A Life Well Lived

One mark for each day in a memorable life.

The tally is a graphic respresentation of numbers. Block of 5 units are written using 4 vertical lines and one diagonal line (usually bottom left to top right). This pattern is then repeated continuously until the required is represented.

Famously, the tally is often to depict the passing of days during a period – most often seen on prison walls to mark the days served by the inmate, as if counting down the days to their release.

I started doing these pieces for myself as an experiment to see what the number of days that I had been alive would look like represented in this way.

I was shock to find that, when seen on a piece of paper, a life really doesn’t look like much. So I began to paint a single solid line over the grids to represent “Today” – this, in my opinion, being the most important day in one’s life.

In 2016, when so many many musical superstars passed away I began my “Lives Well Lived” series, creating pieces to commemorate their lives and to recognise that they all truly lived their lives.

Pieces In This Series

A Life Well Lived: George Michael, 19,453 Days

George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) was born on June 25th 1963 and died suddenly on Christmas Day, 2016. Due to his history of drug-related offences, rumour and conjecture at the time of his death suggested that this was another celebrity overdose. However, whilst an initial poet-mortem proved inconclusive, a senior coroner finally attributed his death to natural causes as the result of a dilated cardiomyopathy with a myocarditis and a fatty liver.

This piece features 19,543 tally marks, one for each day of his life, through which can be seen a faint portrait, based on the cover of his third solo album ‘Older’.

A Life Well Lived: Prince, 21,139 Days

Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7th, 1958 and died on April 21, 2016.

Whilst he had cancelled a number of shows in the weeks leading up to his death he was not thought to be seriously unwell. His unexpected death – from an accidental overdose of the prescription painkiller Fentanyl – subsequently came as a massive shock to his millions of fans worldwide.

This piece  features 21,139 tally marks, one for each day of his life, overlaid with the “Love Symbol”, a graphic derived from the symbols for Man and Woman.

Prince adopted the symbol as his name in 1993, as a protest against his restrictive Warner Bros record label contract, resulting in his being called “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince” in the media for many years.

A Life Well Lived: David Bowie, 25,205 Days

David Bowie was born on January 1st 1947 and died on January 10th, 2016. He had been suffering from cancer for some time but had kept his illness a secret and his death came as a massive shock to his millions of fans worldwide.

This piece features 25,205 tally marks, one for each day of his life, overlaid with the iconic red, black and blue lighting bolt, as worn by Bowie’s most famous and well-loved incarnation, Ziggy Stardust.