Monday 26 February 2024

'Twilight Tales' - The creation of a concept

When Iacopo Meille asked me to collaborate with him on the cover of his first solo EP, the answer was, of course, an enthusiastic 'Yes!'
We began the process with me sending images of various past pieces of artwork to Iacopo for him to judge what kind of cover it might be possible for me to create, and potentially spark some ideas.
Quite quickly he identified a past piece which spoke to him and resonated with the songs and their atmosphere. 

This artwork was 'Strawberries and Cream', which was an interesting piece in particular for Iacopo to feel a connection to. I created the painting in 2020 during the pandemic as a reaction to a personal research project I had begun into English graveyards and their history. During the work visiting hundreds of churchyards and cemeteries I unexpectedly discovered in many of them, growing between the graves were; wild strawberries.

This sweet, unexpected sight was such an interesting juxtaposition between life and death that I went back to the studio and designed 'Strawberries and Cream'.

In a world where at the time in the midst of covid death had become a global fixation (thanks to oversaturation in the media), it was important to remember that life surrounds death.

For me, 'Strawberries and Cream' represented that even in the face of death there was beauty and hope, if you dared to look for it. And of course one of my favourite ideals; that from all death comes life.

At around the same time, over 1000 miles away, Iacopo was having his own creative reaction to the global situation and covids impact on his life. During this isolated time he began writing the songs that would form 'Twilight Tales'.
The idea of these two reactions to such an unprecedented, life changing event coming together was immediately appealing. Both created entirely independently, yet somehow echoed the same sentiments, like some sort of inexplicable fated union.

After working through the composition together and discussing important themes within the songs that should be featured on the cover it was decided that the basis for the artwork would largely be the original composition of  'Strawberries and Cream', but with some additions essential to the subjects of the songs. The theme of mortality in the original painting already captured the spirit of the songs, in particular 'Just Breathe', which with lyrics talking of 'piles of dust' you couldn't get a closer interpretation. But some small changes would truly tailor the painting to the songs in a way which they deserved.

The feather is one of the most important additions, inspired by 'Feather in the Sky'.
While other elements may be more subtle, they're just as integral to the identity of the piece. The Death Head Hawkmoth was chosen for obvious visual and symbolic reasons. The broken glass was requested by Iacopo, relating to 'Have You Read The News?' and was based on ancient Roman glass discovered at an archaeological site at Fiesole. 
Mushrooms were also a specific request, and one I'm always more than happy to feature in any work.
Ensuring all these components worked well together was essential and took considerable planning which was worth every ounce of deliberation.

Adding the title and ensuring it had the right amount of emphasis within the cover was a particularly tricky element. After much sketching and pondering, suddenly the perfect solution presented itself, as is often the case; quite unexpectedly.
Scrolls, parchment and crossed bones were all rejected in place of a single femur. The moment I saw the arrangement sketched out in full I knew it was a perfect fit and enhanced the composition way above 'Strawberries and Cream'.

When painting 'Twilight Tales' I placed particular pressure on myself to ensure that it was a big improvement on 'Strawberries and Cream'. I was driven by the idea of creating an embodiment of the music Iacopo had created, but also to create a superior artwork. I wanted 'Twilight Tales' to better 'Strawberries and Cream' in every way. Better colour representation, more accurate textures, finer details. I have always prided myself as an artist who wants to constantly improve and learn and this was finally my chance to prove myself.

I couldn't be more proud to have collaborated with Iacopo on this project and bringing to life a visual embodiment of his creation has been a total honour. This unlikely union of two different ways of coping with a global pandemic has fluidly formed a cohesive piece of expression which, in my opinion, is far better together than apart.
'Twilight Tales' is now available for streaming on all digital platforms
  Youtube, Deezer.

No comments:

Post a Comment