British Phonographic Industry Award

A strange text popped up on my phone today, informing me I’d be getting a delivery from ‘Award Framers’. I had no clue what this was about but as predicted, the package arrived and I opened it to find…

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Wow! I was genuinely shocked!  A British Phonographic Industry Silver Record Award.  I don’t tend to put too much stock in awards but I just held it up, staring at it, smiling but completely baffled!

I don’t know how these things work, whether the BPI always sends these out to whoever is credited with the artwork for the record, or whether the band or management create a list of people they felt contributed to the record’s sales, or whether I’ve just been presented with this by mistake…?

All I can say is I’m sincerely flattered to receive such a thing and very pleased that the artwork is considered to have contributed in however small a way to the success of the record.

As I have said before, I’m proud of the work I put into this, especially since it’s an independent release. The Public Service Broadcasting guys are decent, thoughtful people and deserve every success.

Hollywood Cougar

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A few months back, a private client got in touch and commissioned me to create a piece of artwork just for them and their partner.

They were very specific about the colours they wanted, as well as composition and style. The subject matter is a secretive cougar called ‘P22’ which lives in the Hollywood hills and is usually only seen by the scientists that track him. A photographer got some amazing photos a few years back which were the inspiration for the client’s commission.

Anyway, after some back and forth sketches, this was the end result.

Original drawing done in brush, pen & ink and then coloured and arranged digitally.

Printed as a 60x50cm posh digital print, a signed edition of just one, now framed and in their home. A fun piece to create.

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Leeds International Beer Festival

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Art & Music Lineup Poster

I recently finished a large batch of design and layout work for the Leeds International Beer Festival.

I’ve actually done work for them for the past 3 years but the weeks prior to the festival are so busy for me, I’ve neglected to post about it! This year is the first year I can actually attend the festival (finally!) so I decided to take the time to document some of the work I’ve done.

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Beermat design for 2016 – combining Drew’s artwork with new masthead and typography

I was brought onboard in 2014 after being recommended by friend & illustrator Drew Millward, whose bold artwork has provided the festival with a very recognisable visual style ever since. Design and Illustration, while often overlapping, are very different disciplines and sometimes require a different approach and set of skills.

In the case of LIBF, Drew illustrates the festival poster, provides me with the photoshop file, and then I develop that into a visual style that is used across the rest of the festival – coming up with a complimentary colourscheme, typography, and even chopping up and rearranging the artwork for different applications.

Here are some key things I try to keep in mind with this work:

  • Keep it functional and easy for the audience to read/use/engage with – sometimes good design works quietly in the background.
  • Ensure that design work fits seamlessly with Drew’s illustration work to create a consistent, recognisable tone of voice – compliment not compete!
  • Give it enough character and colour so that it feels fresh, new and different from the previous year.
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Drew’s crackin’ 2016 Poster

Not all illustrators get on with the rules-based aspects of design but I actually really enjoy this type of work. It requires a change of mental gear, for sure, but it’s also very satisfying when everything ‘just looks right’ on a page, and information is clear and pleasing to the eye.

The artwork Drew has created for this year’s festival is some of my favourite work of his, so a highlight for me has been taking that artwork apart and reassembling to create a pair of huge billboard designs.

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Some elements are reused and I’ve even drawn some additional parts to match the style, so the end result falls somewhere between collaboration and forgery.

It’s a strange part of the job, essentially scrutinising and then dismantling your friend’s work, but I’m really satisfied with the final billboards and appreciate Drew’s total trust in me to reconfigure his work into a different format.

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I found a great set of bold typefaces which I felt would be perfect for the festival this year, so created the ‘Leeds International Beer Festival’ masthead which is used in various places.

The bulk of the work, of course, has been laying out the 44 page Festival Programme. It’s a simple, practical thing but a lot of thought has gone into putting it together – giving each beer section a coloured edge so it’s easy to flick through and making sure there’s logic and consistency to how information is layed out.

I’m really proud of all the bits and pieces I’ve put together. Thanks go to Darren and Maria, the festival organisers, for hiring me and being so enthusiastic to work with.

I’m really looking forward to the festival! There are an overwhelming amount of great beers available. I hope the design work remains functional and enjoyable to the eyes when the reader is good ‘n drunk.

Cheers!

Thanks Green Man 2016

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This year I again had the pleasure of being involved in Green Man Festival, exhibiting and selling printed wares along with fellow UKPA artists Luke Drozd and Tommy Davidson.

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to all the people who came visit our little marquee and purchase screenprinted art, or get involved with the live printing demo, or even just offer complimentary words on what we were doing.  GM continues to be a great festival to be involved with.

This year, along with posters for selected individual acts, we created an official festival silkscreen poster – a collaborative design by myself, Luke and Tommy. These proved incredibly popular and we look forward to this being a continuing tradition for future GMs. If you missed one, or if you would like to pick up any of the individual prints we had available, the details are below:

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The Green Man collaborative print & the smaller, A3 live print are available here: http://ukpa.bigcartel.com/

BEAK> (by Luke Drozd) – Available here: http://lukedrozd.bigcartel.com/product/beak-poster-green-man-festival-2016

Belle & Sebastian (by Graham Pilling) – Available here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/460634416/belle-and-sebastian-green-man-festival

Songhoy Blues (by Tommy Davidson) – Available here: http://tommydavidson.bigcartel.com/product/songhoy-blues

Wild Beasts (by Tommy Davidson) – Available here: http://tommydavidson.bigcartel.com/product/wild-beasts

‘RIDE HARD’ new Open Edition

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I’m pleased to announce my popular ‘Ride Hard & Earn the Downhill‘ print (which has been out of print for a while now) has had a fresh lick of ink and is now available in a different format.

Originally, the design was created for the ArtCrank London 2011 exhibition. The first edition sold out, as did the second edition (marked with a small ‘2’ cog motif in the bottom right corner).

I’ve been asked many times if a 3rd edition was planned and after some thinking, I decided to recreate the design as an ‘Open Edition’ print (i.e. one that is not numbered) and will continue to be hand-printed by me as long as there is interest in it.

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The original 2 limited editions of the print are still as limited as they ever were, so I do hope the open edition version is not something which anyone considers to lessen the value of the previous prints.

The original images actually contained a cool little easter egg which only a few people got: the barbed wire fence in the foreground was a tribute to Dutch cyclist Johnny Hoogerland who had a particularly nasty crash into some barbed wire in the 2011 Tour de France but showed amazing toughness (as the pro cyclists often do) and continued on to finish the Tour.

This new and updated version has been refreshed with some subtle changes to the art, but the main difference is (due to popular request) the size of the print, which has been reduced from the previous A2. The print is now a little over A3 in size and should be much easier to frame, as well as to find wall space for.

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This hand-made print is priced at a very affordable £25 and is available from my Etsy shop here.

Also – by popular request – a companion ‘RUN HARD, EARN THE DOWNHILL’ print is on the way… more info soon.

 

I Art in Your General Direction

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I’m very proud to have created a piece of work for this official Monty Python tribute exhibition.

The opening is this Friday in Leeds from 6pm, at the Northern Monk Brewery (Facebook Event page here).

My contribution is an 8 colour screenprint featuring Tim the Enchanter from MP’s Holy Grail. As an added bonus to make each print completely unique, there is a little killer rabbit printed on each one in a completely different place. This was a time consuming and technical print but I am really pleased with how it came out.

Here’s a little preview…

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Screenprinting Workshop – June 2016

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Myself and good friend Cameron Steward will be hosting another Screenprinting Workshop on the weekend of 25th and 26th of June.

The course takes place at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop in Mirfield, and is £130 to enroll and there are spaces for 6 attendees only.

Cameron and I really enjoy running these courses, the atmosphere is really informal and it’s always a good laugh. Cam wrote up a great post on the last workshop which you can check out on his blog: twoducksdisco.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/go-forth-print.html

While not intended as a beginner’s course, no previous experience of screenprinting is required but would of course be helpful. This course is best suited to graphic designers or illustrators wanting to learn how to translate their work into screenprinting, or for those who have already started out in printing and want to improve their skills.

Here’s what an attendee of our last workshop had to say:

The weekend course with Graham and Cameron was the most enjoyable I HAVE HAD of any workshop – EVER!

They are both extremely knowledgeable but at the same time amazing at passing on exactly the required amount of info to pupils within their personal limitations. I really appreciate all the time you gave me and all the encouragement. The trouble-shooting session whilst screen-printing is what I found most valuable – it’s all very well to know what’s meant to happen, but amazing to already know what to do when it’s actually not! Both Graham and Cameron have such a nice, quiet, laid-back style in teaching that it caused our group dynamic to be excellent as well. I have not been to any other weekend course where a group has been as good at pulling together and helping one another out as this past weekened.”

More information and booking details are to be found here: www.wypw.org/shop/screen-printed-posters-june/

INK & PAPER 2

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Ink&Paper 2 is the highly anticipated follow-up to our 2012 Ink&Paper exhibition. It is being organised by myself and the other UKPA and will take place in London in early May.

Like the first event, this will be one of the biggest exhibitions of contemporary gigposter art in the UK. We’ve curated an amazing lineup of some of the best UK gigposter art talent and it includes some artists who are a little newer to the medium but no less exciting. It promises to be a great event and I’m very proud to be involved.

Come along to the private view on Friday 6th May and enjoy some complimentary fizzy booze-pops and mingle with many of the artists and doodlers involved!

It will be held at Stour Space gallery and is happening with the generous sponsorship of Awesome Merchandise, Lagunitas Brewing, eFrame, and British Underground.

Hope to see you there!

 

Solenoids & Asteroids Pinball print

Pinball Art Prints is a series set up to celebrate the bold and vibrant art of classic pinball machines.

Along with fellow print making artists Luke Drozd and Drew Millward, I was asked to create a design to be made into a silkscreen art print.

Here’s what I came up with:

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And here’s some blurb about what I hoped the piece would capture:

 

“There’s something really compelling about the space under the glass on a pinball table. Like a miniature theme park or haunted house, full of lights and trapdoors and moving parts, waiting to be explored. I wanted to reference the feeling of that sealed, otherworldly environment and decided depicting it as a space scene would be a good way to go. Initially I started sketching out designs as if they were to be used as an actual table layout but they seemed too flat to me, like they weren’t adequately conveying the space that I wanted them to. So I came up with a more lively space battle scene in a style that might have been used as cabinet or scoreboard graphics, and the vibe seemed to click. As a designer I often have to be rather restrained with colour and composition, so it was actually a lot of fun to pile on all the elements to give it that really frenetic ‘multiball’ feel. I really enjoyed creating this piece of art and I hope it goes some way to capturing part of what makes pinball tables so enticing.”

 

This print is limited to a regular edition of 100, a foil variant edition of 20, and includes a signed Certificate of Authenticity.

18″ x 24″ 5-color print on archival, acid-free paper.

These are available in my Etsy shop now: www.etsy.com/shop/ArmyOfCatsPrints

Yorkshire Three Peaks Prints

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I recently illustrated and screenprinted a set of prints depicting the Yorkshire Three Peaks: Pen Y Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough.

I’ve hiked and run around this area of the Yorkshire Dales many times, and have even done the Three Peaks Fell Race a couple of times also.

I’ve been up them when it’s been clear enough to see all three from one spot, and I’ve also been up when they’ve been covered in snow – whatever the conditions there’s always something special about these peaks and I wanted to commemorate that with these pieces of art.

You can see some more process photos over here. They are available to purchase on my Shop.

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