Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A few new things - Christmas card designs and prints.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

I do like this time of year. Aside from my birthday there's been a month of glorious rugby (especially good this year - shock results a-go-go and every game I've seen has been brilliantly entertaining, England - Australia lingering particularly nicely in the memory), I've ice-skated in front of the Pavilion, and there's now a proper covering of snow everywhere. Lovely. It's also the time of Brighton's Christmas Open Houses, and much of my time has been taken up preparing for the New England House Open Studios, which I'm very happy to have been invited to join again this year. A little different to the houses, it's just open for two weekdays (9th &10th December) but there is much much more to be seen (and bought!). A huge amount of artists and makers, largely selling old stock, seconds and other bargains at supercheap bargainsome prices, it's probably the best place around to get interesting and unique christmas presents without breaking the bank. Check the flyer above (designed by my incredibly talented ceramicist friend Rowena Gilbert) for more info, or this link.

Aside from that most of my time has been spent preparing my EP, now a three-tracker and to be released through Wonkay some time this month.... watch this space for an official release date and links for downloading. I've also started doing some work for Goodone, a rather excellent ethical fashion label. Very nice to be doing some fashion illustration for a change as I've always fancied doing some, and hopefully this'll be an ongoing venture.

And speaking of fashion illustration, I've just been up to the design museum to see their excellent exhibitions: Drawing Fashion and Plain Space by the architect John Pawson. Both were very nicely presented, with lots to see and a good amount of information to read - never too much but plenty to digest. I've always been a big fan of John Pawson so it was great to see a fine range of excellent photos, samples of building materials and exquisite architectural models, alongside a massive table laid out with inspirations, notebooks and the like and next to it a 'bio wall' that was a (predominantly photographic) timeline of his life and his work. Drawing Fashion was exactly what the title suggests - 100 years of fashion drawing with over 150 images and the odd video. I was somewhat disappointed not to see the modern master of the artform, David Downton in there (the show favoured showing a a broad range of work from select individuals as opposed to a few works from a broad range of artists), but my discovery of Francois Berthoud made up for this. Well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

So, one of the things I've been up to is recording a series of DJ mixes, initially for my label but the joys of the internetz mean that I've also now got myself a Mixcloud account so they can be uploaded and shared. And what's more, Mixcloud pays royalties to the artists/labels featured. Win-win. And for a further win, as if any more winning was necessary, let alone acceptable, it's an ace opportunity to produce artwork! It's brilliant to do, as there is a (fairly loose) brief and a particular format, but I am the client so I can ultimately do whatever I want, and I also get to play around with type and design a bit more than usual. And it's a series that can go on and on, limited only by my music collection and the space on my hard drive. Whoop-la!

Here are the links to the mixes that are illustrated above:

Hope you enjoy listening, should you fancy it... next up will be some vintage roots, glorious African music, and some mellow dubby stuff and off-kilter weirdness. And of course lots and lots of thumping psychedelic trance and techno.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Just thought I'd post this again - I did a while ago, but it's had a few tweaks and this is the final version. You can buy the rather excellent CD here. Will have some nice new work to show you in a sec (promise!) but I'm not allowed to show some of it for quite a while unfortunately......

Saw Sean Lock at the weekend. Jolly funny he was too. All round excellent weekend actually, in a nice mellow Autumnal fashion - two very pleasant coastal walks, two lovely cooked breakfasts courtesy of my lovely girlfriend, bit of a pub, a film (Casino - man, that's a heavy film! But nicely tempered by Sharon Stone's and Robert De Niro's seriously badass outfits - I've decided I need to own them all. Maybe if I marry some rich gangster type... he can buy me nuff gold stuff and chinchilla coats n that and I can go off the rails) and capped off with my first roast dinner since January. Splendid!

Sad news on Monday though of the untimely demise of yet another reggae legend. RIP the Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs.

I've also finally joined the AOI and now also have a Behance profile. Blam!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Ooops, got a bit sidelined by a few things and a touch behind on this.... busy times! Got a lot of exciting goings on at the moment, not least of which is recording a Kokerboom EP that'll be out before the end of the year on Wonkay..... And on the subject of dub (a fine subject indeed), my good friends at Dubmission Records have recently released two budget priced samplers in celebration of their 15 years of releasing top-notch music. At £1.50 apiece they're an absolute bargain and you really can't go wrong - solid selections of high-grade dubwise delights. Check this'n and that'n, but their whole catalogue is well classy and dead cheap from here (and I'm not just saying that - I was buying their music long before they became friends).

Some editorial pieces above - the top one's an illustration for an article about how tobacco companies are targetting young people at festivals, and the lower one's about how Iceland, the Faroes and the UK/the EU are squabbling over mackerel stocks.

I've managed to catch a couple of illustration exhibitions in the last month - the AOI's Images 34 and the University of Brighton's MA Sequential Design / Illustration show. I thought the Images exhibition was quite a mixed bag, to be honest - there was a lot of work, and a lot of it was very good, but I was surprised by the standard of some of it, which just seemed a little shoddy. Admittedly some was let down by the quality of its printing and (something which is always going to be an issue in an illustration exhibition) perhaps suffered from being viewed out of context, although there were several glass cabinets that displayed some of the books, magazines, products and so on that featured the works on the walls. The 'New Talent' section (students and recent graduates) especially exemplified the disparity of quality - some absolutely cracking images alongside some real dross (maybe it's just me but the current vogue for overly naive pseudo-outsider/semi-autistic looking illustration that is often painstakingly intricate and vehemently hand-rendered really gets my goat. You see more and more of it in every degree show and, due to its prevalence across the hippest youth-based magazines, music and so on, ultimately comes across as smugly self-indulgent in its lazy yet laboured non-aesthetic, as if knowingly poor drawing can be excused by proving that it took you hours. In these 'ironic' times, far too much seems to be deliberately bad and I'm not impressed). And perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but, in what purports to be a showcase of the very best in a particular field of visual communication, is it right that the Critics' Choice Award goes to an illustration in which I counted (if memory serves) three spelling/grammar mistakes?

Blimey, I do like a good rant, don't I? Back to the positive, the standard overall was extremely high and there was some truly excellent work provided by, among many others, the ever awesome Andy Potts and Yuko Shimizu, Chris Haughton, Jill Calder, Sarah Coleman, Rachel Tudor Best, Good Wives and Warriors and fellow Brightonians Lee Woodgate and Tobias Hickey. The exhibition is now touring and well worth checking out - for an insight into the look of illustration today, there is nothing like it and it further shows just how invaluable the AOI is.

I'm afraid to say there was nothing to excite me in the MA show - see my rant above.

Been buying a lot of good music lately, namely the newey by the Soul Brothers (hooray!) as well as Pelican, Kekele, The Kinks, The Gladiators, Gaudi and the wondrous 'Ali & Toumani' by Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - not a patch on their previous effort (mentioned in a previous post and an instantaneous favourite of mine) but still a paragon of sheer aural beauty and effortlessly genius musicianship.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A couple of illustrations for a magazine article about Seattle's Hempfest.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Here's a piece I've just finished that I'm well chuffed with..... been thinking a lot lately how didactic and absolute stuff is these days, particularly in the media and how it presents information or opinions - you either see things one way, or the other; something is 'all about this' or 'all about that'; black or white - middle ground is seen as somehow lacking in integrity or taboo. I thought it'd be a fun thing to illustrate.

I've just taken on quite a hefty but very exciting new project, producing artwork and design for a forthcoming cricket website in collaboration with a web developer. Will keep you posted on developments yesyes......

Listen Against is back!!! Man, I'm chuffed, it's probably my favourite programme across all radio and TV - proper hilarious. Helps if you listen to Radio 4 anyway but either way it's comedy gold. Hurrah!

Stalwart dub and roots producer Dubmatix has a nice new album out; he's one of a refreshing minority in this scene who is evidently highly professional and forward-thinking, both in terms of the production and the promotion of his tunes, whilst still with a foot firmly in the foundation to keep the purists happy. Deep Root/Universal Egg also fall into this category - both have excellent web stores where you can also download a stack of ace tunes for free (hooray!) here and here.

In other news, I've just revolutionised listmaking, for myself at least..... if you really want to get something done from your 'to do' list, cross it off before you've done it.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Another new piece. Aren't elderflowers smashing?

Just made a little jaunt up t'smoke to see the Magnificent Maps exhibition at the British Library and The Printed Image in China at the British Museum. Both were very very interesting, and predominantly featured exhibits from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; I was amazed by cartographers' knowledge and accuracy in such times in the case of the former, and by how thoroughly modern the prints looked, both in style and condition, in the latter. I really loved the room of twentieth century prints (many with a highly political edge) and I'm sorry to say I was far more pleased than I should have been to learn that there's a printmaker called Wang Qing. The British Museum even had Kokerboom trees in its forecourt (Kew Gardens' South Africa exhibit)! Needless to say I got very excited took lots of photos.

The biggest huddles of people in the maps exhibition were around a cracking wartime map giving the worldwide lowdown on tea (it's great and everyone loves it), and Grayson Perry's meticulous and intruiging 'Map of Nowhere'; it would have been excellent to have had more along these lines (the sheer volume and variety of beautiful maps produced by contemporary illustrators could warrant a show in itself) as much of the exhibition favoured work of a similar, albeit significant, period, style and purpose. All in all, though, two fascinating exhibitions.

Just about to start a new show myself at the Claremont (just seen I'm top of the list! Get in) here in Brighton (Hove, actually) so check that out if you're in the area. Private view is this Sunday (12th September) from 3 till 5pm.

Thanks to another good Trick Music podcast, I'm very pleased to have discovered the gloriously off-kilter plinky-plonk music of Sebastien Leger, and have also been enjoying 4DA's output, RMS & Peak, Ajja, and revisiting all my lovely old metal. Choice.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A few more new pieces, including my entry for the AOI/Transport For London 'Cycling For London' illustration competition earlier in the Summer. I didn't win, unfortunately. Also some personal work based on funtimes in India. I've been slowly uploading photos from my trip to Flickr, so have a look there if you fancy. Doors and boats, mostly...

Whilst in Mumbai I managed to check out quite a lot of contemporary art, thanks to my excellent textile-designer friend with the local knowledge, Dimps. They've got some cracking galleries over there and a great buzz surrounding both local and international art. It was amazing how much it felt like being in London while going round some of the exhibitions! Three shows that really stood out for me were:

Pascale Mira Tschaeni / Michael Husmann Tschaeni / Aditya Pande: 'Was : Is' at Chatterjee & Lal Gallery - colourful, fun, playful and inventive work (some collaborative); every piece had a relaxed confidence that made for a snappy, dazzling show.

Mahesh Baliga: 'Confabulations' at Project 88 Gallery - second solo show of paintings and sculpture here from this young artist. Lots of lush paintings that brought to mind Peter Doig, Graham Dean and the late, great, Reggie Pedro. The exhibition is currently on show in their sister gallery, Gallerie 88, should you happen to be in Kolkata.

Narendra Yadav: 'Memory Minus Me' at Gallery Maskara - a really good solo exhibition of (very pleasingly) interactive sculptures and installations; not often my cup of tea (it did help being talked through every piece by the highly helpful gallery assistant) but the thought behind them all was interesting, succint (refreshingly free of hyperbolic waffle) and boldly executed, with a very considered aesthetic and degree of audience involvement. Fun, but thought-provoking - great stuff.

Other things I enjoyed in India were THE WILDLFE, all the hand-painted adverts, signs, trucks and so on (blimey!), the doors (naturally, and all the crumbly, peely paint and wood and wotnot - wabi sabi in full effect yo!), bus travel, swimming and cycling, chatting to Indians, reading the paper (such a treat to get such an insight into a country, in a language I understand!), riding 1st class at sunset on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, puri, dal fry, masala chai and Hello To The Queen (a soporific pudding if ever there was one). Ooh, and also reading 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan - one seriously sumptuous novel, among the best I've ever read; damn, that man can write. I also caught IPL fever good and proper and subsequently watched a lot more cricket on the telly than I probably should have done.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Some of the new Kokerboom imagery I've been working on.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Thought I'd post a few drawings from my sketchbook, from India, should you be wondering.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Hello. A sorely neglected blog you see before you. And there's a reason for that - I buggered off. Had meself a little adventure. I got a little disillusioned with things (projects over-running massively, not being paid - you know, the usual nonsense) in the midst of a quiet spell, and found myself getting a little stagnant in my work, so I took a few months off and went to India. Gosh it was good. Fascination in every direction, stuff just everywhere, amazing stuff, and exactly what I needed. I'm still sorting through lots and lots of photos and producing a load of artwork based on some of the things I saw, some of which I shall post up very soon, but for now have a few shots from Glastonbury. Being the 40th anniversary of the festival it was suitably immense and full to bursting with all manner of bonkers things and music and colour in absolutely all directions, much like India (I went ten years ago and remember being occasionally overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the whole thing and by the ridiculous abundance of entertainment, this year even (much) more so. I guess cultural gluttony is par for the course these days; I must be getting old (that's not to say I'm complaining, far from it, it's just mental). I was there with the TNT crew who provided the hottest late night entertainment on site with their Snakepit venue in the Shangri-La field - loads of fun. Oh, and it was baking. All weekend. Excellent.

I've also made a couple of cracking trips out west (of which a few photos will follow shortly) and have generally been having fun producing a load of personal work - experimenting, pleasing myself and developing my style, and hence overhauling my portfolio with a stack of fresh, solid and exciting new work. I've also been enjoying getting busy with the elderflowers, playing tennis in some very decent weather, and gently grooving away to the sounds of Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate (In the Heart of The Moon - my god, now there's an album to get swept away in), Baaba Maal, Dousk, Fearsome Engine, Bon Iver, Dennis Bovell, Kanka & Orchestra Baobab.

Whilst on the subject of music, I'm very chuffed to say I've just joined Wonk#ay Records, both as a recording artiste and as a label DJ for their Wonk#ay Dub Foundation. Jolly exciting news, and as such I've been revamping the Kokerboom identity, producing a new logo, promo imagery and so on. Again, I'll be posting up some selections in the next week or so. Check the interwebz below for more details and keep your eyes and ears peeled for some hot upcoming releases and events from Wonk#ay in the near future.....

Wonk#ay link
Kokerboom link

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Hello again! Here's a selection of some recent work...