The Pointless Yard Sale

IMG_9998I have a solo show of new work opening at the fabulous Compound Gallery, 1167 65th Street, Oakland, CA this Saturday, January 30th, 6-9 pm. In a desperate attempt to promote the event I printed a whole bunch of these obscenity laced Yard Sale posters on the Compound's letterpress, and plastered them all over Oakland and San Francisco. Don't know it it'll have any effect but it certainly was fun to do. The posters direct you to pointlessyardsale.com, which in itself is fairly pointless, but redirects to the Compound's exhibition page. By the way, the exhibition is helpfully titled "We Wish That We Were What We Once Were, Back When We Wanted To Be What We Are Now". All the new work is up on my website now, and is available for purchase here.

Even if you don't stumble across a poster, I hope you can make it along to the show. It promises to be a remarkable spectacle.

Flyer

 

2015 - The Year in Review (Kind Of)

What the hell happened to 2015? It managed to both arrive and depart without the production of a single blog post from this indolent reprobate.

Is it too late to make up for this lackadaisical approach to communication? Probably. Nevertheless, here's my misguided attempt to make up for my lamentable lack of updates.

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Okay, so lets start in October. It's as good a month as any. And it was the month that saw the creation and launch of the above limited edition bronze.  This was definitely the year's most awesome project, embarked upon with the help and expertise of the good folks at The Compound Gallery in Oakland. Entitled 'The Pursuit of Happiness' it's a handsome bronze skull that sits proudly atop it's very own sturdy maple plinth, complete with laser etched profanity. Each and every part of this edition of 13 was hand finished by me at great personal risk and considerable discomfort. And, most astounding of all, every one of the 13 pieces was sold in exactly 13 days. (Well, one disappeared into a mysterious void in the Australian postal system, but that's neither here nor there, like the piece itself.)

21304069690_ce68db8ba6_o Earlier, in September, I also took part in a group show at the aforementioned Compound Gallery.

It was a boxing themed affair entitled "Knockout", and I my contribution was the oddly shaped mixed media piece above. If you're wondering about the unusual dimensions, I chose them after a great deal of contemplation and consideration because the wood panel was heftily reduced in price in the art store.

Aside from all the Compound related activity, 2015 also saw me start to show work regularly at The Dove Biscuit gallery in Los Angeles,  which is located downtown, inside The Last Bookstore. The work available there is mostly my letterpress prints, plus a few smaller mixed media pieces. If you're in the LA area it's definitely worth a visit, not, I hasten to add, because of my work, but because it's a totally cool old building stuffed full of new and used books and records for sale at bargain prices.

Speaking of books, July saw my humble contribution to international art publishing. This took the shape of 14 pages inside this lavish volume which goes by the imaginative title 'Artist Notebook'. Unsurprisingly it's a collection of artist's notebooks.

tumblr_nr716exzns1qzn6a1o1_500 It's publushed by Monsa, in Spain and is available for a mere  €25,90  right here. And if you're wondering, the inside looks bit like this:

tumblr_nr716exzns1qzn6a1o2_500tumblr_nr716exzns1qzn6a1o3_500 Okay I can tell by the glazed look in your eyes, and your incessant yawning, that you're getting bored with all this dreary rambling. I think we both knew it wasn't a great idea, so let me wrap it up quickly for both our sakes. Here's something interesting - it's that fucking gorilla again.

998297_10152996512230698_6764664482182580146_n Yes it made another fucking appearance. This time in the form of a fully-fledged theater performance, complete with paying audience, at the Toronto Fringe Festival. That's in Canada, people. Which is cool. And this time I supplied the original artwork for the posters. Which was also cool.

Finally, as is traditional in these sparse and sporadic blog posts I'd like to end with an apology, accompanied by an excuse. But first some visual evidence:

tumblr_nmrg45DASX1qzn6a1o1_500

Yes, dear reader, that is my wrist. To be more specific that is my right wrist. The wrist I use to draw, paint, type this very blog and complete sundry other less glamorous tasks. This delightful snapshot was taken in the Emergency Room of a San Francisco hospital back in March, after my bicycle and I were involved in an unpleasant altercation with an automobile. Thankfully after the surgical insertion of about eight inches of titanium and several weeks spent in a variety of casts, everything was restored to full functionality. And, on an uncharacteristically optimistic note, it gave me a chance to practice drawing left handed.

Anyway, as you probably guessed by now, I was planning to blame the utter lack of activity here on the results of this regrettable incident, but the fact is, it's really just down to idleness and inertia, so I won't insult your intelligence.

As usual I offer a half-hearted pledge to update this nonsense more frequently, if only to avoid having to create another of these appalling anthologies in the future. However, if you are misguided enough to want to keep up to date with my artistic activities I'd suggest following me on some other social media minefields, which I actually do update regularly. These include Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Twitter and, of course my very own kingdom on the internets, which goes by my name with .com on the end.

Happy New Year, I hope 2016 will be everything you wish it to be.

And thank you for your continued tolerance.

 

The Evolution of a Gorilla

What follows, dear reader, is a strange and cautionary tale. A true story in which we will attempt to examine the inexplicable appeal of the apparently random combination of gorillas and gratuitous profanity. Our story begins with this drawing, created by my own fair hand on the back of an envelope and glued into a notebook, way back in June  2006. (Obviously you can ignore the poorly rendered fire extinguisher, and concentrate on the image on right hand page.)

Notebook

Actually I've just remembered that, in actual fact our tale truly begins with a scribbled note in an entirely different journal, one which I sadly can't find right now. The note said something like: "Draw a gorilla with those lines around it that make things look like things are vibrating". I sometimes make notes like this in a misguided attempt to remind myself of things that I think will be cool to draw. I realize that most other artists would probably just do a skillful but lightening fast sketch to be referred to and improved upon later, but I write words instead. It's what I do– judge me if you want. More often than not I'll immediately forget about these scribbled notes and that'll be the end of the matter, but for some reason in this case I didn't. I actually drew the gorilla, complete with the 'vibrating lines' which proved to be unsatisfactory, and then I added the non sequitur you see above. I have no idea where that phrase actually came from. It simply plopped into my head after I had drawn the gorilla, and then scribbled colored pencil around it in an attempt to assuage the disappointment I felt when the whole 'vibrating lines' thing failed to live up to my hopes and dreams. Eventually I posted the above image to my Flickr page and found the response was both immediate, and alarmingly positive. I even got a request to purchase the drawing, (presumably be  ripped out of the notebook in which it resided). In the end I actually created another version and sold that one. What was interesting though, was the way people responded- the enjoyment this apparently random concoction of words and images gave to otherwise rational people.

A little less than a year later I was preparing for a solo show at a gallery in San Francisco and decided to turn the notebook image into the small mixed media on canvas painting you see below.

As soon as the show went up the gorilla sold immediately and at the opening several people told me they wished that they had bought it, and asked me to let hem know if I ever created another version, or made a print of the same subject. The print thing eventually happened, after a fashion, when I posted it to my Society 6 page in 2010, and made it available in a variety of formats. And while I wasn't exactly able to retire on the proceeds it did sell pretty well.

After I joined the Compound Gallery & Studios in 2012 I started to make my own letterpress prints in small editions and, of course, I inevitably thought of the Fucking Gorilla. I did another version of the drawing and had a photopolymer plate made up, and the result was a series of letterpress prints that look a lot like this...

Once again the unique combination of ape and vulgarity proved popular, with prints being dispatched as far afield as Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, as well as several US destinations.

But our tale doesn't end here. No. In fact it just get more bizarre. Because at around this same time I received an unsolicited email from a perviously unknown Canadian named Tia McGregor, informing me that she had written and staged a play based on the gorilla piece. The title of the play was, not surprisingly, "You And That Fucking Gorilla", and it had its debut at Victoria University in Victoria, British Columbia. Although I sadly didn't get to witness a performance I did read the script and, I have to tell you, to my untrained eye it was pretty damn good. I realize that this all sounds highly unlikely, so as irrefutable evidence that I'm not just making stuff up, here are a couple of shots of the production, complete with gorilla, who appears to meet a tragic end.

So there we have it– the evolution of Gratuitous Simian Profanity from scribbled note to stage production. None of which actually helps us understand the appeal of this particular combination of words and pictures. Perhaps the whole thing was best summed up by a visitor to The Compound who purchased one of the gorilla prints. She revealed that she was actually a gorilla researcher who spends her days working with the beasts, and one of her friends had emailed her the image, presumably because she shared the sentiment expressed. Her pertinent observation was "why would anyone else appreciate this?".

Why, indeed.

Things that are about to happen (and things we made up).

Okay people, I know there had been a continuation of the shameful  lack of regular posting, but I swear from now on I'll be trying oh-so-hard to get my act together and give you sufficient warning of all upcoming exciting and important events.

So, lets kick off 2014 with  the timely announcement that I will be taking part in a three person show at the awesome Compound Gallery in Oakland. The show is entitled Things That Happened and Things We Made Up, and my fellow artists are the magnificently talented Alison Tharp, and the equally superb Liam Golden. It is an honor indeed to be hanging on the same walls as these two, and it should be a very interesting, provocative and entertaining show. I plan on having around 15 new pieces on the walls, including some new paintings. I’ll be posting a few little tasters in various places over the coming weeks.

The Grand Opening Shenanigan will be on Saturday February 8th, from 6-9 pm, and the exhibition will be hanging until Sunday March 3rd. On that very day, at 3p.m., there will be a Closing Tea and something called an Artists Panel, which I haven't actually had explained to me yet, but probably will involve me mumbling incoherently in front of a handful of people who only really want free tea. Anyway, it is my fervent hope that you, dear reader, will find the time and inclination to visit this breathtaking spectacle. Perhaps I will even be lucky enough to see you there.

The back of the postcard imparts a wealth of information

In Other News:

That esteemed, Berkeley based, magazine of the arts, Works and Conversations recently published an interview with Yours Truly in their latest issue, No 27. You can get you hands on a copy right here, or you can save your money and get instant gratification by reading the whole interview on their website, right here. (Obviously paying for the magazine is preferable since the money goes to an excellent cause, and you get large reproductions of several of my pieces in the magazine itself, but far be it from me to stand in moral judgement over your decisions.)

However if you feel the need for guilt-free downloads that feature my bewildered scribblings then point your little pointy digital thing right here, and download a pdf of the latest issue (Number 14) of the truly excellent Composite Magazine. This is the Reprobates issue, and it features several bits and pieces of mine, all reproduced in glorious digital color, plus a ton of other awesome artwork. Highly recommended!

Hands & Pants

One hand and the pants by John Casey, the rest by me. This collaboration drawing is my contribution to John Casey's Hands & Pants show, which can now be viewed at the 63 Bluxome Street Gallery in San Francisco through July 30th.

Strictly speaking this show is actually “Hands & Pants 4” , Hands & Pants being John's collaborative drawing venture, which now involves more than 70 of his artist buddies. Basically the mighty Mr Casey draws some hands and pants, in his simple pen-and-ink style on 8″x10″ Bristol paper, and then he sends his drawing to an invited artist (me, in this case). The artist is then asked to complete the figure in any way they see fit.

And this is how I saw fit.

You can see how everyone else saw fit right here.

Apologies For The Late Notice.

Apology Number 40. Installed directly onto a wall at The Compound Gallery. Okay I admit it, this is a very late post. I don't know why I find it so hard to update this blog when I regularly update my Tumblr and Flickr pages. I have some kind of mental block about WordPress. However, based on the principal that Late is better than Never, heres the NEWS.

Of most immediate importance is the fact that I have a solo exhibition of all of my Apology Drawings on right now at The Compound Gallery in Oakland, CA. I'm afraid the opening reception has come and gone, but the gallery is open Thursday - Sunday 12 noon to 6 pm, and the show is on until Sunday June 9th. This is also the date of The Closing Tea, where I'll be delivering what has optimistically been labeled an 'Artist Talk'. And, if you can't make that, you can watch the whole debacle streaming LIVE on The Compound Gallery website. You can even send in awkward questions, in real time, for me to ignore.

Details of what you've missed and what's still to come!

If you can't wait till then to get answers to your many questions you might find they have already been answered in this interview about the show which appeared on Jeremyriad.com. There's even a little Vine video of me in action.

I sincerely hope you can make along to the show, but if your impressively hectic schedule doesn't allow it, you can still buy a little Apology of your own right now at the Compound Online Shop. I've also produced a couple of limited runs of Apology letter press prints which are for sale at a very reasonable prices at the show, and probably a bit later online.

Two of the limited edition letter press prints I made for the show.

Not only that but visitors are welcome to leave their own contribution on the fabulously interactive Apology Wall.

I'm sorry, but how can you resist this?

Go ahead. Apologize.

The Artistic Rewards of Taco Bell Overindulgence.

The Mayor

I recently completed a fairly magnificent portrait of someone who eats at a Taco Bell somewhere in Ohio so often that they became the ‘Mayor’ of that Taco Bell on Four Square. It was quite possibly my finest moment.

Taco Bell just posted a YouTube video of the subject being presented with her likeness as part of her Very Special Day. And here, for your edification, is a remarkable screenshot of that very moment.

The Moment

Not only that my friends, but if you have  one minute and thirty-five seconds of your life to spare, you can witness the whole remarkable debacle unfolding before your very eyes right here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X9jVFPksgI]

Presidential Losers.

This portrait of Hubert H Humphrey is now appearing at the Salvage Vanguard Theater Gallery in Austin, Texas as part of the ‘Presidential Losers’ exhibition.

The show opened this weekend and is being held in conjunction with Gnap! Theatre Projects upcoming 44 Plays for 44 Presidents stage production which will be opening at the Theatre on October 5th. The exhibition features 75 portraits, one of every contender who has lost the U.S. Presidential Election.

My subject of my portrait, Hubert Humphrey, lost the the 1968 election to that that delightful character Richard Nixon. Humphrey was Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President at the time, and “Hubert who?” was allegedly Johnson’s response when, because he was unable to attend Winston Churchill’s funeral, an advisor suggested he send Hubert along as his representative. Humphrey did not attend the funeral. The other quote is from HHH himself, and seemed appropriate considering the forgettable outcome of his Presidential ambitions.

Thinking Inside the Box.

I've never really understood that whole "no news is good news" thing.

Anyhow, here's some news. It's good news. And it's name is The Compound Gallery.

That's right, dear reader(s) my humble artworks have found a splendid new home, just a hop, skip and jump across the bay from my own San Francisco home, in Oakland's most awesome gallery. I'm excited fit to bust, which as you can imagine, is a state I'm not often witnessed in, and one it's probably best not to imagine.

Right now I have several pieces displayed in the spectacularly named Special Collection and Print Lounge, and another big painting in the Art in a Box Headquarters (more about Art in a Box shortly). But what I'm really excited about is the prospect of a solo show of all my Apology Drawings in the Main Gallery next year. Not sure of exact dates yet, but check back and I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime allow me to explain the frequent, and so far mysterious, box references that have blighted this blog.

I’m thrilled to announce I'll also be contributing to The Compound's Art in a Box service. Art in a Box is an art subscription service based on the model of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box, but instead of worthy but flavorless vegetables it delivers gloriously original works of art to subscribers. Every box's contents are created by a local Bay Area artist, such as myself, and subscribing couldn't be simpler. Just supply three adjectives to describe your taste in art, then describe the types of media you like or, more importantly, dislike, and choose how often you want your boxes dispatched (every month, every other month, quarterly, etc.). You will then receive, upon your doorstep, a carefully chosen piece of original art in a robust yet attractive box each month of your subscription. 'How much does remarkable service cost?', I hear you mumble breathlessly. Surely and arm and a leg, if not a spleen and a small intestine. Well stand back and firmly grasp a piece of sturdy furniture my friends, because subscribers pay a mere $50 per box. Yes, you read that right, fifty trifling bucks. And in fact if you could overcome that crippling idleness of yours and make it to the gallery in person, you could pick up your boxed art yourself and save $10 in the process. Not only that, but you could behold the wondrousness that is The Compound Gallery into the bargain.

I hope to see you there one day soon. In the meantime you can subscribe right here.

I'm Blowing Up (Allegedly).

The series of mixed media 'Apology Drawings' that I've been working on lately were the recipients of a very uplifting little feature article in no less an esteemed internet publication than the mighty Huffington Post. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Then today I was contacted by a friend in Los Angeles who informed me that some bloke he knows in Brazil had forwarded him the article, and that in his opinion I am "blowing up". Blimey. Not quite sure what to make of it all, but I guess it has to be good, right?

Anyway, if anyone reading this (does anyone read this?) owns or operates, or has some influence in any kind of super-hot, hip gallery, then I'm looking for a place to organize a show of this work. Come to think of it the super-hot and hip part is completely optional, but it would certainly be nice. I have over 20 of these apologies right now, and anticipate at least 10 more to come, they are all mixed media on cardboard, around 8 - 12 inches in size and easy (and ready) to hang.

Come on people, I'm blowing up - this is your chance to get in on the action.

Etsy - bricks & mortar version in San Francisco.

I have a bunch of works (including the painting pictured so tantalizingly above) in an exhibition that opens today (May 2nd) at the Studio Gallery at 1815 Polk Street, between Washington & Jackson in San Francisco.

It’s a juried show called the SF Etsy Show and features work from a number of San Francisco based Etsy sellers. You can find details of all the participants and the kinds of things that will be for sale here.  It'll be a bit like shopping on Etsy with the added inconvenience of actually having to go to a specific location, but with the advantage that you actually get to see (and perhaps even touch) the items you're interested in before you part with your hard-earned moolah. My own Etsy page, which will give you a pretty good idea what I have in the show, is right here. The exhibition will be on until May 27th, and there’s an opening reception on Saturday May 12th 2- 6pm which promises to feature a plethora of delightful baked goods available free to perusers.

Now that's something you don't get shopping online. Ever.

A little bit country, a little bit immunology research genius.

 I Just completed this illustration for an article entitled Jim Allison's Long and Winding Road which will appear in the upcoming issue of UC Berkeley's California Magazine.

To cut a long, and extremely scientific story short, the aforementioned Mr Allison, the subject of both article and illustration, discovered a protein called CTLA-4 in his Berkeley lab way back in 1993.  This protein attaches to T cells and acts as a brake for the immune systems, something that seemed to be of little interest to the majority of the scientific community at the time. But because he is a very smart man Jim understood the significance of this discovery, and went on to develop an antibody to the protein – a drug to block its action.  His theory being that if the new drug did its job, it would free up the immune system to identify and attack cancerous cells, even those that have resisted chemotherapy.

Unfortunately for Jim this new drug then had to enter clinical trials - which went on and on and on and...well you get the picture. The good news is that after 15 years and clinical trials involving 6,500 patients the drug is finally available to treat melanoma. And it offers a completely different approach to cancer treatment that has been proving extremely effective.

All which makes for a fascinating tale, but was bit tricky to translate into in an interesting illustrated portrait. Luckily for me there was a 'human angle'.  Because as well as being a scientific super-hero, Jim was also a South Texan, harmonica playing, country music aficionado.

And so the Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Blues was born.

A Baker's Dozen at Arizmendi Bakery.

As a resident of San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood for the last 13 years I'm delighted to announce I'll be taking part in the first ever Inner Sunset Art Crawl tonight, Friday February 17th, from 6pm until around 10 pm. I was lucky enough to get the Arizmendi Bakery on 9th Avenue between Irving & Judah, as my venue, so I'm going to be showing 13 drawings and calling it 'Baker's Dozen', because that's the kind of smart arse I am.

All 13 pieces in the Crawl show are from a series of Apology Drawings that I've been working on over the last few months, you can see them all here.  This is an ongoing series of small mixed media drawings. Each one is an imagined apology combined with a pencil portrait drawn from found pictures of people I've never met.

Although I've lived in the USA for the last 16 years I'm originally British, which means I come from a place where everyone constantly aplogises for everything, and I live in a place where no one ever apologizes for anything. This series has come about as a result of that experience. The pieces are also intended to explore the capability of a short, contextless phrase to insinuate a variety of larger and more complex narratives in the perception of the beholder.

Okay, that's enough of the art-justification guff. The real point is that the whole Art Crawl thing should probably be a laugh - there's a lot going on including music, an outdoor showing of The Wizard Of OZ movie and let's not forget it's also Beer Week here in San Francisco. I'll be lurking in the vicinity, hopefully clutching a pint of strong ale.

If you're not there I'll expect an apology.

I think the drawings will be on show in Arizmendi until Monday 20th, by the way.

Oh yeah, and I did the type on the poster too.

A Perfect Day in Amsterdam.

 I have a bunch of artworks appearing in an exhibition at the Westergasfabriek Museum in Amsterdam called 'A Perfect Day'. My fellow exhibitors are an illustrious bunch indeed,  including artistic and cultural luminaries like Raymond Pettibon, Chris Johanson, Dave Eggers, David Shrigley, Richard Prince, Simon Evans, Royal Art Lodge, Leonard Cohen and Rene Magritte (yes, THAT Rene Magritte).

The exhibition is described as 'a collection of drawings with text, featuring observations, thoughts and ideas about life.  Funny, clever, poetic, ironic and hilarious.' The show is actually a continuation of a highly successful exhibition called ‘Lots of Things Like This‘ that took place in 2008 in New York. The original exhibit being curated by Dave Eggers, author of ‘What's the What’ and founder of the publishing house McSweeney’s. The show also resulted in the publication of the bestselling and influential art book 'More Things Like This' by Chronicle in 2009.

As someone who's been making art out of a combination of pictures and text for many years it's especially gratifying to be included in this show, alongside so many terrific artists. Maybe it's finally time for 'pictures with words on them' to take center stage in The Artworld. To quote Jesse Nathan: 'Now more than ever you can see anywhere in the world an art form consisting of images and text and, above all, humor. Today you see writers, cartoonists, graffiti artists, poets, songwriters,  film makers and artists around the world  working with these elements. It is an accessible, contemporary form of communication, with a quick easy universal language, but as intimate as a sketch on a napkin.'

If you find yourself in Amsterdam it'll be worth a look, here's the details:

A Perfect Day – 10-24 February 2012 Westergasfabriek (Openbare Verlichting) Pazzanistraat 27, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

open daily

Monday-Wednesday, Friday 11 am – 5 pm.

Thursday 10 am- 9 pm Saturday, Sunday 11 am – 11 pm. Admission: €5 (with discount €2,50)

Jesus. Now appearing in Chico, CA.

I have half a dozen Jesus related artworks appearing in The Jesus Show which opened last Saturday night at the fabulous RayRay gallery at 530 Broadway Street, Chico, California.  Religiously speaking I go through life as a kind of disinterested agnostic until I have the misfortune to actually encounter organized religion first hand, at which point I rapidly transform into a card-carrying atheist. Despite this lackadaisical attitude to religion, when Ray Ray invited me to contribute to the show I decided to take the plunge, figuring I would be able to find a rich vein of humor in a subject that’s already knee-deep in absurdity. Hopefully I succeeded. Because when all’s said and done, if I did believe in Jesus I’d have to believe he would enjoy a good laugh.

And, judging by this promo video for the show, the folks at RayRay agree:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_ZxR906Sro?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

If you're feeling particularly spiritually stout-hearted you can see all six of the pieces I made for the show on my Society 6 page right here. And if you can't be bothered here's one more to be going on with.

And just to make the whole thing seem totally legit, you can even read a review of the show right here. Apparently my contribution " isn’t a mockery of faith... so much as a playful, sarcastic teasing of any moral sanctimony." a statement I'd have a hard time disagreeing with. Hallelujah!

Other Gallery Related News:

After almost 10 years of being represented by Hang in San Francisco, I recently decided to part company with the gallery. New ownership and a change in attitude to things like 'output' and 'market value' had made me even less comfortable with the gallery than I already was. (I've always been pretty much the token supplier of 'quirky' artwork - along with the fabulous Dave Warnke - amidst a plethora of well executed but pretty asinine decorative abstract and landscape paintings.) This won't actually make any real difference to the amount that my work gets shown, since it's been quite a while since Hang actually Hung any of my work, but it does mean I won't be selling any more pieces through them. The good news for you and me is that, since there  won't be a 50% gallery commission on every piece bought, I can actually sell my work for a more reasonable price and yet still make more money. With that in mind I've posted a bunch of new work for sale on my Etsy shop. If you have the time and the inclination I'd humbly implore you to have a look. After all, nothing say 'Happy Holidays, Sweetie Pie' like the gift of slightly dodgy artwork.

Presidential Pathos

It's raining, it's pouring... Just finished this illustration for Cincinnati Magazine for an article by New York Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins about William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the USA, who apparently hailed from Ohio.

As a President he was a pretty sorry specimen, his claims to fame all pretty much amounting to spectacular non-achievements. Firstly he gave the longest inaugural speech in history, which would be bad enough, but unfortunately March 4, 1841, was a cold and wet day and Our William chose to wear neither overcoat nor hat. This was allegedly to demonstrate his robustness, which had been called into question due his advancing years. As a consequence of this foolhardiness he developed both pneumonia and pleurisy shortly after. Despite the attentions of the top medics of the day and the liberal application of  opium, castor oil, and leeches he proceeded to drop dead exactly one month later. Which made his the Presidential term the shortest in history, coming in at 30 days, 12 hours, and 30 minutes. It also made him the only President never actually to move into the White House.

No wonder he looks so bloody miserable.

Hair

As a man with very little in the way of hair I am always swift to admire an abundance of it in others. Particularly when it is worn with a disregard for convention verging on wild abandon. Imagine my delight, then, when I was recently asked by The Imperial College, London to create a portrait of the above effusively haired author of an article in their alumni magazine, the imaginatively monikered 'Imperial'. I'm always a bit nervous about doing portraits, but when I received the photograph of my intended victim my heart leapt, since he had topped off a 'characterful' physiognomy with this truly remarkable coiffure. The subject of our hirsute hero's article was the effects of social media on the lives and study habits of contemporary students, and I attempted to incorporate this subject matter into the portrait but, if we're being honest, it's completely overshadowed by the author's magnificent mane.  Anyone interested in further reading can download their very own PDF of the magazine right here.

Printed Matter.

I've been making my my dubious presence felt in a few otherwise worthwhile publications recently. First up is Issue 2 of InPrint magazine, who's theme is 'typography'.  Aside from the fact that I have a bunch of stuff in it, it's well worth checking out if you're interested in typography and design. It's also available as free PDF download, so you really have no excuse not to, other than your understandable apathy.

The next publication is Portals Zine - the lavishly produced, 44 page, saddle-stiched 'Art Journals' issue to be specific. You'll have to pay for this one I'm afraid, but needless to say it's well worth every penny of the $20 in question, featuring as it does the only four page, full-color interview with Yours Truly in existence. Want to know what inspires me, or where I create? Then choke up the twenty bucks right here, my friend. You won't be disappointed. Well, you may be, but please don't complain to me if you are. I got no money for this and did my best to appear at least partially interesting.

Now let us continue our jaunty amble through this leafy literate alleyway until we alight upon the estimable Rückenkälte zine. This, as the teutonic title would suggest, is a Germanic publication. It features both short-stories (mostly in German, nor surprisingly) and, for the amusement of non-German speakers, illustrations. Apparently artists such as Mariana Abasolo, Mitch Blunt and David Shrigley have contributed to past issues (although out of that trio Shrigley is the only one I've actually heard of). The theme of the issue I contributed to is "forms" which, as you can see, I interpreted as obtusely as possible.

Anyways the good news (or gute nachrichten) for you is that Rückenkälte is a free zine. The bad news (or schlechte nachrichten) for me is that instead of getting paid for my artistic efforts I received a vague and fairly unconvincing promise of  "immense popularity among Germans (and Austrians) for your work". We shall see. We shall see.

Disaster movies and shameless celebrity namedropping.

If there was such a thing as a regular reader of this blog, he or she would know I'm not averse to dropping the occasional celebrity name here and there in a transparently pathetic attempt to vicariously associate myself with their fame and glamour. Well you'll be delighted to hear that this is exactly what I'm about to do now. Only more so. The half-baked excuse on this occasion is the appearance of two of my paintings in the soon-to-be completed new Hollywood Blockbuster Disaster Movie from director Steven Soderbergh entitled Contagion.

Here's one of the paintings right here:

Apart from my paintings the movie also features a host of lesser known stars, such as Jude Law, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Laurence Fishburne. You have to admit that's an impressive amount of namedropping - and we're not done yet, there'll be more later. But back to the movie who's plot revolves around "a lethal airborne virus emanating from Asia that responds to no known protocol, is more contagious than the common cold, and kills within days. With the world-wide medical community racing to find a vaccination, society begins to break down as rumor and innuendo swirl across international boundaries". Could be good, could be rubbish. All we know for sure is that the sequence shot in San Francisco may fleetingly feature two paintings that are breathtakingly fantastic, unless they end up on the cutting room floor of course, which is highly likely. Personally I've had a soft-spot for disaster movies, ever since I saw Earthquake in Sensurround at the Edinburgh Odeon, as an undernourished and pimply youth, back in 1974.  Richard RoundtreeWalter MatthauVictoria PrincipalCharlton HestonAva Gardner now that's a cast worth namedropping!

You'll no doubt be wanting to see the other painting, so here it is:

Apparently they'll be lurking in the background during a cafe scene. Oh, and if I may take the liberty of answering the question that I know hovers on everyone's lips, yes, they are both still for sale! This could be your opportunity to own a piece of genuine Hollywood Blockbuster Memorabilia at a very attractive price, an heirloom for future generations to gaze upon in wonder.

If you do choose to purchase one of these unique and remarkable pieces you'll be following in the esteemed footsteps of other name-droppable Hollywood Celebrities Robert Downey Jr. and Carrie Fisher, both of whom are proud owners of Fullarton originals. No I'm not kidding. Cross my heart and hope to die. In fact not only does Mr. Downey Jr. own a drawing, which I fondly imagine him gazing at from his favorite armchair as he relaxes in front of a roaring fire with a mug of steaming Ovaltine, this Christmas he actually bought two more pieces to give as gifts to people he particularly despises.

And because I know you're fascinated, here's one of the pictures Carrie Fisher bought:

You can see what she saw in it, can't you?

Fit To Print.

Two posts in two days! Well, don't say I didn't warn you. The last 48 hours has seen a virtual torrent of online activity unleashed. I've even been tweeting and I uploaded a whole butt-load of last year's drawings and paintings to my Behance page. Soon you'll look back longingly on the days when I would go for weeks, nay months, without a digital utterance. Anyhow, the purpose of this particular rambling update is to vaingloriously brag about a recent illustration commission for the Washington Post. The cover of the Local Living section no less.

The article I was asked to illustrate was about the big differences in the way that men and women exercise - men going berserk lifting weights, generally overdoing it and injuring themselves, and women doing stuff like yoga and pilates and taking it  too easy to actually get much benefit. As well as the cover there was an inside illustration that appeared alongside the article. I thought the humor would come from contrasting the two approaches side by side - so my challenge was to work out a way to do that in both pieces, and tie them together as well. The result was this approach, kind of based on an exquisite corpse drawing, where the picture of the man and the picture of the woman were 'torn' in half and reassembled as one figure, comparing the characteristics of both to comic effect.

As you can no doubt tell I was responsible for hand drawing most of the type too. It was quite a work out.