Friday, May 31, 2013

Beauty of this kind does not come abundantly

just found this in the loft going through my bag of 'art fair' stuff. Early foray into collage work. Good times. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

 If you are in London this weekend, and fancy having your FACE drawn by me, I will be at 2 events. 

I will be at this Alternative Press event in a caravan covered in Bill Murray's face (I don't know why, but sounds sensible to me) with other StoryHands Collective artists on Saturday. It's attached to a music festival but I think you can get into our bit for free.

On Sunday I am going to be drawing vintage style portraits at the Pop Up Vintage Fairs London event in Islington Town Hall. That one does cost money, but I assume will include a lot of darling cupcakes, florals and frills to make up for it.

Here are some alternative Summer Holiday Postcards I did for Pretty Litter Magazine. Because it's been too long since there was a lesbian kiss on this blog. Or feet. Or seagulls. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

bring out the bunting

bring out the bunting. Wedding season is upon us. 

This is an Indigo Bunting. I mean that's what the bird is called. So it's a joke. About bunting. and buntings. You know, like those t-shirts with blue footed Boobies on them?

I think I am going to sell this as a greetings card.

Monday, May 20, 2013

about a unicorn and the nature of art

Unicorn. Old French, unicorne. Latin, unicornis. Literally, one-horned: unus, one and cornu,a horn. A fabulous animal resembling a horse with one horn. --The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle

Earlier this year I wrote a masters essay about drawing. In it I grappled (not particularly thoroughly it was only 5000 words) with some of the big contradictory beliefs about art that are around out there, for example:
  1. there is a RIGHT way to draw, paint, sculpt etc. you have to learn it and your work will be rubbish if you don't. (the right way is usually as realistic as possible - but there are different opinions on the route to get there)
  2. proper creative people ignore rules, they should only focus on EXPRESSING themselves, that's how good art gets made.

It's amazing how much we manage to believe these two contradictory things in our culture. 

(I'm getting to the bit about the unicorn don't worry)

One awesome thing about being an art teacher, is that I get to try my hand at new media and techniques, in the name of teaching myself so that I can pass on the knowledge. In the spirit of this idea I asked Alex to buy me a beginners clay sculpting course at the London Academy of Art as a Christmas present when they were on a voucher website last year. (yeah do not worry I did not pay the crazy prices listed on the website).

Now the London Academy of Art is very much a proponent of rule number 1 above, they teach drawing, painting and sculpture in a method inspired by the 'Old Masters'. 

This was all a bit trippy for me, coming as I was from the back of studying at the Institute of Education, where they are all about questioning the 'canon' and any notions of a RIGHT way to do ANYTHING. My own drawing education was also not particularly classical,  more a cross between Ruskin's emphasis on constant looking, and a more rule number 2ish emphasis on experimentation (exemplified by my drawing tutor at uni - the great Paul Osborne). But I decided to take it at face value as much as possible, in the spirit of understanding these things to make me a better artist and teacher. 

(we're almost to the bit about the unicorn, promise)

But apparently my non classical education had conveniently fitted me for classical sculpting as I whizzed through the introduction tasks and was pretty much left to myself for the next 4 lessons. We were only supposed to copy from their casts, so I copied a horse's head for my final outcome after reproducing an ear and an eye. I can't get rid of my desire to subvert these things though (must be that pesky creativity) so I decided to turn it into a unicorn.

The moral of this story is that there's more than one way to teach art, the answer to ALL essay questions is a little from column A and little from column B, and I made a unicorn out of clay.

Here are some pictures of it. 

initial stages of shape forming

Here is the unicorn with his daddy, the horse's head. They told me he is in the British Museum, but I can't find him on the website, if anyone knows where the original horse's head is I would love to know so I can credit it properly. I feel weird about copying it tbh, even if the roman/greek artisan who made the original is probs not coming after me for copyright. 

This is what he looked like when I brought him home after my last session.

At home in my kitchen and starting to refine. 

Added all the lines to the hair, this was very fiddly and even fiddlier to smooth down afterwards. I made him look less angry after this too. 

Finished sculpting

He now needs a week to dry and then I will paint him and then I will varnish him.

I am undecided to his fate. A part of me wants to keep him forever and the part which is in wedding debt for the foreseeable future wants to sell him. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hello all.

This week I was commissioned to do a piece in the style of my minibook from 2009 ‘What birds are really thinking’, so here is Penguins thinking about world domination. It’s a Rockhopper penguin.

This has now really made me want to do a whole other books worth of these. Like I’m not already doing enough personal projects! I’m only three Ians into the Is on the facebook project, and I actually started another new project already this month. 
What was that Mr Internet? I didn’t tell you about my new project on this blog yet? How silly of me.

The new project I have started is a TV drawing project. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and the impetus finally jumped me by a combination of factors (I decided not to do a portrait competition because I didn’t have time, and suddenly felt like I had more time, also I have entered it into the Mother brief on Ideastap, so if you could follow the twitter that would really help me out) and I decided to finally do it.

I always wanted to call this project ‘At the end of the day, it is what it is’. This was because of two Big Brother contestants from different series’ catchphrases (Craig, and Siavash) separately, (I really wasn’t sure where to put the apostrophe in that sentence, Mr Gove where are you?). Which were, when combined, I thought the ultimate in meaningless meaningfulness. Which is to say, a cliché which has a universal application. 

But I don’t think anyone remembers those catchphrases except me. So instead I have given it a more descriptive title: Real TV Wisdom

I put it on Blogger, although I may move it to Tumblr, except I hate Tumblr, so I might not. 

Here are some of the pictures I have done for it so far:

I would be very happy to receive suggestions, especially if you live tweet them to @realtvwisdom while the show in question is on. I am most interested in quotes which stand alone (you don’t need any contextual information to understand them) and which are abstractly wise and clichéd.