Thursday, 15 December 2011

Make Lunch, Draw Lunch, Eat.

I rustled up this little image today for Anorak magazine's Happy Lunch! competition.

The idea was to tailor the material used to each item of food's properties, so each object is tactile in its own way. Overall I'm not sure if the plain background holds these elements together well enough,
and, I guess as blogs are good places for 'behind the scenes' talk, I can let you know that I put that humble humbug on upside down. Oops.
Oh well, the lunch was very well received by my tummy; and making from real food is an incentive to finish it in order to be able to, well, eat it. There is also an awful lot of traffic light jelly left to celebrate the completion :) I might introduce it to its sure-to-be friend, icecream.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Awesome Steinberg.

Today there were two sessions by Anna Steinberg at my university; an illustrator, teacher and member of the editorial board of the AOI's varoom magazine. She gave a fantastic lecture this morning with some seriously useful information about the commissioning process, with lots of advice through real-life examples of her projects.

Particularly useful words:
- Ask someone who wants to commission you which work of yours they like and where they saw it. Shows you exactly what they have in mind and which of your means of promotion is working.
- Pricing is based on the image's intended usage, not the image itself. Copyright remains with you, you are just letting people use an image for a certain amount of time and in certain ways.
- Keep doing  interesting self-led work. If you only promote your conservative client work, you will get more conservative commissions.
- Be somewhere you find stimulating.
- Be ready for luck.

This was followed by a freelance workshop, where we completed a commission in a group in just over an hour. It was for an illustration to accompany an article about owners making their pets fat, and it was very enjoyable to discuss this through visual ideas with fellow illustrators, as well as highlighting problems with the client's contract and setting our fees.

Our final outcome was a drawn up version of these roughs, with a vet trying to communicate to the oblivious unhealthy owner that there is a problem.

Such a proactive and illuminating day.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Wish You Were Here.

Just before the dark Christmas nights really set in, there is an exhibition on Bournemouth seafront entitled 'Wish You Were Here'. Original postcards made under this title will be put up at Branksome Dene in a large beach hut, and my offering is about the moon. Below is the first & second attempts at drawing the moon onto tracing paper, and subsequent placing of the image on different surfaces such as a mousemat, envelope and job contract.

The thinking behind the image was my first boyfriend, and how when he split up with me when I was 17 I wanted to wish far him away somewhere. He was joining the RAF anyway, but that felt like a romanticism of him 'going to war' almost, when the truth was that he didn't want me anymore, near or far. The distance between us was so to be both spatial and emotional. I didn't want a chance to bump into him as I felt that would be really difficult, so in my head I wished he would be transported to the moon;
238,857 miles away, where all ex-boyfriends should be kept.

The exhibition is on the 16th December; the last day of term & the perfect opportunity for more mulled wine & mince pies than should be able to be fit into the human body.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Here is the final map layout, followed by the cover I made to house the printed folded copy and round off this latest project. The front is the oh-so-ordinary 'Welcome To Halesowen' sign, paired with a little added sign that tells people about the exciting features of the town- haha. The back is an escalator with nobody on it. Poigniant, but most people really do leave the town through the fairly depressing shopping centre in their cars.

And well, now that that's all handed in for scrutiny I can get back to the place itself for merry midlands Christmas times. Bostin.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


After a wonderfully fulfilling hand-in day this week, I have time to blog a little more about my 10 week project about the goings-on and life within my hometown of Halesowen in the West Midlands. Originally exploring the process of map-making, this idea stemmed as I took an interest in a psychogeographic approach and the notion of mapping a personal journey; a time as well as a place.

By acting as a map-maker I was able to select which information to draw; what stood out to me either for good or bad reasons on a route that I chose. Brand supermarkets were not chosen instinctively as to me they do not contribute to my town's character, when infact they are quite prevalent in its layout and function.

People are included alongside buildings as equally notable features, and both are transient. Even though the places are more permanent than the fleeting moments I have drawn of people's lives, in a sense they are never quite the same at any given time (different cars outside, open/closed), as well as shops becoming all the more redeveloped as time goes on.
Some images were done as reportage directly on site, but I also took a lot of photos to create 'snapshot' images of the day and the majority are drawn from those.

I feel a large connection to the drawings generated within this project as I feel they have a looseness that is sometimes lacking in my search to create a successful drawing. 

Monday, 5 December 2011

Another Escape.

Have to give this gem its own post:
Here is issue # 1 of Another Escape, a new zine by Rachel Taylor in which my compass piece of the previous post is included.

I think she has done an absolutely gorgeous job with this first issue; such a graceful and considered publication with lots of vibrancy. Lovely pieces in particular can be seen by Vicky Yates, Josh Whettingsteel & Jessica Durden, and I must say I am rather chuffed that she used a quote from me to round things off. I physically blushed.

Really happy to be part of such a high quality project, and to have such talented idiosyncratic peers.
Frankly, I can't wait for issue 2.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Modern-Day Adventure Kit Part I: Compass

I made this compass for a zine the lovely miss Rachel Taylor is putting together, on the subject of adventure, escapism and journeys. I would love to say that I whittled it out of redwood bark as I rafted down the Congo being chased by savages with gold teeth, but it was infact fashioned out of felt, stitch, pencil & paper. In my house.
I am happy with the result, and can't wait to see all the contributions bound together.

Monday, 28 November 2011

All Hail 'Sowen.

Here are some drawings from my university project this term. It is an authorial project about my hometown of Halesowen. Through mapping the little quirks that make it just so, the people there, & places that mean something to me (like the busstop where I used to meet and part with an old boyfriend, where I peed on New Years Eve, where my parents go for lunch every wednesday) I hope to explore the feeling of association and safety that can be found in the most mundane or seemingly tiresome objects and places.

< one week left on the project, so better get back to it.
The finished piece is to be a folded map-construct with these such drawings interconnecting and making paths to each other. Hope it swims.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A Very Stationary Christmas.

I knocked up this little Christmas image today as an idea for a card. It came about as the various real-life glues on my desk have all donned a hat.
The hats are from The Big Knit campaign. in which little hats are knitted for Innocent Smoothies in order to generate money for the charity Age UK, & having now accumulated 3 of these snugly-topped smoothies I have found they fit perfectly on top of my pritt sticks & PVA bottles. I extended this image's sweetness by imagining all inanimate stationary objects needing to keep warm, and how they might go about it.

It should be noted that in the bottom left hand corner of the original drawing I attempted to include a rubber in full jumper. Ironically, I thought it best be rubbed out, as he looked very upset lying there, with sleeves but no arms... Remember, rubbers are for life, not just for Christmas.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

You Gotta Go There To Come Back.

Currently I have maps on the mind, as that is the direction in which my present uni unit is finding itself. I became really interested in a collaborative project by Oh Momma a while ago called What's Your Type? in which creatives were asked to recreate their favourite letter(s) however they wanted.
Here are my A & Z, the alpha & omega. Z is my favourite letter of the alphabet as it turns up last, but I like A as a new beginning; if you looped the alphabet they would be together, yet they seem so far apart.
To make my letters I recreated OS maps of John o' Groats and Land's End; the A & Z of the UK.

You can see all of the beautifully diverse entries here.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

In-Flight Magazine.

My university magazine Slapdash emailed asking for art to include in the next issue. I sent these over; past works that have never been sent anywhere before. The top two reassure me that I can use coloured backgrounds, despite a lot of my drawings just existing on the paper they were made on (usually white). I am taking this post as a personal reminder to colour in my work as I try to colour in my life.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Exhibition Companion.

Since the Out of Sight exhibition we have been working on a catalogue for it; to capture the project forever in a tangible form. We hoped to get a couple printed with the money we had left, but that wish has actually magnified via funding we recently received; 60 copies are now set to be created. This means we can give one to each of our participating artists as a memento, and still have quite a few to share with people / make forts out of. I am humbled by such generosity. Here is the final version, sent to the printers today:

And here is a selection of what people have been saying about Out of Sight:
a-n The Artists Information Company
Artists Now
BH Beat
Aditi Kulkarni

Thanks again to everyone who helped, gave time and gave a damn about our little project.

Friday, 21 October 2011

What That Wardrobe Needs is a Homophonic Hoodie.

The Student Union at my university has a hoodie redesign competition every year. This is my contender for this year, with voting starting next week. I'll be rooting for it to do well like an enthusiastic mom on sport's day.
If not, I blame the 'Hey'.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Badge of Honour.

Today I received a very exciting and very blue parcel from the good people at Stereohype! As posted previously I entered their badge competition this year. Curiously I came fourth, which means not only are my badges on sale at the stereohype website, but also that I was owed some prize-winning clobber.

As a badge fan I was in heaven getting to choose 15 badges as part of the winnings. Some tough decisions were made after scouring their catalogue of treasures (across a few sittings), and below you can see the well-chosen badges that joined my own design as additions to my collection, along with this photo of my now-real badges having been instantly donned with genuine pride. The finish of them is very good, it's so cool to see my bike having lifted off from the page. It'd be strange to say they're 3-D now as they're still definitely 2-D compared to a real bike, but you know what I mean.

From top left to right:
Green Jellyfish by FL@33
Rubberbands, Large by FL@33
Moon Eclipse, Dark by √ČricandMarie
Anteater Trumpet by Mayuko Fujino (1st Prize 2011)
Pie Chart by Lisa Olausson
Ketchup by Alexander Egger.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


I sent this over to The Fruit Tree Foundation this week, as they had a fun competition to help create a new EP for their mentoring musicians.

Says Fruit Tree's Astrid Johnston, "We are inviting you to play ‘consequences’ aka ‘heads, bodies and legs’ with a fruit tree, and then send us your version of one section of the tree. Three of the entries will be put together to form a whole tree and used for the EP".

Being the ripe-old age of twenty-one, I tackled the top of the tree. Thinking of it as the canopy, I drew lots of little brollies and cut + glued them down in place. I liked the idea of one tree collecting all the umbrellas lost by people; either taken by the wind, left on the bus, or so often abandoned in a mangled state after losing to a storm.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Brains of the Operation.

I myself created an installation piece to be exhibited in the Out of Sight exhibition entitled, simply, 'The Brain'. I had wanted to make it for quite some time, and the car park gave me a good opportunity to make it tangible and place it within a public platform. Its placement in the carpark seemed perfect to me, as my interpretation of the underground space was of it as the recesses of the mind of the upper levels, if we were to compare them to consciousness. It was dusty, dated and hidden away, and matched perfectly with my intentions for the work.

When studying psychology at college, an analogy of the brain as a computer was used all the time, to explain basic principles of how it was structured & how complex it was; hardware, software, electrical signals and the like...
But, after learning more; about memory and the unconscious, and drawing on my own relationship with my brain, a different profile of the nerve centre emerged - one of a more personal and manual place. It seemed way more analogue in form than this digitised comparison. The brain forgets things; not everything we 'save' onto it is still there when we go to retrieve it. It can trick us, and implant something that we only think was there; neuron paths can get overlapped.

I imagined instead the brain as a person in an office, with each thought and each process as a hard copy rather than a computer 'file'; a piece of paper, meaning 'human error' in the process of filing could account for our brain's mix ups. The brain is the communicator of the body, and I imagined it as a dated hub, with in-trays and out-trays of signals to deal with from the different organs, as if they were people too.

I created this analogy as a physical environment in order to let people enter it, with things to pick up and investigate. With me sitting at a typewriter acting as the recorder of 'brain activity' for a couple of hours each day, the work also had a strong element of immediacy. I surrounded the desk with everything that my brain knew. I made a list of everyone I could ever remember meeting, made a world map from memory, and packed my troubles in an old kit bag. The continuous reel of paper generated throughout the exhibition recording my thoughts and what I could see resulted in a stream of paper documentation about the exhibition, its visitors and to some extent reflections on my own life during that period.

The piece worked best when I was absent however, leaving behind the evidence of someone being there (complete with cups from the coffees I'd chugged to keep me going) and documentation of the past for visitors to read. People seemed to enjoy rooting around in someone else's head, like voyeurs of its owner rather than it as an art piece. The non-gallery setting also encouraged this interaction I think; there was no barrior of prestige or 'do not touch' feeling created as so often in a white cube environment.

A couple of visitors even became part of the record of the work by typing on the typewriter themselves with what they witnessed and what they thought of it, which makes for interesting reading.

Now all I have to do it work out how to get the filing cabinets out of the car park.

Exhibition Hair.

Here is a little moving image docu nugget one Michael Compton made about the Out of Sight exhibition while we were 'in labour', as it were. He did a very good job capturing our ruddy cheeks and weary eyes, but also the anticipation that A baby is coming.
I think the gentlemen come across a bit cheeky-chappy, while I channel an element of Hermione Granger. Without the good hair.

Out of Sight, Out of Our Minds.

Finally I have time to post about me and my housemates' latest and grandest endeavour:
This summer we presented OUT OF SIGHT to an unsuspecting Bournemouthian public; an exhibition in an underground carpark that until now has been unused for three years.

Me and my housemates George Bills, Laurie Ramsell, Nathan Hackett heralded as organisers of the whole kit and kaoodle, enlisting the help of Ashley Peevor & Michael Compton along the way to make a combined force of knowledgable, capable and resiliant fine art and illustration students. 33 proposals were then chosen from entrants spanning our entire university, The Arts University College at Bournemouth, and the resultant exhibition proudly featured costume design, digital media, film, foundation and MA students, alongside both of our courses.
It was a long process, from liaising with various levels of Wilkinsons clearance (owners of the carpark), calling for entries, selecting the artists, cleaning the carpark, adding power outlets, installing the work, making our own work(!) and of course aspects of promotion and publicity as the opening date approached. Exhaustion was a key feeling inside all of us in the house at the end of each day, but such a sense of achievement gripped in turning a disgusting and neglected environment into a house for sophisticated art pieces. Plus, someone told us that when you're tired, you know you're putting your all in.

I myself designed our promotional 'identity', which became applied to flyers, posters, e-invites, and signage. It was based on an eye test, playing with ideas of optical inadequacies taken from the exhibition title 'Out of Sight'.

One key aspect of our exhibition was that we were 'out of the way', slightly off the beaten track; you had to take a sort of leap of faith down some unfamiliar stairs in an unnervingly familiar place, and find something that was hidden to a lot of people who who look past it, making the entrant an explorer of the unknown who had seen something others had not. Our ethos contained lacings of an appreciation for the overlooked: including outsiders within a society, as well as hidden areas within a community, and we wanted to show art's resiliance to unorthodox circumstances - including declines of the economy and lower states of lifestyle. All the artworks were generated as a direct response to the carpark; whether the result mimicked some of its qualities, or juxtapoed against them; made use of its large scale or exaggerated it, none of the objects would exist without the environment.

S from 'Urban Brick' typeface by Bana Toutounjee. Photograph by Denise Poote.

'Residents' by Elizabeth Vazquez. Photograph by Michael Compton.

Inside 'Petri Dish' by Kieran Leonard, Tom Daniel-Moon & Ka Vi. Photograph by Michael Compton.

Assemblage of 'Sustainable Car' by Marta Fjellheim. Photograph by Michael Compton.

'Meltdown' by Hollie Mackenzie. Photograph by Denise Poote.

We received around 1000 visitors across the week-long opening period, largely due to the carpark entrance in prime location on the bustling Winton High Street; having been hidden right alongside the entrance to chainstore Wilkinsons for all this time. Many people who came down to the carpark's depths had used the carpark when it was open, and were happy to see it open again in better nick. It was a joy to see people from all walks of life enter the space without any preconceptions of what they might find.

A big thank you to everyone who helped us in whatever way; swapping keys, making art, bringing a broom, getting up early, being able to drive, folding exhibition guides, handing out flyers, keeping us afloat.~
You are out of sight.