Artist in the House

22nd Jan 2015

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to finalise with a client which background to use for a forthcoming shoot, the title of which we loosely dubbed "Best of British" between us we came up with a few different ideas, the usual stuff like a plain Colorama background which would give us the flexibility to do a "cut out" of the subject later if we decided we needed to, right through to the downright elaborate and build a complete set to photograph the three athletes, Ruth Marie Dales, Maria Scotland and Mel Haywood (www.bikiniqueens.co.uk) against.

In the end we came up with an idea of draping a giant Union Jack over the studio wall to not only give colour but also some texture to the wall, sounds simple doesn't it, but where do you get a 10ft x 15ft Union Jack from and how much is it going to cost? After a few phone calls it became quite apparent that it wasn't going to be easy and it was going to be very expensive - time for a re-think and the clock was ticking!

Enter stage left Pawski, one of The Steel Cities (Sheffield, UK) top Graffiti artists. I'd met him in 2014 while I was photographing a book on Graffiti. He was one of the founder members of crew known as "H2i" Here 2 Impress. A great painter of some 20 plus years and someone who always, at least in my experience is very genorous with his time and keen to collaborate on other peoples projects. I told him our idea, he liked the idea and agreed to paint the piece and be filmed doing it - double whammy!

Our idea was to paint the piece over 2 half days, Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, that way he would be finishing off when the Ruth Maria and Mel arrived, so they would not only meet the artist, but also get a chance to see him at work and really appreciate the amount of work that goes into something like this.

So, over the next two days Pawski painted and I filmed. We drank tea and swapped stories, it was a pretty relaxed and enjoyable affair. When the girls arrived they all got to meet and chat about the piece which was lovely, watching the world of Fitness professionals collide with Graffiti. 

After the shoot when everyone had left I asked Pawski if I could take his Portait while the lighting was still in place, he smiled a wry smile, mumbled something along the lines of "why would anyone want to see a picture of me" but took his position in front of his Union Jack for a photo - A great piece, a great artist and what I hope was at least a good Portrait.