Me, writing letters to, and drawing pictures of, a crocodile. Sharing them with you.
A book. The complete collection of 24 letters written to ‘Crocodile’ and 24 stone lithographs, drawn and printed by the artist. The letters and the original prints have been scanned and edited together as a book, keeping their original size. It is published in 100 examples, printed in risography by Fidèle Editions, Paris.
The crocodile lives in the Menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, which I visited on a very regular basis for 6 months, engaging in this correspondence, and then a further 6 months of using my drawings made in situ to make the series of lithographs at my studio, ‘Crocolitho’, based at the time in the site of Les Grands Voisins, Paris.
Good question. On moving to Paris with not much French, I felt a little lost in this new language, and found my level of conversation had been drastically reduced. Not only this, but my songwriting seemed to be suffering from a lack of everyday use of the English language. Determined to establish a routine to write more regularly and play with my mother tongue, I found that the crocodile enclosure was not only a beautiful and warm place to frequent, it being grey winter, but the presence of this mysterious beast greatly intrigued me. Directing my writing towards the crocodile in letter form, I was soon sucked into the hypnotic silence of the reptile, the daily minutiae of the setting otherwise overlooked on a passing visit, and the fact that yes, the crocodile did recognise me and speak back, in her way.
Meanwhile, I was setting up an art studio with my partner Alice Gauthier, and had acquired an old lithography press, a technique I specialised in at the Royal College of Art, London. Wanting to acquaint myself with the new machine and challenge my techniques, I decided to make an accompanying series of prints made with only one layer, printed in black, based on my drawings and the subject of my letters, encompassing the variety of my styles and ways of making an image on the stone.
9 o’clock in the morning, for 40 minutes, several times a week, from January through to June, 2016. Then the lithographs were made over the second half of the year and the final concluding letter was written in March 2017.
After making a hand-bound maquette of the words and images, to complete the project to an extent, I put the crocodile to bed, and turned my attention to other projects. Now, two years later, the time has come to wake her up and introduce her to the public.
I have decided to publish the book myself, as a risograph printed limited edition of 100 copies.
The books are 40€ each.
The original lithographs are also available :The smaller, single page size (28 x 21 cm) are 100€, medium double page size (28 x 38 cm) are 150€, and the quadruple size skeletons (28 x 72 cm) for 200€. They are each an edition of 6 prints.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-order the book for 40€ (plus shipping) or buy a lithograph.