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Artist’s Notebook:
Good Wives and Warriors


06.24.13 Marina Galperina

ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished piece. This week, London’s Good Wives and Warriors (Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell) show us the inspiration and process behind their Der Anfang des Endes project in Berlin — “an epic apocalyptic, mythical mass of writhing beasts.”

We usually have a very rough composition for our wall pieces. If the piece has a geometric structure then we’ll plan out a few different versions.

It’s also pretty hard for us to fully plan a painting before we arrive in the space as we need to know exactly the size and scale of the wall.

This sketch was for a show in Berlin called “Der Anfang des Endes,” which translated means “the beginning of the end” as we were about to leave Berlin and move back to London.

We’d wanted to paint an epic apocalyptic, mythical mass of writhing beasts for a while so this was our chance. We’d collected loads of images from the medieval bestiary, etchings, apocalyptic paintings and illustrations of sea monsters. Also we wanted to include scenes from legends like the Norse story of Ragnarok, which is the Scandinavian end of the world myth, or the sad medieval fable of the badger that was hunted for its testicles so it castrates itself to escape from the hunter.

All the creatures and details on this painting are painted directly onto the wall and not planned or sketched before hand. We use a lot of secondary printed sources as a starting point for the painting and sometimes bits of our own drawings. Also, as we work collaboratively, it makes it easier for funny narratives to happen. We both add to each other’s bits of paintings and the whole work takes on a life of it’s own.

The painting covered the entire gallery space and took us 5 days to complete.

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