Oddities: Louis Armstrong tape box collages Pt.1

LA1
Thanks to universalcollage for alerting me to these amazing tape reel boxes, once belonging to Louis Armstrong, now archived in an online museum on his website. There are hundreds of these plus even more pieces of ephemera to see, it looks like someone has gone through every piece of music-related item he ever owned and photographed it with notes for the site. Any one of these could be a record cover, sometimes both sides of the boxes are collaged and the ageing sellotape just adds to their appeal for me.
LA2 LA3 LA4 LA5 LA6 LA7 LA8 LA9 LA10 LA11 LA12 LA13 LA14 LA15 LA16 LA17 LA18 LA19 LA20 LA21

East Village Other covers pt.2 – Underground Comix edition

p15932coll8_56807_full More pages from the Wisconsin Historical Society G.I. Press Collection of The East Village Other papers I came across, all scanned in high res, (much higher than here). As the 60s heading to a close The Other started featuring a selection of the underground cartoonists of the day, namely Robert Crumb, Vaughn Bodé, Susan Morris, Spain Rodriguez, Kim Dietch and Charles Francis Winans. As well as striking covers, several artists did comic strip ads for Douglas Records and a lot of this art – save for some of the Crumb works – I’ve never seen reprinted elsewhere before.

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East Village Other covers pt.1

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Perusing the Wisconsin Historical Society G.I. Press Collection I came across a stash of East Village Other papers, all scanned in high res, (much higher than here) and started going through them. Here’s a selection of things that caught my eye from the covers and back pages.

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Possibly Susan Morris‘ work above?

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Is that an early Spain Rodriguez inking the figure above? The clouds don’t look like his work but the darker ink work doesp15932coll8_57300_full p15932coll8_57353_fullp15932coll8_18538_full

Grunt Free Press

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I was sent a link to the Wisconsin Historical Society G.I. Press Collection online which is a treasure trove of alternative and free press publications surrounding the US military 1964-1977. One of the best finds was a monthly paper called the Grunt Free Press, full of counterculture news and graphics from the hippy years including colour double page spread posters in the psychedelic style. Here are some of my favourite details.

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Four hour Kevin O’Neill 2000AD podcast

One of my absolute favourite British comic artists is Kevin O’Neill, co-creator of characters like Ro-busters, A.B.C Warriors, Nemesis The Warlock, Metalzoic, Marshal Law and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In this 2 part epic 4.5 hr podcast he tells of his time before, during and after 2000AD in what must be one of his most in depth interviews.

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Zodiac posters by Funky Features, 1967

FF Sagittarius
(images and text adapted from the pbagalleries website)
A complete set of original 12 Zodiac Astrology Star Sign Posters, commissioned by Jack Leahy (“Funky Jack”), of San Francisco’s Funky Features, in 1967. Funky Features was originally a home recording studio in an Edwardian house that quickly became a popular recording location for Big Brother and the Holding Company, Cold Blood, Steve Miller, and others. Leahy also went on to do artwork for a number of motion pictures, airbrushing the Starship Enterprise for the first Star Trek film. Each poster is by a different artist, uniquely capturing the heyday of San Francisco’s counterculture. Artists include Dick Moore, Tommy Dixon, Lee and Shirley Goddard, Robert McClay, Fred Adams, Primo Angel, Jim Blashfield, and others. Complete sets of all 12 posters are extremely rare, especially in this condition.

Funky Features logoFF credit Robert McClayFF Gemini FF TaurusFF LeoFF LibraFF Pisces FF VirgoFF Scorpio

FF Aquarius FF Aries FF Cancer FF Capricorn

Oddities: Mystery Xen illustrations

xensation
‘Xensation’
Wading through a load of CDRs for something else I found these five images, not sure who did them or how I even came to be in possession of them but I really like them. I’m guessing they date from around 2000 or later as they include the ‘x’ as ‘z’ in titles. Although i’m not sure they totally fit the Ninja style, if they ever did a set of greeting cards these would be the illustrations.xencounter group
‘Xencounter’

xendeleyev
‘Xendeleyev’

xenvy
“Xenvy’
xensual
‘Xensual’

Zappa documentary by Alex Winter

Alex Winter’s new Zappa documentary is an amazing treasure chest of delights and essential for any fans of the man and his music. Given access to his legendary vault, Winter spent 2 years transferring and restoring films and tapes of every kind to build the visual elements and it’s incredible. Along the way he also came across lots of Frank’s original artwork including flyers and greeting cards he drew as a jobbing artist in the 60s. This is another string to his bow that is rarely acknowledged but always a treat to see. Below are some screen grabs, check out the doc if you can, go here to find it www.thezappamovie.com plus there’s a soundtrack available.

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PS: I know this last one is a Cal Schenkel illustration – for more Zappa art go here and here

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

SunMoth 1

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

SunMoth 2 SunMoth 3 SunMoth 4

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

EgoStrip bookEgoStrip spreadDanLish_Kraftwerk

DanLish_JazzyJ DanLish_Rammellzee DanLish_QBert

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.

ChysaChysa + crew

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.

Super Chip 1Super Chip 2Super Chip 3Super Chip 4Super Chip 5

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.

014-brian-eno

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?

Posted in Art, Music. | 3 Comments | Tags: