This year’s Cheltenham Paint Festival felt a little strange because of the far-reaching impacts of the coronavirus epidemic. In a way the Festival lends itself to social distancing because of the dispersed nature of the pieces across the town, but keeping one’s distance while talking to the artists, or the emptiness of some of the venues added a surreal layer to the whole experience.
I found this piece in the Two Pigs, and had to don a facemask to walk through the gaming pub to get to the back yard where a few pieces had been painted. I was there completely alone, which felt odd. I was however rewarded with this outstanding small piece by Sam Art, which is clearly a commentary on the state of our planet at this time. Some of you might remember his extraordinary photorealistic piece from last year’s festival. A fabulous artist.
How can this not be an enlarged photograph? Sam Art is surely playing with our eyes and deceiving us. This incredible piece was one of the first I saw at the festival and was in place early on the Friday when all the walls around were yet to be painted. I believe that he painted it off-site before installing it in Cheltenham North Place car park.
The theme for the festival was literature or books to celebrate the 70th year of the Cheltenham Literature Festival and this portrait of J.K. Rowling could hardly be more fitting.
It is way beyond my comprehension how artists produce photorealistic art like this so I prefer not to understand it but to wallow in its glory. An extraordinary piece from Sam Art.