Goldmark Gallery in Uppingham hosted an evening with world-renowned artist Ralph Steadman and Rutland author and filmmaker Ceri Levy to open an exhibition of prints from their new book, Critical Critters.
It is the third wildlife book from the self-proclaimed ‘intrepid duo’, who have combined art and conservation to coin the hybrid term “Gonzovationists” as part of their awareness campaign.
Ralph, who is famed for his illustrations of works by Hunter S. Thompson such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Ceri, who produced Bananaz, a music documentary film about Damon Albarn’s cartoon band Gorillaz, both have an interest in wildlife conservation and want to raise further awareness of endangered species through the exhibition and sales of the book.
Director of the gallery in Orange Street, Mike Goldmark said: “There was standing room only in the gallery on Friday for Ralph and Ceri’s talk about the project.
“They’re quite the double-act and the audience was treated to stories and anecdotes from the book’s journey, including how each piece is created.”
Ralph’s technique was discovered by accident when he spilled some dirty paint water on paper and saw its potential to become a critically endangered Humphead Wrasse.
Since then he’s collaborated with Ceri to paint more than 100 endangered species by what he calls his Ralphschach Technique.
Among the animals in the book are elephants, lions, rhinos and the giant panda, as well as lesser known creatures such as the Aye-Aye, and the Indri-both endangered lemurs of Madagascar.
Each piece is set alongside words, stories and diary entries from Ceri, explaining the creative process and a witty commentary of the conversations that revolved around them, along with information about each species.
Mike added: “We’ve published 24 signed and numbered prints in tiny editions of 50 copies only, which will be on exhibition and for sale at the gallery for the next few weeks. We were delighted to hear that Ralph thought that these were the best prints that had ever been made of his work.
“It was such an honour to have Ralph and Ceri here to launch the exhibition and they attracted a star-studded crowd, including musicians, writers and DJs, as well as a great audience from the local area.”