Repeat readers of my blog may have picked up that I have been finding this general election business hard to cope with. It seems to have become a race to the bottom where there have been so many toxic, hypocritical, left wingers digging down to the depths of hell that used to fit the Tories comfortably. Now even those loathsome creatures are having to shuffle uncomfortably on their arse cheeks to allow all the overprivaledged and vindictive nasty lefties a seat at the high table of the lowest levels of hell.
I’ve been trying to find a way to ably process all this rubbish. From the bare faced evil of the Tories, dragging out one vindictive policy after another to the point where their dinosaur voters, merrily sinking into the tar pits, are cheerfully welcoming their own demise. The Tory voters seem to be happily dancing towards the threshing machine with a smile on their face and a song in their heart while labour squabble in their various factions and mostly preach to the converted, whilst the media twists the truth whichever way it’s handful of wizened old male owners tell them to. In short, it’s all a pile of old shit!
My response is to look backwards, back to 1755 to be exact and to William Hogarth’s series of four paintings and subsequent etchings entitled The Election Humours. Over two hundred and fifty years and barely anything has changed, indistinguishable politician crawl their way up the greasy pole whilst corruption, violence and civil unrest surround them. The jingoism, the incinserity, the promises that will never be kept, it’s all there, nothing changes, not by much anyway.
This isn’t the first set of Hogarth etchings that I have done and for these I have decided to use the same materials, biro pen on cartridge paper, this most humble of mediums can produce a remarkable amount of variations depending on how it is used.
The problem with trying to ape the work of Horgarth is that the guy was a compositional genius. The tricks he played with perspective and depth of field are ridiculously hard to recreate, that said, am trying my best. Even whilst doing one of my shoddy facimiles, the amount of technical under drawing is ridiculous. When you add to that the amount of research into all the art history references and the political and current affairs jokes of the time, things start getting really complicated.
The first panel, An Election Entertainment is mainly a parody of Leonardo’s The Last Supper with an element of Caravagio’s The Conversion of St Paul thrown in for good measure. I’ve tried to take each element out of it and swap it for a modern equivalent. It’s simplified somewhat as my eyesight just isn’t that hot at the moment but hopefully I have got the general feel of the piece. I won’t go into detail of everything I’ve added as that spoils all the fun but hopefully it’s enough to keep the viewer engaged and scratching their heads a bit. Time is also a factor as I would like these done by polling day. Sadly, the result for my local candidate is a forgone conclusion, which means that I can safely finish all four drawings before the results are even counted. It would, however, be a drawing I would cheerfully tear up if I got it wrong.
Whilst working over the technical drawings with all my usual chicken scratched characters a friend who used to work for one of the heavy hitters in the greetings card trade that she used to do similar. Working from the extremely accurate, through to more and more free drawing. There is no other way to do it and get that desired effect. There are too many angles, too many overlaying elements, to just thrown it out there on the page. We decided by process of elimination to call it “getting the right sort of wrong” I rather like that.