November 28, 2013
Really fun commission I had made me revisit watercolour painting. I have not touched this medium for over 10 years, but the brief called for a rustic vintage recreation of very old Japanese food/beer posters in my own style.
Wish I had more time on this one, but for a rusty 10 year comeback I am happy with the results and hope to explore watercolour’s more. The wet on wet blend has a voice of its own and I like the lack of control as the paint does its own thing.
November 20, 2013
I formed the Ifreecans Collective in 2008 as an exercise for collaboration and a platform for different artists to showcase their work.
After a two year hiatus from the open air market scene, the Ifreecans Collective mark their return to Brick Lane Sunday Up Market this November – December with old school style.
“When We Were Kings ” is the name chosen for this comeback and offer will be 25 of some old school classic collabo pieces created by different Ifreecans Collective members from 2008-2011 created whilst working in Camden. We pulled works from our private stash to mark our return and will also have tees and other goodies on offer, but the original pieces will be the main highlight of the day and also the weeks after [if we have any left] .
We will be at the Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket, now know as the Homegrown Market of Sunday 24th November, at the upper level from 10-5.
You can also keep posted on the Collective activities on the Facebook page via the link below. Hope to see you then and the following Sunday’s till 22 December.
November 18, 2013
One of the most interesting projects I worked on in 2012 was for the short film Bue’ Sabi. The short film is doing well and has won a few awards and is still screening and doing its rounds in independent festivals. I posted about it a few times, but mainly in regards to the character designs that I created as well as using the characters on tees.
I was also commissioned to create the main logo and type to be used for opening and end credits. The brief was the type needed to be hand done and rustic . It had been a while since I had done anything major with type and drew upon the similarity of the language used in the film, Portuguese, as a starting point for creating my type. Brazil is also a Portuguese speaking country and most importantly has a very interesting type style known as Pixacao or Pichacao.
Pixação or pichação (Portuguese pronunciation: [piʃaˈsɐ̃w̃]) is a unique form of graffiti native to the Southeastern metropolises of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. It consists of tagging done in a distinctive, cryptic style, mainly on walls and vacant buildings. Many pixação artists compete to paint in high and inaccessible places, using such techniques as free climbing and abseiling to reach the locations. Pixação has inspired and formed many Brazilian street artists, such as Os Gêmeos and Nunca [Wikipedia]
Pixação acted as a great point of reference because there are so many different styles available. I borrowed, added and subtracted from a variety of sources until I created ‘my own’ version of typography for Bue’ Sabi. I created the type with a hand brush pen, scanned it into Photoshop, tweaked it slightly and the results can be seen above.
Apart from being a very fun and interesting exercise, the film features work by artists that I know personally such as Mohammed Yahya and Just A Band on the soundtrack and Ambra Vernuccio as the stills photographer.
You can see the whole film via the link below as well as more on the other work I created for Bue’ Sabi.
November 18, 2013
Have not posted anything in a while but have been busy with a variety of projects. I return to blogging with some editorial illustrations I have been working on recently. Been working for this company on a freelance basis for almost a year now, and have cultivated a working narrative method based on their mainly educational briefs which I now refer to as “lifewide” style. Its great to work with people who have a very specific idea on what they want, but who also respect your creativity and input and give you room to flex and develop your technique. Also getting back into adding typography into my illustrated work, especially with this company’s subject matter, mixing both is at times essential.
September 30, 2013
One of the first pieces to be completed during my stay in Cali is a piece titled ” Family”. It’s a mixed media piece created using spray paint, markers and acrylics.
Switched my style in regards to point of focus. Usually I focus more on eyes and posture, especially the hands. This time round I introduced teeth into the formula. They [teeth] feature in a lot of facial expressions, come in all shapes and sizes and hope to explore their use more in future work.
Trying to get my head around the use of spray cans as well as I used them more for backgrounds and effects, it will take some time but enjoying the results so far. More work to be posted up soon.
September 27, 2013
September 20, 2013
Made it back to Laguna beach and had a blast jamming with fantastic artist and sculptor Louis Longi at his studio. He recovered some doors from a demolished house and asked me if I wanted to paint something. Freestyled this in 4-5 hours with materials he provided, mix of spray cans and paint and they will be on display at his space in Laguna Beach. Looking forward to future jamming and more collaborations with Louis and his amazing space. See link below for mural that I did there last year.
August 29, 2013
Was contacted by a Nairobi based friend and talented musician wishing to commission some artwork for a poster for an upcoming series of indie live music gigs. He expressed concern that the poster and advertising graphics especially for music and live music events were stale , the graphics a mish mash of digitally blended soup and the type poorly thought out.
The gigs, bands, and music is fantastic, but the visuals do not reflect this. He wanted to create something that people would be happy to take home with them and that echoed his vision for his new project. What I got from this brief is create “a poster people would love to have/steal and hang up in their houses” and yet become a visual identity for the brand that can function on different formats. Above is a snippet of the artwork I am working on for the poster of the first of this gigs. More info and final piece soon to follow.
August 23, 2013
My painting portfolio has been updated with new material and once again collaborated with the very talented Ambra Vernuccio to take photos of my work [see more of her work via the link below]
The image above is a piece that I started in London in 2012 and left semi-finished in California. Decided to revisit it after almost 1 year and tweak it slightly. It was there composition wise , but “the devil is in the detail” and felt it was missing that extra push. Top photo was taken in 2012, when sketching ideas for the piece, second image [ photo by Ambra], was taken in 2012 when all the lines were in place, first colour photo taken with an Iphone in 2012 when working out the colours, following ones with a much better camera in 2013 [ I am no Ambra Vernuccio but I tried]
I changed the image and therefore had to change the tile to something a little more robust than the pieces’ previous given name. It is now known as NEFERTITI, BLACK JESUS BUDDAH & LUCKY PANTHER JUDAH ,strong you say, yes, but so is the piece.
The updated portfolio and Ambra’s work can be seen below and will post up more works in progress and complete pieces as and when I finish them.
August 19, 2013
Wanted to do a second mural in Africa after completing my first one which was done in Morocco in 2011. Had my eye on Nairobi for a long time and finally managed to get my chance to paint there in March of this year. It was a project very personal to me as it had a lot of history attached to it and I had a life changing experience whilst completing it.
I have known most the team members of vision 2020 for much of the earlier years of my life, and remember playing or rather observing them playing football on the same ground since the early nineties. The team had two separate divisions back then, the younger age group was around 8-10 years and the older around 14-18 years. It is super inspiring to see my friends and the kids, who are now grown men, having continued their passion for the sport, forming a league and now, using football as a tool for social change.
Having been benched for most of my time there [played football for fun, was either the goalkeeper or linesman -ish, whereas they were the pros and had a passion for it] it was a refreshing change to contribute something to the football pitch that they use and cement my history as part of and one of the lifelong supporters and members of Vision2020 FC [albeit creatively] . See the link below for more on the team and their activities. http://www.vzhon2020.kbo.co.ke/
The idea behind the mural was to create a narrative going round the pitch, where the ball is passed from one player to the other, each catching or interacting with it in their own style, until finally it reaches the striker, shot is taken, goalkeeper is caught unaware and its a goal. Time was tight and the grounds large making it an ambitious design to attempt but I am happy with where it is going*. I managed to get the help of two industrial designers from China, Rebecca and Kacey, who were staying at a local hostel and I am very grateful for their efforts as it cut my workload by half, as well as providing a fun jamming experience for all of us. It was their first attempt at doing/working on a collaborative mural. Total time spent on the work above was two weeks of painting, fitting in 4-5 hours a day as I had a few projects and errands to complete whilst working on the mural.
Super close to the end of the project I was struck down by Cerebral Malaria [having gone out of Nairobi a few weeks prior to painting] and this landed me in hospital for 1 week. Will not go into too many details, but it was a life changing experience, one day I was eating sugar cane and painting in the sun, next day I was in hospital with tubes running in and out and around me. From a creative point of view, it gave me the motivation to work harder and put out more material, from a living life perspective, it gave me a lot to think about and appreciate.
*I had to slow down and as a result, one side remains unfinished. I use the term unfinished loosely as to me it is a more “to be continued”. Gives me the motivation to go back, and also hopefully come back with some of my crew and friends to paint. Never thought I would say it but there is too much wall out there for me, plus sharing is caring. Plans is to drop down in Nairobi at some point in 2014 and pick up where I left off.
Needless to say, it was still one of the best experiences and most fun mural that I have worked on. To see the grounds transformed, reaction of the players, kids and local residents and to be part of my friends team and history is priceless. A big inspiration during this project was Margaret Kilgallen. Her style and works are beautiful, and since it is the second black and white piece I have done in almost 13 years, drew on her for visual guidance. “Always see the line waiver, thats where the beauty is” … a quote by a talented artist and it means a lot to me in more ways than one.