Policemen & Pirates (Peter Pan)
Policemen & Pirates (Peter Pan)
Policemen & Pirates (Peter Pan)
Policemen & Pirates (Peter Pan)

Policemen & Pirates (Peter Pan)

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This piece explores the synergies between Peter Pan and Michael Jackson and is set within an abandoned Neverland Ranch. An imposing and condemned pirate ship, rusting bus and rollercoaster stand still, surrounded by signs of happier times where childhood innocence was king.

I wanted to show a clear link to Peter Pan and Michael Jackson as it clearly existed whilst he was alive and also plays on the darkness of the original story and the controversy surrounding Jacko. The title itself has a childlike game quality to it like cops and robbers etc which works with the subject matter and mentality.

For me, the dominant fairground ride had to be a pirate ship as I have fond memories as a child from holidays to Belgium (the birth place of my Mother). We would always visit the ‘Meli’ theme park in De Panne and it was the first thing you would see when through the gates, I always remember the loud whoosh of the boat gainst the little tyre and the lights that ran up each side.

The pirate ship and supporting structure was constructed from scratch, using textures and random objects that I saw potential to transform i.e. swimming pool steps for the harnesses on the boat. The green lights represent Peter Pan whilst the blue signify police lights.

Fires burn in the pit below, referencing hell whilst the metal steps in front of the ship show ‘Stand and face the hounds of hell’ a line from Jackos ‘Thriller’ and again represent he darker accusations that existed.

The front of the ship show as a statue of Jacko, leaning forwards like his classic pose. The rear of the ship shows a mermaid as so often does on these rides, put in to link to my previous piece on the Little Mermaid whilst a chimp, ‘Bubbles’ sits against one of the steel legs.

Other key characters such as the crocodile, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and Wendy are all referenced within the scene whilst the rusted bus behind the ship features graffiti by ‘The Lost Boys’ and the bus shows Neverland on the side, subtle shadows are on the bus also.There is a real subtle silhouette of Peter that exists but that is for you to find!

Through setting the lighting in the way that I have it allows for shadows to be part of the scene, a must seeing as though they are such a big part of the original concept of Peter Pan. Some are simply cast from trees, others have more life to them.

There is always a really powerful feel to seeing a theme park devoid of life, more so when it is being reclaimed by nature. Peter Pan does have a dark side in its’ narrative and original concept and the links to ‘The King Of Pop’ adds so much more should you choose to go there. The sense of loss and sadness is contrasted with the use of vivd colour in parts, quirky details and a beautiful sky where sunlight symbolises hope.

A keen eye will notice a solitary flower that refuses to be overpowered by the wild grasses and weeds that surround it. This further conveys this sense of hope and is actually one of my favourite parts of this piece.