Machli – Queen of Tigers

'Machli' (Midwinter Fawn Figurine) - black Biro on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ (Midwinter Fawn Figurine) – black Biro on china by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Prototypes ‘Machil’,  one of seven figurines, ‘The Dreamers’, with original Biro drawings on china, forms part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

'Machli' black biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ black biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

A restful fawn dreams of being hunted by the great tigress Machli – black biro drawing inspired by layers of still images taken of the wildlife documentary ‘Natural World: Queen of Tigers’ BBC 2012/13, Mike Birkhead Associates with Colin Stafford-Johnson.  Machli, the most famous tiger in the world is the pride of Ranthambore National Park, India.  Her life has been documented from cub to old age in two beautiful and moving films by Mike Birkhead Associates.  This piece represents the natural cycle of life and death in the animal world.  It also represents how vital indigenous prey species are for wild tigers.  Tigers are threatened by wildlife crime but also by habitat loss.  With an estimated 3200 tigers left in the wild there are now more tigers in captivity.

'Machli' - black Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ – black Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

Further images will be released as this project continues.  

For further information about tigers, please visit the amazing Save Wild Tigers, a global initiative dedicated to saving tigers in the wild .

 

‘Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops’, and the beautiful Art of North East School Students

Endangered Species drawings by students of years 5 & 6

Endangered Species colour Biro drawings by students of Years 5 & 6

‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ workshops for an extraordinary school in the Northeast saw primary students of Years 5 & 6, produce the most outstanding drawings of endangered and threatened species!

"Snow Leopard" colour biro drawing, Year 6 student

“Snow Leopard” colour biro drawing, Year 6 student

The talent of children in the North East never ceases to be a source of great pride.  This exceptional school full of bright students and inspirational teachers worked so hard during the workshops, it was inspiring to witness the drawings each child made.  The students prior knowledge of endangered species and the environment was heartening.

Giant Panda by Year 5 Student

“Giant Panda” colour Biro drawing by Year 5 Student

Taken to distant lands including China, to learn about beautiful animals and why they are endangered and the positive things each of us can do to help save them, encouraged a plethora of intelligent questions and comments from all students:

“I enjoyed being able to relax and draw and I have learnt lots of new things!  My imagination has worked wildly and I would love to learn more”.

Golden Snub Nose Monkeys by Year 5 Student

“Golden Snub Nose Monkeys” colour Biro drawing by Year 5 Student

Learning to use colour Biro to make drawings is challenging, but provides a great source for practicing concentration skills.  Encouraging each child to express themselves and enjoy drawing and to celebrate that they possess a drawing style that is unique to them, results in the beauty that is the diversity of their collective work.

"African Elephant", colour Biro drawing, Year 6 Student

“African Elephant”, colour Biro drawing, Year 6 Student

25% of each workshop fee is donated to the wonderful Born Free Foundation.  It’s great to be able to tell students about the amazing work they do and the work of other inspirational organisations such as Save Wild Tigers and the Snow Leopard Trust who all work tirelessly to help save the incredible animals the children have made drawings of.

Tiger drawing by Year 6 Student

“Tiger” colour Biro drawing by Year 6 Student

And here are some of the badges made for each student of their own drawings, after each workshop  – a keepsake to remember the beautiful animals they have drawn.

Endangered Species badges with drawings by Year 5 Students

Endangered Species badges with drawings by Year 5 Students

What more can be said about the children’s artwork than the word of an American friend “Awesome!”  Thank you to all the students and teachers of such an amazing school for a simply wonderful experience.

For further information on workshops check out this post.

 

 

 

“Drawing for Endangered Species” School Workshop in aid of the Born Free Foundation

"Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops" Brochure cover by Jane Lee McCracken

“Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops” brochure cover by Jane Lee McCracken and Jack Lowe Studio

‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ school workshops share my great passion for drawing and animals.  25% of each workshop fee will be donated to the Born Free Foundation in aid of the vital work they do for wildlife.

'Chimpanzee', Jemma aged 8, East Lothian, black Biro drawing

‘Chimpanzee’, Jemma aged 8, East Lothian, black Biro drawing

Children possess a natural passion for drawing and interest in animals.  In creating an art and educational based workshop, I hope by enthusing children to express themselves through drawing, to create a domain where individual interest and awareness of threatened wildlife and habitats thrives, and continues into adulthood.  Schools give fundamental education to children about the environment and my workshops are designed to respond to individual school curriculums.  I believe teaching children about environmental issues just as I was fortunate enough to be enthused as a child, helps secure a broader understanding for preserving beautiful habitats and wildlife each generation has the privilege to inherit.

"Shh, it's a Tiger!", Siberian Tiger, 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', 2013, black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

“Shh, it’s a Tiger!”, Siberian Tiger, ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, 2013, black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

The workshops are inspired by my recent drawing series ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’.  Bringing a small pop-up exhibition of my Biro drawings to the classroom and encouraging students’ drawing skills, the workshops also explore positive ways children can help save endangered and threatened species through an interactive factual discussion. Students are then given the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of endangered species through an expressive drawing session using colour Biros.

Amazing colour Biro drawings by Year 6 students

Amazing colour Biro drawings by Year 6 students

Endangered Species badges for each student using an image of their drawing made during workshops are also included as a keepsake of the beautiful animals they have chosen to draw.

Endangered Species badges with drawings by Year 5 Students

Endangered Species badges with drawings by Year 5 Students

For bookings and enquiries or to receive a brochure with further information about workshops please contact jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk

Year 5, St Peter's Roman Catholic School, Scarborough with their artwork produced during 'Drawing for Endangered Species' workshop

Year 5, St Peter’s Roman Catholic School, Scarborough with their artwork produced during ‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ workshop

And an enormous thank you to the Born Free Foundation for supporting this project.  For further information about the Born Free Foundation and the inspirational work they do please visit their website at  www.bornfree.org.uk

'Siberian Tiger', 'Ice Fox' and 'Tiger', limited edition archival pigment prints

‘Siberian Tiger’, ‘Ice Fox’ and ‘Tiger’, limited edition archival pigment prints

In conjunction with this project I will be donating ALL profits made from the sales of the three limited edition archival pigment prints above, beautifully crafted to order by Jack Lowe Studio, to the Born Free Foundation.  Prints are priced at £40 each plus postage – for further details please visit my shop.

 

‘Russian Doll’ – Remembering Female Victims of War

'The Russian Doll', red, black, blue and green Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Russian Doll’, red, black, blue and green Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Adopting the iconic image of the Russian doll, this drawing was made as a memorial to women and young girls  who were/are the victims of violence during war.  A Russian Doll painted with the tranquil scene of Ivan Shishkin’s ‘Morning in a Pine Forest’, 1889, one of Russia’s most popular paintings, is layered with the image of Russian soldiers fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII.  Now a well documented fact, graphically conveyed in such writings as Anthony Beevor’s ‘Berlin: The Downfall 1945′ 2002, this piece represents the genocidal rape perpetrated by the Red Army as it surged towards Berlin.  The novelist Vasily Grossman, a front line war correspondent with the Red Army, dismayed at the mass rape committed by so many Russian soldiers on not only German women but liberated Polish and Russian women wrote,

“Horror in the eyes of women and girls” (‘A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945′).

The consequences of such violations often resulted/result in suicide, unwanted pregnancies and lifelong psychological and physical scars. By layering a self-portrait as part of the Russian Doll’s face, thus bridging awareness between statics and reality, this representation suggests that during war violence is indiscriminate and targets females of all ages and backgrounds.  Often a strategic weapon of war that has been used in conflicts since records began, it is still common today, recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo and with many incidents of rape being reported in the current conflict in Iraq.   At the very edge of the drawing appear the legs of a young girl, a reminder of the very young victims of war rape.

For further images from this series please visit my website.

‘The Sideboard II’ – Remembering Children Affected by War

'The Sideboard II', 2009, red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCrackenThis triptych portrays memories of a small child at play in a sideboard, within the safety of ‘home’, before the onset of war. It was inspired by the girl in the red coat from the film ‘Schindler’s List’, 1993, Steven Spielberg, as she wanders through the Kraków Ghetto while it is being ‘cleared’’. The Artist uses her niece to model for this piece to highlight the indiscriminate nature of war and how it can affect ‘anyone’ and to provoke understanding of loss by seeing victims as individuals and not statistics.

‘The Sideboard II’,  red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

This triptych of Biro drawings portrays memories of a small child at play with a sideboard, within the safety of ‘home’, before the onset of war – perhaps a cottage in a small village in Eastern Europe.

It was inspired by the ‘girl in the red coat’ from the film ‘Schindler’s List’, 1993, Steven Spielberg, as she wanders through the Kraków Ghetto while it is being ‘cleared’ by German soldiers in 1943.

'The Sideboard I, II & III', black and red Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Sideboard I, II & III’, black and red Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

With my sister’s permission I used photos I had taken of my niece at play in the family kitchen as reference for the drawings.   These pieces highlight the indiscriminate nature of war and how it can affect ‘anyone’ and attempt to convey understanding of loss by seeing victims as individuals and not statistics.

For further images from this series please visit my website.

New Work – Meet ‘Girl and Dog’

'Dog', Royal Ashmore Puppy Figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’, Royal Ashmore Boxer Dog Puppy Figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Prototypes ‘Girl and Dog’,  two of seven figurines, ‘The Dreamers’, with original Biro drawings on china forms part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

'Dog', detail of red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’, detail of red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’ – A playful puppy looks towards its owner as it dreams and fears the dog meat trade – red Biro drawings of dog skulls form a pattern reminiscent of Chinese folk art or fabric patterns.  In the centre of the skull pattern are the eyes of a rescued caged dog being pedalled in the Chinese dog meat trade.   Originally domesticated from wolves, it is thought that dogs have been domesticated longest in East Asia.

'Dog', Royal Ashmore Boxer Dog Puppy figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Dog’, Royal Ashmore Boxer Dog Puppy figurine with original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Dogs have been eaten in China and other countries across the world for thousands of years.  Dog meat is still consumed in China, Vietnam, Korea and Switzerland.  These pieces question if there is a difference between eating dogs as opposed to other species consumption?  They also highlight the inhumane conditions dogs are kept in before slaughter and methods of slaughter.   A change in attitudes in dog consuming countries  has seen the rise of Animal Welfare groups, particularly in China, campaigning against the consumption of dogs as they are increasingly viewed as pets, guide-dogs and rescue dogs.  It is estimated that 25 million dogs are slaughtered each year for human consumption across the world.

'Girl', unmarked porcelain figurine made in Taiwan with original black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’, unmarked porcelain figurine made in Taiwan with original black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’ –  a girl dreams of her pet dog being snatched by dog peddlers.  She sees ‘mug shots’ of missing dogs on posters and worries that her dog will suffer the same fate.  Eyes of caged dogs sold for slaughter haunt her dreams – black Biro drawings of caged dogs sold for the dog meat trade in China, some of which were rescued by Chinese Animal Welfare groups.  The eyes of the dogs form a pattern on the girl’s clothing.

'Girl' base of figurine with original black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’ base of figurine with original black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

The base of the figurine is utilised as bars of a cage where dogs peer through the cage bars; or window panes where ‘mug shots’ of missing dog posters are pasted.  Taiwan banned the sale of dog meat in 2001 and whilst the practice still continues illegally, the leaving of the ‘Made in Taiwan’ label notes the ban that was introduced by the Taiwanese government.  Laid on its side, the folds of the figurine’s clothing resemble a landscape of Chinese mountains where the sets of haunting dogs’ eyes climb the food chain to their wolf origins (sets of wolf eyes are drawn at the top of the gown and in the centre).  The mountains also represent ‘tradition’ being ‘as old as the hills’ and if challenged the enormity of breaking tradition.  For people of many societies throughout the world the consumption of dog meat is banned, for many other dog meat consuming nations it is part of tradition.  However I believe the question must be asked – consuming an animal whom humans use to enhance our lives emotionally, are used to aid disabled people and ultimately used to fight aside us on the front line of life and death situations whilst not having the capacity to understand what is being asked of them – is this a fitting reciprocation for the duties they undertake willingly for us?

'Girl' detail with black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Girl’ detail with black Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

Further images will be released as this project continues.  

For anyone interested in more information about the dog meat trade please visit Humane Society International

 

 

 

‘BUTTERFLY LOVER’ Luxury Large Format Prints for SAVE WILD TIGERS

 

'Butterfly Lover', Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Butterfly Lover’, Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken, 2014

20 LUXURY LARGE FORMAT Archival Pigment Prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm of ‘Butterfly Lover’ are now AVAILABLE in aid of  SAVE WILD TIGERS.

Beautifully crafted to order by one of the finest master printmakers in the UK, Jack Lowe, these 50cm x 50cm limited edition, signed and numbered prints are reproduced from my original black and neon orange Biro drawing.

With less than 3500 tigers left in the wild, ALL profits of each print sale will be donated to SAVE WILD TIGERS helping to raise funds for their vital work, saving tigers in the wild.

Prints retail at £225 including P&P.

For enquiries & print orders please visit my online SHOP.

_______________________

 

‘Butterfly Lover’ is part of my triptych ‘THE LEGEND OF THE LAST SOUTH CHINA TIGER’ which was written and drawn especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS ‘Thrive’ Exhibition, curated by Lauren Baker, 14th – 18th May 2014, Sanderson Hotel, London and Tiger Dinner Auction at the Mango Tree 20th May, 2014.   For further information about SAVE WILD TIGERS please visit their website.

South China Tiger Legend for Save Wild Tigers

 

NEW WORK Coming Soon – Meet ‘Chernobyl Cat’

'Chernobyl Cat', biro on china figurine, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Chernobyl Cat’, Biro on china figurine, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Made late last year prototype ‘Chernobyl Cat’,  one of seven figurines, ‘The Dreamers’, original Biro drawings on china forms part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

A feral cat at play in an abandoned house within the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl reactor dreams of birth mutations due to radiation.  The black biro drawing is made of layers from still images of ‘Chernobyl: Life in the Dead Zone’, Discovery Channel, 2007.  Nature in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl seems to be thriving with human interference now removed but scientist are polarised as to the fate of animals living in this area and their long-term survival from the catastrophic levels of radiation that still exist.  This is represented by a pattern of mutated cats and dolls as well as the cat’s natural predators, wolves and foxes – the conglomerated pattern suggests folk art patterns of Russia.

'Chernobyl Cat',Biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Chernobyl Cat’, Biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

'Chernobyl Cat', biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Chernobyl Cat’, Biro drawing on china, 2013 by Jane Lee McCracken

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

Further images will be released as this project continues.  

“DRAWING for Endangered Species” School Workshops in aid of the BORN FREE FOUNDATION

"Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops" Brochure cover by Jane Lee McCracken

“Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops” brochure cover by Jane Lee McCracken and Jack Lowe Studio

This week sees the launch of an inspirational school workshop project ‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ which shares my great passion for drawing and animals.  25% of each workshop fee will be donated to the Born Free Foundation in aid of the vital work they do for wildlife.

'Chimpanzee', Jemma aged 8, East Lothian, black Biro drawing

‘Chimpanzee’, Jemma aged 8, East Lothian, black Biro drawing

Children possess a natural passion for drawing and interest in animals.  In creating an art and educational based workshop, I hope by enthusing children to express themselves through drawing, to create a domain where individual interest and awareness of threatened wildlife and habitats thrives, and continues into adulthood.  Schools give fundamental education to children about the environment and my workshops are designed to respond to individual school curriculums.  I believe teaching children about environmental issues just as I was fortunate enough to be enthused as a child, helps secure a broader understanding for preserving beautiful habitats and wildlife each generation has the privilege to inherit.

'Brown Bears', In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Orphans’, Brown Bears, In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

The workshops are inspired by my recent drawing series ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’.  Bringing a small pop-up exhibition of my Biro drawings to the classroom and encouraging students’ drawing skills, the workshops also explore positive ways children can help save endangered and threatened species through an interactive science based discussion. Students are then given the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of endangered species through an expressive drawing session using colour Biros.

Year 5, St Peter's Roman Catholic School, Scarborough with their artwork produced during 'Drawing for Endangered Species' workshop

Year 5, St Peter’s Roman Catholic School, Scarborough with their artwork produced during ‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ workshop

Endangered Species badges for each student using an image of their drawing made during workshops are also included.

Endangered Species badges with artwork by Year 5, St Peter's Roman Catholic School, Scarborough

Endangered Species badges with artwork by Year 5, St Peter’s Roman Catholic School, Scarborough

For bookings and enquiries or to receive a brochure with further information about workshops please contact jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk

A huge thank you to brilliant art teacher Mrs Haddington of St Peter’s Roman Catholic School, Scarborough for all her help with this project and to Head Teacher Mrs Louise Finlay, her staff and the students of Year 5 for so generously welcoming a pilot workshop to their school and for all the beautiful artwork they produced.  Also to Jack Lowe Studio for all the hard work and help completing the brochure design.

And an enormous thank you to the Born Free Foundation for supporting this project.  For further information about the Born Free Foundation and the inspirational work they do please visit their website at  www.bornfree.org.uk

'Siberian Tiger', 'Ice Fox' and 'Tiger', limited edition archival pigment prints

‘Siberian Tiger’, ‘Ice Fox’ and ‘Tiger’, limited edition archival pigment prints

In conjunction with this project I will be donating ALL profits made from the sales of the three limited edition archival pigment prints above, beautifully crafted to order by Jack Lowe Studio, to the Born Free Foundation.  Prints are priced at £40 each plus postage – for further details please visit my shop.

 

NEW WORK COMING SOON – Meet ‘Old Foe’ and ‘Odyssey’

'Old Foe' The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Old Foe’ The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Made late last year prototypes ‘Old Foe’ and ‘Odyssey’, two of seven figurines of original Biro drawings on china form part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

'Odyssey', The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Odyssey’, The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

'Old Foe', The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Old Foe’, The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Old Foe’ (Unmarked Japanese Ceramic mouse figurine) – Inspired by of layers of still images from the Chinese animation ‘Black Cat Detective’, Shanghai Animation Film Studio, 1984 – 2006 and images of the my late mouse Tinkerbell! The origins of this piece represent the age-old feud between cats and mice ultimately leading to the natural but often cruel, death play of the cat with the mouse. ‘Black Cat Detective’ is noted for being particularly violent above other cat and mouse animations such as ‘Tom and Jerry’.  The animated cat’s face is replaced by a black panther’s face, representing the ‘Panthera’ species’ of cats, many of which are under threat of extinction from traditional Chinese medicine.  The flying mice suggest traditional animation representations of death as winged mice fly to heaven.

'Odyssey', The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Odyssey’, The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Odyssey’ (Lomonosov Foal) – A lying foal ‘Odyssey’ dreams of his odyssey through life – black Biro drawing made of layers of images inspired from ‘The Red and the White’, Miklós Jancsó, 1967, ‘White Mane’, Albert Lamorisse, 1953 and ‘Les sang des bêtes’, Georges Franju, 1949.  Hope for a bright future is portrayed in the innocent form of the young foal’s figurine as Odyssey faces his journey through life, tracing his playful youth as a colt ridden bareback by a young boy to cavalry horse of the revolutionary Red Army, to its journeys end at an abattoir.  This piece depicts the fate of many war-horses, often cruelly treated and asks whether this is a fitting demise for an animal who has given its life to war service for humans, or if it’s destiny into the meat trade alongside other livestock is justified?

Further images will be released as this project continues.