“When I was invited to create a chess set for this exhibition, I decided to paint one with a message. I settled on the subject of the oceans, which is particularly topical now. There are so many damning reports and assessments appearing about the damage caused by such things as plastic pollution, climate change and rising sea temperatures, resulting in the decimation of marine life and the bleaching of corals. The white pieces represent these fading corals and the opposing pieces are painted to represent the seas, contaminated with fragments of plastic. The alternating light and dark squares of my chess board show both clear seas and the darker polluted waters.
However, I also wanted my chess set to look beautiful, (as well as to be playable.) These issues of pollution and climate change are terrible and more than concerning, but on this planet and in nature there is great beauty. Therefore, my chess set shows both the “spoiling” factors, such as plastic debris and the wonderful “spoils“- the jewel-like corals, (which despite the bleaching, are still exquisite,) as beautiful.
It is serendipitous that the word “spoil” contains another pollutant that has wrought havoc on the seas, beaches and sea life, and which I have illustrated on many of the dark squares, and that is oil.”
Purling London Art Chess sets are individually hand painted by specially commissioned British and international artists and no two sets are the same. From established figures to rising stars of the Contemporary Art scene, Purling has collaborated with 30 artists to date, including Sophie Matisse, Inkie and Thierry Noir. Complete with a numbered certificate signed by the artist and our deluxe, Birds-eye maple boards; each hand-carved, triple-weighted Art Chess is a miniature sculptural masterpiece.
“When I look at our Art Chess sets, I see a contemporary painting over a three dimensional surface. I want to explore the pieces from every angle, look around them and hold them. As I play Art Chess I see a moving and evolving painting, with opposing colours and sides mixing and integrating. The game of chess is a creative art form in itself and for me, it is perfect to play it with a unique and beautiful set. ”
Simon Purkis, Founder, Purling London