Even though I am in Melbourne, I have just completed this artwork whilst breathing the terrible smoke from the bushfires that have plagued the New Year. Most of us feel powerless in the face of such disaster, but I think there is a fundamental change in public sentiment – things cannot go on the way they are, and the government needs to realise that the environment is just as important, if not more so, than economics. If you would like to join ‘the revolution’ I have uploaded this artwork to redbubble – check out the range of products here. All profits to SAVEM – South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management / https://www.savem.org.au/ to hopefully help the koala population on Kangaroo Island after the devastating fires of January 2020.
Recently I was asked to provide the artwork for a backdrop at Fortune Magazines ‘Most Powerful Women Summit’ which was held in Washington in October 2019. I’ve always been fascinated by the design legacy of the magazine, particularly with the classic covers of the 1930s-50s, so it was a tempting prospect to work on this project. Ten female artists from around the world contributed artwork, printed on banners 10 feet high by 5 feet wide; the main challenge for me was to translate my painterly style into vectors in Illustrator (to print at various sizes whilst keeping file sizes low)- something I’ve always have been meaning to do, but my general indifference to Illustrator always got in the way (I’m a Photoshop gal).
A crash course in vectored gradations meant that I was able to send the artwork off as requested, and the panels will be used again at upcoming conferences as well.
I was quite happy with my most recent portrait commission, which is a painting of artist, collector and gallerist Neil McLeod. I guess having a potentially controversial subject matter meant the chances of being selected for the Archibald would be fairly slim (mind you, second guessing the selection criteria is somewhat of a crap shot – after all, in a competition that is “supposed” to be about ‘Australians of note’, a portrait of Kid Congo Powers is eligible?!).
My chances were even slimmer given the recent bombings of Christian churches in Sri Lanka. I would like to clarify, that the explosion in the background is meant to represent nuclear testing at Maralinga in the 50’s; I essentially wanted to make an image that questioned the follies of authority, as well as weave in elements of Neil’s life and work.
For those of you in Melbourne – the bi-semi-annual Illustrators Australia 9×5 exhibition is currently on at the Collingwood Gallery in Smith Street until July 26, 2018. There was a great turn out for the opening night last Friday, and a record breaking 120 entries as well! For the first time, works presented were not only “traditional” paint on wood (all of the pieces are presented on 9×5 inch sized pieces of wood, reflecting the Heidelberg School artists of yore who used to paint ‘en plein air’ onto cigar box lids), contributing artists were also able to submit their pieces digitally, to be printed on the wood instead. I was amazed by the quality of the detail and colour – and, yes, that is my piece above: ‘Shout Back’.
Inspired by this new direction in gallery presentation, I wanted to push the medium a little further and decided to experiment with my first piece of ‘augmented reality’ artwork. I really had no idea how to go about this – I knew about the principle, of course, but not about which software or apps would be suitable. After a few dead ends, I came across a group of app developers in Vienna who have developed an app specialising in AR for artists – Artivive . I did a short animation in Photoshop and After Effects to expand on the ideas of the still image (you can download the app for Apple or Android and check out the results by viewing the image above through the app). I was pretty happy with the result!
I was also happy that the piece won ‘Best Digital’ piece on the night. Managed to score a pass to attend ‘Looking Glass’ digital drawing sessions at Jacky Winter, so I’m rapt! Thank you to generous sponsors Procreate (which I already use on my iPad Pro and am keen to learn more about). I’ll let you know how I go!
Very excited to finally receive this in the post – a “sticker” book featuring your favourite Australian animals, all created by your favourite Australian illustrators. Produced in conjunction with the Jacky Winter Group and Thames and Hudson, I got to interpret the iconic emu – in a scene inspired from trips through Woomera and further into Western Australia. I used a combination of collage (cut up newspapers), paint, and digital brushes and textures. More info about this fabulous little book can be found at: http://jackywinter.com/blog/our-latest-book-greetings-from-australia
It was a bit strange to walk into the local newsagent this morning to see a pile of papers with my illustration splashed across the cover! I would love to thank Lindy Percival at the Age / Fairfax for trying something a bit different in conjunction with the Australian release of Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’. In keeping with the ‘Keane theme’, it also has been the first time in a long time that I have used no Photoshop for a published artwork… and I also got a bit of editorial coverage as well 🙂
Can’t wait to see the film…
The latest issue of Australian Permaculture Magazine ‘Pip’ is about to wend its way to the eager hands of readers and I’m happy to say I had fun investigating funghi for the cover. In the end we settled for ‘Agaricus Bitorquis’ – a mushroom that resembles a field mushroom but with lovely pink colouring underneath. Pip comes out twice a year.
Find out more at: http://www.pipmagazine.com.au/
Merry Christmas Brisbane! Hopefully I’ve added Christmas cheer to your streets this year, after being invited to participate in Brisbane City’s ‘Wonder of Christmas’ campaign. It’s great to see the various applications of the work – I’m almost tempted to get on a plane and come and see it for myself 🙂
Supergraph is on its way to Melbourne again in 2015, gracing the hallowed halls of the Royal Exhibition Building on February 13, 14 + 15. As part of my involvement with Illustrators Australia (who will be holding a stall there) I’ll be joining in by offering an exclusive A4 print for sale. Inspired by a recent trip to Tokyo (my second time this year!) I’ve answered the theme of ‘Natural Selection’ by depicting my visit to ‘Fukoro no Mise’ an Owl Cafe near Tsukishima Station. Touching on themes of misplaced nature, novelty, and the never ending quest for memorable content for one’s next blog post.
Entering the brave new world of ‘Print on Demand’ apparel, I was pleased to see that Redbubble, purveyors of print, now offer what the Europeans refer to as ‘Duvet’ covers, but for reasons of local colloquialism I shall stick to calling it a humble “Doona”. And they’re huge! Here it is in a most impressive ‘King Size’ version:
I’ve entitled this piece “Sid Wiggy dreams in Technicolor”, revisiting an old favourite theme. I had played around with this idea and colours for quite a while – so it’s good to finally have an outlet to bring it out to the big wide world. For the curious, Sid Wiggy is the name of a much loved sloth at Avarios del Caribe, the Sloth rescue centre in Costa Rica at which I had the privilege of volunteering back in 2010. Sid Wiggy was one of the more famous Bradypus sloths, known for his ‘Beatle-esque’ hairdo. So I can only imagine that when he dreams, he dreams in hot pink.
But for those uncertain of succumbing to dreams inhabited by our two and three fingered friends, I’ve also uploaded a range of cushions and tote bags as well. Here’s, hopefully, to the beginning of many new large-scale designs 🙂
Doona covers can be found here
This design can be found here – also available as a tote bag and a myriad of other things…
This design can be found here
And this design, again also available as cushions and bags, is available here 🙂
Joining the ranks of Sir Quentin Blake, Sir PeterBlake, Sir Paul Smith and Joanna Lumley (!) I too have designed a Gromit.
‘Gromit Unleashed’ was a charity venture launched last year in Bristol, UK, in which dozens of oversized Gromit sculptures (from the Aardman Animation series ‘Wallace and Gromit’, natch). Last week the latest installation was launched in Hong Kong, featuring the work of local and international artists. Unfortunately I didn’t get to paint the Gromit myself, but as you can see from the photos they did a pretty good job.
My design is based on my idiosyncratic take on a Chinese dragon – I’ve long been fascinated with the idea that many buildings in Hong Kong have been designed to accommodate the needs of dragons, so it was a natural choice. The Sculptures will eventually be auctioned off for the benefit of ‘Art in Hospital’, an NGO which helps sick children in Hong Kong.
The postie has certainly been busy around my place of late – last week I received a preview copy of the latest Dragonkeeper book by Carole Wilkinson, in hardcover. Published by Black Dog / Walker Books, it is the fifth book in the series that I have illustrated the cover for.
Originally published in Hard Cover by Walker Books in 2012, it seems the story of the two little boys growing up on opposite sides of the world in WWI has struck a chord with the public and is now available in paperback. The story tells of the connection of the town of Villers Bretonneux in France and how there came to be a school who pledged “Do Not Forget Australia”.
I think it is quite a timely story for us to remember at this point in time when, as Australians, we seem to be getting more and more insular in regards to the way we treat our less fortunate fellow humans living overseas. I hope this wish for a more compassionate world is part of it’s appeal.
Just received the hardcover version of “Pieces” – a graphic novel, of sorts, that I contributed a panel to many moons ago. Have to say, the print version actually looks even better than the online version – which you can see here – and really, it’s a miracle that it came together at all. Each artist would draw / paint / create a panel and then the project would pass on to the next person. There were no restraints, guidance or expectations – all you had was the previous panel to build upon (though we did have access to all of the panels up to that point). Much like an ‘Exquisite Corpse’ in comic book form, a lot of it doesn’t make a great deal of “sense”, but hey, who needs that anyway.
I was chuffed to follow on from Christopher Corr, whose work I’ve admired since my college days (and we also briefly shared a UK agent a few years ago). And congratulations to Jakub Mazerant for pulling it all together AND claiming a Guinness World record at the same time!
A recent editorial piece for the Monash Uni magazine (where, coincidentally, I’ve been teaching for the past semester). This is accompanying an article about the effect of funding on the judicial system, with special focus on the case of Gabe Watson, whose wife drowned whilst scuba diving in 2003.
Hot off the press – the latest issue of ‘The Victorian Writer’ published by Writers Victoria features my 2011 portrait of Cassandra Golds looking, I guess, like a Victorian Writer. 🙂
My portrait of Anna Walker – “Basement Bird” has happily made it into the semi finals of the Moran Portrait Prize, so it is currently in transit back up to Sydney town 🙂 Out of a field of 216 chosen as semi-finalists, only 30 get through to the Grand Finale – so we’ll have to wait and see what happens … some great entries, you can take a tour of all 216 entries here: http://www.moranprizes.com.au/competition/2013-doug-moran-national-portrait-prize/semi-finalists