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The Cranky Caterpillar

Posted on 14 Sep 2017

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.

The Cranky Caterpillar

Richard Graham
£10.95