I’ve always been curious. About everything really, but mainly about people. Like most young kids my early vocabulary consisted of What? Where? Why? How? I never grew out of that. Hand me an object and I want to find out how it works. Put me with a random stranger and I will learn their life story in the next twenty minutes. Most times, they will also know mine. I don’t know where it came from, this curiosity, but up to now it’s done me no harm. I’ve met some hugely interesting people with great tales to tell….
Just recently I was commissioned to shoot some artists at work in Blackpool. When I turned up at one venue to find a casual looking guy wearing shorts, an apron and a woolly hat I knew we’d get on. Anthony Lysycia, sculptor, was working with a group of over sixties, carving large pieces of stone.
It wasn’t long before I was quizzing him about his life, his art background, his dog, where he was staying and various other vital questions. It was all interesting, but above all, I was fascinated by his throwaway line about staying in his van instead of a hotel. “It’s got all the home comforts I need,” he said, “and I’ve travelled all over the world in it.”
As I am about to leave I’m offered a tour of the living quarters. When the back doors are opened to reveal a kind of travelling rustic bedsit, complete with French shutters I realise that Anthony’s comment about home comforts is quite an understatement.
The back half of the van houses a large double bed, complete with top quality sheets and covers. At the front are the living quarters – a thick wooden bench to the left and a work surface to the right.
Old and quirky crockery and cutlery are superb junk shop finds.
The back doors open to reveal the view, more paintings and candelabra for when the sun goes down……
I admire the floor design, only to be told it is made up of squares of MDF, each one painstakingly painted in the traditional pattern of original old French tiles….
It was time to go. I leave Anthony drinking wine from the baseless wineglass and eating slices of German sausage.
I’ve always loved my house by the sea but it suddenly didn’t seem quite so appealing…..