This weekend sees Simon Whitcomb bring his signatory blue ink to the Corner Collective. Working on a new body of work, he is exhibiting for one wknd only. The distinctive blue ink is there in all his creative collection but fans of the artist will see new characters as well as the Mariner 7 work that Simon is recognised for.
Catching up with the artist and seeing the display of art ready for the wknd, I managed to capture his thoughts on his new additions to his already successful work. There are several new pieces that offer a sea creature that is described as the 'Cycloptopus' and may be viewed by many as some kind of sea monster but Simon is quick to shrink those ideas by saying that actually this character is meant to represent a message to us about how we must look after the sea. Having read a book all about the octopus a few years ago, Simon became fascinated with this cephalopod and wanted to implement it in some way in his drawings. The result is very impressive and dramatic.
As well as the new characters, fans can look forward to 4 special prints of the Mariner 7. If you aren't aware of this character then imagine a sailor that has his boat out on the Solent every day and knows these waters like the back of his hand, and carries a whole story in his beard.
Talking about Mariner 7, Simon said that he has always felt the ocean and sea have power and influence. He is fascinated by how people are so drawn to the sea. We are an island surrounded by the sea and he loves how we always flock to the seaside to feel good and create memories which shows our pull towards nature and its elements. Going to Glastonbury with his family in 2017, Simon was thinking about the mysticism and spiritual history that Glastonbury and Somerset hold which made him think of his home and his own environment. He then came home and started thinking about the power of the sea, the mysticism of the seamen at work, how we look to the tides which are affected by the moon and how there are wonderful seasons of the sea. The Mariner represents every man of the sea, full of mystery and mythology - a whole voyage of discovery with a story that speaks through his beard.
Speaking of this ink-drawn sailor and all the creatures going to be on display, the artist said he wants people to take away from his work the influence of the sea and what people can do to preserve these ancient waters; to think about keeping the beaches clear of rubbish and recycle plastic as much as we can. Simon uses recycled packaging as containers for painting. Wherever he can, he uses recycled items in his work and he reminds himself that this is something important both now and for generations to come.
Having worked as an apprentice in a printers during his early years before becoming an artist means all the skills that Simon has learnt have come in handy for creating specialised hand-finished prints of his work, so look out for 4 prints that are all slightly different due to the process of creating them and all for sale during the exhibition.
Being no stranger to Albert Road or a gallery on this stretch, Simon helped to create Wall Space which was situated where Wines By The Sea is now and was a gallery space that was ahead of its time. Holding a studio there, Simon helped set up the Love Albert Road festival along with his friend Matt Sills in what he describes as the vibrant neck of Southsea and watched the crowds adore this space which was unfortunately shut down to never appear again due to its high level of crowds and attendance! What a shame. So it will be a pleasure to welcome the artist back to his old stomping ground and bring a few friends along to celebrate his work.
Catch the exhibition by coming along to the preview on Thursday the 13th April 7pm until 9pm
or FRI 14th and SAT 15th April 11am until 4pm.
By Lou O'Brien