We all had a lot more spare time on our hands during lockdown, pondering on life, the meaning of it all, and whether there would ever be an end to the Covid pandemic. Working in isolation was now standard for all, not just for us home alone designer types. Some, I dare say have and still are struggling with it all, but for me, working from my own small studio has carried on as normal – I just have to talk more to those who live with me. Poor people.
I kept myself busy. I spent the duration, with the exception of daily walks, sat before my Mac screens scratching out ideas with my graphic tablet, and experimented with my sculpture.
Over the course of one week I sculpted a cartoon pirate type character being enveloped by an octopus (it was a style I’d never attempted before, so it was great fun to do). As it was a sunny day – not sure what day of the week it was, did anybody? – I took it outside, placed it on the garden table and recorded a small video of it. Pleased with the result I poured myself a small glass of Diplomatico rum (the best), raised it in honour to the squid like creation and sat in thought. How, and I don’t how, the image of Admiral Ackbar from the Star Wars franchise skimmed my imagination. Pirate to Admiral I guess, maybe, who knows? But it got me thinking about my favourite tipple and the Admiral. I had messed around with Ackbar before, so I rummaged through my files, hauled him out, and started repurposing the piece. My ‘now’ vision was to create an old style bottle label, something that I’d never done before. But I had to get the feeling right. It had to have presence.
So I mixed the pomp of British Naval costume, a porthole before a sunset, attacking tentacles (as this admiral came from the fictional water world of Mon Calamari, it was the perfect visual pun) with a small barrel of rum and, the Calamrian Rum ad was near completion, with the exception of its title. This, frustrated me. I tried many, many fonts with varying names; ‘Ackbar’s’, ‘Admiral Ackbar’s’ ‘The Admiral’s’, but finally went with, ‘Admiral’s’ in a fine pirate styled, multi layered, drop shadowed stroked font. “Looks good!” I placed the merged contents on a star chart styled background with a gold patterned trim and, it was complete, ready to be wrapped around an old bottle, or slapped on a barrel.
I’m really very pleased with the depth and colour of this piece and, were an Admiral’s rum to be made, in this galaxy or another, I might even give it a slurp.