I finally got around to painting a Dazzle Ships canvas. I've been planning on doing this for a few years and have finally found the pluck to do it! I'm a little bit sad to paint on top of the Flatiron Building canvas that we had but I guess a little change never hurts. It was certainly fun to do and I'm pleased with the final outcome!

I'm a huge fan of the Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark album Dazzle Ships, particularly the artwork by Peter Saville. The album cover was inspired by the dazzle camouflage painted on ships during World War I. Dazzle camouflage is a fascinating concept that shouldn't work but actually did. According to marine painter Norman Wilkinson, "The primary object of this scheme was not so much to cause the enemy to miss his shot when actually in firing position, but to mislead him, when the ship was first sighted, as to the correct position to take up. Dazzle was a method to produce an effect by paint in such a way that all accepted forms of a ship are broken up by masses of strongly contrasted colour, consequently making it a matter of difficulty for a submarine to decide on the exact course of the vessel to be attacked... The colours mostly in use were black, white, blue and green... When making a design for a vessel, vertical lines were largely avoided. Sloping lines, curves and stripes are by far the best and give greater distortion."

I only found out recently that the Vorticist painter Edward Wadsworth was involved in the design of dazzle camouflage, which makes complete sense having been aware of his paintings on canvas for a long time. War on Germany was declared only thirty-three days after the publication of the very first Blast magazine ("Blast First"). Wadsworth spent the war in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve designing dazzle camouflage for allied ships. Always a fan of modern ships, Wadsworth was to utilise nautical themes in his art for the rest of his career.

The second of my dazzle camouflage inspired paintings is being used by Estate Design and Trade in their High Point showroom. Estate is the brainchild of my good friend Joel Sarvis and his associate Steph Schofield. Joel has been collecting vintage furniture and artifacts for years now, so Estate seems like a logical outlet for his passion. Estate Design and Trade collects and curates a fabulous selection of mid-century furniture, art, and off-kilter accessories for the home. Joel has worked as an award-winning stylist for showrooms all over the country and has always been a collector, hoarding the best of the best from dusty, bizarre, off the beaten path storefronts and road-side flea markets.

Joel has commissioned me to produce a series of canvases for Estate as well as designs for a silk screened pillow line (pictured). These are will be on display in their beautiful showroom at the Antique & Design Center in High Point, N.C., open between April 21 — April 26th. You can also find Joel Sarvis at the Design Archives store in downtown Greensboro.

Dazzle Ships Canvas

Dazzle Ships Painting by Kristian Goddard

Estate Design and Trade Pillow Designs