I considered many titles for this drawing, but in the end settled on just ‘Her’. I’ve recently re-read John Burnside’s third memoir I Put A Spell On You and in there he explains his notion of ‘Lost Girl Syndrome’. In relation to the motif of the drowned girl that has appeared in art throughout the centuries, he argues that her death represents “the abandonment of that intelligent, stubborn boy’s full potential, as he reluctantly stumbles forward into the bluff and bluster of workaday manhood.” John is not impressed by “the sheer tedium of grown manhood” and argues that in order to be something like a complete human being then anima and animus must be present and symbiotically in balance. This really struck a chord with me, as I have all my life been haunted by the presence of my own ‘lost girl’ – an amalgam of my first loves at junior school, older sisters of childhood friends, and my own sister Victoria, stillborn three years before I came along, but who became as real in my imagination as anyone I’ve ever known. I never really understood why, but the idea of her being a part of me that I’ve refused to let die just because I “grew up” is an attractive one, and all of these drawings and paintings I’ve done of girls and women down the years is perhaps me looking in the mirror for hidden part of myself that doesn’t really want to be found, because once something is found it can then so easily be lost.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – From Her To Eternity