“Troppo vero!” (“Too Right!”)

Painting

img_2144.jpg


Back in 2014 when I was a couple of years out of Uni and on the look out for illustration jobs, I came close to drawing cartoons for a book that explained physics entirely through jokes, the book wasn’t picked up but I kept in contact with the author, James Colley. James and I met through different university comedy societies, James continued writing and I kept drawing and we both marched forward without losing our comedy roots.

Nominated for a Young Walkley, creator of  SBS Comedy’s The Backburner and Nailed It at Giant Dwarf, James also works on ABC TV’s The Weekly: with Charlie Pickering and Gruen. James has his teeth well and truely sunk into the Australian political satire scene and in 2017 released a book as his right-wing political commentator character, Peter Chudd. The book: TOO RIGHT – Politically incorrect opinions too dangerous to be published except that they were by Peter Chudd*, Real Australian (*as shouted down the phone line to James Colley) should have a shorter title and more chapters. It was a snort to read and I wanted more, so while reading the last chapter I asked James if he would sit for me for a portrait as Peter Chudd. Chudd is the kind of character that would assume artists would be chomping at the bit to paint his likeness and would also assume that if the portrait wasn’t picked as a finalist in the Archibald Prize it would somehow be an infringement of his god-given free speech.

The books blurb:

Move over Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, Australia’s leading conservative privileged white man has arrived. And even better, he’s written a masterpiece that dismantles every loony left – or even vaguely moderate – political argument ever made in this country! 

In Too Right, Peter Chudd, Australia’s most controversial far-right columnist tells it like it is, unafraid of who’s ‘offended’ by his ‘poorly researched’ opinions. Global warming? The only thing warming the world is the hot air from environmentalists. And what would climate scientists know about climate science anyway? Welfare? Well, that’s anything but, well, fair. Racism? Every columnist has a right to be a bigot – and how dare people dismissive him as a ‘white man’.

Read the tragic story of how this wealthy, privileged man believes he is, against all odds, the most maligned, victimised, discriminated-against person in the entire country for simply daring to speak the truth. Understand his dismay when people describe him as a hideous husk of a human who’s single-handedly tearing the nation apart.

Often portraiture, and portraiture in the Archibald Prize have paintings that are based on a previous portrait or artwork from history. My portrait of the Umbilical Brothers two years ago was based on a Raphael portrait called “Madonna of the Goldfinch” My artwork used the physical position of the two central figures and surrounding background as a reference – it was named “Umbilicals of the Goldfish (after Raphael)”. By referencing a historic portrait it elevates your own art and draws a thematic line between your subject and the one being referenced or the original artist.
For the portrait of Peter Chudd (AKA James Colley), I borrowed the expression and physical pose of Velázquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X. It is notorious portrait also famous for being reproduced by Francis Bacon in his Screaming Popes series. By painting Chudd in this way I am portraying him as a pious stern character, a man of great power. I saw the painting at the Doria Pamphili Gallery in Rome two years ago and is a fiercely personal and true portrait.


“Troppo vero!” is what the pope exclaimed when he first saw Velázquez’s portait, this translates to English as “all too true” you could say it translates to Australian as “too right”. So I named the artwork “Troppo vero!” (“too right”) Portrait of Peter Chudd (after Velázquez). 

IMG_2095

But I felt the portrait itself needed an element of performance. Earlier this year on January 26, a statue of Captain Cook in Melbourne had a bucket of pink paint poured over it as part of the #changethedate protests. This was an event that fuelled so much outrage for right-wing political commentators. The pink paint that is poured over my portrait of Peter Chudd would have him screaming ‘censorship’ and the event on Jan 26 would easily have been a news article he would hammer for weeks blaming the ‘intolerant left’ for their disrespect and violence.



My twitter post before delivering the work on Thursday:

screen-shot-2018-04-13-at-4-13-14-pm-2.png

James has been wonderful and energetic through the process and is an all round nice dude. It was great to finally collaborate with James and on the year I scored a gig as a political cartoonist (goat.com.au), James Colley was the perfect person to paint.
Advertisements

I Heart Apps

Design, Drawing

EXPRESSIONS sketch.jpg

The My Heart Mate app is now live. Working for Flying Bark Productions, I supplied the character and world design and layout for the app that is used by people hoping to strengthen their heart health. The app has you adopt a heart character that you name and keep healthy via brain challenging games as well as real world activities that are designed to maintain good heart health like; exercise, relaxation and a healthy diet.

The character design process saw a few shaped and coloured hearts until we hit one that was appropriate enough and cute enough. The process of creating different versions of the same character and refining down in to the right one was really enjoyable.

OPTIONS

more designs

Once my job was done my designs were used to render and animate the little guy and now it lives in the app, providing people with an entertaining way to recover and keep their health in check.

The app is available to download on iPhone and Android.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Drawing

FullSizeRender

Last week I did some work with BMF to create a whiteboard animation for The Full Stop Foundation. A foundation that supports victims of sexual and domestic violence.

It was International Women’s Day this week and as well as celebrating the achievements of women worldwide the day also exists to bring awareness to the trials and persecutions women still face today. I know survivors of domestic violence and realise that services like Full Stop’s 1800RESPECT can be truly valuable in being the first step in leading women to a more positive future.

I’ve always wanted to take part in a whiteboard animation as I feel it is a very powerful way to communicate information and statistics. Using simple cartoons to illustrate such a serious topic is a delicate process especially when depicting scenes that may be triggers for some people. Cartoons, which are commonly used to lampoon people and situations, can conversely be used to describe things in a simpler way that is easier to digest while still being engaging. I’m very happy that my introduction to this style was for such a vital service. You can make a donation to the foundation here. Please do.

If you or anyone you know has or is currently suffering from domestic or sexual violence please reach out to 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Bothers of the Umbilical kind

Painting

My portrait of the Umbilical Brothers (David Collins and Shane Dundas) was entered in the Moran and Archibald Prize in 2016.


IMG_5071


In honour of their 25th anniversary as a performance duo, my portrait of the Umbilical Brothers (David Collins and Shane Dundas) celebrates their unique physicality, positivity, and longevity as artists. Lending from the form of Raphael’s 1505 painting “Madonna of the Goldfinch”, I created a joyous tableau that places the comedians among high art.


IMG_5003


I supplemented the faunal allegory of Raphael’s goldfinch, representing suffering, with a goldfish, representing good luck, something they have enjoyed a great deal of over the past 25 years. Also a goldfish looks funnier and is more fun to say.


Umbilical of the Goldfish - After Raphael


 

Both Shane and Dave were incredibly generous with their time, doing sittings backstage at the Roslyn Packer Theatre (where they were the first comedy show in the newly named venue) and more sittings in their hotel rooms in Melbourne during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. They are both lovely blokes and I was glad to have the opportunity to paint Dave again after my first portrait of him in 2012. Why wouldn’t you want to paint bodies as bendy as theirs filled with such electric personality.

THE MAKING OF AN ICON

Design

  

Communicating visually and being iconic.

After celebrating my three year anniversary with Jigsaw I had a looked back at some of the designs I’d created and the skills I have learnt. One of my most constant design challenges was creating simple icons that have been peppered through our presentations.

After Jigsaw had a rebrand 3 years ago by Christopher Doyle & Co. we had a clean and crisp new design direction, as part of that design Chis created about ten icons to use in our presentations with the plan for me to create more as time went on. Over the past three years I’ve been busy in Adobe Illustrator morphing the same 14pt red lines into soup cans, unicorns, anchors and basketballs. At the moment the icon count sits at 861.

  

This work has been great for my creative practice as it has taught me to think about how to communicate simply and directly while maintaining a strong aesthetic – A skill which is very valuable in cartooning. My cartoons have become clearer and more focussed which in turn has made them funnier as the reader is able to digest the joke in a shorter amount of time.

Well all this hard work has made me hungry – I’m off to make a sandwich.

  

Influential pencil

Drawing

PENCIL 2

Dad was a builder, and while I was a kid living in the family house that was slowly built around us I was Dad’s apprentice on Sundays.  I was really good at handing Dad what he needed and learnt all the names of the tools (Stanley, Dumpy, Phillips). I still know the recipe for concrete and have developed immense respect for plasterers who can attach cornice to the ceiling.

I was never a great apprentice, I wasn’t (and still am not) strong, I hit my thumb more times than the actual nail and I spent most of the time daydreaming, interested in the lines of the grain of the wood or thinking about Jim Maxwell’s obsession with telling us exactly how many seagulls were on the pitch at any given time during the cricket on the radio.

Those Sundays are very fond memories of mine. I saw my Dad being creative, problem solving and I got to experience his wealth of knowledge… and I always remember it being hot… like disgustingly hot in the massive tin roofed shed, which drove Dad to drink a pint of cold Ribena at tea like a man finally out of the desert.

As an illustrator and designer my days as cheap child labor Dad’s apprentice don’t have too many parallels. It has taught me to draw objects and people while keeping in mind shapes and forms that lay beneath the surface. It gave me a greater appreciation for allocating planning time in order to make a more solid artwork and for some reason I picked up the habit of keeping my pencil behind my ear and only using a chisel or knife to sharpen that pencil.

PENCIL 1

And here’s the thing about those pencils… Those pencils that could well be Dad’s pencils. At their tip they all have a unique shape. As they are all whittled down to a sharp edge, they all look a bit cartoonish and hold a shape that is abstracted from the very familiar image of a pencil sharpened with your run-of-the-mill sharpener. They each hold shapes that are never the same as the last, which means that even before I’ve started literally putting pencil to paper I have unconsciously sculpted the pencil to hold a new original line and form. The tip of the object I’m using is subconsciously helping me think outside the norm and create something new… and even though Dad is kilometres away and my habit to carve my pencils was founded decades ago, Dad is also subconsciously helping me construct the next artwork that is just about to pour from that unique scrappy looking pencil.

Ash vs. Evil Dead vs. ink on paper

Painting


I have a friend. My friend has a boyfriend. It was my friend’s boyfriend’s birthday. My friend’s boyfriend, who’s birthday it was, is a massive fan of Evil Dead (I say this because he is actually humongous).

My friend, who has the humongous boyfriend, also has a little collection of little communist propaganda posters on the wall at home (you know, reds above the bed). This friend wanted a birthday present for the boyfriend… A gift that was a little Evil Dead and a little Evil Red.

It was a great commission to work on for an artist who also loves the Evil Dead films and it was thrilling working in this stark graphic style only using black and red ink and the beige of the thick paper.

The commission was a huge hit with the humongous boyfriend. The sizeable painting sits in well with the little posters and all of this was painted before we knew of the Ash vs. Evil Dead series being released, which all 3 and a half of us are very excited about. So excited in fact, that my friend tweeted this photo of the painting to Bruce Campbell himself, which he retweeted, which then caused my gmail inbox to go from 0 to 60 emails in 5 minutes with favourites and retweets.


And for a guy who loves a good pun, why wouldn’t I title the artwork “Fist Full of  Boom Sickle”?

It’s the B grade schlock horror story that won’t die… And I hope it never does.

Edit: my humongous friend is a tall muscly rugby guy… Not ‘the blob’ or anything. 

GIVE A DOG A HOME

Design

DENISE AT PAWS

Every dog is supposed to have his day, but some get neglected, rejected and fall victim to abuse. To ensure dog’s to get their day Denise At PAWS is a little non for profit that helps dogs that are down on their luck find a home.

I put my hand up to help D.A.P fight the good fight and created their new logo. The simple pentagon seemed like a perfect home-shape to frame the dog character. It speaks directly to the work they do and gave me a great opportunity to work with typography and simple character design.

IMG_2138

Through Denise At PAWS you can adopt a rescued dog or foster one until it can be adopted to a new family.

Some of their dogs have been seen on Bondi Vet and they are always looking for donations to continue their work. Even if you can’t give a dog a home you can spare a few dollars surely. Click here to donate.  if you can’t make it to a Bunnings barbeque.

DAP FUNDRAISER