There was a need for a very simple, almost violently simple image to illustrate a subject which is frightening in its complexity.
The much-missed Mark Fisher and the weighty anthology he deserved, with a cover of cosmic splendour and gold-embossed type. My approach was much more woodcutty and earnest until Tariq gave me the starmap.
Under My Thumb
A lovely simple idea from Tamar Shlaim of Repeater which I think I drew in Illustrator. Note to self: get these covers up when you’ve done them, then you can remember how you did them.
A bit of an Illustrator challenge. The author liked the simple red background and the speakers-as-skyline, but the route to simplicity was full of complicated and closely examined scenery.
Nature And Necessity
Only the strong survive in Tariq Goddard’s take on the Victorian novel. It’s a tray-bake from hell; a gruesome and appalling bunch of characters roaming the pages, coming to no good. Wonderful stuff. There’s a novel-length party scene which is like reading Hunter S Thompson on the very special English gift of perfect rudeness . It’s a huge, electrifying book. I got the cover idea from Mat Osman, electrifying bassist mate of Tariq’s.
I made the logo: a lower case ‘r’ packing heat.
Repeater is that rare thing: a platform for writers who range from award-winning fiction writers like Tariq Goddard (cover detail shown) to cultural theorists like the late Mark Fisher and Eugene Thacker. Everything is tackled in every genre. Music, sport, politics, philosophy, travel and general epiphanies abound. The first Repeater was Dawn Foster’s Lean Out, a rebuttal of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, a call for women to gather round, make a noise, get on that male-dominated board. Dawn’s book was a shout out to the cleaners and the not-so-rich who work hard for peanuts and then have to get the night bus home to make breakfast.
“We are alive and we don’t agree” is Repeater’s line.
The Psychopath Factory
Tristam’s book argues that the workplace conditions our empathy. I tried to construct someone who is tyrannically pretend-empathetic. We’ve all seen them. Brilliant performers but mercilessly self-interested. This is my photo-fit of such a desolate chameleon.
There were so many ideas and photographs thrown at me, that this minimal idea, based on chord diagrams becoming tower blocks, seemed, in hindsight, to be the only answer. The metaphor is stronger than I originally thought: turning complicated art into bland commerce.
The Adventures Of Owen Hatherley In The Post-Soviet Space
“Daffodils for Wordsworth. Deprivation for Larkin. A trashed tower block surrounded by a toxic landscape pocked with rust-pitted Ladas in a forgotten oblast 2,000 miles from Moscow for Hatherley.”
This is worth getting for the Jonathan Meades quote alone.
A negative space nib amidst some Caribbean foliage made this an unusually delicate Repeater cover.
A complicated montage of Mount Rushmore being beheaded with The Parthenon and the palace of Westminster being dragged aloft by a hot-air balloon of public opinion. Another colourful job for me and Photoshop.
It couldn’t be more splattery if it tried. I used a typeface the Saul Bass studio created for use in the graphic genius’ poster work. You’ll know it when you see it. Hang on…
They should be as good as they can be; created with a bit of style. But they’re often as bad as you can imagine; clip art being the accessible, modern version of sign writing. So if you’re a plumber here’s a horrible drawing of a tap. The best logos just give you the name and a memorable twist which might or might not dawn on you till later. Any FedEx driver will be aware that they’re driving a van with a cool logo on the side.
The Barnes Wallis chalk loops are diagrammatic as well as making two letters out of one.
The Pepper Army. The Chalke Valley History Festival 2017
The Sergeant Pepper homage was for the 2017 event. Celebrating 50 years of a landmark album. It seemed a good time to stop all the colour montages after that. There was nowhere to go. Records are like life as the obscure genius Andy Pratt once said . Everything was researched, from George’s Gibson SG to the headphones on the grass.
The New Look
After the colour-soaked montages of previous years, I was allowed to change course, which meant I could put words on the picture, making the events and other details more informal part of the picture. They also made nice t-shirts.
GI Poster for 2013
A popular image that went on the volunteers’ t-shirts. A montage of a picture I took in Efesus in 2007 with a solitary GI. All but obliterated by the scrawl of the various speakers that year.
Chalke Valley 2013
There were so many talks to illustrate and I tried to give them their own alternative book covers. Especially Max Hastings’ talk on the wreckage of Berlin in 1945, All Hell Let Loose. The Peninsula War by Peter Caddick-Adams inspired a striking image:
The ones that got away
Jasper Conran liked something I’d done for Edward Hurst and asked me to come up with some packaging ideas. I couldn’t get the price low enough but I still look at them and think they were pretty good.
My friend Stuart Moxham broke big with his minimalist band Young Marble Giants in 1980. He’s by nature almost brutally modest, but is one of the world’s most naturally gifted composers. This is a collection of songs he made as demos but they’re all lovely.
Britain's Favourites (P+O Cruises)
This and a few other images formed the only non-abstract panels to grace the walls of Britannia, launched in 2014.
This is Elgar with Albert Hall headphones.
Christmas card 2014. A pun too far.
Sting busking at the head of a queue of famous Brits. Adele is singing “Born is the king of Israel” after four Noel Gallaghers. You had to be there, really.
Christmas card 2015
The Holly and The Ivy, Audrey snatched from the window of Tiffany’s with a little crown drawn on the wall to go over her head and those of most of the people I sent to, probably.
Jack and Kelly‘s wedding
Pure good fortune having initials like these. I must bear this idea in mind when it’s Laura and Mick’s turn, or Terry and Una’s…
The Sounding EP
Legends & Tales Of Dolphins & Whales is a musical project put together and co-composed by Napier Marten. It’s part of a long term plan of his to create awareness for our cetaceous planetmates who need a lot more of the public sympathy they’ve had so far. Max Middleton is musical director. Any true fan of Jeff Beck will know his name from the epochal early 70s Blow By Blow and Wired albums.
For Hugo Stuart. He had a vineyard and this was to advertise to Chinese buyers. It was the year of the snake I think. I hope.