RIP Ron Smith

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Ron Smith – one of the original golden era 2000AD greats has passed away. I never quite appreciated how deft his line work was until later but he had a hand in many classic Judge Dredd stories based around crime in Mega City One (Otto Sump, Chopper, Fatties, etc.) as well as plenty of the Judge Child saga and The Angel Gang.

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2018 – a vintage year for new music

It’s the end of the year and reading down the list of sounds that have moved me most in 2018 I’m struck by how much new music there is after years of digging a lot of reissues over current styles. This may well be because the well is finally running dry on a lot of the stuff I’m interested in but more likely that the old adage of great music being made in times of great strife is coming home to roost again. There is no order to the lists below, no No.1 or ‘best’ of anything although they are mostly chronological as I write stuff down as I hear or see it.

Special mentions though for the Castles In Space label that continues to go from strength to strength, the Confidence Man album which got a lot of play despite me missing them live twice. Trevor Jackson‘s beautiful design for his ‘System’ CD and cassette, so good I bought it three times, The Advisory Circle‘s ‘Ways Of Seeing’ LP and the Tomorrow Syndicate‘s excellent ‘Future Tense’ album, complete with Nick Taylor artwork.

Supporting both The The (on several UK dates) and the Art Of Noise was the stuff of teenage dreams and the former’s biography by Neil Fraser is a fascinating read. The Karminsky Experience Inc.’s ‘See Inside’ VR single was a genuinely eye-opening experience and having them and Markey Funk down at Further was a treat. Walking into the House of Illustration‘s John Vernon Lord exhibition to be unexpectedly confronted with the original drawing of his 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’, was the art high of the year and the People’s Vote march in October restored my faith in humanity for an afternoon. Electronic Sound magazine continues to excel and their first LP release, Jack Dangers‘ remix of Terry Riley‘s ‘In C’, was another disc that saw a lot of play this year.

On Dec 23rd I played a lot of my favourite releases of 2018 on WNBC‘s Out Of The Wood show which you can hear below, complete with mic. fluffs and wrong track listings.

As we go into 2019 I’m dreading the first three months, leading up to the Br*x*t deadline, hoping against hope for a last minute chance to reconsider but bracing for a fallout post 29/03/19 that could see chaos come to the UK. I hope that I’m writing a more positive missive this time next year, if not then at least the music will only get better and better…

Music 2Music / chat:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside 7″ (Patterns of Behaviour)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup LP (Flightless)
Beautify Junkyards – The Invisible Worlds of LP (Ghost Box)
Basil Kirchin – I Start Counting LP (Trunk)
Bigmouth podcast (Audioboom)
The Turbans – Baba Ganooz 7″ (Mona Tone/Delights)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Hormone Lemonade LP (Duophonic)
The Advisory Circle – Ways Of Seeing LP (Ghost Box)
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel (single) (Wondaland)
Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People LP (Heavenly)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System CD (Pre_)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (single) (Dairy)
Jonny Trunk – OST show (Resonance FM)
Regal Worm – Pig Views / Use And Ornament (Uranium Club)
Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley – In C (Electronic Sound)
Patrick R. Park – Library Sounds LP (Castles In Space)
David Shire – The Conversation LP (Trunk)
Amgala Temple – Invisible Airships LP (Pekula)
Adam Buxton podcast
Type 303 – The New Ravelution EP (Insult To Injury)
Luke Vibert – 165 303 – from the Gradients vol.2 LP (Astrophonica)
Luke Vibert presents Garave vol.1 LP (Hypercolour)
Kosmischer Laufer – Vol.4 LP (UCR)

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Packaging / design:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR glasses (Patterns of Behaviour)
Chop – CDL 10″ (Drumetrics)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (2nd edition) (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System 1st & 2nd edition CD + Cassette (Pre_)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour Cassette & comic (Tapebox)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense Regular + Ltd Ed. LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Spider Jazz – splatter vinyl edition LP (Trunk)
Spun Out Of Control vinyl + cassettes
Aver – River of Ice Cream 7″ promo flexi disc
Listening Centre 5″ lathe cut picture disc (Polytechnic Youth)

Packaging design

Books/Comics:
VS – Ivan Brandon / Eric Ribic (Image)
A Year In The Country ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ – Stephen Prince
The Adventures of Jodelle – Guy Peellhaert (Fantagraphics)
Batman – White Knight  – Sean Murphy (DC)
Orla Kiely – A Life In Pattern (Octopus Books)
Electronic Sound magazine
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music – David Hollander (Anthology Editions)
House Industries – The Process Is The Inspiration (Watson-Guptill Publications)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour comic (Tapebox)
Proxima Centuri – Farel Dalrymple (Image)
Doomsday Clock – Geoff Johns / Gary Frank (DC)
Saga – Brian K. Vaughn / Fiona Staples (Image)
Long Shadows, High Hopes – Neil Fraser (Omnibus Press)
Judge Dredd – The Small House (Rob Williams & Henry Flint) (2000AD/Rebellion)
Lawless  – Dan Abnett / Phil Winslade (Judge Dredd Megazine/Rebellion)
Pete Fowler – Decades of Lead (Unbound)
Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell (Profile books)

Books + comics

Film/TV:
Inside No.9 series 4 + Halloween special
The Inertia Variations documentary
Flowers series 2
Avengers: Infinity War
Yellow Submarine 50th anniversary remaster
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR + packaging
Bobby Gillespie on Newsnight
The Clock – Christian Marclay, Tate Modern
Bros: When The Screaming Stops (BBC)

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Events / Gigs:
Art of Noise, British Library
‘O Is For Orange’ premiere Archspace, London
The The, Albert Hall, The Troxy, London, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
The Crystal Palace Festival afterparty @ The Paxton Pub, Gypsy Hill, London – one of those gigs where every track flows and lands just right.
The Indie Label Market, Spitalfields, London
The People’s Vote march in October
Jane Weaver at EArtH, London
The Soundcarriers, Gloria and Strange Majick @ The Victoria, London
Dirty Fan Male at the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club, London

Gigs

Exhibitions:
Sister Corita Kent – Ditchling Art & Craft Museum
Orla Kiely – Fashion & Textile Museum, London
Aphex Twin posters – Elephant & Castle underground, London
The Shape of Light, Tate Modern, London
May The Toys Be With You – New Walk Museum, Leicester
John Vernon Lord – The House of Illustration, London
Peanuts – Somerset House, London
Daniel Mullen – Lisa Norris Gallery, London

Exhibitions 2018

“Another year over and what have I done?”
Designed Peshay‘s ‘Reflections’ LP for the De:Tuned label
Created a 3 minute spoken word collage for Penguin/Random House‘s Voices event at the London Palladium on World Book Day
Supported the Art Of Noise at The British Library
DJed multiple times at Secret Cinema presents Blade Runner
Opened for The The at several of their UK gigs including the Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy, Glasgow Barrowlands and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Further at the Portico Gallery with Pete Williams, Markey Funk and the Karminsky Experience Inc.
Designed a nine disc set for De:tuned‘s forthcoming 10th anniversary releases
Mixes for Solid Steel, 45 Live, Brokers, Rat Records, Out Of The Wood, Diggers Dozen and radio show appearances for Resonance and Soho Radio
Overhauled my Openmindesign.uk website

DJ Food gigs

RIP: France Gall, Ken Dodd, Stephen Hawking, Matt Dike, Lovebug Starski, Jabo Starks, Tom Wolfe, Aretha Franklin, Orla Kiely shops, Carlos Ezquerra, Paul Allen, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, HMV, June Whitfield.

Looking forward to: The Delaware Road 2019, Keith Haring retrospective at Tate Liverpool, the Wobbly Sounds book, Further at the Ace Hotel, Sister Corita Kent at the House of Illustration, De:tuned‘s monthly 10th anniversary 12″s, Avengers: Endgame

Happy New Year!

The Delaware Road 2019

Delaware Rd 2019Tickets are already on sale and the line up is being drip feed out over the Xmas period for The Delaware Road‘s third incarnation next August at a secret military base somewhere in Salisbury. This promises to be the biggest and most ambitious version yet, and those who were present at the first two will know that there is nothing quite like them. I’m very pleased to be asked to play for a second time and so far the whole line up is looking like a who’s who of the leftfield electronica/radiophonic/hauntology scene. Put August 17th in the diary and get in on the early bird tickets before they’re gone.

“A unique festival of music, theatre, film, sound & light inside a secret military base near Stonehenge.
Featuring an incredible line up of artists, DJs, video producers, sound designers, record labels, speakers, writers, illustrators & agitators. Gathered inside the austere military complex of New Zealand Farm near West Lavington, artists will perform work inspired by landscape, myth, broadcast propaganda & the transformative nature of sound. 
Performances start at 5pm Saturday evening & end at 3am Sunday morning. Licensed bar, food & merch stalls.
Overnight camping & parking. This event contains adult themes & strobing effects. Under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.”

The line up so far:

THE SEANCE / FRONT & FOLLOW / KEMPER NORTON / THE SLOWEST LIFT / EMBLA QUICKBEAM / ARC SOUNDTRACKS / DJ FOOD \ SARAH ANGLISS / CLAY PIPE MUSIC / SIMON JAMES / REVBJELDE / CASTLES IN SPACE / THE TWELVE HOUR FOUNDATION  / CONCRETISM  / POLYPORES  / PSYCHE TROPES / SCULPTURE / HOWLROUND / MERKABA MACABRE / A’BEAR / DOUG SHIPTON / NICK TAYLOR / ALISON COTTON / IAN HELLIWELL / RADIONICS RADIO

Tickets : https://fixr.co/event/839412645
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Rammellzee show at Laz Inc. London

Ramm portrait

So, there’s a Rammellzee exhibition running right now in the middle of London at LazInc. until 10th November. Lots of 80’s and early 90s canvases from private collections, the likes of which have never been seen in the U.K. Overall (much like Basquiat) there’s never a full piece which I truly love but I love what Ramm stood for and all the stuff he strung together to make his world. Little details spring out and there were a couple of pieces with with his line drawings in that were nice (see further down).

Really though I went for the opportunity to actually see this stuff in the flesh, to see a largely hidden part of the more abstract end of graffiti that’s not really been documented. You can see him visually searching for things, he’s trying all sorts, even painting on a carpet at one point, and to see that was enough. Sadly no battle suits or letter racers but this is a pretty decent collection for free and I’m not holding my breath for the Red Bull Arts New York exhibition to come to these shores any time soon.
LazInc. Sackville, 29 Sackville Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 3DX

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Posted in Art, Event, Exhibition. | No Comments | Tags:

John Vernon Lord at the House of Illustration

JVL_BeneathTheTreefullThe John Vernon Lord exhibition of Ulysses, Finigan’s Wake and Alice in Wonderland illustrations just started at the House of Illustration in Kings Cross. What I didn’t realise when I visited was that his huge 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’ was also on display and it was breathtaking to see in the flesh.

The details visible in the original, not possible to see in the version printed in his Drawn To Drawing book, were many, from tiny messages written along tree roots to hidden numbers and miniature details in the shadows. Worth the price of admission alone to finally see this incredible piece which usually resides in the collection of the University of Brighton.

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Sister Corita Kent at Ditchling Art & Craft Museum

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There’s an amazing exhibition on in a very out-of-the-way place at the moment, Sister Corita Kents screen prints (or some of them) are on display in Ditchling, a small village near Hassocks, at their Art & Craft Museum, 10 minutes on the train from Brighton. Sister Corita was a nun, artist and teacher running art classes at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles in the 50s through to the early 70s. Her prime medium during these years was screen printing and her works were eventually seen as part of the Pop Art movement.

Her bold, bright, contemporary methods were in perfect step with the times but she became embroiled in arguments with the church over her messages, especially anti-vietnam and civil rights movements posters which ended with her leaving her post and the church for good. Her life and achievements are incredible as a practicing nun and teacher who had everyone from John Cage to Charles & Ray Eames to Alfred Hitchcock visit to take classes.
The exhibition is on until 14th October and is really worth the effort, it’s a 5 minutes cab ride from Hassocks train station and there’s a permanent collection of religious art and more to see.

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Frank Zappa advert + poster collages Pt.2

GUAMBO poster
Continued from part 1
I’m not sure who did the design above but, from the date, I’d guess it was Zappa, regardless it’s a great poster

Around the end of making The Mothers of Invention‘s ‘Absolutely Free’, Cal Schenkel started working with Frank Zappa on artwork (he also appears on the ‘Freak Out’ album as one of the studio voices). From then on he became the graphic artist most associated with the Mothers and some of Zappa’s solo works, his collages, paintings and sculptures adorning many of their classic LPs. Here’s an ad for ‘Absolutely Free’

Abs Free ad CalSchenkel hit parader dec-67e

Cal created several ‘Moop’ ads, odd comic-styled pages, “…yeah, and we also did a series of ads which you might have seen at one point… for MOOP. You ever seen any of the MOOP ads? …but they were the weirdest ads, they were like just funny little surrealistic comic strips…and there’s a bunch of ads that were running–like, Hit Parader, and just the oddest places…” – from this interview

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This beauty below appeared in Marvel comics’ Daredevil #38

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By the 70s, things had started to change graphic-wise in publications and we go into what I call the ‘statement’ era of advertising where text played a big part in hooking the viewer in via an intriguing ‘headline’ and then selling the product in a quirky sales-pitch style similar to these examples below. Crazy graphics, surrealism and excessive detail were out and, as a designer, I can’t blame them. Much the same as the sometimes impenetrable psychedelic posters of the late 60s were only meant for the heads in the know to decipher, their time was up and now the marketing men had to sell this stuff to the masses rather than keep it underground. Cue straight, no-nonsense text in blank space and packshots of the album or group in question.

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Frank Zappa advert + poster collages Pt.1

1967-09-xx Hit Parader Abs Free ad

Lately I’ve been studying the collage art of Frank Zappa and Cal Schenkel from the Mothers of Invention albums. On reading up on this material, including a long interview with Schenkel, I realised that Zappa himself seems to have done a lot of the artwork for the first two Mothers albums, ‘Freak Out’ and ‘Absolutely Free’, with Cal coming in at the end of the latter and doing some of the adverts. What you see below is – as far as I can tell – is mostly the work of Zappa who was a pretty decent visual artist in his own right is seems.

Absolutely Free ad Frank Zappa flyer-2

Freak Out News 1
An ‘official New of the Mothers’ would occasionally get printed in the LA Free Press, below is the first one, a four page digest that includes a poster for a forthcoming gig.

Freak Out News 2

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Freak Out newspaper poster Freak Out Off news Oct Freak Out Off news Oct2

Some variations on gig posters
Freak Out poster blue Freak Out poster red

Collage made to illustrate an interview in a music magazine

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The original paste up for an advert / flyer
Original collage flyer 1966-12-08_ThePaper_1

Pulp Magazine archive

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Stuff that’s been clogging up the desktop Pt.4

Toby Whitebread (New Analog Illustration) sent me a link to a pulp magazine archive a few weeks back and I waded through it to find these beauties.

We start with a trio of lesser-seen Vaughn Bodé covers

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1968-11_IF_0000 Amazing_Stories_v48n02_1974-08_0000

I’m not sure who these next two are by, the first could be Josh Kirby
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Three lovely Mike Hinge covers…Amazing_Stories_v46n01_1972-05_0000 Amazing_Stories_v46n05_1973-01_Gorgon776_0001 Amazing_Stories_v48n04_1974-12_Gorgon776_0001

Brian Lewis doing his Richard Powers / Yves Tanguy impressionNew_Worlds_069v23_1958-03_0001Science_Fantasy_28v10_1958-04_0000 Science_Fantasy_40v14_1960-04_0000

and finally, a couple of Richard Powers properStar_Science_Fiction_v01n01_1958-01_Sam_Hall-sleipnir_edit_0000Beyond_Fantasy_Fiction_v01n01_1953-07_cape1736_0000

Cuphead Posters

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I’m still loving the design of Cuphead, the recent release from Studio MDHR based on the look of the old Fleischer Brothers animation studios. There seem to be lots of great posters for it online, possibly official, it’s hard to tell these days. Many follow the multi-coloured, multi-character model but some keep in line with the look of the game. There’s also merchandise starting to appear, from enamel pin badges to the inevitable Funko toys but the best object so far has to be the 4xLP original soundtrack.

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Housed in a 30’s book-style sleeve with gold leaf cover graphics, separate leaves for each disc and yellowed ‘pages’, it looks like it could have come straight from your grandparents’ vinyl collection. There’s also a lovely 7″ with selections from the near 3 hr LP set. At an eye-watering £71 + postage it’s a bit out of my league at the moment but it looks worth every penny from the photos.

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* Beware of pre-orders of figures from PopInABox – my Cuphead and Mugman figures are now 2 months overdue, one has been dispatched from overseas without a tracking number and the other remains in limbo while they wait for stock, meanwhile I’ve seen them in shops in the UK.

Elzo Durt

couv-livre-elzoThrough an odd set of web links I chanced upon the work of Elzo Durt today, his modern take on collage and psychedelia catching my eye and making me investigate further. This Brussels-based artist works with the Recyclart people (I’ve played for them a couple of times and maybe, unknowingly, seen his work) and runs a record label too. Find out and see more of his work at www.elzodurt.com

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William Stout bootleg covers

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A second reading of Clinton Heylin‘s excellent ‘Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry book led me to these covers and I remember seeing a few at record fairs over the years so decided to investigate and post a collection of the best here. As I dug even further into their history it became apparent that one artist was responsible for almost all of them – William Stout – and mostly for one label too.

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I was aware of his work from several different underground comix in my collection but didn’t realise how versatile he was as an artist, able to switch styles to suit different subject matter, hence why I thought the covers were works by different artists. For instance, who would associate the Rolling Stones style above with the Spicy Beatles one below? But they’re from the same hand. One of Stout’s visual calling cards on the bootlegs was to turn some of the artists he was illustrating into pigs, to tie them to the pig logo of the label (which he later redesigned as a smoking, bespectacled pig which became the logo for a breakaway label).

Beatles SpicySongs bob-dylanmelbourne-australia-1966-jethroTull JeffBeckFast LedZepCalifornia LennonOnoVirginThreeBack McCartneyWingsGreatDane R_SAllMeatMusic R-S-BrightLights R-S-CopsnRobbers

Originally working almost exclusively for the Trademark of Quality company originated by ‘Dub’ and ‘Ken’ out of LA in the early 70s, he gained a wide audience through his sleeve art and went on to illustrate many more, sometimes for legitimate releases by the very artists his images were covering the first time round. Later he moved into film posters and concept art and still works today.

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His website has a fascinating three-part interview about these times, extensively illustrated and peppered with personal photos of many great musicians from back in the day, taken backstage at numerous gigs. His comments about the reality of pre-stadium rock gigs back then are especially illuminating.

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And on my trawl I found a few, later examples that aren’t by William but are worthy of inclusion …

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Posted in Art, Comics, Records. | No Comments | Tags:

Andy Votel exhibition – STOP MAKING SÉANCE

JWArchitectPromodetails One day last Autumn a mystery package arrived containing various Finders Keepers records and one very special, handmade 12″ of Jane Weaver‘s ‘The Architect’ single. One of an edition of 10, it’s a thing to behold; a test pressing hand-labelled with a paste up cover containing one of my favourite designs of last year (see this post).

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Being one of the people urging the designer to make prints of one of his posters for Jane’s Manchester gig I was gutted when my copy got lost in the post over the Xmas period. Luckily a replacement is soon to be on its way. The ‘architect’ of these creations is one of my favourite contemporary designers, Andy Votel, who will be exhibiting some previously unseen self-initiated full size paintings / collages in Manchester from the 25th at Electrik in Manchester.

VOTEL SEANCE INVITE invite

From the press release: “Writer, DJ, designer, broadcaster, label boss and anti-musician Andy “Votel” Shallcross displays a series of original personal works created, at home, in October / November 2017.  
Based around contemporary “fakelore”, reducing influences of European science-fiction art, scholastic illustration, post-pop-art, Plakatstil and mid-century graphic design Andy uses simple methods of painting, collage, deletion and recontextualisation for these one-off, large format placards.
Adopting a recurring patchwork method found in all of Andy’s multi-discipline “magpaic” activities, the running narrative and aesthetic format used in STOP MAKING SÉANCE can be described as pictorial-anagrams, which Votel playfully refers to as Andygrams. Having designed over 200 record sleeves in over 20 years of his graphic design day-job these singular quick-fire situation-abstractions are not intended for large-scale reproduction or as communicative graphic-design thus retaining a freedom previously unexplored in Andy’s visual work and will be on display for short residency in Manchester, Gothenburg and Barcelona in early 2018.”

Check out this interview with Oi Polloi for more info and images

Seance detail 1 Seance detail 2 Seance detail 3

7Up – the UnCola posters

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Browsing eBay over the Xmas holiday, a friend came across a psychedelic Submarine poster not a million miles away from Heinz Edlemann’s classic Yellow variant, created for The Beatles‘ film of the same name. In the same brightly-coloured, cartoonish style of the late 60s and early 70s – much popularised by artists like Edelmann, Milton Glaser, Nicole Claveloux and Peter Max – this sub was in fact green and advertising the drink, 7Up – billing itself as ‘The UnCola’. What was remarkable about this eBay listing though was that it was for an original 60″x36″ poster, not the sort of thing that turns up every day.

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Indeed, further investigation revealed that the seller, Dallas resident, Robert Trent, is the foremost collector of this era of 7Up advertising and was selling off duplicates from his collection. Even crazier was that he was also selling huge billboard versions of some of the designs, some as an un-pasted set of 12 panels over 12 meters in length. Over the course of many entries he had compiled a huge resource of information, links and imagery, all expertly checked and presented without fuss and in meticulous detail. These kind of posters don’t come up every day and he has the whole history up there to give context to the images. After seeking his permission I hereby reproduce some of the imagery and details before it’s lost.

From Robert’s listing: “‘Wet Un Wild (green submarine, aka yellow submarine) 60” x 36” horizontal poster by Ed George

Note:  This is made of thick quality poster paper, not dimpled yellow plastic tablecloth material (modern-day Tyvek construction wrap vapor barrier or “paper dress” nylon material) like the other “Wet Un Wild” posters occasionally offered on eBay. 

This one is in excellent, but not perfect condition. This illustration is highly sought after and may be the holy grail of all 7Up UnCola poster images. Ed George illustrated this in 1969, (he) held multiple posts in-house at the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Co. in Chicago (JWT) over many years.”

Below: 28 of the billboards in Robert’s collection as of writing…7Up UnCola Virtual Billboard Museum (28) 3x10_011518_2

7UP 4xposters7UPButterfly

From Robert’s listing: “Most of these images actually graced highway billboards and dorm rooms. They were so popular that the Seven Up Company offered them for sale – few survived. The first batch of billboard sized images were up nationwide when colorful VW vans full of hippies drove to the Woodstock Festival in August of 1969. A “Fallpaper Poster Offer” on the bottom of page 8 of the October 5, 1969 Chicago Tribune Sunday Comics offered a set of (4) 34″x21″ reproductions of their famous billboards seen earlier in the year for, read it and weep – ONE DOLLAR TOTAL (plus 6 bottle cap liners). That offer expired on 12/31/69. The sizes also ranged from small Size “D” posters to giant Size “A” 21’x10′ billboards. These are all ORIGINAL vintage posters – NOT modern giclee photo reproductions.”

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From Robert’s listing: ‘The Light Shining Over The Dark’  This is a vintage 33″ x 20″ horizontal poster that is in excellent condition and VERY RARE.  I’m only aware of 2 or 3 other copies, some of which have passed through my hands. The artist’s signature can be seen at the right center in the bottom of the girl’s white dress. 

The artist was Pat Dypold who illustrated this by 1973 as a free-lance artist.  She did the bulk of the other outdoor ads (billboards) for the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Company of Chicago (JWT) that orchestrated the famous UnCola ad campaign from about 1968 through 1975.”

 

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From Robert’s listing: “‘See The Light’ (psychedelic bicycle) 60″ x 36″ horizontal poster by the late Tom Kamifuji (1922-2015) (original concept by Bill Bosworth)

“Hiroyuki “Tom” Kamifuji ran a design studio in San Francisco. He was an illustrator, poster designer, typographer, art director and designer. Yet, for all his legacy of brightly-colored works, there is very little biographical information available. Perhaps his most universal success was the inspiration for the rainbow swath of color within the Apple Computers apple. The concept for this image came from Bill Bosworth who worked in-house at the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Co. in Chicago (JWT) over many years.  However, the actual finished artwork was done by California artist Tom Kamifuji. There is no signature on this “Size B” poster, but the larger “Size A” 21’x10′ “See The light” billboard in my possession has Tom Kamifui’s signature.”

7UPUncanny

From Robert’s listing:‘UnCannny In Cans’ This is a vintage 33 3/4″ x 20 3/4″ poster that is in excellent, near mint condition. This is an authentic, traceable representation of late ’60s, early 1970’s pop art advertising. The artist was John Alcorn who illustrated this in 1969 as a free-lance artist. His signature is in the bottom middle brown band. At the age of 24 Alcorn was the 4th person to join Push Pin Studios which was the place to be in the graphics community at the time.

The Seven Up Co. sold 4 different sizes of most images to the general public. BTW – My collection also includes one of the “UnCanny In Cans” Size “A” billboards plus a 60″ x 36″ Size B” version. The poster for sale here is a 34″x21″ Size “C”.

John did a number of well known illustration advertisements in the prior years for Pepsi and Campbell’s Soup and his career flourished for many more years. These outdoor ads (billboards) were commissioned by the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Company of Chicago (JWT) that orchestrated the famous UnCola ad campaign from about 1968 through 1975. Most of the 53+ extremely colorful billboard & poster images were illustrated by invited outside freelance artists who were allowed to sign their names on the originals if desired – not all did. Only a few images were produced in-house, and never with the artist’s name on them. JWT wisely chose to invite only up and coming artists and not well known graphic stars so as not to let the notoriety overshadow the product itself.

Many of the artists have gone on to great fame in the graphics community Milton Glaser (I [heart] NY logo) (Mad Men final Season 7 poster; co-founder of Push Pin Studios), Seymour Chwast (co-founder of Push Pin Studios) with Isadore Seltzer, John Alcorn (Push Pin Studios), Kim Whitesides, Barry Zaid, Jacqui Morgan, Simms Taback (1st Happy Meal Box in Smithsonian & Caldecott Honor for children’s books), Skip Williamson, Robert Abel (Tron movie), Charlie White III (permanent collection at MOMA), John Craig, Ray Lyle, Heather Cooper, Nancy Martell, Roger Chouinard, Pat Dypold, Bob Taylor, Tom Kamifuj, Bill Bosworth, Ed George, Joanne _ and probably several others.

The Seven Up Company executives chose rough “comps” without the artist’s names attached to the submissions. If 1 or more sketches were chosen, the artist would eventually earn up to $2,000 per completed piece. I’ve spoken with some of the retired ad execs from JWT and they reported that this was a fantastic assignment with a dream client that encouraged bold moves. These Midwest Mad Men boosted sales by anywhere from 30-60% under their highly creative reign from 1968 until the mid-seventies.”

7UP The YouthFare 7UPAirship

From Robert’s listing: Bob Taylor was an art director at the famed J Walter Thompson [advertising] Company based in Chicago – the Midwest Mad Men.  An American Contemporary Graphics Exhibit booklet from about 1972 featured Bob and a different “cartoony” billboard image of his on pages 9-10.  Bob was one of the driving forces behind “The UnCola” ad campaign from the beginning in 1968 until the end in the middle 1970’s. Bob also illustrated “The Youth Fare” in a similar “cartoony” style depicting a green bottle of 7Up as a bi-plane.

This is the 21’x10′ Size “A” billboard version of this blimp image by Bob Taylor available as Design #10 for $7.00 in the billboard and poster offer that expired on 5/31/72.  A small 21″x11″ poster was available for FREE if you responded to the poster offer that expired on 12/31/70.  Another folding billboard and poster offer that expired on 5/31/72 offered this billboard as Design #12 for $8.50.

As of today, I only know of one other copy besides the 2 billboards in my possession. This piece of advertising history is in NEAR MINT condition and ready for display. To get a sense of scale, a standard sized vehicle would not cover up the blimp itself if laid out flat on a driveway.”

7UP free poster offer

The American Contemporary Graphics Exhibit book laid out profiles of some of the artists along with their contributions and the aim of the campaign.
7UP3xposters7UP2xposters 7UPbookBobTaylor 7UPbookCharlesWhiteIII 7UPbookJohnAlcorn 7UPbookKimWhitesides 7UPbookMiltonGlaser

From Robert’s listing: Milton Glaser (b. 6/26/29) This image was created during his Push Pin Studios era which is the firm he co-founded with Seymour Chwast.  It would be another 6 years before he created the most copied “I [heart] NY” logo on the planet in 1977. Scans from 2 different booklets from about 1971 independently attribute this work to Milton Glaser.  Here are his own words about the concept for the image: 

“Well, basically the idea of being ‘turned on’ by 7Up was buried somewhere in my consciousness, and I transferred that feeling into a visual pun.  The word ‘can’ was my focal point.  To make something extraordinary happen out of this particular can seemed like the right attitude to have at the time.  Graphically, it’s an interphasing of two phenomena – electricity and 7Up”. 

My extensive collection includes the ONLY 2 KNOWN COPIES IN ANY SIZE of this particular image. The originals are 21’x10′ Size “A” billboards acquired from someone in the Out Of Home (OOH) [billboard] business that set these aside in the early 1970’s thinking that they might be something special.  They are.  Even world famous graphics guru Milton Glaser doesn’t have any copies in his vast collection per his archivist.  I’ve never seen ANY other copies in ANY other size.  I also collect 7Up UnCola “poster offers” but I’ve also never found any offering this image to the general public.  Most of my other billboards were offered to the general public for prices between $3.50 and $8.50.  For some reason, this one and a few others were not made available although a few like this one were squirreled away. “

 

7UPbookPatDypold

Pat Dypold seems to be the unsung heroine of the piece, contributing many illustrations in various styles but she’s not a name I’m familiar with. Robert had a class reunion and hung several of the billboards from the balcony at the venue they held it at, you get a sense of scale with these photos plus some close up details.

7UPUncanny actual size7UPGuitarists actual size

From Robert’s listing: “Giant 21′ x 10′ 7Up UnCola original unused vintage paper billboard illustrated in 1971 by Kim Whitesides. An American Contemporary Graphics Exhibit booklet from about 1972 featured Kim Whitesides and this image on pages 11-12.  He did at least 3 other billboard images for The UnCola ad campaign, 2 of which were issued in billboard and/or poster formats.

The billboard itself consists of 12 thick paper panels, each 43″ wide x 59″ tall.  There’s about a 1″ white margin on the top and right edges of each panel so it can be installed in an overlapping “rainlap” pattern designed to shed water like shingles on a roof (see last image). These were only meant to last outdoors for 30-60 days, and then the next billboard would be pasted over the top – destroying the paper underneath.  The only way any of these survived for nearly 5 decades was for them to be set aside and not used as intended.  This is one of the rare examples of that being done.  Although rare, I have 3 copies of this billboard image in my collection.  All 210 square feet of my copy has been painstakingly reinforced with acid-free scrapbooking tape on the rear side, but only as needed to stabilize small rips, week fold lines and other minor imperfections.  Any small holes have been patched with matching paper from donor panels from the same era and are barely noticeable up close.  In places, colored pencils or markers have been used to refresh missing ink.”

7UPGuitarists section37UPGuitarists section7UPGuitarists section2 7UPHotDog 7UPSeeTheLightactualsize 7UPSeeTheLightdetail7UPLikeNolaidout

There are examples of many order forms including this fold up mail out, such great thinking going into something so ordinary.
7UPOffer47UPorder form27UPButterflypasteupinstructions 7UPfallpaper7UPorder form7UPposter selection
There are two very good articles / interviews with Robert on the web: one with Collector’s Weekly
and one with the ever-reliable Dangerous Minds so head there if you want more info. You can follow Robert on Instagram, view his whole collection on Flickr or peruse his eBay entries for yourself. Masny thanks to Robert for letting me repost these pictures and info.

Posted in Art, Design, Poster / flyer. | 1 Comment |

2017: WTF was going on?

DJ Food Bill brief

The above photo was my brief from Bill Drummond for the set I was to play at the JAM‘s Welcome To The Dark Ages event in Liverpool. I stuck it above my mixer as I was preparing the set, it’s something to keep in mind as we go forward into 2018. I spent most of the year in limbo, waiting in a chain for a property to come through. When it finally did in mid September, I pretty much ate, drank and slept it in between jobs as it needed a lot of work doing, hence no posts for the past two odd months. I’m in now and can see the wood for the trees but it did mean I largely dipped out of social media for the latter quarter of the year (probably not a bad thing).

Seeing as 2016 was such a shitter, in 2017 I wrote down all the good things that happened as the year progressed:

Events 2017

Got implicated in the KLF/JAMMs/K2 comeback media scrum because of an innocent quote in my 2016 round up
Started Further with Pete Williams – a multimedia music & projection night playing non-dancefloor sounds with analogue-based visuals plus food and a record stall – and founded a studio/ HQ in S. London
Pete Isaac (45 Live) found me a perfect copy of a long time wants list staple, Bam Bam’s ‘Where’s Your Child’ on 7″ for free
Got asked to play as Further at The Orb‘s ambient evening at the Royal Festival Hall in April and lit up the 5th floor balcony with 20 projectors
Mixed a Death Waltz Originals CD which was given away free at Halloween with Mondo/DW orders
Appeared on the Big Mouth podcast and played at the opening of Orbital Comics‘ exhibition, both celebrating 40 years of 2000AD
Found a set of Thomas ‘Eclipse’ plates, cups and saucers for a bargain price from an eBay seller
Pete managed to find a broken 6k projector for free and fixed it for £50
My kids got into the secondary school we wanted them to go to and aced it in their first term
The first Further event at the Portico Gallery was sold out and a great success with Ghost Box and Howlround as guests
Played the first Big Fish Little Fish in Athens which promptly sold out
Played three different street food festivals in the summer, love those sort of gigs, more please
Found a huge Barbara Brown dinner service in the charity for £15 – find of the year
Played at The Delaware Road performance in July inside a nuclear bunker with a host of electronic artists – a very special night

Further 2017

Asked to play the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu happening in Liverpool, which turned out to be one of the events of the year – who’d have thought it? A career highlight that saw me playing many of the tracks they’d sampled in their career alongside acid house classics and ending at 3am with a version of ‘In The Ghetto’.
Further went to Spiritland and we supported The Heliocentrics as part of the SYNthesis festival, both very special occasions even though we worked our balls off to set them up
The return of The The in musical, film and live capacity
Scoring a long time wants list LP – Yves Hayat‘s ‘Conversations Between The East & The West’ – direct from the archive of the composer himself and meeting him in London to receive the record.
Blade Runner 2049 was actually amazing and a worthy follow up to the original
The second major Further gig at the Portico Gallery featured Simon James playing a Buchla set to bespoke visuals we made and Sculpture slaying the place with their AV act.
Asked to support the Art of Noise at the British Library next March
Further featured twice in Electronic Sound magazine and I had an opening spread printed of my end of night image of the funeral pyre from the JAMs event in Liverpool
Taking my boys to the Colourscape on Clapham Common
Finally moved in and moved on
Asked to play a very special run of shows in 2018 that I’ll reveal soon…

Music 2017

Music:
OK, so 2017 was the year of the Lizard for me, I listened to more hours of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s music than any other band, but considering they released 5 albums this year alone it ‘s not surprising. Each album was different and they steadily got better with each release as the year progressed (disclaimer: I can’t speak for album no. 5 ‘Gumboot Soup’ as it came out today but ‘Polygondwanaland is probably my album of the year)
Brian Eno – Reflection (Warp)
Cavern of Anti-Matter – Blood Drums (reissue) (Duophonic)
Clocolan – Nothing Left To Abandon (Enpeg)
Run The Jewels – RTJ3 (Mass Appeal)
Revbjelde – Revbjelde (Buried Treasure)
Thundercat – Them Changes (Brainfeeder)
Jamiroquai – Automaton (the single)
The Dandelion Set – A Thousand Strands (Buried Treasure) (technically 2016 but copies got held up by distribution and it was more widely available in 2017)
The Heliocentrics – A World Of Masks (Soundway)
The Heliocentrics – The Sunshine Makers (Soundway)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana (and still playing the hell out of Nonagon Infinity and It’s In My Mind Fuzz)
Klaus Weiss – Time Signals (reissue) (Trunk)
Vanishing Twin – Dream By Numbers EP (Soundway)
The Allergies – Entitled To That (Jalapeno)
Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology (Fire Records)
Ulrich Schnauss & Jonas Munk – Passage (Azure Vista Records)
Ilia Gorovitz – Turmoil/Simmering With No End (Rassh Records)
John Brooks – Un Autre Directions (Clay Pipe Music)
King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard – Murder of the Universe (Flightless)
Markey Funk – Witch Doctor / The Brew (Delights)
Nevermen – Mr Minute (Boards of Canada remix) (Lex)
The The – Radio Cineola Trilogy (Lazarus)
Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch – Blade Runner 2049 OST
King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard – Sketches of Brunswick East (Flightless)
King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard – Polygondwanaland (Flightless)

Exhibitions 2017

Exhibitions:
Future Shock – 40 Years of 2000AD – Cartoon Museum (London) / Paolozzi at the Whitechapel Gallery (London), Will Barras at Sector 25 (London) / Barbara Brown and Lucienne Day at the Whitworth Gallery (Manchester) / Franco Grignani at Estorick Collection of Italian Art (London), We Are Watching: Oz Magazine – Chelsea Art Space (London) / Delta – Mima Museums (Brussels) / Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the V&A (London), British Underground Press of the 60s at the A22 Gallery (London) / Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? – Wellcome Collection (London) / Snub 23 at the Boz Boz Gallery (Brighton)

Books / Comics:
Out Of Time – Miranda Sawyer / Ian Helliwell – Tape Leaders (Sound On Sound) Book + CD / British Underground Press of the 60s (Rocket 88) / The Process Is The Inspiration – House Industries / B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth (Dark Horse) / Barbarella (Dynamite) / Swifty – FunkyTypo Graphix (Gamma Proforma) / Boris Tellegen – 86/97 – a black book (A Paper Book) / Batman: White Knight (DC)

RIP: Jaki Liebezeit, David Axelrod, Alan Aldridge, Dick Bruna, Clyde Stubblefield, Larry Coryell, Toshio Nakanishi, Chuck Berry, Skip Williamson, Jay Lynch, Mika Vainio, Adam West, Brian Cant, Pierre Henry, Anne-Marie Bergeron, Glen Campbell, Bruce Forsyth, Holger Czukay, Virgil Howe, Sean Hughes, Christine Keeler, Keith Chegwin, Dennis Dragon, Jim Baikie

The Colourscape on Clapham Common

Colourscape1
Back in 1999 I went to Colourscape on Clapham Common and took a ton of photos, some of which ended up on the cover of the ‘Kaleidoscope’ album. 18 years later, with my two children in tow, I revisited it and was as wowed as I was nearly two decades before. If you get the chance, it’s a beautiful environment to wander around in for an hour, there’s contemporary classical music in the centre chamber and these photos don’t do it justice because it’s impossible to photograph and sends camera phones into convulsions. For more info where Colourscape is going to be next ,check them out on Facebook.

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Posted in Art, Event, Music. | No Comments | Tags:

East London street art

E.LDN_BanksyBasquiat
A recent trip to East London to see the British Underground Press exhibition (see previous post) yielded a wealth of great street art including the new Banksy homage to Basquiat at the Barbican (the former street artist’s show was booked up but you could see the Banksy for free – just how it should be)

E.LDN_BanksyBasquiat Detail E.LDN_BanksyBasquiat Dog E.LDN_BanksyBasquiat Wheel

E.LDN_CoinSt

Down the road on Coin Street there was a huge installation that was a companion to another in a park near Spitalfields market, unfortunately I didn’t get the name of the artist.

E.LDN_Gardens
Over in Brick Lane there was almost too much to see and it’s hard to process the good from the bad. A huge Shok 1 I’d not seen before covered an entrance gate and there are plenty of paste ups of strange animals.

E.LDN_BikeE.LDN_Elvis

Hasworld, who’s work I’ve been enjoying for about a year, had been busy with some new posters too.

E.LDN_Hasworld E.LDN_HasworldBiggie E.LDN_HasworldEye E.LDN_HasworldMario E.LDN_Maniac E.LDN_TigerE.LDN_ACE

A Space Invader cemented to a wall on Brick Lane and, for no apparent reason, a stencil of Adam Ant.

E.LDN_SpaceInvaderE.LDN_Adam

Pink Floyd at the V&A Museum

PinkFloyd_poster

It’s taken me an age to post these because life is currently getting in the way in the form of moving and renovating a new home. The Pink Floyd exhibition, ‘Their Mortal Remains’ at the V&A Museum, is very much worth seeing even if, like me, Pink Floyd don’t mean much to you. I swore off them for a long while due to ‘Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2’ being no.1 for so many weeks as a child and finding myself utterly sick of it.

But the fickleness of youth only lasts so long and I found myself gradually checking back through their back catalogue, picking up the odd cheap LP here and there and finally realising why everyone raves about ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. This exhibition highlights exactly what a forward-thinking, visually aware band they were, adapting as their fame and venue sizes increased, their sleeve concepts becoming ever more outlandish as budgets made pre-photoshop surrealist montage possible. The amount of artwork and props present attest to a group with a very strong concept behind each album, courtesy of the Hipgnosis team of course.

Starting at the beginning and travelling chronologically through their career we enter a time tunnel and emerge inside a version of the UFO club circa ’67 complete with pulsating liquid light ceiling, psychedelic poster gallery and films. Rooms concentrating of Syd Barratt, Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon and more eventually give way to a stunning display of Animals and The Wall-era stage props and art. The 80s side of things were less my bag but the concepts were now reaching gigantic proportion and are impressive as last bastions of the sort of excess that just doesn’t happen any more now that we can do all these things digitally. The final room with a surround performance of their reunion at Live8 was very moving and a perfect way to end this retrospective. Go and see if before it ends on October 15th!

PinkFloyd_UFOPinkFloyd_SydPinkFloyd_Tour PinkFloyd_Infinity PinkFloyd_Pig PinkFloyd_AnimalsPinkFloyd_DSOTM PinkFloyd_Wall1PinkFloyd_Teacher PinkFloyd_Wall2PinkFloyd_HammersPinkFloyd_beds PinkFloyd_Bulbs PinkFloyd_Heads1 PinkFloyd_Heads2PinkFloyd_Eyes