Monday, 30 June 2014

16 Landscapes (After a Treatise by Alexander Cozens)

Back in March, I said

I am hard at work on a new small book, which I hope to finish up some time in the next few weeks.

This small book ballooned out to take several months, which (along with further commercial work), accounts for my prolonged silence. I have now finished and fully released the book, which is entitled

16 Landscapes (After a Treatise by Alexander Cozens) 

The main content of this work is 16 A4 prints, based on plates from Alexander Cozens' 1785 artist's manual 'A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape'. The pictures can be viewed in an imgur album here. The book describes how to compose pictures by using semi-random ink blots to create suggestive natural forms which can then be developed into fantastic landscapes, predicting in a way some of the key ideas of the surrealists, though Cozens kept his ideas grounded in a firm study of nature. You can see the original illustrations here. Whilst keeping within certain limits (I excluded colour, for example, which I'm glad of because otherwise I might still be working on these for Christmas) I wanted to explore my approach to digital printmaking, using distinctly contemporary techniques that would be extraordinary to an 18th century artist. These not only include the approach to the drawing/painting using multiple blended layers (up to 30 in some images) and various brushes, but also extended techniques such as the incorporation of photographic textures (of leaves in Plate 8), overlays (soiled, crumpled paper in Plate 15) and even 'sampling' or directly 'quoting' from other artworks (some of the foilage in Plate 14 is taken from Albrecht Altdorfer's 1510 painting 'Countryside of wood with Saint George fighting the dragon'  . However, most of what's on display here is the result of relentless and sometimes (particularly in Plate 10) refinement through drawing.

It is available for purchase from here

Individual prints can be puchased from Deviantart here

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

New Digital Editions of Speak of the Devil, Utopia/Dystopia and Vectis

I am hard at work on a new small book, which I hope to finish up some time in the next few weeks. My general lack of activity over the past month or so has been due to the pursuing of a couple of commercial projects, which I may speak more about in the future. In the mean-time, I have gone over and prepared new digital editions of my three last major books, including numerous small tweaks and corrections. These new editions shall be available on lulu in the next couple of days. Here they are in PDF form:

Speak of the Devil



Please remember that all my books were designed with the physical format in mind and are best read on screen using a PDF reader that offers a 'two-up' reading format with the cover page separate. In Foxit Reader this is the Seperate Cover Page option under the View tab, in Adobe Acrobat it's Two Page View with the Show Cover Page in Two Page View option ticked on the View>Page Display submenu.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Letters to the Editor: Giving a Platform

Sent to the I's 'Voices' section, in response to an article on the recent All Party Parliamentary Group report on prostitution.

I would like to congratulate your paper on balancing your article on the parliamentary report on prostitution (March 3) with the views of an actual sex worker. The voices of sex workers are those that should be heard the loudest in this debate, and all too often they are ignored or sidelined. There is significant criticism of and opposition to the Nordic model from sex workers and former sex workers, including journalists, activists and academics, both in the UK and abroad, that simply cannot be dismissed (as it often is) as apologia produced by sex industry insiders.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A Black Sun in a White World

A Black Sun in a White World
Digital Print

A Black Sun in a White World was a book project I worked on a couple of years ago. Originally a limited edition of six books with hand-made covers, containing no text, their contents being a hole burned through the centre of all the pages (but not the cover) using a soldering iron and a small butane blowtorch. I have recently been considering updating and re-working this idea; I want to have a variety of books ready to (hopefully) take to some Artist's Book fairs this Autumn, including some new hand-made books. I am also toying with the idea of creating a sort of production line for my own 'altered books', creating some sort of design that can be printed using print-on-demand services, and then hand-altered by myself to create something more interesting. This is something I have already done to an extent with the book Manifest-O, which must be 'completed' by the reader by cutting along the dotted lines to create cut-out panels.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A New Year, a New Book.

I have completed my latest book under my real name, Speak of the Devil. It is available for purchase via here. If you simply wish to peruse the book in PDF form, you can do so here. The images can be seen in an imgur album here.

So, a new year begins. 2013 has been a mixed year for me. I completed my MA studies at the Arts University Bournemouth, but after that I feel like I have been in something of a doldrums for the latter half of the year. Commissions, sales and other work have been slow, inspiration has been frequently lacking, job applications have (as is so often the case) been pointless investments of time and emotional effort. I have started a few projects that have not made much headway, and have felt for the most part somewhat lost. However, over the past couple of months, traditionally my period of deepest winter depression, things have started to pick up. I shall learn my lesson from many past cock-ups and not make any predictions, but I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a very good, productive year for me, and I hope there's going to be a lot of interesting material coming out.

Another recent development is that I have made a new deviantart account (I had one years ago, when I was a teen, but it has long since gone the way of all flesh). You can see it here. It mainly showcases my speculative illustrations, produced as DS Blake, but there are also sections where you can see some of the work I produce under my regular name. The main purpose of this account is to allow people an avenue via which they can easily purchase prints of my work; I plan to research and expand to other services which allow this sort of thing over the next few months, and I have a few other interesting things on the go.

Here's to a good 2014.