Wednesday 22 December 2010

The Museum Of Everything

This is another temporary exhibition built out of Peter Blake's amassed ephemera of British culture over the past couple of hundred years. A lot of it is concerned with circuses, fairs and freakshows; and outsider art from shell artists to taxidermy (Walter Potter), tapestry (Ted Willcox) and Cheeta The Chimpanzee, the first non-human to exhibit in the National Gallery.

There were a lot of signs against photography. I made notes and drew, but the prohibition is a good reminder to take everything in in the time spent there, and to treat the whole thing as it was intended: not as a taxonomy of old-fashioned crafts, but a huge three-dimensional collage.

Carters Steam Fair looks like immense fun - and I've just found that it's still running!, complete with a wall of death.
Jubilee Steam Gallopers!
Jungle Thriller Ark!
Rock & Roll Dodgems!
Lightning Skid!
Excelsior Steam Yachts!
Victory Dive Bomber!

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Swimming Pool

I've just been at the swimming pool. There isn't always music on, but this week there is - and it's all Christmas songs. My breast-stroke was hampered by a big grin when, after "Last Christmas", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "All I Want For Christmas Is You", the hall echoed with water-distorted orchestras on the most extravagant 1940s renditions of "White Christmas" and "The Christmas Song".

The pool looks a bit like this:

It's the screenprint that I was working on a couple of weeks ago. Something went very wrong, but it looks decent and may be worth revisiting.

That reminds me (by obvious debt, as you'll see below): the Bridget Riley roadshow has rolled into the National Gallery for the next few months. It's a different exhibition from that which has toured for the past year or two. Riley's team has painted some new and recent works onto the walls. Since my visit, I've been comparing them to the influences presented in the exhibition. Paintings by Seurat, Raphael, Mantegna and Van Eyck (an early copy by Riley) indicate the roots of Riley's approach to the interplay of elements; colour choices and the optical tricks of image-making. Best of all (although it perhaps shouldn't be), David Thompson's captivating film is there again.

"Red With Red 1", 2007.
Photograph: Bridget Riley/Courtesy Karsten Schubert, London.
From this Guardian article.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Art Sale In Southampton

If you're in Southampton before Christmas, come and see the Arches Bizarre. Several of the shop units in the Bargate Centre are turning into art spaces, and this one (on the top level, not far up from Shakeaway) has work by artists from the Arches studios and a number of Illustration students, including me.

I heard Nick Hornby on the radio a couple of Saturdays ago, talking about a teacher who prescribed distinctive lines as punishment for talking in lessons. I'll put a few of these in the shop but I'll have to justify the galling spelling mistake as a conceptual quirk.

PS: My hundredth post! I hope that's the right kind of verbosity.

End Of Term

This was the final week of term. The printroom has been pretty busy with first-years being taught chine-collé; third-years working on their final-minor projects; Charles Shearer making his own collagraphs and Katherine Anteney assembling some very complex Christmas cards.

A good number of us (including Joe Staples, whose papercuts and text I envy), are itching to get in next week if it's open. I have two screenprint studies ready to print, including these acetates for a swimming pool piece, which has been taxing my powers of logic.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Explosive Seven-Inch

Here is one of the products of this month's burst of screenprinting. I love early-Sixties even-inches, and this one is just the bomb.

Friday 3 December 2010

Magpies for Badgers

Here are a few old sketchbook pages for my illustration colleague Steph Goodwin (Oh Badgers! on Folksy).

The magpie on the left wishes he was a fashion designer, so he collects buttons and frippery.
The magpie on the right wishes he cold sail the oceans. He's building his nest as a ship.

These two work in a call-centre. The world defines them as call-centre magpies, but one would like to be an astronaut, while the other rues his failure to capitalise on his academic achievements.

This fellow is bored at the nightclub. He wants to sit down with a book.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Harriscraft Handmade Cards

Are you enjoying the tips of holly and the red berries peeping through the snow? Is there anyone that you love and would communicate your love to through the medium of the gift card? Are you without the necessary stationery?

I recommend that you look at this Christmas set, which Cat Harris drew and I wrote on, all by hand and all with love.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

White Christmas At Solent

December has started with snow and the illustration course at Solent has installed a Christmas tree piece in the main university reception. It's a good eight feet tall; made of wood; gaily painted and covered with doors, making it an advent calendar.

If you can, you'll have to go and see it in situ. As a bait, here are just the doors.

The piece was commissioned by Millais Off-Site Projects at Solent. Jonny Hannah masterminded the project. He and a group of the third-years painted and assembled the tree and made artwork to go behind the doors. I did a bit of sanding. The others involved are Alex Usher, Jen Hainsworth, Ryan Medlock... and here I'll have to add in the two that I don't know. [EDIT: they are Clari Csuk and Kate Wood!]

I'll show the insides later. Go and see it!