The Harry Potter illustrator who linked London with Scotland is part of a three-day exhibition in Chelsea
There are 22 artists and sculptors from Dumfries and Galloway looking to sprinkle some Scottish stardust on a corner of Chelsea later this month. One of them, illustrator Clare Melinsky, is more familiar with wizardry than most.
© Courtesy Spring Fling
A bold artist known for chunky and colourful lino cuts, Melinsky made covers for all seven Harry Potter novels in a Bloomsbury-commissioned, JK Rowling-approved flurry in 2010.
© Courtesy Spring Fling
“I had to cover up what was on my desk so even my friends didn’t know what I was working on,” she says, discussing the secrecy which proved the hardest part of the project.
“There were many times when I sat up reading the text deep into the night so I could get the illustrations just right.
“And sometimes I went out in search of places that would give me inspiration.”
Once the covers were out, Melinsky swiftly won new-found admiration from her nephews and nieces, inspired by a local landmark.
“Many people assume that the picture of platform 9¾ in on the back cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is from Kings Cross.
“In fact it’s not – it’s the railway station at Dumfries.
“And the gravestones on The Deathly Hallows are also from reality. I based them on the old graveyard at Morton in Dumfries and Galloway.”
An artist with 30 years’ experience to call upon, Melinsky has also created covers for all 39 of Shakespeare’s plays for Penguin Books and designed special issue stamps for the Royal Mail. She’s in good company in this showcase, joined by artists including Patricia Cain - the winner of the Threadneedle and Aspect Prize in 2010 - and new talents.
“Names like Patricia will be familiar to many, but what a lot of people don’t realise is how much creativity is concentrated in Dumfries and Galloway,” says organiser Leah Black.
“This exhibition is about changing that, and letting people across the UK know that this beautiful region of Scotland has so much to offer to anyone with an interest in art.”
Spring Fling, the popular annual event in the region, will feature 95 Scottish artists in a series of open studios from May 24-26.
- D&G|OUT is at James Harvey British Art, London from April 24-26. Clare Melinsky will be discussing her work on April 24 at 6pm. Tickets £8, visit spring_fling.eventbrite.co.uk to book.
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