Graham Clarke is an artist local to where I live in Kent. His website notes:
“ Graham Clarke, artist, author, illustrator and humorist, is one of Britain’s most popular and best-selling printmakers. He has created some five hundred images of English rural life and history, of the Bible and of the Englishman’s view of Europe. Born in 1941, Clarke’s upbringing in the austerity of war-time and post-war Britain, made him reliant on his own imaginative resources. Responding to the comedy of everyday life, he brings his own unique brand of humour to his interpretation of past and present history through the eyes of the common man.” (Clarke, 2018).
Using primarily etching or watercolour as a medium Clarke plays on the English sense of humour poking fun at Englishness and also at near neighbours. The style is not quite cartoon but the execution of his style results in many of his subjects being rendered as such. The style is reminiscent of Quentin Blake and both are contemporaries with Blake being the older by just a few years. Where Blake positions his characters in a usually uncluttered setting, Clarke fills the page with detail to support the characters and their characterisations.
There settings maybe the London in 2012 where the Olympics is played out with people from across the globe filling his scene. There iis also room in these crowded scenes for small acts of everyday life to be glimpsed uipon close examination such as a lady change clothes at an upper floor or a dog cocking its leg to a sometimes unaware character already absorbed in their own undertakings.
Graham Clarke often has Open Studios and I take opportunities to return time and again to inspect his quirky work. He is open and available to any who may wish to discuss his art with him.
List of Illustrations
Fig. 1. Clarke, G. (2002). All the World in London . [online]. Available at: https://www.grahamclarke.co.uk/images/P/all-the-world-in-londontest-01.jpg [1 Jun’18]
Fig. 2. Clarke, G. (2002). Brenzett St Eanswiths. [online]. Available at: https://www.grahamclarke.co.uk/images/P/BrenzettStEanswiths_300.jpg [1 Jun’18]
Fig. 3. Clarke, G. (2015). Copper Kettle. [online]. Available at: https://www.grahamclarke.co.uk/images/P/Copper%20Kettle%20Web002.jpg [1 Jun’18]
Fig. 4. Clarke, G. (2003). Crabritanian Embassy. [online]. Available at: https://www.grahamclarke.co.uk/images/P/Crabritanian600.web.jpg [1 Jun’18]
Clarke, G. (2018). Etchings | Watercolours | Block Prints | Books | Graham Clarke. [online] Grahamclarke.co.uk. Available at: https://www.grahamclarke.co.uk/home.php [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].