By Ella Guru
I met Diane in January 2015; We immediately clicked, and agreed that I would swap one of my paintings in exchange for one of her custom made frock coats.
I photographed Diane in her flat, with her chocolate labrador Charlie. Diane’s partner Angel held Charlie in check with treats.
Diane is reclining in a semi classical pose; She is holding a cup of tea. Tea features more than booze in my more recent paintings. Tea is a refreshing and soothing beverage, best consumed in flamboyant attire (and just in case you’d like to see another painting with tea, I’ve attached my painting of wrestler Greg Burridge). One expects decadence with such glamorous appearance, but in fact the colourful garments and the electricity charged when such a group of colourful people meet up is excitement enough. We need a cup of tea to calm down or coffee to wake up, depending how long some of us travel to be part of Diane’s colourful anti-fashion shows.
I painted the portrait of Diane from photographs over a month while I was cat and dog sitting for psychedelic artist, animator and musician Grande Dame at her flat in a crumbling Victorian hotel on Hastings seafront. By coincidence Grande Dame had a large portrait by John Lee Bird on her wall. The alphabet on Diane’s wall in the painting is also by John Lee Bird. Bird introduced Diane to Marnie Scarlet, whom i met by a different route… and the circles continue to overlap.
Diane is also surrounded by her own artwork, inspiring books and art pieces. It was a great pleasure to do this portrait, and is an ongoing delight to be part of the colour walk events that happen mostly in London – but are starting to branch out to other part of the country.
A couple of years ago at Sue Kreitzman’s talk-host night “Louche Women”, during an audience participation game, Diane said her dream was to overthrow the fashion world. Or take over. Or something like that. I will leave more detailed discussion of Diane and her work to others – just want to say that Diane is well on her way to making her dream come true.