 – fully formed, mapped out, a must do. A year long story written by 365 different people (one tweet each) and me illustrating them each day. That way I get to keep the thing moving forward, I get to raise cash for Teenage Cancer Trust and I get the perfect excuse to draw something new every day.
“I’m not a designer or an illustrator and I’d never shown anybody my drawings. The thought of putting my work in front of people was scary. Yet, for some reason it’s something I wanted to do. I was starting from scratch so I hoped it would be interesting for people to watch me struggle towards my goal, which is to publish the project as my first graphic novel. As long as my eyesight holds out, why shouldn’t I give it a go? If I can do something to transform my life at the same time as raising money for those helping others transform their lives then that’s a good thing all round – isn’t it?
“Making a drawing a day might not seem a particularly difficult challenge especially if you compare it to some of the amazing physical challenges people set themselves these days. But to me it’s both a major learning curve and an awesome commitment in time (over 800 hours). My inexperience is the main challenge, but daily practise is improving my weaknesses. Coming up with an idea is never a problem, but the technical issues of getting a drawing from the page on to the net late at night, quickly are mind bending.
“I’m currently obsessing over sense of space. There’s a lot of playing with perspective tricks that I’ve never been taught so I’m out discovering all of them. It’s so much fun because once you’ve cracked the code you can use it in your own work, it always comes back out in one of your own drawings, maybe not on that day but days or weeks later it’s there to exploit. I don’t think you can ‘learn’ how to be like any other artist; you have to make loads of work, accept most of it will be rubbish but it’s helping you find your way. A couple of times recently I’ve made drawings that felt right. I don’t know why, but they felt on the path to somewhere.
“Most of all, I want to celebrate the creative process itself and creative practitioners with this project, because we DO do something useful – we help to make life worth fighting for. Human beings are amazing and that’s why we need to look after each other.”
Info: David Kirkwood is a creative consultant based in Manchester, UK. 3hundredand65 is raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust through the release of a graphic novel and merchandise available to order now, plus an auction of the original sketchbooks.
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