Category: News / Exhibitions
  1. 24

    Jul 2014

    Really Cheap and Really Useful Books for Illustrators

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    We are going to do something a little different for today’s post. I recently picked up a copy of The Anatomy of Costume from Amazon for the enthralling price of 1 pence. A perfectly good book, in a perfectly acceptable condition. This got me thinking, how great it would if there were a whole list of useful art books that were being sold for a penny? I did a little Google-fu to see what was out there already, after not finding anything I decided to make my own list and share it with you, my fellow Loungers.

    This list of 30 books breaks down into four main categories, Reference, Tutorial, Fine Art and Other. I specifically chose books from a broad range of creative fields and would have loved to throw in a couple books on design or architecture, but sadly could not find anything worthy for so cheep.

    Just in case some of you are thinking, what is the point of buying a book when you have a wealth of reference of the internet? Firstly, as shocking as it may seem, not everything is on the internet; sometimes that dissected image of that flower you need can only be found in a book. Personally, I prefer working with a book in front of me rather than a screen. Ultimately buying books will introduce you to things you weren’t looking for, which is the best way to expand your pool of inspiration. Not to mention, these books are a penny, you cheapskate!

    I should mention that I own a lot of the books in this list, most of which I spent a lot more than a penny to buy. Suffice to say their value is much higher than their price tag.

    Enough rambling, here is the list:

    Reference

    General

    Costume

    History

    Tutorial

    Fine Art

    General

    Artist

    Other

  2. 25

    Jun 2014

    Interview ~ John Harris

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    Last month saw Titan’s release of The Art of John Harris – Beyond the Horizon. A carefully curated collection of artist John Harris’ recent work and older pieces. It’s large format beautifully showcases a variety of Mr. Harris’ futuristic paintings, sketches, acrylics and watercolours.

    To celebrate, Titan Books very kindly gave us the opportunity to interview John Harris about the book and his carer.

    Q. You have dedicated over 30 years to Sci-Fi. What attracted you into the genre, and what is it about Sci-Fi that has sustained your interest?

    A. The sense of a larger perspective, wider horizons, the unknown, something about the evolutionary possibilities of Man. All of that.

    Q. You often seem to combine of the fantastical with the plausible, incorporating building and mechanical structures that are familiar. Is this a conscious effort to make your worlds more believable?

    A. Yes, this is a crucial point, mixing the possible with the apparently impossible. We may pretend to know the difference but actually, we just don’t know what is possible. Embedding fantasy within the known and credible, makes it easier to relate to, and also raises the question ‘how?’. There is excitement there, in that question.

    Q. Born in London, you now live and work in Devon. How much do you think your environment influences your work?

    A. Yes, living in a rural setting has definitely shaped a lot of the imagery. The weather and the light that springs from it makes its presence felt in much of the work. And the cycle of growth and decay which is always in your face here, is constantly finding its way in.

    Q. Do you stick to a routine when producing your artwork?

    A. No, I try to break routines when I become aware of them. When I get into habits of production, I start repeating myself in the work.

    Q. How important is it for you that the final image matches the vision you have in your head?

    A. This is a delicate point. I do usually have a clear image in my head to begin with, but inevitably accidents occur (and I encourage these), which may suggest alternative directions. I try to keep open to them. But some images are imperative and demand to be produce, willy nilly.

    Q. At the Lounge our primary goal is to widen artists’ pool of inspiration. So who are the artist/illustrators that inspire you?

    A. Just about every artist I have ever seen, has something I would like to have. I think all artists are basically magpies and too many to mention have contributed to what I am.

    That said, when I was a student, I identified very closely with the work of the English Romantics like Turner and John Martin. They influenced my direction, as did the Surrealists. From a technical point of view, Whistler was a great teacher for me and more recently Graham Sutherland. All very Old School, I know.

    Q. Reading about your career, you have achieved a great deal. So what’s on the horizon for you? Do you have any artistic goals that you are still chasing?

    A. I feel (like most artist, I suspect) that I’ve hardly started. And yet, looking at the collection in this book, I see that I’m travelling in a definite direction. But what the goal is, who knows? That’s beyond the horizon.

  3. 16

    Jun 2014

    Comics Unmasked ~ Review

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    Last weekend I attended the British Library’s exhibition Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK. The exhibition set’s about to challenge preconceptions and prejudices surrounding comics, at the same times as celebrating British comics.

    It is the UK’s largest comic exhibition, which stands as a bold statement of the cultural and media influence that comics have had in recent years. With such fanfare for a medium that I love, it goes without saying that I was very excited to see it.

    Upon entering the British Library the exhibitions presence was obvious, the gift shop was plastered with comic-related merchandise. Walking through the gift shop to enter the exhibition you are greeted by mannequins sporting V for Vendetta Mask, a theme that ran throughout the exhibition (for reasons unbeknown).

    Effectively the exhibition was broken up into six parts: “Mischief and Mayhem”, which concentrated on humour; “To See Ourselves”, which contained more socially-conscious examples in comics; “Politics: Power and the People”, which, as you have probably guessed, focused on politics in comics and their often anarchic standpoint; “Let’s Talk About Sex”, another easy one to guess, this was a slightly sectioned-off area which had examples of the more erotic side of comics; “Hero with a Thousand Faces”, celebrated the hero-types and spoke of the British influence in American comics; The final section was titled, “Breakdowns: The Outer Limits of Comics”, and featured the depiction of magic and spirituality in comics.

    I preconceived the exhibition to have an abundance of wall-to-wall framed original artwork, as this is what I have come to expect from illustration exhibitions in the British Library. Instead the work was housed in glass cabinets, mostly prints, with very few original pieces.

    Some examples on display dated back before the twentieth century, they gave focus to Punch and the Penny Dreadful. The accompanying descriptions often only explained what was happening on the page. Occasionally there was information regarding the creators and the state of politics at the time of their publication. However, overall I did not feel the descriptions explained well enough why the curator chose that particular example, why that page, why those creators. The majority of examples just felt completely random.

    This randomness of examples may have worked if there were a plethora of work. But this was not the case, the examples were limited. If I were alone in the exhibition, and not queuing to see each piece I think I would have been in and out within 30 minutes (and I read very slowly).

    Some smaller gripes with the exhibition were the fact that it was presented as a praising of UK comics and the majority of the “Hero with a Thousand Faces” section were American publications. I completely agree that the influence of UK creators on an international scale should have been represented in as exhibition such as this, but some of the examples were not particularly note-worthy, and just muddies any statement of the sort. Reading the accompanying information, I felt at no point did the descriptions adequately explain the impact that the UK creator’s had on the comic industry. They would uses words such as “groundbreaking” but not go on to explain why it was groundbreaking.

    Another gripe, which is probably just me, was that there were quite a few examples of racism in UK comics and strips. From my basic knowledge of the UK comic scene, historically and todays, I do not feel racism has ever been a spotlighting factor. The examples were not by any eminent creators, and the issue felt a little shoe-horned in. Perhaps one or two example may have shown how comics were being used as a means to express social reactions. However more than that seem as if the curator was trying to make a point, a point which I feel is simply not there.

    Suffice to say, I walked out of the exhibition (through the gift shop), disappointed. I felt the British Library really missed the boat on this one. The exhibition was convoluted and didn’t offer much in the way of learning. The information given was only for specific pieces, which did not help create a bigger picture of the history of UK Comics. I can honestly say that if I did not know anything about UK comics, after visiting this exhibition, I still would not know. Perhaps I am not the target audience. Perhaps it is just aimed at those whom do not already have an appreciation for the comic medium. In which case, I would have to concede and say it does offer a broad scope of what comics are capable of, and what they have already achieved.

    Side note: If you are interested in the history of UK and US comics, I highly recommend picking up Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels. It is extremely informative and chronicles the milestones of the medium.

    With that all said, I still highly commend the British Library for putting on the exhibition in the first place, and I do hope that it stands as a statement for other esteemed establishments to pay attention to. I guess what it may come down to, as with most things inspired by comics, you simply can’t please everyone.

    If you have seen the exhibition, or are planning on going I would be most interested in hearing your opinions. Am I alone in my criticisms, do you disagree? You can leave us a comment, or drop us a note on Facebook and Twitter.

    The exhibition will be running until 19 August 2014.

  4. 20

    Nov 2013

    100 Illustrators

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    Editor’s Note:

    Culled from our Illustration Now! series is this selection of today’s most successful and important illustrators from around the globe. In his introduction, Steven Heller fleshes out the challenging process of narrowing down a field of 600 illustrators to a selection of the 100 most significant. The final cut, including artists such as Istvan Banyai, Gary Baseman, Seymour Chwast, Paul Davis, Brad Holland, Mirko Ilic, Anita Kunz, and Christoph Niemann, provides a snapshot of the highly dynamic and diverse world of contemporary illustration.

    The Book Review:

    TASCHEN is widely revered for their subject mater, high quality, and grand formats of their books. Their latest tome, 100 Illustrators, is no exception. A large textured slipcase encloses the two volumes. The covers themselves working as teaser for what’s inside. The pages are thoughtfully plotted, retaining emphasis on the gallery aspect of the book. Though there is plentiful information per illustrator (presented in English, French, and German no less), thanks to the large format of the book, both images and words sit without compromise on the page.

    The variety of illustrators featured span numerous fields. However, I would say editorial illustration takes centre stage, with a spotlight on 2D illustration. There is a host of very famous features including eBoy, Gary Baseman, Jeremyville, and Gary Taxali. It is always great to see their work so magnanimously presented. I was also quite pleased to see some illustrators previously featured on The Lounge, such as Daniel Egnéus, Gez Fry, Kako, Tara McPherson and Autumn Whitehurst.

    As you can imagine with a book this rich in content I was introduced to a superb list of illustrators. That list includes Peter Diamond, Minni Havas, Patrick Hruby, Roberto Parada, Yuko Shimizu, and Yuri Ustsinau. Which leads me on perfectly to what this book accomplishes best. It is a platform for expanding your own illustration sensibilities. 100 Illustrators exposes it’s readers to a host of styles and techniques for their consideration. When one is presented with a collection, this vast, of illustrators at the forefront of their field it becomes difficult not to draw inspiration and learn from their work.

    One qualm I do have is the prominence of editorial illustration, it would be much more beneficial to see work crossing a multitude of illustration fields, such as animation, design, visual effects, video games, and street art. If a book is presented as an overview of illustration, and essentially focuses on a single field of illustration, it can limit a reader’s perception of the art form as a whole. However this does not take away from the fact that work in the book is first-rate and is exhibited at the highest standard. 100 Illustrators will be released this December, retailing at the fantastic price of £34.99. I would highly recommend it, especially for illustration students, it will make an excellent Christmas treat.

    100 Illustrators
    TASCHEN
    Hardcover, 2 vols. in slipcase
    640 pages
    240 x 316mm
  5. 26

    Jul 2013

    Mr. Penfold Show London

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    I’m very excited about Mr. Penfold’s solo show in lively Camden Town next week! It runs from the 1st to the 4th of August. If you are in London during this time, pop in and show some support! Here’s a press release for the show:

    The highly anticipated debut London show for Mr. Penfold is finally here, Thursday 1st August is the date to save. Showcasing new works from the artist, the series will feature new paintings on three materials: wood, canvas and paper. The work sees Penfold delve deeper into his love for both abstract art and graffiti, a fusion which the artist has been developing and nurturing over his career.

    An exclusive new Silkscreen Print, hand printed by the artist, will be available on the opening night.

    Cult Events presents this private view offering a selection of gourmet food and tasty cocktails for all guests.

    In collaboration with Honest Brew & Camden Collective, an exclusive beer designed by Mr. Penfold himself will be available to competition winners and those lucky enough to get their hands on one.

    An evening with Mr. Penfold is a dining experience in which the diner is fully immersed into the mind of the artist. A carefully curated space by Mr. Penfold himself draws the guest into his abstract world; full of colours and shapes that make the basis of his conceptual street art.

    Cult Events has designed a deconstructed menu of drinks and food to work in sync with the set design as well as the art; taking the diner on an aesthetic journey which will challenge three main senses; from taste to smell as well as vision.

    Running only for 4 days after the private view of Penfold’s art, this is an exclusive experience not to be missed!

    Mr. Penfold says:

    I’ll be releasing a new Screenprint edition on the opening night. The info for the print is: 5 colour Screenprint on somerset soft white. Edition of 25 + 4 APs. 60 x 50.5cm, £110 unframed.

    Best of luck! I’m sure it’ll be an amazing show.

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