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  • Alastair Meikle

NYC White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland


When I was figuring out how I wanted the site to be, and mentioned to anyone who knew me that it was only going to be about featuring new work. The resounding theme of the responses were along the lines of "How can you not have the New York Rabbit in there you idiot!!!". So,... to prevent riots in the streets accross the nation, my solution to the dilema is to create an archive in my blog. This way certain favourites will get a good airing along with a proper write up and the main site can continue to be dedicated to showcasing new work. Guests on the site can graze the past at their/your leasure. Welcome to the archive!!.


The New York City/ White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland drawing was completed in 1999 and is so far my most popular work to date. When I had my market stall in Cambridge between 2001 - 2003. I had a small collection of mounted digital prints available and this one outsold the others by some margin.


Produced in Graphic pen and ink The subject is The white rabbit from Lewis Carrols "Alice in Wonderland". The rabbit in the story holds a pocket watch and is in a highly agitated state believing he is late for The Mad Hatters Function, borderline hysterical might be more accurate. In the drawing the rabbit was constructed by the morphing of several of New Yorks most notable buildings, including (From Left going clockwise) The Sony Building, The Flat Iron, St Patricks Cathedral, The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building. The General Electric Building, The World Trade center Twin Towers, The Woolworth Building, The Statue of Liberty and the Gugenheim Museum. The rabbits cranium is moulded out of a yellow taxi cab. His belly is shaped by a Jet engine (to be explained). He wears gigantic roller blades and is stood astride central park. The apartment buildings along 5th Avenue and Central Park west are not accurate in archetecture but the layout of central park is, having used a sattelite picture as research.


The reason this picture exists is that following two trips to New York in 1998/99 I was so charged up by the place that I wanted to illustrate its overwhelming energy in some way. The people and the environment to me were so fast paced, but with an obvious sense that they were, if not struggling to keep up, then doing so by being extremely highly strung (no judgement, just an observation). To depict this aspect of the feel of the place was my challenge and so the melding of the city with this specific character from that book , to me, at least, was perfect.


A detail that does need to be explained is that one can clearly see the Twin Towers being sucked into the vents of the jet engine, which, following the events on September 11th 2001, caused not one, but several people to make a connection (This still happens). Of course it was produced a couple of years previously, which, also has in the past caused more than one person to suggest it was a premonition. I would LOVE to have the power of precognition however, of my broad spectrum of talents this is not one of them. The jet engine is there simply because of the shape and because the noise, the smell and the purpose of a jet added to the idea of much power and speed. The Twin Towers in the preliminary drawing had been the rabbits ears but I moved them round in the composition to make way for the more visually interesting option of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. The proximity to the jet is pure chance.


The original, I have framed at my home and it has served as a bench mark for all my work ever since. It set a standard that for many years I was not able to beat. It is only now almost 20 years later that I have developed beyond this drawing and can imagine more complex and finely finished works. It still brings me a huge joy however, to think that people still have this hanging up in their homes accross the globe and to this day still installs a sense of wonder.


Alastair

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