Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Andrew Bannecker contact

Got in touch with this guy, Andrew Bannecker. Here's what he had to say for himself.

Hi Roland,

Sorry for the delay. Here you go! : )

1) Where do you get these patterns and textures from?
My textures and patterns come from all sorts of places. I create many of them by hand and others I find from found object that I get at flea markets and antique shops. I love to find bits of fabric and old ephemera and use those to create my textures.

2) Clearly you do a lot of printing of various types. Is this the result of a fascination with process or the act of doing something handmade?
I actually create everything on my computer. Since I work digitally I use those tools to create the printed effects. I do love printing and I think that's why I tend to create those effects in my digital work.

3) Sometimes it looks like you've printed on to wood, or wallpaper. Is that right?
Working digitally gives me the advantage to look at different ways that my work can look and then go from there. So when a piece looks like it was created on wood it's all digitally manipulate to look that way.

4) Also I've noticed pieces of newspaper and things like that in the background of your pieces. Are these textures ever added with photoshop or otherwise how much of that textural background stuff to you get through?
As before I take these pieces and scan them in to manipulate them for my needs. The way I work is most always by accident. I never know what's going to come of it which is why working digitally is so wonderful!

5) How close is the finished image to your initial conception?
With commercial work this can varies from project to project but in general my concept is pretty close to the final art. There are those cases when the final looks nothing like the original idea but those are far and few between.

6) I mean a lot of your images are very busy and presumably come about through a lot of play and trying different things. And this question ties in with the adding with photoshop question; if you're using pieces of found wood and such how much playing with that stuff can you afford to do?
I think it's very important to play and grow. I would say it's crucial to explore and never stop trying new things.

7) I mean how many interesting backgrounds/canvasses have you gathered?
To be honest I have been collecting for years so I would say countless. ; ) lol

See where I asked him about all his work being printed? And then he says how it's all digital? GOD I AM A MORON ALL THE TIME. http://www.andrewbannecker.com/

Monday, 23 March 2009

Saturday, 21 March 2009

just something i just made

Made this cover for the book I'm reading, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, by David Foster Wallace. Can't tell if it's the most stupid, awful and defacing idea of all time or if it's not a bad cover.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

research: where the wild things are poster

ok SO Where the Wild Things Are = one of my favourite books and a while ago, like a couple years, i heard how they were making a film with Spike Jonze directing and Dave Eggers (one of my favourite authors) writing the script. WHAT THE FUCK that still blows my mind how great that is.


(only a link because image is huge: http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/wherethewildthingsareposter.jpg)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

guest lecture: Damian Gascoigne

There have been three really Great guest lectures at college. Paul Davis, Andy Martin and Damian Gascoigne. Andy Pavitt’s was also really good and I’m not saying I didn’t learn anything from the others but these three were clean kills, heads severed at neck.

But I was worried when the lecture started. The title screen read “Stockporticus talk, 110 years in animation.” Oh fantastic, I’m shuddering at the back of the room ready to spend an introspective three hours dodging flake humour revolving around cats and chickens or some awful shit like that. And then the first slide is a picture of his mum.

You gotta see a picture of my mum.

How many times has he given this talk, I wonder. It is a low flying plane, all earnest and bold and neatly tied together.

I realise almost straight away that most illustrators hate talking full stop. Do they hate words, or just presenting themselves? Otto Dettmer was definitely an insular guy, and Damian Gascoigne isn’t exactly brimming with confidence, he seems like a low key guy. But it seems like he genuinely enjoys this, talking, thinking, discovering (to make it sound way pretentious).

He’s broken the presentation into four sections.

Number 1. Research: when you just got things going on.

He makes some jokes about his Fear of the North, his fear of his Auntie Lizza and I am right on board, he is a funny guy.

A theme that runs through the presentation is about how he is learning 3D animation software now, at a late stage in his life. He talks about tech, how it has improved so much so quickly. Anyone can be slick and do all this cool stuff but coming up with good ideas is just as hard as it ever was.

Creative people – they’re nosey, they need to be. He is so nosey. It’s part of creating. It’s all snooping, doodling, collecting. He shows a photo of the top of a supermarket carrier bag on the floor. It is an interesting shape, almost a rabbits head.

When you’re waiting around, even without a sketchbook, you doodle on receipts. He is amazed by students who don’t have a pen or a sketchbook to hand. Sometimes these doodles become something more, they stand out, put their hand up, ask to be used again, to stretch out. Some doodles he shows us.

To this end he talks about how, having none, he is into hair. Draws hair all the time. Also posture and goddamnit if I don’t love postures. It’s Egon Schiele’s fault. I love weird exaggerated poses, all twists and angles and he does too. He sketches and takes photos of people, strangers, his students, all in these weird poses. Maybe they don’t lead to anything, but they don’t have to.

That resonates with me. I’m always looking for drive and purpose. Not always, sometimes a thing is an end in itself, or it doesn’t have an end; you’re just doing it.

Maybe it doesn’t lead to anything, but it doesn’t have to.

This is the start of something big, Damian. He is pull the curtains on something I’d forgotten about: genuine interest in other people and things.

He draws everyday, all too often not from life. But man he shows us these stone bastard drawings he did in Lisbon when his class went there last year, or earlier this year. Lots of India ink and looseness, fucking awesome. But drawing from life like that sharpens you up, and when you take that to the studio it makes you fresher.

He wants students to notice the things around them, not to just have blank pages in your sketchbook to look at. He shows us a picture of a couple in a Korean cafĂ©. He is rigid, in a suit, she is in a frock (?), a cardigan. His hands are on his lap, her drink has hardly been touched. He says it is a first date, you just know there isn’t going to be a second. For half an hour he was stood there taking pictures, peering into someone else’s life.

There are stories starting all around, he says, he shows us a picture of a child at the Tate Modern. The kid’s dad, in this art gallery, all he wants is to take a photo of his kid walking around.

This is why I like the music I like, the books I like. It’s stories, other people.

I have sketched out a couple of his photographs, just to get my hands moving, to feel more of a connection. I notice Anna has done the same, but I think she’s drawing Damian.

The next day, only a little hungover, I’m at Manchester townhall, drawing what’s around me. Loose, just to move my hands. I’ve bought two cans of Mountain Dew and I’m drinking one as I write this. There is an intense feeling of belonging walking around Manchester, the sun half out and all that. I can’t feel like this all the time, and I sort of miss the feeling already. But I feel very alert, very fresh and specialised.

Part 2: personal work.

Yeah he talked briefly about this gallery thing he did in Korea. It was interesting but not as interesting as

Part 3: Pitch Requiem.

You don’t get paid to pitch, suckers. It is deadly competitive. Last year he made seven pitches and none worked out. He shows us these pitches. They are clean. His commercial work is much, much cleaner than his personal stuff. Which makes sense and is fine. You can see how it all fits together and that’s the important thing.

His pacing of slides is fucking great. Mountain Dew is delicious.

You need nerves of steel for this job, the spirit of a gambler. Despite the seven that didn’t work out he got one, or two, that did. He’s more in love with his work than ever, but he’s now unemployable. He couldn’t have a boss telling him when to get to work, what to do, all that shit and I start thinking maybe I can be an illustrator, maybe this is what I am.

He talks about the conversations we’re going to have with ourselves, the ugly ones when the jobs don’t come. Why am I doing this? The sweat soaking stone whatever. You either walk out or you don’t, spirit of a gambler.

Part 4: new territory.

This presentation was a roving drive through Damian Gascoigne. He shows us part of an animation he’s working on. It’s good because it’s not generic. Has all this pen texture and 2d drawn quality but also this 3d thing going on. It was nice to watch, not to write about.

But it showed how the people around you become a direct inspiration.

He ends saying he’s enjoying the battle.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

guest lecture: Otto Dettmer

The big Dettmer; prolific commercially, does a lot of books. Mostly works with screenprinting which he started doing in 1995 during an MA at Kingston. Had this cool mailout which was a sheet which unfolded featuring lots of pieces he’d done for a regular column in (I think) The Guardian. A lot of his work, on screen, looked abysmal, like full on the worst I’d ever seen, but when it was printed, in the context of the paper, it looked fantastic. I wonder if he was conscious of this, if it comes from years of experience.

Showed us prints dealing with graphic symbols, ideas of negative space, objects cut out of objects.

His old work featured lots of space, they’re spot illustrations, fix or six to a page, tiny, dotted around. One is literally just a blue blob.

He talks about Polish and Russian work from back in the day. The artists would do the text and all the visuals.

He left college obsessed with self promotion. It would detract from the quality of his work he was obsessed so. He says doing a job well is the best promotion.

He observes in England you get jobs based on merit, business and leisure are kept very separate. On the continent you get less jobs from scratch, people don’t just give you a chance, you have to be introduced to people, know people.

He has been reusing a lot of illustration. He keeps the copyright, says everyone should. He has 20 years of illustration built up; sometimes reusing old ideas or layouts is essential.

He says art directors sometimes have good ideas.

He talks about a piece he did for a column in the guardian where someone described a partner as an old cardigan.
When gives then, he says, why try to be clever? The image was in that description.

There is massive Russian Constructivist style to the layouts in his books.

Advertising – the money is amazing, pays for the studio for 4-5 years, but unbelievably stressful. Worth it, apparently.

Advertising clients are weird people, says Dettmer. The offices are designed to instil respect, but the clients themselves often have no idea what they’re doing, but massive budgets.

Showed us his website, said most commissions come from his work in papers, not site, but that this may have changed in ten years time.

Had these stock illustrations he’d done, vaguely generic but there were damn tons of them, all recognisably in his style. Interesting concept. Cheap and numerous pieces an art director can rummage through and pick out for purchase. Future of illustration? Maybe not.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

contact report: meeting Le Gun

Pete and I have been awake for an hour. I’m explaining why it’s fine for me to give him my phone, his out of battery, because I will get to this place, this advertising director class meet thing place at 3 and meet someone we know with a mobile phone. Then I can call him and we can meet up and swim victorious to Euston station.

The way to move around in London is as if you were playing a massive guitar solo, psychedelic like you’re on all the acid in the world. Manchester you can navigate like you’re the rhythm section. But all the Real Players in London have this solo style of movement down and it comes out like some insane free jazz jam fest love in everyone soloing on top of each other.

The air in the tube is obviously very stale but always in motion and that gives it a weird quality. But I’m going to see Le Gun which means I need to get to Hackney and walk a fucking year having got the Overground which I was completely unprepared for.

Le Gun is described as an “art collective” and it’s also the title of a magazine that these people put out from their studio in London. I’m there to speak to this guy, Chris, about what it’s like working in this studio, why get a studio, how’d it get started, show him my portfolio all that good stuff but when I arrive he’s not even there.

Some guy, thick accent (Dutch?) talks to me as if I’ve got a film camera right in his face and he’s trying to get into his car. They called to get Chris down and I have to let him in at the front door. He seems on the edge of bemused and offended and I’m mumbling and incoherent, in an almost high school politeness and he’s about to lead me into the studio I had to leave to get him when he stops and starts talking to this woman.

It turns out her name is Shonagh Rae (thanks Pete) and she used to teach him back in college. I did ask but I can’t remember where it was he studied.

It is a weird coincidence and I feel sort of like an overused bar of soap being crushed, moulding to the fingers, expanding around the pressure. I was going to sink away and be the most awful student guest possible but now Shonagh Rae has kicked the door in and is being as teacherly as possible, asking what Chris is doing now, what his plans are, how he got started in the studio. I might as well be holding her fucking hand.

Chris had been at that studio for about 4 or 5 years and they all knew each other there. Although everyone was working very quietly and separately, it was like being in a library amongst strangers. I got the feeling this was my fault, I brought the library strangeness to the back of their necks and they did not want me there.

I hadn’t been impressed with the stuff on the website but the stuff that was hanging around was much better and more impressive in person.

Chris’ work seemed very separate from the rest of Le Gun’s workers who seemed to lean more towards graphic design but you could have called it illustration and literally no one on earth would have given a fuck.

But Chris’ stuff was all hand drawn, reminded me of a lot of Robert Crumb insanity and independent comic kitschness, but not in an embarrassing student way, though almost. He showed us his portfolio, exactly the same model as Andy Pavitt’s and everyone else in the college class, mine having an extremely minor difference in the strap that holds it closed. Those portfolio store jerks must make so much cash from that portfolio edition and really where do you look to find a goddamn portfolio anyway?

Chris' portfolio features alot of more commerical work as he calls it, the same leg of stuff as featured on the website, with his personal stuff being more spilling and ravanous, to use a couple of words.

Next door there is this print room and everything outside is white, it’s a small gallery sort of a warehouse studio thing where any second a dead body might swing down on a rusty hook. There’s a piano made from cardboard on it’s side and some other cardboard furniture, classier than it could sound.

Alex Wright is a man I meet in the printroom who talks like he’s a really nice guy but has a beard and doesn’t smile. He mentions hearing Stockport has a good reputation, coursewise, and asks about Gary Prendergast. And when I write this I haven’t but he asks me to say to Gary P that he says hi because they used to work together in Manchester. He was even on Eleanor Mulhern’s course at Manchester, I think, and my mind has twisted to the point of breaking, like a coke can in a vacuum.

Sister Rae leaves us and I’m sort of anxious to go too, to this 3pm advert guy thing meeting and Chris says goodbye to Shonagh Rae and I say fuck it and hang out for a bit longer now the ice has broken and I haven’t really taken any solid information punches.

I remember being awake five minutes speaking to Ian and Gary saying I will call them if I can’t get to the 3pm meeting so they’re not waiting around like the Earth’s Assholes while I flap about in Camden market eating the worlds worst fajita which is what I ended up doing because Pete has my damn phone.

Chris takes me upstairs to meet Neal Fox who draws in a slightly, slightly calmer way to Neal. Nick Cave is playing and Neal is very friendly. He smiles more than all the other Le Gun guys, for real. The bond is instant and mountainous. Chris starts rolling a cigarette. I feel like I’ve butted in on a conversation at a party, a little bit like I’m being endured but less than how it felt downstairs. I show them my portfolio and they like it ok. We like the pen says Chris, about the different in our work, and they give me some names; Hannah Bags (couldn’t find anything), Geoff Granfield (love his use of negative space), Robert Shadbolt (don’t like how many smiles he draws, although it implies he is lovely – or psychotic).

Chris says I should have showed my portfolio to Shonagh Rae, that her work was similar, and having seen her work I wish I had too.

They’re talking about how dated collage work can get, how I need to make this style my own. They like that I’ve used some hand made print things and shapes.

Neal sees the piece I did about the crossroads, selling your soul to the devil to play a mean guitar and he tells me about a piece he did about Robert Johnson shaking hands with the devil and I say well I did the same piece look and we laugh the sneaking laugh of kings.

His drawings are massive. The paper stretches across a 10 or 12 foot wall and is at least six feet high on a scroll I’ve never seen the equal of in size. And the drawing that’s up is not even half done yet, there’s another eight foot of it to be drawn.

Neal’s working in this little studio by himself, big papers and books and all sorts everywhere, a big sofa by the window. He has the right idea working up there. That’s a room I would want in a house, let’s leave all that studio nonsense to the non smilers. Let’s work slow and alone, fast is other people.

Outside I dial my number at a payphone and Pete doesn’t answer. I buy a hat at Camden Market.