January 30, 2014

Instrument Cushions

A series of paintings I did on four cushion covers, with a musical instrument theme. The paintings were done in fabric paint, using a stencil brush.

January 28, 2014

Top Ten Flashback: January 28, 1989

Today I look back once again at the top 10 Australian singles chart from this date 25 years ago, and it's one of the earliest charts I remember watching on Rage, having first watched ABC's mammoth music video show in late 1988 or thereabouts. As the final year of the 1980s got under way, some long-established artists were enjoying their final waning moments of popularity (chart-wise). So, who comprised our top ten in the week ending Saturday, January 28, 1989?

10.  Transvision Vamp – "I Want Your Love"
This is what 'the kidz' were listening to in the '80s – a bit of raucous rawk n' rawl from England. We all know who Wendy James is (well, those of us who were there at the time), but look at that dude on the left there – I didn't know Sid Vicious was also in this band!*

*I'm joking, of course. You don't need to comment on that.

9.  Robert Palmer – "She Makes My Day"
I'll bet she does, pal. She's probably one of those models in your other video. And what's with that scrawly writing on the sleeve? All very Phil Collins, isn't it.

8.  Yazz – "The Only Way Is Up"
I have an issue of Select magazine from 1994 in which Yazz's One By One is reviewed and the reviewer, one Clark Collis, writes "No one who admits to collecting cushions as a hobby should ever be allowed inside a recording studio". Amazing. I have since scoured the internet (i.e. 28 seconds peering at Google search results) trying to determine if Yazz actually does collect cushions ([citation needed], after all) but have drawn a blank. Anyway, this late-'80s acid house tune has grown on me and I quite like it, even though the vocals are in a register a bit too high for my liking.

7.  The Proclaimers – "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
How I wished they'd spelt the title "I'm Gonnae Be" in keeping with their Scots lingo, but still, this is one of the best songs of the '80s, for me. They really rocked it out when they played it at Live 8, it was ace. It proves that so many people still love the song and can belt out every word. 500 miles is 804 kilometres, by the way.

6.  Mental As Anything – "Rock And Roll Music"
Ah, Young Einstein. I couldn't really recall the song (or the movie come to think of it), but the thing I really liked about this band was their name. Not much else to day, let's move on.

5.  1927 – "If I Could"
If I could, I would. I would if I could, but I can't. You get the idea. This song is a classic, and I'll see anyone outside who disagrees. To be honest the production could do with a bit of a 21st century remaster, but this is a song from 1988, and its impact lies in its simplicity. Whether you pay attention to Eric Weideman's lyrics about the male half of a couple always feeling like they can't do enough, or you just like the melody, it's a standout Australian '80s track. Its peak position was number 4, the biggest hit for 1927.

4.  The Traveling Wilburys – "Handle With Care"
Somebody get this song away from my ear'oles quick smart. It's not the quality of the musicianship, because obviously there are some accomplished artists here. It's because I cannot stand Roy bloody Orbison. His singing sounds like he has a particularly urgent case of diarrhoea, and if his vocals were removed from this song (and every other song he recorded for that matter) I'd be much happier.

3.  Womack & Womack – "Teardrops"
That naked baby on the sleeve cover is beyond tacky – not something you want to look at while lying back in a hammock in a wooden-floored room filled with potted plants with a turntable next to you and this record sleeve in your hand – but I do like the song, and a lot more than I did 25 years ago. I didn't like it much back then, as I wasn't much of a fan of understated grooves. Sadly denied a number 1 placing by a bunch of old hippies (see below).

2.  Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan – "Especially For You"
Yeesh! The infamous Neighbours duet that even one of the song's producers didn't like (Pete Waterman, if'n ya must know). I'm ambivalent about the song – don't like it, don't hate it – but that cheeseballeriffic part towards the end of the video of them embracing while a collage of photos scrolls past in the background is somehow rather endearing. Again, denied a number 1 placing by aforementioned hippies (below).

1.  The Beach Boys – "Kokomo"
I don't mind this song, but it took a few listens before I realized how inane the lyrics are. The tune itself isn't bad, and also the harmonies, but still it's not a song I fondly recall listening to. I just remember it well, that's all. Its ubiquity in 1988-89 probably means I'm in the same boat as plenty of other people. And that boat is sailing away to Aruba. Or Jamaica...aargh! I'll stop now.

January 24, 2014

Sketch Party

Today I went on a day of sketching in a group at the Melbourne Museum, an excellent place to sketch things, I might add. Especially animals. Because – well, they're dead, aren't they.

Thanks to Luis, Josh and Romi for allowing me to photograph their sketches, and Youbi for organizing the whole thing.

Here are the sketches – first, a couple of dinosaurs...

A smiling deer.

Some biological fancy from Romi.

Luis did this rat-like critter.

This one's mine – an 1880s mail coach.


Yes it is, Josh. And there's a rabbit with a Nazi armband, too.

January 14, 2014

Comic Stamping Workshop

Rob Scholten and I attended a Comic Stamping workshop today at the City Library. It was a blistering hot day and good to be inside. The workshop was given by Youbi Lee and her friend Romi Park, and the aim was to create a comic-like image using little rubber stamps, which they had fashioned themselves.

Here's my effort. They really liked it, but I don't know what it means.

The City Library had a 'doodle wall' set up, which anyone could draw on. The four of us set about covering up some white space. Can you tell who drew what?

Now, get lost!

January 12, 2014

Melbourne City Library Comics Exhibition

Ahoy mateys! Welcome to 2014. Posts on this blog really dried up during the second half of last year, didn't they? Well not to worry because 2013 was fairly uninteresting anyway, and already this new year is shaping up to be a good one.

I was fortunate enough to have nine pages from "Avalanche", the fourth story from Airbury Academy IV (my new black and white 150+ page comic that I only completed the day before New Year's Eve), included in the Melbourne City Library's Comics Exhibition! If you're local, get down to 253 Flinders Lane and see it before January 30th. It's in the upstairs gallery. Here are some pics from the opening night, Thursday January 9th.

The pages mounted on the wall. "Avalanche" is 22 pages long, so these nine pages are not consecutive but hopefully still make sense.

One of the guests who read it. She and others took their time to read every comic, not just skimming them. People seemed to take a long time reading mine – it does have a fair bit of dialogue to get through though!

My mate Chris having a read. "Avalanche" was one of the more humorous entries – other comics dealt with much more serious subjects.

The niche box on the ground floor near the stairs, where I displayed some items that hopefully give an insight into my particular art style. There were three or four of these.

The guestbook in the gallery – with some great comments in. Thanks to all who commented! Thanks also to Leonee Derr and the other Library staff who pulled the whole event together. It really is a unique experience to have your work viewed by other people, and the positive comments they give are very encouraging.

January 7, 2014

Homemade Business Cards

Wouldn't'cha know it, the night after tomorrow is the opening night of the comics exhibition I'm in, and I don't have any business cards. Well, ones that are up to date, anyway. I don't expect I'll have to give any out, but you never know. So I made my own. Cool huh?

They were printed with acrylic printing letters onto already-existing cards with different coloured backs. Each one different. Ask me for one if you like. I expect I'll still have plenty of them.