Meet Talya Baldwin, a lovely local illustrator who is new to Heart Gallery but not to Hebden Bridge.
Talya is a freelance illustrator, originally from London, who moved to Hebden Bridge eight years ago and spent a long time desperately missing the noise and filth, and wanting to go back and stand on Old Street to hear the traffic and absorb the familiar chaos. Although she has come to love the quietness and the space here in Hebden Bridge, Talya has held on to her interest in urban nature and other things that cling to life against the odds.
Talya’s drawings are quite often of creatures or objects usually considered ugly, unwanted or unimportant: weeds, rats, feral pigeons, lost and broken toys, chickens, insects and crows.
Birds have always fascinated her, as have the fairy tales she was read as a child. She always wanted to know what happened to the unsung characters in these stories: the third-most-beautiful princesses, knights who failed in their quests, and all the frogs who remained un-kissed. Talya is currently writing and illustrating a book about them, funded by the Arts Council.
As tenacity and the will to survive are such important themes in her work, Talya really wanted to do a drawing about the floods in Hebden Bridge during 2012. She was astonished by the solidarity and effort of will that went into keeping the town above water. For some years, she had been working on a series of images of fantastical boats and vehicles, inspired by ideas around the medieval Narrenschiff (‘The Ship of Fools’) mentioned by Foucault in his book, Madness and Civilisation. Although the boat in Talya’s finished piece for Heart Gallery called ‘We Must Take The Current’ is of a different kind, it felt natural for her to think about Hebden as a sort of ark.
The title for the image comes from a quotation from Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar that reads:
On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves
Talya wanted both the image and the title to reflect something of the indomitable spirit that has not only kept Hebden Bridge going, but completely reinvented parts of it. She liked the suggestion in the quote that even at the very worst of times, the tide of adversity could bring positive things with it.
Heart Gallery now has Talya’s framed original ‘We Must Take The Current’ for sale along with some limited edition prints of it. Please do call in to see this amazing piece that was inspired by something so negative that hit our town so hard last year that many of us struggled to wade through those difficult months. Like I always say, out of every negative there is always a positive; it just sometimes takes a while to see it.