‘Nevermind’ – re-created…

‘Nevermind’ – re-created…

Two weeks before Christmas we were shopping, trudging our way up the high street; or should that be bland street?

They all look the same these days ”“ it was hell; hoards of people bouncing off of each other, wading through the litter from multi-national fast food giants, arms laden with tat soon to be transferred into unwanted gifts ”“ all sorts of shysters blocking the pavements flogging bleach disguised as Gucci and all to the accompaniment of an audio battle between The Salvation Army and chart crap blasted out from ”˜cutting edge’ fashion retailers.

Just as I reached cracking point my eye was drawn to a large reproduction image of the iconic Clash first album starring from the window of an art gallery. We investigated further and moments later entered the quiet tranquillity of the gallery ”“ the image we saw was in fact a mosaic created by Ed Chapman;

It was brilliant!! Weird that such a place of tranquillity was displaying a representation of the front cover of one of the loudest, most vociferous and angry recordings ever captured”¦

Over subsequent weeks we researched Ed Chapman, looked longingly at his other works ”“ then we contacted Ed, discussed our idea, took his advice, then without any real reason we commissioned him to produce a mosaic…

In January 1992 Nirvana’s seminal ‘ Nevermind’replaced Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ at the top of the US Billboard charts, the album recorded for just $65,000 went onto sell in excess of 30 million copies – so 20 years later it seemed apt that the design Ed was commissioned to create was the front cover of that very album.

This is the story of ”˜Nevermind re-created’ ”“ Over a period of weeks we will bring to you the process of how Ed Chapman lovingly creates his mosaics, we will include pictures as they are supplied to us so you can all follow the process”¦ But first some information about Ed Chapman.

As a student listening in his bedroom to the distinctive screams of Kurt Cobain, Ed Chapman longed to create an artistic tribute to one of his musical heroes.

Despite having never having been near art college, Ed soon discovered a talent for producing amazingly accurate but unusual portraits made from torn pieces of paper.

His first creation was a paper collage of Cobain, which the artist made in his spare time. Now, after years of experimenting with different media, he has been commissioned to create a ceramic tile version of Nirvana’s seminal album Nevermind’s cover.

Ed became a full-time artist more than a decade ago and has exhibited work around the world. He is best known for creating ceramic portraits of a range of icons, including stars from music and film and some of them grace the homes of celebrities, foreign royalty and sports personalities.

A charity commissioned him to make a portrait of music legend Jimi Hendrix using thousands of guitar plectrums donated by Fender and later at sale the work raised £23,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Ed has been inspired by his own music taste over the years and has often focussed on his musical heroes. He has created works of The Clash, Paul Weller, Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols.

He said: “I started in art with a portrait of Kurt Cobain because I was into listening Nirvana all the time in those days. I was at Bolton Institute (though not at the same time as Buzzcocks‘ Pete Shelley) studying history. It worked out really well, but it was quite some time after making that piece that I decided to go professional.

“I still like Nirvana’s music of course and have since created two other tile portraits, but I don’t like to do too many of the same subject. I am excited to be starting work on the Nevermind album cover because it is such a striking image and it involves using lots of shades of blue, which is probably my favourite colour.

“I probably sound a bit of an anorak, but I love going into the tile shop once I know what picture I am doing. It is so interesting looking at the massive palette of colours.”

Once the tiles have been ordered, Ed sets to drawing out the work on wooden board and then the smashing begins. Each ceramic work contains hundreds of pieces of tile which Ed hand-cuts and sticks precisely in place. He spends hours ensuring each piece is just right and when the picture is complete, he grouts the work.

He added: “If somebody commissions a piece of work, I always discuss what they want before I go ahead. Though, I will advise them against certain things, such as colour, if I don’t think the picture will look right when it’s finished.

So far Ed has supplied just the below image…

“Then I just set to work and I will usually update them when it will be ready, which sometimes could take several weeks. It is quite a solitary job, so I often listen to music while I’m working. At the moment, I’m enjoying listening to Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie on BBC6 Music in the afternoon, Marc Riley later. They usually play a lot of punk and indie stuff as well as new music, which I enjoy.”

For more information about Ed Chapman, visit his website

Further updates to follow…

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