* We have now reached our original target but you can still join in and be part of the art. This page will remain open as a way of signing up.
Imagine yourself on board one of these historic ships, a member of the crew. I want to illustrate the actual number of people crammed on board these ships by drawing a contemporary 'Crowd' using portraits from the local community, the Dockyard staff and visitors and real crew from Royal Navy, old and new. It will be a portrait of our city as an imagined, motley crew at sea in the tempest of 2020.
You can be on board, with this Crowdfunder. Or press gang someone you know to take part in the art by sponsoring their portrait?
These are real sails from HMS Victory after The Battle of Trafalgar 1805. The public artwork will be the same size, with hundreds of local people drawn on them. Hopefully, we can fund a whole set of sails from one of the historic ships.
The artwork will be created over several years as Artist in Residence, hosted by The Royal Portsmouth Dockyard Trust.
I am a local artist with 30 years' experience creating public art and I know my hometown of Portsmouth, inside out. I am well placed to create a gutsy and real portrait of our city. You can find out more about me as an artist via the links at the bottom of the page.
I do appreciate many of us will struggle financially during this Pandemic and for many years after. I know it is not a great time to ask, but artists in particular, will feel that economic impact. On the bright side, I feel inspired to engage and express the zeitgeist, to create hope, through art. And this will be epic, as well as optimistic.
However, I have been challenged to raise some of the project budget by crowdfunding to prove public support, as match funding. This in turn will help access larger grants and sponsorship to make and exhibit the finished artwork to the public. This is now common practice for commissioning public art.
Crowdfunder UK and Portsmouth City Council are helping to kickstart this great project as part of their Covid-19 business grant scheme 'Pay it Forward', but I need to raise the rest myself, with your help. The Dockyard stakeholders are generously supporting in kind with studio space and access all areas for research and exhibition, which is an invaluable opportunity.
This is your chance to help get a local artist into safe harbour and avoid the economic storm heading our way.
Detail from Soup of Souls. Artist Residency Portsmouth Cathedral 2109.
Last year I took refuge in the 'Cathedral of The Sea', St Thomas's in Old Portsmouth, and created the award-winning Soup of Souls drawing and Shipshape crowd photos. (See the links below)
This year I have an even bigger idea, bigger venue, and bigger audience.
This Crowdfunder will secure the first stage of the project and studio space in a unique opportunity to work in this special environment. In turn, I am offering you the opportunity to take part in some monumental artworks; a portrait of Pompey drawn on life size sails from our historic ships.
The Historic Dockyard is full of inspiration with great spaces to work and interesting people to meet but I will also be working with the local community to be inspired by your nautical stories. Do you know someone who should definitely be onboard? The Crowd drawings we make together represent the actual number of crew on the ships and become a contemporary portrait of the city's population.
Artist's sketch project proposal. (A4 - For sale £POA)
- Buy a portrait in the Rewards Section. It can be for you, or someone else.
- If we cant meet up, send me a decent photo, with your maritime or dockyard story and I will put you into my crowd compositions. This can also be from your imagination, but should be someone from the Portsmouth, or connected.
- You can gift this to someone, relatives or friends, or just donate towards the overall costs of the crowd drawing and exhibition. If you are a business perhaps your team or customers? See 'The Life Raft' Reward.
- 'Pay it Forward', commission a new drawing from me, buy a print or book of previous work, or come on a guided tour of some of the public art commissions and sculptures I have made in the city over the last 25 years. Check out my website link at the bottom of the page.
- Understandably, for many the cost may be prohibitive, but please put yourself or nominee forward anyway, and I will include you within one of the bigger donations or sponsors. I'd rather you were included than not.
- Perhaps you are a philanthropic art collector and want to buy one the original Crowd drawings in advance, covering the cost of everyone involved in that piece?
This is your chance to be a sailor, soldier, a dockyard worker or maritime character from the local community. The tangled crowd will have head and shoulders or full bodies used in the composition. The price of the portraits are for full bodies, head and shoulders etc. The idea is for it to be crowded, as if all crowded onto a ship's deck, reflecting the nature of the old ships but also to reflect on our city, which remains one of the most crowded in Europe. Even with social distancing!
Imagine Portsea Island as a ship and the crew representing a true demographic of our city ( Inc. the PO postcodes beyond ). I will be working with PCC to get a fair representation of the people in Portsmouth in 2020. The drawings will have people from all walks of life, posing as the crew of an imaginary ship. The sails will be the same size as those from HMS Victory or Mary Rose. Ultimately if funding allows, the drawings will be reproduced on printed scaffolding mesh, as a building wrap, or projected onto local buildings on a touring public exhibition of the 'Crowd'.
To fund this artwork I need lots of people to be included as paid sketch portraits. The life size drawings will form the crews of Mary Rose and HMS Victory, approximately 515 and 822 respectively. That is at least 1337 people to draw, less than 1% of the city but I want it to be fair representation of the population and our true multicultural history. Ideally I would like to create a full set of life size sails.
Exciting research revealed last year about the genealogy of the crew of the Mary Rose has raised many interesting questions about the cultural make up of the city as well as the ship's crew. I am hoping this artwork will also capture cosmopolitan Portsmouth that traditional historic depictions of maritime history have not.
Characters will be in action pose and dress that suggest old and new roles for modern sailors, dockyard workers or related community. This should be as much a portrait of the contemporary city as it is the crew of an old ship.
There will be several drawings each themed around the dockyard communities; naval, military, dockers, civilians and local community. You might be in either or think this might be a nice way to remember a family member or friend who has maritime or a dockyard connection. I love my drawings to have local stories and ownership within the local community. The hundreds of portrait sketches will be archived with the City Museum. Some will be for sale or printed to raise funds.
The Dockyard has formed the modern city of Portsmouth with over 800 years of Naval history going back to King John. Tudor England and King Henry VIII created the first dry dock in 1495 and the coastal defenses that followed, define our architectural heritage, and contribute significantly to our broader national cultural identity.
The Dockyard is home to the Mary Rose Museum, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior as well as The Royal Naval Museum and the Boat House 4 International Boatbuilding Training College Portsmouth. All of this is available to me in search of inspiration during my Residency. Great things will come of this time.
My Studio Space is in the empty west wing of South Office Block, overlooking HMS Victory and Mary Rose. Wow, what a view from the round window (picture below) looking straight out over 500 years of dockyard and naval history, and the Royal Naval Museum literally on my doorstep. I cannot wait to get started. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Find out more about me on my website
You will also find lots of other work on my Instagram pages:
Main page: www.instagram.com/petecodling
Check out the website sculpture page to see some of the artworks that will be on the guided tour. ( Socially distanced and using your own transport)
Here are some letters of support from my Host and our community leaders: