‘Once Upon A Time’ isn’t based on one particular story. Rather, it is inspired by a generic reading of 'Grimm’s fairy tales'. It is about the discovery of fairy tales and of learning to read, and the sense of magic that is opened up when reading these tales for the first time.
When I discovered recently that a friend of ours was staying at the Bab Al Bahr Hotel in Abu Dhabi, I asked them to send me a photograph of the sculpture of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, that we created in 2013, and which is on permanent display in the hotel lobby. Here is the photo they sent.
I was invited by the art editor at Intelligent Life Magazine to contribute an illustration to accompany a feature by the writer Robert Macfarlane, in which he muses upon the literature that has inspired him. That was back in 2013, and the feature was only scheduled to run for 6 issues. The feature proved to be so popular however, it ran for 18 issues, over almost 3 years.
Every couple of months, I would receive Robert's copy for the upcoming feature, and I would spend weeks researching, sketching, and making a book sculpture from the book that Robert was writing about.
I would send a final sketch to the art editor, who would give me the go ahead when his team were happy.
The resulting sculpture was then handed to the photographer Colin Crisford, who lit them dramatically in his studio, creating the images you see below.
Now that the magazine is set to relaunch in early 2016, the feature is no longer going to be part of it.
The art editor wrote to me to say, 'I'm particularly sad about losing your contributions for Robert's column as it was always a highlight of the magazine for me and it's become a really lovely body of work over time'.
Here are some of my favourites from the feature.
The final, most recent illustration for Intelligent Life Magazine.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Issue: Jan/Feb 2016
Aubrey-Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian
Issue: Nov/Dec 2015
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Issue: Sep/Oct 2015
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Issue: Jul/Aug 2015
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Issue: Mar/Apr 2015
The Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Issue: Jan/Feb 2015
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Issue: Nov/Dec 2014
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Issue: Sep/Oct 2014
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper Issue: Jul/Aug 2014
The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino Issue: Jul/Aug 2014
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton Issue: Jul/Aug 2014
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson Issue: Sep/Oct 2013