Every week I get transported back to 1977. It happens briefly but powerfully, via email, with the arrival of Sam’s latest artwork.
Explanation: Since Lockdown, all of Submit to Love’s artists have been working at home, meeting maybe once a week at the Thursday Open Studio sessions on Zoom. In this time warp, Sam Jevon (aka, the Queen of Wonky), one of our best-known artists famous for her black-and-white ink drawings, has embraced colour into her work in a way that’s made everyone’s jaw hit the floor.
The reason this throws me back to 1977? Back then I was overdosing on a piece of vinyl called ‘In Color And In Black and White’, by the US rock band Cheap Trick.
On the front of the album’s sleeve was a colour photo of the band’s two rock ‘n’ roll stereotypes Robin Zander and Tom Petersson, astride hotrod motorbikes. On the back was a black-and-white image of the band’s two oddballs, Bun E Carlos and Rick Nielsen, astride children’s pushbikes.
So every time one of Sam’s pictures drops into my inbox, I am sent back to another time and another place, where Colour and Black and White played different roles.
And until Lockdown, that’s how it had been for Sam. I remember one day last year when I persuaded her to colour the fingernails of a hand she was drawing. She did it almost as a joke. Then, when she joined the stitchwork project Submit to Love was doing with the Autograph gallery in Shoreditch colour and texture were things to have a go at because they were “different”.
This was Sam as the playful explorer. She came at it with all her usual attention to detail and deep concentration. But like the rare spice that seems to make all other ingredients work better, she got a real taste for colour.
In one of our Open Studio sessions not long ago, we looked at the work of Vincent van Gogh. As our attention was being steered towards the richness of colour in some flowers, Sam spotted something else. She worked at her vision for a week then emailed me a photo of her ‘Van Gogh’.
Straight away I was time-warped back to 1977. Back then all I could see was either Colour or Black and White. I think I can see something else now.