I recently attended a fundraiser where I won my first ever raffle prize! I never win anything, I enter, but I never win. This time I won big. I won my first piece of original art. The work I won is by the artist Sarah Pratt, it’s entitled “Mr and Mrs Skellington”. I absolutely love it, but I didn’t know the artist, so I decided to do some digging to find out more about her art.
Sarah Pratt in an interview talking about her fascination with birds:
“I like to imagine them in conversation with other strange creatures and puppets. I still find the idea that odd things happen when we’re not looking. I think there is an interesting tension created when placing living animals and inanimate objects in the same environment; they seem to rub off on one another, the animals becoming more inanimate, and the objects seeming to come alive.”
The more I read about this artist the more I liked. As a child I believed that the things in my room had lives of their own and would do all sorts of ridiculous things when I wasn’t there. The same goes for animals. I often find myself daydreaming about what they talk about, (because all animals talk, right, like in the movies). Do they argue? What about, what do they think of us?
In Pratt’s art you will find animals, strange creatures, dogs, houses, plants and trees. Her work depicts imaginary environments, chance meetings and interesting combinations of animals and objects. I love the sense of an imaginary place that she creates and explores in her art. It’s as if there is another realm of existence that exists where these animals and objects meet and play.
My favourite body of work by Sarah Pratt is Dog Days. It’s inspired and dedicated to her deceased dog, Laptop. Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I have a dog called Baxter. Baxter the Boxer is the be all and end all of my existence. So creating an entire body of work dedicated to your dog is not a strange concept to me. In fact it makes perfect sense. The works explore the feeling of pain, isolation and nostalgia that you feel when losing an animal. It also alludes to a strange, in-between place where the artist believes her dog now resides, on her own journey.
The work of art that I so graciously won, with raffle number 074635, is entitled Mr and Mrs Skellington. Mr Skellington is quite famous in everyone’s imagination. He’s been around for many a Halloween. Yet it was Tim Burton who made him one of the cool kids. In 1993 he played Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween, in the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’ve always thought this film is one of Tim Burton’s best, so how appropriate that I should win this piece of art.
In my artwork Mr Skellington is with Mrs Skellington, and Mrs Skellington is holding a fish. The work is a print, and hand finished with gouache. The pair seems quite happy for skeletons, perhaps due to the recent acquisition of their new fish? Mr Skellington seems to have taken up a career in piracy. He is missing his legs and replacing them are two striped pegs. Maybe they caught the fish on a sailing trip on his new pirate boat? Well, that is what my imagination tells me. I love the hand painted mint greens, turquoise blues and browns Pratt has used. In most of her work she uses ink, pen, gouache, collage and paper cutting techniques. This makes them delicate, and thoughtful pieces of the imagination. I love my work of art. I love imagining the scenario that brought about this image. How did this pair arrive in this ocean green, and blue striped land? Needless to say it will always have a special place in my imagination (and my home).
All images are courtesy of Salon91 in Cape Town where Sarah Pratt regularly exhibits.