19 Dec 2011

Seasonal Antlers

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year. And to those that do - thanks for following!

12 Dec 2011

'Memories' book for Maggie's

The book 'Memories' has just been launched. It contains texts by people who have survived cancer, or lost a loved one to the disease and contains 12 illustrations by different artists who have interpreted the stories visually. Here is an illustration I did for Kathleen Inglis' memory of her mother. The cover price will be donated to Maggie’s Cancer Centres which help cancer victims and their families in an atmosphere of understanding, support and creativity. Click here to order the book.

1 Dec 2011

Art College Poster for 'V&A Postmodernism'

Recent poster I designed for the V&A exhibition, 'Postmodernism: Style & Subversion 1970-1990' to go out to Art Colleges and Universities this Semester. The image combines aspects of the museum collection in general and specific shapes and objects from the exhibition such as Mariscal's 'Garriris' Mickey Mouse chair, a Martin Bedin lamp and the iconic forms of Ettore Sottsass.

23 Nov 2011

George Condo: Mental States

Saw the George Condo exhibition, Mental States' at the Hayward. These dark and wild paintings are truly 'grotesque'. All of the portraits are genuinely frightening - or at least very disturbing - I think because they are so odd but so familiar at the same time. It feels as if they might be 'funny', but you wouldn't laugh, the characters are too tortured. The different framings add to the idea of a curated portrait collection gathered from wealthy collectors which I guess is exactly what they now are! There's a film of George Condo talking about the work and giving a bit of insight on the Guardian Website.

17 Nov 2011

Book cover: 'La Conversation' by Jean d'Ormesson

Just received a copy of a french language novel I illustrated the cover for - 'La Conversation' written by Jean d'Ormesson. It revolves around  an imaginary conversation between Napoleon Bonaparte and Jean-Jacques Regis de Cambacérès, his consul. The book explores the tension between Napoleon's republican revolutionary spirit and his desire of power. (So I was told by Heloise d'Ormesson, the author's daughter - my French is nowhere near good enough to read it!)

14 Nov 2011

The Future of Fashion

A news item from Pathe News from the 1930s showing what designers of the time thought fashion in 2000 would be like. Wait for the male outfits - even better than the women's lightbulb headwear. The commentary really seals it: "Oooh swish!" "It's the sleeves what does it!"

7 Nov 2011


I've been invited by Lisa Wright to show at the 'Discerning Eye' exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London which opens this week and runs November 10 - 21. This is one of two pieces I'm showing - a collage and mixed media work titled 'Colony' which incorporates a 'real' artificial diamond.

4 Nov 2011

Guy Fawkes for 'Heart' Agency

A picture of Guy Fawkes for bonfire night made for Heart - the Agency that represents my illustration work. The illustration is the Heart homepage image for two nights only! www.heartagency.com

1 Nov 2011

Yinka Shonibare: Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

Passed Yinka Shonibare's 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square today. It was a beautiful day and the ship looked stunning in the sun. It's sails are made from  patterned textiles associated with African dress and symbolic of African identity and independence - reminders of the legacy of British colonialism and its expansion in trade and Empire. As I squint upwards, I imagine Nelson looks down from his column a few feet away with a raised eyebrow. A great piece - that also resonates for me through fond memories of building an 'Airfix' version of the HMS Victory as a boy.

27 Oct 2011

Grayson Perry: Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

Grayson Perry curates an installation of his new works alongside objects made by unknown men and women throughout history from the British Museum’s collection. Alan Measles, Perry's childhood teddy is the star at the centre of the show - appearing in different guises and in different time periods. Really enjoyed this show - wasn't sure I was going to, but came away really feeling like I'd seen the collection in new ways and loved Grayson's subtle humour. The craftsmanship throughout is staggering - Grayson's work as well as the work by 'unknown' hands.  British Museum blog

22 Oct 2011

The Guardian: Police Undercover by Marina Hynde

Illustration for The Guardian's 'Comment & Debate' (Sat 22 October 2011). The article, by Marina Hyde is titled 'The great Met movie will be less Keanu, more Keystone. It is about how some Metroplitan police officers have concealed their identity when giving false evidence in criminal prosecutions as part of 'policing strategy'. Full article here.

19 Oct 2011

Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings

Went to see Infinitas Gracias at the Wellcome Foundation. This is an exhibition of Votive paintings from mining communities in Mexico, some going back to the turn of the century. As well as the paintings there are photos, artefacts, films and interviews - with some really moving prayers and hopes & wishes for future life. Also on at the Wellcome alongside is an exhibition by Felicity Powell titled Charmed Life. This is so worth a trip too. She has selected charms - a sheep's heart, amulets, carved shoes, mounted teeth - from Edward Lovett's massive collection and also made Sleight of Hand - a strange animated film of carving and smudging miniatures in wax. Below is a votive from Infinitas Gracias:  I thank our Lord Saint Francis of Assisi for saving us from drowning on 27 October 1962. 

14 Oct 2011

V&A Postmodernism Poster

I designed this poster for the V&A's new exhibition, 'Postmodernism: Style & Subversion 1970-1990' to go out to secondary schools around and about. An interesting show - focuses on the eclectic 'look' of the times through objects and images.

7 Oct 2011

Surreal Google Street View

Stumbled across a great blog - 'The Nine Eyes of Google Street View' that shows frames from Google Street View searched and selected by Jon Rafman that have been captured by the detached gaze of the cameras of Google cars. I quite like these two images together. So many stories here, some you don't even want to know about!

3 Oct 2011

The Rise & Progress of Superstition

This image is from a series of collages originally shown as part of my exhibition, ‘The Rise and Progress of Superstition’.This series of 'portraits' combines Dutch old masters and modernist classics. More from the series here.

29 Sep 2011

Animation: History of Flight

A very short bit of animation I am experimenting with. More will follow soon I hope, but it is taking longer than I thought to get things moving!

27 Sep 2011

Card Trump Boxes

These well loved and well used tin card holders (1940s?) were a present that consisted of three - but that didn't include 'diamonds'. I was finally given the last one, which has a knob to turn it to the trump of choice - a very happy man - all bases now covered!

25 Sep 2011

Folkestone Triennale

The last day of the Folkestone Triennale. A lovely sunny day and some interesting work including this suspended 16th Century bell by the sea by A K Dolven titled 'Out of Tune' and beech hut forms by Richard Wilson cut and constructed from a long abandoned crazy golf course. Also great work by Hew Locke and a poignant and beautifully shot 3 screen film by Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen about migrants from Afghanistan and Iran who live in makeshift camps near Calais and hope to finish their final crossing to England.

Twins: Nature v. Nurture

An illustration I did for The Times which looks at the classic topic of the effects of nature and nurture in developing happiness and skill in twin studies. I think I'll always come out stronger on the side of nurture.

17 Sep 2011

Department of Psychedelic Studies

Went to the closing event of 'The Department of Psychedelic Studies' at Wysing Arts Centre. Some mind-bending sounds and some unusual structures. Here is 'Beehive Skyscraper' by Bedwyr Willimas and a re-cycled buliding called 'Amphis' made in 2008 by Folke Kobberling, Martin Kaltwasser and helpers. Also, a great poster for UFO MK2 - not sure who did it - anyone know?

V&A Summer Posters

The end of the Summer. Just finished new designs for Autumn children's posters for the V&A. These Summer ones (in the tunnel at South Kensington) will be down in a week or two.

16 Sep 2011

Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978-2010

I was really knocked out by the Thomas Struth show at the Whitechapel Gallery. It was a retrospective of work he has made since 1978. I have seen his work before in books and admired his precise aesthetic and composition, but seeing the work in the flesh and at real scale was another thing entirely. The photographs all feel larger than life and often are - they tower over you and the colours are super saturated. Many of the locations are unpeopled (except in tiny detail) and the position we are in as the viewer is unsettling. Are we in the picture? Passive observers? Where are we exactly? And even when we know we are in an art gallery looking at big photos, we still feel as if we are looking at the subjects from a very new perspective. There is an uneasy balance in these impressive images between absolute clarity and total mystery - there is always a little more than meets the eye. The questions often seem to be around technology and how it causes us to live and relate to each other and the world. So glad I saw the show. Here's a pic of a half submerged oil rig, but you have to behold the image at scale (about 12 feet across) to really appreciate its power.

13 Sep 2011

Stages & Arenas

Looking back through some of my work and found this image. Seems to speak of moving and familial relationships..... actually perhaps it's just that I like the green. More of the series on my website here.

Ruthin Flower and Country Show

Visited Ruthin Flower and Country Show in North Wales last month. There were some great exhibits, entries and prizewinners, for such things as 'Longest Runner Bean' and 'Best Animal Made From Vegetables' and even 'A Plate of Vegetables Not Listed in Schedule'. My favourite was this potato mouse. The arrangements were beautiful, imaginative and amazing. There was also a large collection of machinery badges attached to differently shaped old bedheads on show - true Folk Art. A wonderful experience.

1 Sep 2011

Goodbye to the Cutty Sark?

Here's an illustration I did for The Guardian on the morning that the Cutty Sark burnt.  Just been looking at progress being made now and it looks like an excuse has been found to turn the ghost of what was left  into the bones of yet another 'interactive visitor centre' due to open in 2012. Looks more like a spaceship than a boat to me. We'll see...... What do you think? Here's a link to the Cutty Sark experience!

30 Aug 2011

Bear Necessities Month

The World Society for the Protection of Animals have designated this month as 'Bear Necessities Month'. They are campaigning to protect bears from cruelty and captivity. Click here to find out more about their great work.

27 Aug 2011

Property: Elizabeth McCracken

Elizabeth McCracken talks about her work and her short story, 'Property' that I illustrated for Granta. This image was unused - one of a number I made in response to the narrative. Click here to hear a podcast (no.18) of Elizabeth talking about her process.

12 Aug 2011

Alfred Hitchcock 'The Birds'

A birthday picture for the great Alfred Hitchcock and my dad who was a massive fan. This image is part of a series I did titled 'Show me where to go, if you know which way to go'  There are more images from the series here for those interested.

6 Aug 2011

PJ Harvey and Seamus Murphy

A really haunting video for PJ Harvey's beautiful song 'Let England Shake'. A lot of the imagery is of an abandoned(?) fairground, cut with shots of Punch & Judy. Apparently it was filmed at a Fairground on Canvey Island - must visit! Here's a link to Seamus Murphy talking about the process of making the filmThe work reminds me a bit of An Entertainment - a video piece by Susan Hiller that I saw recently in her retrospective at the Tate. 

4 Aug 2011

Neil Armstrong Apollo 11

Seems like an appropriate image to say Happy Birthday to astronaut, Neil Armstrong -  the first person to set foot on the Moon, which he did on July 20, 1969. He famously said,  "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong later said that he had accidentally dropped the 'a' from his remark, rendering the phrase a contradiction (as 'man' in such use is synonymous with mankind if you know what I mean!) I did this illustration for an article in New Scientist a while back.

Surrealists: Masks & Disguises

A pretty great window display in Paignton. Beats the original surrealists with their 'Arcades' images!

3 Aug 2011

The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg

Here's an image I did for the New York Times. It was a book review by Jean Thompson for 'The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg'. Strange characters in strange stories. Here's a snippet of the writing in a story titled 'The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor': "Francie snatched open a drawer and out flew the fact of her mother's slippery, pinkish heap of underwear." Click here to see other editorial work.

29 Jul 2011

Happy Birthday Abram Games

Happy Birthday Abram Games, Graphic Artist. Grow your own food - supply your own cookhouse. Still visually and socially relevant today.

26 Jul 2011

V&A Courses 2011-12

The V&A have published their new courses booklet which I have illustrated. The flowering creativity of Byron! 

19 Jul 2011

Dark Antlers

The Caribbean UK Film Festival

The Caribbean UK Film Festival 2011 took place at the V&A 10-11 July. It was a celebration of 60s British Caribbean heritage on the big screen. I made this image to publicise the event.

17 Jul 2011

Bedwyr Williams tear on a microscope

Just finished helping with Bedwyr Williams' show, 'Nimrod' at Oriel Davies. 'Nimrod' is a scaled-down airport, complete with watchtower and runway, with planes made from skateboards and walking sticks - ‘geekily’ compelling! The show has some other great ironic pieces including this one of a microscope holding a slide of the artist's teardrop.

16 Jul 2011

Julian Barnes: The Sense of an Ending

Just finished reading an advanced copy of 'The Sense of an Ending' - Julian Barnes latest book. It was quite dark, but I couldn't put it down - a vivid and hyperreal sense of ageing and the passing of time. There were some extracts from the book in today's Telegraph Review which I illustrated.

9 Jul 2011

'The Outsider' by Albert Camus

Here is the final book which will be available on general release from Folio in August. It is hardback and comes with a nice brown card sleeve. The text and images are beautifully printed on different papers. Part of my idea was that the 'feel' of the book was like a civil service file.

5 Jul 2011

Winner of Folio Society / House of Illustration 'The Outsider' Competition!

I can now report that I have won the Folio Society / House of Illustration 'The Outsider' Competition - v v pleased! I needed to keep it hush hush for the last couple of months which has been v hard, now I can tell the world! The prize was a commission to work on "The Outsider" by Albert Camus. Had a great launch and prizegiving evening last night - thanks to everyone who came! It was great to meet the other shortlisted illustrators - Chungwoon Choi, Georgina Hounsome, Anne-Marie Jones, Joseph Melhuish and Alenka Sottler, as well as Quentin Blake who was one of the judges and presented prizes. Here are a couple of the images from the book. More from the book on Heart website.

3 Jul 2011

Spoken Ink (Halloween)

Just been framing an illustration I did for Spoken Ink- a group who have done a series of storytelling events in the Royal Parks of London. I worked with design group Cha Cha on this project. Well pleased that the image has been chosen for the AOI's Images 35 exhibition which will open at the Bankside Gallery on 25 August.