Home » Fairy Tale time....

There once was an ugly duckling...

With feathers all stubby and brown....

 What I'm showing you here (above) is an eight part mural I created for my daughters primary school in 2003.  It was part of my final piece in my degree.  I was a young single mum, an outsider in my community as I have travelled from Scotland; landing in Norfolk with my children.  My children had their own difficulties fitting in, of which I had experienced as a child in Scotland from England. I had wanted to help them and the community at the same time.  During my degree I was taken by the idea of Public Art.  I believe strongly that creating public art in situe designed wholey for that space can enliven all the lives of those people who use that space.   Previously the space had been a bit grim.  It's the area where all the parents congregated when waiting to take the children home; when it rained we all dived in there to keep dry!   All of these drives compelled me to make accessible art that made an impact on my community. I believe we all have gifts to share and this was my opportunity.

Go… Get out of town....

  Eight large plywood boards, each carrying a different element of the Fairy Tale: The Ugly Duckling. My interpretation of The Ugly Ducking: as it was being placed into the school bike sheds; instead of being a duck it is actually there as a bike. 

The story is very much the same: difference, community, belonging, alienation, inner strength, realisation, individuality and the things that make us the same the world over.  However, where the duck flies off with the swans at the end of the fairy tale; I've taken a different approach. 

The first board is a Pop Art influence, created in the shape of an egg; I've printed eggs onto the board in opposing colour to the main egg.  The main egg representing the Nest.  All of the eggs have the word Bike written in them, bar one:  Bicycle is written there;  subtle. 

The second board I used the Aboriginal dot technique. The Aborigine's create fantastic images based on dreams and journeys using dot pictures to create their stories.  Within this one all the same bikes have round wheels and they have Hatched; the odd one had square reflective wheels (you can see yourself in the reflection)...

  The third board is called Outcast...  where the odd bike is outcast by the community of same bikes; I had a vision of the image of the wheel and it is to this day my favourite. 

The fourth board is called Alone.  A take from a Klimt painting of a wood;  beautiful hues of greens and blues with silver birches;  there, near the back of the wood, leaning against a tree... is a lone red bike.

 At the time I took the photos I had literally just put the boards up so not all of them where complete, hence the next board image. 

The fifth board is called Magic;  a Grecian Art Deco lady standing over a battered bike.  I drew her arm in after taking the photo and used very sparkly glitter to show her sprinkling the bike.  It's the inner strength you find when you need it, we've all got it.

The sixth board:  The Others, shaped as an arched window (for those of us who remember play days) places the viewer as the odd bike; looking through the window. Again not finished at the time of taking the picture.   I got all the kids in the school to draw me pictures of bikes.  I still have them... somewhere...  I copied their drawings onto the window; as the odd bike looks through it, it sees that there are many different kind of bikes; a realisation is birthed.  It's a conceptual approach to the imagery, playing with the point of view.

  The seventh board carried text to continue the story:  So this bike turned to me and said "Suddenly I am free, I am me! " then I realised bikes don't talk....   ;  I do like to play with context and mediums...  text can be a tool to paint pictures too; this takes a leap of faith and a transcendent attitude....  

  The eighth and final  board is called United: a heart shaped, Mondrian take on the UK flag.  I took pictures of kids in the play ground and drew images onto the board of bits of bike and some kids...   my ending is we all different and we are all the same

Wowsers!  You made it to the end :)  Thank you!