Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Dissertation blues

I am having serious dissertation blues. After starting out on schedule (my magic schedule that meant having it finished before term starts) a disastrous Christmas and a LOT of 'panic writing' means that I've come to the point of scrapping my original plan, changing the focus and the structure and starting again. I'm exhausted, I've already written the equivalent of a full dissertation and it's kind of heartbreaking to throw a lot of it away. Some of it can be salvaged though... but I don't have the energy to start now. What I need is sleep...

Friday, 18 December 2009

Letterpress book

Last year our tutors set us a project to get us all to use the letterpress studio. We were each given the dying words of various famous people and given the challenge of setting them in lead type and printing a book to raise funds for our degree show. It was a challenge and really fun to get everyone on the course working on a project. Incidentally, we've still got a couple of the books left, leave a comment if you want one and I can sort it out. 
The quite 'Either this wallpaper goes... or I do' was mine, they're apparently Oscar Wilde's last words. 
(I can't quite fit all the images on here because they're too wide, check out my flickr page for better images) 

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Where the Wild Things are

I went to see this last night and it totally blew me away. And I rarely say that about a movie. Honestly it's the best movie I've seen in a long time, I don't know how to describe it really. GO AND SEE IT! I have a horrible feeling it's not one of those movies that is as good on dvd.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Art Direction

So these are some photos of the art direction project I mentioned earlier, in collaboration with Alice.  They're not entirely finished and given the feedback we got in the crit we might adjust them a bit and re print them next term. 
So the idea behind the album was to look at closely t imagery associated with the music. The main themes we focused on were light/dark and dreaming and landscapes. The album is by an icelandic band so that gave us a lot of imagery to work with. 

the top image is of the cover for the 12" record sleeve. We used the idea of a dreamscape, something that looks familiar but is a little bit odd. The constellations as they are seen from iceland in the winter months is printed behind the mountains. The two round htings at the bottom are diagrams of eyes, we looked a lot at dream interpretation and found that in some schools of thought, the left eye is said to represent the moon and the right eye to represent the sun , which tied in nicely with our imagery. The lines on the eyes are from these diagrams used to predicat the future based on how certain planets and stars are aligned on a certain day. 

The second image shows one of our earlier trials, printed on the inner sleeve of an old LP. We might pursue this idea of using recycled materials further.

The third image shows one of the screen printed posters that would come with the album. As the outside is quite rigid and symmetrical, we wanted the inside to be a bit more random, tying in with the imagery of dream interpretation. All of the images are derived from interpretation of lyrics and our own dreams in the duration of the project (for example, if you dream of teeth it means you are under stress, something we felt appropriate!). All of the posters are unique 3 layer screen prints. The random placement of the paper under the screen means that no two should be identical.

The final image is a re-do of the logo, I wasn't too keen on the block of red used in the original and this was just an experiment to see what it might look like with another colour scheme.

The other main point of our work was to play with the ideas of light and dark. We designed some layers to be screen printed over the top of the original cover in glow in the dark ink. This would also be printed on the posters and all other merchandise. The idea is that in the dark, if you happen to look at it in the dark (or if the poster is on your wall) it will reveal another 'secret' set of images. We ran out of time in the end  and didn't print this on the covers, but experiments showed that it'll look pretty cool when it does. It's barely visible in light, it kind of looks like a varnish. 

Another idea, in contrast to the glow in the dark idea, was to have holes punched on parts of the cover to allow light to shine through. Another possible implication of this would be to allow the owner of the album to stitch into the holes. We'll see how it goes!

Very pleased with this project. It was a lot of hard work and it will be more hard work to get it finished but it was all worth it. 

Saturday, 5 December 2009


I've been in St Peter's house library a lot recently. I've been getting bored of researching projects on the internet and I've rediscovered the library. Every time I go in to look for something I end up coming out with loads of books on something else totally  unrelated. There's loads of really great old and obscure books in there, recently I found a section on 'women and housekeeping'. Charming. 

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Letterpress alphabet

As part of a project last year, I made a whole book of letterpress wood type. I recently scanned all the letters in to document the wood type, something that will also hopefully end up on the website for the letterpress studio at Brighton Uni. Anyway, they're so beautiful I decided to put them all on Flickr to share with people. I have about 200 images on there now, and probably 600 more to scan and upload. Follow the link here

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


I've had a very intensive few days working on this music project! It's so nice to get really into a project so you become obsessed with it (not good news for my dissertation though!). Anyway, I was struggling to come up with a logo/identity that would compliment Alice's drawings, be in keeping with the mood of the record cover and still be something that I liked. This is what I came up with. We did a lot of screen printing today and I can't wait to get it all done! I will post more when it's all done. 
In other academic news...
Me, Millie, Claire and Chloe gave a talk today at uni about our Transatlantic Design project, which went down very well! I'm feeling very enthusiastic about the project now, sometimes it's good to hear back from other people about how the project is going because it makes you a bit motivated. To be honest, I don't always pay it much attention because it's always on the back burner but days like today make me realise how lucky I am and how much potential I have : )

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Alice and I are looking at a lot of themes for the cd/record cover. A lot of the tracks relate to water and sleeping, and the first track is called sleep/swim so I guess I started there to get some ideas. We were both keep to use something like cross stitch for the title/band name but didn't want it to look too 'folky'. These are just a few solutions I came up with yesterday. 

Music Project

These are just a couple of ideas that I've been trying to work out for the music project. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


It's so nice to get really excited about a project, which I am at the moment, which means obsessive research and late night working. It is so much fun, as opposed to the occasional project that seems like a chore. Anyway, I've been looking through all my old books and archives for stuff for this new project. The band we're doing the cover for are from Iceland so I was researching their seasons, because it's in the arctic circle they get total darkness for a few weeks in winter, 24 hour sun in summer as well as beautiful clear night skies and of course the northern lights. I came across this old children's atlas which has a section on astronomy, which is really interesting and has some lovely diagrams. It's so refreshing to read about things like this which aren't necessarily part of your every day conscious.  

Plane Crash

I just found this image while researching something totally unrelated (isn't it funny how internet searches often take you to strange places) and I thought I would blog about it. Apart from the fact that it's a strange and gorgeous photos, it's also a fantastic story. Someone told me (while on a plane) that that was the only time a pilot has ever managed to land an air craft in water without it breaking on impact (so the safety information about landing in water has never been put into practice before - eek!). My oldest brother, who is a pilot, sent me a link once to a site where you could listen to the radio transmissions between pilot and air control in the minutes between realising there was a problem and him ditching in the river. It's pretty amazing stuff, if I find it again I will post it on here. 

*** link to the video here ***
(the text on the screen is the dialogue between the captain and co pilot, what you can hear is the dialogue between the captain and air traffic control. Also, look at the bottom of the screen you can see how high they are and how fast they're travelling).
Another interesting site here.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

music project

We've been given an exciting new project to art direct an identity/album for an album from a list. I'm working with the oh-so-talented Alice and we're going to do an identity for the Icelandic band Mum. I just spent the afternoon looking through all my archives and books for images to get us started. I ended up spending most of the afternoon just messing around with potential logos (getting a bit ahead of myself) but I did this, which I quite like anyway. It was so nice just to sit and draw and get really into it, something that I wish I got to do more. I think on our course we're kind of encouraged to be ultra productive and neat and well presented, which doesn't leave much time just for messing around. 

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Cinematic Orchestra

I went to see Cinematic Orchestra last night and they were nothing short of amazing! I'm no good at reviews so I wont attempt one. But needless to say I had goosebumps for most of the night (from the music, not the cold). If you don't know them I seriously suggest finding them on spotify. They were showing 'A Man with a Movie Camera', the 1929 silent experimental documentary film by Russian Director Dziga Vertov, to which Cinematic Orchestra have made the soundtrack and re released. 
See some of their videos here and here and here .

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Sartorialist

I was procrastinating majorly yesterday and managed to do not much work at all. But sometimes I think it's quite good to have a few hours of looking at things on the internet just to take your mind off of your work and perhaps get some inspiration in unexpected places. I have a lot of guilty pleasures online which keep me very distracted! One of my favourites is the Sartorialist. People watching is one of my most addictive pass times, and this blog brings the best dressed characters from around the globe straight to me in my room so I don't have to brave the bad weather! It's well worth looking at. I particularly like the dapper older men on the blog! 

Thursday, 22 October 2009


An alphabet doodled while watching tv. I really like Victorian type, and if I had the time I would do some more sign painting with this kind of thing. Something to put on the back burner I think... 

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Zinc Plate Lithography

I was lucky enough to get to do zinc plate litho at Uni last year as part of my extension studies. Although I 'didn't quite master the art', according to my teacher, I enjoyed it a lot and would love to do it again if time and money were no object. I can't believe that images used to be reproduced like this before photo litho, almost as mind boggling as letterpress! I showed some of my work to my dad, and it turns out that my family has a long history of print makers. My Grandmother's side of the family had a printing press in Belarus before they left and my Grandfather's side of the family in South Africa set up a Lithography press that used to print childrens' books among other things, and it is still going today. Pretty cool eh? 
This, by the way, is a pretty poor rendition of a pigeon. My teacher didn't like the scuff marks but I liked them a lot, so they stayed. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Brighton Shop Signs

These are just a couple of things I've seen around Brighton in the last few days. I've always loved hand painted signs, but I've only recently started to appreciate the hand rendered signs outside restaurants and cafes, that sort of 'Sale!' writing you also used to get in shops. We've just been giving an exciting project by the University to produce a typographic sculpture to go on the side of Grand Parade campus, so I've been racking my brains for days over it. It's a shame the brief doesn't really allow me to use the kind of type above though. 

Monday, 5 October 2009

Alex & Will

The transatlantic design project is not forgotten about, although it has all been a bit quiet of late while we all catch up with our transcribing. But in the name of research we travelled to London on Friday to meet the lovely Alex Bec and Will Hudson of It's nice that for a chat and an interview. And then a few pints... and then a brief trip for Will and friend Angus down to Brighton for a few drinks in old haunts. A thoroughly fun evening all in all, despite the awful experience of being on the London Underground with 2 pints in my belly! If all our London interviews are like this then I will be very happy indeed. 

Back to school blues...

So I'm a bit down today, I've been stressing about this new project no end. I think I'm feeling the pressure of it being third year, and I was also hoping of repeating the success of my summer project, which went down rather well. I think I've just been researching too much and I need to take a step back and think about it. I'm thinking of doing something about communities and conducting a small experiment with the people on my street, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I don't think people will respond all that well to someone turning up on their doorstep asking questions, even if I am their neighbour. I think I'm going to have to get some baked goods involved as a way of coaxing them out of their houses! 

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


So here are just a few videos from the VMA side story promo that we were helping shoot in New York for work experience. 
VMA Side Story


I enjoyed this set the most! We had a few days to build this scrap yard from scratch in a warehouse in deepest darkest brooklyn. I'm afraid it doesn't really come across well in the photos the size and amount of detail in this set. The big shipping containers were stacked to make a sort of house, then truck loads of junk and burned out cars were moved in and rearranged to look like an authentic scrap yard. We had to go out and get weeds from an industrial estate to dress the set a bit more, and then the whole thing was painted and graffiti artists came in to finish the place off. Andrea did the big Michael Jackson mural and as a tribute we built a mini shrine around it. 
Then came the filming. This was perhaps the longest shoot because there was a lot of choreography. I can't tell you how much fun it was to watch! It's a shame it doesn't get more airtime in the final cut.
We also got to work on the Cobra Starship shoot, which took place in an old subway station that was turned into the New York museum of transport. There wasn't all that much for us to do in terms of set building, seeing as it was already a real location. But Claire and Millie got to design some pretty cool posters for the inside of the subway car, which was rather exciting. Because of the confined space on that last shoot, I didn't really get any decent photos. 

Katy Perry

This was the second set we were working on. It was meant to be a roof garden in the city but had to be completely built in a studio space in about 24 hours. It looked so different on film to how it did in real life. We spent a whole day watering plants and rearranging things which you don't even see in the final cut! We had a lot of fun goofing around on that set too, but I wont go into that because it's a bit unprofessional. It was just mad that in literally 48 hours the set was built, filming done and then cleared away. 

Here's how it looks on film 

Russell Brand

So it's probably about time that I posted about the work experience I did in NY over the summer.
We were originally working for the lovely Andrea Purcigliotti, but we also ended up assisting art director David Skinner and his team to shoot the ads and opening sequence for the MTV VMA music video awards. It mostly included a lot of DIY, getting our hands dirty, eating free food, and last minute jobs. Also a lot of standing around and hanging out with some of the coolest people I've ever met. I'm not normally one for giving great compliments but the team of people we were working with were 'totally awesome', really great fun to work with and even better to hang out with. 
SO  This was the first shoot we did for the MTV VMA promo, which was a spin on the west side story musical. Basically Russell Brand is in this alleyway singing and doing his crazy dancing. Our jobs included rubbish disposal, keeping tourists out of the way, helping to construct a set in the next door building and, very excitingly, helping to make the little purple MTV cane he's carrying. It was great fun, and really interesting to see the mad amounts of time, money and hard work that go into only 30 seconds of footage. 
The end result