I’m happy to announce that for maybe the 5th year running I will be participating in the Recoat Christmas show Double Dip in the West End of Glasgow. Super chuffed to be asked.
As always, Amy and Ali invite a wide range of friends to exhibit work at a low, low price. Each wall of the gallery is assigned a price (£25, £50, £75, £100) and is crammed with amazing prints, originals and other goodness. It’s perfect for seeking out a Christmas gift, snapping up a bargain or taking a first tentative step into the world of buying art.
Double Dip will feature an amazing selection of artists from Glasgow + beyond (including me) and is well worth checking out. The opening party on Friday 25th November is especially worth getting to if you can as stuff sells fast. All are welcome and a good number of those exhibiting will be in attendance if you’d like to say hello. Here’s a breakdown of the details:
Cut-price Christmas exhibition
Runs: 25th November - 23rd December 2011
Opening party: Friday 25th November 7-10pm
323 North Woodside Road
Glasgow G20 6ND
Featuring the work of: Matt Mignanelli, Elph, David Galletly, Syrkus, Death Rattles, Eleanor Meredith, Inkie, Odra, Mark Lyken, Russell Dempster, Matt Naylor, Mike Inglis, Pure, FiST, Kath Leone and Will Barras, Tristram Aver, Susie Wright, Andrew Ingram, Al White, Chris MacFarlane
And that’s that. There’s an event page if you’d like to RSVP your attendance and, should you like to ‘like’ the gallery, you can do so on Recoat’s Facebook page. If you’ve never visited before, it’s a really nice wee space really near to the Kelvinbridge underground station. See you there hopefully.
In just under 2 weeks time I will be participating in a weekend of showing off at the wonderful cafe/bar/record shop that is Mono here in Glasgow. Jonnie Common is set to release Hair of The Dog, a full-length remix album that sees his fantastic debut Master of None set upon by a bunch of talented friends. To celebrate the launch there will be a number of certain things:
Thing number 1: The remix album will be released as a download code exclusively available on a limited-edition Gocco screenprint by myself. It features my Headless Dog drawing and will be available at the event and via the Red Deer Club webshop (p.s. you can head there now to pre-order the album should you wish to guarantee yourself a copy). It costs £5 and will be shipped from Monday 28th November. I will do a follow-up post with images of the Album soon. A print and an album for a fiver! Wait, what?
Thing number 2: Jonnie will also be unveiling a new interactive sound-installation that he’s made in collaboration with Zero Waste Design. Over the whole weekend (25th, 26th & 27th November), all visitors to Mono will be able to ‘mix’ Master of None in a wonderfully inventive way (trust me, it’s awesome). Nip in for lunch and a wee bit of lo-fi surround sound. I’ve had a wee sneak peak at what these guys are up to and I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product.
Thing number 3: If that’s not all, I will be putting together a small exhibition of bits & bobs (drawings mainly, hairy ones) closely related to my work on Master of None. There will, hopefully, be some new work, large & small, as well as a few older pieces and, if I can figure out the logistics, a wall drawing or two. Remember, this will be a 3-day only show so if you fancy a look you won’t have long to stop in before it comes down.
Thing number 4: Finally, there will be a closing party on Sunday the 27th at 7:30pm featuring live music from Ben Butler & Mousepad, Dems and GRNR as well as a couple of DJ sets in between by Found and The Japanese War Effort. All these acts have contributed to Hair of The Dog by remixing a track of Jonnie’s music. Entry is £4. This’ll be the time to visit if you wanna catch everything at once. Not bad eh? Here are the summarised details:
Hair of The Dog
by Jonnie Common ft. David Galletly
Runs: Fri 25th - Sun 27th Nov
ft: live music & DJs
Sunday 27th Nov
Please, please, please stop by if you can. It’ll be a weekend of food, drink, art and music. I’ve put some web-flyers and a blurb up on my site should you like to post them on your blog or your social network of choice. Any help in this way would be greatly appreciated as we’re getting to the full-on headless chicken stage and it’s becoming hard to stay on top of the internet stuff. If you’ve never been to Mono, it’s a really great little place and well worth a visit in its own right - good food, nice atmosphere, one of the best record shops in Glasgow.
Keep up to date via Twitter: @jonniecommon / @davidgalletly. As is the way nowadays, you can also visit the Hair of The Dog Facebook page for more info + some chatter. We’ll both be around Mono throughout the weekend too, so say hello.
When it comes to theme park theming, Typhoon Lagoon has some of the best. I love it, despite never having been. There’s just something so obviously right about the art direction. Of course you call a water park with a big wave machine ‘Typhoon Lagoon’, of course you make it look like a seaside town that’s been wrecked by a storm, of course you shoot a surfboard through a tree, put a tractor on a roof and impale a bloody big shrimp boat on a mountain.
That iconic boat, ‘Miss Tilly’, precariously balanced above the park, echos Noah’s Ark and the Mary Celeste. It’s a perfect idea perfectly executed. Other parks might settle for a flat cutout or, more likely, not bother at all. Not Disney though, they build a massive fake mountain, a massive fake boat and shoot a massive geyser of water from her funnel every half hour while her bell tolls. I think it’s a remarkable piece of work that makes a pretty-good water park somewhere truly magical.
For more, Jeff Kober writes a mean Ode to Typhoon Lagoon on USA today.
Presstube.com is a site I've dipped into now-and-again since college. James Paterson, the man behind the scenes, is an astonishingly talented artist who brings drawings to life through digital animation and Flash. His layered, loose, illustrations move so fluidly and with such depth that they become completely hypnotic in an elephants-on-parade sorta way.
Back in 2003, James created a screensaver for Mac and PC. A clean white surface broken by morphing inky black lines and bursts of colour. A perfect showcase for his mixture of art and technology. I used it exclusively on my sturdy old iMac G5 for years. Then, when I finally upgraded my machine, the screensaver stopped working. Turns out that it couldn't run on newer, Intel-based Macs because it was coded for the older Power-PC processors (I guess?). Ever since, I've kept my eyes peeled for an update. All the alternatives I've tried haven't quite cut it (although thecolourclock is damn beautiful)... until now!
Yep, as of 3 months ago there is a new version of the ALib1 screensaver (never knew that was its name) up on Presstube. A lucky bit of browsing brought me there today and I've immediately whacked it back on my computer (above), where it belongs. Hopefully this will be good news to some of my readers too, as I still get the occasional email asking if I know where to find a working version - I guess because my previous post does pretty well on Google.
It seems Presstube has changed a little since my last visit. It's more of a blog now and it also features the work of a handful of James' friends alongside his drawings and animations. If you've never visited before, or if it's been a while - have a look.
Bonus: James has made 2 new screensavers in the meantime.
In August, Jonnie Common released Master of None, his debut solo album. I was massively proud when he asked if I would provide some drawings (one old, one new) for the artwork. If this sounds familiar, I briefly wrote about this project back in July - it's worth revisiting in a little more depth with some new photos, though.
From my side, it was a fairly painless process. I sent over my Dog drawing and put together a big, furry pattern for the inner sleeve. JC then added some rockin' pink magic and handled the layout. The end result is a really great wee collaboration - something completely new and different to what we'd think up individually.
I first started talking with Jonnie a while back after I made a little music video for Infinitea by Down The Tiny Steps (his old band). I did this on a whim to accompany a blog post announcing it as my 4th most listened to track of 2009. By happenstance, Jonnie also knew my work and we began chatting about maybe collaborating on something or other. This was a weird thing because I was a fan, y'know? I'd been listening to his stuff for damn near 10 years and I'd seen plenty DTTS / solo sets at various Fence gigs. How many dudes who live on your iPod do you get emails from? Aye, exactly.
Anyway, Jonnie's a good dude. I've since caught up with him a handful of times in person and we're hoping to work together on a couple different projects over the next few months. Stay tuned here or on jonniecommon.com for further news and information.
As for Master of None, it's my favourite album of the year by a long way. I really, really love it. Honestly, it's amazing. I kinda wish my artwork wasn't on the cover so I could sound completely genuine when I gush about it to my friends. I also kinda wish I didn't know Jonnie so I could act like a totally lame super-fan without being, um, a total creep. Alex says it's her go-to record 'it feels like having a conversation with a friend' and it's a rare day that we don't either give it a spin or find a track or two sneak into a playlist.
Without writing a flat-out review (there's a great one up here on Song By Toad), I'd just like to recommend you give Master of None a listen. It's a sweet, funny, charming album that can effortlessly drift from a beautiful letter to his future kids (Heir To The Throne) to a wordplay-fuelled rap (Bed Bugs) without missing a step. Jonnie's distinctive voice (in both senses of the word) somehow creates a personal, cohesive whole from a big ol' mountain of sounds and styles.
And, man, the man has a way with a lyric - I'd happily write out Hand-Hand in its entirety just for fun. There's more ideas in those 4 minutes than in most full length LPs. Highlights: opening with "sing for us, Jonnie!", facing mortality "when I leave this planet, I don't wanna leave a mess" and a curiosity about horse-hair brushes: "do they pluck them from the living ones or do they take them off the corpses?". It'll put a smile on your face and a shake in your arse. Listen to it, learn it, sing along:
Good eh? As I mentioned, being associated with this LP in any way makes me very proud. For any artist, designer or illustrator, providing artwork for music you love is a dream job that can't easily be beaten? I mean, what else comes close? Film posters? Maybe, I dunno. Oh yeah, I've put a few more photos of the vinyl cover up on my Flickr page.
So, should you want to check out Master of None for yourself, it is available on vinyl (with an mp3 code included) through Red Deer Club records. You can also download a digital copy over on Boomkat and, should you want to try-before-you-buy, you can stream the whole record (!) right here on Soundcloud.
Support Jonnie Common, he's one of Scotland's finest songwriters and he's made a wonderful thing.
I write this on returning from our big 'summer' holiday - 2 nights on the small Scottish island of Arran. With a wedding fast approaching, we're staying sensible and cutting back on the most reckless of spending. Big holidays ain't an option.
It turned out to be a great wee trip. Alex has family in Whiting Bay and we've been over a hundred times to visit, but finding a good deal on a posh hotel added a new twist to the familiar surroundings. For the first time in my life I experienced a sauna (verdict: hot) and I got to go swimming, something I haven't done in 10 years (verdict: wet). Here's a link to my Arran photo album (pretty much just holiday snaps, don't get too excited).
Anyway, this post is essentially fluff to surround my most recent attempt at an animated photo (above) that I made this morning while waiting on the ferry. I'm really happy with how this one turned out - I think it sums up our relationship pretty well. I might post a little tutorial about how to make these things soon. After posting my first attempt, I received a few requests and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I don't even know if they have a proper name. Moving photographs? Living photos? Harry Potter pictures?
That swimming pool has given my left ear one hell of a beating. Can't hear a goddamn thing.
Again I am delighted to have been allowed to help out the Fence Collective with another poster design. This time it's for a Guy Fawkes shindig up at their Anstruther HQ. Johnny 'Pictish Trail' Lynch asked if I could come up with something suitably silly to illustrate his 'Gunpowder, Treason and… Plop' Bonfire Night theme.
My time was quite tight but, thankfully, the brief kinda suited something being a little rough around the edges. Taking a cue from my What I Wore Today drawings, I cranked out this pair of beardy fellows and a titular hott-logg and things just came together. This is actually my first ever fully hand-drawn poster design, which took me a little by surprise. The colouring was added digitally but apart from that, it's all pens and paper. Getting text to sit well with my drawings is something I've always struggled with.
As with all Fence events, I wholeheartedly recommend you get your arse along to the Hott Loggz party if at all possible. Fence Records consistently put out some of Scotland's finest music and their live gigs are a joy to witness. Recently I've caught a little sneak-listen to some upcoming releases and, honestly, if you follow what they do, you're in for a treat. Here are the details:
Fence's Flamin' Hott Loggz
An all-day (2pm - 1am) event of music & excitement
Saturday, 5th November
Anstruther, Fife, Scotland
Featuring a yet-to-be-announced line-up of Fence Collective members + friends.
Tickets are available here.
I'm gonna try my best to head up for the show. Despite the promise of a bonfire, a Scottish seaside in November will be damn cold, so wrap up warm.
Miserable Giant by Jez Burrows on Flickr
Along with Lizzy Stewart (his partner in crime), illustrator / graphic design whiz Jez Burrows has a particular knack for making me jealous. His work hits the nail on the head so consistently that the conclusions he reaches can seem both impossibly difficult and blindingly obvious. You'd never add or remove a single thing from anything he does and I guess that, in a way, defines them as perfect.
Anyway, Jez is moving hoose and is closing his online shop this week. As a result, he's added some old/rare stuff and has a sale goin' on. I picked up a few prints yesterday including one very similar to the above Miserable Giant*. I recommend you go, go, go because the prices are low, low low. You have until Sunday before the shop closes for a 'long time'.
*I wanted to link through to Jez's Flickr so I couldn't show the exact one I bought
I don't think these are particularly obscure (I discovered them today via the 'explore feature in Google Reader), but l'd like to share them here anyway because they're so brilliant.
David Thorne has posted Ten Formal Complaints In Six Months that his co-worker Simon Dempsey has made about him in their office. In them, Thorne is revealed to have a flair for antagonism that brings to mind Tim and Gareth's micro-feuds in The Office mixed with a little Reeves & Mortimer surrealism ('researching wasps' is genius).
I think I've seen a few odds & ends of David Thorne's other work over the years, but this 'piece', (if you could call it that) has motivated me to dig a little deeper as, on the whole, I don't know much about him. Think I might pick up his new book.
Since listening to the special John Gruber / Merlin Mann episode of The Talk Show last week, I've kinda been nerding out on Disney stuff. Their discussion about The Magic Kingdom completely reignited my fascination with theme parks, rollercoasters and Imagineering.
At its best, Disney's attention to detail goes unrivaled - did you know that the reason you'll never see a pirate in Frontierland is because everything is built on top of an entire network of corridors, allowing staff behind-the-scenes access to every part of the park? Did you know they foreshorten Main St USA both vertically (to make the buildings seem taller), diagonally (to make each side of the street lean in and 'frame' the castle in your vision) and horizontally (to make the street feel longer as you enter the park and longer as you leave). The lengths they go to for effect are nothing short of incredible.
My heart, though, belongs to one attraction in particular. Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris. The ride that some argue saved the park after its lackluster early years. That ride (it's important to distinguish the European version of the ride - the older US versions are far less ambitious) became a passion and a hobby of mine after my parents took my cousin Lynne and I to Disney when I was maybe 11 or 12. The atmosphere, the design, the bloomin' big cannon on the side flipped me out bigtime.
Before then, I was already obsessed with rollercoasters. I'd draw them, dream about them, pretend I was on them when riding my bike. I used to record every glimpse of them on the telly, from lame segments on daytime shows ('there's a new ride at Alton Towers, let's see if Eamonn can handle it') to a couple of full-blown documentaries about rollercoaster fan-clubs that I would watch almost daily. Every night, I'd patiently recreate Nemesis or The Pepsi Max Big One on Rollercoaster Tycoon, tinkering away in the way only geeky young boys can. To this day I can't quite explain why I was so consumed.
Space Mountain, though, was the best of the best. I knew this. I knew it wasn't the most enjoyable ride (older, wooden coasters are the most fun), I knew it wasn't the scariest (at the time, the Dragon Khan in PortAventura boasted the most inversions and the most intimidating silhouette) but, despite this, I knew it was built with pure imagination and love. I knew not one inch of its design, its accompanying artwork or its operation hadn't been poured over by The Best People In The World.
The reason I knew was because I had seen Shoot For The Moon (above), a BBC film that followed the construction and opening of the ride. It was the centre of my obsession. To this day I still know it by heart. A wonderful documentary that mixed really geeky engineering and design stuff with beautiful archive footage and a ton of interviews. Through Shoot For The Moon I was introduced to Jules Verne, Le Voyage Dans La Lune and retro-futurism. I learned about the Space Race, the power of art direction and, most importantly, that behind every great, fun, exciting thing there's someone (an adult - who've thought?) who's job it is simply to make their imagination reality.
I guess I could cite Space Mountain as being a major influence on my 'career', as weird as that may sound. I didn't know it at the time, but by watching that film over and over I was immersing myself in ideas, illustration and design. Seeing the man behind the curtain revealed made things more magical, not less. Biology doesn't ruin the 'mystery' of nature. Astronomy doesn't ruin the 'wonder' of the universe.
Shoot For The Moon is available on YouTube (in 5 parts) and I can't recommend it highly enough. Nostalgia is no doubt clouding my judgement, but trust me, give it a watch. If you're in any way involved in a creative profession, you'll find something of interest. It's great. You might even get a little hint of the Disney magic that's so easily forgotten once you've grown old and cynical.
The devil is in the detail.
This is my second What I Wore Today drawing for this blog. If you don't understand, there is a Flickr group here started by the illustrator Gemma Correll that accepts open submissions of self-portraits depicting the clothes you're currently wearing. I have been posting up my artwork there for quite a while now and I find it provides a perfect little mini-project for those times I'm suffering from block or simply just want to make something. Go have a look, there's some amazing stuff from more serious fashion illustration to more dorky, humorous stuff.
I just battered this illustration together quickly. It's not great, but it's better than nothing and, quite frankly, I did it just as an excuse to draw. I need practise. I need practise drawing and I need practise writing (I would like to be a really good writer). You don't get out of a lull by sitting about watching telly and you don't make better art by not making any art. Putting together a self-portrait gets you into a kinda reflective mode and it almost seems like it might be appropriate to accompany such drawings with a personal, diary-like post but I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
Ah, I dunno. Maybe it is a good idea. Maybe every time I draw myself, I'll write a little something about my life. Hell, I could make it up if it feels too personal or honest. Righto David. Starting now, with this picture and these words, I'm gonna go into autobiography mode with my What I Wore Today drawings and this decision, while not exactly soul-searching, is plenty for this evening.
Above is my debut as a music video director for the single You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night by the very fine Kid Canaveral. It was animated, filmed and edited by myself with some help from Alex and Fergi - particularly in the dancing kitchen scene.
I've posted about this clip before on my old blog but, happily, I have new reason to post it here. I have just recieved news that it will be featured in the BBC Music Video Festival 2011 and will be shown at The Forum in the centre of Norwich, from the 19th of September to the 1st of October - on bloomin' giant screens no less.
'Chuffed' doesn't explain the half of it. Having an animated film shown by the BBC is one of those things you dream about. Yeah, it's rough around the edges. Yeah, it was made with sellotape and fishing lines in our messy wee flat. Yeah, I don't really know how to work a camera. You know what? I don't care! We had the most fun ever staying up until 5am making the video and I'm still very proud of it.
Filmmaking is something I'm growing increasingly fond of these days, in part due to being a complete novice and knowing it's ok to make mistakes. I'm always looking to find time to knock together a new video and if anyone wants to work on any projects, get in touch. You'd make my day.
For more info on the Kid Canaveral video, I did an interview about it a while back which you can read here. You can also watch and subscribe to whatever other nonsense I make on my YouTube channel. Big Thanks to Johnny at Fence and Kate Canaveral in particular for all their help with this project.
Quite a wee while ago now I was asked to illustrate the writer David Boyle's essay Small Is Spendid for The Idler. Today, I received my copy and was happy to see my drawing Church, Steeple, People right there on page 52.
I always find it crazy to see my work in a publication. It never gets old. Sometimes it makes me really happy. Other times, when I'm not particularly happy with my work, I find it to be quite a heart-wrenching procedure. Thankfully this time it turned out pretty good. I was really worried about seeing this illustration again because it came from quite a dark patch, work-wise, when I was pretty unhappy with everything I was putting out and in need of a break (or a slap). The thought of anything from my 'crappy period' being out in public, especially in an edition of something as beautiful as The Idler, kinda bummed me out. Now I'm feeling better about things, I'm glad I did it.
So yeah, the latest issue of The Idler, Mind Your Business, is out now and can be picked up on their online shop here or at all good, um, Idler stockists I guess. It is a beautifully put together book-like magazine full of interesting and funny comics, essays, interviews and more. I've not had a chance to flick through it yet but I imagine it'll be living on my bedside cabinet for some time to come.
This illustration marks a little transition for me. While I might have changed it a little had I to do it over, conceptually, I think it's really strong in the context of David's essay. I got away with it! I can now finally say goodbye to a period of (mild) doubt, (mild) stress and (mild) misery and take a step or two towards a more productive and happy chapter in my life. Always forwards, never backwards.