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About the Artwork
“The main character in the TV series Peaky Blinders is called Thomas Shelby and is played by the actor Cillian Murphy. I decided to do a portrait drawing of him, not only a a challenge to myself, but also to withdraw slightly from the faceless characters that I’m generally known for.
Peaky Blinders appeared on our TV screens when I was working on my Youth and Young Manhood collection of paintings and drawings. These works hark back to an era when young men emulated their silver screen idols, dressing with style and swagger in sharp tweeds and wool coats. The inspiration for this collection came from an old case of photographs that revealed my own grandfather as a young man in the 1920s and 30s – the period recreated in Peaky Blinders.
In most of the scenes that I intend to produce in this collection, I will base the imagery on the wonderful atmospheric backdrops that the television series creates. I’ve decided to make the faces ambiguous so that they could still be anyone’s grandfather or father and at the same time I want to create an air of mystery surrounding the subject. This opens up a whole new narrative in the painting.”