During Sixth Form was when I truly realised that studying the human body was what I was interested in. I think starting life drawing had a lot to do with that, as did my sudden interest in going to the gym. For me, studying the body was necessary not only through visual observation, but also through experiencing my body’s movements. I became very interested in the work of Dr Gunther von Hagen. To me he is as much an artist as he is an anatomist. He invented the technique of plastination in the mid-1970s. This allows the human body to be fully preserved by embalming it and then draining it of all bodily fluids. Quite a disgusting and technical process (sorry for you squeamish people!) but the results are incredible. Well, to me they are, to a lot of people it’s a very controversial affair. I think I’m just fascinated by seeing a real life human body and all the bodily tissues that make us up. An almost morbid fascination. The touring exhibition BODYWORLDS visited Newcastle last year and of course I jumped at the chance to see it in real life having been reading about it from the age of fifteen! Anyway, I am getting side tracked. Basically Von Hagen was a huge influence to me during this time and the above picture is inspired by his work as well as being a blend of Emma Grzonkowski’s style.
Above: my copy of her Grzonkowski’s work ‘Secret’.
Above: Her original piece.
I was looking at Emma Grzonkowski’s work around the same time I was looking more in-depth at Von Hagen’s. This resulted in an interesting and complex blend of styles. Grzonkowski is a commercial artist who creates figurative pieces, she’s done a series on The Seven Deadly Sins. It’s all quite lovely and rather beautiful. Quite girly for me though so of course I had to reinterpret her piece in monochrome when I copied it. I don’t directly copy work often, but I do quite enjoy it when I do as I get a feeling for what the artist was doing. I like to think so anyway!