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More information about the project

Love is the glue that binds people.
The love and friendship that I have received during the horrible time of illness of my beloved Craig and after he passed away made me realise how important this love and friendship is to me. It made me think about the friendship in my life and the meaning of friendship in general. Since I am an artist I wanted to visualise my thoughts and this lead to the making of CIRCLE OF FRIENDS.
CIRCLE OF FRIENDS is not only a collection of individual portraits, but also a portret of one particulair circle of friends and, indirectly, also a portrait of me ànd of Craig and me. Show me your friends and I tell you who you are.

I have made a list of the people who surrounded me and Craig: from close family to people I had only just met. I asked these persons if they wanted to participate in the project. Those who reacted postive I asked for a favourite portrait of themselves on a photograph and I let them fill in a short questionnaire. These photographs were used to make portraits on A4 format using the linocut technique. In the portraits I tried to capture the atmosphere of the photographs and my, presumed, knowledge of the caracters of the persons. ( I also got in contact with people that I heard of, but never met, since they were friends of Craig.) The linocuts were printed and the prints given to the portrayed friends. Next to the print was an empty space (A4) that I asked my friends to fill, however and with whatever they liked. As long as it said something about friendship in general, or, perhaps, our friendship in particular.

It became a work consisting of 105 portraits. Each portrait exists of 4 parts:

  1. the cut out and inkted lino-portrait
  2. the print in black and white
  3. the reaction of the portrayed

All portraits are framed in the same frames (30 x 88 cm.). On the frames are the first name and the date of birth of the portrayed in stick on letters.

And now there is the web-book!
Browsing through this book you can get an impression of the circle of friends that surrounded me and Craig. I hope that the looking at the portraits and reading the stories will make you think about your own friends and what they mean to you.
A circle of friends is always in motion and any (static) image you make of it is incomplete and related to time and emotions and lots of other factors, as you can imagine. As soon as I finished this portrait of my circle it had changed completetely…
I am especially thinking of Tony Mellor now. A dear friend who died in may 2005 and is missed by many in this circle of friends. Tony: the man that brought Craig and me together, well, that is what he liked to think anyway. A sweet and fascinating friend.

Ilse Versluijs

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