Thursday, 30 November 2017

'Chronica' Sleeve Artwork

I woke up this morning (I say 'morning' but technically I'd missed the cut-off for that time of day by about an hour) to find a note shoved through the letter box, telling me that the postman had left a parcel for me, tucked between the wheelie bins. Having a pretty good idea what the parcel contained I excitedly nipped out to retrieve it, before it could get rained on. The last time a parcel was left there, I'd been away from home for a week. And if you know anything about the British weather, then you can guess what state it was in by the time I found it.

The parcel turned out to contain exactly what I thought it would - 'Chronica', the new gatefold, double album on heavyweight vinyl, by The Scaramanga Six. Even though I completed the sleeve artwork some months ago, this was the first time that I'd got to handle a copy of either the vinyl version or the CD (digipack double-CD is on lovely reverse-board finish) version of the record. I must say that I'm very pleased with the results. The colour reproduction and sleeve design is spot on, and matt finish to the cardboard sleeve not only looks great but adds that extra tactile element. Now all I have to do is dust off my trusty gramophone and give this baby a spin...

The Scaramanga Six, for an English indie band, are pretty much in a class of their own. They're theatrical songs and flamboyantly aggressive stage presence has made them a significant band on the Leeds rock scene. Described as "the closest we'll see to a British answer to Fugazi", The Scaramanga Six exist in a Lynchian-like soundscape where the likes of Cardiacs or Tony Bennet wouldn't seem out of place.

So here's a little about the concept behind the double album (lovingly lifted from the band's own site).
The title of this work is ‘CHRONICA’ – containing an abstract story roughly hewn from a concept of a dystopian island society. A place where everything has fallen into ruin, yet people still seem to have the same preoccupation with the trivial crap they had before. The population trudge through a chaotic existence on top of each other with absolutely no hope of a better life. Society is reduced to its base behaviour yet people still crave superficial fixes. The human condition carries on regardless. There is no outcome, no lessons to be learned. Familiar?

Before I started work on the album sleeve artwork, the band sent me loads of notes on the concept and other useful information. Rather than try to tackle as many of the elements from the notes as possible (in a straightforward illustrative manner) I decided to try and produce something that engaged with feel of the run-down dystopian island society that the album describes, whilst still staying true to the aesthetic of my own work. To achieve this I started by collaging together distressed, old materials, on top of sections of antique packing crates (check out some of the gorgeously grubby old labels, still attached to the wood), sourced from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where I used to work. Then I painted over areas of the collage with images adapted from my own drawings of found objects, morphing in and out of one another.

Creative Debuts - Haunted House of Horrors Exhibition

It would seem that I've made a bit of a blunder over my blog post scheduling for the announcement of the final days of the Creative Debuts' Haunted House of Horrors exhibition (in which I had five of my small paintings), at their Shoreditch, London exhibition space. I had thought that it was to run till the 4th of December but it would appear that the show has already ended. Oops!

However, you can still find a small selection of my artwork, available to buy, on the Creative Debuts site.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Dyslexia Amazing Art Award 2017

On Saturday I was honoured to receive the Amazing Art Award at the 2017 Dyslexia Awards ceremony, which took place at the Engenuity science museum (part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums group). Here I am, proudly receiving my award from Jill Bagnall, the designer/maker behind Fusing Ideas Glass. Not only did Jill's company sponsor the award that I won, but Jill also designed and created the wonderful glass trophies for all of this year's winners.

©Infocus Photography – Michael Wilkinson 2017

As some of you may have spotted from my ten years or so of blogging, I am dyslexic - although, through the use of spell check and laborious self-proofreading, hopefully not too much of the negative side of the condition shows through in my writing. I say negative 'side' to highlight the point that dyslexia isn't just a disabling condition. The dyslexic brain can allow, what some might actually consider, an unfair advantage when it comes to creative thinking; especially when you consider how many pioneering creative minds were themselves dyslexic. People such as Leonardo da Vinci, Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney, Erin Brockovich, Richard Branson, John Lennon, and John F Kennedy, to name but a few. Not that all dyslexics can claim such talented and versatile minds - but at least it's nice to realise that you're included in the same pool of potential. And it's fantastic that we have people like Elizabeth 'Eli' Wilkinson, who set up the Dyslexia Awards organisation to help celebrate, and raise awareness of the positive aspects of Dyslexia.

I'd like to end this post by saying a massive thank you to all my friends, family and colleagues, who generously sent it such heartfelt and lovingly composed supporting nominations - and to the judges who selected me for the award, based upon what they read in those nominations. Last but definitely not least, thank you Eli and the rest of the Dyslexia Award team for all your dedication and hard work.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

All Aboard The Salvator Mundi Bandwagon

Did someone shout 'bandwagon'? Well, here we go then...
AP photo/Julie Jacobson

If you were one of the many (pretty much all of us) who couldn't afford the $450M price tag for a Leonardo da Vinci (that possibly isn't actually a da Vinci anyway - yes, I'm talking about you Salvator Mundi) then don't worry - I have come to save the day. For a mere £8, plus postage, you can be the proud owner of one of my 'DaVincipus' tote bags - 100% genuinely guaranteed not to have been anywhere near a Fifteenth Century, Italian Renaissance polymath. My design is, however, based upon Leonardo's Vitruvian Man drawing - but me being me, I've replaced the limbs with tentacles and turned the square and circle line work, as depicted in his original drawing, into a frame from which my 'cephalopodised' (what do you mean, that's a made-up word? Aren't all words made-up?) man suspends himself.

My DaVincipus design is screen printed in black and white ink on cotton tote bags, in a range of 17 different colours (limited edition of around 4-5 bags per colour). The bag dimensions are 40 cm x 37 cm (not counting the handles).

I should just mention though - if you follow the link to the full range of colours, the olive green bags have now sold out. And my 'Swirly Skull' tote bags have now, all but for one pink and six unbleached, also sold out.