‘The Emperors New Clothes’ – Newcastle Arts Centre 2003
The first of two shows working in
co-ordination with Newcastle Arts Centre aimed to challenge the public’s
perception of watercolour. Beginning to feel type cast as a seascape
artist, he declined the initial invitation to produce a show of seascape
work and opted to paint and draw images inspired in part from his
childhood and adult day dreaming.
When he chose the title ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ it was intended to state to the public that he was willing to be judged by their opinions. Their version of what they thought the artwork said was as valid as his own. To make this point more plain he courted the opinions of the young who, like the boy in the fairy tale, would in all likelihood speak their minds with devastating honesty. This was done by loaning paintings to schools with the teachers working with the children to produce written work inspired by the artwork. The children’s’ work was then laminated and displayed next to the finished artwork so that the visitor could gauge others reactions to the watercolours.
Public and critical reaction in the
press was very positive. Local TV news conducted an interview relating
to the project. Many visitors spent a good deal of time reading the
children’s written work and wrote enthusiastically in the visitors book
about their own feelings. Jason would like to take this opportunity to
thank all those children and teachers who took part in this project.