Parts of Childhood.
Henry Driver is a young British artist who contacted us about his actually great project of revisiting his childhood den. Barely an adult he is looking back capturing his memories and the feeling of being a child.
How did you come up with the idea?
Recently, I have been drawn back to parts of my childhood. At the age of nineteen and on the edge of adulthood, it seems natural to look back at my past, what has made and sculptured me into who I am today.
The den and surrounding area which you see in the accompanying images is where I spent a large amount of my childhood. Engrossed in my imagination and distant from reality it was like my own kingdom. When I revisited it the whole place seemed so different, so corroded and distant. Yet at the same time it is so familiar, it is I who has changed. I now see it through different eyes.
I wanted to create work which dealt with this distortion of memories and how you can never truly revisit a place from your memory, because you and it are constantly changing.
The images you see have been ravaged by a variety of analogue and DIY processes to distance the original image from what it was, just like my memories and views of this place have altered and changed.
What kind of feelings do you get from revisiting your den?
The experience is a strange one. It is full of nostalgia but also sadness. As I said the whole place seems so aged and altered. The structures I made stand on their last legs, sullen and heavy under the weight of themselves. The wood is rotten and ready to fall. Parts have been completely trampled to the ground by unwelcome visitors. I find the fragility of it all really interesting how something which took me years to build could now be knocked down and destroyed in seconds. The size of it shocks me as well. It all seemed so much bigger when I was younger, and the small wood which it is in seemed like a continent. I can no longer fit inside the structures or interact with the place how I once did. Just like I am no longer the child who played here, I can never connect with it in the same way.
Why had you built your den in the first place?
I think what initially drew me to the wood was how exotic and different I thought it was. The trees are Laurel and Monkey puzzle trees which always seemed out of place and alien. The wood didn’t seem like it belonged to England but some jungle from a distant world. Within the wood is a stream and this strange concrete well. Which I always thought was a missile silo or a flooded entrance to a cavernous world and it was my task to guard it. On the edge of the wood, is an old water tower which seemed as tall as the Eiffel Tower. I always wanted to climb it and find out what was inside it but I was too scared of what I might find.
The seclusion of the whole place was enticing as well. Somewhere I could escape and be at one with my imagination. It was this escapism which made it such a large part of my childhood and kept me coming back to it but it was the beauty and obscurity of it which initially drew me.
Once I discovered this place, I wanted to claim it, to make it mine. I began to build structures within the wood out of anything I could salvage and find. I even made obstacles and trip wires to keep people out. However, I never went in the den at night. I felt it didn’t belong to me then, it belonged to the night. That when the moon rose something would crawl out the well and exist in the den till the first rays of the sun banished it back.
Anything else you like and we should know about?
I also make music when I can find the time. I love synthesizers; however, what is holding my attention at the moment is a really old piano. It’s out of tune and rings whenever a note is played but it sounds amazing, it has real character to. It’s worth nothing and can’t be tuned but I love the way the sound it creates has been distorted with age. I guess that relates back to my art.
Currently I’m making music in an electronic two piece called ‘Palace’. Sounds wise umm I don’t know you’ll have to judge for yourself. Witch house meets Shoegaze with the drumming of ‘Health’…