Sunday, 27 February 2011

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Divine Serpent, the spirit world & ancient Mayans


I made the above graphic in tribute to the Mayans, i'm making a lantern which should be available in my shop during the next couple of days.

It depicts the 'The Divine Serpent' at both far ends, 'Quetzalcoatl' the feathered serpent in the centre & 'Xochipilli' God of archiculture & flowers either side of him During blood letting rituals, participants would experience visions in which they communicated with the ancestors or gods. These visions took the form of a giant serpent (The Divine Serpent) which served as a gateway to the spirit realm. The ancestor or god who was being contacted was depicted as emerging from the serpent’s mouth.

Maya religion was far more complicated than the simple worship of gods of nature. The Maya world was composed of 3 layers - the Heavens, the Earth, and the Underworld.The Mayas conducted ceremonies to keep the demons, creatures and gods in the Underworld, where they belonged.

During certain religious ceremonies, priests dressed up like jaguars and wore masks as they faced the inhabitants of the Underworld to present themselves as equally scary and powerful.

Also,all of the men, but none of the women, used mirrors. In the ancient Maya world, looking into a mirror was an act of courage. The Maya believed that monsters from the Place of Awe could reach through the mirror, and yank you into the Otherworld.

About AD 300 to 900the major centers including Palenque, Tikal, and Copán were mysteriously abandoned. The reasons are still unknown

Thursday, 24 February 2011

the haunted room

My latest print (sorry for the bad photo). This is still a work in progress so it might look a bit different by the time it goes into my Etsy shop...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

"I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome . . . "

It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open”

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

I have been thinking about my influences & would say Gothic literature and horror is a massive one. I wouldn’t say I have a love for horror in the ‘shock splatter gore’ sense of the word and I do not wear a long black leather coat and have fangs. But, I love ‘classic’ horror stories: Frankenstein, Dracula, Wuthering Heights, anything by MR James, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P Lovecraft & Ambroise Briece. You might think Wuthering Heights is a odd one to include, being a love story, but, actually it’s a perfect Gothic example.
In my experience Gothic novels include a number of key themes on top of the usual terror, suspense and mystery. And they are as follows. ....
Gothic horror checklist:
  • Omens, portents, visions—often the story is based on a prophecy
  • Opposites / Light and dark, black & white, good & evil
  • Supernatural elements & characters – not explained by science
  • Terror evoked through the depiction of physical and psychological violence
  • Architecture – Medieval settings or ruined buildings, physical decay of characters reflected through surroundings.
  • Explores dreams / the nightmares under the surface of the “civilized” mind or aberrant psychological states
  • Features melodrama & mad characters
  • Merciless, flamboyant villains
  • Persecuted damsels
  • Curses which pass down the generations
  • Dark family secrets or family curses / incest
  • Hero / anti hero with a flaw

Sunday, 20 February 2011

"Stop the press! Who is that?" Nothing tra la la Interview time! (with coffee stains)

Strange dream

This tryptich was inspired by a horrible dream i had recently. I was visiting a waxwork museum and in one room there was a display of a group of aristocrats who had been sent insane by using a rare and mysterious perfume, called 'strange'. The dream terrified me so much, that I woke up suddenly (at 3.33am!)

I printed this series in an ink called 'grey blue' from Lawrence which is actually more like a pale turquoise and a lovely colour to print in.

first two available in my shop now, third one will be heading there shortly!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Twist A St Tropez

Search for “Telex” on a music site or file sharing network, and you'll get fifty billion results for a boring Radiohead song. That's because the world is rubbish and annoying and stupid. But the Telex you should be looking for, the Belgian synth-pop band from before there were synth-pop bands, is one of the things that make the rubbish annoying stupid world bearable.

Telex started with the laudable aim of "Making something really European, different from rock, without guitar — and the idea was electronic music."* A jazz musician, photographer and synthesiser enthusiast making pop that came from a different place than the ubiquitous blues-rock ancestry; an aim that was perhaps best realised on their cover of a song that could barely be more steeped in the tradition they were creating an alternative to.

In Telex's hands the song that sent teds into a seat-slashing frenzy, becomes a seductively lazy vocodered soundtrack for a futurist cocktail lounge, a song to listen to while you sip synthetic martinis on a holographic beach. Of the futures that never happened, Telex's light hearted techno-Europa, where you could drive a floating Citroën DS to your favourite cafe, is one I often yearn for the most.

Covers were a always a large part of Telex's approach, but their own compositions were hardly a sideshow.

Moskow Diskow mixed an electronic disco thump with Euro-centric melodicism - a perfectly judged blend that wasn't lost on early house pioneers who often cited the song as a favourite. It's a surprisingly and wonderfully well-realised song, considering that electronic pop - particularly danceable electronic pop - was in its rawest early stages in 1978 when it came out. Only Giorgio Moroder got there before them, but Telex made it sound like they'd been making music like this for years. (The inestimable Kraftwerk got disco the same year on The Man Machine, but they didn't do it so well – their bass drum sound was too quiet.)

Also from their first album Looking For St. Tropez, is possibly the most prescient song ever, Something To Say, which wonders whether new forms of communication will find anyone with anything worth communicating. Telex went on musing on the present and the future, eventually moving on from analogue synthesisers as well as making a Eurovision song contest appearance. They made a return in 2006 (with an album including the requisite rock cover), but after Marc Moulin sadly died in 2008, the remaining two members decided to put Telex to rest. But while search engines continue to give stupid results, what we already have of Telex will always make it better, as you can see.

*Yes, that quote is on their Wikipedia page - I put it there.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

An interview with the Old Crooked House!

Good evening!

I recently conducted an interview with resident artist Maria, of  the Old Crooked House , the results were rather interesting!

click the images to grandify:

nighty night.xx

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Just in! Trapped faerie jar

Faeries are gentle, abstract structures of flowing energy sensitive to emotion and thought.
In their most primal form, we perceive them simply as pulsing forces of radiant light.
In a jar however, I dig this flowing energy as an inexpensive light source! They are also great company, save you from bad faeries and save you money on lightbulbs. I love them!

Click here for more

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

There's a Goblin in my house!

Legends claim that every house has a resident goblin or gremlin.
One tradition claims that a goblin enters a household by announcing itself at night and strewing mud about the house, putting dirt in the fridge, moving things about and generally making a mess. If the human family keeps the dirt in the fridge the goblin takes up residence in the house and then brings them good luck. They also help find lost objects for the household.
In return, the family must leave a portion of their supper (or beer, cigarettes, wine or even champagne!) to the 'spirit' and must treat the goblin with respect... or just trick them & stick them in a jar, no one gets my supper, beer & wine, only me! Especially after a hard day at work and don't get me started on faeries! 

A goblin 

A  goblin I trapped myself.  Now in my shop of curiosities: anti-goblin-device-

Monday, 14 February 2011

Crazy eyes and Wild Ambitions

It has been a looong day and i'm glad to be home. Currently I'm cutting this wild-eyed lot:

And listening to this:

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Beauty is only skin deep, on the face of it...

"Could you be the most beautiful girl in the world?
Oh yes you are!!!"

I have been thinking this week on what makes someone 'beautiful'. 
Studies say that when we recognize a face as "beautiful" we are actually making a judgement about the health and vitality of that person. We interpret facial symmetry to mean that a person has good genes. Facial Asymmetry on the other hand implies a genetic weakness and less than optimum health. These are be old ideas, but we are all judged on how we look now more than ever and I am intrigued into why faces that are cosmetically altered are now acceptable and viewed as normal.

What is beauty? and what are features that make some one attractive? What would happen if you took a number of classic beauty icons (Liz Taylor, Faye Dunaway, Grace Kelly, Monroe,  and layered their features into one? Would this be what we are looking for? Would this be the ultimate in beauty? Ironically No! But they give off a rather nice aura don't they?

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Broken machines for living - America

"It is a question of building which is at the root of the social unrest of today: architecture or revolution"

-Le Corbusier pseudonym of Charles EŁ douard Jeanneret Vers une architecture (translated as Towards a New Architecture,1927).

Broken Machines for living - England

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it!

Bottle cutting is a tricky business! MrRy123 you are the expert!! Why don't you tell us more?

Friday, 4 February 2011

Blue girl

A little while ago I had the vague idea that I wanted to do a lino print portrait. I didn't really want to do a portrait of an actual person, but I needed something as a starting point.

I was flicking though some old Fortean Times magazines and found a story about the disturbing and fascinating Dyatlov Pass incident. Along the top of the title pages was a row of pictures of the young skiers that were killed in the incident, the picture that I found most interesting was of a girl called Ludmila Dubinina. It might sound morbid (as the story is really quite sad) but she had a nice smile, so I decided that this would be the starting point for my linocut.

I didn't refer to the photo after an initial drawing, and i then put it in a drawer and didn't look at it for two months, which is why the end result doesn't look anything like her. I wanted this to be a print of a girl, something I could experiment with and paint blue or green, not of an actual, real person.

Here are some pictures of my progress (top photo taken on my phone from my very crinkled copy of Fortean Times!):

I printed it in black oil-based ink and then after letting the prints dry for a few days, I tinted them with blue watercolours.

It's not my favourite print. I was unhappy with my first few proofs, but after quite a bit of extra cutting (and a bit of repair work where I got overenthusiastic with the knife...) I am reasonably happy with it.

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin

I agree.
I love to make things and I do love to drink. I would like to point out that I am not an alcoholic, it's just that most of my art projects come from empty bottles, wine, beer, anything..... I can't talk to a friend at a party without eying up the bottle they are holding & checking it out for thickness, scale, & colour. Failing this, I have to hit on my neighbours rubbish late at night & with no subtelty. I am a 'sexual predator' for empty bottles.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A message from our sponsor:

Do you fancy a slice?

First post

Hello, welcome to our blog! We both like to make things, and this is where we will be posting our thoughts, ideas and creations.

It has been a long day and I have nothing more to say here is a picture of Gerard Joling.