I was honoured to be asked by Jamie Raven to design a £50, and later a £250,000 note for him to use in his magic performances on Britain’s Got Talent.
Honoured, but a little nervous. Forgery ceased to be a capital offence in 1832, but even so defaming the national currency is not something to be taken lightly. But Jamie’s an old friend so I thought it was worth the legal consequences. Out went Messrs Boulton and Watt (sorry lads, I know you started the Industrial Revolution and all, but move over for some proper celebrities) and in their place I drew Amanda, Alesha, Simon and David. I thought it politic to make Mr Cowell taller than Mr Walliams, but in retrospect, looking at the picture, I think I might have overdone the ladies’ swan necks.Here you can see Alesha’s reaction to my clever use of cross-hatching. People often react in this way. It’s embarrassing but I’ve learned to get used to it.
Seriously, the banknote was drawn with coloured pencils borrowed from my daughter’s art box! I tried using dip pen and different coloured inks to mimic the effect of the engraving on the original banknote, but it was so labour-intensive that I began to hallucinate…
I’ve known Jamie Raven for some years now. We’ve worked together at the Magic Circle and at various corporate gigs and weddings. I must also thank Jamie for introducing me to the Anstee Bridge Project, an organisation which supports Year 11 students who, for one day a week, require an alternative to school to ensure better engagement with education. It’s a project that’s dear to our hearts.
Congratulations to Jamie on his Britain’s Got Talent success. That’s the first time my art work has ever appeared on TV in a lemon!