Valentina Tereshkova stickers & Write More Letters patches

Photo of patches and stickers

While unpacking my art stuff, I found some long-lost screen-printed patches, and some packets of kraft paper sticker blanks I had no memory of buying. So I rejigged some old artwork to create some stickers.

The stickers are £1 for a pack of three, and the patches £1.50 each. Prices include UK postage. Find them here.

Metelkova

 

Street art in Ljubljana

Metelkova is an area in the centre of Ljubljana that was originally a military barracks, then was squatted in the early 90s when the Yugoslav army pulled out after Slovenia declared independence, and is now full of social centres, workshops and gig venues. (And a hostel where I stayed overnight before crossing the border to Klagenfurt for work).

The most famous area like this is Christiania in Copenhagen. I was very disappointed with Christiania when I visited last year. I liked some of the buildings there, but the central market area was sleazy and tacky and there was an aggressive atmosphere, and the place it most honestly reminded me of was the red light district in Amsterdam. Maybe its glory days were in the 60s and 70s when it was founded.

Metelkova is a different proposition. It had a friendly and relaxed attitude, and I never felt any qualms about wandering round by myself, an atmosphere probably helped by the fact that the city government takes a generally positive attitude to its existence. They still don’t pay any rent, but no-one seems to care. It was clean and pleasant- people seemed to respect the communal space.

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Margate Zine Club

I moved house last week back to back with coming back from Germany, and am exhausted, but here I am organising events. A little zine meet up in a lovely local cafe/record shop/yoga studio- plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. Free entry, and step-free, but sadly no disabled toilet (the toilets are upstairs).

Find out more info here.

Three new zines

I’ve got three new zines out . Each one is £2 (roughly 2.50 in USD or Euro) and available here.

Fanzine Ynfytyn 21
30 page 1/4 sized perzine on green paper

Going to Paris when you are broke, and managing to do it while the Charlie Hebdo shootings are going on.

  • Free Eurostar tickets
  • Walking miles and miles
  • French music magazines
  • €30 a night central Paris hotels, whose colour scheme can only be described as “depressed Willy Wonka”
  • Père Lachaise, Montmartre, Canal St Martin, St-Germain, Quartier Latin, Île St Louis, Jardin Luxembourg and a convenient view of the Eiffel Tower
  • Accidentally getting caught in a march of 1 million people
  • Zazie dans le Métro and other French film recommendations

Fanzine Ynfytyn 29
24 page 1/4 sized perzine on yellow paper

About Northern Italy. Travelling for work, and a last-minute trip to Lake Garda. You can see my photos of Lake Garda here.

  • Italy in the 90s
  • Getting sent to the wrong side of Italy by my job
  • Legnago, the most boring place in Italy
  • The joys of Italian electrics
  • Lake Garda then and now
  • The Name of the Rose
  • Catullus and an impromptu Latin lesson
  • Shadows of Fascism on Lake Garda
  • Invisible Cities

Film Photography 101
24 page 1/4 sized zine on green paper teaching you all the basics of film photography in a friendly jargon-free way.

  • Vintage camera types
  • How to fix common issues with second-hand cameras
  • How to clean vintage cameras
  • Lenses explained
  • Film types and sizes
  • Cross-processing
  • Uses of filters
  • Aperture explained
  • Shutter speed explained
  • The Sunny 16 rule
  • Exposure and EV rating
  • Tips for portraits
  • Tips for landscapes
  • The Rule of Thirds

 

Sick Exhibition

I’m much more timely with writing about this than I usually am, because the exhibition is currently running. My friend Zara Carpenter has curated an exhibition of artworks In Chatham related to chronic illness. It runs from the 4th to 27th August at Sun Pier House, Chatham. You can find out more about the exhibitors and philosophy behind the exhibition on the website. There are just some hasty phone photos from the opening night.

I went to the opening party last night. The big opening event was smashing the piñata. Participants in a workshop created a huge grey cloud piñata representing illness, and filled it with bright cheerful odds and ends like pompoms and badges.

Here you can see the printed stories of people’s illnesses on the outside of the piñata. I ended up with a paper crane and fabric flowers from the inside.

Zara also created a suit printed with names of invisible, long-term health conditions in UV ink. The names were only visible under the UV light of handheld torches, representing how debilitating illness are often hard to perceive from the outside.

Benesse Museum collection

Benesse House on Naoshima doesn’t allow photos of their modern art collection, so here is a selection of works I like by some artists I saw there. I though the space of the museum was wonderful, but the fact that there was no information about the artworks was a letdown. If you didn’t know much about modern art already, you might not have got much out of the visit, which is a bad thing for a museum, seeing as one of the main reasons to go is to learn new things.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat was a rags-to-riches super-star in 80s New York, (including dating Madonna) until he sadly died of a heroin overdose. His paintings are definitely even better appreciated in real life than in photographs. They’re absolutely huge, and have all kinds of layers, different texture and hidden tiny images and texts hidden in them when seen in person.

Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly also makes huge canvases, but is instead the world’s premium scribbler. It’s definitely the kind of modern art that people scoff at and claim they could do themselves in five minutes (but never actually do). Some of his works are huge surfaces covered in hundreds of tiny scribbles, but the essential thing is that he makes exactly the right scribbles that are expressive but also somehow soothing to the eye, which is far harder than it looks.

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Naoshima

(Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture on the beach)

I won a competition last year for free plane tickets to Japan, and went with my friend Vicky for just under three weeks in March, using a rail pass to explore the main island of Honshu and staying in hostels (and a spell in a hotel in Kyoto that came with the flights). Apart from the free flights we were totally broke, so a lot of the focus of the trip was on free or low cost attractions like scenery and museums and making maximum use of the rail pass rather than restaurants, bars or shopping. You can see more photos from other places in the Japan category of this blog, and also read about the trip in the zine I wrote.

Naoshima is tiny idyllic island in the Seto Inland sea devoted to modern art. The opening of the Benesse modern art museum (owned by the same organisation as Berlitz language schools) revived the island’s fortunes, although it’s still a small and quiet place with only a few villages and a lot of old people.

We visited the museum, but no pictures were allowed inside, so these are all of the rest of the island. I’ve made a post of some of the artists in the collection here.

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Colouring Book

colouring book web

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been drawing artwork for a colouring book zine, and here it is. It’s an A5 colouring book with 15 different images to colour and comes with a free packet of crayons. Postage is free within the UK, and calculated by weight for the rest of the world.

You can buy it, along with zines, prints and ribbon, here.colouring book previewHere is a free sample page as a pdf to print out:
a4 paper
US letter paper

Brown paper packages tied up with string

12.psd

I’ve also coloured a few of the colouring book pages in Photoshop, mostly for my own amusement.

To create this effect of being printed on brown paper:

  1. Auto trace your artwork to a black outline and transparent background on Illustrator (turn on ignore white on auto trace)
  2. Open up the file in Photoshop
  3. Add a scan of brown paper to the bottom layer
  4. Set the image outline layer to multiply mode and then copy the layer so it’s doubled up, and the topmost layer
  5. Use a separate multiply or hard light (whichever works better for that colour) layer for each colour underneath the outline, and colour in blocks using the most basic paintbrush (not one with airbrushing- the blockiest kind). Adjust the opacity of each layer to strike a balance between colour density and letting the paper texture show through.
  6. You can also use add noise and colour halftone filters on the colour layers to add texture- the roof here is one plain colour layer and one halftoned layer.

Colour me in

colouring book grid

Lately I’ve been drawing much more, and writing a lot less. I’ve been preparing artwork for a colouring book, which I need to get finished by the 12th of November, to have ready in print for the Rose Tinted Zine Spectacular in Brighton on the 19th of November. So there’s been a lot of 8 hour drawing sessions and high levels of caffeine consumption.

colouring book stuff

All of the images are based on real places.

tired me drawing

Tired after hours of drawing while visiting my dad.