Monday, 27 February 2017


As some of you may remember, a couple of years ago I provided the artwork for the cover of Scenes of Mild Peril, a fourteen track , live-in-session CD/DVD, by the band, The Scaramanga Six. Well, those Northern music monkeys are at it again - this time bringing out a concept album called 'Chronica', the name of a mythical and dystopian island where life is hard and society is reduced to base behaviour and the populace crave superficial fixes. Like a kind of possible near-future Britain, I guess - although, if the The Jeremy Kyle Show is any indicator, it looks like we're virtually there already. 

Once again I've been tasked with providing the artwork but this time the album, as well as being available on CD, will also be coming out as a gatefold sleeved, heavy-duty 12" vinyl. So for this one I'll be producing three artworks - ones for the front and back cover, and a double sized piece for inside the gatefold sleeve.

Rather than go for a literal illustration of the themes behind the album's concept and aspects of the song lyrics (which I thought might end up looking a bit obvious or clumsy) I decided to create something that hopefully captured the sense of alienation that this dystopian environment would foster. My initial thoughts were of something akin to a contemporary take on Bosch but with a touch of Cronenburg. With this starting point in mind I then turned to a collection of line drawings that I'd made (used to adorn the outside of my recent sculpture, Tattooed Tumour Box) of a sprawling flow of biomorphic creatures and machines, and decided to adapt some of them for use on the album's artwork.

I've already finished the artwork for the front of the cover, and here you can see it alongside some of the early production stages. As I have a fondness for working with found materials I decided to paint the album artwork on a piece of vintage plywood packing crate (courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum), which I had collaged with more old found materials. Obviously the image will be cropped down for the album cover but I thought that I'd leave the designer of the cover enough scope work in any necessary text.

For more info on the The Scaramanga Six check out their website or Facebook page.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Component Tower (work in progress)

My usual modus operandi for constructing a sculpture is quite simple - I have an idea (or ideas) for a sculpture, mull it over until I have a rough image in my mind's eye of how it might look, thrash out a few sketches to work out the logistics of construction, make a final sketch, then go about making the sculpture. But for my current work in progress (working title, Component Tower) I'm adopting a different approach; one that's a bit more playful and experimental, but which I'm finding a little slow going as it pretty much goes against everything that I'm used to when it comes to making art. 

For this piece I'm not thinking about the end result, and how it will look, but am just concerning myself with constructing a series of individual 'components' from various found materials, and then finding a way of merging together these elements to create a unified whole - and seeing what form that whole eventually takes. For me it is very counter intuitive, and I'm constantly having to force myself to just go with it, and not try to pre-empt the end result, but it's not easy, which explains the slow going.   

The upside of this way of working is that it generates chance connections and new pathways of thought. The process of trying out different configurations for these seemingly disparate elements (when trying to work out the best way to piece them together) is that it throws up interesting new forms and associations; associations that I might not have arrived at had I been working in my usual manner - to the sets of rules that my practice had begun to lay down for me.