Creativity routine

I saw this clip of Charles Bukowski, & for the second time in my life he's rewrit the way I see things. The first time was when I read Post Office last summer. It gave me the idea that throughout my life, i'd quite like to jump from menial job to menial job, working for a while, getting a range of different experiences, meeting a bunch of different folk, getting involved in micro-politics then POW! Gone like the wind, off to work in a burger stand or somethin.

Anywho this is the second. Bukowski's flipside to the creative drive:

I remember reading Scorcese say something simillar too, he say's what he does, after long hours, long months, working on a film - he retires to his cinema for a week or two - sits there and watches films, and soaks it all up like a sponge -winding himself tight & then get right back on the ball again.

It suits me being like this. I like to do things to their max for period's of time. EG the last year - (finished uni), got a job for two months, quit that, read books intently etc for a bit, moved down to Cornwall for two months, come back for christmas, had Mig live with me for two months, went travelling for 5 weeks - got a job for a month or two, quit that - moved to Plymouth for a month or two, come back - made the magazine. Infact the magazine is the only experience that has lasted more than two months! Somethin' had to stick.

I believe in living to the max whatever it is you're choosing to do. And also, firstly to realise that whatever it is you spend your time doing - it is a choice. If you come home from work, & relax watching the telly each night - that is a choice. Make each choice a concious choice!

Bob Dylan: Eat The Document

Check out the jam 14:20 seconds in.. too beautiful. Oh sweet Melancholy...

Think I might need to buy a decent camcorder and start filming everything..

Mutilated Beauty

Note - hope these pictures don't cause offence or ridicule Sharon Tate for anyone, that's not the intention. Meant to be all about melancholy. Anywho just a quick photoshop mashup. It's so sad for the world the way she was murdered & I wanted to exemplify that in a picture. 

Alan Watts documentary

For an introduction to the simple Zen wisdom of Alan Watts, check this out. What a great voice. Listen to that Zen bellyfull laugh! I can scarcely think of anyone I know who couldn't learn from these two minutes.

Animation made by the South Park guys.

And now onto the main feature; well worth watching. Well worth watching again. and again, & so on.

Here's an image of George Harrison with some related wisdom:

Prepare to be Mandalised

Couple of recent collaborations with Dena Pappas. She did the photography, I messed with them. I like the first one best personally. Taken backstage at the Attic (check out the interview!)

BEAT Magazine

So the last month or two has been a bit of a mad one. On friday, we head to the printers to pick up 5000 copies of the #1 issue of BEAT Magazine. It is  a local culture magazine for Torquay, published monthly, featuring articles on local bands & artists, street style, event reviews & a total Live Listings - over two pages, offering something for every night of the month.

We began talking about the magazine in the midst of the planning for a local art shop. We wanted to open up a little place where we could sell local art, put on classes - Life Drawing, Tai Chi, Meditation, & promote art in the local area. The more we spoke about it, the more we became aware of the incline of the hill. BEAT Magazine was something Steve had been doing for a while online. We decided some hazy green tea fueled night to make a print copy of the magazine, and work began. This was only about a month ago, maybe less.

The magazine is 16 pages, full colour. We are a team of three currently & have plans to expand. My friend Steve is the editor & in charge of advertising. I am the graphic designer, but have also been involved with other areas. & Dena is the newest member, in charge of press/photography.

Anywho, it's been quite a difference to animation, although it shares alot of similarities. Primarily, being a creative venture it shares many of the same attributes; working to a deadline, idea conception, style & decisions on aesthetics. I've found it pleasing the turn around time of something like this compared to animation; as I said the magazine has been from conception, birth to the end result something like a month.

\it's been alot of fun to do. We are really passion fueled in our desire - we can see things happening in Torquay (culturally) but not everybody is aware, we want to be the thread that winds through & pulls it all together. We're really inspired in our desire to see people motivated in our home town.

So if you're in the area, look out for Issue #1 available from the 1st! We are also holding a Launch Party to CELEBRATE! Come on down!

Re:Papers papers papers... and the future!

Brotherly Love
A humongous event here at Mickey Mouse Has Grown Up a Cow (aka Tom Gameson's blog).. we have my first ever guest poster! Comes straight from the lips of ma boy Jimbo Cox, read it and believe..
As someone who, since turning eighteen, has always been employed (including through university, entirely) and has never been on benefits, I think the dole is fantastic. The safety net it provides is an element of our country I am proud of.
In my opinion, benefits will always be abused, but denying people money that need it because of this abuse by others is evil.
I find it very interesting that The Conservatives inherited a ‘’broken Britain’’ according to many, yet people are less moved by the fact that The Red Cross are giving donations to homes in The U.K for the first time since the Second World War this winter. To me this shows that people consider being unable to buy a third family car due to Labour policies including benefits being exploited (when really it was a global financial crisis) more ‘’’broken’’ than people on your street receiving aid usually reserved for third world countries in crisis. And that is harrowing.
I do find it strange how some benefit receivers appear to live so wealthily, for example, a mate of mine back home who has a pregnant girlfriend and a son bought my TV off me (that I needed money for) to put in his bedroom! His girlfriend does not work and I work a lot harder than him, yet he has a lot more for himself. Perhaps this is because I spend my money on plane tickets. Truthfully, I don’t seek the reason, because I don’t care. To be perfectly honest, I don’t give a shit if people forever abuse these benefits they receive. Let’s go by Daily Mail-esque example. If a Polish immigrant’s lazy nature and subsequent benefits are what prevents a middle-class man from buying a 50 inch TV to watch X-Factor on then that is fine by me, the only part I am sickened by is that this man is watching X-Factor (why is it that people buy big screens to watch the shittest television on?). If an overly rewarding benefit system is what prevents the disparity between rich and poor from being so huge then I highly endorse it (and I say this as someone who, when I finally decide to enter it the real world, is aiming as high up the career ladder as I can go).
Any way, that’s my two cents, we could make a blog together man, across the hemispheres! I got a lot of ideas about what to write about, from politics to more light hearted subjects.
If anybody else has anything to add on the subject (the dark side of the dole) then please, feel free to send in - whether onside or on the contrary its very interesting to here those perspectives we don't often hear in our 'who shouts the loudest' society

Papers papers papers... and the future!

This is interesting to read:

Article one (Daily Mail) (by Richard Littlejohn...)
Article two (Response posted on blog / republished on The Guardian)

Really highlights how those poor poor papers like the Daily Mail like to build one-dimensional characters of real people before they ask the public to stone them.

The Daily Mail is much like Stweart Lee said about Jeremy Clarkson.. "Ooh that Jeremy Clarkson, with his outrageous political views that he has for money..". This is the cream of 20th century capitalism.

I've been doing a business course for the last month & one lady on the course is a Liverpoodlian (don't think i've spelt that right). Being a Liverpoodlian (person from Liverpool..) it didn't take long for conversation to turn to what paper she buy's, & her opinion of the Sun. (See image)

She said something very interesting about the way society responds to their own communities, and those people in need of support. 40 Years ago, it would have been a case of 'Aah, Derek next door has lost his job, lets take a food basket round'. Today it's 'F##kin scroungers'.

My belief in the dole, or that is - the spirit behind the dole, is mirrored in Jack Monroe's article; isn't it fantastic that we can offer a safety net as such, to support those in need. This may provoke a grey area, prone to misuse; but what is a better alternative?

One thing people have to remember, like Richard Littlejohn, the Daily Mail & most importantly those members of the public whose ignorance is wrongly played upon by such papers - and this I believe is something noone is really drawing attention too - more & more jobs are being exhanged for even cheaper labour. When you go into Tesco's & go through self service, that used to be someone's job. Every industry has had - with varying degrees of influence - the microscopic eye drawn over it's productivity & where costs can be kept down, and often this is in staff. I'm not saying this is wrong, this is the end result of capitalism and financially logical.

However we have to remember this - what happens when most jobs are filled by robots?

Eventually it'll be expected that only 80% of the population can find work, then 50% and so on.When all jobs are dried up & we no longer critisice those who don't work, I believe we'll have built towards some sorta landscape where everybody does what they want to do. I'm talking creatively. The internet is bringing an audience to those who have something to show, whatever little niche creative venture that may be. Technology is going to massively facilitate this creativity too.

I believe that a new culture of naive art is soon to grow. This is totally spurred on by three key things;

  1. The creative drive (which we all have)
  2. The internet Not only with it's value in sharing, but in the very idea of 'an open book'. We today tend to go on the net and go on a select few sites - the children of the future are going to go on it and dream up anything they want - which really confounds 'an open mind' philosophy.
  3. and the tools of the 21st century that will make that creative drive possible (3D printers in the hands of a jeweller! Even myself using one computer in one room to make whole animations on)

A good example of this 'naive art' is already all around us, Facebook, Instagram & the like are making artists out of everyone. Naive artists that is - a new folk art.

Anywho - the overarching point of this is - we are at a cross roads, a gigantic shift in the way the world works. This is very much the final days of 20th century capitalism, and those big pigs are gunna keep squarwking with their dollars and trying to stop the change (see the music industry...). I believe this is the end of a 2000-yearlong era, we've been living in the shadow of the Roman's for that time, culture has not much changed (they had fast food in Pompeii, & is there really much difference between the Colosseum & the San Siro?)

People have to be aware of this shift and excited about the possibilities of the future we're stepping into. Whether they are as wide-eyed optimistic as me or not, they must realise that things are changing in a new way and it is very much an open book.

Here's an example of how art & creativity are beautifully realised with the internet


This is so good -

I've included it in my 'This is why I love animation' bit. Although its obviously not really animation in the typical sense - everything about it, the way the story is told, all the different characters are developed, all the philosophical angles built, all the pop reference, is exactly what i'd like to see, animation's of a similar keel


"Tortoise-shell butterflies burst from the chrysalis and pattered their life out on the window-pane.."


Gig! Next month! Gunna be a goodun!

A short poem:
Find me at the front,
very drunk
and i'll try not to spit on you
like the punk (that I am at heart)

This one was fun because I got to mess with some of my cousin's photography work. Check her out BECKY MAYNES dot COM

If you can't wait that long to see the boys get down theyre's a gig on next weekend in Exeter and I hear there may be a surprise appearance by the mysterious Fifth Mandala himself...

(not) my kind of animation..

First, let me just say..
I'm really really sorry to single out one guy for this. And understand, whilst I am singling out one person - i'm also not, i'm just using it as an example of a whole canon of work - a whole canon of thought about the medium & the usage of the medium. I do not mean to single him out in anyway other than to provoke in your mind ideas of other examples.

There, haha.

This is the showreel of Sandro Cleuzo, someone who has been around for a while, worked on some big films & clearly a very talented fella. However, I wanted to point out this kind of work. I would not be happy on my deathbed to look back at my career like this. It's just regurgitating of the same subject over and over, slick, beautiful, but just dead underneath. What's the point? (besides the holy $...)

I agree whole-heartedly with what Ralph Bakshi says in this clip, and whatsmore the sentiment grows each time I watch it.

I felt that same way about Tom & Jerry as a kid, what's the point? Every episode is the same. Disney films are the same (hyper-Holywood, atleast every now & then live action throws a curveball). Dreamworks etc are largely the same. What's the point? I don't want to do this with animation. Lets not forget, it's a medium with such explorative artistic potential. (someone really needs to put a decent version of this online..)

On the contrary, I have alot of time for Pixar as they do things with heart & the occasional daring (if minor) attempt (Wife dying in first ten minutes of Up, how dark Toy Story 3 almost gets (all things considered..), largely silent first half hour of Wall-E) that I think in their own small but far-reaching way are slowly championing the change in animations public perception.

PS - just to again apologise to Sandro Cleuzo. I see he worked on Chico & Rita, a film I do very much admire, especially for its use of animation to tell an adult tale. Perhaps the above is simply an overview of his more commercial work.

Two contradictory states of mind...

...That is modern life.

I find at the moment my days move between two modes of thought. On the one hand, I very much believe in mindfulness. It's something i've got into over the last few years, beginning when my friends dad lent me 'The Miracle of Mindfulness' as an in roads to Buddhism. Mindfulness is the attaining of the ability to sort of at once be clear minded but also directly focused; it is the cultivation of this ability. Also, inherently moulding a mindset that says "Wow! We are here! What are the chances?" and really basking in the joy of this. To quote some wise man - "The miracle isnt to walk on water; the miracle isnt to fly; The miracle is to purely walk on Earth".

At the same time, I find myself very given over to the '21st century scizophrenic' mindset that Jameson outlayed. That today with all the signs, all the morsels of information that line our streets & days, we have become almost scizophrenic in our thought process - we absentmindedly jump from one ship to another in mind, thoughts of 'whats for lunch' one second, then suddenly, without concious reason, thoughts of a dead pet, or murmers of an ex girlfriend spring the next. We are sort of rolled from the beginning of days to the end picking up signs and churning them in such way. It's a rather disparaging way to think, atleast, when levied alongside the clear virtues of 'mindfulness'; However I find for the creative thinker its a rather attainful way to think. I find thinking like this, ideas spring up out of nowhere, tangents are thought-up and felt-out; a brisk walk back home from the shops may be the kiln for a feverous new idea, built on nothing more than seeing a car drive by or a bird fly low.

It's a mindset that Virginia Woolf personified in To The Lighthouse, perhaps only now (almost 100 years later) we have cranked it all the way to 11 in our 21st century ways. An absolute overdrive of information as you walk the streets, or look around your room (much different from the simple Victorian fixings she would have surrounded herself with). Standing still, how many labels can you read? How many ideas are in ear-shot?

So this is my contradiction of thought-process. On the one hand I am very fond of attaining that fruitful insight that mindfulness brings, but on the other, I like to be the pebble dropped in the river, washed this way & that from wave to wave. I find myself cushioning up in either way, from one day to the next. For animating, I find the mindful thought-process the best; being all over the place (mentally) absorbs you in elsewhere ideas when trying to animate & before long you find yourself hunched over Facebook or the kettle, procrastinating.

The Dark Descent

The Dark Descent is finally live online. Check it out, it's fourteen minutes long so grab yourself either a tea or a beer. Or a tap water, whatever really.

We got the award for daily 1st on Newgrounds, and also put on the frontpage, which was really nice because I always felt it was the right home for the film. It's where I learnt to animate, too, so nice to get something on there.

We got some really favourable reviews from the film, a very humbling breath to take, after the film had been left to stagnate for so long (we finished it back in February). It's good to see people enjoy it, I don't really like it myself, but I spose it's always like that. I think there's some bits in it that i'm really proud of animating, and others... not so much. Ha!

But, my final feeling with the film, is just being resoundingly proud of the ridiculous effort me and Miguel put into it. I think the production time would be around 9 months, and considering it was essentially made by just the two of us is nuts. There were times when we got pretty stressed and strained (mainly me), and there were times when we laughed n' learnt (Mig taught me all about WW2, I taught him all about the 60's) but we stuck it out and that's what I am most proud about.

Here's some of the reviews, starting with possibly the most humbling review either of us will ever get;

"So I created an account just to thank you properly. I am usually on this site to kill time and get a laugh. And I watched this simply because it was the first one shown. But quickly I was drawn into the story and how it relates to me personally. I have been struggling with PTSD for a few years, and always find it hard to express myself to my wife. My thoughts and emotions are lost in translation to her. But this is the closest relationship I have ever felt to true understanding of what I am dealing with. Me and my wife watched this, and all I could say is "that is me". The therapeutic value of this is amazing. 
Myself and my wife have been drawn closer together with this true work of art. I will share this with others I know who are experiencing the same condition as myself. And I truly just want to say thank you for providing this to the world."

"this animation, the graphics, the music, the storytelling was nothing short of amazing"

"Wow. It's been a long time since I've felt this kind of emotion when I'm looking a short movie on NG. With not even a word, you've told a more powerful story than most movies. Bravo"

"Incredible work. The end was really touching, and though I could analyze and interpret it, I don't think there's a need to. Your ability to show emotion without facial expressions other than the eyes was impressive. The soundtrack fit, as did the lack of at certain points. The animation was original, and all backgrounds were nicely made. Definitely one of my favorite animations here on Newgrounds, nice to see a change from the crap put on here half the time. Your effort has surely shown through in this piece."

And the exact reason the dog made it into the film:


"awesome creative artwork, but why leave the dog alone in the end??????
i mean i had my dog on my lap the whole time!!!really made me sorry for the dog... but everything else...masterpiece"

Page of faces

Here's some faces. This is the kinda drawing style im onto at the moment. 
I would say it's a little Schiele/Klimt inspired (for example the guy at the top with the dark hair: straight chins, big eyes or small eyes). 
Also inspired by GTA art, in a funny way i've come full circle - I think when I was doodling in school it was mainly 'GTA esque' biro sketches, so quite nice to be back to it (or another way of saying i've not advanced in ten years, ha). 
But to be honest I think the main part of the inspiration is basically just informed by my own drawing style i've accumulated. It's mainly come from just sketching people in the street (see the Never Ending Sketchbook, which is due an update), quick drawings, caricature-esque I spose, trying to capture quickly what it is about people that is so different and compelling about their face (as is everybody's face) Also making 'The Dark Descent', when I really got into drawing people with shapely faces (eg the dude at the bottom left with the beard).

Anywho gunna keep doing these, like this vein i'm onto.


Also, look who we met the other night!!! (one of these is a real album cover, if you don't know which one you can't be my friend)


Finally, we had an Art Show in Torquay the other night, was an all round success, loads of people getting together, looking at art, live music, all hosted by the friendly faces at Torquay Arts House Collective & Beat Magazine. Stay tuned for more, the seaside-revolution has begun (and everyone is invited)!

We live in the future


...Not to forget GTA5 - 21st Century art at it's grandest.

Nietzsche & more

Finally got back into reading Nietzsche, here's a sketchy-painting to celebrate.

Quote from Beyond Good & Evil.

Note - it is traced (so no congratulations please)

The quote is a little out of context but I like it. He was talking about how regardless of the path of the way out (in his example stoicism), the necessity of a way out is what is important.

If you wanna learn more about Nietzsche, turn no further than my number 1 dinner party guest, Alain De Botton!


Also, Art Show! Happening in Torquay in two week's (24th). Come on down!


Lastly, a couple of good articles, first on GTA 5. I've said it many time's, the only games I really play are Fifa and anything Rockstar makes. Safe to say am looking forward to this one. Don't expect to see me for a week or two.

& thought this was interesting. I like Cartoon Brew but there overarching cynicsm of anything Disney do is tiresome. I think this could be a good idea, who's to say movies have reached their highest formula? I like how left-field the idea is too, perhaps it (not this, but the idea) may lead to some better film 'experience' (as is the catch word). I also think its playfully defining of this generations (not mine, but those who are bumbling onto the interenet aged 5) mind frame; we've already become aware of a shortening lack of attention span, perhaps this (sort of thing) is the icing on the cake - when it stops being a bad thing & we start to discover new virtue in it. The 'Shock of the new' (fear) to 'The shock of Excess' (gleeful acceptance).

Postmodernism: a somewhat succinct (if a little simple) explanation. Featuring Tame Impala

Post-modernism is a very difficult thing to get your head around at first. What's worse, is it's a very difficult thing to keep under your belt. Once your memory of its meaning begins to dwindle, loses a little clarity, you find yourself clutching at straws trying to explain it to anyone who'll listen (as they make excuses and leave).

I was watching some concert footage from Reading the other day with a pal & came upon a good example of postmodernism; music. One band in particular, Tame Impala.

Whilst you watch 'em, ask yourself who they sound like; some early shouts, T-Rex, Cream (wait till it kicks in),  Pink Floyd/LedZep/Chemical Brothers and on top of that a voice that sounds like John Lennon. That's just from my knowledge pool but you get the jist, they sound like lots of different bands - but the main thing - when they want to. Each song is a pop-pastiche to different trends of music.

And that's it, post-modernism.

If you think, for a band like the Beatles, when they started out their only source of inspiration was 1) whoever was on the Radio, and 2) whatever the local record store had to offer. The same for the Punks, all they could do was backlash against what came before (what was on Top of The Pops & in the record shops) - same right up to the likes of Nirvana, who's music stood counter to the over-produced 'hair & flying V's' that rock had become; they came along and brought back the dirty underside of rock. Sure they were no doubt inspired by the punks, but they're knowledge of the past was only short sighted, compared to ours today..

Today we have a wealth of knowledge, a complete back catalogue, right at our fingertips. A band today can say "we wanna play like... Jimmy Page era Yardbird's', or 'riff's like John Lee Hooker', or even 'sing like Paul Robeson!" (good luck..). If the other people in the band/studio/under the bridge don't know all they gotta do is wap out there phone and google it.

I think that picture at the start sums it up quite neatly. We got a wealth of knowledge right at our fingertips. Only most people are too lazy & sedate to reach for it (oh look, X-Factor's back on the telly..)

A couple of quotes on Po-Mo

Intertextual references are emblematic of the hyperconciousness of postmodern pop culture.

Po-Mo highlight's an 'ironic knowingness' in the audience..

A post-mod person wants to say 'I love you Madly!', but, knows that this already is a cliche, regardless of how true it might be, & so, as a post-mod person, wisely qualifies the remark with the perspective "As Barbara Cartland would say, I love you madly!" & thus, in an unspeakable world, is able to speak honestly
- Post-modernism, as explained by Umburto Eco.

END. If i'm wrong feel free to tell me.

Summer trip vid // I want to be a bandit can't you understand it??!

Finally knocked together the video for our summer trip. It was a fun trip, definetly a case of following the wind, we only booked our bus up to Romford, the rest was drawn on circumstance. It's always nice to see a map of how far you been, and how illogical your route often is, this one was quite sensible. Check it out:

I say knocked accurately. My computers getting so old and dusty now it won't let me preview in After Effects, so it was a case of exporting, writing down a long list of things to put right, then going through them. Like editing with a potato. I don't care though, it is what it is. Not the most exciting thing on earth but a document, that no doubt will be looked back upon through the ages as a work of pre-nihilist-age enlightenment. What.


Also, reskinned the website. Don't really like it but I spent the time doin' it so i'm keeping it. Aint that the truth, ha.


The painting are coming along fine but haven't advanced for three days as i've been very ill and not been able to get my hands on (or over) a certain thing (or hurdle). Read as you wish.

That's all for now, folks.

PS Check out my mate Todd's blog. Him and another pal have just got back from hitchiking from Budapest to Azerbaijan. Why I hear you ask? Two reasons; One, the Eurovision song contest, Two, for the Gurkha's.

Year of the beats

Wow, just discovered another Beat generation film in the works. This really is turning into something of a troupe invasion on the mainstream. I gotta say i'm not all to discouraged - On the Road was the big one, that coulda been a travesty, and it wasn't. Therefore this just makes me excited, hopefully that people will be turned on to the Beat generation and what they had to say. Am also excited too as its what I love and it seems to be invading the mainstream and all I can do is smile on and hope it turns out mature.

In the last few years we've had Howl, On The Road, now there's..

Big Sur

Kill Your Darlings

On top of this you got Mad Men on the TV, which instantly struck me as 'If J.Kerouac went straight'.

All these are essentially a blotting-paper-tapestry of that 50's counter-cultural turning point, told out through the hazy veil of post modernist subjectivity. Nevertheless, I am excited for people to be turned on to these men that had a real lust for truth in life.

I first got into Kerouac when I realised he was the bedrock beneath the music I loved, Bob Dylan who's 'catalyst' moment was reading On the Road (made him get up and head to NYC). Jim Morrison too, Kerouac being one of his favorite authors. It all roots back to something. For that matter too, the film Im Not There could be considered part of this Beat-thought-tapestry, so could the documentary When You're Strange

Finally, fitting to check out the original Beat flick, over-dubbed, stream of concious by Kerouac, Pull My Daisy


Congratulations to my Dad n Deb, they got married on saturday.


The current vein

I've been working on a bunch of paintings, which are quickly becoming something of a series. They all revolve around similar themes.

What I want to do is cement moments of life, relationships, friendships, happenings, satoris. Together they will be a tangled mess - (but hopefully within the mess will be clarity) - of a philosophy of sorts.

Here's the few. Over the next week I will be focusing on doing more.

For a couple of them i've been working from photographs (2nd & 3rd - note - They aren't traced however, just used photos for colour reference). I wouldn't feel unduly abashed to be called lazy or unartistic for this, but I don't mind, i've a couple of reasons for doing so;
1) i'm a firm believer in utilizing technology; If Michelangelo had had a camera he would have certainly used it. Use what you got (but just be honest about it). 
2) I like the idea of 'capping a moment'. This thought comes from the flaccidity of people flickin' through Facebook photos, never really seeing or feeling, just missing moments. I think painting something brings attention to it, makes people stop & look and consider, rather than just moving on. 'Capping the moment'.

Anywho despite my reasonings I do feel a tad lazy in this method myself, the next couple I have planned will be using only drawn reference from my Never Ending Sketchbook. I'm really looking forward to these paintings, getting on with them that is, they will be about Torquay life.

The first one is from a few months back & you can see what I mean by a 'vague philosophy of sorts'. The quotes are all song lyrics, they don't necessarily follow on from one another, but together, they carve out a feeling, a mood. Jack the Lad, salt of the earth, 'Love on the Dole' etc. Beatnik bums  & fellaheen brotherhoods.

Inspiration for these pieces falls mainly to two artists; Mucha & Robert Valley. Mucha with his dark outlines, detail to the faces/simplified bodies. Also hopefully his use of colour (as this series continues). I was also very much inspired by his Slav Epics - that is - inspired to make a series of work around a theme of my home. Robert Valley -- I love his art, his deformation of characters, and the sort of erudite twist he puts on them, his knowledge of posture, stance etc etc shining throughout (despite the simplification, elongation etc). Just watch his Beatles intro to get it. Really great digital caricature. I've really liked Robert's work since I saw his Pear Cider & Cigarette's.


Anyway, that's what's going on, and what's to come. I've still gotta post up about my last travels (up and down the country) and make a little video of it. I'll do this next week too.

Peace, cheers & all the rest of it. You're a soldier for reading to the bottom.
- Tom


Over the last few years i've really got into my reading. I didn't really begin reading properly until I was about 17. First few books were Fear & Loathing, The Beach, Nick Hornby. When I  went travelling for the first time & always had a book handy - The Road Less Travelled, American Psycho, Love on the Dole. During my time in Falmouth, having the excess of a uni library at hand, plus housemates that were studying English literature, gave me the opportunity to really dig my nose in.

What I love about books is the sheer excess available, it's very easy to come across something of worth. To quote Socrates;
“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.”
This is it for me. I believe that youthfulness is all about experience. I think it every time I see kids playing. The other day I saw a little boy, rolling back & forth onto his head, not smiling, not joking, not putting on a show, just doing it - for no reason other than that bodily desire to feel & learn. As we get older, experiences get fewer and far between, and people give up on new-experience. I feel reading is an extenuation of this lust for new-experience, and is a virtuous way to carry through the youthful spirit into adulthood.  In reading we keep learning, especially about events & happenings we have never/will never be a part of - Dostoyevsky, stood before a firing squad moments from death (The Idiot). The experience of civilized desolation in dreary grey 1930's Manchester (Love on the Dole) The chance to climb inside the insane, articulate & more-than-often accurate mind of Hunter S Thompson (Fear & Loathing)

Below i've compiled a list of books i'd like to recommend.

As I walked out One Midsummer Morning.. by Laurie Lee
I found this book really liberating of an idea; just get up & go. I really loved it for that simplicity of spirit. It's all about a man who one day gets up, and walks to London. He then continues & walks down to Spain. It's full of great quotes about him rubbing with the salt of the earth, him lying nose down in the dirt smelling the earth. Really lively book, full of random-wisdom.

The Art of Happiness By Howard Cutler & The Dalai Lama
This is a great book to serve as an introduction to Buddhism. Every chapter, in a different way, you're reminded how great the Dalai Lama is - always refreshing with his plain & earnest insight... all about compassion & just right.

Plato's Republic
Again, another refreshing read - only this one is 2000 years old. All takes place in the form of a conversation between a group of men - one of them inquisitively asks Socrates - "What is Justice, Socrates?". he replies that to answer, they must build a city that is pure justice - and so it begins. They build the whole hypothetical city in their minds (and your's), full of Socrates' brilliant genius. Refreshing because, you realise that Socrates was more clued up than we are today, he just know's. What I also love is the language - being written as a conversation it is not unnecessarily wordy, Socrates was a man of the people, and as such this is written for the people. Just read it, it's great. Also, Theatetus by Plato/Socrates, where Socrates outlay's his vision of his role - he is not intelligent, he is more like a midwife, bringing birth to the ideas of intelligent young men. He decides, Socratically, whether they are good and true, or are phantom births.

Here's a brilliant introduction to Socrates:

The Beach by Alex Garland
This is a good place to start for people new to reading. It's one of them 'hard to put down' kinda books. All about travelling, the search for some utopian society - if you've seen the film, it's not quite the same - there's quite drastic differences & it's also not a love story. One of my favourite novels though it's been a while.

When you start reading it certainly can be a chore. I believe it comes from a life time of television-education, sitting down & switching off, passive entertainment etc. At first those words on a page look boring, but when you forget about the telly & your fingers aren't twitching for a remote (or your phone) you suddenly find yourself lost in it.

Post Office by Charles Bukowski
A friend lent me this book last summer. I read it all in a marathon bus journey back from Glasgow. It certainly left a notch in my mind - it changed my perspective on work. Reading such a cyncial & nihilistic outlook on life too is intriguing. I think this, as much as positivity & beauty, can be just as intriguing as you are weighing up your own point of view alongside it. Simillar to this is reading American Psycho - although, I will warn you, it can be pretty distressing - no women or children. Seriously it's pretty rough.

Mr.Palomar by Italo Calvino
an intriguing thoughtful & playful book. The last time I read this I was sat on the stairs of Grand Central NYC - another great reason to read, to reminisce, of long train rides or lost hours in some city.

That'll do for now, I could get caught up doing this.

Final thought on books. I find reading is a nice counter position to being creative. When you're all boiled up from working & thinking too much, your hands too tired to craft or paint, your mind whirring or on it's last legs - reading is a great antidote. However it's not just the antidote its the catalyst - I find whatever i'm reading infects my days - be it buddhist texts or Virginia Woolf contemplating the mind, they all seep into your life & your thought's, colour your days, and then - bring on some new idea or chain of thought.

Recent drawings

I've been living down in Plymouth staying with some friends for a few weeks. It's given me a chance to get back into my drawing. Here's some recent bits:

My friend i'm staying with is very good at drawing, photo-real drawing that is. He's been showing me the ropes for his method, and that's what the two above are all about.


For those not in the know, there's a fantastic animation school in France called Gobelins. It's the equivalent of a masters university course.

I really love their output, I think it's really towards the future of animation in the mainstream; animations that are created for all, about anything. Gobelins often still rely largely on animations typicalities; fun, frantic, silly, but they are certainly a step in the right direction. France in general seemed to have a very good understanding of animation in this sense, you really felt it at Annecy with the selection, and also the response from the audience (& general public). 

Anywho, here's some of the really great work they are producing.

"We always did feel the same..

...We just saw it from a different point of view."

Johnny Cash & Bobby Dylan


George Harrison & Bob Dylan (Concert for Bangladesh)

Persepolis & more

Just finished watching Persepolis. It reminded me of a couple of other animations, a neat little bundle that share the same skill. The other two are Arrugas (Wrinkles, 2011) & Chico and Rita (2010). All three have an ability to affably convey a niche tale to a broad audience; the story of an elderly man with dementia aclimatizing to a retirement home; a black Latino love story set in Cuba; and an obscure & ranging tale from the journal of a young woman.

These aren't typical film plots, they are niche. however, through boiling them down and reducing them to their essence (simple smiles we can all communicate with) we have the outline for a tale we can begin to relate to our own lives.

I've always been a fan of King of the Hill & now I think I have found the reason why; its just simply the boiled down essence. If it was live action, I doubt very much I'd watch it/ enjoy it if I did. The same goes for the above three.

I think that so much more comes into it with live action; I think there are atavistic, subconscious things going on.

A good example of art boiled down to their essence is Keith Haring. His work shares the broad understanding of cave paintings; anyone anywhere in the world can relate to it; and that's just it; we are all in it together, all share the common desires, vices, emotions. Boiling it down to the action, or the essence of an emotion - like a perfumer refining his substance to the most concentrated amount - we can all understand.

tree of life

Watched tree of life tonight for the 2nd or3rd time in the last six months. If you haven't seen it, I  wouldn't read on, not because of spoilers, but because I think its usually a negative, rather than a positive, to go into a film already with a slant.

Also, try as you can to watch it in the highest quality. Its a very beautiful film and I think that's partially important to the understanding of it.

Its a film that you come away each time with a new impression, however, I personally find this film to be the most like visual poetry than any other I have seen, and this is certainly my lasting impression. The shots and scenes are delicately strung together, succinct, full of ideas. I think the camera style too aligns it with poetry - its an always wondering eye, looking after something or towards something, trying to understand. It bows down to children's height so's we can understand the world from there perspective.

Most individual shots in this film are of the quality of a photography exhibition, the themes and motives too remind me allot of contemporary photography's themes and motives (despair, teenage angst, family closeness or distance, isolation). Seeing the shots in this manner reminded me of something learnt playing guitar. Each shot is like a seperate chord. Played by itself, (let's stick to just the seven major chords for this analogy), it offers something, some beauty,  but is an isolated voice. When you put another chord behind it tho - thats when we begin to feel some emotional incling - I think - not because of the notes themselves, but because of the correlation (or reaction) between them. The shots in this film (beautiful, like isolated photographs), strung together have this same  emotional effect - (much like animation too) its not what happens in the shots or the frames, its what happens between them.

Watching it this time, I really linked it to V Woolf. It reminded me very much of her autobiographical text "a sketch of the past" (from Moments of Being). It is here that she describes her idea of 'moments of being', those moments in life where we truly be, and experience burns into us, scolding us and sculpting us. These moments can be few and far between, but they are the times we shape ourselves by. Where we learn to cope with new experience, + where we realise ourselves.

The film feels very much like a series of these. Rather than the viewer, assertively searching for any overarching plot, I think the audience is to pay-witness to these series of moments, of relationships building & turning, and emotions thickening & stirring.

It also too has imprints of To The Lighthouse. Especially the sense of experiencing the scene through various subjective points of view (the child, the mother, the father). And what's beautiful, like TTL, these subjective points combine, and together, paint us an objective view of the family.

Also, to mention the scenes of time passing, all the way back in time. These I feel are so important to the film, you are shown time as being so long, the universe so vast(and all as one), and life so short but on such a long and beautiful chain (each ancestor a link). This; then, we are cast again to the family - zoomed right in on a link in the chain - and we feel all that strife and emotion, and all that life, kicking to and through that is so minute but yet such an explosion.

Overall I think its a very beautiful film that I will return to each year of my life. I wouldnt dare claim to so assertively hold an opinion of what this film is about, or what it says, but I hope to look at it, every now and then, and notice what I didn't see before. Its certainly one of those.

One final tie I found this had with V Woolf; I remember seeing on a book TV show sometime last year, a lady speaking of Virginia, and her skill - to alleviate the vocabulary of the reader, not to merely summarise with the hot and cold taps - (that was good, that was bad) or to paint in black and white; but instead, she gives you all the colours, so you can get to the root of something, and try and put words to what our minds instantly habe already described so fortuitously

This film too shows us all the colours - especially in a world so overloaded with forgetful-Holywood films. However, ask me of what I thought of the film in a few weeks or a few months, when the inflated pantheon of the mere mortals has shriveled and wimpered, and I'll only, boldly be able to claim 'its good'. Unfortunately those colours go grey and the taps dry up.

Recent bits

My eulogy to young love & the dole & being laid back and happy. 
Expansion on a picture I did a while ago. 
(Go HERE & scroll down 4 images
Also a game of 'spot the references!' Theres 5 in total.

Quite like this. Here's the original I did, took a while but wasn't feeling it - ten minutes later, had turned it into the above & was happy.

Feast for your eyes

For a good while now, i've been collating a selection of paintings I come across in t'internet. It's really nice to have on my computer - every so often to take a browse through my little virtual gallery. Here's a selection that hopefully will inspire you too.

Note - i've included this in my 'this is why I love animation' section. It's obviously not animation - but its all about style. Ya dig??

Serov (sketch)

Edgar Degas - Mary Cassatt (1880)

Egon Schiele - Self portrait with hands on chest (1910)

Jeremy Lipking

Jeremy Enecio - portrait

Jim Phillips - George Clinton poster

John Minton - Self portrait

Kathe Kollwitz - Death & the woman 2

Mark Demseader - Bethany seated
Mark is a contemporary artist, check out his site his pictures are awesome.

Rembrandt - (sketch) Saskia sleeping
I think this sketch is really nice to see. We are very used to seeing Rembrandt's superb finished paitings, but I to see him capture it so quickly in a sketch is just as fulfilling (on a smaller, equally fruitful scale)

Robert Valley - Print 05 (from Pear Cider & Cigarettes)
Another contemporary artist i greatly admire, Robert Valley did the design work for the Tron animated series.


Vanessa Bell - Roger Fry

I think from this you can adjudge quite clearly the type of drawings/paintings I currently admire. One's that are somewhat 'half-finished', with points of interest that are worked up. I think it's because I like to be taken by the subjectivity in art :- as you can see above from the Schiele, Serov's & Jeremy Lipking especially, they all focus on the head of the figure, & the rest of the body is sometimes just an outline. The Demsteader one probably most overtly uses this technique, whilst the Degas one encompasses it to a totally different degree - a very well worked painting, but he has bought attention to the head with even greater detail, & with the white splurge behind.

I also love the capturing of different, often muted - but still plainly visible - emotions. Degas, Serov (the sketch), Minton & Enecio are good, varied examples. I think this comes from being an animator, the slight slight tweaks in a human face, innumerably possible & remarkably acute. You gotta admire when someone captures this. It's something a camera often can't do, as the subject is all to aware of the camera, and therefore there expression/manner is blighted.

I think largely, this all comes back to the opposition painting found itself up against in the 20th century. The advent of the camera blew the necessity of formal painted portraiture out the water. I (perhaps ignorantly..) assume this is the root of many of those modernist styles also; Futurism & Cubism, two good examples - Futurism looked to induce weight & speed into the paintings, whilst cubism included the multi faceted relationship of a personality, something very real - but unseeable to a camera.

Also will take this point to include some 'inspirational photographs', beginning with David Hockney:

I love these montages he did. To me (I havent read into them so excuse me if i'm wrong) but they are cubist essentially. Showing subjectively the different & slight iterations that make up a person.

Diane Arbus

Marilyn Monroe

Miles Davis

Patti Smith & Bob Dylan

Sharon Tate

Steve McQueen

Unfortunately, i'm not so particular when I save these images, so my apologies to not being able to name the taker of the above photo's (besides the first - Diane Arbus). My guess would be some are Richard Avedon's. 

Anywho, if you want a little more inspiration, check out HERE