The Illustration Friday topic this week is Escape.
A lot of different ideas struck me at once, which was unusual.
I thought of escapist literature, escaping on holiday, escaping reality - it seemed it was going to be hard to pin this topic down due to the huge variety of ideas.
I also thought about Hansel and Gretel escaping from the witch, Jack escaping from the Giant and the stereotypical escaping prisoners dressed in prison uniforms printed with a pattern of arrows.
That made me think of the Man in the Iron mask for a while, since he was held for eleven years in a prison on an island close to here [Its a short boat ride from Cannes]
Alexandre Dumas based his novel on the rough historical facts of a prisoner kept on the island of Ste Marguerite who was kept with his face constantly covered by an mask. I've visited his cell on the island and it certainly supports the idea of the prisoner being an important person in his own right since the cell is large and at one point had some sort of basic murals painted on the walls -the painted outlining can still be seen. Its certainly not the usual sort of prison cell for that time period.
Anyway for a while i wondered about this masked prisoner's idea of escape and maybe taking off the mask would have seemed like a relief , an escape of a sort.
I gave up on that idea while i was pondering what an iron mask would look like and for some reason that made me think of Houdini - escape artist extraordinaire.
I remember being fascinated by his life when i was a child. I read lots of books and tried to work out how he performed many of his tricks. I think i fancied the idea of being able to cope with any eventuality and to be able to escape handcuffs, not that i was planning a life of crime.
In this image I wanted to make a poster for Houdini but i did not want to copy any of the surviving posters or handbills that are now museum pieces or collectibles.
I have used a photo of young Houdini as a reference and some iron rings wrapped with chains and padlocked - i've 'broken' the chain to symbolise his mastery over handcuffs, chains and restraints - his Escape, in fact.