Thursday, 23 February 2017

What am I up to: Fruitmarket Fair V


Preparing for this artists book fair, I thought of all the projects that I have done and would like to make into books, many of them I haven't got around to. Though some books I didn't expect to appear, 'Shoal' is one of them.
I have always beach combed, as a child, I was obsessed with collecting shells and dreamed of opening a shell museum. In the last few years, I would collect 'treasure' but I grew more and more aware of the increasing levels of 'trash', and so started gathering my treasure and balancing it with trash removal. The balance has gone now, I only collect trash and I cannot possibly collect it all, fabric and shoes that once would have rotted are now man-made fibers that do not decompose.


Plastic has replaced paper in items like ear buds and so the tiny plastic sticks litter everywhere. Wet wipes and disposable cleaning wipes abound, in a great gray mass that strangles the flora of the sea and helps to rip it from its holdfasts. I started to take this litter home by the sack full and photograph it and then working on these images in photoshop to convert them into 'fish'.
I then used these images for a self-made campaign called 'Plenty More Fish In The Sea' which I linked sometimes to Martin Dorey's #2minutebeachclean. Now I have created a hand-made book called 'Shoal' from some of the images. It is a great way to pull things together and is fun to see them in a book form.

Please if you live near the sea or ocean, join the #2minutebeachclean we have made a mess, it's time to clean it up.
Images top to bottom: Cover featuring Tampax dispenser., fishing line, and a rubber glove. Childs sock with polyester and lycra, Nylon netting sacks and finally a foam ear plug.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

What am I up to: The Fruitmarket Fair IV


My final revealer book has lovely pigeons and today I have one in the porch recovering and getting ready to be released. I have to say I am not happy about releasing it into the storm.



What am I up to: The Fruitmarket Fair III


Above is a crow revealer book being made and below is one of the crows when it is folded, and then when it is extended so you can see what it has eaten, a nice juicy worm in this happy crow.




Tuesday, 21 February 2017

What am I up to: The Fruitmarket Fair II

Days start early in my studio, and as the sun rises, I have a visitor who knocks on my velux window to say he has arrived and I go out to feed the animals; currently one seagull, one rabbit, four chickens and a black cat.

I love my wild gull, he gets very demanding in the spring when he has young, but the reward is that their maiden flights are always over to our roof. The rest of the year he is an ever-present beauty and wonder, a silent companion standing patiently on the glass above my head.
I had to make revealer gulls their expandable crops make them the perfect muses.
The starfish image I did actually see, as a gull gulped two starfish down one after another and I could see the shape of them in the bird's gullet.


These images make me smile, I hope you like them too. Books, cards, and posters will be on sale at The Fruitmarket Gallery on Saturday and Sunday and they are slowly making it into my website shop as well.





What I am up to: The Fruitmarket Book Fair I



Two months ago I put in an application to be part of the Fruitmarket Gallery artists book fair, I have never been to a book fair like this before and I certainly have not participated in one, but I thought it would be an enjoyable challenge and a way of processing some of my work into an accessible format.


I have a to-do list from early in January and strangely nothing on the list has been done, as I learned how to make something that I have called revealers. 
Initially, I created bearded men, with things written into their beard hair. Then I woke up one night and thought of a cat who likes cheese (as you do). This has evolved into a whole series of cats. Revealers unfold so that you can see what is hidden in the fold. In the 'This Cat' series it reveals what 'This Cat' likes to eat. 
 I made them into card/ posters, to start with as something very affordable for the fair. It was only in the last two weeks that I worked out a method to make them into books and then decided to make prints.


'This cat' has grown into 'This Pigeon', 'This Rabbit', 'This Crow' and 'This Seagull' and I am thoroughly exhausted. I think I have done a years work in eight weeks, but I am happy, it has been really good fun. Now I am packaging them ready for the Fruitmarket Book Fair which is in Edinburgh this weekend and also trying to get them on my website by the weekend so that people elsewhere can buy them.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Iwona Chimielewska IV




Beautiful textile illustrations by Polish illustrator Iwona Chimielwska to start the week.
Lets hope it is a good week.
Iwona Chimielwska has an amazing and refreshing diversity in her work, it is wonderful that she has been able to have such a successful career with constantly innovative work.





Sunday, 19 February 2017

Dick Bruna




Dick Bruna was born in the city of Utrecht in 1927 into a family of publishers, his great-grandfather founded the great Dutch publishing house A.W Bruna & son in 1868 and so throughout his youth, he was exposed to great books, authors, illustrators, and designers. He was expected by his family to go into the publishing business, but Dick despised the marketing and business of the publishing house instead he was naturally inclined towards art and design. After the turbulence of war, Dick could not settle to school and so served internships in London, Paris, and Utrecht enjoying the opportunity to see exhibitions and attend museums and galleries. 
 "I really went from one gallery to another, all day. I was so much impressed by the work of Picasso and Léger, Matisse, Braque and all those people". Dick Bruna 
Dick attends The State Academy in Amsterdam but he did not complete his studies here as he said he had no talent for painting or perspective.  On returning home he fell in love and proposed marriage to Irene de Jongh, but her father insists he gets a proper job and so reticently he accepts a position in the family business A.W.Bruna & son, and it is here that he hones his graphic design skills creating many wonderful book covers. In 1954 the company branched into Pocket/ Black Bears small paperback books similar to their competitors. Dick was allowed to try to make covers for this new format and drawing on his favourite artist Matisse he created distinct bold designs using black and primary colours and often using collage he liked its surprising results. 
"The first year a series of about six books appeared, the second year there were roughly eighteen, but soon afterwards there were more than one hundred a year. I realized that I, at this rate, had to apply all possible techniques: drawing , tearing, cutting, collage. The black bears were my artschool." Dick Bruna

In this way, he developed a new corporate identity for the company designing posters for railway stations to promote new editions over the years. During his time with the company, 20 years from 1952-1972, he produced over 2000 book covers and over 1000 posters. 


But it was on a wet summer holiday that his most popular and iconic design appeared, a small white rabbit called  'Nijntje' or 'Miffy' (Little Rabbit) in English, created to entertain his son. Miffy was to feature in 32 books and has so far sold over 85 million copies worldwide.  





This career in children's books resulted in 124 children's books, the last being 'A Gift for Grandpa Bunny' in 2009. Dick Bruna died on February 16th, 2017 aged 89 in his home city of Utrecht, in our hearts and children's libraries he lives on through his wonderful creativity and the enigmatic Miffy 


“I would love to be able to draw like a child, so spontaneous, so open-minded on those big sheets. As an adult you start to draw and then hope that you make something good, something beautiful. A child is not like that, they start and see what happens... I draw things you will see close to home, things that I also like. Maybe I still think a bit like a child, I have a childish mind, I think. There are a lot of things I don’t understand.”
Dick Bruna


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Dahlov Ipcar III




Over 28 years ago Dahlov Ipcar became fascinated by the images she saw looking through a kaleidoscope and tried to achieve the same opticals affect in her art. She began to compose circles within circles creating dynamic colour and pattern. Over the next 23 years, she created fifteen circle paintings, each concentrating on a different animal theme. 
"I have always considered my Circle Paintings as special, I enjoyed the challenge of working out all the complications." Dahlov Ipcar.


Dahlov Ipcar II


One of the striking qualities of many of Dahlov Ipcar's works is the balance, pattern and a bold powerful rhythm.




Friday, 17 February 2017

Dahlov Ipcar I

Above: Family Dinner.

This week saw the death of illustrator artist Dahlov Ipcar at the grand age of 99, you can see a video here of her talking about her life three years ago. Here in my first post, I share two less typical examples of her work featuring domestic scenes populated by animals.from the 1970's and a very early 1930 painting called Celestine in the Kitchen.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Natasha Gavrilova I




I love to send decorated parcels and letters and I would love to receive these charming collaged examples are by Russian illustrator and designer Natasha Gavrilova.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Judy Varga I



Today's offering is the wonderful 'Miss Lollipop's Lion by Judy Varga 1963. Judy Varga wrote and illustrated many books in the mid-twentieth century, they were full of great humour and joy. I have been searching the internet for some biographical information but it is surprisingly lacking for such a prolific and successful illustrator.