The Bather and the Cormorant



‘The Bather and the Cormorant’

This print depicts a bather wearing striped white knee-length swimming shorts, seated on a concrete pier with his feet in the water. In the horizon above the waves stands the remains of the West Pier in Brighton, while in the sky, a cormorant passes by with its iridescent coat of slate-coloured feathers.

As an architect residing in Brighton’s Brunswick Square, near the sea, I’ve included the depiction of the remains of the West Pier, reflecting my personal connection to the area. As an enthusiastic sea swimmer, one could say this print is a symbolic self-portrait.

The story behind the creation of this print is a combination of various experiences. It began with a drawing event I ran with other artists where we studied Glyn Philpot’s painting of “Leda and Zeus.” At the time there was a fabulous exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, where this painting was on show. I have a deep appreciation for modern British art. This was followed by a short stay in the countryside next to a lake with swans, which inspired subsequent drawings. Finally, I brought these inspirations to the beach by the West Pier. Additionally, the profile of the figure resonates with Jean Marais by Jean Cocteau, who is one of my art heroes. I am also passionate about the natural life surrounding us in the city, which is why the cormorant makes its appearance in the sky.

To create this print, I start by crafting individual drawings in ink, which collectively form a collage comprising the final piece. I use calligraphic brushes, fine-line ink pens, sponges, sandpaper, and other materials. The medium is ink, often combined with charcoal and wash techniques. These drawings are scanned to form the main linework and patterns in the final print. I digitally add colour, which is a meticulous process as I often experiment with new colourways and hues. The original design exists solely in digital format, which I print using archival inks and paper. I then release my design as a limited edition print, available in standard ‘A’ sizes, ranging from A1 (59.7 cm x 84.1 cm) to A4 (21 x 29.7 cm).

Bathers by the West Pier

From Victorian times, bathing in the sea became fashionable. It was practice to strengthen general health and improve fitness. By the mid 18th century, Brighton’s proximity to London made it a good alternative to spa towns such as Bath. Even Dr Richard Russell in the 1750s, famously recommended not only swimming in the sea, but also drinking the salty water.

Beach Art

This print belongs to the series of works I have created under the name ‘Beach Art’. This series celebrates people happily spending their leisure time at the beach. Swimmers, divers, paddleboarders and the occasional  tight-rope walker. Shimmering seas and bright sunny skies bathe with light these characters. The designs have a hint of nostalgia and in my own distinctive style echoes the works of artists such as Robert Tavener and the New Romantic British artists John Minton and Keith Vaughan. The West Pier appears in all the prints in the series. I created this series in April 2021 to mark the start of my art residency with the West Pier Trust.

‘The Bather and the Cormorant’ framed art print
Discover ‘Beach Art’ print collection.

Additional information

Dimensions N/A
Print sizes: standard portrait and square

A1 print size, portrait, A2 print size, portrait, A3 print size, portrait, A4 print size, portrait

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