Families are the most challenging social grouping there is. Itâs here we experience being the son or daughter, the sister, brother, and then parents and grandparents. It might be that you experience all of these roles or not, or perhaps experience them in the diverse ways these roles can play out. For almost two years now over two books Iâve been making pictures about a way domestic violence plays out across relationships. Looking at the first image of a family grouping – sister, brother and mom – reminds of those snap shot moments that describes in that moment anyway relationship between them. In the first book, When Dad Hurts Mum (Books Beyond Words 2014) Dad is removed from the family by legal means. It is a challenge to show in a series of images, no words, the family apprehension of a blow up; inference of possible alcohol abuse; when things fall apart and what happens when the âsystemâ does get in involved.
Books Beyond Words hosted at the Houses of Lords launching both books, When Dad Hurts Mum and Finding a Safe Place From Abuse (Iâm still finishing the final artwork for the second title). It was very different from the usual type of book launch in that it was a closed invitation list, inviting only those people who were involved in the focus groups, and organisations such as RESPOND, womenâs shelter, EDV Global Foundation and others. As Iâve written before, the process for these books are truly collaborative, working between the co-authors and myself as the artist, various professionals in this area as well as those people who made up the focus groups. You can read a bit more about the launch on the 10 December 2014 on the EDC Global Foundation blog.
I chose to do all the ink work with a kuretake brush pen for those of you that like knowing those types of things, on Saunders hot press watercolour paper. The texture of the paper adds to the texture of the ink line and the expressive quality of the brush felt truly appropriate to this topic. The second book deals with relationships and how abusive scenarios are repeated. Abusive cycles, after all, are not easily changed. In the second book Katie, our girl, falls in love. Iâve uploaded a few panels from that book that Iâm particularly happy with, showing the pencil next to the ink brush work. All colour work is digital. Finding a Safe Place From Abuse will be out in January 2015.
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