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Broken tree in a circus

by Julian Swift

A life working in advertising and design left me wondering if consumers really wanted, or needed, half the desirable things we dangled in front of them. The latest 'must have' object, be it car or kitchen, would be obsolete, quite quickly. Children's toys and bikes abandoned after Christmas are no different to that sparkling new kitchen ripped out by new owners and thrown in a skip. New cars soon become old cars.
Questions like these, combined with seeing two scarecrows arguing about the 'offside rule' in the middle of a cabbage field, brought me to consider a whole sub culture of straw people utilising those things we throw away...the teapot that was grandmother's pride and joy, the cross country bike that once cost a fortune becoming a treasured possession of a straw man or woman. This became the starting point of the eighteen straw series paintings you see today.
Conveniently this vision of pastoral recycling coincided with early retirement when I was able to return to my first love of painting and drawing. Landscapes, still life subjects, pet portraits and commissions soon followed in the wake of the straw paintings. A degree in fine art in my early twenties came back with a vengeance in my fifties.