Chris Spring: Nightwanderers
Early in March 2020 I began to retrieve materials from my studio at the West London Art Factory where I normally work with around twenty other artists. With C19 spreading fast, and anticipating the government lockdown later that month, I set up a makeshift studio in the attic of our house in Acton. On 28th March 2020 I received a message form my GP surgery advising me that I had been identified as a ‘patient at high risk during the Covid-19 pandemic’ and that I should ‘try not to see anyone face-to-face for at least 12 weeks.’ Of course I was apprehensive about how to do this - and what failure to comply might mean. Yet in April, May and June of 2020 the sun shone, the air was clear and the birds sang, though the sound of ambulance sirens made me intensely aware of what other people were going through, not just in London, but across the UK and around the world.
Among the materials I retrieved from my studio were dozens of life drawings, most of them representing very short poses by various models, both male and female. Over the next few weeks I began to transform these images of ‘real’ people into imaginary images of the equally real people out there who I would never meet but who were trying to face each day as it came – and perhaps dreading the night which would follow. Some would be going through a living hell with their mental health, some would shortly be gravely ill or dead, while others were simply facing the tedium of lockdown where each day and night seemed to merge into one. I called them the Nightwanderers.
This collection of small works is a tribute to – and an act of remembrance of – all those people whose experiences I have tried to capture, but whose stories I will never know.