10 July 2015

Sporting chance

Graham Dean in front of Swimmer (via)
Among artists who push their medium is Graham Dean. In the run-up to the London Olympics he spent a couple of years painting athletes, preparing for a solo show.

He regards the preparatory watercolours as finished in themselves, and from some he went on to make paintings that are 6-8 feet high - also in watercolour, intense with deep hues. Brilliant, literally. (Can you buy watercolours by the gallon?)

Read about his process here. He wanted to title the show "Faster, Higher, Stronger" - the Olympic motto - but the Olympic body had secured rights to a long list of olympian words, including gold, silver, bronze (!), so he came up with something similar. In the interview he reports: "some people have said it sounds like a condom advert. This is very ironic if you knew the stories behind condom use at Olympic Games. In Beijing, 400,000 were given out to athletes in the village and each one has ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ printed on them!"

Paintings about sport aren't "my thing" so how did I come across this? It's all due to my pedantry about spelling, especially something that's drummed into copy editors: "names must be spelt correctly!"

The zoneonearts website has such an interesting collection of interviews with artists and craftspeople from many disciplines - you could read it for days - but I found that the silly typos, spelling mistakes that the spellchecker doesn't catch, really distracted me from concentrating on the content; I just wanted to get in there and fix them!

"Library of Burmingham" did it for me ... I simply had to contact the site and ask if they could correct it to Birmingham. Which they graciously did, informing me they had done so in a nice email with the subject line "Birmington".

Oh dear, had it gone from bad to worse? I had forgotten which post this occurred in, so searched the site for Birmington - whew, no result. Further search showed that Birmingham appeared in several artist interviews, including the one I now remembered reading. Instead of simply getting on with something else, I simply had to click on the photo that is now at the top of this post ...

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