Thursday, 22 March 2018

POST 30: Rainbow's End

30th Post on a 30th edition.

POST 29: Penlington Writes. . .

Once again the writer, performer and zine enthusiast Nathan Penlington has applied a sensitive eye to my latest, and the resulting review can be found here:

Image courtesy of Nathan.

He has a host of zine-related writing here and his own activities as a writer / performer / obsessive (Google him) reveal an interesting man who it is always a pleasure to meet for a pop cultural blather in the tea houses of Dalston or Stokey.

Monday, 19 March 2018

POST 28: Selected and Exhibited

The existence of a 30th in the series has been marked by a few related events and instances since November, the first stemming from the SPF itself:
I was gratified to discover that the edition had been voted the 'Book of the Week' choice by The Wellcome Library's zine collectors, as noted on their Instagram:

Subsequently I wrote a piece for the Impact Press Book Arts Newsletter to tee up an exhibition of large prints and related material – 'Hiding In Plain Sight: When You Put The Chameleon Skin Coat On' – culled from the artwork for the edition that then ran from February 1st to March 1st:

As always the exhibition and all matters related – as well as an upcoming article for Impact Press peer-reviewed journal 'The Blue Notebook' (Vol.12, No.2 - April 2018) – have been eased into existence by the wonderful Sarah Bodman.
Click on these links for details of both newsletter and journal - both recommended for anyone with an interest in book arts in general and the tidal movements and activities of the global community of image-makers & wordsmiths that make it up.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

POST 27: A Big Deal for me at The Small Publishers Fair 2017

And so it came to pass that the 30th edition (numerically at least) of my series was ready for The Small Publishers Fair 2017.

I created a special promotional image for the thing which first saw virtual light of virtual day on the event's social media courtesy of the redoubtable Helen Mitchell:

As always it proved an involving, diverse and inspiring event across two days.
In the divine company of Mette Ambeck, and with many old chums and acquaintances visiting and partaking of the new work from both of us it was personally satisfying too.

This image was taken by Nic Cooke, who visited alongside Loesja Vigour and Melanie Grant from the Wellcome Library:

And - as I covered in recent posts - on the second day I delivered a talk on my series as part of the strand running across that day.
This image was taken by my soul brother Andy Altmann, as I prepared for the talk with organiser John McDonnell (who proved a kind, enthusiastic and reassuring presence):

My track record of struggling to say what I wanted to say within a tight time-frame was maintained, though I later received very warm appreciation from audience members, two who said it had been 'beautiful', to my surprise.

Job done.

POST 26: No Word of a Lie

The artwork was completed on Thursday 26th October, and – with a little tech help from my beautiful Danish co-conspirator – was sent as a hefty PDF to the good people of Doxzoo

My experiences with them as a first-time user were very satisfying and - four days later - the bouncing baby edition #30 of 'bio auto graphic' was ready for collection.

POST 25: Centred

Finally the mix was distilled down and down to what became the final version of the centre-spread (see below).

Occupying opposing positions on facing pages, the text and image are surrounded by a generous amount of clear space.

The text that falls as shadow behind my head is also cast in the pale peach hues of the light I saw that morning, as yet another summer rainbow met the lake fog, to the point it might appear hard to read.

I wanted the reader to have to work at reading it, as we sometimes have to sit and think harder to piece together a memory or dream.

With this composition finalised I completed the edition - the quiet heart of it, a transitory moment, complete and in place.

I had already begun to scan the original pencil line art and convert into Photoshop files, then to be filled with the pixel flush of colour.

POST 24: To sleep, perchance to dream. . .

You can see how I am paring down the amount of text gradually. I had in mind the idea of the way a prism separates out the spectrum within natural light, except here the notion is reversed and my head acts as a focus for what pours in. I also had the idea of text shaped by the visual components in the image - hence the right-hand page where it is a kind of shadow falling behind my head. 

The moment itself - cited on the page as occurring around 4.43am on that summer’s morning - had occurred in one of those brief interludes between slabs of heavy, velvet-black sleep. It felt partly a dream until I checked the scribbled note of the time I’d made in a bedside workbook the day after.

I was wanting to write more - include the phrase you see here below about the heart - but it seemed important to turn down the volume of text, maintain the sense of ‘quiet’.

POST 23: To die, to sleep – 

The centre spread was postponed in the order of what I tackled - again and again. 

I suspect I thought it would be easy to complete.
Of course, for so simple a thing, the effort to capture that dawn moment - when I got to it - proved deceptively difficult.

In this initial page from my workbook the sequence was firming up; standing by the frosted window of the bathroom and first noticing the curious peachy light flushing the sky beyond - walking back into my bedroom and opening the curtain to better see what was going on - the moment of seeing.

I already held the final composition in mind; left-hand page representing the window through which I looked, right-hand page showing me, looking. Final text accompaniment to be decided upon - as with all the pages - once the line images were set in place.

POST 22: A Fixed Point in Time

Back to the making of the 30th edition - Chameleon Skin Coat - after a dissection of the talk I was to give at its Small Publishers Fair launch last November (numbered posts below 18 - 21).

The creative process being equally disjointed, I had come to the conclusion that the centre pages of the piece (a section I tend to keep as a place for a showy, eye-catching part of the whole, emphasizing the visual rather than the textual) would occupy a quiet, still point within the narrative.

Amongst the flow of the edition (that had already expressed the historical provenance of why I had started the series alongside activities as an illustrator, storyboard artist and academic, and what approaches I had taken in 'bio auto graphic' that reflected all of those career strands) I had decided I would give over the centre pages to a moment that summer when I had pulled back a curtain to witness a rainbow curving down into the dawn banks of fog on Windermere.

This was the window in a modest 70s-built semi that had literally framed my appreciation of the Lake District's hills since the age of 15.
Charting the sky as mood palette as with this photo earlier this month.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Doddy's Dead

RIP Ken Dodd (1927 - 2018).

Many memories of seeing Kenneth Arthur Dodd doing his legendary thing, often in the company of my brother-in-comedy Andy Altmann.

Tears of laughter were our souvenirs.

Here, in 2011, is Andrew in the company of the great man before the launch of his design masterpiece (in conjunction with artist Gordon Young) - The Blackpool Comedy Carpet.