I know that to our American, European, and world wide cousins, Christmas might not be such a big deal, but to us Brits it's massive. It's all about overindulgence – eating and drinking far too much, doing shameful things at the work's Christmas party (that would probably get you fired any other time of the year), and spending so much money on mostly unwanted gifts, for our loved and not so loved ones, that we can't afford to pay the rent for the next two months... there was also something about some chap being born in a shed but that was ages ago so I'm a bit fuzzy on those details.
So, if you're a Brit, or not, I'd like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Here's to world peace in 2016. After all, how hard can it be? If everyone of us tries really, really hard not to kill anyone else – problem solved!
Okay, I admit it – I'm taking advantage here of the materialistic side of the festive season and your amazing taste in art. If you haven't already blown your Christmas prezzie budget on shop-bought items how about something special, for that special art-lover in your life (best spoken in a sleazy, radio DJ voice) from my affordable art range?
All of the pieces in this series range from £70-£200 pounds. Many of the works have already sold but there are still plenty left. However, if there's one that you particularly like, and it's no-longer available, please feel free to get in touch (at email@example.com) and I can recreate it for you, or come up with something similar.
I developed the range by going through my last twenty years worth of sketchbooks, selecting various images, then reproducing them as drawings or paintings on hand-made plywood wall plaques. Here are three of the works but click here to check out more from the series, which I have called my Taster Menu. Because I'm selling them at a fraction of the cost of my larger work (of which, gallery prices range from £1,000-£20,000) they offer an affordable introduction level for new collectors.
Taster Menu was originally created for a four day pop-up event at the A plus A Gallery during the opening week of this year's Venice Biennale but because it's been very popular with fan's of my work (thank you very much by the way) I've decided to continue the range, and will be adding more to it in the coming year.
This is a reposting of an article that
I wrote three years ago, and pertains to an embarrassingly awkward
situation that I got myself into one Christmas.
It's also about one of those regrettable memories that I just can't
shake, so I thought it best to open old wounds, and share it with you one more
A few hears ago when I was working for a well known
London gallery, a colleague asked me if I knew of anyone that would be
interested in earning a bit of extra cash over the festive season doing
caricatures at a Christmas party in The City (London) for some big corporation.
The job was very well paid, involved a couple of hours of work drawing
caricatures of the company's employees - and more free food and drink than any
poor starving artist could wish for.
Well... what could I say but 'look no further - here's
I got the job and being overly confident in the fact
that I'd always been pretty good at caricatures at school (they'd got me in and
out of trouble with both pupils and teachers alike on more than one occasion) I
did no more preparation than buying myself a new set of Tomboy brush pens and
turning up at the venue.
At first, everything seemed to be going well. I was
introduced to a hip-looking young man and woman who handed me my wages for the
night (good start). They both looked super stylish. She had a cool bob (similar
to Uma Thurman's in Pulp Fiction) and he was slightly camp and incredibly well
turned out. So when they asked to be the first couple to be drawn I had no
problems. I quickly rendered them in a minimal, sharp cartoon style that suited
their look and everyone was happy.
Then everything seemed to go down hill from that point
onwards. Unfortunately the next subject wasn't so aesthetically well rounded
and feeling that their true essence wouldn't be captured using the previous
style, I changed tack. Instead of creating a fun stylised cartoon version of my
new subject I honed in on, and exaggerated, my hapless victim worst features.
It wasn't an intentional act of malice. I had merely focused on the most
prominent features and run with them – not thinking how the eventual image may
turn out. Needless to say, it didn't turn out well – at least not for the
subject. They weren't too pleased. I'd even go as far as saying that they may
have been a little upset.
I quickly realised my mistake. I had failed to fix on
one style, practice it beforehand and stick with it regardless.
By this point I was starting to feel a bit
uncomfortable – which didn't help when it came to the next subject. Desperate
to salvage the situation I tried yet another style but the only problem with
this was that unless I stuck with my tried and tested methods there was the
chance that the drawing would pay little resemblance to the person in front of
me so I soon reverted back to knocking out grotesque renderings from the now
large line of people forming next to me.
It was a very strange experience. I seemed to be
upsetting an ever-growing number of people yet more of them were queuing up to
be humiliated. And the more I tried to alter my style of drawing the worse
these sketched monsters turned out (this may have been something to do with the
vast number of drinks people were plying me with – which I was eager to consume
in an attempt to dull the anxiety).
Not only was there a long queue of people waiting to
be sketched but a large group had formed of slightly drunk folks who were
obviously enjoying their fellow employees' visual assassinations (at this point
I honestly no longer felt in control of what my hands were producing) - so much
so that splinter groups were now breaking off from the main mob in search of
juicier victims. A couple of them dragged over a lady who must have been the
fattest person in the whole company. I think that the alarm in my eyes must
have mirrored that in hers. My mind was screaming 'please – not her!' but my
fingers showed no mercy. One poor chap, after I handed him my rendition of him,
simply looked at me with such devastation in his eyes and said 'I'm gonna go
home now and hang myself'. I truly believe he didn't really mean it and it was
just the drink talking but it obviously didn't ease my conscience.
After two of the longest hours of my life I apologised
to the long line of people still waiting to be drawn (I should really have
apologised to the ones I'd already sketched) and made my escape. I tell you –
once outside of that building, London's air had never before smelt so fresh and
the sense of relief never so palpable. I probably won't be doing that again -
I've been working on a project with two friends, Sam Frith and Ian Hamilton, aiming to encourage children to engage in more outdoor activities. The initial stage of the project is to produce a children's storybook that also doubles up as a cookbook, whilst providing seeds and instructions for growing one of the ingredients that forms an integral part of the story. And today our crowd funding campaign, by which we aim to fund our project, went live.
My part of the project, so far, has been to come up with the original sketches for the characters (some of which you can see here), and to sculpt a 3D model of the main character, Hugly. All the really hard graft has been put in by Sam and Ian – I'm just the doodler.
As is mentioned in our short video, we are looking to raise £8000 to self-publish our first Hugly and Friends interactive book. But this is just the start. We aim to exceed this target and use the excess money to help develop Hugly’s world in more detail, offering exciting grow kits, outdoor games and interactive apps that use real outdoor experiences, and much, much more.
So here's the bit where we ask for your money. If you like the idea of what we're trying to achieve then it's easy to donate to the project – just click on the link and follow the simple instructions. As an incentive, pledgers will receive varying rewards; ranging from a credit in the book, a copy of the book, T-shirts - right through to an invite to our launch party at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall'sRiver Cottage, and for the top pledgers, the creation of a character (which will appear in a future stage of our project) based upon themselves.
As the biggest market place for original art, with over 150,000 artworks available online, Artfinder has brought out it's first ever catalogue. This printed selection of the works available through Artfinder.com is a sample of the companies favourites, which makes me very pleased to have been chosen, especially since I am one of only five sculptors featured in the catalogue's pages.
However, if you check out my page on the site you'll find that Artfinder are not just selling my sculptural pieces. There is also my affordable range of mini paintings, drawings, and editioned screen prints – ideal Christmas gifts for the arty loved ones in your life ;)