Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Looking for ideas in advance of a wood engraving course, I found this artist Antonio Frasconi that I'd never heard of before.  I love these.

Off shore


Bestiary poster for the book by Pablo Neruda
from the World Turned Upside Down series

Fulton Fish Market

Fulton Fish Market

View from  Brooklyn

from the World Turned Upside Down series


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Good teachers

Sometimes I think about what I will do when I win the lottery and can give up all this working and commuting nonsense and do an art degree. Then I look at all the workshops and classes I've done over the past few years and realise that I more or less have done an art degree. If you think of the time and the money. And the expertise and skill of all the artists... 

Sometimes you don't appreciate what you have, thinking about what you wish you had. But it makes me think how lucky I've been to meet them all and work with them. And how lucky too that they're all such patient, knowledgeable teachers, as well as gifted artists. 

So below is a list of the artists with links to their websites and studios, under the workshop that I've taken with them. (Please click and check out their work, you won't be sorry.) It's a useful record for me,  as well as a thank you to them.

(I should also mention my friend Philippa Merrett who  I met at ELP, who as well as being an inspirational printmaker has generously got me in to life drawing classes at the RA and many an exhibition there.)

Drawing & Painting
Tony Hull - Life Drawing City Lit
Simon Burder - Drawing 1, City Lit
Giles Eldridge Painting 1, City Lit

Nick Morley - Intro to printmaking, ELP. Nick has moved to Margate and set up his own studio there.
Jesse Leroy Smith Printmaking Summer School, Farnham School of Art. I love his work. 

Printmaking techniques
Victoria Browne - Photopolymer gravure, Opificio della Rosa. Victoria runs Kaleid Editions, specialising in artist books.
Dolores de Sade - Intermediate Etching, ELP
Amanda Taylor - Collographs, ELP
Wuon Gean Ho - Japanese vinyl, ELP
Chris Pig - Linocut, ELP

 Katy Goutefangea  Introduction to Book-Binding ELP
 Michelle Avison and Penny Stanford Introduction to Book Arts - Slaughterhaus
Sarah Bryant Drum leaf Binding - London Centre for Book Arts

Helen Ingham - Print Workshop St Brides. Helen's work is published at Hi-Artz Press

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Poster Art 150 - London Underground’s Greatest Designs

 These are from Poster Art 150, on until October at the London Transport Museum. It's as if they invented it to please me - graphic art, tube geekery, printmaking, LONDON. I felt a bit emotional walking around it, it's an entire history of this city of cities.

Also it makes you realise that despite everything, some enlightened people in the hierarchy have realised over the years that people need art, and have funded it.

Of all the fine artwork on show, if I could have taken one home, it would have been this by prolific artist Fred Taylor.   They commissioned a series called Rehabilitation, after WWII had devasted the transport system like everything else, asking people for patience while they repaired it. It is just beautiful.

Below is a detail from a close run second choice by Edward Bawden. Check out the pigeon with a roundel for an eye.  I love the un-catlike cat too.

My tube geekery is not yet over, oh no. Going to this production in the closed Aldwych tube soon.  And the archives in Acton will be open for poster tours.

Some interesting stories in this exhibition. Apparently people stopped using the tube in the 80s because of fares hikes, and so advertisers stopped buying advertising space. The 'Art on the Underground' initiative, then called Platform for Art, was launched in order to fill some of that unsold advertising space. Now the advertising is booming, but they have continued to commission artists to make work for the tube.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


Only tangentially related to art but seeing reviews all over the place has made me want to jump up and down going WE SAW IT FIRST!

And we did, at preview, luckily before the heatwave started because it was HOT LIKE A SAUNA in there on a rainy cold night, so it's beyond imagining what it will be like when it's 30 degrees outside.

Punchdrunk are the maestros of Immersive/Promenade theatre (from what little I know - immersive, you find yourself inside the theatre production as an audience member, promenade - you walk around a set or a venue, rather than the traditional theatre set up of stage/fourth wall/audience seated in the auditorium watching the action in front of them.)

I've managed to miss all their famous productions like the Masque of the Red Death at the Battersea Arts Centre as they sell out very quickly.  So we were pleased to nab preview tickets early on for their collaboration with the National Theatre,The Drowned Man, a production loosely based on B├╝chner's Woyzeck.

This is an unfinished play by a young playwright, so nobody knows the right order, that hasn't stopped a million adaptations being made. It is a kind of mashup of Woyzeck with Day of the Locust , which traumatized me for life when I caught the end  scene on TV as a kid, and any David Lynch you care to mention. For me it strongly reminded me of Mulholland Drive (the glamorous surface and the dark side of Hollywood, and using that as a metaphor to see how stories are constructed).

It is set on an imaginary movie lot set in some indeterminate period, maybe 40s to 60s? The tale of a jealous lover who kills his partner is the loose structure on which the story hangs but being set around this film studio, you can't tell if you are watching the story, or actors filming the story, which makes it baffling and hard to tell which is 'reality' and which is part of the film, in keeping with their multilayered way of working.

One of the pleasures of Punchdrunk is going into it without knowing anything, feeling on edge and uncomfortable and a bit spooked - that ghost train, funhouse feeling, so most reviews tend to be cagey and not want to give too much away.

 I will say that you are lead through long narrow, pitchblack, cramped corridors (claustrophobics, this bit doesn't last too long) and down into an industrial lift, where you are fitted with a mask - this is ingenious as it instantly turns the 600 audience members into a kind of Greek chorus to the actors. Then they let you loose on the set, to explore at will.

 And this for me was the most magical part, and what most reviews tend to praise, even if people were ambivalent about the rest. Because the level of detail of the set, on five floors of this massive ex post office building next to Paddington station, is out of this world. Or rather they have created an entire world. Forests, trailer parks, motel rooms... diners, bars, sleazy movie theatres... sound stages, props and special effects studios, doctor's waiting rooms, masonic clubs, deserts, stars' dressing rooms, bedrooms, backwoods churches... it is like stepping through the silver screen, like entering the film and being able to wander around inside it, picking up props and costumes and examining the life onscreen.

You can wander into a caravan on the movie set and pick up a pile of letters and postcards, leaf through a journal,touch the clothes hanging in the wardrobe. These all pertain in some way to clues in the story (as I was leaving one of the caravans, I notice scrawled signs pasted up all around the doorway "Don't Close Your Eyes!") If there is a jewellery box, you can open it and discover a clue. Open the fridge, pick up the phone. Tamper with stuff. (Apparently the audience also help themselves and they spend a fortune replacing things every night.)  But the depth of detail is a pleasure all by itself, even if you don't use it to piece the action together.

There is a Punchdrunk production of MacBeth still running in New York, which has been running for a year already. Apparently people get obsessive and go back all the time, get into heated debates on the blogs and message boards, stalk their favourite actors. I don't know if I fell in love with the production that much, espcially as it is expensive, but I did fall in love with the set. I'd like to go back and rifle some more, find myself inside the silver screen once again.  That level of work and passion for creative detail deserves some serious appreciation.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Hot news

The Westminster Reference Library exhibition has been extended til 27th July. Get down there! (Some pictures of the delights below but it's not the same as being able to see them and handle them in person.)
35 St Martin's St  London WC2H 7HP

Also, I have sold a copy of my book.

Also, the Library wants to buy my book for its Art & Design collection. Woohoo! Immortality, at last.

Also, I have a place on a 2 year part time Fine Art course starting in September. Exciting!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Athens street art

Feast your eyes on some lovely Athens street art... In terms of range, technique and subject they make the London street art scene look a bit tired.

I don't know who knocked these statues up, they're not bad are they though?