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On 30th June 2011 David Litchfield’s epic drawing a day project came to a climactic end. His final image of a tattooed strongman included the names of all the fans that gave support via his facebook page throughout this year long project. On Friday 12th August and for the first time, the entire collection of 356 Illustrations was displayed in David’s home town of Bedford. This was not to be missed.
I arrived at the gallery in Castle Lane Bedford to be greeted by everyone’s new favourite artist. His face was beaming, the atmosphere was buzzing, jovial and warm and the walls were hung from top to toe in images, each individually framed and lovingly labelled with a title, number and date.
“It starts over there and continues over there.” Said David, pointing simultaneously at two corners of the room as he was pulled back into the heaps of praise.
There is a lot to take in here. On one hand you have the spectacle of the entire collection, 365 drawings by the pen of one man. On the other hand you have each individual piece to consider, taking into account the mood of the artist on a particular day, the medium, colour, detail, texture, right down to the piece of paper it was drawn on. Dotted among the sketchbook pieces were more opportunistic works scribbled on Guardian pages, writing paper and stickers.
It’s a universal show, appealing, endearing, friendly, a little bit dark, there is something for everyone and this will no doubt propel the project beyond the borders of Bedford. It is a clear success and David is admired.
How does David feel to be stood in a room full of people stood in a room full of his drawings?
“It was great. I was a bit shocked that there are so many people here. They all had so many questions and everyone was really interested in the project and why I started it… I think- apart from my wedding- it was the best night of my life. Even tho I was left a bit overwhelmed by it all.”
If we take a minute to consider this… Let’s say that on average David spent 1 hour a day on this project, that’s 365 hours, approximately 15 days and nights, solid drawing. It really puts into perspective the dedication and passion that is required to complete a consistently impressive drawing a day for an entire year.
David may be the first person to embark on and complete a drawing project on this scale , he is definitely the first person to do it in such style, attracting such interest and developing such an involved audience. This is not just an artistic triumph it’s also a fine example of innovative artistic practice, the power of self publishing and the use of social media to connect with an audience and effectively launch a career in illustration.
So what’s next for David Litchfield and his 365 drawings?
“This was never meant to happen, it was only ever meant to be a sketchbook project… there are people here tonight that want to turn this into a daily calendar… The show is to be taken to Sheffield and there is interest from a gallery in London….”
Just goes to show that if you have got something good it will grow on its own. David’s got talent and he has created a monster here, it’s a project with legs and life, a fine example of one mans dedication to his artistic and self development.
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