I spent three intensive days last week on a silkscreening course. I’ve been on several over the years but this time I had some ideas — a couple of friends are getting married later this month and I thought I could produce a portrait of them as a wedding present. In addition I had some unfinished paintings that I thought I could finish.
It turned out that I could do both in the fifteen hours that the course lasted.
First the wedding present. I had downloaded the couple’s portrait from one of their Facebook posts and edited the background out to leave just the couple seated together holding hands. I made two screens, one with the photo as originally taken with M seated on the left and a second with the picture reversed. I had previously prepared backgrounds on 300 g watercolour paper and simply screened the image onto the prepared backgrounds.
Wedding couple painting.
While I had the screen ready I decided to make a separate portrait for myself:
I screened a silver background and then screened the portrait on top.
Then I had six portraits of Andy Warhol that I had painted some time ago and wanted to finish. Two were only in the early stages of production and had to be finished.
Then the series was complete:
And, I added diamond dust to make them sparkle!
We were four participants on the course and we had a discussion as to whether or not we should sign our work. The general consensus was “if one accepts ownership of the work, then it should be signed”.
Okay, then. But I don’t really think my name rings really ‘artistic’. I mean, not like Picasso or Cezanne or something catchy — even if my wife jokingly calls me the family Picasso! So I just put “Richard F ’20” on each picture.
When I was in medical school from 1962 to 1968, I was involved in the Students’ Union and somehow got into a group responsible for organising student dances. These were the heady days of Swinging London, Carnaby Street and all things psychedelic and together with Andrew Batch, I started producing posters for dances, balls and many just for fun. Heavily influenced by American west coast art I painted many posters for dances we called “Inflam” as well as for lectures to be held in the hospital. There were several notice boards around the Guy’s Hospital campus and therefore four posters were required for each event. Many copies disappeared but I managed to save at least one copy of many of the posters, which have followed me around for the last fifty-plus years. For the past seven years they have been languishing in my flat’s cellar storage.
In the past week I have been trying to go through all the detritus that I have collected over the years. Old diaries, out of date credit and membership cards, books and a few records that no longer deserve a place in my collection. However, the most space-consuming articles were my posters and prints, collected over many decades. I started to look through the large folder containing most of the posters I had painted between 1966 and 1968. I was astonished (and a bit proud) of my typography, produced at a time when fonts were not easily found, but had to be copied manually. I have thus far found over forty posters and many friends have been impressed by my handiwork. A couple of fellow students have had memories awakened by seeing them again after such a long time.
Party & Dance posters:
Lectures and gatherings:
There are a few more that I might add later. But I was surprised to see that the majority of my artworks had survived more than fifty years of being ignored. There was one unfinished poster that I found and I decided to finish it — four hours of painstaking draftsmanship and it was done:
This poster is called Johanna’s Not Here. Reading the text may give a hint as to why it’s got that title.
I’ve put some of these posters on Facebook and several FB friends have suggest I arrange an exhibition of them. But I’ve no idea how to go about it. So they’ll have to stay exhibited here. Perhaps I’ll get around to painting some more in the near future.