Rozi Plain's brilliant new single Actually is part of this week's BBC Radio 6 Music Rebel Playlist. The track with the most votes at the end of the week secures a regular airplay on the station.
As part of team Lost Map, I'd appreciate it if you could vote for Rozi. We're a small, truly independent record label (we fit round a small pub table) and radio play really does wonders for the artists and for everyone working hard behind the scenes.
Here's the link. No registration or nothin' else needed, just a click: BBC 6 Music Rebel Playlist - Vote Now
Since releasing Syro in September, Richard D. James can't stop battering out music.
First there was the Syrobonkers interview (gear talk, lies and conspiracy theories interspersed with tons of unreleased music that vanished after a few days), then the Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt. 2 E.P. and now a cavalcade of new (old) tracks on an anonymous SoundCloud page.
In the last 24 hours, user48736353001 has uploaded 81 tracks that seem to be from Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works / I Care Because You Do / Richard D. James Album era (my fav). Wait, now there's 83. Considering RDJ came out in '96, there might be another 19 years worth of stuff to come.
I'm not even an Aphex Twin superfan but dang, I'm going to grab what I can before he inevitably deletes it all. It's kinda daunting (and it might not even be him, though he did accidentally upload something from 26 Remixes for Cash then commented 'oh yeah forgot i released that one'), but what I've heard so far sounds great.
If you don't know much of Aphex Twin beyond Windowlicker, I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend you try giving Selected Ambient Works 85-92 a go (that link'll let you listen to the whole thing on YouTube). It's his first album, it's beautiful and it's a great place to start - one of the few no-brainers when I try to list my top 10 albums. Xtal, the opening track still gives me butterflies and I must've heard it a thousand times.
Oh, 84 now.
On a spur-of-the-moment cinema trip, Alex and I saw Ex Machina on its opening night. I knew nothing about it beyond hearing a short radio interview with Domhnall Gleeson that made me curious enough to suggest we try it (plus it was starting in, like, 2 minutes). I loved it. You should watch it.
The plot follows a young programmer at Blue Book (a Google-like search engine) as he tests a revolutionary new robotic A.I. after winning a competition to visit with the company's CEO. Everything goes perfectly.
Ex Machina reminded me of Moon - both are small, satisfying character-based sci-fi films with twists and turns. Both are very good. The tech speculations are well illustrated, regardless of plausibility. It's easy to imagine how the near future could be, um, unimaginable thanks to one or two developments. Remember how the Tamagotchi changed everything?
Under The Skin and Her also make perfect boxed-set companions, though even after a single watch I reckon I prefer Ex Machina. It's not so bleak as the former and it's not trying as hard as the latter to have cool trousers.
Anyway, if you're in the UK, go see it now. Give it love. It'd be great if Alex Garland got to direct more films. If you're in the US, you gotta wait until the 10th of April.
Oh, and don't watch the trailer if you possibly can. It doesn't spoil much but, like with lots of things, it's better to know nothing.
Happy New Year!
At the start of the year, I like to collect together photographs taken over the past 12 months in a montage. I've been doing it since 2009. Above is 2014's.
There are 12 photos per month running in chronological order. The top row is January, the second is February and so on. A really big version is up on Flickr and the old montages are under the #montage tag.
2014 went fast.
I want to avoid writing a big, bloated account of my year like I did last January. In brief, 2014 was good - we bought a flat, we went on an amazing holiday to Philadelphia, the summer was beautiful, we ate much pizza - but it was also a bit odd. Glasgow's been through the wars, I've put on weight, I'm not totally happy with my work... a bloo bla bloo bloo.
Jeez, anyway David. C'mon, pull your socks up. Always forwards, never backwards and all that.
2015, then. Let's do it. I've got goals. I'm motivated. I'm feeling good. I'm ready to go. If I have a New Year's resolution, it's a simple one - do more stuff.
Thanks for reading. I hope you're well.
Tomorrow (Wednesday 17th December), a small group of artists, including myself, will be giving short talks about their work at the Remarket show on Gordon St. in Glasgow. Instead of PowerPoint, we'll be using the work on the walls to illustrate our (power) points.
I'm not great at these things but, with people like Kirsty Whiten, Jennifer Argo, Suzi Plunkett/ Little Dot Creations, Hannah Grace Ryan and Gabriella Marcella DiTano/ Risotto on board, it'll be worth coming along.
Best of all, Remarket have partnered with the Bier Halle across the street and there's gonna be a wee get-together afterwards for everyone in attendance. It's a chance to have a drink and to chat with the artists (or not, it's ok to chat to your pals instead). I've heard rumours of free pizza*.
The Facebook page, Remarket - Artist Talks, has some more info and lets you see who's coming along. Feel free to share, promote and pester.
REMARKET Artist Talks A series of short talks by Remarket artists including Kirsty Whiten, Jennifer Argo, David Galletly, Suzi Plunkett/ Little Dot Creations, Hannah Grace Ryan and Gabriella Marcella DiTano/ Risotto.
Wednesday 17th Nov, 6 - 8pm
RBS, 10 Gordon Street, Glasgow, G1 3PL
RSVP: All welcome. To attend, simply email email@example.com with 'Glasgow Event' as the title.
After Party outside in the Bier Halle's heated Christmas tents for everyone who attends. 7 Gordon St. from 8pm.
* I don't wanna build up the free pizza thing too much in case there's no free pizza or not enough free pizza to go around. There is a chance of free pizza, though. Maybe even a good chance of free pizza. Come and get your free pizza.
After a year off, Recoat's Christmas show is back and bigger than ever. Kicking off in Glasgow town centre this Friday (28th November) at the RBS on Gordon St., Remarket, a collaboration with Saltmarket, will feature a TON of work from a bunch of artists from all over the place, myself included.
Originals, prints, jewellery, live painting and installations all under one roof throughout December - come along and find some Christmas presents. I've dropped off 17(!) framed drawings, some old, some new. The space is looking amazing.
The opening night is the best place to get first dibs on the work, say hello to the artists and have a wee drink. Remarket is open to all but a wee RSVP is required before you come along (email your name, number and ‘company’ to firstname.lastname@example.org - easy). Make a night of it. Everyone'll no doubt be heading to a nearby pub afterwards.
Here's the details:
A group exhibition of art, design and jewellery by Recoat & Saltmarket
Opening Night: Friday 28th Nov 5.30 - 7.30pm (remember to RSVP)
RBS, 10 Gordon Street, Glasgow, G1 3PL
Runs: Saturday 30th Nov till Saturday 20th Dec 2014
More information is available over on the Remarket Facebook page. A second exhibition will open in Edinburgh in December. Stay tuned.
This is a call to everyone who'll be in (or who can be in) Glasgow on Saturday the 15th of November. Come to The Glad Cafe here on the Southside to see the always-fantastic Jonnie Common launch his new record Trapped in Amber.
If you've never seen Jonnie live before, you're in for a treat. He's been the highlight of every line-up I've seen him on. Don't miss it.
I'll be providing animated visuals for the gig, support comes from WOLF (aka Kim Moore, formerly of the excellent Zoey Van Goey) and Ross Sutherland who I've never seen live before so I'm excited to see what he's about. My new skate-mate Miaoux Miaoux will also be DJing, all-vinyl style.
The Glad Cafe is a great venue and worth a visit in its own right. Come early and grab a drink (or earlier still and have some food) to make a night of it. Say hello!
Jonnie Common Album Launch! Presented by Save As Collective
With WOLF + Ross Sutherland & Miaoux Miaoux DJ set
Opening: Saturday 15th November 2014 from 7.30pm
The Glad Cafe, 1006a Pollokshaws Road, Shawlands, G41 2HG
If you're coming from the town and are unfamiliar with the Southside, grab a train from Central to Crossmyloof (takes like 4 minutes and is a £2 return) and take the short walk up Minard Road when you get there. Alternatively, grab a bus or a taxi (which won't cost much either). Gimmie a shout if you need help / a friend.
After Life is no exception. A quiet, melancholic short story that perfectly captures the weird ubiquitousness of loss. There's always comfort in seeing these feelings that everyone knows, or will know, on the page (or said out loud).
I've uploaded a nice big version of After Life to accompany this post. Once Beth gets her finger out and puts it on her own site, I'll point my links there. You can also read The Observer's piece on the competition which features short interviews with the winners and links to their entries.
Because I know Beth, I can ask her stupid questions. Here follows a short interview.
Interview With Beth Dawson
Hello. Well done.
Thanks David! I am chuffed.
Do you hate Alexis Deacon for beating you?
Hahaha, cheers. I don't hate anyone! Hate is so ugly and never good for you or useful.
No I feel pretty good about being beaten by a guy with such a good reputation in the field. Until I got told I had won I wasn't even sure if my story was any good so I didn't have any massive expectations. It's cool to think that if Alexis hadn't bothered entering I coulda been joint first. I wouldn't mind splitting a grand with someone. But no.. I love Alexis' work, I spent some time today getting to know what he does and has done and I think he has a really interesting way of thinking and tells a good story. His drawings are really beautiful too. Hey we both studied at the University of Brighton too (ten years apart) which makes me collectively proud of the both of us despite the fact I've never met him.
As far as I know, you've never drawn comics before After Life, is that right?
I've not drawn any comics I'd be happy to show people before this one, nope. I have been thinking about this one for a long time though.. About 3 years or more since I wrote it and started to draw ideas for it.
I think though that once you reach a certain level of crafting skills and creative thinking you can transfer some skills and figure things out a lot more quickly. I also made a lot of animations when I was studying and the story boarding process for this is quite similar. I've had a few people say they can imagine my comic animated which is great to hear because I really wanted there to be a bit of "imaginative space" for the reader to bring the story to life.
Have you considered animating it?
Considered yes. Having done a bit of animation though I know how much work it would be. Maybe if someone wanted to take it on I’d be happy to work with them. I’ve also considered putting it online as a bit of an interactive comic but it may be some time before I get a chance to do anything like that. I think it could look really beautiful animated though and I’d like to see how it worked with music.
Do you read comics?
I do like to read comics.. I fell in love with the medium after being given a copy of Black Hole by Charles Burns "Black Hole on Wikipedia"). Such a satisfying reading experience, I remember being so in awe of how that book was constructed and how it affected me. I love that with a book you can take your time to read and study certain parts and you can pick them up and put them down. Though it's often a linear reading experience you're not bound by the time constraints and keeping up with the story like you might be with a film and there's an economy to the imagery and a special way of looking that you can get from a graphic story. It's a great medium. I especially like the meatier books that tackle big subjects. My comic strip is really about capturing a very physical experience and feeling, it's very personal and I think the format makes it a comfortable space to explore that kind of subject matter in your own time.
I could reel off a bunch of comic artists that I love but they are pretty much the same list as what I've read other people referencing (Ware, Spiegelman, Satrapi) I was aware that the few I picked for my Observer interview might've been a bit obvious too but I think that Raymond Briggs story was really formative and Audrey Niffenegger.. Well I just love that she has done both graphic stories and novels too. I also love Graham Rawle's stories and how he doesn't draw but works with ephemera. I find it really interesting how with his work the materials he uses really flavour the language of his books so much.
I think you should recommend some other people who do comics too.. Just a friendly plug for the community.
OK, 3 quickies: 1, Friends of the blog, Carolyn Alexander and Coll Hamilton put out a brilliant collaborative comic called Amber and Chelsea (pt.2 out at Thought Bubble next week). 2, I recently found that The Hand of Gold by Jordan Crane was online - it's a brilliant wee short story that I've loved for years. 3, If you give it time, Achewood by Chris Onstad is the funniest comic ever written.
Can you talk a little about the process of drawing the comic? Does it exist as an original or as separate parts?
Well the process was quite lengthy. I started out with just the words, highlighting bits of text I thought were the best to turn into key panels and making notes about the certain scenes and locations I wanted to include. I then started to draw the panels that I could imagine most clearly. I think the initial image I drew was the couple in bed together. When I first made my notes I’d considered having dual narrators, so I drew the scenes from both the girl and boy’s perspective but visually this narrative was a bit muddled so I chose to draw it instead from just the girl’s perspective with the shift at the end. It took me a bit of time to warm into how to go about constructing the scenes and initially I think I was trying to draw too much detail.
The first issue I had was figuring out a way to convey a sense of sadness throughout the whole comic, it would have been incredibly repetitive to draw just the girl’s glum face over and over, so I had to find more ways of expressing her feelings or a sense of her vulnerability. I knew I didn’t want to draw her crying so I began to focus on her hands and once I’d got into this I found it a lot easier. I drew a lot of the panels directly onto either layout paper or brown paper and there were lots of goes of figuring out how much of the story I should put on each page and how I should divide it up. Each page was then drawn on white using a very fine felt tip type marker, scanned in and cleaned up. I then laser printed it in just black and orange onto brown kraft paper and coloured the white layer by hand with a posca pen. So there is an original of sorts; a print with a hand coloured white layer and this is what’s going to be on display in the exhibition along with the winner, other runner up and the 5 shortlisted entries at Central St Martins.
The things you make, from illustrations to jewellery to sculptures often feel like they're little pieces of bigger stories. Looking back, can you spot any themes or interesting overlaps between the projects you've worked on?
Yeah absolutely I think I've been gnawing at the same bone for years really.. It all skirts around similar ideas and I think that was why I wanted to do the comic because I consider myself an illustrator but most of my output is object based. The way I put my comic together is the same way I think about my sculpture or jewellery.. It's all about capturing something or communicating quite oblique or nuanced ideas. Whichever way I work or the medium I use ...it all boils down to the same thing, they are all just props or triggers for the notions and feelings many of us have swimming around our heads. Childhood, memory, nostalgia blah blah etc blah.
Yeah my work is definitely nodding to a kind of hyper textual or meta fictive type experience. Going back to the idea of the objects I create being quite "prop-like" what I'm interested in making are pieces of work that give just enough of a sense of a story or character or moment to the audience for them to take it in a direction that works best and allows them to feel more like it's their story not mine. With a book there's a start and a finish too , a definite articulated experience between the first page and the last but with an object.. Well it's interactive and can be explored from many angles within different times and contexts. So really now I know I can do comics, it's a natural progression to see how the two worlds might collide. I’ve been considering the idea of making comics that relate to the object work I do since I was last studying. I’d like to give some of the pieces I make a backstory and context - like personal myths or folklore.
There’s a little bit of this in the story I made for the competition with the drawings of the marble. I’m keen to continue with this.. I think some people might consider this 'merchandising' but perhaps that's just the term we've come to consider these things under. In reality, the notion of a souvenir or a real object that is linked to a pertinent experience or story is actually quite a deeply entrenched and emotive part of how we exist and how we navigate our lives and material culture.. It could just be tat or it could be a jumping off point for many other stories and shared experiences, I guess that's up to the viewer.
Tell a story in 10 emoji or less
👫 💀 💔 👖 😩 😫 🌊 🐱 ✨ 👌 👎
That's 11 ..I'm giving myself a 10% word allowance .. That's After Life right there in emoji. If I'd have known it was that simple I would have downloaded them to my keyboard sooner and saved myself a lot of effort.
Comics wise, I’m working on a story with my sister which is again about relationships but focussed on emotional manipulation and the darker side of a loving relationship. I’d like to do a funny comic in-between though (I've got a few sketched ideas for a bit of a coming of age anthology).. Something just to lighten things up a bit. I’m a pretty goofy and chipper person in real life.
Cool. Thanks for answering my questions.
Thanks! Um, bye.
I didn't go out this Halloween so I drew a picture instead.
Crumbs is Jonnie at his best - a funny, inventive, reflective and playful piece of music that sounds bloody awesome. You can listen to it over here or on the player below.
I'm super proud to be on artwork duties for all the Trapped in Amber releases and related materials (*cough* animation *cough*). It's been a blast working on this stuff over the past wee while and I'm looking forward to seeing it out there in the real world. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the launch. If you're convinced already, you can pre-order Trapped in Amber today.
You can find Jonnie on Song, by Toad Records, on Twitter as @jonniecommon and on his personal Bandcamp page. He'll also be playing shows around the country to promote the record and you'll hopefully catch a tune or two on the radio. Any shares, spins and tickets bought are much appreciated.
(also, apologies if my website is being flakey - I'm in the process of redesigning it)
According to Ello's About page, Ello is "a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers" and, after a look, that sounds about right. Yeah it could (and probably will) all fall apart in no time but let's play with the new toy anyway, eh?
My first impressions are good. Well, good-ish. From what I can tell there's a Twitter + Tumblr + LiveJournal mash-up thing going on. It's an endless-stream-of-stuff-from-people-you-follow kinda deal but with a neat friends & noise system for managing clutter. Two thumbs up. I've never enjoyed the "here's a bunch of photos I think are cool" side of Tumblr and being able to filter that stuff out is, um, cool.
However, social networks are only as good as the people you follow and, on Ello, the (few) people I'm following are pretty quiet right now. That'll hopefully change. @garrymac (AKA ace comic artist Garry McLaughlin) has written a wee post that I agree with hoping that folk'll use Ello for talking and journaling instead of just photo sharing. The death of Google Reader killed blogging for a lot of my art / illustration friends and I'd love to see them writing more.
So until we're all sold out in a billion dollar cash grab, I'll stay optimistic. The name is a good sign - "'ello" is a hell of a way to start a conversation.
Edinburgh Art Festival 2014 is in full swing, running from the 31st July to the 31st August in galleries, museums, art spaces and public places throughout the city. The UK's largest annual celebration of visual art is one of a billion reasons to visit Scotland's capital this summer.
Drawing Edinburgh as a functional map, rather than as an anything-goes illustrated cityscape was tricky. The city is a jumble of winding streets, alleyways and bridges that can easily confuse.
My starting point was to draw a mostly* accurate street plan using Google Maps and some good ol' legwork. I then plotted the venue locations and added a few key landmarks. This outline made sure that, even if the details of my final illustration didn't exactly match reality (and they didn't), the map'd still work for navigating the city.
Rather than trying to tackle the whole map at once, I broke the layout down into smaller sections using Photoshop. I made a couple of fill patterns to show the main areas ('grass' and 'buildings'), printed everything out and improvised the linework over the top. Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '99, buy a lightbox. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, a lightbox would be it.
After scanning, jigsawing the pieces back together and colouring, the job's a good 'un. You can pick up a free copy of the map from participating venues around Edinburgh. There's also an awesome social-mediarific version over at edinburghartfestivalmaps.com (cheers Andy!).
Also, also, also, in addition to the map, I've put together a range of merchandise for the festival. A natty tote bag, card wallet, exercise book, badges, a range of postcards and a alternative colour print of the map are all available from the Edinburgh Art Festival kiosk from 10am to 6pm on George St. (between Frederick Street and Castle Street) and at the City Art Centre next to Waverly Station. I've not had a chance to take proper photos of the merch yet, but I'll post them here and/or on my Instagram when I do.
Big thanks to Jessica, Helena and Andy for all their help and patience.
* A street or two got squashed a little to make room for some of the less central venues.
Glasgow folks - the wonderful art collective Brothers of The Stripe are having a show in Glasgow and have asked me to be a part of it. Lo-Fi Sci-Fi opens tonight (Wednesday 21st May) at The Good Spirits Co. on Bath St. (just off Buchanan St, so dead easy from the town centre).
All are welcome tonight for the opening party. If you’re old enough, Auchentoshan Mixologist Cocktails will be providing free cocktails from 7 - 9pm. The show runs until 19th June 2014. Details:
The Brothers of the Stripe - Lo-Fi Sci-Fi
A show of Sci-fi based graphic art, featuring special guest brother : David Galletly! This show will consist of prints, drawings and paintings based on the theme of lo-fi sci-fi.
Opening: Wednesday 21st May 2014, 7pm - 9pm
Drinks: Auchentoshan Mixologist Cocktails
Exhibition Runs Until: 19th June 2014
The Good Spirits Co. 23 Bath Street : Glasgow G2 1HW
Pretty hyped about Gareth Edwards' upcoming Godzilla film. From the brief glimpses we've seen, the creature design is looking awesome.
This animated gif is taken from the new It Can’t Be Stopped TV spot. I brightened up the hero shot of the big fella to get a better look at him. The looping makes it a bit silly, but dang is he prickly.