An original illustration by Brendon Marczan, Two Bananas Five is made using ink, pencil and watercolour pigment on Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper.
560mm Wide x 560mm High
I was talking to a friend about a relationship where I felt my partner and I were going the same way but not attached to each other. I gestured at the fruit bowl on the table next to us: “It feels like those two bananas.”
There are over two dozen variations in the series so far, exploring relationships or indeed lack of a relationship – two bananas attached to each other or unattached, growing in the same direction or facing different ways, or with one bearing down on the other. Sometimes the two bananas are lost from each other on opposite sides of the page.
My starting point for a piece will be a one-liner, like a summarised case study, on a (yellow, of course) Post-It note. In a departure from my usual technique of using markers that allow me the greatest possible precision, I work on the bananas with watercolours, which inevitably bleed with the ink. Although I find it challenging to give up on perfection, it reflects the reality of relationships: you can’t control another person and you have to find a way of living with imperfections and compromises. You have to take risks.
When it comes to showing the work, I’ve been intrigued by the idea that having people choose a piece without knowing the theme would give me a voyeuristic insight into their relationships and feelings. You could think about each pair of bananas as a different couple or about the whole series as representing the same couple at different stages and different points in time.
Some people have asked whether the bananas are a phallic thing. No! They’re what happened to be in front of me when I got the idea for the series. I suppose the idea might have worked with cherries instead, but they have sexual connotations too. Botanically speaking, all fruits are sexy anyway.