Anyone who knows me will confirm that I don’t “do” social media. I have a negligible Facebook presence, only so distant relatives know how to reach me should a crisis arise, but I absolutely refuse to get involved in Twitter and all the other shit that devours so much of my fellow humans time on earth. All that said, I have decided to reinvigorate my Instagram account, purely to serve as a repository of all the artwork I’ve done over the last 35 years since I first got into this game. I will be updating regularly, and throwing up all kinds of material so I recommend checking in every few days, as I promise some rare treats.
Just to make it clear from the outset – THIS IS NOT REAL! This is a mock-up done purely for my own amusement, using a character I drew last year. She’s a warrior nun, hunting demons in a dystopian future city, like Mega City One, just as an example. It’s not Maus. It’s not Jimmy Corrigan. It’s not big, and it’s not clever, but what it would be is a return to the kind of awe-inspiring havoc that the comics medium used to do so well, before it became little more than an IP incubator for Hollywood/Netflix. Something so outrageous that it would be unfilmable. I could write the whole thing in a single chemically-assisted night, but it would take untold years to draw, so it joins the long-list of unrealised projects that will trail me to my grave.
Here’s my painting from a 2020 project that never happened (a familiar refrain to regular readers), which has now found it’s rightful home as one of the variant covers for #2 of Jim Whiting‘s Shriek comics anthology. Jim’s a solid gent, who I first knew from working on the Night Of The Living Dead series for Fantaco in the mid-90’s. Go to the Kickstarter HERE for the full flavour.
Here’s the original painting:
I still have it, if anyone wants it. Serious expressions of interest: firstname.lastname@example.org
This unique book collects all the artwork I made for the lost true crime classic that never was – Saturn In Retrograde: Counter-Culture Murder, Bad Trips and Demon Fantasies. A wide range of authors, including myself, covered cases infamous and otherwise from the lysergic decade 1965-75, a time of social, political and psychic upheavals that for some was a gateway to Nirvana, and for others a one-way trip to the morgue. That book was completed during the mid-00’s but for “reasons” never got published, and I just could not let that regret shadow me through the valley of death, so I created this testament to bad juju.
The centrepiece of the book is thirteen psychedelic posters I made as chapter headings, presented here in retina-exploding full colour, together with portraits of that era’s prime movers, underground comix artwork and other never-seen-before material, together with a foreword by the original book’s editor Martin Jones and an introduction by yours truly. Turn on, tune in, open up your third eye, and kiss your ass goodbye.
Unavailable anywhere else. Self-published as print-on-demand through my PsychSkull imprint.
62 pages. Full colour on gloss stock. £12 & shipping. Order your copy HERE
Altar is a 2006 album collaboration between the bands SunnO))) and Boris. It’s one of the great art rock albums of all time. In 2010 I embarked on a series of paintings, inspired by the titles of each of the nine songs. These were consciously experimental in nature, using different size canvas panels and materials, and working more intuitively than I had before in my paintings. I worked fast, and did not over-analyse the results. A couple of years later I decided to collect all the paintings in a self-published book, adding some ‘automatic’ drawings made free hand with ink and brush, and some found photography and text that I felt suited the mood of the album. Here’s some of the page layouts from the book:
It remains one of my favourite things that I’ve ever done, primarily because it was done so purely and with no over-thinking. All the paintings sold as well, which tells me I was onto something here.
Download a free PDF copy of the book HERE
Order a hard copy of the book HERE. £8 & shipping.
For fans of my first novel – Daddy Witch – I have just published this companion title: Laughing At The Funeral: the art of Daddy Witch. This book collects all the art & design I created for the band, including all the record sleeves, flyers, posters and other materials, together with all the postcard paintings I made, one of each of which has been given away with every copy of the novel purchased. It’s a unique document that further enhances the mystery and allure of the greatest band you’ve never heard.
It’s available as a Print-on-Demand book via Lulu. 44 pages. Full colour. £5.00 & shipping. Order HERE.
Following on from yesterday’s post, it seemed appropriate to remind readers of Exile In The Margin‘s other major title: Black Water. This is the one that started it all, a twisted tale of psychosexual madness in the shadowy edgelands of modern Britain that was over ten years in the making. Look at that cover. It says everything you need to know. Dark, dark, dark, and then darker still. The text by Martin Jones was honed like an assassin’s blade over years of psychic turmoil, all centered around a very specific location that required extensive field work by the both of us. Gradually I was drawn into the black vortex of the story, understanding that it required a similarly manic level of detail in the artwork if I was to do the thing justice:
I have been to this place, and walked its paths. I can see how it would seep into a mind prepared for such an intrusion. To some it might look like a nice place to walk on a weekend and do some bird watching, but Martin saw it differently, and the results are against nature writing of the most pitiless. Imagine, if you will, D.H. Lawrence raised in Thatcher’s Britain, or John Healy writing symbolist poetry, or Patrick McGrath’s Spider meets The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
The book was fully illustrated and designed by me, with every aspect a carefully considered part of the whole, from the full-page illustrations to the smaller drawings, to the found imagery – it was all meticulously planned and pored over, with several images taken out as they weren’t serving the text. The end result is something where nothing needs to be added and nothing needs to be removed – it’s perfect as it is, in all its dark glory. Published in a limited edition of 100, the print job is outstanding, with the blank inks so richly obsidian that they seem to suck in all the available light, plunging the reader even further into the void. It even smells good. There will be no TV adaptation of this, because no-one would be insane enough to try. It joins the ranks of a select few ‘cult’ books that can never be reduced to a screen interpretation, and once all the copies are gone, that’s it. There will be no more.
I produced several ‘black water’ abstract paintings, one for each order of the book, and a few are still available. Order your copy HERE from Exile In The Margins and, while you’re at it, order a copy of my first novel Daddy Witch. Support independent publishing, stick it to Jeff Bezos, and hurl yourself over the psychic precipice all at the same time. You know you want to.
After weeks of teasing, the ‘he’ I’ve been talking about has finally arrived, and ‘he’ is Daddy Witch.
Who’s the greatest band you’ve never heard of?
In the early 1980’s, the exhausted backwash of punk swept through the post-industrial wasteland towns of northern Britain. Young men with no future and no hope channelled their anger and their passion into music and art that compressed all their ideas and influences into a primal shriek of defiance.
One of those bands was Daddy Witch, and this is their story.
This is my first published novel. 140 pages. Pocket paperback, fully designed by yours truly.
The first copies ordered come with a unique piece of original postcard art, a few examples of which can be seen below:
The very first order receives this painting:
I’ll be featuring more art & design created for the book over the coming weeks. Quantities of the book and art are limited so order your copy ASAP.
This is the book project that consumed over two years of my life, between 2004-2007. The end result was mental illness and over half a million words that I quickly realised were completely unpublishable. Even allowing for the perennial British obsession with grisly crime, the aggregate of material I’d collected was frankly too grim, and my focus on it so unhealthily obsessional for it to ever be inflicted on anyone else. I’d undoubtedly got something out of my system in the process, but I’d also unleashed demons that I’ve never been able to completely exorcise. In an attempt to resolve that, I’ve decided to make the finished manuscript available free to anyone who is mad enough to want to read it. I’ve done very little editing so the text is pretty raw, with what must be typo’s aplenty and some content that all these years later I might choose to revise. Some of the crimes featured have also since been solved, and some of the villains are now dead, but I won’t be writing any updates. It stands as it is, a tombstone for the person I was before I turned forty.
The back cover blurb I wrote sets the tone:
If that’s doesn’t put you off, you can download all the covers, Introduction, Chapters (one for each decade from the 1940’s to 2000’s) and Conclusion HERE.
As a suggested sonic ambience to enhance your reading pleasure, here’s The Hangman’s Breakfast soundtrack:
Robert Crumb (my 2014 portrait of him above) has been a lifelong influence for me. I first saw his drawings when I was 11 years old (I know, I know…) and they totally blew my mind. At first glance they looked like the same comics characters I read about every week in Whizzer & Chips or Monster Fun but on closer inspection, they were corrupted in some way, having passed through the psychic prism of one of the strangest men America ever produced. Crumb is lucky to have emerged when he did. Imagine trying to get away with Big Ass Comix in today’s political climate, but rather than continue to run afoul of the Gestapo of cultural taste he’s enjoying his quiet life in rural France. He remains attuned to the freak show of his home country (on Donald Trump: “When you see a man with hair like that, alarms should go off”) but long ago proved his point about his fellow species and no longer feels the need to repeat himself. This recent – and rare – interview with Crumb and his family has only served to reinforce my belief, formed when I was 11 years old, that he was a more important artist than any of the “old masters” I had been told were “important.” I prefer to make up my own mind about these things and it’s always seemed to be that if humans in the future want to get their heads around the 20th century, they’d be better off looking at Crumb’s art than most of the other shit that has washed up in art galleries.