Friday, 29 April 2011

Dan Slavinsky illustration

I discovered Slavinsky's work the other night at a London art show. It is utterly amazing and I am still reeling in awe of his draftsmanship. His blog is here.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

White Mischief: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

The UK's premier Steampunk party White Mischief returned to London's Scala venue the other week with a Jules Verne-ian themed party which took revelers all the way to the bottom of the sea. Victorian divers rubbed shoulders with mermaids, pirates and sailors while the excellent Professor Elemental Chap-rapped his hosting duties to the extreme.

It was nice to see a Steampunk market with some extremely talented crafts-people selling some gorgeous wears and Black Lab/Dreamfired Productions provided some awesome (if slightly surreal) interactive theatre throughout the night.

Snaps below. Enjoy!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Salute 2011

I made my way down to London's ExCel centre last weekend for Salute 2011 and was pleased to find it was as varied and entertaining as ever. It was so great to see so many mini manufacturers present and to get to experience so much merchandise "in the flesh" (as opposed to just online).

The game tables were full of inspiring and excellent terrain, the crowd was cheerful and there were Stormtroopers on hand to look for any missing droids. I got to meet some folk who I had only conversed with over email, including the super-talented Mike McVey with whom I had worked on Dwarf King's Hold and Jake Thornton (who I would like to thank for such an engaging discussion about the games industry).

I will leave you with some of my best pics from the day.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Paddington station

I have been through this station a lot in the past couple of weeks (on a secret mission I may or may not tell you about). I got some nice snaps of the wonderful ironwork.

From the Wiki:

The earliest extant reference to Padington, historically a part of Middlesex, was made in 1056.

By 1773, a contemporary historian determined that "London may now be said to include two cities, one borough and forty six antient villages", Paddington and adjoining Marybone (Marylebone) being named as two of those villages.

Roman roads formed the parish's north-eastern and southern boundaries from Marble Arch: Watling Street (later Edgware Road) and the Uxbridge road, known in the 1860s as Bayswater Road. They were toll roads in the 18th century, before and after the dismantling of the permanent Tyburn gallows "tree" at their junction in 1759. By 1800, the area was also traversed by the Harrow Road and an arm of the Grand Union Canal.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Carmelite monastery

I was on my way to a training course in West London the other week (for PRINCE2 if you must know) and was baffled to find myself passing a monastery. It transpires this is home to the hermetic order of Carmelite monks.

That might explain the barbed wire and general air of un-welcomeness.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Fire in the hole!!!

Recently I went back to my home county to visit my little sister and we took a trip out to Panshanger with the aim of going for a quiet walk in the spring sunshine. I was excited to discover there is an old, derelict WWII bunker there and made my sister traipse about in the mud until we found it. Here is the description from this website:

[Panshanger] Started life in WWII as a "decoy aerodrome" with a hangers and facilities made by film set experts, complete with dummy aircraft, cars, smoking chimneys and deliberate 'black out leaks'. Those measures were aimed at diverting German bombers away from Hatfield with its large aircraft factory and other nearby industries. It was so successful, that many of our own pilots landed at Panshanger by mistake! In the early forties RAF Elementary Flight Training School was based in Panshanger and real buildings began to replace the canvas and scaffolding dummies. 

I got some nice snaps on that balmy morning, but I would love to go there at night when the undead servicemen, who no doubt use the bunker as their lair, were on the prowl.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Earlier last week I biked down to the uber-cool (some would say "up it's own arse") Shoreditch area of London to see the opening of the MadC exhibition MadABC.

Thanks to my lovely RSS feed I learned that the German graffiti writer was showing a collection of her work. My newly piqued interest interest in the medium meant this was a must and it transpired to be a great evening. Her work is grand in scale, displays an innate understanding of colour and is very playful.

Something which has excited me is that she has painted a wall not far from my office, so I shall endeavour to pop down there and take some snaps to show you all shortly.

In the meantime I leave you with my pictures from the gallery, including a lovely one of the woman herself signing a book for some excited (and unusually young) fans. Oh, before I forget, I was baffled by the beer until I realised it was orange-flavored (or "infused" as the advertisers would have us believe). Weird...but nice!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Hail to the King!

Late last week I popped down to the excellent Resistance Gallery in London's Bethnal Green to see the show Hail to the King; a Jack Kirby Tribtute Show. I can't do better than Res Gal's head of clandestine operations, Shiro Yoshida, in describing the gig, so here are his words:

"Jack Kirby is the legendary icon responsible for bringing to life, the modern day superhero.

His work from the 40's through to his death in the early 90's, didn't just help shape the way in which comic art is seen today, but practically changed the whole world with his dynamic visionary style.

This show is our tribute to the king with several incredible internationally renowned artists showing how the king Kirby influenced their lives!"

My snaps are below from what was an engaging and inspirational evening with some colourful folk.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

New work: Graphics test

I often get inspired to do little aesthetics tests. This one differs from my usual style, but I feel is successful nonetheless.  Enjoy.

Mmmmm. Helvetica...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Do not touch the frog

Another photography story for you involving frogs, armed guards and a male stripper. No, really - it's hilarious.

Via Boing Boing

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

TripleXXX opening

If you're in a scrape, always trust a girl on skates. That's my motto thanks to my London Rollergirl pals.

I was saved from an evening of dull work by my pal Sugar Bump 614 who invited me to the opening of a tattoo parlour in East London. Triple X is a new studio situated in a warehouse by the Regent's Canal as it winds its way through the London Fields area (famous for it's much maligned population of hipsters). The XxX crew have created an amazing space, more akin to a gallery than a traditional tattoo parlor. The floor is highly polished chipboard, the couches sit in the main room and are shielded by curtains and there is a separate chamber with a stage and bar which can host performers and bands. The walls are covered in outsider art and low brow paintings.

XxX held a party to celebrate their opening, and the highlight (and I use this term loosely) was a suspension. No, not in the school sense, but in the hanging-from-hooks sense. However, the gallery was not tall enough to accommodate a traditional suspension so the suspendees (there were four) vied for a prize by having a tug-of-war. Except they were joined by ropes. With hooks. In their backs. Cue much looking away and grimacing on the part of the audience (and, to be fair, the contestants too).

I should explain about the girls. Roller Derby an awesome and very Girl Power female sport involving skates, a track, girls and lots of cheering. Sugar is a member of the Sufra Jets team (yes, there's a lot of word-play humor in the sport). She and I were joined by some of her team-mates as XxX have kindly sponsored the London Rollergirl league. We skated (a bit), we drank beer and, after the beer, we drew slightly ham-fisted Jeebus* bracelet tattoos on our wrists in biro to "prove" we had indeed been to a ink parlor opening.

You can see the Triple X site here. You can find out more about the London Rollergirls here. And if you're super keen you can see what someone's back looks like when you poke two hooks through it in this close-up photo here (warning: it's really not nice and is certainly NSFW).

* Rollergirl slang for Jesus

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Play House at the V&A museum

I now know what it's like for stars to walk the red carpet. The apprehension, the exhilaration followed swiftly by the terror as folk push objects for signing into your mittens and microphones into your face (complete with bellowed questions about "how it feels to be here tonight"). Alas I have not yet made it to A-list status yet, but my experience came courtesy of another amazing evening of interactive theatre and performance at London's Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A).

The Play House saw artists, crafts-people and performers of all sorts crowd into the museum and fill it with amazing experiences late one Friday night. There were face painting workshops, impromptu dance routines, puppet classes and all manner of static displays. It was glorious and slightly surreal to bump into my friend Philip Levine who stood atop a plinth at the end of the Renaissance sculpture gallery (bottom pic). He works with artist Kat Sinclair to decorate his scalp with everything from bodypaint to Swarovski crystals (as was the case in this occasion).

We drifted, mesmerized, through the galleries until a roar of cheers greeted us from a corridor. As we approached the tunnel, an usher grabbed me and dragged me forward. A red carpet beckoned and he pushed me onwards. Bewildered, I entered a fictitious media scrum as actors behind two ropes screamed they loved me, begged me to sign their limbs, invited me to pose for their cameras and, at last, a PR crew grabbed me and fired questions like there was no tomorrow.

"How does it feel to be here tonight?"

You can see more about Philip and Kat's work here.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Jakob Nielsen's Crystal Brush 2011 entry

My good friend Jakob is no small talent in the miniature painting world. He has worked at the Games Workshop studio as an 'Eavy Metal painter, has won numerous Golden Demon awards and holds two Slayer Swords. He is justifiably entering the first Crystal Brush competition this weekend at AdeptiCon this weekend.

Jakob has come up with a delightfully unusual entry which you can see below. His Duchess Death is a converted John Blanche Miniatures Femme Militant. She sits atop a free-rolling ball, which is weighted so, like a Weeble, it always returns to the correct position. Jakob has kindly been sending me WIP shots of his creation over the past few months, and my jaw has hit the floor time after time as I have seen this little beastie come together. Just look at the angles on her - from numerous directions the limbs form pleasing ninety-degree juxtapositions. The red of her bodice pops against the subtle bone and grey hues of the horse body, while the tones return to a warm hue in the eye-catching-but-not-distracting base. All this is set off by the black ball, which is pleasingly proportioned in its ratio of gloss black-to-earth-to-miniature.

Part of the (controversial) Crystal Brush judging system involves public votes over the net, so click on through tot the site and log your support for Jakob! You can see more of his stunning, seminal work on his own site here.

Also check out my friend Steve's equally effusive (and more expansive) post on Jakob's entry on his blog here.