So this is how I spent 2013. If you didn’t see me, well it is because I was at home doing this!
31 woodcuts in total. 2 artist books, 1 zine, a 10″ Ep, a t-shirt and 3 exhibtions. An honorable mention for the woodcut guitar that while started in 2012 was finally finished this year.
Also a big shout out to my friends in Harmony & High Tension for asking me to illustrate their records. It was an Honour!
Thanks to everyone for the kind words, comments and all round support towards all this. I hope your year was as good as mine and that next year will be better for us all.
So my band No Anchor are playing one more show here in Brisbane before we go on something of an extended break – an indefinite hiatus if you will. Our show which is this weekend is with a Melbourne named Clowns who are definitly in the skate-punk vein of music. Now while No Anchor might not work under that genre title I figured I would make something cool as a parting gift to the folks (well one lucky punter) who come to the show as well as something fun for the night.
Then I used some of my favourite artwork associated with the band, the logo designed by Murdoch Stafford alongside the cover image from our third album Real Pain Supernova. Now I hate carving modern skateboards – mainly because it is not a flat surface which adds a greater chance to screw it up as well as the 7-ply maple wood being as tough as nails to carve into.
…but a day or two of carving and there you have it!
Because I mainly just use what is around me to make something, I used my mat black printing ink to cover the board and then coated it with a sealant.
I think it turned out great. The purple dye of the woodgrain came up really well under the black coating.
And for one little extra I decided to put the headstocks of my bandmates instruments into the griptape. It is common to make a marking to help identify the top and the bottom of the board and because No Anchor has two bass players I thought it appropriate to use Ian’s Rickenbacker and Donnie’s Peavy.
This is the 8th skateboard I have customised and my only wish is that the person who wins it at the show on Saturday actually skates it and scratched the hell out of it. As much as it’s art – to me it’s a skateboard and I hope it is treated like one!
So I have been working hard at a new musical project (commonly known as a band) since February this year. It has been a huge amount of fun and I really don’t want to start playing gigs because it’s so cool just getting in a room and writing, refining songs and really just making a lot of noise with really great friends.
But as it goes, you tell other friends about the band and then other friends want to hear the band and so forth… Which eventually leads you to making a demo of your songs. Well, the recording side of the demo was made a few weeks ago which left the obvious question of how to distribute what we’d recorded. Sure, putting a digital file up on the internet would have been the easiest and zero dollar option but where is the fun in that? No I was hoping my bandmates would let me make something more tangible – even if it was just for us to keep.
Well making CDs was definitly the cheapest and quickest physical option available so over the last few weeks I’ve been toiling away at making something attractive to house our recording. Here is what I cam up with.
Obviously the woodblock looked a lot nicer before I printed the heck out of it. Still, the little Calavera character that I carved out was mighty tricky simply because he was no bigger than my thumb. Still some handy work with a surgical scalpel got me what I was wanting…
And here is the cheeky little bugger printed:
Then came the task, fun at first but not so after some 8 or 9 hours of printing the coverart onto the custom made sleeves I got from Stumptown Press
And so now (after some handy folding and burning of CDs) my bandmates and I have 50 copies of our first recording. I love making these things and really I hope it never changes so long as I have music to share with my friends.
There’s so much happening that I might need to break things up into several posts. Heaven forbid I find the time to fill you in more regularly…
So my recent idea to turn one of my latest woodcuts into an affordable and comfy t-shirt was a resounding success and so a huge shout out of thanks has to go to everyone who snapped one up! I had a few extra made up and so there will be another chance to get your hands on one but more of that soon.
A big thanks goes to Matt Deasy of 7th Disaster for doing such a great job on the screenprinting of these. Really people, look him up for anything you want hand printed!
So a while back I said to stay tuned because I had lots of things happening before the end of the year. Well it’s all happening now.
I recently received the vinyl version of the debut album by High Tension when they came up to launch the album. Sure it looked great on the cd (see post below) but boy doesn’t it look better nice and big on vinyl? Stoked!
And just last weekend I got my hands on the latest 7inch single by Melbourne band Harmony of which I (again) did the cover art for.
It is the band’s third 7inch and the prelude to their second album which is out early next year through Posion City records. The band’s guitarist/vocalist/all-round-great-dude Tom Lyncoln is into sharks and so asked for a shark from me. Who am I to refuse? And so it was.
Here are all of the band’s singles, with the cover art for all of them done by me. Happy doesn’t even start to explain what it means to look at all these together.
Sometimes doing artwork for great bands feels better (even though it is harder) than carving and making prints for myself but none of that comes even close to when something like this happens…
This is my friend Robb. Great guy and really talented musician. He recently took off to travel the world but just before he left he told me he wanted something that would remind him of home and this is what he wanted.
Obviously the print represents something personal for him but I do find if nice that the Currawongs that hang around my house, gave me the feathers in question and that I captured in this print have unknowingly traveled so far.
That’ll do for now. More news soon.
So over the last month or two I have been working away on quite a large owl woodcut that I designed. This block was interrupted a few times by other woodcuts that came calling but this week I finally finished and printed it. I am very chuffed at how well it turned out seeing as I found it to be really challenging not only in the carving but in trying to push my style in new directions.
Here is the Artist Proof with the block.
More often than not I usually either print an edition or put it all away and come back to it months or years from now in preparation for hanging in a frame on a wall somewhere. This time however I shared it with folks on my Facebook page and was encouraged by the positive response. This led me to think about cheaper/better ways to share what I’ve made. From this I’ve decided to try something new – I’m going to make a limited edition run of t-shirts of our new avian friend.
This is what the woodcut will look like once it’s hand screenprinted onto the t-shirts.
…and this is how the t-shirt will look on the front and the back.
I have decided to set this all up as a strictly two week pre-order. The pre-order period will start Friday 11th October and close Friday 25th October. Go to…
…and you will be able to pre-order the t-shirt in your preferred size. Please note I am currently only planning for this to be a one off run. Once the two week pre-order period has passed, I will take everyone’s orders and go get the t-shirts printed. Once that’s done I will ship them out to everyone.
So yeah, thanks for reading and I hope you’re interested in this little experiment/offer. I think these t-shirts will look really cool.
There’s been a heap of work happening behind the scenes of late. This being the first of recent projects that I can unveil.
Melbourne band High Tension are about to release their debut album and they asked me to do up the artwork. Even before this I think this band are really great and love all the other bands they are and have been in (The Nation Blue/Young And Restless). Over the weekend I got my hands on their finished cd…
This is what the woodcut looked like coming off the block in my studio.
I’m most excited about the fact that the band will also have this on vinyl. All formats (digital etc) will be out 25th October. You should go to your favourite independent music store and get them to order you a copy or if waiting isn’t your style then sample the first song off it below.
More info and stuff about High Tension (that is well worth your time) is over on their Facebook page.
…or should that be ‘Behind The Zines’.
So instead of joining Instagram or something equally 21st century, I decided to make a few copies of a zine recently. I had been looking back through photos and design ideas that while good in my opinion had for whatever reason been discarded or were not right for the chosen project. From there I got to thinking about the long road that leads to any artistic outcome. The so-called ‘behind the scenes’ that I see every day but is never visible in a finished print or album cover.
I collected up what photos I had of woodblocks in progress, ideas, designs, thoughts and whatever else seemed still appealing to me. Made some small books out of them and then placed them in a larger folder cover. Sure it’s not done on the photocopier or with sticky tape and glue but for me it still has the zine aesthetic of something you want to communicate whipped up in a short amount of time with little fuss. Also wrapped up in the visual ideas is a long winding train of thought that I often find myself thinking through while I work away at a woodcut. You know how your mind wanders sometimes from the small things to bigger how and why questions – well I thought I’d share some of that in there because my woodblocks are also my thinking time.
I’ve made them available through my Etsy Shop should you want to have a closer look. I’ve also put some more new and old prints I have in there as well.
In a pleasant turn of events I have had a few days off work this week so I put myself to (a better form of) work. Keeping it small and manageable I fleshed out a multiple block image I had in mind.
This print ended up having three blocks with a variety of monochrome colours. The blocks were carved using a 4.5mm U gouge and a scalpel. At various points while carving out the skull and the mans mouth and eyes I needed to get my magnifying glass to make sure I got my lines right. Still I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Three days satisfying work.
The as yet untitled print does need some tweaking with the variations of colours. I might make the man lighter and more shadow-like and the skull darker and mix in some warmer tones when inking next. The print size is 17.5cm x 24.5cm.