Saturday, 13 November 2010
This was snapped half hour or so after I’d been scraped off the tarmac by some kindly ambulancemen having had a particularly nasty cycle smash. What you can't see is my snapped pelvis and my broken left shoulder. I’m smiling because I’ve been given a huge dose of morphine and I’ve just seen the beautiful young nurse who’s going to clean my wounds.
My heartfelt thanks to the absolutely wonderful staff at The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds who glued me, stitched me, set my smashed bones and generally nursed me back to my old self. Humpty Dumpty should have had the NHS - truly one of the great achievements of the civilised world.
Anyway, that’s where I’ve been recently. Normal service will be resumed shortly.
(photo: Gerard Johnson)
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Friday, 14 May 2010
Anyone passing this way is liable to get roped in to model. Some rabbits have recently set up warren at the end of my garden and have been happily munching away all my most prized green stuff. They've had to be deported but not before assisting me in the studio...
Monday, 10 May 2010
All the urban foxes I’ve seen tend to be scrawny shadowy creatures. But sometimes in the country I’ve occasioned on a big red healthy looking specimen. And you both stop in your tracks and you’re looking at each other, both weighing up the situation and there’s something that never ceases to be magical and extraordinary about that...
New signed limited edition screenprint now available for a bargain £45 from Artswipe. Tally ho...
Sunday, 2 May 2010
If you're in or about London on Election night, pop down to the Rag Factory at 16 Heneage Street, E1 (just off Brick Lane). Loads of super groovesque new prints and artwork from a motley gang of urban art terrorist types. Two DJs and lots of beer are promised and the chance to collect some exclusive limited edition prints at very reasonable prices.
Also available will be the new issue of Artswipe newspaper containing, amongst other things, interview with and rare artwork by Andy Dog who has also designed a superb brand new screenprint just for the event (above).
'Hang 'Em High' continues until Sunday 9th May.
more details: Artswipe
Saturday, 20 March 2010
I love drawing 'monkeys'. I've been back to the zoo this month filling up sketchbooks with 1001 ideas. This spread looks a bit messy but I think it does capture the mad energy of the crazy Chimpanzee gang at Colchester. I think I'll work these up into a print. Maybe there's even a book there. We'll see. More soon.
Friday, 12 February 2010
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Thursday, 4 February 2010
I’m not normally inclined to giving plugs or recommendations here - it would just become endless list-making. But once in a while I’ll make an exception. I stopped reading comics (or graphic novels) a few years ago. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that I spent a large part of my teens and twenties reading, collecting, drawing and publishing them, I eventually became a bit bored with the form. It began to seem, even at it’s best, neither fish nor fowl and in that way, always a little unsatisfying (to me).
But Posy Simmonds is a class apart from most comic book illustrators. Her light touch belies a shrewd eye and ear. I marvel at this work. No flashiness or designery cleverness - everything quietly noticed and gently stated. In ‘Tamara Drewe’ she creates a wonderfully detailed and believable world that derives nothing from other comics and everything from just looking at what is actually going on around her. Warm, funny, moving, involving.
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
I much prefer working with pen on paper. But these days one more often than not finds oneself constructing things completely within the computer - no originals actually exist.
Simply put - for the non-artist - images can be constructed bit by bit on individual digital layers and then tweaked until they are 'perfect'.
The above image is simply a merge of rejected layers from a recent design. Load of rubbish really... but sort of interesting nonetheless....
For a couple of years after 2000 and into the noughties the only friends I had were chimpanzees....
I started to go off the rails after my dog died in 2000. And then in Feb 2001 my girlfriend threw in the towel as well ...
I decided I needed the company of wolves. I began going to Colchester Zoo. Every week. At first to the wolfpack because they reminded me of my dog. But the wolves were nervy and self-contained and happy in their own pack and they had no interest in me. I moved on to the big cats. Big, gorgeous, predatory machines. And they look right through you. I’d squash my face against the reinforced glass wall and look deep into those huge perfectly steady golden eyes. But nothing reflects. I didn’t register on their radar.
Sooner or later I found myself shuffling up to the primates. My last relationship with a big ape was Guy the Gorilla at Regent’s Park Zoo in the nineteen-sixties. He was the reason I loved to go. My family would traipse around looking for somewhere to eat. And my nine year old self would make excuses to keep returning to look at poor old Guy. Massive, magnificent, bored and depressed Guy. The real King Kong.
Anyway, for a couple of years in the early Noughties, these chimps at Colchester were the only friends I had. Drizzly monday mornings, I’d nestle down on my sketching stool, pull my collar up and watch with delight and rapture and try and jot down some pencil impressions. Within a few weeks the younger ones recognised me and would signal my arrival with screams and excited thumping and kicking on the glass and would show curiosity in seeing my drawings afterwards.
The alpha male of this group was an old man named Bob. Not the biggest of the troop, not the loudest, but he carried a quiet authority and a nod or a gesture from him was enough to keep things just the way he liked. Well, apart from the young ones, who seemed as wayward and mischievous as any teenage humans. In response to frequent tormenting and boisterousness, Bob would eventually raise his voice and occasionally give one of them a clip around the ear and things would settle down again...
Chimpanzees are immensely strong and in the wild will ferociously defend their territory against rival troops. They have been known to use weapons, commit genocide (like humans) and even eat their own kind. When I was a child, they were perceived as cuddly little doll-like creatures like Tarzan’s Cheetah. Gorillas. on the other hand, were regarded, thanks to King Kong, as being brutal, aggressive, threatening creatures. But now the reverse seems to be the real case.