Here’s a late 80s oddity that I was turned onto recently by Steve Cook – he of Secret Oranges fame. A 1988 Acid House 12″ made by the late, great Brett Ewins among others that comes with an 8pg B&W ‘lyric sheet’ featuring the art of Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, Jamie Hewlett, Shaky Kane, Philip Bond, Jamie Hewlett and more.
The tracks themselves are primitive attempts to make Acid House (without the aid of the all-important Roland 303 by the sound of it) but have a period charm to them. Brett intones creepily over the top of the A side sounding like a riled up Timothy Leary on speed. The B side houses two instrumental cuts with ‘The Church of Acid’ coming on like Bam Bam with a sledgehammer and there IS a snatch of 303 but it sounds sampled and slightly out of time.
‘Dr. Microdot’ is a shorter version of same with the addition of an unidentified voice asking you to relax (we’ve all been there) and both tracks suffer from a lack of a decent arrangement, stumbling along with samples and effects being randomly thrown in and out of the mix. I’m being unkind but it’s fair to say they haven’t aged well although the fact that they were made in the middle of the second summer of love gives them a certain kudos. I’m wondering if the Ken Thomas credited with producing this fascinating artifact is the same one who has worked with everyone from Queen to the Cocteau‘s?
The artwork is the gold here and the free comic is basically of lot of the early gang of artists responsible for Deadline taking a page each and letting rip with whatever they feel is appropriate. Brendan, Philip and Shaky come up with some crackers but I’m not sure where Jamie’s contribution is exactly unless he collaborated with someone and isn’t credited. Ron Merlin, an early Deadline character, makes an appearance but it’s not clear if he is supposed to be the voice on the A side. There’s very little about it on the web but I love these musical comic crossovers (the Madness off-shoot ‘Mutants of Mega City One’ is another) even if the sounds often play second fiddle to the artwork.
Really chuffed for my friend Sarah J Coleman who has been lucky enough to illustrate the cover of a Korean edition of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ which is released today. She also did the 50th edition of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ a few years back, read more about it and see her extensive working process on her blog.
A beautiful 2001 poster by Kilian Eng that I came across today whilst looking for something else. Two years old, long gone from Mondo like so many of his others, there are three variants and some unused versions that are just as nice. I also found a Heavy Metal one too that’s of a similar ilk – I don’t always like his images, usually down to the colour choices he makes, but these are superb.
RIP Shusei Nagaoka – not a name I was familiar with but all of us must know at least a handful of these album covers? ELO, Earth Wind & Fire, Maze, Deep Purple, Boston and more. Big respect.
I’ve spent most of the evening looking at the work of Kája Saudek – a Czech artist and designer who worked in comics and created film posters – after being tipped off about him by Markey Funk. Markey had just visited ‘Batalion’, a bar and museum in Prague dedicated to the man and thought I would like the work. He was right, check out all that amazing detail and hand drawn typography – what a find.
I’d seen the Barbarella poster before but never checked on the name, the rest was new to me, a mixture of Rockin’ Jellybean, Robert Williams with shades of Moebius in places. Sadly, upon checking the wikipedia entry it seems that Saudek died the same day that I discovered him after spending nine years in a coma at a hospital in Prague. Art like this can never die though, he left a huge body of work for us all to enjoy.
I found this Carl Oglesby album with a cover illustrated by Dave Sheridan, the comic artist who worked on titles like Dealer McDope, The Leather Nun and some of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Now sadly deceased, Dave’s work is always hyper detailed and tripped out, I featured another of his covers some years back, an Impulse Jazz compilation – I wonder if he ever did any more record sleeves?
I met Christian Ward last Friday when he signed copies of the new trade paperback of his and Matt Fraction‘s ‘ODY-C’, at Gosh! Comics, an epic psychedelic space take on The Odyssey with the roles reversed. If you like your female leads strong and ruthless, your Gods devious and wrathful and your art cosmic then this is the book for you, a gritty, multi-layered take on a classic with out of this world page layouts and colour.
(Photo © Gosh! Comics 2015)
He was kind enough to do me a quick Cyclops sketch and Gosh! are selling the lovely Spaceman print above for a very reasonable £20 which looks beautiful framed in my studio.
The Gamma Proforma label is on fire this year with the Divine Styler album, a new T-shirt series featuring Augustine Kofie and Will Barras plus retrospective books of Will’s work as well as graphic design legend Ian ‘Swifty’ Swift. Not only that, their ‘Cosmic Flush’ series of 12″s and prints based on The Rammellzee‘s last work now reaches it’s third installment. Delta is on the art and Mike Ladd on the remix and I’m starting to suspect Rob Swain from Gamma is mining some telepathic mind link with me as all the releases so far push all the right buttons for me. Pre-order the third part, ‘Crayzay’, here.
If you’re lucky there may still be some copies of the first and second releases with prints by Futura and Ian Kuali’i with remixes by Divine Styler which will form part of the full box set to the ‘Cosmic Flush’ album release. Check out Will’s Rammellzee graphic for the second T-shirt in the X99 series below too, in fact check out the whole site as there are loads of free mp3s, plus a selection of books, magazines, prints and T-shirts, they even have Syd Mead designs!. Gamma’s shaping up to be the label to watch in 2015.
Yes, it’s that time again, more from Mr Prolific, Dan Lish, in his on-going quest to document the musical heroes and influences that orbit the Hip Hop world for his Egostrip project. (Above) Jazzy Jay, (below) AhmadJamal, Ultramagnetic MCs, Beastie Boys (colour and inks), Robert Glasper’s Dillalude, Gang Starr and a 4Hero / Reinforced label piece for a compilation. As ever, he has prints for sale here or you can see more from the project plus a whole lot more on his website.
There’s some ridiculously good fan art appearing for Mad Max Fury Road at the moment, now that people have seen the film and got a sense of how it plays out we’re seeing more than a collection of reworked promotion stills. Some are even creating alternate OST covers or DVD/Blu-ray sleeves. A lot of it is in the form of poster art but there’s also concept images and more cartoonish comic book stuff too. A lot of this was found on Deviant Art and I’ve tried to credit all the artists correctly.
(above: by zenithuk, below: sivadigitalart)
For those of you who like their sci-fi cosmic with a huge dose of psychedelic (and stir in a portion of Greek mythology in this case) then there is no comic more suited than ODY-C by Matt Fraction & Christian Ward. Below are four of six prints that Christian will be debuting at Heroes con next month. For those not in the US (me), Christian will be signing at Gosh Comics on Friday 12th June when the trade collection of the first five issues of ODY-C is released.
I visited the Peter Kennard exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London yesterday and was knocked out by his work. I’d seen pieces before but never put them together with a name and when my wife suggested we go because it was ending soon and we still hadn’t checked out the new, refurbished IWM it was a no-brainer. The new museum layout is very good, although they’ve crammed a lot in, the different levels take you from the first World War up to the present day with some chilling artifacts (the twisted wreckage of one of the Twin Towers’ windows is included).
Kennard’s exhibition is a treasure trove of posters, books, magazines and original art – tons of it. Seeing it all together you realise what an impact he had in the media and how much of his work pre-dates so many that came after him. Most fascinating for me is the original collage work with photos manipulated by hand rather than computer for the most part. The final room has an installation of many of his pieces, layered like fly posters but interspersed with business cards from various different companies which make for a chilling juxtaposition, “We never forget who we’re working for” – Lockheed Martin. It’s only on for one more week so try and find time to go, it’s free or you can donate to the museum as you go in.
The ‘Art’ Pop show by Keith Haynes just opened at Gallery Different, 14 Percy Street, W1, just off Tottenham Court Road. The North American map above, entitled ‘Hitsville USA’, in made up of vinyl records, all laser cut and named after each of the states. Likewise the ‘Going Undeground’ maps all have relevant records associated with the stops they represent, a simple idea presented immaculately. In a subtle touch Haynes has used various colours from Factory Road’s extensive 45 adapter range to compliment the 7″ centres. I predict we’ll be seeing this ripped off for years to come.
Musical icons such as the smiley and the target are rendered in coloured badges that remind me of the work of Ian Wright or Jimmy Cauty. ‘Cover Versions’ of Bowie & Beatles sleeves are cut up and modified, looking like physical manifestations of Photoshop filters. The mutated sleeves work well (the ‘Heroes’ one above is even preferable to Jonathon Barnbrook‘s reworking of same for Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’ last year) because he’s remixing the original physical media to form a new work, in the same way Christian Marclay has in the past. Where I find it less successful is when he’s recreated existing designs in vinyl – the Sex Pistols, Velvets (not shown) and Dylan covers for example. They’re beautifully done but they’re Reid, Warhol and Glaser designs, not Haynes’ and it irks me when I see artists reappropriating the iconic work of others. I feel the same way about the portraits of singers like Amy Winehouse, Blondie, Bolan and more in used copies of their old vinyl records.
It renders him as more craftsman than artist, reproducing and recontextualising the work of others, relying on the audience’s familiarity and love of the original subject matter to sell ‘his’ work. The same could be said for the smiley and underground map of course but these are now accepted cultural icons, as part of the public visual consciousness as Coca Cola or Apple. I love the look of his show but I’m conflicted because of some of its artistic origins. It’s on until May 30th, so still a month to check it out and make your own mind up. Photos courtesy of Leigh Adams
Details and excerpts from Jason De Haan‘s ‘Nowhere Bodily Is Everywhere Ghostly’ exhibition at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in 2010 – incredible collage work. Above and below: ‘New Jerusalem’, 2010 (detail) “A floating city/landscape collaged from the deconstructed covers of over 1000 1950’s-80’s science-fiction paperbacks.”
Currently starring in his first solo show at the Ben Oakley Gallery in Greenwich is Snub23, a Brighton artist I’ve featured a few times on here and who I’ve collaborated with before on the last Herbaliser album.
One of the most dedicated stencil artists I’ve ever come across, he’s always moving his style forward and several are on display in the show. His signature 23 piece and Mongrol character preside over the back wall with new 3D heads appearing for the first time of the robot.
His Isometric Op-Art designs multiply across distressed metal drawers and more characters grace found signage, a skate deck and circuit boards. Subtler line drawings of female faces in a number of expressions adorn one wall and delicately stenciled feathers are free to viewers.
He also has these T-shirts for sale plus prints of the same at the gallery, the show ends on May 3rd so be quick, the gallery in a little side passage off the main market square in Greenwich.
It’s that time of the year again when Secret 7″ rolls around and shows off its wares to the public before sale day. You know the deal by now, seven bands or recording artists provide a track pressed onto a seven inch record. Hundreds of artists are invited to design sleeves for one of the acts but aren’t allowed any titles on the image.
The records are housed inside their respective sleeves, all one-offs, and the public are allowed to buy them at £50 each, the proceeds of which then goes to charity. You have to second guess the covers if you want a particular song which can be tricky but some are more obvious than others. The two sleeves at the top of the post were lenticular so moved when viewed at different angles.
The venture has expanded this year and moved venues to Somerset House where they have seven prints to add to the occasion now. Another addition is a vinyl cutting booth where you can go and make your own one-off 7″ on the spot, you have 15 minutes to record something and £50 gets your song, message or performance on a unique piece of vinyl. Looking round the designs I saw several that I could quite happily own and there seemed to be different themes recurring: lots of Op Art, many more 3D works, flower skulls popped up at least three times and eyes were prominent. I’ve divided my own snaps into lots: graphic, illustration, Op Art and 3D work.
It’s been… ooh, about six weeks since I featured Dan Lish‘s work last but since then he’s been churning out incredible pieces and started to produce work featuring artists outside of the Hip Hop world. You may have seen his print as a part of the De La Soul kickstarter or the free Slick Rick poster with Wordplay magazine. He’s got four new prints available from his site now: De La Soul (featured below), Wu Tang’s GZA, Mos Def and Kraftwerk, all £25 each, limited to 100 copies.
(Top) A Tribe Called Quest, (Below) De La Soul (nice Little Nemo in Slumberland reference with the bed there), De La Soul (original Older version for Kickstarter), De La Soul (Young version for Kickstarter), Funkadelic triple gatefold cover for a forthcoming comp, Kool Keith album cover, Jungle Brothers, Nina Simone, Prince Paul, Run DMC, X-Men/Xecutioners. Check the amazing sketchbook and Prince Paul time lapse short down below too.
Several items from my collection of Savage Pencil / SavX aka Edwin Pouncey‘s advertising for the Slam City Skates shop. (Above) A rare Slam City Skates bag from 1990, the reverse had a similar image but advertised the Rough Trade record shops, one of which had a space in the basement below SCS’s Covent Garden branch.
(Below) Several adverts by Savage Pencil for the Slam City Skates shop from 1986, 1984 and 1987. The 1976 – 1986 flyer is a Battle Of The Eyes production by SavX and Chris Long.