As you know, 2020 was quite a traumatic year for all of us. The way it affected my son Duncan, and his dear partner, Jasmine, was that it robbed these two fine performers of the joy of theatre performance. Of course there are many, many unoccupied theatres and frustrated Musical and other theatre performers all over the world. I don’t know why (how does inspiration work, anyway?) but at the time, I started to think about Erte and his elegant, fantastical illustrations for Vogue. I searched Google for examples and found many slender goddess-like women in filmy and bejewelled flapper gowns. Not many men. On researching Erte men, I found he had also illustrated for the theatre.
I hadn’t (still haven’t) seen either of them for months, so relied on photographs, my imagination, Erte’s ideas and a rather strange photo session where I posed for myself, holding a paintbrush, so I could see how Jasmine’s hand might hold up a fan. I enjoyed these session so much, inventing chunky gold jewellery and a blue gown for Jasmine, dressing Duncan in Erte’s green velvet smoking jacket and polishing up his curls to an auburn shine.
I used mostly Golden acrylics for the portraits, adding some acrylic gouache for correction and adding highlights. I indulged myself with stencilled patterns for the backgrounds. I hope it will not be too long before we see them on stage once more in real life because their talent transports the audience.