She dangerous! She’s deceptive! She’s deadly! She’s a Daughter of the North for sure. You may have seen her once but you’d never recognise her again. They are legion. When the nation calls an enigmatic and elusive Daughter of the North is sure to answer. And roll opening credits.
That would be my pitch for my imaginary TV series ‘A Daughter of the North’. Think somewhere between Breaking Bad and Sons Of Anarchy but set in wartime UK. Oh bugger. I’ve just come up with a parallel universe version of Peaky Blinders haven’t I? Great minds and all that…
‘A Daughter of the North’ is on A4 paper and has been made using the magic of hot foil printing, acrylic and smoke. She’s available via our online shop or by dropping us a message.
Do you know what happens when I’m left alone for too long. This. This is what happens. I happened upon the heart stencil whilst doing a small tidy of my paint area. It had slipped down the back of the table. Pesky stencil. Upon realising what stencil it was my brain did some kind of paradigm shift and unleashed an earworm upon me. Now I’m attempting to bring that earworm to you through the medium of cryptic stencilling. Once I’d knocked up a quick gun stencil I was good to go. So, which 80’s karaoke classic am I trying to get across here? Answers on a postcard. And if i’m lucky you’ll have it bouncing round your head all day. I’m all heart sometimes…
It’s funny isn’t it? I’d say I wasn’t really a fan of poetry (although there are exceptions) but I can probably sing you hundreds of rap songs and whilst it’s debatable that rap and poetry – whilst sharing many of the same attributes – aren’t the same thing for the sake of a shorter write up they may as well be. And one of my favourite musical poems is Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid in Full’ from their eponymous 1987 debut album. So here’s a little homage to that paean to urban survival featuring a ‘stick-up kid’ and his face of grim resolve. As Eric B and Rakim so eloquently put it:
So I start my mission, leave my residence
Thinkin’ how could I get some dead presidents
I need money, I used to be a stick-up kid
So I think of all the devious things I did
I used to roll up, this is a hold up, ain’t nuthin’ funny
Stop smiling, be still, don’t nuthin’ move but the money
But now I learned to earn ‘cuz I’m righteous
I feel great, so maybe I might just
In my continuing efforts to drum up some interest in the zombie book I’ve written I’ve done another small artwork based on it. Here we can see that they’ve finally got a gun. Now, I’m not entirely sure of the real world use of a gun in most zombie situations as it surely just attracts more of them to your location – which is the last thing you want – but it’s definitely a good backup. In this instance they are taking some revenge and trying to find their friend. Don’t worry too much as they are mostly doing it from the confines of an armoured Range Rover. Here’s a little taster:
“Eventually the car finds it’s way to the cricket pitch and they drive a slow circuit around the outside of the ground. I want to jump up and signal their attention but something tells me to be wary. They pull up beside the bonfire just as one of the school kid zombies from earlier emerges onto the south edge of the field. The driver guns the engine and the Range Rover pulls forward on a collision course with the zombie. I can hear the sickening crunch of bone even from my position some distance away.”
‘We come in peace, shoot to kill!’. Lines immortalised by ‘Captain Kirk’ in the Firm’s 1987 hit ‘Startrekkin’. Now, whilst that song has thankfully been swallowed by the sands of time the sentiment expressed in those lines is still very much alive and well. It’s cats. They think like that.
Cats are inscrutable little suckers. Even at the best of times there’s just no telling what they’re thinking. When you think they’re being friendly they’re probably just demanding food or threatening to kill you. And if ever they do get opposable thumbs then we’re probably in for some serious trouble. I, for one, welcome our new cat overlords…
Title: We come in peace…
Materials: Spray paint, stencils, paint pen and watercolour paint on a section of map
Size: 50 x 45cm
Please email if interested
After digging round in the attic at our family home I came across a box containing some items that belonged to our long lost Uncle Lou. Apparently he was something of a womaniser and a card-sharp and would ever be in search of the next loose woman and dodgy card table. He mysteriously disappeared on a trip to the local butchers one day and all they ever found of him was his rusty sheriff’s badge (which he always wore). He left behind a box of mementos and this is a little something from one of his jaunts around Europe in the late 60’s and looks to be an annotated map of his adventures. It appears it involved lots of women, drink and skiing…
I’ve never actually been to Switzerland myself but I have plenty of friends who have and they all seem to really enjoy the place. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy the skiing and cheese aspect of a visit there but it’s been many years since I wore a timepiece and I’m not a massive fan of chocolate so they couldn’t really impress me on that front. Anyhow I’d still give it a go as apparently ‘It’s more fun in Switzerland!’ and I’d be willing to see if it lives up to the claim.
Working on maps is really rather enjoyable and this piece has been lovingly created on a large vintage motoring map of the region. She features at least 12+ different screen print levels (including our id-iom seal of approval), hand-done red hand-stitching around the Swiss border, many stencils and a load of hand annotation in paint pen (not done by me as my writing isn’t neat enough!) If that wasn’t enough it also features the Transformer Soundwave about to steal a load of ‘energon’ from the Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss border. Naughty Transformer!
For further information about us and what we get up to you can visit our flickr page and we’re also on twitter (@thisisidiom).
Another piece in the id-iom demolition sale and it’s starting at just 99p. Here’s the Ebay link
War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again! – so sang Edwin Starr in 1970 on the anti-Vietnam song ‘War’ (which, i was interested to learn was originally recorded by The Temptations but not released as they didn’t want to alienate their more conservative fans). Whilst i have a lot of respect for our armed forces and the work they do it is generally political forces which dictate what they do and when – and this can sometimes lead to questionable decisions being made regarding their deployment. That’s all i really want to say on the issue as i think this piece largely speaks for itself…
A single level screen print with hand finishing. It’s A3 in size and signed on the reverse
With 2012 fast becoming nothing more than a memory we thought it best to glance backward before we turn our steely gaze to 2013. So today both members of id-iom are picking our favourite five projects from 2012 to pontificate about in the hope that more people will actually get to see them and appreciate just how amusing we really are…
So, in no particular order here they are:
Stand your ground
This is just one of the many pictures that I was particularly happy with that we did at the now demolished House of Pain(t). It was fantastic to have a space to work in where we could do what we want with no constraints where there were also no financial considerations. I think it just allowed us to work as freely as we liked and that led to some great work. I think this is one of my favourites as we used a stencil we had used once before and gave it a new lease of life. ‘Stand Your Ground’ definitely looked better in the flesh as the thread attached to both the gun and the door frame gave it a three dimensional quality that just doesn’t come across as well in the photograph. Gun crime and gun control are always in the news so this one always seems topical but is now no more than a pile of bricks…
A Groovy Kind of Earworm
For this little bad lad I have to look no further than my own write up:
There was an article on the BBC website the other day which put a name to an experience which i’m sure most people have endured. They are known as earworms (amongst other names) and it is when you get a tune stuck in your head that you just can’t get rid of. Sometimes you really haven’t got a clue how it happens to be bouncing round in your brain but the more you try to suppress it the worse it gets (see this article on the difficulty of killing earworms and the man who had one for five long years).
After thinking about this for a while and realising how mildly annoying earworms can be we thought it our civic duty to respond by trying to create an earworm of our own using the medium of art. And being cheeky little tinkers we thought we’d do our best to get the hugely underrated 80’s megastar Phil Collins back into people’s consciousness by forcing his 1988 version of ‘A Groovy Kind of Love‘ into as many people’s brains as possible! We are not yet experts in the field but we’re hoping that as the hoarding is blue and we mention the word blue (which is written in blue – how cunning!) this will create some kind of cognitive resonance in viewers’ heads whereby a genetically modified supercharged earworm will be created.
Ideally the song will launch automatically and start playing in your head before you can do anything about it – and hopefully be trickier to get rid of than the auto-popup screens you sometimes get when visiting dodgy websites. It’s what advertisers attempt to do every day (but they have a more nefarious agenda) but our only regret is not knowing how well the whole project will work…
The Lady of the Lake
I really thought that ‘The Lady of the Lake’ would really get us some positive attention. Even now I’m proud of all the work I had to go through to get this done. No one will ever know that there were fake jewels stuck to the handle or that I’d made a special concrete filled bucket so the sword would stay upright. Not to mention how cold that water was and the rather strange look I got from the one man watching who was sitting on a bench quietly drinking a can of Special Brew. From my write up:
It is said that when storm clouds gather over England and dark days lay ahead then the Lady of the Lake will rise from her watery resting place bearing Excalibur – to be taken by a pure-hearted champion for the people (or perhaps it’ll just be taken by the council).
Well, with Greece on the blink, Portugal up the swanny and Italy on the ropes it would appear that the time is upon us…Good people of England take cheer for now Excalibur is here it will all be sorted post haste!
My favourite thing about ‘Cliff was visibly upset’ was the video editing. You’ll just have to watch it to see what i mean. After much debate and the consideration of far more serious titles (such as ‘Tears are the noble language of the eyes’) we finally decided that ‘Cliff was visibly upset…’ was the one to go with. As these rock faces are in a position where they are subjected to the worst the weather can offer for many months of the year we thought it a suitable title.
Lord of the Concrete Jungle
‘Lord of the Concrete Jungle’ was the result of us biting of more than we could chew but (thankfully) eventually managing to come good. We blithely agreed to do a 5.5m x 2.6m canvas to adorn an upstairs wall at the Electric Social without quite realising how large that would be and the fact that we didn’t have a space big enough to work on it in. Cue much head-scratching and some fun logistical fixes to get it all done.
Just priming the huge canvas took long enough never mind painting the background, cutting stencils and projecting. Anyway it took a while longer than expected but we finally managed to get it finished and drop it by the club with a feeling of relief. I believe they had a tricky enough time mounting it and getting it up on the wall but I think that was only to be expected with this billboard sized monster…
To tell you the honest truth i had a lot of difficulty picking my favourite stuff from 2012 and that’s not because i didn’t know what i like but because the other half of id-iom truly confused me whilst i was picking them. I thought he was going to group everything that we did at the House of pain(t) together but alas he has not so some pictures that i really liked aren’t on the list. Never mind, maybe you could take a look yourself and see which ones you like best.
To start my list though i suppose i should do it chronologically and start with my favourite piece from earlier in the year and work back, it is a round up after all, so here goes.
This piece is called ‘We are all fools for love’ and was completed at the Upfest spraypaint festival down in Bristol in around June of 2012. Apart from the fact that we had a lot of feedback from this piece, my main reason for picking it is that it was the start of a looser drawing style that i’m still trying to perfect. That said the 3D lettering adds a certain something to it as well which i really enjoy. Pretty and pink, what more can i say!!
This picture in my opinion is a bobby belter, it just pleases me and i like it even more due to the fact that it was done on a whim whilst i was trying to get ready for Sand, Sea and Spray (more on that in a bit as that involves my next choice). The picture came about because like any artist knows things can sometimes get off track. There i was in the studio trying to get stuff sorted yet the only thing i end up doing is painting a picture that no one will see apart from on the internet. In a weird way that makes me happy as i realise i’m not just painting for others or for money but to entertain myself and that means i picked the right profession.
Now this picture was painted at Sand , Sea and Spray up in Blackpool on what had to be one of the worst weekends to paint outdoors without any shelter. It was absolutely chucking it down but that didn’t stop us from getting this piece finished in between rain clouds. I won’t bore you with our tireless struggle against our implements and the weather but suffice it to say it was tough. Paint was spilled. Stencils were ripped. Words were exchanged. We had to make the best of the situation.
Now for this piece i’m just going to use what we wrote on the original posting of the image as i think it says exactly what i’m trying to say now. I have to say though that although this piece is really quite simple, i think it has an elegance which i really appreciate.
Did you know that a group of tigers is known as a ‘streak’ or ‘ambush’. Which is probably a fitting name for them because by the time you’ve noticed them I reckon they’ve either streaked past or ambushed you. They are the largest of the big cats, the third largest land carnivore (after the polar bear and brown bear) and are surely the epitome of danger and grace. I’m no expert but i’m pretty sure William Blake was thinking similar thoughts when he put pen to paper with his poem, The Tyger:
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Now didn’t William Blake just nail it with that? i think so.
I’ve added this piece because this is a continuation of where the sketchier, looser style that we showed in the Upfest piece has taken us, I love the found wooden board too. Now i just have to make sure that all those hours sketching over the last year don’t go to waste, so expect to see some more stuff in this vein i think.
And i suppose i couldn’t round off 2012 without mentioning this bad boy which took us ages to make in a very cold basement early last year. As we’d never done anything like this before it was definitely a labour of love but i have to say i think its pretty special.
First up I think I need to apologise for the shoddy photograph. Photgraphy has never been a strong point of mine and doesn’t look like becoming so any time soon. Right, now that’s dealt with we can move onto the picture. This stencil was actually lost in a huge pile of paper and only came to light when we were beginning to clear out the studio. I had idly wondered where it had got to but was glad to finally find it and felt it deserved to be put up in the house which it had been hiding in for so long.
Anyway, it’s clearly Eros reaching for his love revolver as he prepares to loose off a couple of love bullets at some unsuspecting but soon-to-be lovestruck star crossed lovers. Let’s hope his aim is true…
We’ve used this stencil before for a commission on a wall in someone’s house but as we had only used it once and we need to fill all the walls in our studio building we decided to whip it out once again. This time though we thought we would try something a little different and incorporate a little thread to give the impression that the gun is going off.
The reason this came into being was because of articles I’ve read concerning America’s gun laws and specifically the shooting and subsequent death of black teenager Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in a gated community in Florida in February.
George Zimmerman was legally carrying a concealed weapon when he shot Trayvon Martin and was released Under Florida’s “stand your ground” policy, Mr Zimmerman was initially freed without charges, but due to outcry from many that included street protests which reminded many of the civil rights movement years before. This brought about the police chief being sacked and the prosecutor resigning. The stand your ground law expands on a centuries-old British legal principle that permits the use of deadly force in self-defence of your own home and also grants immunity from arrest, detention and prosecution. Due to the public outcry, six weeks later Mr Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder and is currently out on bail awaiting trial.
Professor Mark Hoekstra of Texas A&M University in Houston said making the use of deadly force permissible has come at a price. He studied its effect in 21 states:
“In terms of homicides, what we show…there is about an 8% increase in the homicide rate caused by these laws…that is about 600 additional homicides per year.”
Being from the UK we can only watch this kind of case and wonder. What on earth would London be like if people were legally carrying concealed weapons? We seem to have enough trouble as it is never mind if anyone over the age of 18 could legally buy themselves a gun…
Here’s a link to one of the articles on the BBC website.