I have wanted to do ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s for an age. With each movie collection I always strive to create a piece that is pretty and beautiful to contrast with others that are much more dramatic and intense visually. With the 50th anniversary of the movie falling this year it was the perfect opportunity. What you see is very different for me, which is a good thing. There has been a move towards the introduction of characters when the piece warrants it and rather than seeing a scene that is absolutely littered with detail, I wanted to make it all about the character, Holly.
I wanted to portray her as she was, rather than how she wasn’t as it suits my work and is authentic to my way of thinking. Without a genuine connection or reason there is always a risk of the image becoming hollow. The details that do exist help to tell the narrative but in a much more simplistic way that results in a much more powerful and poignant image. It’s called ‘Free Spirit’ based on Holly’s wish to not be caged but being told she puts herself in her own cage. It is her wish to be set free, she is such a complex character, high maintenance, but adorable and innocent. This sense of being trapped and needing to be set free is a concept that has ran through my work since day one, an emotion that is driven through personal emotions and one that resonates with so many.
This is a classic example of how, when planning this piece, you end up doing something so completely different to what you thought you would do all that time ago, and I love that. It is that pull that takes hold, resonates, and takes you off on a much more honest direction. What you see is everything laid out around her, the open bird cage with the dove rising upwards that is beautiful. In contrast you have the blackened thorns and withering roses that are twisting around the cage and the foot of her stool. It’s a very dark element that builds on the concept of needing to be set free from the negatives and darkness and it is this detail against such an iconic image that makes it mine and authentic.
It is all about freedom and restriction. The piece features butterflies and birds that represent freedom and transition, expression, and the ability to spread one’s wings. I absolutely love her expression, so innocent, confident yet fragile. There is a personal connection to this film that makes it authentic. Audrey Hepburn was born in Ixelles - Belgium, my Grandmother, Mary was born in Ypres and met my Grandad, Geoff whilst he was a soldier in the second World War as he came into her Parent’s cake shop. After the war, my Mother, Anne-Marie was born in Ypres before they headed to England to start a new life which, given the circumstances must have been daunting and challenging to say the least. My wonderful Grandma was heavily restricted in her later years and my Mother has been incredibly restricted due to my Dad’s condition - so what this piece symbolises is absolutely massive.