Thursday, 17 December 2009

Adventures in the Bush

The superlative Debi Withers asked me to illustrate the cover for her forthcoming book. She wrote her doctoral thesis about the music of Kate Bush, exploring and deconstructing the avant-garde artist's work in fascinating detail.

Doctoral theses, with the best will in the world, are not often the most readable of texts. With this in mind, Withers has re-written her opus with the music-loving general public in mind. The book is designed as a creative theoretical narrative that tells a story. She says:

"I want Bush’s music to come alive in an experimental fashion but retain a focus on how it exists at the interrelation of popular culture, theory, art, the avant-garde, history and philosophy. I also want to demonstrate how sexuality, gender, power, race, class and spirituality shape her work. My desire is to move away from conventional uses of theory that are often found within academic writing. I want an adventure."

I've read the first three chapters of the book and it's awesome - I'm proud to be associated with it and can't wait to see a hard copy.

Withers asked only that I took inspiration from her text for the cover. It became clear that Bush of the book is a flowing, twisting, natural creature, unboundaried, powerful, elegant. I visualised the words of the cover - strong, clean, clear - and saw ivy creeping out, around, everywhere; filling the spaces between things and connecting everything to everything else. I drew bugs and birds, flowers, mammals, strange symbols that came to mind. It was black on white at first draft; I showed it to Withers and she asked that I invert it and add some red and green. I did this and was amazed at the result - often a small suggestion from someone else - something you would never have thought of - can completely transform your work.

The book is due to be published in March 2010, and you will be able to buy your copy here.

No comments: