“I painted the background for this painting in a very long session one night and then left it sulking in the corner of my studio until I did the black drawing on top. The figure looks a bit like a falling angel, or a dandy. I was probably thinking about an etching I had done and maybe Peter Doig’s incredible painting Man Dressed As Bat. The title is a quote from Verlaine. He wrote a poem about the rise and fall of Rimbaud, about how his genius and ambition led to arrogance and stubbornness and in the end to his decline. This was the first time I used a new gesso which is very matt, coarse and absorbent and I like the occasional watercolour-like effect which occurs. As with all my other paintings the area surrounding the character is very important. It’s not so much a space as an atmosphere, a mood I want to achieve where the character belongs, emerges from, or is subdued in. The emotionally charged space is often quite chaotic, dark, visually challenging and maybe even pictorially dysfunctional but it’s theirs and they inhabit it.”

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