Wednesday, 20 March 2019

What Kills Creativity?

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but my practice is dying.

Despite its relatively healthy exterior it's something I've suspected for a while and have begun applying various holistic approaches to soothe and calm it  the odd hard-fought personal project here and there, writing personal development funding bids in my head in a dream-like state, staying up all night drawing for ink-fucking-tober. In the last few years I've swung everywhere between thinking I NEED TO QUIT MY JOB IMMEDIATELY AND JOIN THE ROYAL DRAWING SCHOOL and Oh well, it's actually fine, I can draw when I'm old! I'll enjoy that...

Like, I think I most recently started to make peace with the fact it was dying  sad and confused, sure  but accepting, like the final scene of Lord of the Rings as the lads wave Frodo off on his little boat.

Over the last few weeks the urgency of my personal work as part of the #ArtistsMeanBusiness residency I've set up at Impact Hub Birmingham this month has become clear. This is going to take more than a nice bath and some ointment, it's going to require some fundamental diagnosis and probably a bit of surgery. I've been writing trying to make sense of all of this like a person possessed this week so far. Using an exercise from d-school, I am now in the process of assessing the condition of my practice, and what I can do to treat it before it’s too late.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

One Extraordinary Thing

If you could do one extraordinary thing, what would it be?

It's 2am and I'm listening to Lou Reed's Transformer album (a Christmas present from my pa), doing a pretty ordinary thing for me at this hour of writing a phrase down on a post-it note and thinking - there is something in this; or rather, here we go again, there's something in me. It's like a kind of itchy thought that makes me get out a fresh sheet of paper or a notebook or in this case, go straight to my fucking blog like Carrie fucking Bradshaw.

So, hi, and welcome to this new and exciting episode of Baked Beans & the City.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

I Am Afraid of Nothing

These words still blaze down from my bedroom mirror in my family home, and I used to consider them every morning as I psyched myself up to leave the house. Torn from the front cover of an old UWE prospectus, the phrase I Am Afraid of Nothing has always been almost amusing to me in how far it is from the truth, but it's also been something I try and live by despite being a very naturally anxious person with a busy, rarely peaceful brain.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

孤独 (Solitude): A Zine

Following on from my previous post about making time for making, I'm excited to share the spoils of my Riso Residency at Rabbits Road Press: a 20pp A5 zine by the name of 孤独 (Solitude). Solitude -- reader, reader -- solitude. Whilst intending to make a zine about my journey to the Japanese islands of Naoshima and Teshima, as I began to go through all the tickets and maps and photographs and notes from my time there I realised that making sense of all of that information was only part of this story, and the themes I drew out became much more about adventure, memories and spending time alone, focusing in on personal feelings and anecdotes.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

We Need To Talk About Byng Inc.

Hey folks, and welcome back to the Byng blogsphere.

It's been a while.

4 months in fact.

I can tell you this with confidence because the only thing I seem to design these days happens to be calendars, although you'd never know it from the sporadic nature of my posts throughout any given year. I can see a 'time to get a watch' type joke in there somewhere, to sit merrily alongside the other kinds of fun I'm lovingly poking at myself at the moment, in pursuit of recovering from my act of, seemingly, going creatively missing.

Let's investigate.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

#PMTBrum 2018: Learning To ROAR

This month has seen some things swirling together building on last year's super fun yet intentional PMT initiative, headed up by Alison Baskerville. On Saturday 10th March, we once again put the Intersectional Womxn's Day fueled event on at Impact Hub Birmingham, welcoming people to the space to celebrate the magic of womxn and non-binary people in the city and beyond. From weaving to boxing via a zine library and lots of cake, PMT once again told a story through a series of interventions around the themes of art, body, work and love.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018


It's hard to believe we've almost rattled through the third month of the ICONOGRAPHY series already, but nevertheless these old geezers are coming to the end of their reign, as it were. Here's a bit about this month's icon - our perfectly sculpted Queen Liz - unveiled in 1967 and rolling through the postal service ever since.

Pocket Film Festival II

After working on Pocket Film Festival's visual identity last year, I'm delighted to see it back for a second round! Unseen Cinema and Flatpack: Assemble united once more to bring one-off screenings, exhibitions and events to Stafford. Continuing with the original pocket-sized matchbook film kit design, the organisers simply wanted a refresh of the colour palette to show it was a new programme for this year, but also drawing on the fact that the design had become recognisable in the community from its first outing back in 2017.

Val/gal/pal-entine's Day

Before jumping on a plane to Tokyo (erm, as you do) I just about dropped some V-day inspired designs onto the Byng Inc. online shop! They celebrate the wide range of love(s) we can experience in our lives to build up a more multi-dimensional picture beyond the heteronormative hallmark romance often found blowing sickly kisses at us around this time of year. 

Building on the back of lots of fun temporary tattoo pop-up parlours, these first official #byngink sets are inspired by 4 of the Greek words for different types of love.

LUDUS: playful love
EROS: sexual passion
PRAGMA: longstanding love
PHILIA: deep friendship


Well, it won't come as much surprise to your lads to know that my desktop background still features our Che. Not to worry, you'll have a snazzy new design to play with soon, just in time for Easter. First up though, here's a bit about why J-Lo features in the ICONOGRAPHY series, as well as the February desktop artwork for y'all to use.