Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dreaming of Deckchairs in London's Parks this summer

Deckchair Dreams 2013
This summer sees a revival of Deckchair Dreams, a charity fundraiser by The Royal Parks Foundation to raise cash for the maintenance of London's Royal Parks, that is to say Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Richmond Park - the green lungs of our city that make London liveable, much in the way that Central Park does for Manhattan.

Various artists have given up their time to design deckchairs. This year's crop of artists 'n' celebs includes Harry Enfield, Miranda Richardson, Ronnie Wood, Martha Freud, and Maggi Hambling.
Hello Ducks.... By Harry Enfield
My favourite design this year is Harry Enfield's "Hello Ducks" I don't know if he painted it himself. But then, Damien Hirst doesn't paint his stuff himself, so why should Harry Enfield?

I did a design for The Royal Parks back in 2008, when the theme was "flora and fauna of the Royal Parks". I picked squirrels. Who doesn't like squirrels?

Deckchair Dreams 2008
In fact I picked red squirrels, despite the fact that there aren't any in the parks; they've all been driven out by their grey North American cousins. Anyway the red ones were more fun to draw. The idea was that they were all having fun in the parks, doing the stuff that people do all summer.


In 2010 I did another one - this time with pigeons. Not the grotty feral pigeons that people unaccountably feed, but the nice fat colourful wood pigeons that live on a natural diet of nuts and seeds, and amble about looking well fed and cute.

I think I'm the only artist who got to do two deckchairs. Maybe I'll lobby them again next year for a third round. I think the deer in Richmond Park need a deckchair too.
Pigeon marching band
I did get teased a fair bit for doing charity deckchair designs. "The Royal Parks?", people ask with a smirk, as if to say: "all a bit terminally middle-class, isn't it?" (Possibly even upper-middle class). But if charity begins at home, why not help out the parks that make our city beautiful? The Parks, like every other publicly funded operation, are short of cash in this era of general belt-tightening.
Pigeon deckchair - the band plays on
Anyway you can still buy the deckchairs here if you fancy some designer artwork for your garden this summer. They cost around £90, which sounds a lot, but actually isn't much over what it costs to make them.

There isn't much profit in deckchairs, it seeems. But they do look nice on your lawn.

---Alex

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