“Jean Bapiste SiMonkey”
I responded to this competition based on my reaction to the Hartlepool legend. Speechless in the most joyful way yet believing there was more to this humorous tale than the result of stupidity. As I found the inability to distinguish between man and monkey the focal point, I paid homage to a famous Singerie painting (Le Singe peintre by Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin) but instead painting humans doing monkey things. The art period “Singerie” is about monkeys mimicking human actions and it grew popular in France, then across Europe in the 18th century. I represented the essence of the Hartlepool legend through the vivid imagery of humans doing monkey things, the ‘caught’ reaction of the monkey and the overall bizarreness of the action. Like all humour that stretches its stories, I also planted some Easter Eggs to depict the icons of the era the legend occurred. Finally, I admire this concept because having another level of a story in such a bizarre one gives more life to the humour for the audience to enjoy. It also goes to show how art can impact many.
First of all, I love monkeys, they look funny and spiteful. Moreover when I read about the legend of the Hartlepool’s Monkey I was impressed and immediately I began to draw. It’s an incredible story and I sought something about the Hartlepool’s folk culture, I wanted to illustrate that.