Category: DOSSIER


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A white line of immaculate silence. A broken feeling of freedom. A collective dream that strikes on a raining night. It passes because people all forget. The streets are flooded and the floorboards are rotting away. The satellites scan the underpass for intruders. The earth shakes. I took six months off work and lived off of my savings to construct pages. Breaking my life up into an hour on and a half an hour out. Smoke a coffee, drink a cigarette. The rebellion rages outside the plastic window. The ash cloud covers the mountains and the book inside is full of lies. An isolated work of art. To say something. To say anything at all. Of memories well forgot and shaped by shifting signs. It all seems so dark and heavy. I still remember drawing on teletype paper and on the back of old work forms that my mother brought home. I’ve had time to build a mental bomb but I must drop ink on everything. For what can be seen as a disposable medium I hold close to my eye like a pearl. Sprawled across walls I can see where my mind has been because for too long it has been hidden in a box. I’m teaching myself, not others. I’m learning what I need to know. I won’t leave my chair. I won’t leave this room. I never could, transfixed with a vendetta to create. When I was seven I took a drawing my older brother had thrown in the bin and finished it off, took it to school and passed it off as entirely my own work. The teacher had her daughter come to the school to see my drawing. Her daughter who was and still is a well known conceptual artist. I can never know what it must have looked like but then and there I began my first art crime and as I remember it…It was a perfect crime. I’ve worked mostly on structure and line. A direction to construct. I can hash out an idea in dot points or expound upon a thumbnail. I photocopy down drawings and juxtapose ideas condensing a coded manifesto into a page. Ideas that sing and harmonise with each other. Lets drink in old ideas and open our eyes to a vision that will silence. A total reinvention of madness and crime. The way we take the world in and the way in which we challenge it. The sound of static and the smell of mould. Typewriters and teak drawing boards. Scalpels and steel rulers. I once threw my pens away.. on the street.. hours later I went back to find them still there on the street…but broken. This is not pain.. It’s vision.

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Reworking Picasso’s Guernica.

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“The horrors of war managed with the weapons of technique.” Wilhelm Boeck

On the 26th of April 1937, German bombers,on behalf of general Franco’s army, bombed the small Basque city of Guernica. The town was undefended and sheltered only civilians well behind the battle-front. The bombardment lasted for three hours and the destruction was almost total.
Early in 1936 Pablo Picasso had been invited by the spanish republican Government to produce a mural for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris World Fair to open in June 1937. Picasso began preparatory sketches for Guernica on May the 1st. The twenty five foot long painting was completed within a month.
Guernica, to me, seems to be a “Fuck You” to the seriousness of war. The big serious adult world of war. A topic that’s expected to be talked about in serious and revered terms not bombastic or absurd terms. Hatred is fine because that feeds the war machine but mocking the whole idea of war is insulting. You’re expected to choose a side. I think Guernica points out that war is an absurd joke.
The influence of Guernica on my work over the years is telling. I can see it in the Gods eyes that I’ve used in the top centre of drawings or the screaming mouths my characters have and in the stoic ways they stand.
In someways I see Picasso as the first great cartoonist. His influence on animation and cartoonists in general is immeasurable. I see Guernica’s influence on John Lennon and Banksy. For someone that great to come along and say, with his art, that it’s alright to draw badly completely breaks down the conventions of image making. Because at the end of the day drawing badly is better drawing then not drawing at all. I find it funny when I meet people who think Picasso couldn’t draw.

The garage project.

The garage project.

I’ve lived in the same house for eight years and in the far left corner at the end of the driveway is a brick, corrugated iron and redwood garage. I have always had the idea in the back and sometimes front of my mind to turn it into an art studio but over the years it was always more like a dumping ground for all the countless housemates who have lived or drifted through the house over the years even before I lived in it. A pile of bikes, boxes, books, paintings, old clothes, fishing rods, bamboo poles, home brew, screen doors, electrical goods, gym equipment and general miscellaneous shit. It has anything and everything you could possibly need to make a great studio. The majority of what consumes the garages space is arts materials. Brushes, canvases, paint and an easel.
I think the reasons I’ve been reluctant in the past to do this is that I live in shared housing and have always felt a little bit foot to mouth. Not quite at home and not quit settled. Eight years is along time to live in the same house and not feel like you own it. In the past we’ve had up to five people living in the house with four more staying in the house regularly. Matt, Will, Ash, Widow, Pim, Dean, Claire, Erin, Zalie, Jack and about five others who’s names fail me have all lived in the house. At the moment there are three people living in the house and it feels easier to own the space. People pay good money to have their own studio and yet this garage is sitting there. This will be about the deconstruction of space. I’m starting this at the start of August. I need enough time to go through everything then reconstruct it and I’m looking to do it in a month but ill take as long as I need to finish it. This is my project but if people are around ill rope then into helping or if they want to be involved. First ill need lighting, heating, carpet, clean it, clear it out and throw away what’s unneeded while trying to make use of everything that’s in there.

Hartshorn logo

Hartshorn logo

I saw that that no talent ass clown John Bon Jovi has his posters up all over my city and I thought…I’m going to design my last name into a death metal band logo. My last name Hartshorn is believed to be of German/Saxon origin from when the Saxons joined the Angles to fight the Normans, Picts and the Scots in 300 A.D. The tribal emblem for this group was a deer (or hart’s) horn fixed to the top of a pole and the carrier of it was known as ‘Hartshorn’.
My piece is of two deers horns uniting, writing out the letters of the name and holding a heart in icon. The heart itself is unnecessary because the hart in the name actually refers to a red male deer but I also recall a reference to a place of origin of the family that’s name meant deers heart and obviously you’d need to kill the deer to get its horns. It may not be obvious but the name hartshorn is spelt out on the inner horns of the antlers. The S being the obvious stand out as it doesn’t fit the style of the other letters but it works as a centre piece with the heart. I may have to rework it. I might try replacing the heart and the S with circles and pentagrams. The piece has the look of a womb to it and with the heart gives it strong pagan iconography.

My best friend.

My best friend.

A few months ago I asked Mark Leggett if saying he was from New Zealand was meant as a joke. His answer was ‘No.’
Then I asked him if he would mind if I draw comic strips based on the tweets from his twitter account @markleggett . He said go for it, as long as I credit it to him. Fair deal I thought. I had not gotten around to drawing one when a couple of weeks later I fell in love. The object of my affection demanded, once she got to know me and my art work, that I draw everyday. Fair deal I thought, since I should be anyway, as long as my job as an inducing servant doesn’t get in the way.
I’d been following mark for awhile before I went to his page and read his wall of past tweets and found myself in pain from laughter! Partially because I was on my back in bed looking up at an iPad. Your neck can get really saw after awhile and if you find yourself laughing a lot you can really hurt your throat.
After trawling through a large cross section of his writing, I picked out three that I really liked. (In hindsight, the three that I chose were more sentimental, then strictly funny.) Once I finally had a day off, I gathered together a note pad and pens and walked down the street to a cafe so I could feel like I was Jean Paul Sartre or Vincent Van Gogh or Hitler. I looked around for a good cafe that wasn’t too busy. That I might be able to sit at for hours and have no one notice me. I walked passed a cafe at the top end of the shopping district (old lady clothes shops) a cafe that was empty and I knew well. The cafe was under new management. It always is, every year or so. The cafe, a few owners ago, was involved in a bullying scandal. The site, the venue, the premises has never lost the stigma of this event. Until now I also had refused to eat there. But this day I looked at it and thought, no that’s just borderline superstition. I ordered some food and coffee and started to sketch out thumbnails for the three very different pieces of writings I had chosen. In front of me a few people started crowding around the road and a women rushed hurriedly out of a shop. I walked up to where they were to see what was going on. A very old lady was lying on the road half convulsing with five or so people crowded around her looking like they had no idea what to do. A lady with a pram moved out onto the road to block the oncoming traffic and direct them to go around (using her pram) while another man was on a phone calling an ambulance. Eventually an ambulance would turn up and so would the police. When I saw the police taking a mans statement, it became clear that he had reversed, while parked, back into her. I’m not superstitious so I read nothing into this at all and don’t feel any guilt for eating somewhere I said I never would to myself.
After four coffees and a meatball platter later I had one of the strips almost finished. ‘While I’m away at work, my cat listens to the mix tape I made for her.’ I drew a very simple cartoon cat, wearing headphones and looking a bit perplexed. I was thinking of drawing a real cat but this simple drawing seemed to fit the writing.
The idea of drawing comic strip panels based on someone’s tweets seems to work for me. Twitter is a hot bed of language design and to give a small piece of writing a visual aesthetic will stamp it with its own territory. So many people hate twitter but really they just have no idea what it is.

Stagnant Progression.

Stagnant Progression.

This is where I’m at with this drawing. I’m taking influence from an oz magazines poster of Bob Dylan where they used a cyclone of circles to unify the image. It’s such a constructive piece that its taking me longer then I thought. There’s an order to the way it needs to be drawn so that it layers properly.

Stand about weed.

Stand about weed.

Alright this character is a bit of a smart ass. What choice does he have. He fucks with people’s perception every day and yet, like Freud, he solves people’s problems therapeutically. He’s angry and conflicted. He’s also an entertainer at the end of the day. He should be a star. This drawing is based on the calendar art idea of an image…I guess. “What are you doing right now?” That alcoholic concept of get drunk, get as drunk as you can and then get even drunker that carries over to ,what should be an art form of, pot smoking. This drawing is quite clearly a rough for what could be. The character as an icon. A mascot. A symbol.

Walkabout Weed.

Walkabout Weed.

I created this character about ten years ago. In many ways he was inspired by the dancing flowers out of fantasia. I see him as the most iconic pop character I have in my arsenal. It’s only in the last year that I’ve actually found another cartoon weed. A one off sixties comix strip about a weed on the run. In reality the character sits with fat Freddy and the furry freak brothers and fritz the cat. Maybe no one else has created such a character because there’s no commercial grounds for such a character, because the sale of weed is all underground. I guess that’s pretty sad really. Everything else has been turned into a cartoon character. I’m always amazed that the maraijuana leaf hasn’t. He’s actually quite hard to draw properly and story lines are both limitless and limited. If that’s possible. I’m working on a free form animation with the character at the moment. As I said, I created the character ten years ago and all I really have to show for it is many many poses, one full page and a few small strips. This character doesn’t flow from the pen unfortunately.

A late night stroll.

A late night stroll.

The character at the top is a Robert Crumb/ Daniel Clowes style character. I think the character was originally inspired by Basil Wolvertons characters from MAD magazines my older brothers would buy. I’m so use to stylising my drawings that when it came to drawing this character I realised late that I’m meant to make him look ugly. So I gave him blood shot eyes and stained teeth but I’d do well to draw him again much more messed up and disheveled. The suit and the detail is pure Crumb. I did realise on this drawing that I don’t do enough cross hatching. Especially cross hatching in three directions. It starts to look like the detail of money. The character at the bottom looks like Ben 10 as an old man.

Miniature hulk head.

Miniature hulk head.

Hulk is one of the few marvel characters that doesn’t make me cringe. This drawing just shows the power of tria markers. It was like sculpting colour on the page. I chucked a coin down next to it to show off.

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