19 September 2014

Catalysts for Calamity

28" x 20" oil on wood panel, 2014
(work in progress)

I originally had planned to simply paint a portrait of the archduke Franz Ferdinand and, using the same title, it would stand apart from the five groupings paintings my World War One project, To the Sound of Trumpets, are sectioned off in. Ferdinand's assassination by Gavrilo Princip in Serbia on 28 June 1914 wasn't directly the cause of WWI, but it certainly provided a convenient excuse to activate the machinery of war that had been preparing and the animosities and ambitions that had been building in Europe for quite some time.

While working on another painting for this project a few weeks ago (months, maybe? time is beginning to blur) I was listening to a lot of Peter Gabriel's music. When Gabriel introduced "Family Snapshot" (on Plays Live) being about the hunter and the hunted, I immediately thought of my planned portrait and, using the song and its title as my guide, reworked my composition. Told from the assassin's point of view, it's quite rousing and the key lines I used as inspiration for this composition, putting together the hunter and the hunted, are these:

I don't really hate you
I don't care what you do
We were made for each other, me and you
I want to be somebody
You were like that, too
If you don't get given you learn to take
And I will take you

I'm not saying the situations are the same, just pointing out where the inspiration to put these two together in the portrait came from. I find Princip's hands on Ferdinand's shoulder particularly chilling.

However, the title "Catalysts for Calamity" is taken from a line in Sam Brown's song "They're the Ones" from her album Box.

I say above "work in progress" but it's about 98% finished, but I find I'm still tweaking tiny bits here and there.

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