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Derek’s work, often taken from his street photography, consists of photorealistic portraits drawn onto archival tissue paper using either a 0.5 or a 0.2 mechanical pencil; a process that is very much like drawing with a needle.
Rips and tears in the paper are inevitable as well as unpredictable. These drawings are then pasted on to boards including distressed plywood and old backboards creating an additional risk of further damage or even total loss of the work.
This approach relates to the anxiety of producing new work and ‘getting it right’. Derek wanted to remove this sense of preciousness from this work and develop a process that added an element of chance, where both the material and the process have an input into the final outcome of the drawing – creating an uneasy balance between order and chaos.
This is also the same as the preciousness that tells us that we have to conform to set standards in order to belong to our chosen social standing, tribe/gang or community, and this positioning is purely governed by our ability to get it right. Removing this preciousness and need to be faultless and flawless also removes the fear that our mistakes will ruin us.