Thursday 26 November 2015

Twenty five dogs

My history of doing prints has been a slew of disappointment and frustration, I'll be honest with you. There is little more dispiriting than watching a pile of identical artworks gathering dust sadly in the corner of your room.

So I have come up with a brilliant solution. What if everybody who wanted to buy a print told me ahead of time, so that I know how many to get? I know. Pretty smart. I suppose if I was really on top of things, I'd start getting deposits in as well. But if there is one thing about me, it is that I am a hugely credulous optimist at heart, so hopefully (hopefully) I won't have to do this.

I understand that this is perhaps not the kind of positivity and salesmanship that one would normally associate with this kind of pitch. However, as well as being a hugely credulous optimist, I am also a honest to the point of harmfulness. I anticipate that I will soon win numerous awards for my business acumen.

Click here for bigger

But anyway, yes... I've made a print! Twenty five dog breeds! How about that? It will be A3 size (29.7 x 42cm) and printed on 170gsm paper.  The price is £20, plus £5 for postage and packing (or £10 for postage and packing if you are outside of the UK). If you would like to pre-order one, you can either email me or contact me via Facebook. I can't absolutely guarantee that they will be ready in time for Christmas, but if you particularly want it for then do let me know and I will try and accommodate.

PLUS! A bonus for all my long-suffering fans: I have made all the line art (plus some extra stuff that didn't make the cut) available as six A4-sized pages that you can download, print out and colour in yourself. They are available HERE. For free! FREE!

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Other prints are available

My endlessly long-suffering faithful readers will know that you can now buy a print of my picture of 60 great European football players. However, this is not the only thing that I have for sale. Dare I even utter the word, but they may be good Christmas presents. Yes, I went there. I heard those sleigh bells ringing. Ding ding dong dingie dong doo.

I can now offer a range of other A3-size prints too! These are exciting times. Each one is on 160 gsm photographic paper and will cost you £20 (or £30 if you are lucky enough to not live in the United Kingdom).

60 Grand Prix winners, 1906-present. (click here for larger)

The first print is in a format that fans of my football picture will probably remember. The subject this time is people who have won a Grand Prix motor race, from the inception of the term in 1906 up to the present day. All 32 Formula 1 World Champions are included, plus significant competitors from pre-war, pre-Championship motor racing. Completing the list are notable drivers from the World Championship era who never won the title but nevertheless made their presence felt or left us before they were able to achieve their full potential. Fans of Heinz-Harald Frentzen will no doubt be suffering pangs of disappointment, but for Giancarlo Baghetti boosters there is good news: the only man ever to win his debut World Championship Grand Prix makes the list.

The relative sizes of cats (click for larger)

Some people do not like sport, either as much as I do or at all. It's crazy but it does happen. I've seen it with my own eyes, when I wasn't otherwise occupied watching sport. For these people, it should be noticed that I also like animals. Here are some now! This is a helpful visual guide to remind you about all the varieties of cats available for consumers these days. Plus, at just £20 per print, that is a mere £4 per cat. £4 for a tiger? Yes please!

Giraffe (click for larger)

For people who are not all that in to cats, there is a giraffe. But what is a giraffe if not a long-necked vegetarian cat? Actually, a giraffe is more like a horse, a fact your local farrier is likely to want to repudiate in the most stringent terms. But persist and you too could be riding your very own giraffe down to your letter box to pick up an additional, flatter, giraffe.

As I said at the beginning of this post, all of these prints are A3 size and cost just £20 (£30 if you live outside of the UK). If you would like to buy one, just send the appropriate monies to this here Paypal account. Please remember to include a suitable delivery address and, most importantly, remember to state whether you want "GP", "Cats" or "Giraffe".

(If you would like to buy a print but don't do Paypal, do not panic: you can contact me via email, Twitter or Facebook instead and we can sort out an alternate means of payment and address exchange).

If you prefer buying originals to prints, don't forget that there's a gallery of items that are currently for sale at the top of this page. To help you further, there's also a link to it here: HERE.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Sixty Greats of European football

For larger, click here
Every so often a picture escapes from my dingy artist's hovel and the above is one such example. It has proved very popular too, a fact that I attribute to the following broader social observation: a lot of people like football.


How did you choose the players for the picture?
Every single winner of the Ballon d'Or, otherwise known as the European Footballer of the Year award, who has also represented a UEFA-affiliated nation at international level is included. This left a dozen or so spaces, which I filled with players who I deemed to be significant enough to sit in this company. So, as far as they are concerned, complaints to the usual place.

Where is Lionel Messi? Where is Diego Maradona?
Both Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona are from a country called Argentina, which is not in Europe. I made a rod for my own back here, including players such as Alfredo Di Stefano and Omar Sivori, who were also from Argentina. However, Di Stefano also represented Spain in internationals and Sivori was capped by Italy, therefore making them eligible for inclusion. Messi and Maradona did their finest work playing in Europe but, of course, all their international hoofing was for the land of their birth.

Where is Eric Cantona?
Complaints, as ever, to the usual place.

Where is [someone else]? If I pay you, will you draw him for me?
Almost certainly. For all commission requests, you can email me or send me a message via Twitter or Facebook.

Why is this picture so rubbish? None of these people look like who they are supposed to!
OK, it's probably best that you don't avail yourself of the following:

I like this picture, can I buy one?
I am very glad you asked. Yes, you can. I am producing a limited edition print run of 100. They are A3-sized on 160 gsm photographic paper and will each be hand signed and numbered by me. The price: £20 each, inclusive of postage and packing (within the UK only, or £30 each for places that are not in the UK. If you're not sure if where you live is in the UK, I don't know what to tell you.)

To order, just send the appropriate amount of money to my Paypal account (for outside the UK, click here) Don't forget to include a suitable delivery address and an email address where I can contact you to keep you updated as to the progress of your order. Each print should be with the recipient within 7-14 days, although this may take a little longer during the festive period.

Don't have a Paypal account but still want to buy a print? Not a problem... simply contact me via the emailTwitter or Facebook links in this post instead and we can sort out an alternative method of payment.

The original is also for sale: price £200. If you would like to buy that, please don't send money to my Paypal account - I can't be sure that when you do the picture will not have already been sold. Instead, send me an email. That way whilst I can't absolutely guarantee that the picture will not have already been snapped up, at least we won't have had to send £200 back and forth between one another.

Monday 15 June 2015

Everything you thought you knew about dogs is wrong

I have a dog now. People who have been with me every step of this disjointed and increasingly stationary journey will no doubt be pleased to hear that it is the same dog as they have met before on these pages. He is still very much the same dog. I am still very much the same man. Although we are now both two-and-a-half years older, neither one of us has grown any wiser. We both smell a little worse and find standing up more of a chore but we remain, fundamentally, fuckwits.

The last time the dog and me had this association, he was just visiting. But now he is here to stay and we can dedicate ourselves full time to our ultimate goal, which is ruining each others' lives. He is winning and will win, as I was already convinced that my life was in ruin. Plus, you know, he is a dog and therefore pretty contented with his lot.

But even though the enriching life lessons part of pet ownership will almost invariably pass me by, I have nevertheless decided that I must use this opportunity for scientific enquiry and in so doing have discovered a great many things. Among these nuggets (of what are probably dog faeces) sit some pieces of information which will bust myths, explode paradigms and blow minds in equal measure. Everything you thought you knew about dogs, it turns out, is in fact wrong.

1. Dogs do NOT eat bones

Not a single bone. Not a one. Anyone expecting to see my dog sat down chowing into some osseous tissue will be shit out of luck. What dogs eat is in fact dog food, which is readily available in shops. But here's the rub: if you take your dog to the veterinary hospital and have it x-rayed (for example, on a night when there's nothing on the telly), you will find it to be completely full of bones. I do not know how these bones get in there.

Not a bone in sight

2. People who do not like dogs or are scared of dogs will NOT like your dog

Anyone with a caninically nervous disposition has heard this one. "Oh, you'll like MY dog". In fact, you will not. Most people who are nervous around dogs dislike the rush of the approach, the jumping up, the frenzied and slobbery attempts at friendship, the barking. My dog does all of these things. It is, to be fair, only a little dog and as such these tendencies are more potentially adorable than if it was one of those horse-sized dogs. But the fact remains. My dog acts like pretty much all the other dogs and as such, if you do not like dogs you will probably not like my dog.

3. All dogs owners clean up after their dog

I am aware that this is a contentious belief and one directly challenged by the fly-strewn, humming, practically sentient, mountainous egg piles that adorn pretty much every busy thoroughfare and public park in the land. However, I have never seen a dog owner without a sack full of brown swinging, or at the very least the paraphernalia to hand to address the situation.

Hove Recreation Ground, mentioned in the text any moment now

The massive, stinking, steamy curlers that you see everywhere are, therefore, utterly unexplained by science and may even be evidence of extra-terrestrial involvement in Earthly doings. A humbling thought and certainly one in the eye for anyone who has ever walked around Hove Recreation Ground this lunchtime and seen all of the dozens of piles of dog shit and thought to themselves, "for fuck's sake, clean up after your fucking dog, fuck me... Jesus, look at that one, fuck". It was as though the circus was in town and they'd been looking for somewhere to exercise the elephants. Or it would have been, had I not already explained that they were done by aliens.

Some of whom I would advise should probably consult a doctor.

The end.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

All my Ukip

You may follow me on Facebook or Twitter, in which case you probably already know that I really don't like UKIP. No, I tell a lie. I hate them. For all their claims and all the careful manicuring of their manifesto and public statements, I believe that they ARE a racist party, if only for the simple reason that no-one has ever voted for UKIP for a non-racist reason. The sad thing is, the majority of people who have done the deed don't even realise this, so insidious is the UKIP machine. Their sole reason for existence is to peddle fear, suspicion and intrigue. I think we need them out of British politics and out of Britain.

I have chosen to express this via the means of art and some interpretive dance, but the latter need not detain us further. I thought that I should collate all my UKIP themed artwork into one handy grab bag for your convenience.

This is the first Nigel Farage that I drew. Typically enough, I also think it is probably the best one.

Here is Nigel in the ascendant.

And here he is, fallen back to Earth as a scarecrow. Pretty scary.

Here is Nigel, after Francis Bacon's Study After Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X

And here is Nigel after The Scream by Edvard Münch

Ukip isn't all about Nigel, here he is with his two MPs, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless

Here's an election poster I made for them, free of charge

After the first TV debate I made Nigel be a frog

Which led me, naturally enough, to Toad of Toad Hall

After that, Nigel was a snail

But ultimately, we mustn't lose sight of the fact that Nigel is a person just like the rest of us.

Monday 4 May 2015

The continuing disenfranchisement of E. Carter (aged 35)

No-one cares who you are going to vote for. Or why.

So, here's who I am going to vote for and why. In 2010, as I had in 2001 and 2005, I voted for the Liberal Democrats. They seemed like a nice bunch. But, it turns out, they are not a nice bunch at all. Putting aside for one moment my dark suspicions that they have perhaps always been the Diet Conservatives, they have facilitated the worst government since the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia in the 1970s.

I live in the safest of the safe Conservative seats. The last MP who did not represent the Tories that our constituency returned to Westminster was a fish who had not quite evolved the full capacity to live on dry land, back when the Earth was just a ball of molten rock hurtling through space shortly after the Big Bang. You could argue, then, that it doesn't matter who I voted for. But tell that to my conscience. One day British politics may change or, more likely, my address will and the Liberal Democrats will need my vote. They will never get it. Not in this lifetime.

So, to 2015. My political convictions have not changed in the last five years, although my understanding of political realities have taken something of a kicking. What I want above all other things is for a change of this wretched, awful government. Learning to love Ed Miliband has been the answer.

Ed Miliband: everyone should vote for this man or no-one should
Again, safest of safe Conservative seats. It doesn't particularly matter who I vote for on a local or national level, the way the British electoral system works. So it all boils down to conscience again. Last night I realised that I cannot, despite earnestly believing that I would until yesterday, vote for the Labour Party in 2015.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Ed Miliband is like every other politician in the world, where expediency and the desire for power rather than principle is the sole guide to their actions. But his hard line denial and refusal to try and work with the SNP seems to me to suggest that he is willing to let the Conservatives get back in to Downing Street again based on nothing but principle and vainglorious pride.

This is not just the Conservatives bolstered by the stinking Liberal Democrats, either, but the Conservatives with help from the vile UKIP and venal Democratic Unionist Party. It would be the worst coalition since the one George W. Bush built to go and rain death on Iraq in 2003 and this time, the blood (hopefully only figuratively speaking) would be on Ed Miliband's hands.

I like Ed Miliband. I admire him. I think he would be a good Prime Minister and I hope that by this time next week he will have been given an opportunity to prove it. But above all, I would like to be able to vote for him and his party again in the future. If I vote Labour in 2015 and his intransigence leads to five more wretched years of Conservative government (and we really ain't seen NOTHING yet) then, after last time, it would be more than my conscience and I could possibly bear. So this is why I am going to be voting for the Green Party on Thursday morning.

Friday 17 April 2015

The Joy of Doing Stuff

I've been watching a lot of woodworking videos on YouTube recently. No, wait, come back.

A while ago I found a rich seam of old motor racing documentaries on YouTube. They were mostly from the 1980s and almost always narrated by Martin Jarvis. In spite of the fact they were about racing cars, however, the thing which I enjoyed the most was watching a bunch of Midland craftsmen carving, from mahogany, a wooden former for the casting of a new engine block. The sight, sound and skill of it were mesmerising. Always a wise owl, I wondered if perhaps there might be some more examples of woodworking for me to watch on the site.

Of course, there were, as everything ever made is now on YouTube. It is by some margin the greatest site on the internet, ever. So, this is how I came to start watching a lot of YouTube videos about woodworking.

I can't particularly explain why I have been watching these videos. They are, for one thing, mostly tutorials and I have no particular interest in the practical side of woodwork. Make no mistake, if someone has a load of nice sharp tools and wood ready for me to have a wallop about with, I'd be in there like a shot. But to commit to making it happen for myself, the thought has never really crossed my mind. My last experience of woodwork came in Design & Technology class, which I stopped doing when I chose my subjects for GCSE in 1994. The ultimate result of this was a lot of unfinished crap and one tetanus shot.

And yet, I've been watching a lot of woodworking videos on YouTube recently. Hours and hours of them. I believe there is a basic desire in every human being to make things. To watch a craftsman produce a tangible object is extraordinarily, if often inexplicably, satisfying thing to do. But more than just satisfying. There is something profound in it. Something which is closer to the soul than our conscious brain can properly understand.

Paul Sellers demonstrates the advantages of his weapon of choice, the no. 4 smoothing plane

I quickly found a favourite producer of YouTube videos. It is Paul Sellers. Paul Sellers is a 60-year old British furniture maker and master craftsman with 45 years of experience and all the necessary tools to share and impart this knowledge. His videos are sometimes short affairs - mythbusting, tool maintenance or useful techniques - and sometimes hours and hours of masterclasses, where the viewer could, if they wanted to, make the piece along with him. The first video of his that I watched teaches how to carve a spoon using simple hand tools and I was absolutely hooked from the first axe cut.

Sellers is the teacher of your dreams in these videos. Calm, unambiguous, accomplished and authoritative without ever being steadfast, set in his ways or preachy. Plus, just the merest glance will tell you that he knows his stuff. What Mozart was to the pianoforte, Paul Sellers is to the Bailey-pattern number 4 bench plane. Coupled with the zen-like delivery - think Bob Ross, but with less happy clouds and more old-fashioned Salford common sense - I honestly think that anybody, of any walk of life and any set of interests, could happily lose themselves in his films.

I suppose that I am, too, a craftsman after a fashion. I, like Paul Sellers, have ploughed my own furrow in a world increasingly dominated by mechanical shortcuts and kept faith with traditional techniques. He does it with a lump of oak, I do it with bits of paper and pens. Although I may never necessarily do any woodwork, I have learned an awful lot from him. The importance of believing in your method. The fundamental seriousness of following your own vision. The simple joy of doing things rigorously, patiently and properly. These are basic lessons but also ones that strike at the very heart of learning about being human. I would like to thank him for that.

I recommend that you drop everything and indulge yourself in some Paul Sellers, right now:


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