Saturday, 25 December 2010

Festive Cheer and all that.

I'm blogging on Christmas day, OH DEAR.
Since hopefully everyone who is going to will have received their Christmas cards from me, I just thought I'd share them with you here and wish you a very merry Christmas!

Just some holly. I like how it looks.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Festive Inspiration

My parents moved house about a month ago. It's kind of strange for me - before this move they'd lived in the same house for about 27 years, and until I moved to Brighton, I'd never known any other 'home'.

This Christmas is the first Christmas I'm spending with my parents in a house which isn't home, and I'll be honest, I'm struggling to get in the Christmas mood. I don't think it's just the new house... I think I'm also still a bit down about the uncertainty of not having a job, and somehow I'm just finding it difficult to get into the spirit of things. I just ate my first mince pie of the year, and it didn't help.

But anyway, festive or not, I'm here at my parents new flat in Chichester, and this evening me and my Mum went to Pallant House gallery for a wander round. (Free entry Thursday evenings, how nice of them.)

I was pleasantly surprised, truth be told... last time I went round Pallant house was probably almost ten years ago, and I remember creaky floorboards, speaking in whispers, and lots of old, boring paintings. (Because when you're 12, old = boring)

Since then however they've had a massive new extension, so for the most part the creaky floorboards are gone, and there's a lot more room for their incredible collection of modern art. Mum tells me it's the biggest collection in the UK, outside of London, but you'll have to take her word for that because I'm too lazy to research it properly.
And to be honest, that's basically going to be how this blog is... I know I should have made note of all these artists names, but I just walked round, photographed things I enjoyed* and wanted to share them with you.
If you ever find yourself in Chichester I'd highly recommend you pay it a visit and see them for yourself.

I was first impressed by this lovely and appropriately festive exhibition of Christmas cards sent by artists, dating right back from the early 20th century through to the present day. Since starting uni I always like to try and design my own Christmas cards, and this little room served to remind me what a nice thing that is to do.

We then headed upstairs via this Anthony Gormley piece...

And past this huge wall of embroidered name tags, many produced by the visitors to the exhibition. The name tags were commemorating and acknowledging the thousands of women who have been murdered in Ciudad, Juarez in Mexico. I was already aware of this story, and thought this was an incredible visual way of drawing attention to it.

On into the main exhibition space, an array of delights, which I'm basically just going to fling at you in no logical or coherant order.
I particularly liked this charcol drawing. I made note of the artists name, but unfortunately I made that note in my short term memory, and my short term memory's duration is usually about 5 minutes. So I don't remember it. Sorry. But I did take two pictures. Hopefully that makes up for it...

I do, however, remember that these pieces are by Grayson Perry, whose work I love. I'd seen an article about the rug not so long ago, and it was lovely to see it in real life.

This armchair freaked me out in all kinds of ways, good and bad. I probably don't 'get' it, but then maybe there's nothing to get.

On a completely different note, I love love love this wallpaper by Damien Hirst, and would happily have it in my own home...

Along with this amazing flowerbed rug and potted plant...(not by Damien Hirst, don't actually remember the artists name). I sense they would be a bit impractical though.

Moving from the new part of the building into the old part was this incredible light installation, designed specifically for this space. I like it's reflection in the dark window outside.

Something which made me laugh, all the chairs in the old section of the building had pine cones on them. My mum who works for the National Trust tells me that this is to discourage people from sitting on them. I just found it slightly surreal.

And talking of slightly surreal... a coat made of balloons, a wall of velvet filled muscle shells, a melted teapot and a rabbit-deer humping a chicken.

Great stuff.

*I didn't see any signs specifically saying that photography wasn't allowed, but I'm guessing it's probably not. So... sorry Pallant house, I hope you can forgive me! I'm just sharing the contemporary art love. <3

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The 405's Ones to Watch 2011

Well, it feels like only a couple of weeks ago that I was designing the 405's Ones to Watch 2010 compilation! Turns out, it was exactly a year ago.
Doesn't time fly when you're having fun!

Well today they've posted their selections for 2011, which means I can finally show you the artwork I've produced for them.

I decided to go for something with a wintery vibe, since it's so outrageously cold... and what more appropriate night for some star gazing than the winter solstice?
Also... 'ones to watch', they're watching the stars... potential future stars of music... get it?

(Yes, I know you get it. But I have to explain anyway, it's how I am.)

I also designed individual headers for the artists, which I think work really well with the photographs they've chosen. (You can see that over at the feature itself)

Here's some of them.

A little thing from a long time ago.

I always meant to do this, but never really knew how. But now I know how to do automation and animated GIF creation, the time has come!
This is from a project from about a year ago, you can see blogs concerning it here.

When we were taking down our photography set up, we decided to photograph the removal of every object. As it happened, the sun was setting, which added quite a nice effect. Although I've actually animated this in reverse, so it looks like the sun is rising instead...

Anyhow, just a small thing I thought I'd share with you.

Pity we didn't have a tripod... it moves around a bit much for my liking!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Some snow

I went out for a walk and there was a short snow blizzard! It only lasted about ten minutes, but it was really heavy, and a fine layer settled. Then as quickly as it had arrived, the sky cleared. I was down on the seafront at that point, and I took 10 pictures, which I've made into a panorama.
Partly because it was beautiful, and partly to test my photoshop skillz.

It's not perfect, but it's taken a lot of curves/levels/hue/saturation/colour balance/magic to get this far.
Click to fullview for detail!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Why are dogs hearts so true?

I guest illustrated for Alabaster C's Unstruck blog/article collection/experiment today.

He answers a randomly submitted question in under 500 words and in under 30 minutes, then hands his answer over to an illustrator to illustrate, also in under 30 minutes.
How he manages to do this every day I have no idea, but I agree it's a great way of forcing creativity on a regular basis. (Although some would argue that's not possible, I disagree, I keep a visual diary of my own for that exact reason.)

Anyway, you can see it HERE

And here's my illustration.

I like dogs. This illustration turned out a lot creepier than I originally intended, but as I said earlier,
"I still think it reflects what's being said about bonds in the doggy community, making contact, the idea of the pack and reinforcing connections."

(Click to fullview, it looks better I promise)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Thursday, 2 December 2010


I'm drawing frames!

I've done more. I'm quite enjoying these.

Something from some time ago...

Just started working on some illustrations for a friend, and remembered that I did some other illustrations for her a few months ago that I don't think I ever showed on here.

They were for her final show as a visual culture student, and her dissertation was about Chinoserie (Hannah, feel free to remind me of the exact title of it!) and she wanted some visuals to accompany the main text that went on display.

I made these for her, a fairly simple vector based on a quick google searched image of a traditional chinese pattern.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


This weekend I've been to Hungary, which honestly isn't somewhere I'd ever imagined myself going, but life takes you unusual places every so often, if you let it.

I'm friends with amazing comedian/musician Reggie Watts, and he invited me to come join him in Budapest where he was playing a couple of shows as part of a festival. Well, why not. It had been six years since I last got on a plane, not through fear, simply through lack of time/reason/opportunity.
I won't lie though, when the plane took off I was still filled with childlike amazement and slight fear to be actually FLYING through the air in a big metal box with a whole bunch of other people. Oddly enough, most of the other passengers seemed fairly unperturbed by it all.

But yes, I got there, met up with Reggie, and was immediately whisked off to an underground theatre venue called Trafo, to see the amazing Temporary Distortion theatre company.

I won't lie, I have little experience of experimental, contemporary theatre, but this really impressed me, a dark combination of film, installation art, acting and incredible lighting. We stayed behind afterwards to listen to a Q&A session with the creative directors, which was fascinating. Reggie actually knew one of the guys behind it (Because as I'm fairly rapidly establishing, he knows everyone.) and had met a few of the others before (as they're all from New York), so we went out for food with them afterwards...

We took the Underground Metro train, which pleased me immensely, as I'm a massive public transport nerd, and the Hungarian Metro system is apparently one of the oldest underground railways in mainland Europe. We were taken to a dark and delightful bar/restaurant by the Hungarian organizers of the festival, where I had some epic bread based delights, and shared some Goulash. Super tasty late night fun.

The next day Reggie was doing some kind of intriguing workshop, but insisted I go and explore the city for a bit, as I was only there for one full day. Well, I wasn't going to argue, and set off to wander the streets with only a vague route in mind. When I visit new places my favourite thing is to just walk as far as my little legs will carry me, and see whatever I see en route. Jumping from tourist attraction to tourist attraction rarely gives a real sense of a place I find, just the same polished vision which you see on postcards.

I set off north from the hotel, heading first via the museum of contemporary applied arts. In all honesty, the building itself was much more of a draw than the collections contained within, which, considering the name of the museum, were for the most part quite un-contemporary.
But as I say, the building was incredible, and while I was walking around a choir were practicing in the central atrium, and the beautiful minor key Hungarian choral singing echoed round the building while I explored... it was quite beautiful.

After this I headed further North, eventually reaching the Danube River, which I sat near to eat an unusual convenience store picnic. It's fascinating but not a little scary being somewhere where you don't understand the language, and the currency is inflated beyond recognition. Spending 2000 of anything on lunch feels incredibly extravagant, but actually was fairly restrained, in Forints.

I walked along a slightly more touristy street after this, where I bought some postcards and looked inside a beautifully elaborate Roman Catholic church. I walked back along the river then, and crossed over Szabadsag bridge, which was beautiful. The Danube is very wide, and felt especially so as I stood in the middle of the bridge looking into it while the trams shook the ground under my feet.

I vaguely meandered back to the hotel after this, before heading to meet Reggie at the workshop. It was being held at a Roma Gypsy community centre, which I think was quite unusual, as the gypsy community seems quite segregated from the Hungarian community in general. I felt quite privileged to have seen such a place, I don't think many outsiders would get to visit.
The centre itself actually had a delightfully warm atmosphere, and the walls were filled with incredible paintings of the Roma community, 'outsider art', I suppose, and after the workshop was over I was able to walk around and have a good look at them.

The young people (mainly guys, 16-19ish) who attended the workshop were incredibly talented, it just made me wish I had some kind of vague musical ability too!

After this we went out again, with the guys and girls from Temporary Distortion and the Hungarian festival organisers, a group of about 20 of us. We went on a tram! This was exciting for me, as I've never been on a tram before. It's basically an awesome cross between a bus and a train, and I think Brighton definitely needs to get some. Here is my happy 'I'm on a tram' face.

We went to another delightful bar/restaurant, and I wish it hadn't been quite so dark as there were some incredible Hungarian film/music posters on the walls which I would have loved to better photograph. I had further goulash and listened to lots of stimulating conversation about the creative arts, both in Hungary, the US, and further afield. The performing arts may not be my area of specialty, but I'm so glad to be part of the creative community in general... this trip has just further served to remind me how important it is to keep motivated and stay creative... who knows where it might take me.

I flew back the next day, which went fairly smoothly... I'm glad I wasn't staying on another day, as it seems Gatwick has now descended into chaos. Lucky escape there I suspect! It did snow a little while I was in Budapest... enough to be beautiful and fill me with winter joy, but not enough to actually disrupt anything. Perfect :)