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WOLVES, WONDERMENT & WANDERLUST
STORYTELLER COLLECTION 2022
Read Mark Davies thoughts and behind the scenes inspiration for ‘We Are The Dreamer Of Dreams’ below:Read moreRead less
Welcome inside my mind, strange isn’t it! Many of you won’t know that this is the third piece that I have done on this classic story and film. The first two pieces were created as commissioned works back in 2015 when I first created my ‘Storyteller’ body of work. ‘Charlie’ and ‘Sink or Swim’ were obscure, narrative driven and dark, darker that one of Wonka’s bars of chocolate lodged in Augustus’ deep crevasses and folds! Really?! Sorry, like I said, welcome inside my mind!
‘Wolves, Wonderment and Wanderlust’ is a truly balanced boutique ‘Storyteller’ collection, it is dark, light, and downright bizarre, guess which one this falls under. The brilliant story writing (not by me!) lends itself to falling into all three but I have wanted to create a quirky and bizarre piece on this classic for an age so now was the perfect opportunity! As with my ‘Wind in the Willows’ piece, there is a vast number of opportunities to create a whole range of pieces on this masterpiece, but I must save some room for later! (You get it right?!)
As a kid, I remember the Roald Dahl books well and I will without doubt do a collection purely on his genius storytelling. Without a doubt though, the film that starred the amazing Gene Wilder is what stirs up my fondest memories, it just has everything! You know how I love to show the proximity of darkness and light and how they are interwoven, and the film does that and more. I just love it. The settings within the factory are iconic as well as the much more recent version that starred the brilliant Johnny Depp. It was crucial that my version didn’t end up being influenced by either of those, that would have been lazy and too easy. So, what you see is a glimpse inside my mind, my imagination. I hope you like it.
‘We are the Dreamers of Dreams’ takes the ‘Wonderment’ spot from this collection. The aim was to create that open mouthed reaction if you were to walk into the cavernous opening within the factory. Just don’t keep your mouth open too long, way too many parrots and toucans up there! There’s a lot to take in eh! The intensity of the backdrop is nuts, and that’s before you even notice the paddle steamer! There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction that’s going! Well, it’s heading into a tunnel but what lays in wait? That’s where you come in, I’ll pass the wheel to you.
The serene chocolate river is a contrast to the powerful waterfall that cascades downwards. That detail was introduced from my love of challenging myself technically. ‘Hey You Guuuys’ (Goonies) was a much earlier piece that featured magical waterfalls within a cave and I was waiting for a new opportunity, so here we are. This piece is a classic example of how I set off on a journey creating the scene but without being too concise and pre-planned. I wanted it to evolve, to go off on random deviations as my imagination opens up. I guess that is what makes artists different to another, it’s how your mind works that makes the piece authentic and true.
I wanted to inject an industrial quality but with a cute and colourful approach so that is why the pipes that transport god knows what are shaped as plastic bendy drinking straws. The ‘steam punk’ inspired paddle steamer is like no other. I didn’t want to use something like the films as like I said before, too easy, and if you have read my ‘Wanderlust’ narrative you’ll know why! The control rooms that are set within the rock walls are inspired by Gaudi’s architecture – drawing from a past art trip to Barcelona in my college days. Memories stick don’t they, it’s great to be able to bring this into my work in such a different way than I maybe planned back then.
Like I mentioned before, I love the dark element to the films, how it flips from light to dark without warning. I love the morals that are conveyed in the storytelling and especially the greed element. Since 2016, I have used the line ‘Greed Breeds Monsters’ in my work and it sits perfectly here. Greed really does breed Wonkas! If you hold that thought and seek out an element within the scene it can help to position what you are seeing. My lips are sealed shut, as if holding a handful of everlasting gobstoppers in my, well, gob!
So why the flamingo? Why not! My 2021 ‘Open Door’ piece was an earlier example of me opening my imagination and showing my random way of thinking. Is it the same one? Maybe, why not? They run for miles yet look like they skip leg day. Joking aside, I really do hope that I have done this justice, I know I am proud of it but when you are referencing such brilliance in storytelling there is quite some pressure there. I share an un-wanted affiliation with the battles that Gene Wilder faced, and I would love to think that my work would capture his sparkle and raise a smile if he could see. Rest in peace Gene. X
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams, life is way too fucking short, it really is. We really don’t know what the future holds so embrace now, think bigger, dream bigger, be brighter, act with integrity and be authentic. Be a bit more Wonka!
– Mark Davies
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