Friday, July 3, 2015

All new

I have had a total redesign of in order to showcase the new woodblock prints that I am working on. If you like dogs you might be interested.

Got to now

The new site includes a blog - - and from now on I will be posting there instead of here. Many thanks Blogger, you have served me well!

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You can also find me on Behance and Etsy

Friday, May 8, 2015

on The Nightmare of Milky Joe

The Nightmare of Milky Joe is my favourite episode of The Mighty Boosh (Season 2, Episode 6). It's also the episode that has made me think the most. If you haven't seen it yet, go and watch it now because this post contains spoilers. 

Harold Howard Moon and Vince Noir are the epitome of the classic Double Act, expressing two very different world views and approaches to life. They are similar in every way but their outlook on life and it makes all the difference. Vince (played by Noel Fielding) has the populist viewpoint; a fickle follower of fashion who is ready to make friends with everyone. Howard (played by Julian Barratt) is an outsider; focusing on how different he is from everyone else. Vince is obscenely confident while Howard’s self worth is reliant on others' opinions. Vince will take credit for anything and look good doing it, while Howard tries to avoid blame, looking guilty all the while.

In The Nightmare of Milky Joe the pair are marooned on a desert island, so the idea that they construct they own realities is compounded by the fact that all the other characters on the island are imaginary (arguably). While Vince sees opportunities (like selling bamboo trousers to pandas and coconut three-ways), Howard sees the world closing in on him as the imaginary police give chase after he flips out and kills his abusive imaginary girlfriend.

The pair are like are like Yin and Yang. Their conflict is usually over what approach they should take with a problem. I used to be like Howard - shifty, awkward, unsure - but over the years many things (not least of all this episode of The Mighty Boosh) have made me realise that Vince Noir has got it right. I do my best to follow Vince’s lead and cultivate an appreciation of the simple things in life (not Kings of Leon though). I have found that when I make an effort to find the good in things, more things start looking good to me. 

In Taoism there is a balance in the world: No good or bad, things merely are. This way you can turn constraints into structure, problems into solutions and try to see things as they are before figuring out how to make it better. 

It’s good to see things from both sides, Howard’s concern for self-preservation and Vince’s belief in possibilities, but these days I choose not to let the emotion of anxiety prevail.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Peckham Print Studio Field Trip

Climbing Trees at the Horniman Museum

Continuing my intermittent flirtation with screen printing, I joined Peckham Print Studio's Field Trip to the Horniman Museum & Gardens towards the end of last year. My resulting two colour screen print is above.

The Horniman is a fantastic local museum that was opened in 1901 by a Victorian collector and, in the spirit of the age, it's crammed full of fascinating and exotic stuff; including natural history, African and musical instrument collections.

The Horniman Museum

The trip was led by Tom Murphy, an artist and fastidious screen printer, and consisted of one day of drawing at the museum and another day of printing at the studio. On day one we started out in the Natural History gallery, moved on to the African gallery, then the Music gallery and ended with a bit of sketching outside. Below are some of my sketches. They are all done with india ink in a Pentel Aquash brush pen on tracing paper.

Baboon and skeleton

Spectacled Caiman

Tree climbing mammals

Two tree shrews

Gold figure of an African hunting dog

Various figures and skulls

A case of horn instruments
Tom having a sketch in the gardens

On day two the group worked on producing a 2 colour A4 print each, back at the print studio. We were very thoroughly guided through the whole process by Tom, and as I only vaguely remembered what to do it was very helpful. We chose a composition from what was produced the day before and then exposed the tracing paper drawings directly onto a screen.

Exposing my drawings onto a screen

My exposed screen

A fellow field tripper preparing her print

Just the black layer
I chose the case of tree climbers and the horn assemblage to overlay in black and gold. It looks like an almost claustrophobic layering of slightly random stuff that - I think - represents the museum quite well. I'd highly recommend a visit and, if you're interested in joining a Field Trip, keep an eye on Peckham Print Studio's Twitter account.

My final print with black and gold layers

The view from the Horniman Gardens

Sunday, December 7, 2014

on Monet's Houses of Parliament

This week I have been working at an auction house where billionaires go to outbid each other in order to add pieces of history to their collections. As you would imagine, there is the occasional conversation among staff about what one would buy if one happened to be so filthy rich. I like to think I wouldn’t be so selfish as to hoard masterpieces for mind-numbing sums of money but, then again, if I had worked to earn millions I might feel differently.

Imagining myself as a person with altogether too much money, I know exactly what my prized jewel would be. A Monet. Specifically, there's a painting of the Houses of Parliament at Sunset in the National Gallery that I have long been attached to.

The Houses of Parliament at Sunset by Claude Monet, 1902
at the National Gallery, London

On Wednesday morning, as the vehicle of my daily commute crested Westminster Bridge in the drizzle, it was as if Claude was crammed next to me in the humid haze of the tightly packed bus. (Qu'est-ce que vous voyez là-bas?) The view out of the window became very familiar. I patted around for my phone so I could take a picture. I had two shots. I think the second one did it some justice. 

The Houses of Parliament at Rush Hour

Monet did a sizeable series of paintings of Westminster Palace; at sunrise, sunset, in different lights as he was wont to do with a subject.

Sample of "Monet Houses of Parliament" on an image search engine

Monet did a spectacular job of describing to us what he saw but at least a part of his message was that the light always changes and you will never see the same thing twice. Definition is hard to come by and perhaps definition is ultimately undesirable.

There is a poem by Lisel Mueller called ‘Monet Refuses the Operation’ where Mueller imagines Monet as an old man addressing the doctor who would like to operate to restore his sight:

“What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent..."

I don't feel the need to own a Monet. I am free to google or to go to fine public galleries and stare for hours on end at his work. Or better yet, I can look through the sweaty condensation of a London bus window and see something transcendent when I expected to be bored.

Now I imagine owning a Monet is like owning a stuffed tiger. It's all well and good but it's dead now, and is no substitute for the living, breathing beast. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rhinoceros and Calf

This is a drawing I did recently of a rhino with a young calf. 

It's an appropriately large one at A0, or 1189 x 841 mm. These photos don't really show the scale. I took loads of process pictures, but I think I have misplaced them!

I used india ink on Saunders Waterford watercolour paper. 

It was commissioned as a gift.


I found a couple of shots of the work in progress, so I thought I would add them in here...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Warwick Wag poster

I spend a fair amount of time in the park. Parks in general, but specifically Warwick Gardens in Peckham. Walking or just hanging out with the dog, waiting for more dog owners to show up. It's quite a community that I had no idea existed before I got a dog. We've made lots of friends and this Sunday we're holding a dog show.

The Warwick Wag is on this Sunday (5th October) from 2pm. I volunteered to do the poster so you can check out the details below... 

The first poster with basic details

The second poster with all the info

If you are close by and have a dog, or just want to see lots of dogs, swing by!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ride or Die

Here's a piece that I did recently. It was commissioned as a birthday gift for one of a trio of friends. The brief was that it had to include a tricycle (as a symbol of their three-way friendship) and the words "Ride or die".

I thoroughly enjoyed aggressively inking out the letters but decided that a Lisa Frank rainbow gradient would be perfect to lighten the tone. It looks like Summer holiday mischief to me.

Fresh ink

The trike


Rainbow typography