James Abbott McNeill Whistler (July 14, 1834 – July 17, 1903) was an American-born, British-based painter and etcher. Averse to sentimentality in painting, he was a leading proponent of the credo “art for art’s sake”. He took to signing his paintings with a stylised butterfly, possessing a long stinger for a tail.

The sculpture, originally to be created by August Rodin, was subsequently created by Nicholas Dimbleby, the sculptor brother of David and Jonathan, and is located on Whistler’s Reach, right on the corner of Battersea Bridge.

To be respectful to Whistler’s credo, we decided to (digitally) spray paint the main statue with layers of primary colours, each dripping down over the previous one.

We used several variations of the butterfly motive, which Whistler evolved over the years, and had them ‘flying’ over the statue and into the branches of the conveniently placed tree behind.

On the plinth of the statue we projected one of his most famous paintings: Whistler’s Mother, though rather than being a static image, we applied various animated effects to distress and degrade the image.

An article about the history of the statue can be found here: Whistler Statue History

Photos by Alex Short

Photos by John May


Whistler Music

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