I get out of the taxi and it’s probably the only city which in reality looks better than on the postcards,
- Milos Forman
To be honest, there's a lot of Brooklyn in David Renshaw's 'Northern Romance' ethos already. His intimate vignettes of Doris, Ted and family have always been homages to homespun love, close-knit ties that defy the odds and romantic adventures amidst rough-hewn landscapes. It's only natural that this irresistible couple head to America's Big Apple - a mecca for dreamers, drifters and lovers everywhere. A city of rough-hewn beauty and self-made respect.
With Wyecliffe's long-standing relationship with David; we realised the creative possibilities of commissioning a very special boutique edition for collectors long-standing and new. Together, we decided on 'The City that Never Sleeps' as an appropriately romantic and rambunctious destination for Doris and Ted's next great escape.
One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt
- Georgia O’Keeffe
I once started out to walk around the world but ended up in Brooklyn, that Bridge was too much for me
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
After much animated discussion between Renshaw and Wyecliffe's Katia, it was unanimously agreed that any work set in New York would have to centre on one iconic location: not the ubiquitous Statue of Liberty; not the shining art-deco icon of 20th century modernity, the Chrysler Building... No, we had something altogether different in mind.
Washington Street is a fairly unassuming thoroughfare in Brooklyn's Pebble Beach. Flanked by converted red-brick warehouses, it is nevertheless famous around the world for its iconic view of Manhattan Bridge - with the Empire State Building precision framed in its pediments. It is a potent symbol of New York's blue-collar/high-society dichotomy: the view (and indeed the bridge itself) linking the proudly working class borough of Brooklyn with the bright lights and big money of Manhattan.
The other 'character' in this work is Ted and Doris' preferred mode of transport: a classic 1961 Checker A10 'Marathon Sedan' Taxi Cab. Otherwise, the street is empty... A bittersweet effect that any fans of the Big Apple will recognise immediately: that this most bustling and diverse of metropolises can be hauntingly quiet and lorn at times. A feeling that Edward Hopper captures in his famous painting Nighthawks or one of the city's most famous troubadours, Frank Sinatra would describe as In the Wee Small Hours.
In this atmosphere, Renshaw's trademark heart balloon takes on a slightly melancholic quality, drifting through the nocturnal streets, mirroring Ted and Doris' romance illuminating dark and isolated places. The suggestion of lights flickering on in the apartment windows also hint at other people, occupying their solitary worlds.
For this strictly limited run of Boutique Edition prints, David Renshaw has hand-painted the balloon and window-light motifs to be differently positioned on each work: a different ambience for every collector.