Consumerism painting at ChinaFit Festival
Despite the recent negative image China has because of COVID-19, there is a burgeoning animal rights and vegan movement there, with millions of people turning away from traditional foods.
Having visited wet markets in China, I can say first-hand that you can be forgiven for thinking you’re in a pet shop, because almost nothing is considered inedible. This is ingrained in Chinese culture and mass starvation at times in their history explains much of this seemingly grotesque food choice: We should be less quick to judge.
In the recent past, I have been a member of animal rights charity, TACN (Towards a Compassionate Nation). They travel worldwide, educating people about the damage our global love-affair with meat is inflicting on our planet and our health.
As such, I had several paintings chosen for the ‘ChinaFit Festival’ in Beijing in 2017. My work, ‘Consumerism’ was displayed on a huge digital screen at the event, which was attended by 30,000 people.
More importantly, the Festival was covered by a specialist magazine aimed at the 30,000,000 vegans in China and I was fortunate to have a significant article written about my work, explaining the messages behind my four artworks at the show.
30,000,000 people may seem like a small number in a population of nearly 1.4 billion, but it is very encouraging. And we will never be able to forget that in 2017, we could not have imagined how these messages would be so grimly underlined in just a few short years.
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Painted back in 2014, Ragnar’s Epitaph brought together a scene near my childhood home (which forever captivated me), and the best preserved example of a Viking long-ship ever unearthed.
Despite the recent negative image of China, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a burgeoning animal rights and vegan movement there. Read how the ChinaFit Festival in Beijing reached out to 30m people.
I thought I’d talk a little about the central figure in this painting, mainly because it took 120 hours to paint her and a mere 8 for the rest of the artwork. ‘Digital’ doesn’t mean ‘shortcuts’!
It’s surprising how small the world can be sometimes, and occasionally it brings you into touch with the most unexpected people. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that late in 2020 I’d be painting the late Malcolm Young, the legendary songwriter and guitarist of AC/DC.
Ragnar’s Epitaph is without a doubt, my most commercially successful painting, so it was mind-blowing to be asked if it could be used on the cover of a book, co-authored by Prof. Paul Hardwick.
If you’re brave enough, particularly when you’re starting out as an unknown artist in a hugely competitive field, you might want to brave the savage world of international art contests, because it’s a quick way to get noticed.