The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Features

There He Is Now, Father Brian Eno Looking Sad
Laurie Tuffrey , September 1st, 2015 01:03

We recently found out that Dublin-based artist Shota Kotake was producing a Father Ted picture a day to mark the programme's 20th anniversary, so we got in touch to find out more, and he drew us a special commission

All images courtesy of (Father) Shota Kotake

We here at tQ are rather big Father Ted fans. Barely a day goes by when at least one scene from the show's three series doesn't come to mind, whether that's our fondness for competition (disclaimer: as yet, none of our prizes have been a battered Rover 213 previously owned by the Dancing Priest), the endless cup of teas brewed by some members of staff with a Mrs. Doyle-like fervour or the money that was just resting in our acc… (our lawyer and the Archdiocese of Dublin would like us to state that our financial records are as clean as Benson's whistle).

So it was with great delight that we discovered the work of Shota Kotake, an artist based in Dublin who's set about drawing a different picture from Father Ted every day to mark the programme's 20th anniversary. So far, he's up to 111 pictures, and has already depicted such greats as Ted's Las Vegas dreams, Chris the sheep preparing for the 1998 King of the Sheep competition and Father Billy O'Dwyer, aka the Spinmaster, with only The Specials' 'Ghost Town' to play. Shota's plan is to draw enough pictures to qualify for a Guinness World Record and he was kind enough to draw a special request from tQ HQ. So, laypeople, we are immensely proud to unveil the sadness of Father Brian Eno, denied a handshake from Ted - take a look above.

Once he'd put the finishing touches to the Ambient Priest, Shota also took the time to answer some questions about his undertaking and whether or not he was just put up to it by Father Dick Byrne.

When did you first discover Father Ted?

Shota Kotake: When I was 15, in my Irish host family's house. When I was flicking through the channels I saw the scene where Ted falls asleep at the wheel with Jack and Dougal conked out in the back of the car, and when it faded to morning the car is still driving safely and Ted wakes up thinking he just dozed off. Still remember the impact of the joke.

What gave you the idea to draw a Father Ted picture every day?

SK: I considered how to overwhelm one's emotion. Art is something which has reached the point beyond expectation. In my case, numbers are one of the forces to reach the point. You probably wouldn't care about one hairy baby, but you'd suspect Pat Mustard if it's hundreds of hairy babies. And of course, to celebrate the 20 years of holiness.

How long will you keep going for?

SK: I'd like to go as far as possible. I'd try 365 days first as season one, then keep going until the end of season three, just like the show. And maybe more.

Of the pictures you've got so far, which are you most pleased with?

SK: The 39th picture, which featured Bishop Brennan. It reached a bit beyond my expectation. Particularly for this one, I accidentally soaked newsprint paper which I noticed distorted when I drew shadows with washed ink. This gave the blank area a radial texture and it looks ecumenical with Bishop Brennan's atmosphere. It was a little kick in his ass.

Are there any scenes or characters that have proved too difficult to draw, or would that be an ecumenical matter?

SK: Sometimes I feel challenged when I expect the piece to take more time; especially drawing women and kids. I have done hundreds of portraits and caricatures live and from photos for people over the last two years, but I feel the pressure all the time. Because I don't wanna disappoint any of them. So I found #096 Laura Sweeney a little more challenging than other pieces because she's wearing skirts. But overcoming such pressure is like a cup of tea from Mrs. Doyle and her tiny cake with cocaine in it.

It looks like you've been adding some Ted-themed art to the streets of Dublin - how did that come about?

SK: It was more to see how people react to my Father Ted stuff before starting TED A DAY. There are a good few hints and jokes regarding homosexuality all over the show and I thought it would be a perfect case to examine what Irish society would make of seeing these two extreme poles in one frame - that is, priests and homosexuality. All taking place during the Marriage Equality Referendum.

Fortunately, Father Clarke (Arthur Mathews) had a mass and preached that Ted would vote yes in the referendum. After hearing this, I had no reason to stop, because I got the keys of his car, all I had to do is drive into the big wall. Favourably, the reaction was ecumenical. So I gave TED A DAY a go.

Have you had any word from the show's creators or other fans?

SK: A couple of retweets from Father Gallagher (Graham Linehan). Also an email from Father Billy Kerrigan (Arthur Mathews). Also got featured with Eoin McLove (Patrick McDonnell) on TV. I think he is lovely. It was surreal. Pat pronounced my name wrong as "Sheeto". No one ever called me "Sheeto". No offence to Pat though. I just love this new jumper.

I also met a few Ted fans in Dublin as I was doing caricature at a convention and had a great craic with them. One guy found my stuff and slowly flicked through all pages of my Father Ted art folder. He had a big smile on his face each time he flicked. We exchanged a few words and had a firm and stiff handshake.

We hear you've also got a DJ project - as well as Cutty Ranks and DJ Taktix, what other jungle tunes can we expect to hear from the drum & bass Father?

SK: I'm just having my fun with tunes that "sound like someone drilling a hole on a wall or something". I do love jungle and drum & bass, because I'm obsessed with the Amen Break sample, but I also love any techno music from 60 up to 220 bpm. Tunes are mostly from Japanese internet labels and artists. There are so many great anonymous tunes from anonymous artists. All I want to do is just play them blasting out and share with people. That's all that matters. I also love incorporating samples from the show into my live sets, especially Father Fintan Stack's lines.

Finally, what's your favourite line from Father Ted?

SK: I have two. Father Billy Kerrigan's "I'd, ERRR, better be going Ted" [in 'Entertaining Father Stone'] and Father Jim Sutton's "you bastard!" with his fist up in the air and "oh yeah, sure" [in 'Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest'].

Head to Shota's website to see all of his work and follow him on Facebook here

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.