Saturday, December 18, 2010

Group Exhibition at The Urban Cow..

One of my illustrations will be part of an exciting exhibition featuring a variety of  Australian Illustrators at the funky "Urban Cow Gallery" in Adelaide during January 2011. 

The exhibition "Nursery Rhymes" will open on Wednesday January 5th and run through to January 28th. If you're in the area, come along to the opening at around 6pm on the 5th!
Here's some detail and images to guage an idea of the quality of the work on display.. 

Please note that the images below are not necessarily showing in  the exhibition but serve as an example or indication of some of the participating artists style of illustration.
ABOUT: Nursery Rhymes is an exhibition inspired by the dark point of reference of traditional nursery rhymes.  It is an exhibition featuring a group of creatives that have chosen one nursery rhyme. Each creative built their art work around the nursery rhyme, in their chosen medium, to showcase their signature style.
 Each of the participants in the exhibition arrive from a wide range of disciplines, from art and illustration to graphics and apparel within the creative industry.  Many of the artists are multi-disciplinary and have had group and solo exhibitions of their work and have had their work emblazoned across tee-shirts, banners, books and magazines.
This exhibition at Urban Cow Gallery gave each of the artists an opportunity to demonstrate their creative passion in any way they chose, creating an exhibition of awe inspiring beauty, colour, sinuous line work, and textures, whilst expressing the creative vision of each of the participants.  To have such a diverse range of artists with distinct styles, interests, view points and focus, each creating a piece to be held together by the concept of a nursery rhyme, makes for an interesting, visually challenging and inspiring exhibition.

Opening night: Wednesday January 5th 2011
Urban Cow Gallery
: 11 Frome Street, Adelaide
Exhibition runs until Jan 28th
The artists in the exhibition are:
Anita Alcorn – Melanie Allen – Sam Barratt – Siobhán Boughton – Courtney Brims - Letitia Buchan – Peta Alannah Chigwidden – Jordan Clarke – Anna Creasy – Klaus Kinski – Milo Kossowski – Beci Orpin - Leith O’Malley – Elisa Mazzone – Suzanne McPherson – Anna Moretti – Naomi Murrell – Wendy Olsen – Lilly Piri -  Nani Puspasari – Joshua Smith – Eugenia Tsimiklis – Ella Versteege – Bec Winnel – Sally Wren – Nancy Alice Wood

My own piece in the group show is an interpretation of the nursery rhyme "Little Boy Blue" and is somewhat of a return to my cartooning roots. I wanted to present a new take on it.. a different angle. 

What if the story behind this boy with the horn came from contemporary folk lore? 
What if Boy Blue was a young jazz player who was forever on the road with his band The Meadow? 
What if his sleepiness was the result of playing his horn every night in clubs like The Haystack?

I wonder what music these sheep headed musicians lay down behind Boy Blue's trumpet solos? Maybe some of it might be from Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" album which I had playing for my own inspiration during the construction of this painting..or maybe something from Tom Waits "Blue Valentine" perhaps?

Sneak Peek: Close ups of the illustration I created for the exhibition. The reference to "Birdland" (as mentioned in my previous blog post) is a famous jazz club in New York. The final illustration is approx 30 x 42 cm (H x L) in oil and collage.


Click on the image above to see the final work. Any comments welcome below..
The original will be available for purchase. 
I will also be making available a short run of signed limited edition prints (30 only @ 42 x 30cm).

Monday, December 06, 2010

No Sleep Till Birdland.

So there’s this thing I do.
I always have paint left over on what ever it is I’m working on at the time.
All sorts of unused pure pigment, coloured premixes or subtle glazed medium that didn’t end up on the drying canvas. It seems such a waste to just scrape it all off into a waste bin and I don’t really like to let them mount up on the palette like some artists do.
It’s my little indulgence at the end of the painting hour if you will. My own little ritual. I use this left over paint on a separate work in progress.
So this was the beginnings of “Birdland”, the latest in a line of  left over meanderings, residual after thoughts whisked off a brush or scalpel in conscious self indulgence at the end of a night.
I’m happy with the result, especially as I watched the piece over several months take on a different look, a different layer of meaning with every layer of paint. 
It’s a mixed media in the true sense of the word. If I happened to be working on a paper collage drawing at the time then on would go some collage. If another night I was using gold leaf on a painting then some of this would also end up on Birdland.
I even resisted the temptation to paint over my pencil lines so the picture is a real combination of different media, an unusual jigsaw that evolved as a result of not only the materials used on its surface, but also the juxtaposition of  Klee-like abstraction and colour with the roughly sketched pencil drawings of birds.
For me it is successful in that it breaks a few rules of what a painting is supposed to look like.
The birds are not new. I have made reference to these particular feathered friends in some of my other work in recent years. They are “New Holland Honeyeaters” and are a very common bird around my neighbourhood here in South Australia. My favourite bird in fact.
Several like to make their homes under the tiled roof of my studio each year and I am always hearing them scurrying about up there or feeding their young. Maybe it’s the protection that roof space provides for raising their young, but I prefer to think it is the music emanating below them that sees them return time and time again.
The title “Birdland” actually has a double meaning.
It is also a reference to the famous jazz club that was established in New York in 1949 and named after the saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker.
As much as I love many genres of music, I’m a bit of a jazz head and even play a little saxophone myself. I’m no Bird, far from it.. but being able to mix art and music does make me feel like I have some licence to fly.

“All composition left to chance.
Technique a trap you set yourself.
To prize apart your own resemblance,
and free the bird inside your head”.


Ok, feel free to comment below.. gotta fly…