paul bommer and the negative space

Illustrator Paul Bommer and his partner Nick Appleton, an animator, gamely undertook the long rail journey to Aberystwyth for my exhibition opening. With all the guest rooms at Ty Isaf taken, Paul and Nick went to lodge with our friend Pip Koppel at Cwmerfyn. They are a splendid pair, elegantly sartorial and hugely entertaining company, bubbling with enthusiasm and joie de vivre. I loved having them here and I miss them dreadfully now they are back in London. Nick brought a gift of delicious home-made Seville orange marmalade, and Paul a magnificent silk screen print that I’m hugely pleased to have. It’s an endlessly fascinating piece of work, not least because it illustrates that Paul is just as obsessed with negative space as I am. The tattoos seething over the figure’s torso and arms are wonderfully diverse, and the way they jigsaw together is fantastically inventive. Mythic beasts swarm, minotaurs and cockatrices and unicorns and basilisks. Caparisoned elephants, alligators and cephalopoda jostle arachnids, harpies and wyverns.  (That’s definitely my kind of tattoo! Here’s an artist after my own heart!)  I don’t think that I shall ever tire of enjoying Paul’s pictorial inventions in this gorgeous image. Click on it for the treat of a magnified version. (Bravo Paul. You are the biz!) You can see more of Paul’s work if you click on the link to his site in the blogroll at right. You can also read more about him and his work on THIS captivating site.

13 thoughts on “paul bommer and the negative space

  1. Pingback: Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. What a fantastic illustration! I’m enjoying working my way through Paul’s blog too – such wonderful, clever posts.

    • Ha ha! Zoe, you’re right. We do know the coolest people, and Paul and Nick are among the coolest of the cool. Those boys are the best guests at a party. I do believe they spoke to everyone at ours last Sunday! They are an unalloyed delight.

  3. The image is based on a character from Ray Bradbury’s novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. Mister Dark is a demonic circus master who gathers and enslaves human souls, which appear as tattoos upon his flesh.

    • It’s a wonderful image Paul, and will be away to the framer very soon. I feel that this is an artwork that will stop me in my tracks every time I pass it, forever discovering some surprise within Dark’s teeming tattoos.

      I haven’t seen it for the longest time, but my memory of the film after the riches of the book was that it was a poor thing, lacking in visual imagination. Odd that it hasn’t been done again since. I would have thought that someone would have tried it. Is this the only image you’ve done from the novel, or have you turned your hand to other characters from it? I’ve always had a bit of a thing for dark and glittering circus themes. I once choreographed a production for Andre Heller at the Vienna Festival that had a touch of Something Wicked about it. You can read about it…
      HERE and HERE.

  4. Yes, everything Nick said, and then some. Top of the list is find out Phillipa’s baked cheese cake recipe, it was superb!
    Thank you for the kind words Clive!

    • Nick, I meant to ask whether there is any connection between your surname and Nun Appleton House (poet-nuttery at work: I was thinking of Andrew Marvell and his “Upon Appleton House.” Never met an Appleton before…

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