TREVOR DANCE

My story is unusual as I came to etching only in September 2012, at the age of 62, having done no drawing, painting etc. since school. I was writing a book about the French c19th etcher, Rodolphe Bresdin and realised that to write about an etcher, I needed to learn about the process, so, with considerable trepidation, I enrolled on an evening course at the Royal Drawing School. I thought I would last a term, if that.

Initially I was way out of my comfort zone, but, with the enthusiasm, kindness and patience of the teachers at the school, I’m delighted to say that I got the bug and now love this amazing art. The book, ‘Rodolphe Bresdin: an Incorrigible Bohemian’, was published by Unicorn Press, and I found out that I could draw after all!

I was of course, influenced by Bresdin and subscribe to his ideal of an art of the imagination. Art helps us to transcend the mundanities and banalities of day to day life and focus on eternal truths. Playfulness in the realm of art fires the spark of creativity in both artist and viewer. It seems to somehow move one’s thinking into different realms. I always hope my work inspires the viewer to question and to imagine. I feel that am image is ‘open-ended’ – is that guy with the mask really such a bad guy? How happy is the bride?

The question of the past playing into the present, as in ‘The Ancestral Heritage Emporium’ interests me – sometimes minor art movements like the Synthetists, and apparently frivolous ‘fads’, like the flappers have an underestimated influence on us. Again, playfulness moves us on. Etching is a process of improvisation, like jazz. The initial image is like a straight tune is to a jazzman, and there are no wrong notes; its a case of getting them to sound right.