"You shall go to the comics festival!"
In a kind of Cinderella moment I've been whisked out of my normal 9-5 (or rather the far less regular work hours I normally keep) and asked to appear at the wonderful BD Passions weekend at London's Institut Francais in South Kensington, which starts tomorrow!
Happily I'll be talking about drawing and writing in London and Paris, and drawing live (and probably life-sized). There will be Absinthe.
This is my take on Kiki, drawn from a portrait of her ready to go to work in the studio of one of the artists she posed for. Luckily I've always been fascinated by Alice Prin (Kiki's real name), the girl from the sticks who became the most famous model of her day - and no mean painter herself, with a sell-out show in 1927.
Looking at her in the photo it's difficult, in our age of airbrushed supermodels, to see how she held such sway. A little too hairy, a little too un-buff for today's tastes, she was ousted in the affections of Man Ray - not only her lover but the guy who fixed her image in the century's imagination with hundreds of photographs - by Lee Miller, a Vogue model and photographer much more in keeping, lookswise, with the Claudia Schiffers and Giselles of today. It was almost like the 19th century giving way to the 20th, the tram to the car, Romanticism to Modernism. Kiki refused to behave, be good, be conventionally beautiful, and ended her career overweight, underpaid and, most of the time, drunk, a heroic failure, like the heroine of a Jean Rhys novel.
If you'd like to come and see me - or go to any of the other events over the weekend - I have ONE SPARE TICKET to give away. As the festival starts TOMORROW I'm giving it to the FIRST, yes the VERY FIRST person who asks for it in the comments box below.
READY... GET SET... GO!