With its pendulous breasts, swollen tummy and fleshy thighs, ‘Venus in Pink’ calls to mind the stone goddess figurines of the Paleolithic era; like those ancient fertility symbols, it has a resonance and universality that would seem to defy time. Was it inspired by the Willendorf Venus – the 20,000-year-old goddess icon carved from oolitic limestone tinted with red ochre, discovered in Austria in 1908? ‘Um, no,’ says Not Waving But Ironing. ‘It’s me after too many caramel Magnums.’
Not Waving But Ironing’s son and artistic heir apparent, Charlie Not Waving finally comes of age with a hurriedly executed stick drawing that playfully subverts our middle-class expectations. The typography ‘What a sight!’ would seem to exhort the childish imagination to new heights, but the onlooker’s hopes for a butterfly, a dolphin, or at least an army tank, are cruelly dashed by Charlie’s hastily scribbled stick man doing a gigantic poo on a toilet. We’re left with unanswered questions: why is the toilet outside, not inside? Who is the lone man and what does his mournful expression mean? Was it really worth the artist’s mother spending £9.99 on one of those poncey ‘Let’s Doodle!’ books at Waterstones? Clearly, no.
‘Please, Mummy, Will You Play “Disney Princess Spinning Wishes” With Me?’ is possibly Not Waving But Ironing’s most evocative work to date. ‘I wanted to visually capture the dichotomy at the heart of motherhood,’ explains the artist. ‘Namely, that the desire to nurture your child emotionally by playing an overly complicated board game with her, can co-exist with an equally powerful urge to stab yourself repeatedly in the eye with a cocktail stick.’
The artist is currently working on the illustrations for a children’s book entitled, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and If You Haven’t Remembered Where You Left It by the Time I Count to 10, I’m Throwing Your Ice Cream in the Bin.’
The artist declined to comment on this particular work.