Tuesday, 24 December 2013


I draw this Christmas hunk-o-rama as a present for the biggest Elvis fan I know. The man's lips are gorgeous and should have their own pencil colour name in my opinion; sweet tomato snarl.

Happy Christmas everyone and thank you very much.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Pump Up The Volume

Little did I know when I signed up for VOLUME: Birmingham's Art, Book & Print Fair that I would be on crutches. With the help of some exhibition elves I carted prints, zines and various bits and bobs of both mine and creative comrade Kate Rowland to the new Library of Birmingham and took residence at a stall there for two days with a broken toe hidden under the tablecloth. Lots of nice people passed through, and some of them bought things, so I thank them for putting this smile on my face. N'aww.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


Me and Kate Rowland made a zine! It wasn't easy at first but it came together rather magically in the final week; me ripping the delivery box apart with glee upon it's freshly printed arrival like a schmuck at Chrismukkah. A long-time idea, the wee volume contains portraits of people, real and fictional, that we think are totes badass for various reasons. Fighting for freedom, education, their own families, everyone in here deserves kudos and respect, and we know we wouldn't mess with them. Check out my portraits of Marie Curie and Rosa Parks below; times and worlds apart but with the same spirit to challenge and make a difference. Booyah!

Sunday, 3 November 2013


Since moving back to Birmingham last year I've taken it upon myself to get involved with anything and everything creative and awesome that crops up, and I'd compare finding these as like a trail of bread crumbs; with each leads to more. Upon spying a paid role to work as a festival assistant at Eye Candy Festival, organised by Fused mag, I leapt at the chance to explore Birmingham's Southside and support the artists involved. The weekend mainly involved running round in the rain and painting chalk signs with the lovely Demi Nandhra which can't be bad, and I even got to take a spin in Flatpack's Vintage Mobile Cinema, pull a print with The Culture Cart and try my hand at depicting French icon Marianne at Le Truc's live portrait event. The latter was nerve-racking for me as a small-scale on-paper kinda girl, but boy did I get a taste for it!

My Marianne will remain on Le Truc's walls until next year's event, so go have a glass of champagne with her anytime ;)

Sunday, 20 October 2013


On that Breaking Bad hype.

Yes Mr White. Yes Science!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Cannon Hill Lectures 2.0

As a new dawning of the Cannon Hill Collective approaches, I think it's about time I posted the new designs to accompany CHC's sister project; the Cannon Hill Lectures. A shorter sharper season of fortnightly sessions this time around, I drew on some of my particularly ballsy Two Word Pep-Talks to visually provoke a sense the adventure, discovery, and wonder these lectures conjure: a sense that anything was possible.



This time I focused on making the typography into a stronger part of the project's identity, opting for a 3-D block text that emphasises and places value on each word as an individual unit, even amidst such a playful multi-coloured palette. For me the postcards essentially almost designed themselves, each session linking to a different childhood dream occupation tucked away in my little noodle:

Getting You Creative Project Off The Ground - Tue 8th Oct

Knowing Your Audience - Tue 22nd Oct

Build Your Own Festival - Tue 5th Nov

How to not Give Up on your Creative Career - Tue 19th Nov

Skills for the 21st Century - Tue 3rd Dec

I would also like to cite Mr. Benn as a direct influence on this series, as each day when stepping out of his house he could be anyone he wanted, in any time or place, be it a medieval knight, lion tamer or an intergalactic space traveller dressed in purple. Like him we can choose our own path, and heaven forbid it should be a well-trodden or dull one.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Bostin Fittle: Eating Out In Birmingham

As lots of fresh faces enter Birmingham to be quickly transformed from P.Y.T.s into fantastically grotesque student beings, Area Guide invited me to form part of the welcome committee by writing an article about where Brum's best bites to eat can be obtained. This was an easy one for me and rather handily justified a year of plentiful eating out (score). Priding myself on rediscovering my city a fair bit since moving back from Bournemouth, it was nice to highlight some of the amazing independent eateries I've come across as well as relishing (chortle) the opportunity to draw one of my most beloved foods of all: the burger.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Burgers & Buns

I was asked by a lovely fellow AUB graduate to create a lavish poster for her upcoming burlesque night down Bournemouth way. Entitled The Great Exhibitionists of Boscombe the event is part of The Great Exhibition of Boscombe weekender, in association with Bournemouth Arts by the Sea festival.

Featuring quirky story-led burlesque performances such as Felicity Future's Dr. Furore's Laboratory and The Matador by Luna Peach, my first few design ideas didn't really hit the mark. Wanting to suggest burlesque in general rather than depicting an individual act, I inadvertently showcased a more traditional strand of feather-fan burlesque that the event was keen to shake up. Easily solved with the right image of the headliner and a vicious all-nighter, the response to the poster has been great, but I'll always have a soft spot for the faceless anti-venus and other fleshy casualties that I created along the way.

via instagram

Monday, 16 September 2013

Rude Food Fiesta: A Bit Of A Mouthful

This weekend I offered my services to a food festival with a difference. The latest event from Companis, Rude Food Fiesta invaded Edible Eastside promising lots of naughty treats and tricks to get taste buds in a twist. Granted, allotments are normally quite filthy places, but this weekend's antics definitely got a few hands and minds dirty, taking the site's seedy and soiled ratings right up to 'X'.

Friday, 13 September 2013


Today I started a new job.

That may not sound like so much of a big of deal, but as someone who has hopelessly sent out a silly amount of applications for innumerable professions since graduating a year ago, to be invited to join the good ship mac was pretty darn tooting glorious. I started a new notebook on the day of my interview and not only did that unavoidably feel like a new chapter or a new term, but now perhaps it turns out that between the lines, lies some bloody great luck.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Lary, Hairy, Legendary

My love affair with mac birmingham continues as they presented me with their Brief of the Year; to design an eye-catching flyer for local legend Jack Parker's upcoming gig. Having seen him (and his hair) hyping amiably at One Beat Saturday I knew straight away what I wanted to do with the design :¬) By playing around with showing part of his face yet keeping him wholly recognisable, I feel I have captured Jacky P as a character - the alien-like whip-haired Brummie icon that the people know and love.

Jack is a big advocate for midlands-based bands, so if you want to hear what my homeland has to offer these days check out his radio show, yo!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Still Life

Flyer Design by Louise Byng. Cover Image '8pm' © Kate Brinkworth

So this week it was our turn to step up to the curation plate. With Marlene Smith to guide and council us, me and my curator comrades Jade Foster, Lizzie Smith and Elizabeth Stansfield have hastily devised and produced 'Still Life', an exhibition exploring how cinematic images can generate nostalgia for spaces and times that we haven't experienced. Initially being mutually inspired by a few key pieces that were presented to us by the artists, a Laura Mulvey quote cemented the context in which we wanted to show them together: "Behind the movement of cinema is the stillness of the individual frame."

It was quite a tough project at first because me, Jade, Beth & Lizzie were very different practitioners at different stages of our development and at times our selection process and changeable plan of action became a bit exhausting. With opposing approaches and opinions in the group, countless pieces of art were deliberated over, but after a lot of pitching, a little begging and a smidge of secretly hiding pieces of work (desperate measures) the result was a true group exhibition with a new individual voice created from many. The challenge of the process led to a more considered outcome than I could ever have achieved alone, and heck, by the end we had all gone a bit barmy, fallen in love with each other and formed a killer girl band called The Chevrons.

Beth said it best ~

I had such a blast working on with and . A new family of hysteria and creativity.

We suddenly had become the most sentimental group by far, celebrating Marlene's birthday with a charming caterpillar cake and collecting photographs and other traces from the exhibition to share with the audience. Aside from this disgraceful bout of genuine cuteness, one of the most successful parts of the show was our use of Curator's Corner, where we wrote quotes from the selected artists' statements on the wall and invited the public to explore what Still Life means to them through an interactive yet losely focused brainstorm; a technique that worked well and generated some interesting discussions about the new impacts of documenting our existence, such as life being narrated through social media.

L-R: George Allen 'A BBC Building That Is Now A Car Park'; Robin Pugh 'Locus 14'; Richard Haig 'Code'

We're all very proud of what we made here together and I know I learnt a lot from working with my three crazy ladies on such a fast-paced gallery bonanza. A huge thank you to everyone who visited the show, every single artist that submitted work and took the time to talk to us about it, and all the kind mac minions that helped us along the way.

Viva la Chevrons.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Look With All Your Eyes

As well as taking part in The Open Project as a young curator, I also used the submission day as an opportunity to gain experience in pitching my drawings to a gallery team. I submitted this piece from my Please Wait... series, and discussed with the other teams why I had drawn it and why I thought this was important. Much to my delight and surprise one group chose to exhibit my entry; its unusual ambiguous gaze happening to fit nicely into their theme of questioning, pulling apart and reshaping the way in which art can be viewed:

The contemporary gaze is greedy; it diminishes the value of the seen.

"In ‘Look With All Your Eyes’ the curatorial team hold up a mirror to reflect upon how art is experienced. They have selected artworks that appear to restrict the act of looking. Be it a visual, sensual, physical or mental restriction, this translates to real life and the way in which audiences interact and view the world."

An interesting concept well executed through strong research and precision hanging, this third Open Project exhibition was curated by Sam Orchard, Lucy Dixon & Lily Wales. Curator's high 5.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Make Mistakes

Tomorrow marks the final session in this year's Cannon Hill Lectures series at mac birmingham, so I thought it would be fun to go full circle and show you the drawings behind the Cannon Hill Lectures postcards. Because everyone loves an origins story, don't they?

As you can see things don't always go right first time. I tend to re-draw rather than be a rubber-outter as when going over the same drawing a panic can set in, scrubbing away wildly at the paper in an attempt to physically and psychologically erase the fact that you made a mistake in the first place. Making multiple drawing attempts simply becomes akin to re-drafting an essay, or holding a scratch night on the way to a finished performance; constructive and clear-headed ways to naturally advance a creation.

In the last year I've grown to understand that my third drawing of the same thing usually turns out the best. Keeping the drawings leading up to your favourite is a good way of reminding yourself that it's okay if it doesn't come out successfully first time round, and sometimes these stepping-stone drawings are absolutely charming in their own way, like the bizarrely cheerful floating pig head above. (Hey little buddy!)

With layered compositions it's best to think of each part of the design as an individual atom, a smaller part of the whole design molecule, and so on. That way if one element breaks down, the whole structure doesn't crumble. One thing I'm learning to do is keep elements of an illustration separate so they can be easily altered, moved, changed or adapted, be that physically or digitally.

I think it's all too easy to look at a finished article of any kind and detach yourself from the process leading up to it. We'd all be forgiven for forgetting creative things didn't just happen that way, especially when some people make it look so effortless. Acknowledging and accepting mistakes brings with it a sense of comfort towards your own abilities as well as the potential for further growth, and is something which can so easily be overshadowed by that strong desire we all share ~ to make something good. Making something good is okay, but in my opinion to make something great, you have to make mistakes first.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Open Project Gallery Crawl ~ Grand Union

The final stop on our self-proclaimed curation crawl was Grand Union, based within Minerva Works. There we met with Gallery Director and all-round-nice-lady Cheryl Jones to explore their current show A Small Hiccup. DEFINITELY is spelled wrong on the wall in huge type, grabbing my attention as my very own spelling nemesis. The exhibition approaches the idea that language could become diseased in some way and was curated by George Vasey. Cheryl explained that George, an MFA student from Goldsmiths, was picked for a guest curation slot, showing Grand Union's penchant for promoting fresh curatorial voices. The work in the show is a strange mix of stuff, possessing an intriguing quality yet feeling a little bit inaccessible in places, befitting the exhibition's theme. The show tips the audience into a linguistic meltdown of symbols and nonsensical digi-speak, suggesting words are mutating at an alarming rate to the point of being unrecognisable.

Cheryl also gives us a wee tour of Grand Union's studios, with holders including Stuart Whipps, Juneau Projects (designers of The Open Project gallery) & Matt Westbrook (see Berliningham above). There is an emphasis on playful art-making with a message here, as we hear about BAZ's colourful escapades such as Curate Me Out whilst standing in their very own bar. The spirit of the studios indicates hard work develops into good times.

One thing that continues to shine from Birmingham's Eastside is the bold printed matter, A Small Hiccup being accompanied by a newspaper designed by An Endless Supply. I feel this strong visual identity is key to drawing people from the mainstream public galleries of Birmingham City Centre into the more forward-thinking artist-led spaces of Digbeth. The strong stamp of typographic cool along with Grand Union's experimental programming gives the city some much-needed contemporary art credentials, creating an arena for anyone who finds themselves wondering what art is being made / shown in Birmingham and more importantly, why?

A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to show me and The Open Project team around today. It was fascinating to hear about what you do and, inevitably, compare you all for the good of accidentally aligning our own curatorial style somewhere along the way. Cheers.

The Open Project Gallery Crawl ~ Eastside Projects

After a morning finding out about the curation approaches of BMAG and IkonThe Open Project's young curators headed Digbeth-wards to visit some of Birmingham's artist-led spaces. Entering Eastside Projects is always a surprise as the gallery takes on a strong identity for every exhibition, and this time we were greeted by countless strings of ball bearings, suspended and gridded; stretching across the room.

This installation, Parallelareal Variable by Gunilla Klingberg, was the most physically interactive piece I have seen at ESP and it was liberating to be able to travel through its lines, disrupting the order of the strands and creating waves of momentum. In contrast to the Mike Nelson's M6 show, the concrete plynth invited visitors to explore the environment that had been created atop it, rather than being used to elevate objects for the audience to merely encircle. A regular visitor to the gallery, I find the accumulation and adaption of objects from past exhibitions to create a sense of cohesion between the time and space of each visit; a manifestation of memory of the shows gone by.

We were lucky enough to speak to both Maya, the current Operations Assistant at ESP, and Ruth Claxton, Associate Director. They described that the current exhibition was created through curators working with local contractors and the artist in order to develop conversations, and ultimately produce a new art piece specifically for the site. Ruth explained that ESP consider the space itself as an artwork and the act of curating as an art practice, hence the space accumulates elements which take on a new role in the shifting landscape of the gallery. One particularly functional feature that the space has adopted is Pleasure Island by Heather & Ivan Morrison, modified into ESP's unique office at the back of the gallery.

[Photograph by Stuart Whipps, courtesy of Eastside Projects ~ via this is tomorrow]

One thing that struck me with puzzlement was that this was many of the groups' first trip to Eastside, demonstrating the need for such new initiatives as the Birmingham Art Map [below] which Maya handed out at the end of the discussion. Well-executed print matter is a huge part of ESP's identity, sparking national and international attention. Ruth described that they had only recently started using other means circulation but that it was interesting where their printed objects had ended up.

As one of the most exciting art spaces to be operating in Birmingham at the moment, I am interested to see where ESP's uncompromisingly innovative selection of work takes them. Despite being a free, public space, Eastside Projects currently feels like one of Birmingham's best kept secrets.

The Open Project Gallery Crawl ~ Ikon

Next we paid a visit to Ikon Gallery to explore the two main exhibitions, Tapa - Backcloth paintings from the Pacific on the first floor and Franรงois Morellet on the second. Entering Tapa I was surprised to see traditional objects in a contemporary space such as Ikon. The light in the room was soft and the artifacts seemed fragile and raw within the safety of the gallery walls.

Simon Taylor, Head of Learning at Ikon, met with us to discuss what we thought to the show and answer our questions about its curation. He explained that the pieces had been selected from an extensive collection at the University of Cambridge, and that there were specifications for light intensity and room temperature that the gallery needed to adhere to in order to protect them. The group commented on the hanging of the pieces, enjoying that their unique shapes were treated individually; some hung loosely and others close to the wall. Simon revealed that magnets were used to attach the latter, protecting the material yet fastening it securely and also discretely.

Moving upstairs, smiles spread across the faces of the group as links were made between the geometric tapa designs and the repetitive abstraction of Morellet. Despite their geographical and historical differences the connection between the two exhibitions was startling and thrilling; traditional and contemporary art forms feeding off one another to the benefit of both. I think this was an incredibly smart piece of programming, giving us an insight into Morellet's influences as well as encouraging the viewer to create links in order to better understand that which is around us.

[Photograph by Daniel Whitehouse]

The gallery's architecture enhanced the minimal pieces rather than detracting away from them. There was a strong sense of effortless harmony that could only have come from careful planning, with Simon explaining that they adapt many aspects of the gallery drastically to suit different exhibitions, including a 'secret' extra room and the ability to completely fill in windows.

The final thing we discussed was the learning resources at Ikon, including the diverse Resources Room for families and researchers alike. Simon described the gallery's preference for having the interpretation on a sheet of paper for visitors to read in their own time, as well as staying away from the dreaded 'artspeak' to keep exhibitions as accessible to different visitors as possible.

It was a fascinating visit and exploring the shows in details means I will never look around a gallery in quite the same way again. Big thanks to Simon for his time and energy.