19 July, 2020
81 Wild comes to light at quite a strange time for a lot of us. We’ve been stuck at home – or on the contrary – have been working on the front line of a global pandemic. And as a result, we’ve been living in a heightened state of anxiety, separated from our friends/family and also unable to travel.
As a self employed person, I’ve been at home staring out the window. In the grand scheme of things, this is a very fortunate position to be in – safe and sound behind closed doors. However, on the flip side, you could say that us indoor folk have had our fair share of oddities and shortcomings. Some of us may have developed habits (physical and emotional) and the mere prospect of going out, socialising and travelling seems utterly impossible. I had a conversation with someone in the dog park the other day and I ended up getting tongue tied – like what was I even saying, I don’t even know.
Nevertheless, the notion of travelling seems quite far off for a lot of us, doesn’t it? Jon and I are always planning where we’re going next in the world, but with these conversations at a standstill, I knew that this energy had to go somewhere.
So, I’ll make a collection about it.
Something that Jon and I have always wanted to do was to travel across the states. Sure, we’ve been to Washington D.C a handful of times, been lucky enough to attend a wedding in Hawaii, drove from D.C to Nashville last year.. but we haven’t branched any further. And, you know, the USA is rather huge. Wildly intimidating, in fact.
81 Wild is an attempt to mentally, visually, hypothetically and creatively travel to all the states. And I’ve been able to do this with help from my collectors and watchers around the world, who have been kind enough to send me beautiful descriptions of their homes/where they’ve travelled to. And get this, people – I managed to gather words for every single state.
I read every word sent to me, developed numerous prototypes to test colour schemes and compositions (surprisingly sold them all) and then went on to create 50 final pieces – one for each state.
50 panoramic, cinematic and abstract landscapes.
The 81 Wild collection is comprised of 50 original pieces that embody imagination mixed with realism. With help from the descriptions and my mere fascination towards the eerie expanse of the land, creating these pieces was an attempt to mentally travel to each place. The works are visual translations onto paper, shedding a spotlight on the state’s landscape, weather, colours, textures, flora, fauna, sounds and culture.
The compositions are almost polaroid-esque, photographical and cinematic, capturing the place in one shot, in one slide, in one frame.. Colour is important; it draws your eye in instantly, gives you an automatic impression of the landscape and a feel for the character of the location.
A different kind of experience.
I get it, this whole thing is a strange notion: to mentally travel somewhere, with our eyes, through art etc. But let’s give it a go.
Before you view the collection below, I must give a huge thank you to everybody that submitted state descriptions – your words were not only beautiful and inspiring, but also incredibly eloquent. On each artwork’s product page, I’ve taken a small snippet of your words (some meshed together), so that the rest of the world can somewhat share the experience.
To a beautiful and fascinating country, and also Beth, Jose & family – who are my lovely extended family across the pond. They are the absolute epitome of kindness, generosity and optimism; a family that welcomed me into their home all those years ago when I had lost my way in life; a family that have taught me to truly live life to the fullest; a family that have taken me on unbelievable adventures (Hawaii wedding included). This whole collection was made with them in mind.
In addition (and as always), every single piece is dedicated to my Dad, Mark Howell (1959-2016). I wouldn’t be climbing this ladder if it wasn’t for you.