I always wanted to paint this animal, as cute as a kitten but with roots that penetrate deep into our culture and imaginations, tapping into our fear and passed on through European folklore and symbolism. To be honest, I felt for a long time that the bat was probably too cute for me to paint. I would need to find the perfect context for it, otherwise I would end up creating sentimental kitsch.
I had all but forgotten about him when, one warm November evening in Porto, I was hunting for old frames in a small bric-a-brac shop full of treasure and trash and I discovered an incredible picture. Some Portuguese person, not necessarily an artist, had gone to extraordinary lengths to create a beautiful collage of snake skins and translucent butterfly wings which formed a
backdrop for a poorly photocopied image of the Brazilian statue of Christ the Redeemer. It blew my mind that this person had decided that these dark, morbid elements would provide the perfect decoration for the subject, or that these vivid, shimmering, natural decorations would compliment such a poor
To my mind, this unhinged, startling picture was a work of art in itself and I wasnʼt sure if I had the heart to take it apart and reuse the frame. Then the image of the bat returned to me and I could see I had found the perfect habitat for it.
Oil on glass.
Plus mixed media collage with real snake skin and butterfly wings.
In vintage wooden frame.