Over the past few months I’ve been working on some paintings for inclusion in an exhibition of ‘Art for Children’ in MoMA Wales in September.
Reasoning that children like small things and like the safely macabre I’ve made a series of stamps which feature ‘Dora’, a flat, tin ‘Day of the Dead’ character I bought a couple of years ago and who has made appearances in some of my paintings. She is simply made and there’s something endearing about her, despite her being a skeleton.
Children are attracted by so many stimuli from pastel to primary colours, miniature to the grandest scales and all subject matters, so in deciding how to approach these paintings I drew on things which delighted me as a child.
Like many children, I was often drawn to vulnerable and unusual characters and could invest just about anything vaguely animate – dolls, Mummies in the British Museum, animals – with an imagined reciprocal empathy, a secret connection. As a skeleton there’s something dark about Dora, but if she’s scary, she’s safely scary like Stig of the Dump. Like Mrs. Pepperpot she’s miniature, pocketable, secret and benign.
The paintings readily became a series, it was a natural progression to create a small stamp collection given that children like collecting and sorting and enjoy long series of similar objects.
The stamps are small and covetable, part of a child’s world, and there are hints in the stamps of the bigger world that Dora might inhabit.
Blue Stamp 14 x 11 cm acrylic on board