Monday, April 30, 2012

Hello Head Project

I was invited by old-time friend and maker of wobbly detailed drawings Lucy Joy to take part in the Hello Head project, in which illustrators were paired together and invited to draw one another, without necessarily meeting. I was asked to draw the lovely Holly Maguire. Keep your eyes on the site for the launch of everyone's work and an exhibition to be announced soon!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Holly Wales joins PEKKA!

I'm really happy to announce that I have joined Agent PEKKA for representation in Northern Europe (and beyond!) and I am exhibiting a screenprint in their show in Amsterdam next month when they launch their new office in the Netherlands. My portfolio is now up on their site here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

North Tea Power / 7 Show

I have work in a show opening in Manchester tomorrow, alongside new pieces from Neasden Control Centre, Anthony Burrill, Hort, Hvass and Hannibal, Mario Hugo, Nous Vous, Yokoland and others.

You can find the gallery at
North Tea Power
36 Tibb St

Preview 19 April 2012
Exhibition runs till 7 June 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Some covers from old sheet music notation (or nuotit) I found getting dusty in Finnish bookshops this weekend. Anything is possible with two colours.

Lots of interesting things to think about came out of the Bookies event in Helsinki this weekend, for me, most predominantly - the emphasis on not publishing - or selecting the right way to publish - at a conference which otherwise encouraged the process. How can we make less while simultaneously making more? Solving problems in a way that doesn't get lost or archived or attached to a particular point in time. Active engagement over sharing passing thoughts. This is something I've struggled with for a long time, in terms of how to distribute my ideas without it contradicting my practice as an illustrator. Some ideas cannot be communicated pictorially, I think this is an important distinction. Making work and talking about work; the effects of making it and the world we make it in - just a few things I can't let go of and which are often prohibitive.

This is taken from something I picked up from Motto called The Pieces that Fall Through The Filter by Jerry Mander.

We have all had the experience of reading a paragraph only to realize that we had not absorbed any of it. It is only with conscious effort and direct participation at one's own speed that words gain any meaning to a reader. Images require nothing of the sort. They only require your eyes to be open. The images enter you and are recorded in your memory whether you think about them or not. They flow into your at their own speed and you are hard pressed to know a true image from one which is manufactured.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Secret Nuclear Bunker

A few weeks ago, I found myself several storeys beneath this bit of unassuming woodland in deepest Essex, almost unreachable by roads. Decomissioned in 1994, this was a UK secret government bunker to be used in the event of a nuclear war.

Monday, April 9, 2012

L'Optimum / Les Editions Jalou

A map of France for French client Les Editions Jalou.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

AOI / Transport For London 2012

I thought I'd challenge myself to enter this year's AOI/TfL competition, which was to illustrate the theme Secret London. I chose the campsite in Epping Forest which lets you light a real fire (!!!) and where you might actually come face to face with the deer who live there...

Exhibition at North Tea Power, Manchester

A risograph print produced in a limited edition of 7, made especially for A Show Called 7 at North Tea Power, 36 Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LA which opens later this month. Thanks to Jono at City Edition Studio for the printing!

Visualising Literature by Camberwell Press

I was invited by Billie Muraben of Camberwell Press to take part in their project Visualising Literature as part of the programme Into The Fold which took part over two weeks during March 2012 at Camberwell College of Arts.

The text I chose to illustrate, is taken from Anthem by Ayn Rand, one of my favourite authors. Anthem is written as the diary of Equality 7-2521, a young man living in a future in which people have lost all knowledge of individualism, to the point of not even knowing words like 'I' or 'mine.' Everyone lives and works in collective groups, with all aspects of daily life dictated by councils - the Council of Vocations, the Council of Scholars, etc. When he is assigned to a menial job cleaning the streets, Equality 7-2521 rebels against collectivism by conducting secret scientific research, which eventually leads him to re-create electric light. When he presents his discovery to the Council of Scholars, they condemn him for daring to act as an individual.

This is a subject very close to my heart, more so than ever as we find ourselves in an (online) world where collectives are increasingly being relied upon in order to 'filter' content, and treated as a united voice. The diversities and complexities of us as individuals mean that a 'united voice' is impossible, even from groups where similarities may appear on the surface. This laziness is dangerous, and should serve as a call for better editors, prepared to sieve deeper (a new role in a new online world) for the truth*.

*Big word.

Here is my illustration, in response to text from page 52-53:

Then, after many tests, we found the answer. The frog had been hanging on a wire of copper; and it had been the metal of our knife which had sent the strange power to the copper through the brine of the frog's body. We put a piece of copper and a piece of zinc into a jar of brine, we touched a wire to them, and there, under our fingers, was a miracle which had never occurred before, a new miracle and a new power.

We have built strange things with this discovery of ours. We used for it the copper wires which we found here under the ground. We have walked the length of our tunnel, with a candle lighting the way. We could go no farther than half a mile, for earth and rock had fallen at both ends. But we gathered all the things we found and we brought them to our work place.

I took a very consciously deconstructive approach to this illustration. I wrote and re-wrote the text out in terms of lists of objects and actions - very similar to the idea behind the Visualising Literature workshop at Into The Fold. Instead of trying to summarise the text as a whole, it became about connecting up and joining together the individual elements. I have become more aware of this as a subconscious process within my work and I am interested in exploring the space just before the 'whole' comes together.

Galvani's Frog - Luigi Aloisio Galvani discovered that the muscles of dead frogs legs twitched when struck by a spark in 1771. He also died on my birthday - 200 years before I was born!

I'm really happy to be part of this project, and looking forward to seeing everyone else's contributions!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Guardian / Money

An editorial illustration for the Easter weekend's Money section of The Guardian, about how Tesco are buying up and turning so many local pubs into stores. If you missed the paper, you can read the whole article here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Silent Auction at AUCB

One of my motel prints will be available at this silent auction to raise money for the third year illustration degree show at Arts University College Bournemouth later this month.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Popshot Magazine / The Power Issue

An illustration I did recently for Popshot Magazine: The Power Issue for the poem The Mayor's Chair by Ed Blundell. You can purchase your copy of Popshot through their shop here.

The Mayor's Chair looks at the memorials of past power, once coveted and occupied by the important, which are now hollow and empty symbols.