The months leading up to December 2016 were some of the toughest I’ve experienced on a personal level, paralleling the emotions I had experienced when my father passed away in 1984 – my metaphorical car had careered off the cliff and I found myself free-falling into the abyss. As my plummet slowed, I came to a point of zero gravity, suspended like a rain drop in mid flow, there, in the blackened heart, I came face to face with the very soul of every human nightmare. A black mountain of a being, we made eye contact, it eye-balled me, projected my worst fears upon me, ripped my heart out in front of me, crushed me, replayed every horror that I could imagine, attempting to beat me into submission, to lower my eyes, to admit old-fashioned, devastating defeat… but I would not. I stared back at that black mountain being, there in the darkest abyss, not a single thread to cling to, I stared into it’s black heart and black pupils, and let IT know that it would have to destroy me before I would ever bow my eyes in fear, or allow it’s dominion over me… “destroy me ASSHOLE, make my fucking day” came my response. And in that heart-stopping, dark, dark moment, I discovered my freedom.
This is where I was at when I came to watch the documentary NOMA featuring Rene Redzepi, the pioneer chef of Nordic cuisine. Redzepi propelled NOMA into the worlds no.1 restaurant, not once, but four times. I have a theory that the creative process in culinary art is closely aligned to that of abstract fine art, and so I’m fascinated to hear the world’s top creative culinary minds, sadly in lieu of similar docu-films with our world’s living artists – that the popularity of culinary art transcends that of fine art in the 21st century is a sign of the times – no less meaningful, simply different, and yet the same. So I take my inspiration where I find it, and my fellow Balkan, the Macedonian Redzepi, is an extraordinary inspiration to me:
“One day a Norwegian fisherman, he told me about the perfect storm… a perfect storm is a storm in which the sky and the sea seems to flow together, and Ragnarok, or the end of the world is around the corner… everything is wrong, you’re about to give up, but you still continue even though that your strength is almost exhausted. The one thing that keeps you going is the feeling that everything will calm down at one point, your instincts telling you ‘calm down’, everything will be ok… that there is control in spite of everything.” Rene Redzepi | NOMA | A Perfect Storm
And so, presenting PERFECT STORM: LYRICAL – the first part in a series of collaborative charcoal drawings, created with fine artist, graphic designer and chef Martin Davies, shortly after returning from the Holy Isle early January 2017, post-Storm Barbara. The collaborative project was to be intensive, wild, instinctive, intuitive, dark, violent, cathartic –
just like a storm…

↑ click on image to view full screen

→ To come, PART II: more drawings, about Martin Davies MA, the collaborative process, and living on the Holy Isle…




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