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The Seven Ages of Man

artist's hair, tennis balls
75 x 14 x 3 cm

Notes on this work

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Ah, the middle years, the best of times

At last after a few years of squint and tweezers I have assembled, like the notes of an octave, a set of seven well-tempered tennis balls. They are meant to match Shakespeare's seven ages of man. A lawn-green stand (crafted by MDM) serves as their support.


The strokes of time are measured in the deciduous changes of my own hair applied to shaved tennis balls. They register the passing years by one of those annual markers like Easter or the Lord's Test Match, in this case the great tennis fixture of the summer in South London. A distorted line, again from Shakespeare, echoes in my head... and all our Wimbledons have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Magnificent but cheerless. Perhaps I should have settled for T.S. Eliot's finer scale... I have measured out my life in Wimbledons.

It is an enigmatic object seen as a whole and certainly speaks of something. If I completely knew what it said it would not then have been something worth saying. Such is art.This is not the end of hair however. I'm still growing the stuff. One of my dreams has been to make a hat out of my own hair, a fine chapeau d'artiste, or elegant fedora. What better headgear in the event of baldness than a homegrown hat replacing absent hair with its past self. Now that dream has come a little nearer...(to be continued).

 From Studio Diary, August 2010.