I drew this in 2016. That was not a good year for me, and I can see evidence of how just psychically cornered I felt whenever I look at this insane thing I made. “William Blake meets psychedelic pop art.” Wrong. I’ve still got the original drawing somewhere, soaking up bad juju like Dorian Grey’s portrait, so maybe I better hang on to it?
I drew this in 2008, just a couple of months before I decided to change my whole approach and start painting. I’d been slogging away at comics and illustration for 20 years, and felt like I’d got nowhere, so working in this vein (see also my Morbius drawing from the same era) was a departure from my established style of drawing, and a conscious – not to mention slightly desperate – attempt to make some kind of breakthrough. It didn’t work, but with all options exhausted I felt oddly free to do whatever I wanted, which led to a decade of acrylics on canvas. I’ve always kept this one on file though, as I still feel it works well as a design and is probably the only example of me drawing a Jack Kirby creation. I never liked his work as a kid, and it was only later that I came to appreciate the singularity of his vision and drawn inspiration from his thermonuclear work ethic. There’ll never be another like him.
There’s a story behind this one. In 2012 I read the announcement that a gallery show – Obey Your Master – would be opening in Los Angeles, featuring artwork inspired by the music of Metallica. Unexpectedly inspired, and with a free weekend ahead of me, I took an old canvas, sanded it clean and cranked the above painting out in an intense 48-hour period of manic creative endeavour. I then packaged it up and sent it off to the gallery, hoping it might be included. I never got a direct response, but during the build-up to the exhibition opening I saw my name briefly mentioned in a ‘tweet’ about named contributors, and that’s about as far as it went. I don’t think it was ever included in the show, and have no idea what happened to it. If your at all precious about your artwork, then I don’t recommend emulating my approach, but something told me it was worth a shot. Here I’ve mocked it up as an album cover, referencing one of the best songs from Death Magnetic, which I played non-stop during the painting’s creation.
A new mock-up poster for a band I’ve only recently discovered: The Underground Youth. A Belin band who have collectively decided that modern culture, particularly music, reached it’s apotheosis in 1969. The band’s name gives a clue as to who they’re dominant influence is, but it’s done so well that all criticism is silenced. For the poster I used a drawing from a couple of year’s ago that’s been bouncing around in my hard drive, looking fo a good home. I think it’s finally found it. Below are a few of what I think are their best tunes:
A few years back Midian Books, purveyors of “occult, esoteric, counterculture and curiosa” publications, asked me to design a cover for their latest catalogue. I’d done one for them many years before (looks closely here and you’ll spot it, the one with creepy Uncle Aleister and his arcane assistants) so I was very pleased and honoured to be asked again. Above is the first version, following the brief which was to reference Lucifuge Rofocale, the Lucifer-appointed ‘governor’ of Hell. I was pleased with this first version, but they asked me to do another, which more directly referenced some of the occult artefacts that depict this demonic figure: