Previous AA2A Artist

John Butterworth

Project summary:

Return of the Superhero

The scheme of work proposed was to make a series of silkscreen prints based on “flying figures”; flying figures by implication are free or at least symbolise freedom and I thought that making images of particular flying forms would symbolise this meaning for me and also hopefully encapsulate more universal themes and ideas around the narrative of flying forms.

My first image was called “high flyer” an arching figure appearing to be flying through the air but possibly diving too (he is wearing only trunks apparently). In a strange 90 degree turn, he has become a happy crucifix now! The next figure was taken from Rembrandt's ”The Archangel leaving the family of Tobias”, from the Old Testament. The Angel comes to earth to help a blind man and his family and then returns to the sky when his work is done. This can be interpreted in several ways but for me he symbolises a lost friend or brother who has left this earth for whatever reason. After this came Eros, which was pertinent for me due to similarly personal reasons but equally representing a universal theme: that of love’s messenger.

Having exorcised my original concepts and instincts for capturing these flying forms I subsequently turned my attention to more earthly matters and how in contemporary terms one is often looking around for heroes (possibly to replace lost ones) who one looks to in times of need and despair; for hope sometimes and for inspiration at others. This is where the subject of this piece came into form. Superheroes of the modern genre, were the ones to bring hope to man’s immediate & future salvation. There seems presently to be a prevailing sense of loss of identity and guidance both moral and political and that increasingly people are looking elsewhere for inspiration. This is where Batman and Robin, Superman et al can come to our rescue. You may call it transference but by representing these timeless and ageless heroes I am presenting hope and sanctuary in a world where there is none. These characters can be what you want them to be, as long as it is as a panacea for good. If it is Good that you are seeking, get in touch with the Superhero in yourself and change your world for the good. Who knows you may even have the ability to fly too!

silksceen on hand painted figures on calico - 3 x 4ft