We've been living in France for 8 years now. When we left London we had a party and I made invites. 'It's not an invasion, it's a liberation' they declared. The drawing was loose, quick, unplanned. The photo faces were made in the 'photo booth' of my local Tube station. But I'd been drawing infantile war for a while... this was a picture I made in 1999 of imagined Normandy beach action - its post 'Private Ryan'.
When I draw war its without direct experience but I've been occupied by its mythology from my earliest childhood. It's the scenario for my daydreams.
In 1998 I entered a picture in an 'Open' exhibition of pictures in Hammersmith, London. It was called 'Happy Soldiers and Sad Soldiers... I've never been to War'. Beautifully attired French Hussars clashed with British Infantry, the Napoleonic detail accurate except the French wear Nike Cyrus running shoes and the British wear Adidas shell toes - classic costume (The pic above was cobbled together, the large originals are with friends). I made two copies of my ink and marker drawing, one was a mirror image, and I joined them to make a long panarama style picture. None of the soldiers in the original picture had mouths. On one of the copies I gave all the soldiers smiles and on the other anti-smiles(?)... I'm not sure what else to call a down turned mouth.
The other day I came across the work of Todd Tremeer. He's a painter who makes lucid 'televisual' watercolours. He's painted the military models in museums, I don't think he's yet drawn any of the models on sale in their shops... and check out his 'Artist's Statement'.