Thursday, April 12, 2012

'Van the Man'

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Continuing with the series of drawings sourced from portraits of then-current footballers as found within the ‘gallery’ pages of the 1970-71 edition of a soccer annual, processed with direct reference to enlarged, slightly degraded photocopies of these original images, thus explaining in part at least the particular aesthetic of this example & the project in general to date.

Other than its specific context, as confirmed by the lettering below the portrait that forms an integral element of the drawn image as a whole, there’s something also about this particular photographic image that suggests more than a passing affinity with those that would be found displayed – gracing, even – the windows & walls of men’s barber shops, or gentlemen’s hairdressers, of the period (& long beyond, in many an instance) carefully & glossily-coiffed as the subject appears, with cultivated sideburns too, adding a further note of cultural nostalgia & hauntological resonance &/or poignancy to proceedings.

In the course of the habitual light research into the subject’s playing career (this particular project is playing all-too easily into the hands of my anorakish tendencies regarding football statistics), it was also interesting to encounter another photographic image, taken the better part of a decade hence from the photo from the reproduction of which the drawing was processed, of the ‘Bobby’ Gough I vaguely recall playing then for Colchester, towards the end of his Football League days at least: note the change in later-70s hairstyle (obviously a dedicated follower of fashion, as they say, even if not necessarily at the cutting edge, if the pun can be excused) & the overall quite marked evidence of the ageing process.

In a further twist, then, I happened by a most intriguing coincidence to discover another image, of a cigarette-style card issued by the ‘Sun’ newspaper circa 1979 as one of a collectable series (of 1,000, it transpires) of then-contemporary footballers, featuring a painting of a ‘B. Gough (Colchester United)’ obviously based upon a photograph of a similar vintage & being thus another artistic representation of, which is all rather fascinating to observe & consider – one wonders whom the artist might (have) be(en), for instance.

Such a dialogue between images – photographic, painted & drawn – & also across eras provides another level of interest to the project, & research potential into it, that should be explored & exploited as matters develop: it’s all good stuff.

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