Monday, July 23, 2012


Al Capone- Fifi Colston

I was up in my attic today looking through piles of artwork for a particular picture I had done some time ago of a daffodil ( I thought I could cut it up to make a card out of) and came across this picture of Al Capone I did sometime in the early 90's, or it might have been the 80's; who can tell? All I know is that I was living in Christchurch and fully employed as a freelance airbrush artist and that this was for an advertising agency. I have no idea who the client was- possibly something to do with safety glass. The details are on a need to know basis and who needs to know this now? I'm not planning to write a memoir.

If you enlarge the picture you'll see dust sticking to the surface. This shows that a) it is a real bit of painting and b) my archival facilities leave lots to be desired. It's also worth noting that I did this illustration back in the day when there was no internet to do research with, no Photoshop to construct it with and no facility at home to scan it and send an image via file sharing. I did it by getting books from the library, drawing it, transferring the image onto (very expensive) imported airbrush paper, covering it with frisket film and hand cutting each stencil layer which were then airbrushed until the very final little highlights. Then couriered to a client and hoped it would pass muster. It took hours and required plenty of skill and much planning; if you got it wrong there was no back button. You had to start again.

I find it interesting that artwork rises to the surface to say 'hello old friend' just when the timing is perfect. I say this because my SO and I are watching Season 1 of Boardwalk Empire of an evening. I'm revelling in the costume of the time, we are both engaged by the politics and of course the series features a young Al Capone. Did you know that his car had inch thick bullet proof glass? I'd like some of that, because right now I find that being bullet proof in this pared back economy is not only useful but imperative. If work gets much thinner, I may have to start illegally manufacturing my own gin...


TK Roxborogh said...

this just serves to remind me, Fifi, how incredibly talented and multi-talented you are. You turn your hand so generously and so skillfully to so many things. Everything you touch turns to magic (why doesn't it turn to gold you may ask - hell knows! But it should!).

Just like those days back in primary school when your classmates would have been amazed at your your ability, I stand (again) in awe of you. Mwah!

Anonymous said...

Flattering painting of Al Capone.Its a fantastic painting though,and shows the Chicagoan monster in his sinister,slimey,but strangely glamourous best....or worst!