There are no words that may be coralled into anything like an adequate apology for my recent and unprecedentedly protracted leave of absence, so – fuelled by one obscenely large (and entirely undeserved, I’m sure several of you are thinking…) slab of Battenberg cake – I intend to just barrel on into the tumbleweed-bewstrewn wilderness and offer you this, by way of a timid ‘hello…? Is anyone still there…?’:
As an entry with aspirations to qualify under the latest Illustration Friday (IF) topic, sky, I’d rate its chances as decidedly tenuous, but as it materialised in response to a concatenation of different – yet, oddly, related (well, by the most diaphanous of threads in some cases…) – events, I hope you’ll indulge me:
The epic leap of the intrepid Felix Baumgartner towards Earth from the outer limits of the earth’s atmosphere (I hope I have that right – let’s say 24 miles [39km) for the sake of argument…) on Sunday 14 October was brilliantly honoured by the marvellous Mark Chambers for his Twitter followers in ‘Feline Baumgartner‘ (post dated Mon 15 Oct) and, not being so foolhardy as to believe I could compete with that, I thought I’d follow the trajectory (so to speak) that those bonkers images from the capsule (i.e. of Baumgartner hurtling towards the Earth’s surface, against a backdrop of starry universe) called to mind of my own somewhat lesser *ahem* experiences of our planet’s gravitational pull: a bungee jump in Queenstown, New Zealand, circa 2001. Watching the footage of the Austrian’s jump, I was compelled to ponder – as I’m sure a few other observers might’ve been – how exactly he had managed to manoeuvre his brain into a position from which it would permit him to step off that platform without, for want of a more poetic and original phrase, completely freaking out. My own inelegant fall (although to couch what actually occurred in such terms would still be to ascribe a degree of grace that was emphatically not in evidence that rash afternoon) only came after three, possibly four, abortive attempts to shuffle far enough along the bridge platform to allow me to bungee without first smacking my head on planking. The bungee guys (to call them anything else – ‘operators’?, ‘facilitators’? – seems faintly ridiculous…), after a minute or so of the standard coaxing, wheeled out the following as what felt like a final effort to encourage me to jump before abandoning the exercise altogether (or nudging me off the edge, anyway… It was 4.30pm and the last bungee ‘slot’ of the day: these guys were ready for a Foster’s/cocktail teapot/insert other stereotypical antipodean beverage here): “Treat it like a dive. It’s just like diving into the swimming pool.” Sorry, what now?
From there, then, came the olde worlde circus/vaudeville-esque high-diver (the type that were wont to dive from improbably high springboards into improbably small [and, I always feared, terrifyingly shallow] water butts), which managed to surface through the murky depths of my consciousness, I think, owing to a recent ‘trends’ project as part of a five-week internship I (rather jammy) managed to ping myself onto – after responding to a last-minute cancellation, publicised on Facebook – with the marvellous Bright Agency . (Should you be interested, you can read a little more about my experience there, along with that of my lovely [and, depressingly, considerably younger and hipper] fellow intern, Nicola Porter [check her out!], on the Bright blog, here.) Among some of the trends identified for fashion, homewares, greetings cards and gifts at the Top Drawer trade show (Olympia) – to which we accompanied the art licensing agent, Hannah Curtis, in the second week – was that of ‘Circus’. The others, ‘delineated’ in occasionally rather nebulous and abstruse terms by the industry expert (from trend forecasters, Trend Bible), offered fewer clues: Purist, Iridescent, Tribal and Botanical. Although collating images, surface pattern designs and mots justes in an attempt to distill the essence of each these themes into reference trendboards for artists contributing to Bright’s art licensing catalogue, and for their clients, was rather fun 🙂
And, finally, there is Skyfall (on general release today, I believe – to a predictably sultry Adele soundtrack…) . The character featured above is never going to make an even half-way convincing Bond (as I’m sure is more than evident from his red-striped, undoubtedly knitted swimming attire – no Speedos here!), so I’ll admit to just having hijacked the new probably-Blockbuster movie’s title for the purposes of this IF contribution, i.e. wiry circus performer falling through the sky (I said it was tenuous) in the execution of his headline act. *Phew*
(Incidentally, does anyone else think Red Bull may have wangled some free product placement advertising in the new Bond film in return for implanting ‘sky’ and ‘fall’ in the global consciousness in neat timing for the movie’s general release…?)