I was blown away by this stunning new drawing by Andrew Tift the other day, whilst browsing on his website. It’s the best thing I’ve seen in ages; I find it very powerful and moving. On his website, www.andrewtift.co.uk. Andrew explains:
‘I met Ken at the foundry where he worked in Cradley Heath (about 18 years ago), Glynwed Foundry I remember it was called, long since demolished. Ken used to tap the furnaces and catch the molten steel in metal shanks. I never felt that I really captured him properly back in 1991 so I asked him if he would mind sitting for me agian, which he did just before Christmas.
He is a deeply religious man and has had a series of profound religious experiences so I wanted to bring this out in the drawing of him where I have used the ceramic crucifix which is on his wall in the front room. I wanted to make a drawing which was connected to Rennaisance art and religious imagery, especially with the atmospheric lighting used by Caravaggio so I wanted to create quite strong shadows and contrasts. Ken gesticulates with his hands while he is talking and this is something else I wanted to work on, almost in thoughtful conversation. He’s got such fantastic, big hands which were formed in the foundries of the Black Country and were an integral part of the portrait. The title comes from the candle holders on the ceramic crucifix which I felt was very the way Ken has lived his life.’
Here are some images of the different stages of the drawing’s creation. For me it is interesting seeing these. Despite showing each step, they actually reveal very little of the magic of how the drawing was made. Andrew describes his work as photo-realist, but in the best of his images they seem to really transcend their photographic source material, thanks to both his great technical skill and the sensitivity and thoughtfulness behind his compositions.