Thursday, 5 May 2016

Dream 3

Now in it's 5th year, the global phenomenon that is Secret 7 returned to showcase 700 unique record sleeves and raise a whole bunch of money for Amnesty International UK.

This year things were arranged a little differently with a month long exhibition taking place at Sonos Studio in Shoreditch to whet the appetites of the vinyl-crazed public ahead of the sale, which took place on Monday 2nd May 2016.

As ever there was a cool mix of bands and artists assembled by Kevin King (thanks for having me back) to choose from, including The Jam, Chvrches, Jack Garratt, Tame Impala, Etta James and John Lennon. The track that immediately stood out to me was the gorgeous 'Dream 3' by Max Richter; an artist I'd long admired and whose album 'The Blue Notebooks' is simply one of the most sublime records I've ever heard.

When it came to designing artwork for the piece of music taken from an 8 hour "sleep aid", I wanted to make sure I captured that dream-like quality and made something which resonated with the aesthetic of the existing album artwork.

I started with the idea of duplicating a moon image, which whilst creating a hypnotic effect much in the tradition of Richter's music, also conjured up ideas of dreams within dreams. It was all getting a bit too Inception-like but I thought the idea was strong enough to run with...

And so I ended up sketching the idea to give it an organic feel, hoping to reflect the nature of Richter's music. Although liking the outcome, to me it didn't evoke the mood or atmosphere of the track. This is something that needed to have depth and the sketch just felt too 1 dimensional.

To develop the idea of repeated patterns I decided to experiment with the concept of sleep as part of the cyclical nature of human existence and that we all have patterns that we replay - our daily routine. Of course we sleep, eat, work and play (if we're lucky) on a daily basis. This is echoed throughout the week, month, year, our entire lifespan and it was interesting to explore the idea that although this sounds repetitive and mundane, in fact it's the small joys we bring to ourselves on a daily basis which gives our lives variety and meaning, and that is something to be celebrated!

In an attempt to capture that idea (and in keeping with the minimalist nature of the music) I set about painting ink onto a rotating piece of paper, which I prepared on my turntable. There were many attempts (as the above image shows - plus many more were discarded) before I found the perfect representation of my concept.

The image was mounted on an inked gradient and then mounted on the blank record sleeve.

So there you have it! A little bit of an insight into the thought process and execution behind my creation and a bit of fanboy gushing for Max - which seriously, if you haven't heard 'The Blue Notebooks', then go do that right now! Oh, and if you brought my contribution to this fantastic cause, then thank you. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Go Forth & Print

On the last weekend of January 2016, myself and Graham 'Army of Cats' Pilling returned to deliver our biannual 'Screen-Printed Posters' course at West Yorkshire Print Workshop.

As always it was great to hang out with Graham and of course meet the 6 students, upon whom we would dispel the myths of screen-printing, teach them some new tricks and generally have a bit of fun across the two day course.

The course is designed to give absolutely anybody a basic introduction to the skills and techniques required for screen-printing. Across the first day, the students are taught how to prepare a screen and then print a two-colour poster, which they are able to take home at the end of the weekend - a kind of certificate if you will.

The students are shown how to print using just the squeegee and their upper limbs (arms), as well as having a go at operating the screen-bed arm.

Having completed printing on day one, the students are shown how to separate layers and prepare files suitable for the screen-printing process by Graham using Photoshop. This is always a popular part of the course, as Graham offers his hints and tips and happily discusses the process of preparing for screen-printing.

The next day allows the students to print their own 2-colour poster, which they have prepared, rounding off a superb weekend of skill sharing and teamwork. Marvellous.

So if that's whet your appetite for the more physical process of printing, then Graham and myself will be returning to WYPW across the weekend of 25th and 26th of June 2016 for another instalment of 'Screen-Printed Posters', which you can book here. I hope you can join us!