Illustrator Richard Graham explains how his trips to Tate and his visits to the junk shops of Liverpool helped him come up with the idea of caterpillar living in a piano.
Tell us where did the idea of a caterpillar in a piano came from?
Richard: After studying I began working as an art technician at Harrow School where I was given a large workshop to help pupils make their ideas come to life. During my spare time I took advantage of the workshop space to assemble old junk into animal sculptures, which looking back I became a little obsessed with. The idea that there was a language to be expressed through objects and materials fascinated me – the idea that there is a story in all things.
I kept making animal sculptures; dogs with lightbulb eyes, birds with wood saw wings, cows with rubber glove udders! This went on until I had no room left to store them. I exhibited in some galleries around London but not many people wanted to buy my clunky sculptures, so I stopped making quite so many, and instead started writing and illustrating stories about the ones I liked the most. One tale I remember writing about was a caterpillar I made from the parts of an old piano… The rest – as they say – is history.