Caza – Kris Kool reprint book pre-order

KK cover

Finally, after years of wanting a copy of Caza‘s psychedelic space book, Kris Kool, Italy’s Passenger Press has reprinted and recoloured it AND translated it into English! The original French language version of this always fetches high prices and this version has been done in association with Caza himself and includes extras as well. For the first 200 copies there’s also a signed print as an incentive too! You can pre-order it here

pagine-KRIS-KOOL-a-confronto-01-ENG-V2 KK inside

Sun Moth Art

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My good friend and sometime collaborator, Aaron Thomason aka 2econd Class Citizen, aka Rodin and now aka Sun Moth, sent me this today. He’s also a painter in the little spare time he has between all the other things he gets up to. He’s been doing these ‘pours’ for a while now alongside his abstract landscapes and has a batch up for sale, this one is about 7″s square and very affordable. Go and check him out on Facebook or Instagram or Etsy – he’ll be launching some new music soon too

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Dan Lish EgoStrip book Kickstarter finally here

EgoStrip cover
Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of Dan Lish‘s work, having featured him several times over the years. Ever since he started posting his work on the web people have been saying, ‘do a book, when are you doing a book?’. Last week he finally launched his EgoStrip book Kickstarter after years of drawing some of the greatest portraits of hip hop, funk and jazz musicians out there. Looking forward to this immensely and, at the time of writing he was less than £6k off his target with 25 days to go. Take a look here

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A tribute to Russell Mears aka Rusty Spray

Wandham Stringers

This weekend an old friend passed away, someone who inspired me a great deal artistically back in the day. Please indulge me whilst I go back on a trip to the mid 80s and reminisce over writing in aerosol paint in the small town of Reigate in Surrey where I grew up.
Russell Mears was the first person I know of who did a piece of graffiti in Reigate. A Beat Street-inspired piece complete with train, ‘Zulu’ and Smurf character appeared one day in ’84 / ’85 on the abandoned Wandam Stringer building near the station. It was signed ‘Rusty Spray’ and it set a lot of tongues wagging and wheels in motion.

Wadham close

Soon after, a second piece was added in the same style, this time with head-spinning breakdancer, boom box, tombstones and the word, ‘Fresh’. It now spread across the whole wall and the words ‘Rusty again!’ taunted us that he’d struck twice. I had only just got into graffiti and not painted my first piece or even seen a copy of Subway Art yet (the equivalent of the Bible for UK writers at the time). I, probably like Rusty, was getting my graffiti inspiration from films like Beat Street and record covers like The Rock Steady Crew’s Uprock or Malcom McLaren‘s Duck Rock. Soon after, more pieces appeared around town bearing his name, ‘NTF’ (Night Time Flyers I think) and ‘Rebel’, both with variations on the same character cribbed from Subway Art. He got caught for the latter but I can’t remember what punishment was dealt out.

NTF + CopRebel + Cop

It being such a small community, word got around and we soon ran into each other. He was a few years older and possibly in art college at this time, whilst my crew and I were still in school. Even though he was older he never seemed to look down on us and was always humble about his work which was astonishing to see in his piece book. By this time he was light years ahead of us in terms of style and technique – plus he’d seen the Chrome Angelz (see ‘Chrome’ piece copy here that he gave to me) and his style had made a quantum leap forward. I think we all had to raise our game once we’d seen Russell’s work (how I’d LOVE to see his 80s piece book again).

Chrome

Rusty Spray tags
ExE + Duck SantaEXE

Two memories spring from these photos: we (the crew I was part of – TWB) had arranged to battle Russ and his crew – Executive Artists which included Chris Burrell and possibly others I can’t remember. We decided to get the jump on them and spend all Saturday night in the spot the battle was supposed to take place in, the disused swimming baths in Reigate. We’d paint a burner across the whole end of the baths – a bite of Kaze II’s digital style with two characters, (see below) – and when they walked in on Sunday morning we’d be there already – ‘tadaaaah!’.
Downside, the wall we painted on was a knobbly blue colour, the paint dripped, it was dark and cold as hell and we were shitting ourselves half the time at any noise we heard. As it turned out, Russ and crew turned up, went into a side room, found a nice white wall, did a quick ‘Rus’ piece and handed us our arses.

DigitalDig 3Rus 2Rus

After this we were cool with him and became friends, we met other local like-minded artists and DJs like Peter Myers (seen below here on the ground with fellow EA member Chris Burrell – Russ is on the right), Tim ‘DJ Stubble’ and Jim Davis.

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Chysa big

Russ, Chris and Richard Lomath had painted a whole room in the Reigate Parish First School caretaker’s cottage (Chris’ dad was the caretaker at the school), almost choking themselves on the fumes. It was something we could only hope our parents would one day let us do (mine never did but we painted friend’s bedrooms over the years). This no doubt helped hone their skills with a spray can, note the difference in the style of lettering from ‘RPR’ (Rebel Pro Rockers) to the ‘Chris’ piece from the others, a big stylistic jump.

BreakinMad Cop Cobalt 60 RPR Hulk NTFChrisAndy Capp

Super Chip in progress

A year or so later, we got commissioned to paint the shutters of the local chip shop on the estate that crew member Ricky Groombridge lived on. We decided to get Russ in to help us out as (I think) we weren’t confident on our lettering skills to do a good job. He graciously agreed and designed the Super Chip piece and we painted it on a Sunday with what seemed like half the estate watching and the police turning up and one point.

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It was a thrill to paint with him – the Super Chip piece seen in progress here sees Russ in the pink, Ricky in green, David Jarvis in pale yellow and me with graffiti jacket over Nike windcheater. Russell was a master at lettering, colours, outlines, having a couple of years on us young pups and he made us all look better. We’d never seen anything like this style before, readable but with huge areas to put colour and effects in.

Chique Rusty

I remember going to his house one time and he let me use his airbrush – something no one else I knew had – to colour backgrounds on a piece I was working on in a new book. His parents had let him spray a whole wall of his bedroom (the ‘Chique / Rusty Spray’ piece above) which was mighty impressive. We last spoke a couple of years ago when he sent me a shot of one of my tags, still visible over 30 years later in Reigate.

Dvice tag

I dug into the deepest recesses of the archive to find these images because Russ’s art affected and inspired so many of us when images and info were scant. He led the way in showing us that you could take this foreign, urban artform and try your hand at it. Great times and memories, never forgotten. Rest In Peace Russell aka Rusty Spray.

Dieter Roth

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Sometimes an artist’s work stops you in your tracks and you have to put aside all current tasks to check them out. Today I saw Dieter Roth‘s work for the first time and it is stunning. These are spreads from his ‘Kinderbuch’ work (Children’s Book) where shapes gets progressively smaller as the book unfolds and each page has a die cut showing parts of the next through it. He did a similar thing with the follow up, ‘Bilder Buch’ (Picture Book) which had transparent coloured film with die cuts that made different compositions when overlaid.
He also made books from overprinted printer’s proof cast offs, comics with holes cut in them and op art designs, although those are harder to find decent images of.

300321958_vw5_CCCR-600x313Dieter-Roth-KinderbuchDiter Rot Kinderbuch

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Savage Pencil – Rated SavX book

Rated SavX bookSavage Pencil aka Edwin Pouncey has been floating in and out of my life for decades now. Whether through the Wiseblood ‘Motorslug’ 12″ insert, ‘Nyak, Nyak’, the Big Black sleeve for their Headache EP or Blast First‘s compilation cover, ‘Nothing Short of Total War‘. He cropped up in the NME and Sounds, doing spot illustrations for album reviews, The Wire magazine with his Primer feature collages and Trip or Squeek cartoon strip and numerous other leftfield magazines.
There he was in Knockabout Comics‘ anthologies, a page here or there in Weirdo or some long-forgotten independent zine or one-off publication. I used to see his Dead Duck comic on the spinner in Forbidden Planet and his designs for Slam City Skates in Covent Garden before going downstairs to Rough Trade where I would find obscure indie singles with his art on the covers, posters of Godzilla-like monsters behind the counter and his biker movie picture disc compilation, ‘Angel Dust’. In recent years I’d run into him at Orbital Comics, signing copies of the latest Satanic Mojo comic, the memorabilia shop in Cecil Court where he sometimes worked or at record fairs where he’d be either selling behind a stall or perusing the bins with Thurston Moore.
Eventually we met properly when I interviewed him for Rough Trade’s 40th anniversary book in 2016 and again when I spoke to both Edwin and Chris Long about their Battle of the Eyes project with the late Andy Dog in a still-unpublished interview. And now he rears his head again in Strange Attractor Press‘ excellent book of his career, ‘Rated SavX’.
This seems to be the definitive book of his work so far, lots of archive-delving has gone on here and there are many lost or unpublished illustrations from across his life whether it be black metal sleeves, fly illustrations, his punk past or his love of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth’s monster cars and cartoons. It’s all here in eye-straining detail with enough info to have you wishing you’d picked up that tiny print run publication he released all those years ago. Nevertheless, I zipped through it and now have new items on the wants list – highly recommended. There’s still time to get the limited edition hardback of this with extra (S)crapbook of unpublished roughs and Appreciation Society patch from the publisher’s website. While you’re there check the rest of their inventory, they have some fascinating books about counter culture, music, psychedelia and the occult world.

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Brian Eno fan art

Brian Peano Universalcollage

The things you find on the internet whilst trying to avoid things you really should be doing… Universal Collage posted his image of Brian Eno as Schroeder from Peanuts today and like all the best mash ups it’s a lovely, simple collision of two worlds that would most likely never intersect. I wondered what else was out there…

The Brian Eno Book 1973 by Chris Wright aka http://www.turbo-island.co.uk/ did the rounds a few years back .
70’s era Eno at the keyboard again, this time in the style of the Bash Street Kids (could have been his backing band had The Winkies not got the gig).

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Feather boa and synth Eno seems to be a popular choice with this excellent rendering by Steve Scott from Jelly.

eno_stevescott Jelly London
This oddity below was on Etsy, I have no idea if it’s new or old but he is a Taurean so it could be a 70s relic that someone has dug up.

I’m sure most people are familiar with Adam Buxton’s take on what could have happened in Berlin whilst recording Low, if you’ve not seen it then it’s one of the funniest and affectionate takes along with his Cobbler Bob sketch.

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Below is a comic illustrating one of my favourite vocal Eno songs, Blackwater, by Lyall Wallerstedt. It contains the line, “ooh what to do, not a sausage to do”, followed by, “ooh what to do in a tiny canoe” , which always makes me laugh.

BACKWATER_PG1image-asset Lyall Wallerstedt
There’s also an Eno cartoon from 1996 by Tom Hart that is very odd, the context of which seems to be lost in time.

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Anyway – that’s an hour of my evening wasted, to round it off here’s a mix of the funkier songs from his back catalogue that I did 10 years ago. The Soundcloud version has over 17,000 plays but the Mixcloud one only 200 – weird, huh?

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2019

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What a grim end to the year and the decade, good riddance to the last four years at least. Writing this on the morning of Friday 13th as the results and fallout of the election come in, it’s hard to muster the energy and will to rejoice in anything when the turkeys have voted for Xmas. I used to be largely ignorant of current affairs and politics, back in my youth, I thought it was dull and boring, why would I be interested in any of that? But you grow up, you have a family and these things start to matter because they affect your life whether you like it or not. Back in the first half of December it felt like there was still hope, a chance to pull things back from the brink, but not now when the country has voted overwhelmingly for Johnson’s government in the belief that he will fix things that he helped engineer in the first place.

Sometimes I wish I was ignorant again, as ignorant as those who didn’t vote or voted on personalities, believing the lies and propaganda peddled by the media. But you can’t just turn that tap off, not once you’ve understood how the system works and see the soap opera play out. You CAN however blot it out for a bit by reading, watching, visiting or listening to great art made by your fellow man, or woman or non-identifying person. There was a lot of it this year and here’s some of the favourite ways I blotted parts of this year out.

LPs 2019

Music / podcasts –
way too much new music to keep up with only so much time and money, I probably listened to Adam Buxton‘s shows from the archive more than anything else this year:
Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth LP (Ghost Box)
Various – Corroded Circuits EP 12″ (Downfall Recordings)
Chris Moss Acid – Heavy Machine 12″ (Balkan Vinyl)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishes LP (Flightless)
Pictogram – Trace Elements cassette (Miracle Pond)
Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology LP (Fire Records)
Big Mouth podcast (various) (Acast)
Beans – Triptych LP (Gamma Proforma)
Roisin Murphy – Incapable single (Skint)
Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine LP (Om Swagger)
People Like Us – The Mirror LP (Discrepant)
Coastal County – Coastal County LP (Lomas)
Adam Buxton podcast (various) (Acast)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – A Song For Paul LP (Karma Chief)
Jon Brooks – Emotional Freedom Techniques LP (Cafe Kaput)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Organ Farmer (from Infest the Rat’s Nest LP) (Flightless)
Jane Weaver – Fenella LP (Fire Records)
Polypores – Brainflowers cassette (Miracle Pond)

Seemed to acquire a lot of tapes this year too…

Tapes 2019

 

Designs 2019

Design / packaging – so much good stuff out there, Nick Taylor goes from strength to strength, Reuben Sutherland‘s work for Sculpture always inspires and Victoria Topping continues to do great art for On The Corner Records:
Pepe Deluxé – The Surrealist Woman lathe cut 7″ (Catskills)
Various – Science & Technology ERR Rec Library Vol.2 (ERR Records)
DJ Pierre presents ACID 88 vol. III LP (Afro Acid)
Mark Ayres plays Wendy Carlos – Kubrick 7″ (Silva Screen)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Citizen Input 10″ (Polytechnic Youth)
The Utopia Strong – S/T LP (Rocket Recordings)
Jarvis – Sunday Service LP (ACE records)
Andy Votel – Histoire D’Horreur cassette (Hypocrite?)
Sculpture – Projected Music 5″ zoetrope picture disc (Psyché Tropes)
Lapalux – Amnioverse LP (Brainfeeder)
Hieroglyphic Being –  Synth Expressionism / Rhythmic Cubism LP (On The Corner Records)

films 2019

Film / TV – I really don’t watch too much TV or get to the cinema as often as I’d like to:
Sculpture – Meeting Our Associates (Plastic Infinite)
This Time with Alan Partridge (BBC)
Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel)
Imaginary Landscapes – Sam Campbell (Vinyl Factory)
What We Do In The Shadows (BBC2)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Books 2019.2

Books / Comics / Magazines I read constantly, all sorts of stuff, a lot online, I found less interesting new comics this year or there were fewer that made an impression. Also many of my regular reads came to an end so there was less to consume on that front.
Beastie Boys Book – Mike Diamond & Adam Horowitz (Spiegel & Grau)
Cosmic Comics – A Kevin O’Neill Miscellany (Hibernia Books)
Electronic Sound (Pam Comm Ltd)
Eve Stranger – David Barnett / Philip Bond (Black Crown)
Bicycle Day – Brian Blomerth (Anthology Editions)
Moebius – 40 Days In The Desert (expanded edition) (Moebius Productions)
Rock Graphic Originals  – Peter Golding w. Barry Miles (Thames & Hudson)
2000AD / Judge Dredd Megazine (Rebellion)
Silver Surfer Black – Donny Cates/Tradd Moore (Marvel)
Help – Simon Amstell (Square Peg)
The Scarfolk Annual – Richard Littler (William Collins)
Wrappers Delight – Jonny Trunk (Fuel)

Gigs 2019

Gigs / Events – I spent a lot of time in Café Oto, socialising to the sights and sounds of Jonny Trunk & Martin Green or watching groups that featured Cathy Lucas this year:
Vanishing Twin @ Prince of Wales Pub, Brighton
Stereolab @ Concorde 2, Brighton
People’s Vote march 23rd March, London
Wobbly Sounds book launch @ Spiritland, London
Confidence Man @ The Electric, Brixton, London
Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, Moseley, Birmingham
Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank, Manchester
HaHa Sounds Collective play David Axelrod’s Earth Rot @ Tate Exchange, London
School of Hypnosis play In C @ Cafe Oto, London
Palace Electrics, Antenna Studios, London
The Delaware Road, New Zealand Farm, Salisbury
Breaking Convention closing party, Greenwich, London
Jonny Trunk & Martin Green’s Hidden Library @ Spiritland, Southbank, London
Negativland / People Like Us @ Cafe Oto, London
HaHa Sound Collective plays the David Axelrod songbook @ The Church of Sound, London,
Sculpture, Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei + the 26 turntable ensemble @ The Old Baths, Hackney, London Vanishing Twin & Jane Weaver’s Fenella @ Studio 9294, Hackney Wick, London

Art 2019

Exhibitions – there was so much art to see in 2019, I managed most of it but London does spoil you sometimes and you can’t see it all. Just a stroll round the Brick Lane area of east London will delight with the free art painted, stuck or sprayed on the walls for all to see:
Sister Corita Kent @ House of Illustration, London,
Augustinbe Kofie @ Stolen Space, London,
Victor Vasarely @ Pompidou Centre, Paris,
Mary Quant @ V&A Museum, London,
Stanley Kubrick @ The Design Museum, London,
Tim Hunkin’s Novelty Automation Museum, London,
Keith Haring retrospective @Tate, Liverpool,
Nam June Paik, Tate Modern, London,
Takis @ Tate Modern, London,
Shepard Fairy @ Stolen Space, London,
Damien Hirst ‘Mandalas’ at the White Cube, London,
Bridget Riley @ The Hayward, London,
Museum of Neo-liberalism, Lewisham, London.

Openmind 2019

Another year over and what have I done? quite pleased with this lot this year:  
Become by own agent for the first half of the year (not fun)
Designed As One’s ‘Communion’ LP sleeve for De:tuned
Toured my Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV set
Contributed to the Wobbly Sounds book on flexi discs published by Four Corner Books
Performed a 30 minute reimagining of Kraftwerk’s ‘Radio-Activity’ album
Appeared on Big Mouth, Out Of The Wood, Jonny Trunk’s OST, Dusk Dubs, Mix-Ins, 45 Live, Mostly Sounds podcasts / shows
Continued the design for De:tuned’s 10th anniversary with a 10th volume, poster, tote bag and more
Built a modified turntable with three extra floating arms for future performances
Designed a fold out 3″ CD Xmas card for The Real Tuesday Weld – more to come in 2020…

For no other reason – Badges, along with the cassettes it’s like the 80s never stopped

Badges 2019

RIP: Daryl Dragon, Ron Smith, Ken Nordine, Peter Tork, Mark Hollis, Keith Flint, Magenta Devine, Hal Blaine, Scott Walker, Quentin Fiore, Dr John, MAD magazine, Vertigo comics, Rutger Hauer, Ras G, Peter Fonda, Richard Williams, Pedro Bell, David Cain, Patsy Colegate, Clive James, David Bellamy, Phase 2, Gershon Kingsley, Emil Richards, Dave Riley (Big Black), Vaughn Oliver, Neil Innes, Syd Mead.

Looking forward to: – not much to look forward to except a year of Brexit, economic downturn and US Presidential campaigns but these might lighten the mood…
Paul Weller and Plone on Ghost Box
A Touched Music special release in conjunction with De:tuned for World Cancer Day – 4th Feb.
The second Revbjelde LP, ‘Hooha Hubbub’, from the Buried Treasure label
More designs for The Real Tuesday Weld…
The next Group Modular album, released on a UK label
The Castles In Space label releasing a remastered vinyl version of Clocolan’s excellent 2019, cassette-only, ‘It’s Not Too Early For Each Other’ album.
The return of Slow Death Comix
45 Live releasing their first acid 7” with Type 303 in Feb
Ian Holloway from The British Space Group’s new label, Wyrd Britain – the first release will be his own ‘The Ley of the Land’.
The Amorphous Androgynous album, ‘Listening Beyond The Head Chakra’ and album-length single, ‘We Persuade Ourselves That We Are Immortal’ around Easter
Ninja Tune’s 30th anniversary in the Autumn
An exhibition about electronic music at the Design Museum featuring Kraftwerk, Jeff Mills, Ellen Allien, Jean-Michel Jarre and BBC Radiophonic Workshop among others
The Masters of British Comic Art book by David Roach in April
The return of Spitting Image (we really need this)

Happy New Year x

RIP Syd Mead

8213311102_fc032ff5ce_zAnother graphic giant leaves us – fittingly just as the date of the original Blade Runner film has passed into history. Syd Mead was just on another level in terms of vision,

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technique,

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execution,

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colour choice,

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lighting and perspective.

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I love how figures play a part in his work but they frequently face away from the viewer, have their heads cut off or are in the distance, the tech is the most important part.

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He also did the best reflections in chrome

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…and the most incredible detail in backgrounds with splashes of abstract paint that bought the stillness of his images to life.

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All of his tech was believable and his interest and work in the car industry showed in many instances that his concepts could be buildable too. He was visually ripped off many times – snow walkers for AT-ATs,

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a red racing bike for Akira,

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a party goer’s helmet for Daft Punk… but fans know the sources.

His Gundam robot designs were unique,

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his Spinner car design for Blade Runner is an all time classic

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and he did the best Xmas cards. What a legacy he leaves…

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Damien Hirst – Mandalas at the White Cube

Gallery

A few days after seeing Damien Hirst’s new body of work, Mandalas, at the White Cube gallery in Piccadilly, I still can’t get them or their means of construction out of my head.

White 1 White 2 White 3 White 4Firstly, they are incredibly beautiful, huge, immaculately constructed and for the most part a blazing set of complimentary colours that burst out at you like the best Op-Art. Whilst these hark less towards the obvious stained-glass window effects of his previous collection, Kaleidoscope, they still retain a religious edge in the use of the mandala and several spiritually-aligned titles.

Red 1 Red 2 Red 3
The printed bumf from the gallery talks this angle up, pointing to the ‘highly patterned religious images that represent the cosmos or universe in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Shinto traditions’. They also refer to the works as ‘paintings’ when, really, the only paint used is the household kind used as a base in which thousands of real butterfly wings have been precisely placed. This is collage – not to want to split hairs – but when the body parts of thousands of dead insects make up the bulk of the show, realising this gives the works a second dimension that is hard to reconcile with their majesty. The skill with which these were constructed is mind-boggling (most probably without Hirst’s hand involved I’d wager) and as objects of precision, symmetry and craftsmanship they are hugely impressive.

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The largest of the collection, The Creator, is a predominantly black triptych that achieves the opposite of the others in that, instead of radiating outwards, it seemingly sucks you into its star field or black hole-like mass.

Creator 1 Creator 2 Creator 3 Creator 4

The butterflies are of course mentioned in the blurb but no information is forthcoming about how or where they were sourced and one can only assume, in this day and age, that there was little ethical about their collection otherwise this would have been explicitly stated. Comments on a previous post I made during Hirst’s retrospective at the Tate Modern some years ago suggest that they are bred in Asia and then imported for this purpose but there is no info out there to substantiate this that I could find online. This poses a real problem when viewing the works, knowing that certain butterflies are becoming scarcer by the year, their importance in our declining ecosystem and the fact that they will now be sold for millions to collectors who will prize them in much the same way as a big game hunter would the pelt of a slaughtered animal.

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Whilst I wasn’t personally physically repulsed by viewing them in the same way as I was by seeing Marcus Harvey‘s painting of Myra Hindley made from the prints of a child’s hand at the Sensations exhibition over 20 years ago, the mixture of beauty from so much death leaves a guilt that sours the experience. The wings are isolated, no bodies remain, which detracts from the reality of their source slightly but there is no denying that they are real as some flash almost holographically in the light as you move past them. Only nature and light can reproduce such vivid colours (which, ironically, will fade in time under UV light I’m told) – I wonder how they will stand up over time and whether those who have bought them know this and will display them accordingly.

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If the best art should not only dazzle you with its beauty, skill, scope and technical ability but also make you think then, begrudgingly, I have to admit that Hirst has achieved all these in one way or another. While he has no doubt also made himself and the gallery a lot more money, he’s also made himself seem more like a dinosaur, out of step with our current ecologically caring times.

Who are this generation’s psychedelic poster artists?

Black Amgels posterWhen discussing psychedelic poster art from the 60s and 70s you often read about ‘The Big Five’, namely Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley. Of course there were many more; Martin Sharp, Nigel Weymouth, Hapshash & The Coloured Coat, Bonnie MacLean, Peter Max… all and many more can lay claim to have contributed to a new movement in poster art that took from Art Nouveau, Op Art and Surrealism.

With a new wave of psychedelia in music prevalent for a good decade now, who working today is pushing the envelope in the same way as these graphic giants? There are plenty of illustrators and designers creating very passable versions of the 60s style across record sleeves, posters, T-shirts and videos but, rather than rehashing the past glories of the 60’s greats, who is approaching the psych era in the 10’s with a fresh eye? Here’s my stab at calling who will be remembered for their work in this arena in decades to come.

It’s fairly evenly divided between Brits and Americans (with the exception of Sweden’s Robert Gnista and South Africa’s Simon Berndt) and the UK brings more photo collage and attempts to convey the analogue process’ of print to the table whilst elsewhere designers adopt a more illustrative approach, slavish to the original 60s ethos.

Luke Insect (UK) www.lukeinsect.com

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Nate Duval (US) www.nateduval.com

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Mishka Westell (US) www.mishkawestell.com

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Rob Fitzpatrick & Christian Bland (US – Levitation Festival)

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Andy Votel (UK – Finders Keepers label owner / designer, formerly Twisted Nerve records)

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Robin Gnista (Sweden) www.robgnista.com

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Simon Berndt/One Horse Town (South Africa) www.onehorsetownillustration

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Weird Beard (US) www.wb72.bigcartel.com

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Julian House (UK – Ghost Box label owner, designer at Intro)

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Fez Moreno (US – artist for The Electric Church) @fezmoreno

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Nick Taylorwww.SpectralStudio.co.uk

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RIP Pedro Bell

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Sad to hear of the passing of Pedro Bell, best known for his covers for Funkadelic and George Clinton, his art is so rich in detail, colour and messages with the pre-computer hand-drawn type and awkward figure drawing giving the work an untutored edge. That he was legally blind for 20 years and struggling with health issues is an all too familiar story but his black psychedelic comic visions will live on.

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Kubrick, Kunz and Quant in London

Last weekend I did the rounds of some current and newly-opened exhibitions in London, Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum, Emma Kunz at The Serpentine and Mary Quant at the V&A.

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I wouldn’t call myself a Kubrick fan particularly but I’ve always been drawn to the design and imagery in 2001 and A Clockwork Orange in particular and this exhibition doesn’t disappoint on those fronts with many examples of props, artwork and ephemera associated with the films on display at close quarters. Philip Castle‘s airbrush paintings and foreign logo designs are a treat as are the Allan Jones-esque Korova Milk Bar figures and Droog costume.

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If you’re a Kubrick fan who hasn’t visited his archive I’d say there is probably everything you could want here. It was particularly nice to view Saul Bass’ concepts for The Shining poster up close complete with letters to Kubrick and the latter’s rejection comments.

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Emma Kunz was a wild card, I’d never heard of her but seen the work online and decided to give it a go as I was nearby. Not hugely impressive technically and with little to explain what and why she’d chosen to make these drawings with the most perfunctory titles, I was a little underwhelmed. The art was very hard to photograph in the light of the Serpentine so don’t take these as the complete picture.

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For Mary Quant I went for the packaging and graphics more than the clothes (although plenty were to my taste). The slightly confusing layout of the exhibits took some navigating if you wanted a chronological experience but the display design was excellent. I left wanting just a bit more than was on display and if this had been coupled with the content of the recent Fashion & Textlie Museum contents along similar lines then I think it would have felt more fulfilling.

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Delaware Road festival updates

The Delaware Road event in August continues to ramp up the line up as word gets around about it with more announcements to come. This will be a truly unique event, the likes of which haven’t been seen on this scale before. Transplant yourself to a secluded army base in the middle of the Salisbury countryside for over 12 hours of sonic, audio visual and performance-based adventures in sight and sound with a who’s who of the current crop of leftfield electronic, weird, and experimental practitioners working on the margins today. Buried Treasure, the label who hosted the last two experiences, have put together a mix showcasing some of the acts playing.

Tickets are available for the event, including group and camping options and follow the Facebook event for updates and competitions to win tickets and packages of merch from some of the featured acts and labels.

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Victor Vasarely retrospective at the Pompidou Centre, Paris

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The highlight of my recent trip to Paris to play at the Ping Pong 20th anniversary party was a trip to the Pompidou Centre to bask in the first major Victor Vasarely retrospective. A comprehensive overview of his work was on display, from earliest experiments through to his breakthrough op art achievements. Whilst a lot of his large scale work wasn’t present there were some 300 pieces to admire including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, prints, logos, textiles and more. The final room was particularly good with very low light and excellent lighting that picked out the paintings in a glow that seemed to make them radiate and become even more three dimensional. The level of skill and draughtsmanship on display was incredible and I’d highly recommend a day trip over before it finishes in May, the book shop at the end is something else too, take lots of money and a strong bag is all I can say!

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Kofie 1 at Stolen Space

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I’m playing catch up after getting a new computer and all the hassle that entails so forgive me because this exhibition has already passed. Augustine Kofie‘s first solo show in London was at the Stolen Space gallery in East London this February. He’s already had work featured as part of group shows over the years but this is his first one-man outing. Shown are a selection of his collage pieces including details. These formed only a small part of the work as there were some newer pieces that seek to achieve the same effect as these but solely with paint. This was a new direction that I’d not seen before and, while technically brilliant, they seemed to lack something that these works contain. Maybe the layering, textures and grit is what I like in his work, the sampling of old material to build the structures he makes, but the newer painting held less for me than these assemblages. The show may be over but Stolen Space have a print available if you’d like a souvenir of his visit to these shores as well as some originals if you have deep pockets.

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Sister Corita Kent exhibition, London

SCK 2The new Sister Corita Kent exhibition has been on at the House of Illustration in Kings X now for a month, expanded from the version shown in Ditchling last year. It’s still small but packed with lots of beautiful prints, books, posters and ephemera that she created during her lifetime both in and outside of the church. I urge you to go and see these beautiful prints in the flesh and pick up a free copy of her ‘rules’ taken from an art department classroom.

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20 years of Ping Pong, Paris

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I’m doing a special gig in Paris on March 15th – DJing on a mega line up to celebrate 20 years of Ping Pong, the promotion agency headed by Fred/Jais Elalouf aka DJ Oof of Cinemix fame who has worked with Ninja Tune for two decades now. Oof is also the collector and curator of the Psychedelic Art Centre and there will be an exhibition of works featured for six weeks to launch the special issue of Perfect Bliss, the new Graph Zine and review which comes with stereoscopic glasses for 3D.

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Rick Griffin x Dr Martens

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I have to say, I didn’t see this coming and, while I welcome any new (official) merch with Rick Griffin artwork on it, I’m not sure what the connection with Dr Martens is? Two boots, two T-shirts and a rucksack feature both colour and B&W artwork by Griffin from his 70s heyday including plenty of flying eyeballs. The boots are around £140 and the T’s £30, available now online or in Dr Marten stores.
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