The first artist I wanted to write about is someone who many of you might not know now - but who at one point sparked a nationwide treasure hunt. The artist is Kit Williams and he's probably best known for his book Masquerade .
The book is an exceptional series of paintings which each give a clue as to the whereabouts of a golden hare which the artist buried somewhere in England.
The hunt lasted 2 years and the outcome was controversial. It seemed the people who found it hadn't genuinely worked out the riddle properly. As a result of the hunt Williams became incredibly popular overnight, but he disliked the limelight intensely and made the decision to step out of it. He now lives a pretty hermetical existence creating art for his own delight.
Kit Williams' 'Advancing Ripe Harvest'. Click for a larger view.
It takes him around 400 hours to create one of his highly rendered paintings and he produces around 4 every year. It also seems that he rarely ever exhibits or sells his pieces. Once a year he holds an open studio where a select few people are able to go and see his latest pieces.
Not only that but he makes all of his own frames. In a recent documentary about the artist he said that he gets a kick out of making everything....I can appreciate a sentiment like that in an age where artists regularly outsource.
The documentary I mentioned is no longer available on BBC iPlayer, however someone has kindly split it into sections and uploaded it to YouTube. The first section is here you can then just select the subsequent sections after watching.
Kit Williams' 'Firmament'
The book Masquerade is still available as well as other books by Kit - second hand - on Amazon.
Not only is Williams an astonishingly brilliant painter but he's also responsible for some of the most impressive and wonderous public timepieces and displays in England.
It's unbelievable and glorious to me to look at Williams' output. His meticulous detailing, the breadth of his knowledge, and importantly the fact that he has never been confined to one thing. He both illustrates and produces fine art. He has done goldsmithing, engineering, toy making, painting, woodworking. It's a well rounded and curious art-making which is abundant and energetic and inspirational.