Behemoth Lives!

Margate is currently hosting a variety of art events related to T.S.Eliot (who wrote the Wasteland here almost a century ago), including a weekend dedicated to cats over Easter. I created this print based on Bulgakov’s the Master and Margarita, and a giant painted banner version of it to hang up at the show. It was a bit last minute, but I got it all done on time. The show is on at the Viking Gallery off Northdown Rd over the long Easter weekend and until the 7th of April.

I hadn’t realised until I was getting the Russian quotes for the text that the book is actually set this week, with the demons’ ball happening on Good Friday. Good synchronicity. The Cyrillic text says “The Master and Margarita” and “Behemoth lives!”

Prints are available from the gallery, or to order online here.

The banner is about 5ft/1.5m tall. It looks small in this photo, but it’s huge in real life. After we’d hung it, me and the curator decided to create a shrine to Behemoth’s demonic powers. The Russian quotes from the book on the wall say “manuscripts don’t burn” and “poison, give me poison”.

What to offer to a demonic Russian cat? Dead flowers, cat food and an empty bottle of vodka.

I also created some fake cult recruitment leaflets, in lieu of business cards.

 

 

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Very Friendly

Here’s some photographs I took of my friends’ band Very Friendly (an EP and hopefully album coming later this year) For a while we had intended to take some promo shots with a miserable day at the beach theme, and then the beach was suddenly covered in thick snow, so this happened over a lunch break. Harry eventually got warm again. Eventually.

Editing the photos was actually quite tricky. I took around a hundred, but with the snow flying around there were a lot with closed eyes or grimaces, and colour correction took a light hand. You have snow, water and skin, and you have to balance atmosphere with realistic skin tones.

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Some interesting odds and ends

Glyphr Studio– slightly clunky website that lets you make fonts from vector graphics

Inside Jayne Mansfield’s ludicrously pink 50s mansion

Free perspective grids for drawing

 

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Bodies and entitlement

CW- non-sexual nudity in photos, body fascism, misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual assault. Don’t even think about leaving a creepy comment.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount lately about bodies and entitlement to them. Mostly fuelled by a combination of being cat-called on the street a lot lately, and meaning to start going to life drawing class again but not being able to afford it/getting round to it.

I started going to life drawing classes as a teenage art student, and I think it did me the world of good even outside of the art training. Spending an evening every week staring intently at some naked middle aged hippies gave me a far more realistic idea of what bodies should or could look like than the media ever could, and a lack of concern about taking my own clothes off (aided by a lot of medical appointments over the years that have involved getting naked, and sometimes being watched by a load of medical students). The weird squeamishness about nudity is always something that has annoyed me about the culture of the UK.

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Whitstable print

Here’s an illustration I recently did of Whitstable seafront. A3, A4 and A5 giclée prints are available here.

 

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Primordial Soup

Here’s a gig poster I drew recently. I was given free reign to do whatever I wanted, and it turns out what I wanted was to do a fake cyanotype of pondscum. Facebook event for the show here.

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Ma Chambre

So here’s my room. I moved to this small unfurnished flat in October, and until the New Year I didn’t have a bed or enough shelves, so everything was in boxes all over the place, and it didn’t look great. The other room has both the living room stuff and my desk, which isn’t ideal. Photos of that will have to wait because it’s currently covered in a load of paperwork and art stuff.

Pictures stuck to the wall- an assortment of postcards, photos I’ve taken, and prints friends have given me. I found the 70s bedsheets when I was clearing out my nan’s house (I now have about 7 different duvet covers because of this). The cushions were a gift from Morocco.

The chest of drawers also came from my grandparent’s house. The glowing thing on the left is one of those essential oil vaporisers. I mostly use a mix of lemongrass, cedar and bergamot oils in it (I have one in the other room too)

This flat has no storage outside of the kitchen cupboards. I would love to have an actual wardrobe and get rid of the clothes rail. See the edge of the fake Marimekko curtain. I realised when I moved that I actually previously had it hung up upside down, and the hem is weighted with a chain.

Lots and lots of books and cameras. The shelves are modular ones from Muji made of recycled paper. Each row is a separate unit. Every time I move house I think “my life would be so much simpler if I wasn’t interested in books, music or art- I’d have no stuff” (The records and art stuff are in the other room). I guess you can weigh up that trade-off yourself.

 

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Dawnwalker

So I recently did some artwork for an album cover- Human Ruins by Dawnwalker (featuring Dane Cross from Sacred Son, who caused an incredible fuss last with the Black Metal fanboys with his choice of album artwork) . I did the moons and runes, and someone else did the photograph and logo. Photos courtesy of Mark from the band.

Hear a track:

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New print- Sheep Skull

So here’s a new illustration I did. It’s actually based on a drawing I did when I was 17 that I found while sorting out some paperwork recently. You can buy monochrome and colour prints for £3-£30 over on the shop.

I’ve also uploaded the artwork to Society 6 to create tshirts, vinyl stickers and other goodies– please note, if you order, the goods are printed and shipped by the printing company rather than me.

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January Playlist

The second half of January has been a bad time for me, with a lot of very difficult things to deal with. I’ve been low on energy for doing anything much creative. Here’s a playlist of songs I’ve been listening to lately though.

 

1) Queen of Borrowed Light- Wolves in the Throne Room

I was really disappointed with the most recent Wolves in the Throne Room album. I mean I guess it’s nice that they stopped trying to be a pale copy of Brian Eno, but the new stuff was really generic. Enjoy this instead.

2) Mouth Breather- Jesus Lizard

This song is about Britt Walford from Slint. He might be great at drums and songwriting, but don’t let him mind your house. There will be plumbing incidents.

3) I Am Living Death- Institute

Great new punk/post-punk from Texas.

4) Real World- Hüsker Dü

Great old punk from Minnesota. RIP Grant Hart.

5) Cross the Breeze- Sonic Youth

6) Закрой за мной дверь (Zakroy za mnoy dver’ / Close the door behind me) – Kino

This song from the 80s is incredibly well-known in Russia. Viktor Tsoi is kind of their Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain rolled into one. In the early 80s he was repressed for his music- they had stopped sending people to the Gulag or falsely imprisoning them in mental institutions, but if you did anything to displease the authorities suddenly you would lose your university place and your job applications would always be unsuccessful. Tsoi was kicked out of art school and given a job as janitor of his own block of flats for lyrics like “well this train isn’t going anywhere anyone wants to go” and continually pushing the very tight limits of what was allowed in public performance. By the late 80s under Gorbachev he was allowed to get away with lyrics demanding outright political change and became hugely successful in the USSR, but then died in a road accident less than a year after the Berlin Wall came down. You can see the lyrics in Russian & English here.

7) Abschied (farewell)- Nico

Nico on the other hand was a deeply unpleasant person, even if I enjoy her music. I’ve never really understood why people call the Marble Index “unlistenable” or an “ordeal”. It’s quite a soothing album really. I like the baroque style of this song- which extends to the lyrics, full of old-fashioned literary words like harren and verzehren. The words and translation are here.

8) Master Song- Leonard Cohen

I listened to Leonard Cohen non-stop when I lived in Budapest, and it fits the city and its atmosphere pretty well. I miss Hungary a lot, but no way could I live there under the current far-right (and increasingly actually fascist) government. The sooner Viktor Orbán is out the better.

9) Translate- Suuns

The soundtrack to walking over frozen rivers in the Czech Republic last year

10) Oh Yeah- Can

11) Pig- Sparklehorse

It’s still sad what happened to Mark Linkous.

12) Corpse Pose- Unwound

13) Night Goat- Melvins

14) Chromakey Dreamcoat- Boards of Canada

15) Etna- Sunn O)) & Boris

Around the Winter Solstice I always seem to want to listen to nothing but Sunn O)) and Earth. Let your ears take a soothing bath.

16) I Troldskog Faren Vild- Ulver

I like Ulver but am also aware that they are in some (many?) ways cheesy. The lyrics on this album are in Ye Olde Fairy Tale Norwegian and are actually pretty ridiculous (but let’s let them off, they were teenagers when they did this album). Enjoy them here.

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