Friday, April 23, 2010

2005, 2006... paper, getting good at drawing, lovely wrestlers

2005... I did all these little square paintings for a gallery that only sold square paintings (now defunct). Utterly pointless as a business venture. But it encouraged me to develop my on-paper painting techniques, watercolour plus others. Things got quite itty bitty but sometimes the cloudyness worked.

When we were smaller, my sister once drew a 'fartist's impression' of me, what I might look like if made of gas... these remind me of that.

shirley temple

shirley temple

Also, wrestling was in the air.. I mean I needed something to get excited about.

and then 2006... wrestling chickens come home to roost... also it was when I started thinking of caricature, focusing on drawing, and when I started this blog...

Photo of a big bunny rabbit!

blood face randy

This new kind of weirdness was quite special for me. I remember the first time Marlo Meekins sent me an instant message, I couldn't beleive she liked my work. (This was the era of Myspace. I attempted to Network.)

These are all still quite 'bitty'... I've always tended towards the bitty, and relied on untrained instincts to provide any kind of structure or hierarchy. I'm getting better now at seeing the big picture, trying to avoid getting swamped in unnecessary complexity of my own making.

It meant a LOT to me to have peer approval about my drawing. It still does. I still hover between worlds of solid masculinity and concrete old fashioned values, and some kind of intangible artsy fartsyness, my own kind. (neither thing being very commercial on the local level.) I sometimes hate my 'artist' nature, but it remains.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2003, into 2004

2003, into 2004....

Beach Boys, Brighton, crusty painting, high faluting ideas, specific palettes...

Crusty etheriality...

Not long after I graduated, I discovered the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson, and I found this gave me a good deal more to believe in.

At the time I lived in Brighton, in a little terraced house on a steep road opposite a nice little church with seagulls on the roof. I was in the real world now, except I wasn't.

I was unabashed about being soft and having feelings.
(Goodness knows I always have to have something to be unabashed about. I'm pretty much abashed about everything else.)

Part of me finds these a bit namby pamby. Part of me accepts them as part of the past. Part of me quite likes the naive qualities and sometimes I think if you stick with naive qualities you attract people.

but it was all a bit fragile, breakable by unbelievers ... and by my self-doubt

and you can't sell your feelings and your sincerity very easily

though I remain unsure what you can sell very easily.

and the things you're sincere about change....


I had Iris on the 11th of March.

I like Iris.

It was a bit of a difficult birth, but now we're both OK.

(I hope these pictures are visible.)

(Click for bigger)

Friday, April 09, 2010

The First Three of the Past Ten Years

So here is (the first part of) my ten year (maybe 11 year) blog post... because I have had Iris the baby, I haven't been drawing much lately. I could have done, I've just about had time in the gaps between baby care. It's just a question of focusing, and wanting to enough. In the meantime, I thought it would be a good interval in which to review what the heck I've produced in the past ten years. Warning: this blog may have more writing in it than my usual sketch blogs. And more pictures than my old written blogs. And it might not make a lot of sense, because the things I do perhaps don't.


In the year 2000, I was in my first and second year at art college in Canterbury. I was trying to get accustomed to the culture there. I was young and silly but had an overactive brain. It appeared to work quite well for me to continue keeping complex and convoluted sketchbooks full of analytical nonsense... words were what counted at art college. Just a constant flow of words, meaning was not really important. So I could do words, but secretly, I was looking for answers and meaning and I wanted to be able to paint well. So we had a bit of a secret conflict of interests, me and the art college.

First let it be noted: I was still in the throes of a mammoth Beatles phase, a big passionate learning process, and I particularly loved Paul, and particularly his smooth little face and the angles of his eyebrows. This was done very near the beginning of the first year, before my spirit had been squashed. They thought it was kitsch, little did they know that I really meant it. I kept these things mostly hidden.

I wanted to focus on cute things generally, and on noting the parallels between Britney and Pikachu, icons of the time. I think it was a reaction to the pressure to be sophisticated, and my attempt to keep myself feeling young among jaded narcissistic idiot baby boomer lecturers.

even then I was conceding a lot to the unbalanced focus on 'ideas'... not exactly what I hoped I was signing up for... scribbling scribbles and words in a book... but there didn't seem to be any other kind of art college. If I'd have known about the existence of the Atelier schools, I may have gone down a different path. But I didn't. Anyway. I have my weird history and wonky mistakes and mishaps are part of it. I'll try to look on it as funny rather than tragic.

So I became steadily surlier and more claustrophobic. I got obsessive over undeserving/bewildered boys. I was self absorbed and boring. Oh well!

I wasn't really given cause to consider the pros or cons of my drawing style. Not many people around me were drawing in any comparable way. I think I wanted it vaguely to be delicate and feminine. Looking at it now, I find it a bit cloudy and bitty, and it would have been good if I'd started being a bit more manly, structured, and learning specific skills sooner... but I can at least see what I was getting at, I've always been able to draw. It's a shame I wasn't actually taught. I was doing it, but doing it self-consciously and very underconfidently.

The first Harry Potter film came out, and I read the existing books. And Lord of the Rings. Those things and the Beatles were the kinds of things that were my touchstones. They were the things that animated me. In that specific timeframe. But because of humanity, not escapism. I think. Of course I might be bending it around in my memory.

I painted usually in acrylics. The one below is a detail of an oil painting. I think the colours on these were unfortunately 'turned up' at some point, so may be cruder even than the originals. I made my own rules and parameters, no one gave me any.


Second year of art college... kind of a torturous time in my brain. Let's focus on the silly pictures.

Despite the fact I wasn't obsessed with Paul McCartney any more, I still embarked upon a series of paintings on the subject of beating up Jane Asher.


Final year of art college.. and beyond... regained a smattering of sanity.

Got interested in computer game imagery as I worked up to my degree show. The degree was ultimately a bit of a farce, but having that apparent goal did make me focus a little more than usual. I was quite excited for some of the time... I'm only pessimistic in retrospect, if you see what I mean. I was excited in my own little world.

Started playing Everquest and liked the way the corpses lay. Looked for poignant things, I spose. If I found them in pop culture, it seemed like part of the communication was already successful. But it wasn't about 'pop art' or plasticness, I was looking for authenticity.

Got very into Fleischer cartoons too.

And Buffy.

Wanted a perfect smooth dreamy finish. Wanted to communicate stuff from my innermost mind. May have failed. Still tried.

But after I left, got a bit angry, but also had a sense of liberty, and painted Hopeful Hannie, which I still like.

After that, of course, things changed.
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