Thursday, January 05, 2012

All The Things I Should Have Blogged About But Didn't

No blog post since August is pretty shoddy, I'll admit -  but there have been a few good reasons for my focus to be elsewhere. First and foremost is that my sister very nearly popped her clogs in September but is on the mend slowly but surely, thank goodness!  Family commitments became a priority whilst still keeping understanding clients happy and so self promotion, studio sort-outs and blogging/tweeting were put on the back burner.
However, some great projects and events have still happened between August and now, so I thought it might be better late than never to write about them in one epic post. So, gird your hirdies, pop the kettle on for a brew then hunker down because you may be some time getting through this beast of a blog...

Images 35: Best of British Contemporary Illustration Awards, London.

In August I travelled down to the Big Smoke with my husband to attend the Awards  and opening night of Images 35.
It was particularly nice as I received a Bronze Award for "Forest Deer" in the Self Promotion category and took the opportunity to catch up with Jonny Hannah who won Gold in the same category! I finally got to meet Sarah Habershon and Roger Browning, art directors at The Guardian, who ask me to do draw pictures for them every so often! Finally, I was really really chuffed for my friend Glen McBeth who deservedly won Gold in the Editorial category - easily one of the best illustrations in the whole show! Nice skull, Glen.
The new Images venue at the Bankside Gallery is a wonderful space and being right beside the Tate Modern really pulls in the crowds too!

Also in August: After much swithering, umming and ahhing I finally made the decision to leave my teaching post at Edinburgh College of Art. I had taught there for 16 years and enjoyed every minute of it (well, apart from the crappy admin and form filling and lots of other things I won't mention) but decided to move on and concentrate on other challenges and before I became too stale as a teacher. I received lots of lovely messages from students, ex-students and staff, which brought a wee tear to the eye.  Thank you ECA and everyone in the Illustration Department, especially Jonathan Gibbs, who is a complete gem.

The Secret Members Show at Factory Road Gallery

Boy oh boy, luckily I had this little show to create work for which took my mind off no longer receiving a regular salary from ECA! Leigh Adams and Sarah Coleman invited me to create a new piece of work for a top secret show at their cracking Factory Road Gallery, which was to be themed around the male member, yes, the penis. Not a smutfest but a serious show which invited an eclectic group of artists, designers and makers to respond visually to male genitalia.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt I'd like to create an illustration that was ALL about the penis but not actually featuring a penis, or indeed a man.

Here's the blurb I wrote for the exhibition:

Title of piece: "You Know What They Say"

"I decided not to draw a penis because there was a whole other story to tell about how we interpret penis size in relation to a man's possessions, lifestyle and physicality. This cliche can be used to joke about, insult, deride, mock, tease, gossip about and even compliment a man(big hands, big know what they say). It can also put a man in his place if we are not sure about him. But, just how often is it true?
I want to keep you guessing but make you aware of how you judge this modern hunter gatherer as a man. With a penis. Or not..."

To read a review about the show by Ed Garland  and see pics of the opening night and some of the other work go HERE.

Wildcard Stationary!

I have been approached by quite a few card and stationary companies in the past and for one reason or another have never quite had the enthusiasm to sign up with them. However, when Chris and Amanda at Wildcard Company initially got in touch in June something felt a bit different about their approach to their artists, and so I signed on the dotted line! I am really enjoying experimenting and trying out new lettering designs for cards, wrapping paper and all sorts of other stationary goodies. My first range came out in September and I am working on all sorts of new ideas for future ranges too!
My friends and fellow illustrators (and ex-students of mine), Holly Surplice and Vicki Gausden, are also producing ranges for them too. Nice one!

Hong Kong: Artist in Residence workshops

I returned to Hong Kong in November, having been invited back for a second year by South Island School to run artist in residence workshops with both BTec Design & Technology students and IB Fine Art students.
The students at SIS have a pretty full on timetable doing a wide range of subjects but many told me that they really like the freedom they get from these workshops to concentrate on one project over a number of days, without having to drop everything after an hour to go to another class. I have to say that they are an incredibly hard working, talented and focused bunch of people and great fun to teach them!

I set a Make a Book lettering project with the fashion and product Design & Technology students, where each student was given a name of a fashion designer, a product or industrial designer, a random word and also a random object (carried all the way from Scotland, so they were pretty tiny objects, such as safety pins, a balloon etc). They then had to research, concept, design, illustrate and make and bind an eight page book which illustrated an imaginative creative collaboration between the 2 designers they had been given, using the word and object as inspiration. It was quite a complex brief but the results were stunning, involving lots of ink, hand-made and digital elements with some highly covetable little books being produced indeed!
I set a short, sharp 2 day project for the Fine Art students, called "I'm A Survivor", which asked them to create a Magical Survival Kit... all with a twist of course.
Here, the students collaborated in pairs (something they had not done before and were a little nervous about) and again, each pair were given one of the 5 senses, an element from the Periodic Table ,  a name of a country and finally a time of day. For example: Bolivia, 2.15a.m, Sight and Oxygen. They had to think on their feet and really plan to get all their reserach and creative thinking done, as well as source materials to make the box. the sourcing was great fun, as we headed into deepest, darkest downtown Hong Kong, to Wan Chai street markets, where you can pretty much get anything. The students came back with things like a ukelele, various herbs and spices, musical boxes - even a cheeky pair of underpants! All this was adapted for use in the final artwork.
...some photos will say it better than words, I think!

The CIA Calendar 2012: The Alternative Games

Such, such fun doing this! Of course, it is Olympic fever here in the UK (well, London anyway - it has not quite reached Scotland) and my lovely new UK reps, Central Illustration Agency, decided to ask their artists to think up Alternative Olympic sports and events. "Gladly!" I said, and thus felt the need to incorporate some canines in my effort. All dogs love a ball - especially chasing and fetching one. Combine that with some tabards and a watery theme and hey presto, I give you Competitive Fetch. I do actually have a dog that does a good impersonation of scuba diving, so was inspired by that.

Well, that wasn't so bad was it?...
There are some things I have missed, I know but at least this is a catch up of sorts - if only to show that I have not been a lazy, daytime TV imbibing slattern. I do have a few good projects up my sleeve and I promise (fingers crossed) that I will blog about them as they happen - or are about to happen. These include an epic print self promotion for the USA, a surfboard design and even a book!

Oh...and to tidy my studio...

Happy 2012 everyone

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