Monday, 20 February 2012


Light. Colour. Music. Painting. Photography. Let's combine it all and have a bit of fun yeah?

At photography college in Newcastle I learnt many exciting things. Each module we studied consisted of lots of technical matters & reports to write, with some sort of creative, practical element to really get my juices following. A particular favourite project was all about shooting in low light conditions...low light to the point of complete darkness. You'd be surprised, but complete darkness is my favourite kind of low light condition. A place were nothing can be seen, except maybe the eyes of an owl, if one happened to be hanging around. It was one freezing evening in Newcastle when we were instructed to meet in a rather unappealing location - by an overgrown expanse of woodland by a main road - with a digital SLR camera, tripod, torch & Quality Street chocolates. Led through the unappealing woodland, hopping & tripping over rocks & sticks, we arrived at an even more unappealing building - a half crumbling bungalow covered in graffiti, emitting a rather  unpleasant smell of alcohol & wee. Torches were lit & we ventured inside, snaking through a maze of drafty rooms littered with broken glass & down stone stairs to a large hollow room where we set up our tripods facing a graffiti covered wall, in front of which out enthusiastic tutors were setting torches of fire & sparklers alight. A crazy, surreal demonstration of 'Light painting' - setting the camera on a high ISO, shallow depth of field & long shutter speed - we could capture the most incredible shots. Having had our demonstration we spent the rest of the evening creeping around the neglected building to have fun with our new tricks.

The Quality Street chocolates, by the way, were quite frankly a key ingredient in the whole affair. As well as providing us with a necessary sugar rush & injection of pleasure in the cold night air, we used their coloured opaque wrappers as filters on our torches. By doing so the light painting could be taken to another level of creativity where chocolate, art & photography formed an unlikely connection.

Around the time I was working on my 'Painting with Light' project, I chilled with my chum Will from the band 'Stokes, William' & my enthusiasm for the process seeped into our conversations. He liked the sound of some sort of chocolate-wrapper-darkness-photography technique & we planned for me to do a shoot of his band. So one weekend when they were hanging out in a barn doing some recording, I gathered my Quality Streets, Camera & tripod & we had an exciting night of torches, experimentation & darkness.

To create these photos, the guys had to stand still in a completely dark room - posing, instruments in hand. Still, in darkness, I sent my camera to ISO1600, f3.5 & a shutter speed of up to two minutes long. Once the shutter was released I made my way to the figures & used my torch to 'paint' around them. In some of them, I knelt down infront of them to spell out 'Stokes, William' (backwards) with a torch.
 A rather tricky process to explain, an even trickier process to carry out...

For these photos here, the musicians weren't actually holding any instruments - they were created by using a torch to 'paint' the instruments in the air from the imagination AND in complete darkness. Easy? Not exactly. But effective? I certainly think so.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Satisfy the senses. Happy ears - listen to music. Excited touch - dance. Amazed eyes - go to a concert.
(Uncomfortable nose, sweating people gyrating next to you. Small detail)

I like my senses to feel well treated & it's music that helps me fulfill the sense loving role. My love of live music began back in the day when I went to Bosun's Locker every Friday night for a hoe-down. Bosun's Locker was (sadly is no longer) a small bar in the basement of the Cornish Pasty shop on the Kings Road where singers & swingers alike would gather to play music & have a boogie. Such a jolly affair. It was a very folky scene - cowboy boots, checked shirts & waistcoasts were pretty much uniform. Winston Marshall (the now famous banjo player of the folk band Mumford & Sons) ran the nights at the venue & would play his country & folk tunes with a big group of friends, most of whom went on to become pretty big names in the 'West London folk scene' - Charlie Fink & Tom Hobden from Noah & the Whale, King Charles, Johnny name a few Bosun's regulars. And then there was the small blond 15 year old girl who spoke in a quiet voice & had to be forced to the stage to get her to sing. She was timid & painfully shy but her stage presence captivated the audience into a mesmorized trance as her strong voice rose above the chatter, culminated in a stunned silence. This young girl was Laura Marling, the quiet girl with an extraordinarily powerful voice & breath-taking lyrics. If you havn't heard her, do it. RIGHT.NOW. Quite remarkable. Alas, I cannot swim.

Another great cowboy boot wearing chappy on the scene was Will Stokes. Will Stokes who wears headbands & sings 'I'm the king of the swingers' like a true jungle VIP. A few years ago he joined forces with friends from here & there to start the band 'Stokes, William'. It's his surname & forename jiggled around, yeah? Cool.

Stokes, William are a wonderful collaboration of some seriously talented musicians playing all manner of instruments - bangos, trumpets, drums, a double bass...all that jingles really. I've seen them perform live many times & they are bloody brilliant. So much energy & vibrancy on stage, the whole crowd cannot help rockin' out like mentalists. The songs are powerful & full of depth - fear, hope & strengh permeate through them in a captivating way.  

'She said you're fine - you beleive in God. And I said, yes, but the truth is, I'm terrified...' (Honesty Box)

'My weak heart years for more - though I am young, I know my weakness soars' (Zion)

'Sometimes it feels like letting love show is like lighting a candle & putting it in the snow' (In/Of The World)

The last Stokes,William gig I went to was their EP launch at Hoxton Bar & Grill. The place was completely packed & the energy & atmosphere was electric...If you ever have the chance to see them perform, take it my friends. TAKE IT. You won't regret it.


Abraham & Isaac:

Friday, 3 February 2012


Ok, I need to stop banging on about nudity before people start to wonder...but before I do I'm going to give you a bit of a taster of some of my recent sketches.

My style at the moment is quite line based with intense bursts of colour. I absolutely love colour...I see my life in colours. Whenever I start colouring my figures I feel an overwhelming sense of excitement bubbling up inside me. It's hard to explain, but it's a pretty great feeling. I wish I could colour the world in deep amethyst, electeic crimson, ultramarine, mint green, cobalt blue...Yes, the suggestion of taking lots of acid pills may help me with this desire, but people seem to think I'm on drugs much of the time anyway so I'd prefer to colour the world with the power of my mind, rather than the power of drugs.

There were two models in the class I was in last week which was rather interesting - a woman with beautiful black skin, roughly in her fifties & a young rather awkward chap. I think the chap was new to the whole exercise & gave the impression of being somewhat uncomfortable in a small studio surrounded by an anonymous group of people, all flailing pens, paper & ink here, there & everywhere whilst staring intently at his manhood. I watched him undressing out the corner of my eye (didn't want my gaze in his direction to be too direct of course - he'd probably have run a mile) & had a little chuckle as I watched him drape himself in a towel & adjust his bits & bobs in an uneasy manner. I really do think it would be quite a nerve-wracking experience for a guy to life model - would they sit in constant fear of being aroused? I imagine so...or perhaps I'm being too crude, perhaps nothing of the sort would cross their mind. As long as no attractive class attendees start flicking their hair back & forth.  

Over the last few weeks at my life drawing class there have been two models on seperate occasions who are pregnant. The first woman was quite heavily pregnant, while the second was in the early stages of her pregnancy (the last two drawings on this post are of her little bump emerging?). I really enjoyed drawing these woman...such womanly woman with a mini person hanging out inside them whilst I drew. 
How wonderful.