Wild flights in bird illustrations
This article is from 2013.
In 2010, Ceri Levy – filmmaker for Blur and Gorillaz, and latterly a conservationist – approached Ralph Steadman about the prospect of creating a piece for Levy’s Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition in London. Steadman, whose Indian ink flourishes have illustrated the work of Hunter S Thompson, was asked by Levy to create a new work based on an extinct bird. Wild flights of Steadman’s imagination soon began arriving in Levy’s inbox, rich splashes of colour depicting extinct birds both real and unreal: from the Great Auk and Passenger Pigeon to the Mottled Splatwink and Splattered Shag.
The resulting ‘boids’ are collected like luminous curiosities in Extinct Boids, which Levy describes as ‘a document of our working relationship; Ralph’s work has allowed us to glimpse extinction from a unique vantage point’. At the London exhibition, Steadman’s paintings filled an entire room and visitors were given binoculars to view those perched high in the rafters. In an age of extinction, the book is an inspired and inspiring collection of art and stories, illustrating what has been lost in the natural world and what –perhaps – is possible.
Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 25 Aug, 8.30pm, £7 (£5).