Monday, July 25, 2011

2001: A Space Odyssey at Folly for A Flyover

Keeping the space theme alive, and to celebrate the return home of the Unknown Fields division on Saturday, I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey outdoors at Folly for A Flyover while the sun set, turning Hackney Wick a rare shade of gold for just a few moments...


Last Minute Holly Wales

August 1st sees me set sail across Europe with Neasden Control Centre on a month-long 'residency without a residence', to live outdoors, to draw, write, and take part in whatever comes our way, inspired by Portable Dwellings.

If you have a commission, get it in by Friday! My pens are at the ready.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


I've always been fascinated by language and it has probably been one of the driving forces behing me as an illustrator. I have notebooks just for collecting titles in; prospective titles edited down from longer sentences, stolen from conversations, things taken out of context; to one day become the parameters for a new project. Sometimes a title is enough to win me over in buying a book, and rarely do I get the same sense of optimism and hopeful possibility once I've finished reading the whole thing.

A title can be very suggestive, and two or three words can cover a lot of ground; the gap between them becomes a thing in itself; huge and full. (There is something I like about this to do with wholeness.)

Pictures have always had a close relationship with titles, but in this internet-world where the filename becomes the closest you'll get but never see, and images are borrowed and freely redistributed out of context, there became something interesting about selecting titles from a book and displaying them without illustrations.

At the Q&A at [On...] Innovation & Ownership, someone asked the panel a question I have heard a lot of times from students; 'do you think that looking at blogs and having access to so much illustration is more destructive than useful?' Seeing so many images on blogs can be paralysing for an illustrator, but ideally words have the opposite effect, and become a starting point for work.

(image credit The Pictoral History of Magic and the Supernatural, Spring Books 1964)


Friday, July 15, 2011

G: An Avant-Garde Journal of Art Architecture Design and Film 1923-1926

"The industrialisation of construction depends upon materials. Anyone expecting to reach the industrialisation of construction only through the active and contemporary form of organisation is wrong."

I read this today and I think it sums up wonderfully what I was trying to communicate about the importance of making over talking, at the [On...] Innovation & Ownership event hosted by It's Nice That last night. It comes from a book I bought at Tate on Tuesday when I went to see the Vorticists show which showcases content from the journal G: Material Zur Elementaren Gestaltung from 1926.

source: G: Material for Elemental Form Creation from An Avant-Garde Journal of Art Architecture Design and Film 1923-1926 edited by Detlef Mertins and Michael W. Jennings


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WET Magazine

(image credit - Bedford McIntosh)

Amazing covers for WET, The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing which was published in Venice and Santa Monica in LA between 1976 and 1981 by Leonard Koren.

You might have noticed a theme here; if it's celebrating swimming, I'm into it.


Its Nice That / Innovation & Ownership

Tomorrow night I will be speaking at the ON [...] Innovation & Ownership event, hosted by It's Nice That.

Holly Wales, joined by Bobby Evans from OPEN, will be exploring the ‘Ownership of The Visual’, thinking through making, and a thumbs down to the buying and crowd-sourcing of detached ideas; "we are interested in curating a space where experimentation can be nurtured and cultivated in order to realise our ideas."


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Flatland - Carl Sagan


small thoughts for a tuesday

"What is the nature of the search? Really it is very simple; at least for a fellow like me. So simple that it is easily overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life; to be aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something."

from The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy (1961)

I am thinking often about 'search' V 'research' and how either seem to behave whilst in progress. If you pinpoint a singular moment from the search, you take away it's pretext or subtext, and are left with something - not useless - but a flag to depart from in a new, albeit random, direction.

This element of random occurs so much in terms of the way we are presented with singular images, that narrative often finds itself disrupted and changed on the fly, by the individual, but not necessarily out of choice.

With that in mind, which way do we proceed?


Unknown Fields Division (...)

(image credit Baikonour - NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Good luck to the Unknown Fields Division travelling research circus as they arrive in Kiev, Ukraine today for the start of a 10-day exploration of the CHERNOBYL EXCULSION ZONE to BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan. An exciting project which I have been following closely as Neasden Control Centre joins them as artist in residence.

(image credit Pripyat swimming pool - Martin Stens)

As part of the Unknown Fields programme, I was lucky enough to hear scientific illustrator Cornelia Hesse Honegger speak at the AA School - I've been fascinated by her research into the insects found near to Pool B30 at Sellafield nuclear plant, but what I found most interesting were her repeat studies of forms collected and observed from the Chernobyl exclusion zone and further afield, following wind direction patterns to places where the natural world has quietly, furtively been mutating at breakneck speed, illustrated in sequence. I love the repetition of forms, the minor alterations, and the composition of all the elements together.

(image credit - Cornelia Hesse Honegger)

By chance, I had used a similar idea to illustrate part of Buckminster Fuller's definition of synergy for this year's water projection film for Latitude Festival. It takes the form of a collaboration with Neasden Control Centre and you can see it live at the festival this weekend!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Origin Coffee - HONDURAS San Miguelito

I recently illustrated this packaging for Origin Coffee as a collaboration with Falmouth friends A Side Studio. It's available to buy from the Origin shop here.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky

Earlier this year I watched Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky (1972) and began making imagery to reflect the feel of the film; I was intrigued by the houseplants, numerous vases, birdcage and details within the house but made a conscious effort not to depict anything which could be a direct interpretation of the set, props or actors. I based a lot of the shapes which I generated these images from on patterns in brickwork, tiled ceiling detail, long grasses and then abstracted them. This isn't really a conclusion to this project, but a junction - it's been good to work on something so on-going in between everything else.

I guess I see this as a development of the work I made based on Twin Peaks by David Lynch, although I was keen to look at narrative in a slightly different way. I read something where 1960's LA painter Robert Irwin talks about 'a narrative which folds in on itself' which has been an underlying theme here in terms of how I am working with materials.


4 days in the Lake District

Adding to collections already begun by others.

Short lessons in dam building: adding to structures already begun by others; making one part of the dam stronger weakens another, and taking stones from the shore to throw to the other side makes the river too wide to cross.

Our camp at Lower Wray, Lake Windemere in Cumbria this weekend.