Sunday, 29 December 2013

End of year round-up

Pointless annual lists are ten-a-penny at the moment and unfortunately I'm about to add to them with a round up of my 2013.  This won't be any less tedious than the next persons but I like doing them to look back at for my own narcissistic pleasure.

From an illustration and printmaking perspective it's been a pretty special one for a number of reasons;

1. Puck Collective; okay so technically I was invited in to the Puck fold at the end of 2012 but this year was immense in Puck terms and I'm very happy [and honoured] to have been involved in lots of Puck events and projects perhaps most significantly Puckleduster at Pick Me Up.  Art, tattoos and an amazing collective getting shit done.  Beautiful.

2. 'Pan's Labyrinth' lincut print or more specifically getting more and more into using lino for printmaking.  The Pan's Labyrinth piece for Gallery 1988 (available here) took fucking ages to design, draw and cut but I loved almost all of the laborious process and I've found it invigorating to challenge myself in a medium I'm relatively new to. A couple of group lino-cutting sessions have been great fun too so I'm looking forward to rolling out more of them in the New Year.  Watch this space.

3. 'Angel Heart' for FrightFest Originals; being asked to redesign a poster for a horror movie of my choice was (and remains) a dream commission and I'm really happy with how this print turned out.  Redesigning movie posters is a bit of a tired concept [by now] but to be able to do it in an a official capacity for a fully licensed and endorsed print was ace.  Can't wait to work with FrightFest again; their most recent run of prints by the likes of Luke Insect and Peter Strain are some of the best to come out this year.

4. Little White Lie's 50th edition; alongside a few other Puck Collective members I got to contribute to the 50th landmark edition.  I was stoked to be asked and the piece I did inspired by 'Goodbye, Dragon Inn' was challenging but I couldn't be happier with the final piece and indeed the magazine; I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful well crafted-magazine.

Another amazing thing to happen was being given the opportunity to teach Illustration and Printmaking at the BRIT School for the Saturday morning BRIT Kids classes; it's been quite stressful but so enjoyable and rewarding.

There's also been lots of exhibitions including 'Puck in the Box' at Box Park, Asa Wikman's 'A Study of Sports and Leisure', the Print Club 'Group Show''Drawn' at Print Space, 'ArtCrank', 'The London Illustration Fair', 'Secret 7', 'Not for Rental' and a bunch of group shows in the States with Gallery 1988.

Favourite films.  I saw so few new films at the cinema this year it's almost embarrassing but I did get bought tickets to 'A Field in England' featuring additional q and a with director Ben Wheatley.  Given his previous form and talk of it being a folk horror (my favourite flavour of horror) I'd built it up quite a lot in my head by the time I got to see it and I wondered if it would live up to my expectations.  It did.  And some.  Just don't try and recommend it to anyone else because it defies description; every time I've tried to explain it to someone I make it sound like a god-awful trippy drug movie.

I also really liked Wadjda, Frances Ha and Stoker.  Not to mention a bunch of old films I saw for the first time including Haxan, Repulsion, Take Shelter, The Godfather, The Godfather II, Bones Brigade, The Long Goodbye, Berberian Sound Studio, The American Friend and Holy Mountain.  God bless Letterboxd for enabling my anal retentiveness.

My favourite record of 2013 was Fuck Buttons 'Slow Focus' mostly because it sounded like the brooding synth-heavy soundtrack to a deranged eighties slasher flick.  One half of Fuck Buttons also features on the 'A Field in England' soundtrack as Blanck Mass for one of the most disturbing scenes in the movie.  The soundtrack would be in my favourite records of 2013 if it hadn't been released in such limited quantities as to sell out before I could even see the movie.  Bah.

Other records I liked a very lot included Boards of Canada's 'Tomorrow's Harvest', Darkside's 'Psychic' and the soundtrack to Room 237 released on Death Waltz Records.  In terms of reissues I really liked Rodion GA's 'Lost Tapes' and William Onyeabor's 'Who is William Onyeabor' which is worth buying just for 'Good Name' which is already nestled in my top three wobbly synth-heavy disco-funk wig-outs to emerge from Nigeria in the early eighties.

Similarly to films I stumbled on a bunch of old records throughout the year that I listened to a lot - probably none more than 'Loose Salutes' and 'Magnetic South' by Michael Nesmith - but also Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's 'Doc at the Radar Station', Tangerine Dream's soundtrack to 'Sorcerer' and Shugo Tokumaru's 'In Focus'.

Worryingly I can't think of that many stand-out gigs this year but that probably says more about my not going to them rather than a down-turn in decent live music.  The stand out was Fabio Frizzi at the Union  Chapel.  And Demdike Stare scoring Haxan at the BFI (although it wasn't strictly speaking a gig) was suitably malevolent and devilish too.

Books and comics;  I didn't read nearly as many as I would've liked and only two that I did read came out this year but I was blown away by 'The Nao of Brown' by Glyn Dillon.  It's stunning.  READ IT.  I also really liked Stephen Collins 'The Gigantic Beard that was Evil', Richard Brautigan's collection of short stories 'Revenge of the Lawn', 'The Sisters Brothers' by Patrick deWitt, 'The Daylight Gate' by Jeanette Winterson, 'Nothing is Forgotten' by Ryan Andrews and 'Blood Meridian' by Cormac McCarthy.

Other things; moving into a shared studio with Babycrow and Samuel Esquire, Stewart Lee, Berlin, horror movies, The Reader's Digest 'Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain', 'The Sopranos' (again), Miles to Go clothing, Off the Barrow collaborations, Margate, Rich Kelly, LandLand, 'Sightseers' by Olly Moss, Om (a given), Crystal Palace being promoted and 'Retrograde' by James Blake.

Erm yeah so that's pretty much it.  2014 is hopefully the year I finish off some long-term larger projects that have been lingering far too long and draw the shit out of everything.  Have a fantastic New Year! x

Friday, 13 December 2013

Off the Barrow: The Light in Winter

I have another time limited print available from Off the Barrow titled 'The Light in Winter'.  The print is available until the end of December and then never again so act now if you want one.  More info here.  It's got wolves and shit.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Crazy for Cult exhibition Gallery 1988

Gallery 1988 have another Crazy for Cult exhibition which opens in New York tomorrow (Friday 13th December) featuring my new linocut print inspired by Guillermo del Toro's 'Pan's Labyrinth'.  The lino took about eight and a half hours to cut.  I wish I'd documented the process a little better as I've only got a few poorly taken WIP shots.  The print run is fifty the majority of which will be available at the show but I'll have a few for sale in my shop when the exhibition ends. 

My shop will close on Tuesday (17th December) for Christmas so get your orders in as soon as possible. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Required Reading exhibition Gallery 1988

Gallery 1988 have a new literary inspired Required Reading exhibition opening tomorrow at their West gallery in Los Angeles and I've contributed a new two colour screen print.  I've tweaked the illustration I did for a Miles To Go t-shirt inspired by John Kennedy Toole's wonderful 'A Confederacy of Dunces' and made it into a two colour screen print titled 'Paradise Vendors Street Map of New Orleans'.  The print edition is forty measuring 42cm by 42cm and I've got a few held back to sell in my shop when the exhibition ends.

I've just tried to find a bit more info about the show and was a little concerned to see the artwork used for the flyer has some uncanny resemblences to my print - both feature a hunting cap with the pattern of  a city map on them - I'm pretty sure it's just an unusual coincidence but even so it's a bit odd!  More info here.

Friday, 29 November 2013

London Illustration Fair

The new Puck Collective roster has been announced and the first group show has been assembled and is being exhibited at the London Illustration Fair this weekend in Hoxton.  The private view was last night and the new selection of work blew my tiny mind.  The show runs until Sunday so try and get along if you can.  I have two new linocut prints in it and if linocuts are your thing the amazingly talented LinocutBoy aka Nick Morley is exhibiting there as well.  GO!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Silver Screen Work in Progress

Here are some WIP process pics of my latest time limited print for Off the Barrow which will be available for a few more days and then never again.  For more info and to buy the print click here.

This is a bit lacking as a WIP as it just takes you from a rough sketch to the final inked illustration without any of the colouring which I do in Photoshop.  Short of doing screengrabs during the process it's difficult to document that part and also my mac is struggling a bit these days so it's tricky enough as it is.  Enjoy! 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Robin linocut Christmas cards

I've illustrated and designed a linocut Christmas card featuring a cheeky robin.  It's available now in my shop here as a single card or a set of three.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Off the Barrow: The Silver Screen

Typical: you wait months for an illustration set in an old cinema then two come at once.  My latest time limited print for Off the Barrow is available now on the theme 'The Silver Screen'.  I enjoyed drawing the Little White Lies piece for 'Good Bye, Dragon Inn' so much I thought I'd try it again with a nostalgic nod to some cinematic classics.  Feel free to guess who's who.  I went with a slightly more complex colouring style for this piece.  Most of my work ends up as screen prints or linocut prints which tends to dictate less colours so it was nice to try and use a few more for a change.

As before the print will be available for one month only and then never again.  It's £15 unframed (including postage) and £20 with a frame so a real bargain and on top of that a percentage of profits go the MS Society.  More info here.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Little White Lies 50th edition

Puck Collective were invited to illustrate a series of articles in the 50th edition of the excellent Little White Lies film magazine and I was chosen to illustrate a piece about 'Good Bye, Dragon Inn'.  The best bit of the commission [of many best bits] was that the piece was written by the director of 'Two-Lane Blacktop' director Monte Hellman of which I'm a big fan. 

'Good Bye, Dragon Inn' is a strange and beautiful film with a haunting nostalgia that I wanted to capture in the illustration.  I won't say much more than that as I don't want to give anything away but it's well worth watching.  There's going to be an exhibition of all the artwork from the magazine soon at Gallery 71a; I've seen some of the other Puck contributions and they're fantastic so I suggest you pick up the magazine as soon as you can.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

'The Sisters Brothers' illustrations

These rough sketches are inspired by Patrick deWitt's brilliant novel 'The Sisters Brothers'. I don't often put up loose sketch work but I quite like these. A chance encounter with a witch early on in the book suggests the two main characters Charlie and Eli are forever pursued by the spirits of all the people they've killed hence the floating mangled corpses of half a dozen grizzled cowboys. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

'The Raven'

Another month, another time limited print edition for Off the Barrow; this month in keeping with the macabre feel of October and Halloween the theme is Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven'.  Like the 'New Beginnings' print this will only be available for a month after which it will be archived never to be seen again.  And 20% of all sales will go to the MS Society. More details here.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Shaun of the Dead linocut prints

The last remaining sets of my Shaun of the Dead inspired linocut prints 'Oh fuck this I'm going to the shed!' from the Edgar Wright exhibition at Gallery 1988 are now available in my shop.  The majority of the print run sold out at the show but I have a few sets leftover to sell here

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Popshot Magazine

I've contributed an illustration to a beautiful publication called Popshot Magazine that combines short stories, poetry and illustration.  Issue 10 is available now featuring my illustration accompanying a heart-wrenching poem titled 'Elsie'. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

'A Confederacy of Dunces' t-shirt

The literature and art inspired clothing company Miles to Go have just released my 'A Confederacy of Dunces' t-shirt.  The book remains one of my favourites and one I've reread several times.

For the design I wanted Ignatius to be the focus but I also wanted to represent New Orleans somehow.  I tried to illustrate him standing in front of some NO landmarks but it didn't work so I sourced an old NO map from the era ACOD is set in and proceeded to brainstorm some ideas.  It didn't take too long to see that the boundary line of NO was such that I could potentially have a portrait of Ignatius that inhabited the city centre. 

I finished the illustration then tried to add an obvious map element to it with a street map label featuring the Miles to Go logo but we (Greg MTG) decided that maybe it needed a quote instead.  Initially I went with "Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins" which was almost too good with regards to the design but not really that in keeping with the tone of ACOD.

The book has so many brilliant quotes to pick from but eventually we settled on the Jonathan Swift quote that introduces the book;  "When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him".

Click here to buy one. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

'Stag Plantae' t-shirt

I would really like to see 'Stag Plantae' on a t-shirt so I've submitted it to Threadless. If you would too click on this link and give it a 5 and leave a nice comment please! If you don't that's fine too.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Giant Bear of Spruce Lake Farm

Earlier this year I was approached about illustrating and designing some wedding invites featuring my giant spirit bears.  I was slightly hesitant initially thinking it could look a bit cheesy with the wrong fonts and too much wedding guff but ended up really enjoying the process not least because Roz and Mike were such a joy to work with.  Below are some photos of the final invites and related correspondence I designed for the day. 

Many congratulations to Roz and Mike!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Hewett Street Block Party with Puck Collective

Puck Collective will be tattooing salty sea dogs and filthy land lubbers alike at the Hewett Street Block Party tomorrow.  Temporary tattoos are pirate themed and alongside Puck Collective there will be a food court, live music, t-shirt printing and much more besides. Click here for more info.

Here are my temporary tattoos for the event.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

'Stag Plantae' screen-print

My new screen-print 'Stag Plantae' is a limited edition three colour print I made for the Puck Collective exhibition 'Puck in the Box' at Boxpark in Shoreditch this summer. It's based on an illustration I drew back in 2011 which was a remake of Nichole Lillian Ryan's beautiful piece 'Flora and Fauna'.

The print is limited to an edition of 20 hand numbered and signed screen-prints, printed on 42cm x 42cm heavyweight paper. Each print varies ever-so-slightly as they were hand-pulled and registered by me but that's part of the charm of screen-prints.  Click here to buy one.  

Friday, 13 September 2013

BRIT Kids Illustration and Printmaking Saturday course

As mentioned a while back on this blog I have a Saturday class with BRIT Kids starting in a week or so.  The course has been slightly tweaked to include Illustration as well as Printmaking;

"This course is aimed at giving the students a contemporary and traditional experience in Illustration and Print. You will work with print process such as screen-printing and mixed media print processes. Alongside this you will work with industry Creative Suite packages such as Illustrator and Photoshop. Each term will see students introduced to different processes, resulting in a collection of works on paper. Students will be working in our specialist studios. To gain the full range of techniques, you are advised to attend at least three terms of workshops. This course is for 12-15year olds."

More details and how to apply can be found here

Here's a feature that ran in the local newspaper.  Click on it to read more.

Friday, 6 September 2013

'Artcrank' print

Here's my limited edition screen-print for the Artcrank London exhibition that took place a couple of weeks ago but I've just been informed all of the prints will be on display and for sale at the cycling shop/cafe Look Mum No Hands on Old Street for the next two weeks.  The screen-print is a one colour print in a metallic grey and is a run of thirty.

My idea was to illustrate lots of elements of my day-to-day cycling life in London in a comic panel format; I initially set out to do forty or so illustrations but the design became too busy so I picked the best of the set for the final artwork.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

'Oh the Horror' t-shirt

My 'Oh the Horror' design has been tweaked slightly and made into a t-shirt available now via Threadless - click here to buy one.  Threadless are having a sale at the moment so you can get one for $15, so that's my mum's Christmas present sorted anyway.