“I would like to say that these backgrounds, run down, dark, and very quiet have occupied my dreams for years and without them I would not paint these pictures.
Even as I write this I have an image in my head of me walking down a street at night. There is no traffic and the street is cobbled. It has just stopped raining and my shoes make a metallic sound as I walk, The old brick houses either side are shuttered and I have a vision as I walk of rows and rows of sleeping bodies lying in their beds, unseen by anyone. Is that strange or unusual?”
This is from the interview we did with painter Simon Quadrat, which is one of my favorite things we’ve ever shared. I love his work, I love his answers to our questions, and I love this trail-end of an answer in particular. It seems to me that it sums up not just this issue of Tidings of Magpies, but all issues, and the very reason we create anything or share anything we create.
A dream of a dark street, a thought at first that the buildings are vacant, but they’re not, and though it’s late and the windows are shuttered, in one or two of them light filters around the edges. (It’s my imagination taking over now, because I’ve had dreams like this, though not this dream). Someone is inside working, or dreaming, or lying awake trying not to dream. It is strange and unusual, but also fundamentally beautifully human and universal. Everything that is fundamentally beautifully human is strange and unusual. Inexplicable.
Imagination is the dream of a house, familiar and yet entirely new. Behind every door is an unexpected room, or staircase, or garden, or folly. You’ve known this place your whole life, yet somehow there are entire wings and floors and corridors you’ve never seen before. You follow them wherever they lead, disrupting the memories of dreams of the spirits and ghosts who have lived there. We can try to visit the same room twice, we can try to draw a map of the house, we can try to pin down the shifting spirits, but we never will. So we listen to their beautiful bewildering stories and learn as much as we can, and try to remember enough to share the stories with others.