I was approached by one of the teams behind London fashion week to produce their staging for the Opening Catwalk of the week, The Vin + Omi catwalk featuring Debbie Harry. I was approached 2 weeks and 2 days before opening and they needed 52 Canvases completed for then. The canvas arrived to me 2 days after I accepted the commision, and needed to be collected 4 days before the show. I had 10 days to produce 52 canvas of…..something. I was given free reign with what to create but whatever I created I knew I had to be able to do it on mass. Which would be a mammoth task as I hand paint everything I produce. I began to think about artists who had mass produced their work (namely Warhol) and the silk screen technique. I however like to hand paint EVERYTHING. So I thought, what if instead of cloning my paintings…I painted a clone? That’s where the concept of repainting by hand over and over again dolly the sheep arrived in my head. To paint something that it itself a clone, but every single piece is an individual, hand crafted work of art. Coming up with the idea was the easy part….however making it happen was hell.
To work on this scale I couldn’t use a studio, as the time taking walking there and back would be precious time I needed to paint. Instead I worked on all 52 canvas simultaneously in my flat. I would do 5 brushstrokes in one colour on one canvas, then move to the next and do the exact same 5 brushstrokes in a different technique on the next and so on. I would move from my bed in the morning straight to the canvas by my bed, then I would work round the canvases that covered every wall of my apartment. I would start in the bedroom, then move to the paintings in the spare bedroom, then the paintings in the lounge, then the paintings in the kitchen, then the paintings in the bath, then the paintings hanging on my coat rack, and so on until I came back to the start…and did another 5 brushstrokes and continued again. I tried to make it as autonomous as possible. Instead of using a machine to produce my work, I wanted to be a machine.