The West Memphis 3
DESIGNS NOW AVAILABLE AS TOTE BAGS.
Mums and stoners always like word play.. So get them this for Christmas HERE!
Proposal for Feminist Street Art collaborative in Manchester. Series of public art pieces against violence towards women!
Find out more HERE
Quote from Laura Tetlow.
Stop Drawing Sad Girls
I need to stop drawing sad girls. All the time. And foliage. Is it okay to have artistic preoccupations? Or is it just lazy? Uh. I also need to stop taking bad photos and get my scanner back. Should probably find a job too, and get some clothes. Fuck. If I get a job, will I have to wear the jumper and skirt I’ve worn everyday for the past month to the interview? Is that, “frowned upon”?
Maybe this kind of despairing cycle is exactly why I draw sad girls all the time. 15/f/uk.
"I wish someone had warned us about Phoebe Summers’ dazzling sense of humour and captivating personality: somehow she managed to have us trying desperately to suppress our laughter, and yet inspired us marvelously all the same. The engaging creator used to love making little comics about a naughty olive, which consisted of a black olive escaping from the jar and running around the kitchen jumping into peoples’ food and making everybody sick. However, she got older… and stopped making comics about runaway food..”
1) When did you first begin illustrating?
I’ve always drawn, and used to love making little comics when I was really young. There was one which my mum still likes to tell people about called The Naughty Olive, which consisted of a black olive escaping from the jar and running around the kitchen jumping into peoples food and making everyone sick.
I got older and stopped making comics about runaway food, and studied illustration at uni. After graduating, I ended up working terrible menial jobs and stopped drawing for quite a long time as it seemed pointless and depressing. After a while, I decided to quit the 9-5, move into my parents basement and focus on becoming a freelance artist.. Which was quite tough. There were days when I felt like Jeff Who Lives At Home - but it gave me time to regroup and rediscover why I drew in the first place.
2) How would you describe your themes you visit in your work?
My work has been described as quite ambiguous before now. A lot of my characters have very passive faces, and the titles can be quite misleading. Personally, I think it’s largely autobiographical and when people look through my sketchbook, it’s hard not to snatch it out of their hands/breathe into a paper bag/run away crying - especially if there’s something about them in there. Having said that, I like using symbolism and visual metaphors within my pieces, which serve as a kind of self-preserving code.
A lot of my inspiration comes from folk art, repeat pattern, emotions, bad jokes and endless, obsessive wikipedia searches.
3) How would you describe what being in ‘the zone’ consists of? As in, how do you muster up the mood to create?
I used to do quite a lot of long distance running, and I always had to have a song locked in my head to use as a pacemaker. In many ways, the same applies to painting: all my paints, brushes, inks get lined up, coffee and cigarette made and rolled, a long playlist (changed weekly) and a comfortable chair. It’s a little like nesting. For the first few minutes, I’m edgy, nervy and make a lot of mistakes; but after a while, ‘the zone,’ takes hold. Sometimes you’re working, and only realise it’s 3am, because your stomach is distracting you with vile noises, or you haven’t been breathing properly while doing something detailed. It’s as important to know how to get out of the zone as it is to get into it.
4) Let’s discuss your inspirations:
I really like artists such as Jean Michelle Basquiat and Rose Wiley, because they are so free and expressive, but I also admire the tightness and succinct nature of Chris Wares’ work. What I make is sort of in the middle, so both extreme mess, and distinct order interest me. Usually, I steer clear of other illustrators, as it’s too tempting to try and emulate what you see: however, I am deeply indebted to Jules de Balincourt, Mark Hearld and Richard Scarry .
My favourite musicians come in two categories: Things To Paint To, and OTHER. Mixes of hip hop, electronica and instrumental are really conducive to a good working atmosphere, as vocals can be quite distracting. Having said that, when away from the desk, I like ambling around to a mishmash of Kimya Dawson, Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Daniel Johnston, Andrew Jackson Jihad and Modest Mouse - all of which have fantastic, painful, inspirational lyrics which have been used as titles for my pieces.
I regularly find myself rereading collections of short stories by Sallinger, Dylan Thomas and Dave Eggars’. Neglecting novels wracks me with guilt, and being able to immerse yourself into a concise fantasy world for 10 minutes is very satisfying. Isabella Allende is the most wonderful, visceral and haunting writer I’ve come across; her stories are so evocative of the heat and folk culture of Chile, and you find yourself lost in dark and beautiful places.
Also, shout out to my main main Seneca for introducing me to Stoicism. On The Shortness Of Life is the first ever self help book, first century AD.
Oh wow. Favourite people? I try not to have heros, as they fall apart. Imagine being PeeWee Herman’s biggest fan, and then THAT news story breaking. People are fallible and fickle, but that’s sort of why I like them. My friends make me want to be a better person: they all seem so politically and creatively active, that it spurs me on to do better.
1. Asleep. Dreams are rad.
2. On public transport. Distractions are limited there, so you can really delve into your head and get a lot of thinking/planning done.
3. My friends living room, where we spend hours watching films, reading comics, drawing and discussing interesting feminist concepts which I usually feel too insecure and unread to talk about.
4. Walking alone in the mountains by my parents house in Wales.
5. My desk. It’s all in boxes at the moment because I’ve moved so much recently, but I know that wherever it is, I am settled.
6. Space. I’ll never go there, but it’s amazing to think about, especially before bed. It can lead you to place number 1 on this list..
Blade Runner, Brazil, Buitiful.. I seem to like a lot that start with, “B.”
Philip Seymour Hoffman is a good yardstick of a films quality. I used to love Jumanji, and am trying to write a concept album called Stop Giving Me Things Which Fall Apart based on the film. However, Patch Adams ruined Robin Williams for me, but my online shop is still called Patch Madams because I love puns.
5) What are your hobbies? What do you do when you’re not hunched over your desk?
Walking aimlessly for miles, reading lists of tallest/biggest/oldest etc lists on Wikipedia, coming up with ideas for things that I never make, writing letters for friends, and trying to bake vegan cakes (very unsuccessfully.)
6) Do you have any strong beliefs/wish to make a change in life?
I’m interested in human and animal rights, but feel that I really let the team down because they’re personal beliefs and I don’t really get to any demonstrations.
I’d like to be more involved, but activist groups can be cliquey, hierarchical and disappointing - so would rather just do stuff on a personal day-to-day level. Taking a jam jar to recycling, or quitting dairy might not save the world, but if we all did it, it could help.
7) What advice would you give to other artists, as well as young people in general trying to find their voice, or ‘groove’?
Just keep on keeping on. Stop, and it’s harder to start again. If you feel yourself losing sight of what you want, sit down, stop, cry for a while, take a long walk, go through your old work and remind yourself of what you did before you started comparing yourself and work to everyone else around you.. It is hard, but it will be okay!
8) What has been your proudest moment so far in your career?
Daniel Johnson “liked,” my work on Facebook. It might not have even been him, but I’ll hold onto the notion that it was. It keeps me going sometimes.
Find more at CRISP.