Abstract / 2D Vector Drawing / + Texture
Friday, 22 December 2017
Monday, 18 December 2017
Thursday, 14 December 2017
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
'HATE HAS NO HOME HERE'
While holidaying in New Jersey in October, we went strolling from South Orange, to Maplewood. Amongst all the usual fun Halloween garden displays, I was struck by these other types of messages on people's lawns ( see below ). They are from a side of American life that we, in Europe, rarely get to see: The Normal. Thanks to the media, all we hear about is mass shootings, sordid denouncements, foreign policy 'mistakes', vested interests and corporate cynicism. Algorithmically, what you see below does not get noticed in all that noise. But hopefully, in the real world, these affirmations have an impact. At the very least, it puts you in a better mood when you see them.
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
While waiting for the Brooklyn train at Columbus Circle in New York City, I took several photographs of the opposite platform ( above being the best one ). I liked how all the commuters were neatly framed by the metal girders. Once I looked closely at the pictures on the computer screen, it became obvious just how many of the people were looking at their phones, to the exclusion of all else. A ubiquitous scene from modern life.
Is it purely artists, or Homeland Security that take a neighbourly interest these days?
It's kind of depressing how dependent we are on these gadgets. Personally, I prefer to carry a book when I'm commuting. I find carbon-based media much more reliable.
Aside from that, I love the painterly rendering that zooming-in achieves on these iPhone 4 pics.* There even appears to be a faint halo/outline effect around some of the figures.
NEW EDIT ( below ): The lady in the blue jacket is a fascinating focal point, so here's a 'Portmanteau Edit' of the same scene, which looks even better!
*Self-aware alert: If I was that into carbon-based media, I would be standing there sketching, like in the good old days - not messing with an iPhone like everyone else in these pictures.
Monday, 11 December 2017
Being snowed-in right now in Worcestershire, the enforced time at home has allowed me to find these drawings from December 2004, when I was staying in New Rochelle, New York. We were similarly snow-bound, and on one of the days, I spent an hour in the garden looking at tiny fragments of twigs that had fallen off the trees from the weight of the snow. They looked like intriguing bits of code, or written characters from an as-yet undiscovered language. It was very satisfying to make art that was so minimal.
Twigs in Snow I - IV New Rochelle, NY, ink on A5 paper, circ. Dec 2004
Stone in Snow, New Rochelle, NY, ink on A5 paper, circ. Dec 2004
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
As mentioned in the previous post, November's work-in-progress is now out of bounds due to being on display at Custard Factory. This has necessitated starting a new piece before the other is finished. The difference, is that this time I am making pencil shapes first, rather than automatically painting onto the blank grid. Whether this will result in a piece of work that looks significantly different than its two companion pieces is debatable. But at the moment it's a refreshing change to spend longer composing in pencil.
Untitled Work In Progress, Pencil on Canvas, 60cm x 60cm, Dec 2017.
Monday, 4 December 2017
Work-in-progress, as featured in the SOLSTICE exhibition, currently in the Nomad Room at Custard Factory, Birmingham UK, until February 2018. Curated by Zarina Keyani.
Untitled Work In Progress, Acrylic & Biro on Canvas, 60cm x 60cm, Nov / Dec 2017
WORK IN PROGRESS - DETAILED ANGLE CLOSE-UPS
Monday, 27 November 2017
Thursday, 23 November 2017
I was asked by an American design company recently to resurrect my 'POLYGRAPH NUDES' style, to which I happily obliged.
Over the years, this particular way of drawing has attracted the interest of many architects, interior designers, fabric designers and students. Therefore, when I was asked to supply some drawings for a hip hotel currently being built in New York City, I saw this as a good excuse to, at long last, explore this style again and see if I can evolve it.
Below you will see a rather belated attempt at a male figure...I'm not sure that it's particularly successful, either, as it does look somewhat androgynous. However, I rather like it, so maybe this is a potential area for future exploration?
Below: Male Abdomen, Ink on Paper, September 2017
It's been a while since I've posted anything. The reason for that, is that I've had two other projects on the go simultaneously, so this painting has been on the backburner since the summer. It's the second part of a trilogy, and since I restarted a couple of weeks ago, progress has been pretty brisk. That can only mean one thing: I'm about to do something to it that will take months of correcting ( at least, that's what usually happens when things seem to be going well ).
Acrylic On Canvas, 60cm x 60cm, 2017
Below: How it started, earlier this year.
Below: ( extreme close-up with harsh light to accentuate contours ) adding colour, and building structure using grid lines by masking alternating strips of canvas.
Below: As it is on 23rd Nov 2017, photographed during the fading light of the afternoon ( it starts to get dark at 4pm in the UK now - very impractical! ).
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Tuesday, 3 October 2017
Friday, 22 September 2017
Even though my paintings look very structured, they still evolve out of a spontaneous process, which is why they sometimes take so long. I start with an empty grid and fill it in. The shapes have to balance ( in 2D as well as the 3D surface layers ), as do the colours. At the same time, the whole thing has to conform to my need for asymmetry. So the editing process involves re-taping, repainting, remixing, over-writing and deleting as I go along.
The net result is a composition that still has to balance, despite all the random elements that went into it. Example: ENCRYPTION ( below ), acrylic on canvas, 2016.
However, having spent most of 2017 experimenting with vector art, I've used what I've learnt to convert some of my paintings into digital replicas, that can be broken up and reorganised. Here are some of the component parts. There's no composition here - I was simply separating parts out on the page to see what I could use.
Below: ENCRYPTION ( SHAPES ) digital drawing, Sept 2017.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Again, apologies for the lack of updates. I've been super-busy with work that I can't show here yet, hence my lack of visibility.
In the meantime, some old friends will be making a comeback soon...check out this new drawing.
Pen & ink on paper, Sept 2017
Saturday, 19 August 2017
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Facebook just showed me this great close-up pic from a few years back. You can clearly see all the layers that make up my work. This probably shows just a few inches across the surface of the actual painting.
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
A TRIP TO THE CAPITAL TO SIGN COPIES OF A NEW ANTHOLOGY,
...WITH AN ACCIDENTAL DETOUR VIA THE LONDON PRIDE MARCH!
...WITH AN ACCIDENTAL DETOUR VIA THE LONDON PRIDE MARCH!
There was a definite theme of colour prevalent during the weekend, when I went down to London for the launch party of 'Elasticity', a book compiled from the best stories of notable UK cult fiction imprint Elastic Press ( and for which, I had designed the cover ). I'm inspired by dynamic art like cubism, futurism, comic-books and speculative fiction, and I like to think that the artwork successfully evoked that feeling of dynamism.
Accompanied by Midlands author of weird fiction, James Burr, we inadvertently found ourselves amongst the enthusiastic crowds who were gathering for London Pride, so we wandered along Regent Street taking in the sights, and enjoying the unusually hot weather.
Luckily, we just made it to the book launch on time. I was then introduced to the room of fans, bloggers, writers and editors, by publisher Ian Whates, and asked to make my way to the front to sign the book, along with the authors. Ian's imprint, Newcon Press, is a prestigious, multi-award-winning publishing house, and it was Newcon, with Elastic's editor Andrew Hook, who were publishing this best-of anthology.
Below: I really love the matte finish on the paperback. All my paintings have a matte finish, I never use gloss or varnish.
The book cover ( above ) is based on one of my first 'Mood Flag' paintings GAMBIAN RAIN. Below, the unedited version is used on the inside front cover of the hardback...
Sunday, 25 June 2017
LOOKING BACK AT LAST SUMMER'S BIG PROJECT
Below: In the photo you'll see that backwards 'Z' shape that shouldn't be there. Adding deliberate mistakes, and leaving in real ones, can enhance the work and provoke innovation.
[ Can you spot the other anomaly? ]
These photos are from the 'Test Install' session that I undertook last summer, with the help of fellow Birmingham artist Rob Walsh. It was a full-scale practise session in preparation for a mural design for BPN Architects summer art show. Looking at the photograph, and then reading my thoughts about it in last year's blog entry, it seems I failed to highlight one of its most interesting aspects.
I talked about how 'big art' happens at a different tempo. That, because of its scale, I'm allowed more time to think about the decisions made, and why I make them.
Below: There are actually two 'anomalies' here.
In my paintings, and in these murals, I always put 'mistakes' in. Some are genuine - for instance, if you rule lines across a canvas, it can bend in the middle and disrupt the measurements. I found that I liked the mistakes, and they helped me to keep the art from becoming formulaic. They prevent the viewer from making any assumptions as the eye travels around the composition. And also to partly keep me amused while I undertake the laborious task of scaling up something that is usually as small as an A5 postcard. I hasten to add that this is not 'Op Art' where the viewer's eyeballs are dazzled by some flashy optical trick.
I want the viewer to suddenly stop and think, 'Wait, is that a mistake?' If he stops long enough, he realises it's deliberate, and at that moment a connection is made between us. The ideal response would be for the viewer to have a private laugh about it. It's like a musical piece that relies on repetition, and then at the last chorus, amuses the audience by deliberately throwing them off.
Rob and I used to discuss these all the time, and they highlighted the differences between our two styles. If a piece looked too 'uniform' or 'designed' I would always point out that it would need an 'anomaly' to break it up. I've sometimes mentioned how my art has a musical or linguistic foundation. 'Anomalies', 'verticals', 'chevrons', 'returns'...we developed our own site-specific short-hand while doing these pieces. Rob is a geometric artist of mind-boggling exactitude. I'm completely the opposite, but to an untutored eye, our work could look similar. I may do an article looking at this phenomenon sometime in the near future, so stay tuned.
Below: OK, yes, this bit is 'Op Art'. We were testing the materials and having a laugh seeing how it works. But for me, this is too obvious a pun.