YOUNG ASPIRATIONS

Design, Drawing

When I grow up I want to be a cartoonist or a train driver. This was my aspiration when I was a kid. I don’t drive trains, I didn’t grow up and that is probably why I’m now still drawing cartoons every day. 

This week I picked up a great gig to translate the the hopes and dreams of a class of 7-8 year olds into a big colourful poster. 

SMALL PHOTO KIDS POSTER

I was given 28 drawings the kids had done and each image was converted into a cartoon. I still wanted to keep an element of their original drawing so I cropped out a segment of their colouring in and trimmed in into a circle. This became the body for each of the little cartoons and a good reference point for the legend at the bottom of the page which also included what they wrote on their drawing, complete with verbatim spelling. 

ninjavet

The final product was a lovely snapshot of what this full class hoped to be in about 20 years time. I hope some of them get as lucky as I did. (Especially for the ninja)

kids poster

And here is the final 100 x 700cm poster ready to be auctioned off to raise money for the school. 

FRAMED KIDS POSTER

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A MONSTER TASK

Design, This is Interesting

 As an artist who works as a graphic designer, painter, prop maker, comedy writer, performer, caricaturist and cartoonist, I sometimes get requests to create artworks that are a little more out of the ordinary. I recently delivered on a commission for a full size furry orange puppet to be given as a gift.

 
The puppet was created with glasses, pigtails and overalls which were all direct references to the wardrobe of the person for which this puppet was created. The orange fur was a creative liberty.

I spent a lot of time watching videos of bearded puppet makers giving tutorials on how to create a proper functioning puppet. Turns out it’s a really elaborate process which saw some trial and error before I got the happy looking monster you see here.

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PsIC5C

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It was was an excellent artistic task for me riddled with “ah ha” moments as she slowly came together and was given personality and life. It’s now an odd new skill I possess and it was a really rewarding artwork to create. I am however finding orange fur all over the studio and on my coats and scarfs.

 

PRO-fessional PRO-crastination

This is Interesting
I'd better watch this to make sure it all goes smoothly

I’d better watch this to make sure it all goes smoothly

The fluffy lint, pencil sharpenings and scraps of Fruit Tingle wrappers that had lived happily in the bottom of my satchel bag were violently evicted from their home this morning as I, owner of the bag, decided that their time was up. Sitting on the floor of my studio with my bag turned inside out, vacuuming dry the corners of the bags innards, I realised that this might in fact be procrastination.

The Websters Dictionary defines procrastination as: “The grime inside Edmund’s dishwasher vanishing while the background art on four pressing illustrations are phototoshop layers all labeled as ‘backdoodle1′”.

I now have a few long term projects underway that I am very terrified excited about. You may want to hear about those but I’ll keep them secret and list just a small number of activities I have thought to be more pressing in my history of needing to get shit done:

  • Clean. Every. Skirting board.
  • Clean every architrave (they are skirting boards that go around doors).
  • Gently wash the plastic Astroboy that stands next to the wifi router.
  • Dust the wifi router.
  • Reorganise the DVD shelf autobiographicaly (you know, like in High Fidelity).
  • Hey, I have High Fidelity… Watch high fidelity with special features.
  • Re-fold ALL my clothes.
  • Write a rap about how hard I study with lots of double entendre (Record. Listen. Cry. Never perform).
  • Learn how to juggle eggs.
  • Clean egg from carpet.
  • Learn how to juggle tennis balls.
  • Wash all my clothes (including the ones I was wearing), walk to outdoor laundry carrying washing basket while loosely wearing a towel – get surprised by the landlord and 2 Sydney Water representatives checking the water meter in your backyard.
  • Make complete diorama of the living room (done in collaboration with playwright Jess Bellamy who may have also been procrastinating)
  • Write a blog about procrastination.

Look, it’s hard to jump straight into a creative job. You need to get into the ‘zone’ or the ‘open mode’ as John Cleese puts it… 

Let me explain a little. By the “closed mode” I mean the mode that we are in most of the time when {we are} at work.
We have inside us a feeling that there’s lots to be done and we have to get on with it if we’re going to get through it all.
It’s an active (probably slightly anxious) mode, although the anxiety can be exciting and pleasurable.
It’s a mode which we’re probably a little impatient, if only with ourselves.
It has a little tension in it, not much humor.
It’s a mode in which we’re very purposeful, and it’s a mode in which we can get very stressed and even a bit manic, but not creative.
By contrast, the open mode, is relaxed… expansive… less purposeful mode… in which we’re probably more contemplative, more inclined to humor (which always accompanies a wider perspective) and, consequently, more playful.
It’s a mood in which curiosity for its own sake can operate because we’re not under pressure to get a specific thing done quickly. We can play, and that is what allows our natural creativity to surface.


The thing that surprises me every time is that the minute I actually start working on a project, when the pencil hits the paper, it all usually flows quite easily. I just need to get past the stigma. I am in the ‘closed mode’ while  the cleaning and organising and diorama making is going on, which is all quite purposeful… but I think anxiety can be the key. After sitting at my desk feverishly cleaning my keyboard the anxiety hits, all this time I could have been doing work and it might be that guilt that gives you the edge to achieve something creative. I remind myself that this fear can be a useful tool and not something to run from as I keep a quote from T. S. Eliot above my desk “Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.”

Sketchy Behaviour

Drawing

In a past life I think I was a possum. I have always been intrigued by other peoples garbage. In fact I pretty much furnished my university share-house with solid gold finds from council clean-ups.

People throw away so many things that still function. I have an entire garden of of ditched plants that I’ve brought back to life, a bamboo tiki bar and once I found the complete discography of Culture Club on vinyl… which would be great if I liked Culture Club.

Yesterday, on a coffee run, I passed a junk pile that is perpetually replenished in Surry Hills. I often have a snoop as I pass by and yesterday I found a fully functioning drawing desk complete with a straightedge.

straightedge

my desk

There was nothing wrong with it, it was merely dusty from years of disuse.

I cracked out the spray and wipe and set it up in my studio for a test run. The desk has new life and will hopefully facilitate some excellent ergonomic drawing sessions.

ed drawing

EDIT: And the next day I found this book in a junk pile in Surry Hills.

Was it sitting in a junk pile or in a gold mine?… it was a junkpile, but there was a book in it.

DEM BONES, DEM BONES.

This is Interesting

The Italians do lots of things well; coffee, fine leather-goods, underground crypts decorated exclusively with human bones.

A few years ago on my first trip to Rome I was introduced to memento mori in a pretty extreme way. I visited The Capuchin Crypt  decorated with over 300 deconstructed Capuchin skeletons stacked upon each other.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also encountered artistic antiquity and saw the motifs of skulls in still life, particularly in depictions of St Jerome who is depicted holding a skull.

st-jerome

Ah, Saint Jerome, always with a skull on his desk and three week old Chinese food in his fridge. His apartment looks like my old university house that I moved in to and never paid rent for.

Memento Mori is Latin for “remember (that you have) to die” and is a reminder of your own mortality and not to dwell on “things” because the “things” in heaven are way sweeter than the ones on earth bro, and you can keep those for, like, ever… So long as you go to heaven that is. So if you obtained your memento mori by ripping it from your friend’s living face as a nice desk paperweight you aren’t going to heaven… you’re probably going to that other place. NOT HELL, THE OTHER PLACE… you know the pit of despair, full of desperate people showing their worst sides… The domino’s pizza complaint line.

Speaking of people showing their worst sides, I just returned from a trip to Vegas. While I was there I went to the Bodies exhibit where unique preservation techniques have preserved actual humans that have been separated into all the different bodily systems. It brought me back to the bone crypt in Rome and reminded me of my own mortality and that I still wanted a memento mori of my own in my studio – much like Saint Jerome. Well they had some in the gift shop. Not real ones but medical grade replicas used for educational purposes. I brought it home and it now sits by my computer to remind me of my mortality and to remind me that skulls look super cool.

Her name is Dana

Her name is Dana

What I am now interested in is what customs thought when they saw the X-ray of my luggage and saw what would have looked like a human head in there and went right along and let me back into the country.

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MOVING PICTURES

Uncategorized

In 2013-14 I got to see my drawings come to life as I provided some illustration work for a few videos. It’s great to collaborate with film-makes who can bring these characters to life with simple movements.

The first was featured at the end of a number of XXXX Gold online videos that were set on XXXX Island. You could skip to the end to see my illustrations or you could watch it straight through and learn to fish with live bait… but don’t blame me when the zombie apocalypse hits and you need to go fishing because all the twinkies have run out and you had a perfectly good opportunity to learn some valuable fishing skills.

XXXX GOLD

I also provided some cute illustrations to liven up a video on keeping shareholders happy. It was an excellent gig and my drawings are peppered throughout the video.

Enjoy.

ED’S ELF

Design

I’ve designed the company Christmas card the last three years and last year we gave away kites as well as a donation to Redkite – a charity that looks out for young Australians suffering from cancer.

Designing a card that matched the gift was a really fun exercise and I enjoyed working with this illustrative flat design.

card

Last year also marked the 20th anniversary of the company. I was tasked with designing a postcard that got inserted and distributed in Research News magazine. I illustrated the trends of 1994 and 2014 and again kept the design within our company palette.

2014 bday crd frt

2014 bday crd bck