Christmas cards now available!

Christmas is coming, and with that is all the paraphenalia that goes with it. 

Rather than a cheap ass facebook post/text/whatsapp message telling your loved ones to eat drink and be merry, why not send them an actual christmas card. 

Mine are available to buy on my shop here or at my etsy shop here.

Merry Christmas y'all! 

Buy my tshirt from Call of the Brave!

Bristol based, ethical tshirt company 'Call of The Brave' are on a mission to create awesome tshirts, that do good, look good and give back. 

Their mission is spurred on by the fact that ' on April 24th 2013 1134 people were killed and thousands were injured when the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh collapsed.

We have started a fund from money raised through the sales of limited edition and upcycled tee shirts to make an effective difference to people affected by unfair fashion.' 

One of my designs is now available to preorder to buy on one of these amazing ethical and sustainable tees, in the fight against unfair fashion and to make you look pretty damn good too. 

The tees are £25.00 each, but won't be around for long! We have got until the end of November to get 8 more preorders, so get ordering people. Perfect for you know what! 

Click here to find out more about Call of the Brave and order you tee. 

Mr Bingo comes to town

Wednesday 16th July saw Mr Bingo entertain yet another sold out auditorium at the Arnolfini. Now, I’m not too sure whether I was the only one that was incredibly surprised to see quite a young, softly spoken, polite guy take to the podium in the place of what I was expecting to be a bitter, miserable, middle aged man, dropping all manner of expletives in the same tone of his witty, NSFW illustrations that had brought us all to the talk in the first place, but I was blown away to say the least.

A portrait that Mr Bingo had commissioned from an artist on ebay...

A portrait that Mr Bingo had commissioned from an artist on ebay...

What ensued was one of the most flitting, random and hilarious talks that I have yet to see at the Arnolfini. It had me losing it in fits of laughter at pretty much every quick paced slide change, as can only be compared on the cheek-ache scale to the talk that was held there a few months back by Steve Edge, who probably verbalised as many profanities as Mr Bingo has illustrated through his 900-piece strong Hate Mail campaign that began as a drunken tweet more than 2 years ago.

I can’t really give you a comprehensive write up, as the subjects moved from childhood sketches of World War II scenes, photos from the book ‘Dancing with Cats’, dodgy fan art of Brad Pitt, drawings of porn star’s hair styles and all manner of things inbetween, while trying to get over laughing from the previous slide before moving on to the next one, but I’ll give it a whirl.

Mr Bingo - a name originating from him winning a decent amount on a game of bingo as a student, hence the ‘Bingo’ part - the Mr was added at a later date (also, was hoping someone would ask him what his real name was in the Q&A session at the end, but no such luck, the wikipedia link is pretty useless too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr_Bingo) grew up in Kent and started his now career as a ‘Visual Entertainer’ at an early age.

He would draw the kind of obscene things that teenage boys could only draw at school, with great and worrying attention to detail, and pass these round the classroom, enjoying the attention seeking fulfilment of making his classmates laugh before getting caught by the teachers. This, mixed with the work experience of screenprinting with his Aunty Penny and Uncle Bernie made him realise the kind of freelance, fun and exciting work that could be done, rather than the other boring career choices that were on offer.

As a student at Bath uni he would draw flyers and posters for obscure fake club nights, again all for fun, (the look of which reminded me of the illustration that he designed for this very talk) before moving off to London where all designers go to get a job, make loads of money and get famous. Instead he ended up working in the HSBC head office, wearing a red suit and handing out mail to all the bankers.

He swiftly got the sack after drawing on a misdirected envelope for one of the big cheeses at HSBC (his first piece of mail art), tried his hand marketing lipsticks to teenage magazines before trying to make it in the art world by designing club flyers, and illustrated for editorial publications that had a much more polished and cartoon like style to what we are used to seeing him create today. 

His love for illustration comes from the fact that you can ‘draw anyone doing anything and make them look silly.’

He then proceded to show us various snaps of everyday objects that he found amusing, smoking pavements, hand made DIY signs, enjoyable because ‘everything is art, it’s all down to you the viewer, looking at things differently and enjoying them.’ Such as the weird and wonderful fan art websites that can be found on the internet on sites such as Star Portraits (disclaimer: if you stumble on this site you will lose an hour of your life - Beyonce is a classic) which swiftly moved on to sending pictures to illustrators on ebay who will draw portraits of you for as little as 12 quid, and the fun that can be had with this (see first image of this post!)

Everything is art, it’s all down to you the viewer, looking at things differently and enjoying them.
— Mr Bingo
Very entertaining, and incredibly useful slides were shown from this gem of a book. 

Very entertaining, and incredibly useful slides were shown from this gem of a book. 

Finding everyday little pieces of art. 

Finding everyday little pieces of art. 

Everyday hand drawn signs. Nightmare. 

Everyday hand drawn signs. Nightmare. 

Again, everyday pieces of joy. 

Again, everyday pieces of joy. 

Other topics that swiftly got touched upon - not being paid for 7 months by Dazed and Confused and so creating a website for them that had one page simply reading ‘Where’s my fucking money’.

A lifetime mission to bad mouth Martin Olly at every possible oppurtunity after a bad review in a magazine.

Moving on to the main piece of work that launched his popularity from 2007 - an exhibition of hair portraits. These ranged from porn stars to the Mighty Boosh to Star Wars characters (Chewy is awesome) and my favourite piece of work of his that doesn’t contain a c-bomb - his portrait of Amy Winehouse for the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Amy Winehouse screenprint for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. 

Amy Winehouse screenprint for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. 

Available to buy from the Foundation shop here.

Available to buy from the Foundation shop here.

The exposure of this work led to other comissions such as Esquire magazine, Movember and also a lot of fan art coming his way in the forms of other people sending him pictures of their own hair portraits. Odd. 


The talk then picked up pace even more, and was all a bit of a blur really, touching on other work that he had done like his piece 'Cannabis beard' which appeared in the New Yorker, a design for beef curtains and some work he did for a Channel 4 programme called 'Showdogs'.

We then moved swinftly on to his love of postcards. He has a large collection that ranges from vintage saucy postcards, postcards of mundane workplaces and postcards from the early 1900s that almost act as text messages of the day. It was from this collection of postcards that drunkenly inspired him one evening to send out a tweet to his loyal Twitter followers telling people if they paid a small fee (£5) he would send them an abusive postcard through the post. He only had this request line open for 3 days before he had to shut it down again due to the sheer amount of requests he received from people wanting to be sent hate mail by a complete stranger. 

Just a few of the postcards from Mr Bingo's collection

Just a few of the postcards from Mr Bingo's collection

Hate Mail

Hate Mail

Hate Mail 

Hate Mail 

Q: Do your research people before sending them a postcard?
A: No, that's called bullying. 

Alot of his postcards have a strong typographic look (which I love) and he talked about it being one of his fascinations too, collecting type books and also being intrigued by the efforts of everyday people creating their own signs (see images earlier in the post). 

The Hate Mail phenomenom took off, and he opened the lines sporadically over the next few years. After being persuaded by a friend to approach Penguin, they offered him a book deal and the rest is history. In true Mr Bingo fashion, he sent them a piece of Hate Mail after having a meeting with them, agreeing his book publication. They made the book anyway. 

 

Truly one of the funniest, sporadic and entertaining talks I have seen for a long time.  

To find out more, you can visit his site here http://www.mr-bingo.org.uk/ and I strongly advise following his twitter account: https://twitter.com/mr_bingo/ and his Instagram handle is @mr_bingstagram. 

Ken Garland - what a guy.

I have just come back from another inspirational talk from the West of England Design Forum, this time the star of the show being the absolute beaut that is Ken Garland. 

With his signature hat and cheeky smile he once again stole my heart for the second time (the first time being drinks in a bar at 1am after the Cheltenham Design Festival, but that is another story) with his charm and yoda like ways. 

The theme of the talk being on Protest Graphics (admittedly, not what I was expecting) but was fascinating all the same, looking at the way they have developed from the propaganda of the two sided Northern Ireland issues (ashamedly, something that I really don't know much about, but something I am now going to look into) to the protest graphics of the more recent Occupy London protests. 

He talked us through the work that he did with the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) producing artwork and posters himself, that were widely used, and also to other forms of protest graphics, most of which appears on large scale on the walls of building. Work such as the Cable Street mural, based on a riot that took place in 1936, yet the artwork did not appear on the wall until the mid 1970s. All of this artwork and graphics, all designed for a cause, all designed for a reason whether it be to rally people and their emotions to take action, or to remember the struggle that people had been through, for various causes that they felt important and gave them a voice. All this has really got me thinking about the work that I do myself, what its purpose is, why do we do it, what reaction do we want it to have? 

Cable Street.jpg

Seeing these various murals and artwork relating to protests and political issues within society has got me thinking more to the meaning behind the graffitti around Bristol, rather than just another piece of art 'that looks well good'. A question from the audience about Ken's thoughts on the Mild Mild West Banksy work made me realise I don't actually know what it is referring to, if anything. The numerous amounts of protest graphics around Bristol, do they have a viable cause? Or whether it is just another product of the 'Marlon Brando syndrome' that Ken mentioned - 'What are you protesting about?' - 'What have you got?' is it protest for the sake of protest, or protest for a cause? 

Ken also talked alot about the Occupy London protests, which he is so passionate about he has created a logo for, and had captured a lot of interesting photography from. It was interesting to hear him say that he takes his cues from the younger generation, when it seems that we look to designers like him to take our cues from. Its a never ending cycle! 

I won't babble on for much longer, but leave you with a few quotes that I managed to scribble down at the end of the talk, they may not be completely accurate so take them with a pinch of salt!

The work we call amateur is the work we love doing. Much of the work we do is amateur as far as the fact that we are loving while we are doing.
— Ken Garland, 2014
The work that we end up loving the most ( the most proud of) is the work done while loving.
— Ken Garland, 2014
Don’t be disallusioned (by the design world) it can still be a craft, a trade that is full of problems but full of satisfaction.
— Ken Garland, 2014
(One of the main problems we have) is the problem of amateur (designers) pretending to be professionals... in what way are we better than the untutored? In what way do we have the right to charge a fee? How are we to assert professionalism over the use of computer aids (used by amateurs)? I am still looking for the answer!... But if it is done with heart and real feeling it will show.
— Ken Garland, 2014
We must be careful that we don’t tidy up the rough edges of ideas to make them award worthy, but at the same time kill (the idea).
— Ken Garland, 2014
Young people expect too much from their training (as in University degree) as they are paying too much for it... you need to take the financial side out of it...you have to make your own way... take tips from your tutors and go with them... don’t eexpect too much.

Don’t expect to be fully equipped for anything!
— Ken Garland, 2014


New La Roux - Let Me Down Gently

Five years. FIVE YEARS! That is how long it has been since La Roux released her debut and only album to date. I still remember queuing up the tracks on Youtube from her album and playing them in the 3rd year room at uni (that's how you listened to music back then kids, none of this hype machine, soundcloud genius-ness). This can be told even more due to the fact that La Roux has just gone and created a soundcloud, with this brand new track being the only one on there.

The wait is over. There is new artwork, a new beaut of a track and the promise of an album and tour to come in july. I cannot wait. 

I've read the new track to be compared to a melancholic Robyn, which I totally get and appreciate, it's like emo pop. Right up my street, harking back to my emo uni years. Love. 

Here is is - Let Me Down Gently...

Long time no speak...

I don't even know how it is May already, I really really don't!

It's pretty slack that I have posted nothing on the blog since JANUARY! But what with best friend's weddings invites, valentines' day, birthdays and then, well I don't even know what happened in April, I have done not a fat lot. 

So I am drawing a line under the unproductiveness, keep posted my trusty followers, and I will delight you with some visual treats oh so soon. 

Whee x