// TUESDAY APRIL 30TH 2013
This Thursday night I have a piece of artwork in a print (group) show at 71a Gallery, Shoreditch called "RAP GRAPHICS". Presented by Take The Stage, Stories Of Hip-Hop, Rap Graphics features typographical pieces of art - strictly no graffiti! - created from rap lyrics by first-class illustrators. It’s all about showing off the amazing poetry, wordplay and technical genius of rap in a whole new artistic light beyond fat markers and paint drips. The lyrics chosen for the illustrations have been chosen by such hip hop artists as Stig of the Dump, Aspects, Ed Skrein, The Last Skeptik, Dizraeli and more.
Exhibiting artists include Sarah Hyndman (The New York Times, Hill & Knowlton), Mark Ward (Nike, Mountain Dew), Timba Smits (Thames & Hudson, Wired), Niels Bakkerus, Angus MacPherson (Little White Lies magazine) and Fabrizio Festa (HUCK magazine).
For my artwork, I chose lyrics from the legendary duo known as BlackStar. I've been huge fans of Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) for most of my adult life so I was pretty honoured to work up this piece for the show. There's a little sneak peak above. Come to the show if you want to see the rest!
The Rap Graphics launch party is this Thursday 2nd May from 7.00pm - 11pm with live accapellas, open-mic, a hip hop prize raffle and lots of beer! I'll see you there. If you miss out getting on the RSVP list, don't worry, you can still see the show until 9th May at 71a Gallery - 71a Leonard Street EC2A 4QS London
You can sign up to the guestlist at rapgraphics.eventbrite.co.uk
// FRIDAY APRIL 12TH 2013
This weekend, the charity exhibition SECRET 7", curated by the ever-so-nice Kevin King, opens it's doors to the public for the second time after 2012's smash hit debut. With hundreds of 7" record sleeves on display from artists such as (yours truly), David Shrigley, Pete Fowler, Ai Wei Wei and Gilbert & George but-to-name a few. Expect to see designs from photographers, illustrators, painters, graffiti artists and fashion, as well big names in the album artwork world - Certainly an exhibition for the music (and art) lover.
The idea? For artists to custom make 700 unique 7" record sleeves for seven of the best-know bands and recording artists around including Elton John, Laura Marling, NAS, Public Enemy, HAIM, Jessie Ware and Nick Drake. SECRET 7" then press each track donated by these artists 100 times to vinyl resulting in a one-of-a-kind single sleeve for each one. The result… A serious collection of 700 unique record sleeves on sale for £40 a pop on record store day (April 20). The secret? You won't know who created the sleeve or the artist within until after you've handed over your bones. Pretty cool huh?
Furthermore, every profit recorded from record sales is going directly to the youth-led charity ART AGAINST KNIVES selected by Secret 7" as this years charity of choice - a charity extremely close-to-my-heart after, you know, my stabbing in 2011. The money raised will help fund AAK's creative initiatives around London and hopefully generate more awareness about knife-crime to a wider audience.
This year, SECRET 7" will be housed Downstairs At Mother in Shoreditch – just around the corner from last years show 10 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DD.
For one weekend – April 13th and 14th – the public will be able to view the collection as a whole. The following weekend – on Record Store Day, April 20th – they shall all be avaliable to purchase through to close on Sunday 10am - 6pm. Make sure you arrive early on the 20th to avoid disappointment.
Visit www.secret-7.com for more information.
// TUESDAY FEBRUARY 14TH 2012
Yesterday it was my birthday and it marked a very pivotal turning point in my life as i've known it to this day. And not because it was the day I was born or because I got to eat my body weight in cake but because I'm very lucky to have lived to see it again this year! 'Woah' I hear you say. Let me explain. You see I don't run on the calendar year of new years eve to new years eve and rarely do I reflect on my life or set my new years resolutions until my birthday. For me, that's when my year officially starts and ends. I've always liked it this way and my birthday this year provided something special - Today marks the 1st day in the rest of my life! Hard times must go!
If you're reading this, some of you may (or may not) know that quite recently I went through a rather horrific and life changing experience. In fact, I've been through an extremely testing past 12 months that's taken every bit of my courage, patience and stamina just to get through it. Literally! The kind of roller-coaster ride where you think your life is derailing from the tracks and you can barely hold on. But somehow you do and when the roller-coaster begins to slow down with your stomach in your mouth, your eyes wide open and your hair stuck up like you've just put your finger in a socket you feel a certain tingle run through your body. As a kid I always loved that tingle and remember feeling it as a reminder that you're ALIVE. However this time I don't hear myself screaming AGAIN, AGAIN!
This past year I've been given not one, not two, but several body blows at the hands of life's relentless pressures including the deep deep sadness of losing my dear godmother to cancer in late April. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. I wasn't expecting what lay beneath the surface. Like they say, when it rains it pours huh?! If that's true then here's to welcoming a long and prosperous drought (not in the literal sense of the word but you know what I mean). Then, if that wasn't already enough on the 14th September, exactly 5 months ago today I came dangerously close to losing my life when I was viciously stabbed and beaten on a London bus after defending a group of elderly passengers from some pretty dangerous youths. And when I say pretty dangerous, I mean carrying-a-knife-looking-for-trouble DANGEROUS! The price you pay for doing the right thing huh? Maybe I would have paid less if I had the roundhouse-kick-to-the-face skills of Chuck Norris but sadly I don't. However I'm not Missing in Action and that's the most important part of this story! Still, maybe a karate lesson or two wouldn't hurt.
Without going into too much gory detail of my attack it scared the hell out of me. We see in movies and hear through urban myth about that moment where your life flashes before your eyes. Blah, blah, blah and we wonder what it's got to be like? After experiencing it a little to early in life I can honestly describe it using just one word… 'Sobering'! I can still remember lying there in shock on the hospital operating table, alone, cold and crying - worrying about all the people I love in my life when suddenly I started spinning and everything went white and quiet (almost peaceful) before fading to black. And at that exact moment I honestly thought that was it. Luckily for me it wasn't, instead I'd just lost a lot of blood (quite serious enough mind you) and passed out only to woken up by doctors shining lights in my eyes and asking me my name whilst telling me where I was and what had happened. Freak out! Not to be underestimated the whole experience has rattled the very foundations of my life and like a hard wake up call I feel it's given me a second chance. An opportunity to look at myself through what happened and work out how I can become an even better person. It's crazy how it takes a HUGE scary moment like this to make us look at ourselves and the others around us and wonder… have I been living the best life?
Since my attack It's been a rather tough road to recovery both physically and mentally. I've suffered nerve damage around my wounds which cause me some amount of pain and discomfort plus there are a number of secondary conditions that I'm working on through physio from all the time spent recovering in bed after my attack. And with these physical troubles and the constant thought of a court trial against my attackers in May, there's not a day go by where I don't think about what happened and It's still a very close (and very surreal) memory to think about. One that I'm sure I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. But the positive difference is that with every new day I'm learning to control my negative memory of it and replacing it with a positive spin. It's taken me some time, a good number of counselling sessions and many a wonderful day spent with great friends to find the key positives amongst all the mess but I'm getting there. And slowly but surely I feel the strength replenishing inside me once again. Seriously, I don't know how Rambo does it? I mean he gets shot, stabbed and god knows what else and still... he manages to jump off buildings and beat up bad dudes! All in the same movie?!? I suppose he's had the military training! haha!
As well as coping with the direct mental and physical impact of the attack itself I've also been through a difficult break-up (never a nice thing at the best of times), It's questioned certain friendships and my relationships with people I considered to be close and on top of it all I've also been dealing with the financial losses from not being able to work - The downside to being a freelancer! Gee Whizz, It's almost starting to sound like the script for 'Down And Out In Beverly Hills' right? I won't lie to you… it's been tough! And It's taken almost every bit of my character every day for the past 5 months to pull through it. I've had good days, I've had bad days, I've had days where i didn't even wan to get out of bed. And more recently I've struggled finding the motivation to go back to what I was doing before my attack. Meaning that is, back to my style of living, my way of thinking and back to my design work. Now anyone that has ever met me can tell you I love my work! I'm lucky in that respect but without it lately I've felt uneasy. It's made me feel lost and worse it's made me feel anxious and stressed. And I find myself walking around it like a cat with a toy he's not quite sure about. These are not nice feelings for someone who has always relied on his craft in times of need. I've always found calm and peace with a pencil in my hand. But in some way this was just too BIG! However, I've recently managed to replace these feelings with an upside to anger and frustration by taking up swimming and pilates with the vigour I found in my work. And I cannot tell you how much this has changed my life already. And as much as I've struggled to get back things that I lost that scary day in September, these awful feelings started to also shift the minute I told myself It's ok to leave it all behind and start something new! And so born from this idea comes my new motto "Do more. Work less". Life is too short (as I've discovered the hard way) and through it I've discovered a new ambition growing inside of me. A more positive spin on the life I was living before with the added mission to help change the world. I'm good at keeping a secret so you'll just have to wait and see. The only clue… It's going to be inspiring!
Despite my life going through a very dark cloud over the past 5 months I'm extremely proud of myself for what I did that fateful day in September - As it turned out putting my own life in harms way for the greater good of humankind. And as stupid as it may sound I would probably do it again (trying to avoid the stabbing element of course). It's just the way I was brought up and the morals I carry through life steer me to love and protect not only my friends, my family but complete strangers as well. Especially when they are in trouble! We all share this planet and the sooner we can start being nicer to each other, the happier our own lives will be. It's really that simple and it all starts with us. Today! We have become so good at blaming others for all the problems in the world when we can change them ourselves. By working together. It's a BIG picture I know but I have to believe there is good inside of everyone and I have to believe that someone would help me if I was ever in need of rescuing. If you've read this far i'd like yoy to ask yourself what would you have done in my scenario? It's a HUGE question I know and I can see why some people would shy away if faced with the same situation. Afterall, nobody wants to end up in a hospital or worse. But you can start small by paying-it-forward. By doing nice things for people (everyday) in the hope they do nice things for others and so on. The more nice things we do for others the less we will feel angry and feel the urge to strike out at others for the sake of blowing off steam. We see it all around us - People not giving up their seat or holding doors open for one another (simple manners). People pushing and shoving and getting upset - Making other people upset. People with their faces in their fancy phones too busy to connect with the real world. I read a horrible story recently about a person who jumped off the Golden Gate bridge and in their letter (left behind) they wrote... "If one person smiles at me on my way to jumping off the bridge today then i won't do it". This made me so so sad and I thought Gosh... I need to smile more. We all need to smile more!
And like a great quote I read just the other day, "If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a terrible warning!"
Thanks for reading this and I hope that by sharing my story and experience with you I've helped you in some small or BIG way with your own view on life. I'd also like to take this opportunity to publicly give thanks to my super wonderful cousin Sarah who looked after me so well with her healing spirit when I was down, my best friends Gordon 'Flash' Shaw who was with me the day I got attacked and has never left my side, Greg & Bek (soon to be super-parents), Sarah 'A for Awesome' Hanisch and my dear Summa who although both being 16,000km away have not left me alone, My loving family who I've put through the scare of a lifetime, my pilates teacher Johnny and everyone who sent me flowers, cards and messages during my recovery. I will never forget you or your encouraging words! Big love. Timba.
// SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10TH 2011
Guess what folks? I'm offering up a SOOPER-DOOPER-RAD-TO-THE-MAX intern opportunity for someone to join the Timba Smits Design Ltd (slash) Wooden Toy Quarterly fun ship. The intern role is mostly online so it wood be handling all of our various websites, blogs, social networks and a whole lot of communicating with talented folk from around the world. This is an amazing opportunity for a young creative go getter to work alongside some of the planets BEST artists/illustrators/designers and learn the ropes of becomming a succesful designer type. Anyone looking for online love?? Check out the advertisement below and hit us back with your CV and online portfolio of creative goodness. Email email@example.com and tell us why you think you're good enough for the A-Team! Easy Peasy.
// TUESDAY AUGUST 16TH 2011
Recently i was invited by type legend Luca Ionescu of Like Minded Studio to produce a work for this amazing show in Sydney called A TYPE OF SHOW. Not only does it include some of Australias most hyped and typed about artists right now bit also coincides with the visit to our shores by Alex Trochut & Tony DiSpigna in Sydney. Fans of typography beware: THIS MAY BREAK YOUR EYES! Hosted by Like Minded Studios A Type of Show opens at Kind Of Gallery on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst at 7pm this wednesday August 17th 2011. Hope you can make it along. Sadly i cant make it but hey, i'm their in art! Keep a look out for my ACTORBET piece! (picture below) Easy peasy.
// FRIDAY JULY 1ST 2011
Recently i was invited to take part in the LIFE exhibition created by HEAPS GOOD. Life is the debut UK exhibition curated by Heaps Good, showcasing 19 of Australia’s leading emerging and established artists with the aim of raising funds and awareness for (RED). On show between 1st – 6th July at East Gallery, London – this groundbreaking exhibition features work from artists:
JEREMYVILLE / WE BUY YOUR KIDS / JONATHAN ZAWADA / REG MOMBASSA / EAMO DONNELLY / KAREENA ZEREFOS / TIMBA SMITS / SARAH LARNACH / LILLY PIRI / BEN BROWN / RILLA ALEXANDER / ALTER / BEASTMAN / JAMES GULLIVER / NUMSKULL / KATE BANAZI / EXPIALIDOCIOUS / JAMES KAPE / JAMES MCNAMARA
This diverse group covers a wide range of Australian visual creativity and even brings in some old faces of uniquely important aesthetics from Australia. Each artist has created a two-colour screen printed poster (one colour being red) to the theme of ‘Life’. And through the show Heaps Good aim to raise awareness and funds for (RED). (RED) works with the world’s most iconic brands to make unique product items, giving up to 50 percent of their profits to invest in HIV and AIDS programs. Every dollar goes straight to the people who need it.
Print Club London are facilitating the production of artworks and co-curating the show.
OPENING: 5pm, July 1 2011 East Gallery 214 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SA United Kingdom
// THURSDAY JUNE 16TH 2011
I'm in this really sweet exhibition called THE BURGERMAT SHOW curated by Burgerac as part of BurgerMonday which opens 27th June in a private ticket-only 'dinner' show. The concept was each artist was invited to create a burger inspired artwork (see my pinup below) and the finished pieces will be displayed as A2 giclee prints on the wall (1/50) and printed as paper placemats that we eat a 3 course Gourmet Burger feast over! All washed down with some beers and wine. Pretty cool huh? I think so because i freeeakin love art and loooove hamburgers!!! A match made in heaven really. Check more information out at www.burgerac.com or www.youngandfoodish.com
// SUNDAY MAY 29TH 2011
Hey folks! I have just completed these new designs for the covers of JACKY WINTERS field guide. What is the Jacky Winter field guide i hear you ask? Well, i'm represtented by this really sweel agency in Melbourne, Australia (Jacky Winter) and they work with the most amazing illustrators (including yours truly) and each year they put out a really snazzy book of all their creative birdies (the filed guide). And so, they asked me to jazz up this years covers. I was humbled to be ask to design the covers for their 2011/2012 guide which will end up on the desks of every influential Art Director the world over. (insert happy face here)/ Check the agency out at www.jackywinter.com
// SATURDAY APRIL 9TH 2011
I'm featured on the walls tonight at Tara Mcpherson's Cotton Candy Machine Grand Opening Exhibition 'Tiny Trifecta'. Well, i'm personally not as that would be weird. But my artwork is! It's a BIG lineup. 100 artists, 100 dollars a pop on the 100th day of the year. If you're in Brooklyn, get down to The Cotton Candy Machine tonight from 7pm to Midnight. I would show a photo of my artwork, but you know what, i didn't take one before i sent it away. Not one of my finest moments huh? Check out all the show details at www.thecottoncandymachine.com
Featuring the art of Jessicka Addams, Esao Andrews, Jim Avignon, John Baizley, Shawn Barber, Gary Baseman, Andrew Bell, Leia Bell, Bongoût, Robert Bowen, Beast Brothers, Mike Budai, Casey Burns, Scott C, Joe Capobianco, Marcos Chin, Colin Christian, Sas Christian, Ciou, Becky Cloonan, David Cook, Dave Cooper, Jessi Cornett, Dave Correia, Molly Crabapple, Lana Crooks, Steven Daily, Daniel Danger, Camilla d’Errico, Stephan Doitschinoff, Huck Gee, Dana Glover, Dan Grzeca, Brian Ewing, Natalia Fabia, PJay Fidler, Justin Hampton, Kevin Hayes, Mark Heggie, Hero, Boris Hoppek, Jim Houser, Seldon Hunt, Jeremy Hush, Jordin Isip, Jeremyville, Aya Kakeda, Audrey Kawasaki, Lindsey Kuhn, Henry Lewis, Travis Louie, Lola, David Mack, Jim Mahfood, Steven Manale, Sara Antoinette Martin, Angie Mason, Dan May, Tara McPherson, Mike Mignola, Brandi Milne, Junko Mizuno, Buff Monster, Tomi Monstre, Michael Motorcycle, Kathie Olivas, Alex Pardee, Marion Peck, Brandt Peters, Joshua Petker, Nathan Pickett, Anthony Pontius, Little Friends Of Printmaking, Arabella Proffer, Noah Rice, Nathan Rice, Martha Rich, Jermaine Rogers, Paul Romano, Arik Roper, Martina Secondo Russo, Frank Russo, Jay Ryan, Mark Ryden, Isabel Samaras, Jon Schnepp, Mike Shinoda, Rafael Silveira, Greg Simkins, Skinner, Morgan Slade, Timba Smits, Shawn Smith, Jeff Soto, Nathan Spoor, Tofu Squirrel, Diana Sudyka, Fefe Talavera, Jill Thompson, Adam Wallacavage, Jonathan Wayshack, Eric White, Elizabeth Winnel, Martin Wittfooth, Chet Zar.
// MONDAY APRIL 4TH 2011
I'm in this really swell exhibition this thursday night. If you're in London you must come along. Two ad creatives, Nick Pringle and Clark Edwards have approached a host of their favourite image makers including yours truly to design an alternative Royal wedding invite, in a project titled R.S.V.P.H.R.H. For mine i teamed up with world renowned Typographer Alison Carmichael for our Royalpalooza party invite (pictured above). Also on show is work from Andy Smith (above), Craig Ward and HelloVon just to name a few. R.S.V.P.H.R.H. will show between 6.30pm and 10.30pm on Thursday April 7 at the Rag Factory, off Brick Lane in London. The work will be printed as one off, large scale digital prints which will be auctioned. The profit made from the sale of each print will go to a charity chosen by the artist responsible. For more info and for a full list of participating artists, visit rsvphrh.com
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