Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Robert Walser

"With all my ideas and follies I could one day found a corporate company for the propagation of beautiful but unreliable imaginings" - Robert Walser (Institute Benjamenta)

(The Quay Brother's film Institute Benjamenta, based Walser's book,
and one of the most beautiful films ever made, is due to be released on DVD next month)

Friday, 23 October 2009

I've been dipping my toe into watercolour painting...and I am starting to like it. (That's why the portrait project went downhill so fast I'm afraid. Because Dan bought me some beautiful distracting flowers and I just had to paint them.)

But now I have an exciting new project to work on - a record sleeve for a folk musician!

And I've just re-discovered this:
In the past, whenever I was struggling I would turn to that list of delights.
Or Alan Fletcher's fantastic book "The Art of Looking Sideways".

(Its good to grow and experiment. I remember a few years ago having a tutor tell me "you really need to stop taking risks". It really bothered me, because what's the point if you never take risks with your work?
But then, when I went home that day The Short Films of the Brother's Quay had arrived in the post, and I fell into their world and realised I should never stop taking risks. And that's how I got into pictorial calligraphy.)

The Calligrapher - rejected BBC2 ident by the Quay Brothers:

Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies - by the Quay Brothers: (I can still remember my amazement at the moment when the mapping pens pirouette calligraphy spirals in stop motion)

Anyway, enough blabbering. Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


"Bicycling is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of birds.
The airplane simply carries a man on its back like an obedient Pegasus; it gives him no wings of his own."
- Louis J. Helle jr.

nna Karina in the Godard film "Une femme est une femme":

Monday, 12 October 2009

Saturday, 10 October 2009

snippets from my Amsterdam sketchbook

I have just returned from visiting Dan in Amsterdam...and it was so hard to leave. I want to live there. It is so beautiful. Me and my little bicycle would be so happy there.

While I was there we visited the Van Gogh Museum, and were particularly surprised by his Japanese influenced paintings (which we hadn't really seen before), but not so impressed with the layout of the gallery which meant you had to skip anything near the corners because they got so crowded. I suppose that is always an issue with galleries housing very famous works though. Van Gogh's letters can now be viewed online here.

We also popped into FOAM (the Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam) which had a really interesting exhibition of Leonie Purchas's work "In the Shadow of Things" exploring very honestly and intimately her mother Bron's OCD and its effect on her family. There was a huge range of work involved, from christmas family photographs from Leonie's childhood, as well as handwritten lists from family members and a film of around 12 minutes made up of stills of their home life. Slides were projected in a dark room, along with headsets to listen to family members talking about their experiences. It was really fascinating.
There was also a
n exhibition of Charlotte Dumas' photographs of animals, particularly dogs (entitled "Paradis") which had eyes so human and expressive.

I had a wander to a little artist bookshop called Boekie Woekie which was full of a large variety of handmade books. However, there weren't that many illustrated books, which is what I was hoping for (I suspect there were lots I overlooked, there are bookcases crammed full of little books) They were mostly text-based and in Dutch. There was one set of books which really stood out for me - 3 little concertina books, of around A6 size, with wooden covers and screenprinted illustrations inside. They were utterly lovely.

I also we
nt to Huis Marseille which was showing a retrospective of Fazal Sheik's photographs, particularly focused on his portraits of refugees. I particularly liked this photograph which followed on from a whole wall of portraits of women dressed in pattered materials and headscarves - the various patterned markings on the doves seemed to mimic their clothes.

And an astronaut could've seen the hunger in my eyes from space

(From "The Missing Book", a book I made for Dan.)

sample spread:

NB: True story.
I dreamt about the biscuit during "The Postmodern Life of my Aunt".
It probably matched my dream about diagrams of acute and obtuse angles for sheer excitement and imagination.