23 Sep 2012

Tacita Dean + The Bournemouth Balloon

The 'Bournemouth Balloon' - tethered and magical as I passed at night together with a still from Tacita Dean's, ‘A Bag of Air’, a subtle 16mm black& white film I saw in 'New Eyes' at the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne a while back. Dean’s project touches upon humankind’s need to turn the invisible into the visible and to make something physical out of the immaterial. 

9 Aug 2012

Madge Gill 'Myrninerest'

There is a major retrospective of the work by the visionary outsider artist, Madge Gill at The Nunnery in Bow, London till 16 August. Madge Gill (1882-1961) had no recognition in her lifetime - she was a spiritualist and created work through a spirit guide she called 'Myrninerest'. Many pieces include a female figure - possibly self portraits. She is included in Jean Dubuffet's Collection d'Art Brut in Lausanne, but most of her output is owned by Newham Council. Quite a few years back I bought a magical drawing by Madge - here it is.

3 Aug 2012

Machines of Man Ray and Duchamp

Man Ray's Object To Be Destroyed (1923) combines a metronome with a photograph of an eye.  He said: 'I had a metronome which I set going when I painted - like the pianist sets going when he starts playing - its ticking noise regulated the frequency and number of my brushstrokes. The faster it went, the faster I painted. A painter needs an audience, so I also clipped a photo of an eye to the metronome's swinging arm. One day I did not accept the metronome's verdict, the silence was unbearable and since I had called it, with a certain premonition, 'Object of Destruction', I smashed it to pieces.'  In 1920, Marcel Duchamp made an optical experiment with the help of Man Ray. Making use of the fact that the eye retains an image for a fraction of a second after it disappears, he built a motorized machine. Segments of a circle were painted on glass plates and mounted on an electrically operated metal axis. Apparently the experiment was not a success. The objects from these 'experiments' are at MOMA, New York

22 Jul 2012

Leah Fusco Gallery

The Leah Fusco Gallery opened in Rye, Kent a few months back. Leah has made some really interesting and sensitive work exploring a place through 'psyco-geography' - the hidden stories and formative histories of specific sites. She mainly makes work around the Kent coast, including a series about Beachey Head (the famous suicide landmark) and Dungeness (the windswept site of a strangely placed nuclear power station, and incidentally where artist and filmmaker, Derek Jarman lived). The image below comes from her work at Dungeness. Get along and have a look!

13 Jul 2012

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

I found Heddon Street, off regent Street, on street view - the road where David Bowie posed for the cover of his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The original light has since been replaced by a faux victorian streetlamp with hanging baskets attached! Ziggy would have been a lot more spooked to have landed in 2012! The photo was taken by Brian Ward and artworked & coloured by illustrator Terry Pastor.

7 Jul 2012

Poetry Review

Had an interesting commission to do a cover for Poetry Review which has just come out. I was privileged to read some really stunning work. Here's a link to the Poetry Review website, where you can read some of the poems. George Szirtes, Guest editor writes about this volume: '“Poetry today seems to me more a delta than a single river... we cannot help but be aware of the currents around us... But I know where the less explored areas are and wanted to invite writers to open them up through a sense of shareable enthusiasm, to show us not so much the fascination of the difficult, but the fascination of poetry as a whole: the full delta."

29 Jun 2012

Feminism, Paxman, Smith, cats, mice & Tories

Just illustrated an article in the Guardian's 'Comment & Debate' section (Sat 30 June 2012) written by Tanya Gold about Jeremy Paxman's recent mauling of Chloe Smith on Newsnight. 'How dare Chloe Smith's anonymous colleague describe her as a 'mouse' while Paxman gets to be a cat.... except that such a stand, although tempting, is a distraction, a (mouse) trap and a waste of time. Defend Chloe Smith from her sniggering colleagues? Why? Why stand in solidarity with a woman who stands in solidarity only with herself? Full article on Guardian website

21 Jun 2012

Library of Lost Books

I have been sent a book by the 'Library of Lost Books', an ongoing project to rescue old, discarded and damaged books to be re-made or re-imagined by 40 artists. The book I have been sent is a catalogue of books in the lending department of Richmond Library. As I opened the book it fell apart between the entries for 'God' and 'Gold'. Is this prophetic? I'll start developing ideas soon...  The final works will be shown as part of the opening festival of the new Library of Birmingham in September 2013 and will then travel around the UK.

14 Jun 2012

Le Rock 'Satanique'

The French magazine, Courier International are re-using an image I titled  'Little Red Riding Hoodie' I originally made for the Guardian about the mythologizing, stereotyping and demonisation of youth as 'chavs'. The image is now accompanying an article about satanic rock (as far as I can make out!). 

13 Jun 2012

V&A: 'Designing the Decades 1960s'

Image for a poster I made for the V&A which went out to Art Colleges this summer. It was designed to echo and run alongside events and courses including 'Designing the Decades 1960s' and 'From Biba to Topshop'. This is the final piece of work for the series I've worked on with the V&A over the past year and a half. It has been a grand job and I've really enjoyed pilfering the remarkable collection! The legendary Leah Fusco is going to be one of the illustrators working with the V&A this year.

12 Jun 2012

Win in V&A illustration Awards 2012

Really pleased to announce that I've won a V&A Illustration Award for the book cover I illustrated and designed for the novel 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus  - a hardback version commissioned by The Folio Society through a competition launched by House of Illustration last year. Really nice Awards evening. V chuffed!

10 Jun 2012

Recollect at Wysing Arts Centre

Went to the opening of 'Recollect', an exhibition at Wysing Arts Centre exploring architecture and memory. A beautiful and interesting show including work by Jackie Chettur,  Sean Edwards and Rosie Pedlow & Joe King. Jackie Chettur's work took the novel 'Ethan Frome' by Edith Warton and explored the tensions of the narrative through a reading, a 3D photographic reconstruction and some re-inscribed versions of the book since it's first printing in 1911. Great stuff! Here is an image of one of Jackie's earlier pieces - '310' which showed at g39 in Cardiff a while back.

14 Apr 2012

In the theme park battle, will Napoleon steal a march on Mickey Mouse?

Illustrated an article by Marina Hyde in today's Guardian in the 'Comment & Debate' section (Sat 14 April 2012). 'Disneyland Paris bosses apparently once claimed that only Napoleon had the stature to take on Mickey Mouse. As a man whose very name has come to define the process whereby reality can be sanitised, Walt Disney must be spinning in his cryogenic chamber at the continued failure to Disnefy France. (Although, contrary to the urban myth, he's not actually frozen and stored beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.)  Full article on Guardian website 

13 Apr 2012

The Titanic / Britannic 15 April 2012

A model of the RMS Titanic at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Originally made as the architect's model of sistership, RMS Britannic, which was a mirror image of the RMS Titanic. The RMS Britannic ended her service as a hospital ship in 1915. She struck a mine off the Greek island of Kea on 21 November 1916 and sank with the loss of 30 lives. The Titanic hit an iceberg 100 years ago on 15 April 1912 and sank with the loss of 1514 lives.

6 Apr 2012

Kent shop fronts

Farewell to Kent. Here are two classic shopfronts from Maidstone and Whitstable.

9 Mar 2012

V&A poster for 'British Design 1948-2012'

Latest poster illustrated for the V&A which is going out to Art Colleges this week. Really enjoyed working on this - combining various badges of allegiance from different periods of history on a leather jacket. The image was developed to run alongside the next main exhibition 'British Design 1948-2012' which opens at the V&A on 31 March and runs till 12 August 2012.

3 Mar 2012

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Saw a fabulous stage production of Robert Tressell's classic 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' by Townsend Productions who have adapted the play and set it to music for just two performers -  Neil Gore and Rodney Matthew. They were both stunning. They are touring all over the UK now, so have a look at the Townsend Productions website for dates near you. Below is the cover of Robert Tressel's original manuscript, now held at the TUC Library.

2 Feb 2012

Etgar Keret: What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?

Just got the latest issue of Prospect Magazine. I illustrated a short, dark, quirky, surreal story by Etgar Keret titled 'What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?' It starts: 'Yonatan had a brilliant idea for a documentary. He’d knock on doors. Just him. No camera crew, no nonsense. Just Yonatan, on his own, a small camera in hand, asking, ‘If you found a talking goldfish that granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?’

Hell's Kitchen & New York Historical Society

Just back from a great trip to New York. Visited amongst other places, Hell's Kitchen Flea Market and found some unique bits and pieces. Also saw these buttons and badges at the New York Historical Society, which house artefacts and objects from 'everyday life'. The museum had a moving display of photographs taken by New Yorkers on 9/11 and metal fragments from the planes that hit the twin towers. P'raps the best museum in NYC. 

20 Jan 2012

A place in the country' / 'Et sted på landet'

Helped with a great show at Oriel Davies Gallery - 'A place in the country' / 'Et sted på landet'. The exhibition brings together six artists from Denmark whose work connects with rurality and life at the margins. Some live and work in West and North Jutland, a remote wind-swept region on Denmark’s western coast - a land of sand dunes and birds, low buildings and wind farms. Ends 1 February. Image is of a huge book on a makeshift lectern by Hartmut Stockter, titled The Rucksack Book, 2003-11

12 Jan 2012

Thomas Bernhard, the alienator

An early idea for the New York Times for an article and review by Dale Peck about the seething playwright and novelist, Thomas Bernhard. This image was trying to describe his character and refers to his book "My Prizes" - highlighting Bernhard’s antipathy to the world and his literary awards.

9 Jan 2012

Canaletto: Bookmarks

'Bookmarks' is a series of artworks I made from different parts of found books. Each has gone though a different process related to its content, age or origin. This is from a book of paintings by Canaletto, torn and revealing images beneath - another 'world view'. More from the series here

1 Jan 2012

Alice in Wonderland: Tate Liverpool

Saw an interesting show at Tate Liverpool which looks at the historical origins of Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and how these books have influenced artists ever since. Includes work by Francesca Woodman, Kiki Smith, Yayoi Kusama, Samantha Sweeting (below), Gary Hill and Duane Michaels. Also work from Dali and Magritte. A curiouser and curiouser mix of Dodgson's Victorian photos, Alice curios and 1970s conceptual art. Well worth a visit.