Artist in Residence Theo Crutchley-Mack writes about creaking oil tanks and exceeding his high expectations

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A good chance to meet everyone was at the Christmas BBQ
A good chance to meet everyone was at the Christmas BBQ

Sailing into an unknown place, full of unknown folks, was a strange feeling when I arrived as Artist in Residence at the South Georgia Museum. This was soon forgotten when I realised what a fantastic community exists here on the edge of the world. A busy schedule was planned for January 2018, full of a diverse variety of social and work events alike. We welcomed the New Year with a fantastic BBQ garnished with reindeer meat. This was a great opportunity to get to know everybody and begin to understand how everything works here on base.






The king penguins at St Andrews Bay were a birthday treat
The king penguins at St Andrews Bay were a birthday treat

When asking about the possibilities of traveling beyond Grytviken, I was fairly answered with a ‘potentially not’. This was far from the case as there soon came an opportunity to visit St Andrews Bay, the home of a large king penguin colony boasting a staggering 500,000 birds. Knowing that I would be walking among such a vast abundance of wildlife on what turned out to be my birthday exceeded my already high expectations.







Not forgetting the reason I am here, the visual qualities of the whaling station were also far superior than any photographs could speak. Until you stand before the great oil tanks that are creaking and groaning in the wind you cannot experience this place for how it truly is. I filled a sketchbook with compositional drawings of the industrial remains, which will be vital for the making of larger-scale works when I return home to my studio in west Wales. The texture of the rust, combined with the solidity of the structures are a combination of attributes that lend themselves to my painting style, which involves mixing marble dust in with pigments that creates a sculptural quality to my process of painting.


Now my time as Artist in Residence has come to an end, I don’t feel sad to be leaving such a beautiful place, but excited having had this unique experience at all. Mostly I feel excited to begin a year’s worth of fresh painting with exciting opportunities of exhibiting in great venues on the horizon. Progress of my work related to this residency will be updated regularly throughout 2017 on my website and Facebook page which can be found here: www.crutchley-mack.com www.facebook.com/crutchleymack


Finally, it will be a pleasure to offer a percentage of painting sales to the South Georgia Heritage Trust, to support their projects preserving South Georgia - such a special part of the world.

A sketch made in the whaling station
A sketch made in the whaling station
One of Theo's previous art works - Juno
One of Theo's previous art works - Juno