When the id-iomphone rings we answer. This time the call took us to Milton Keynes. We’ve worked for the folk behind the imminently opening MK Social a couple of times before so thought we knew what to expect. After an early start, at an hour not normally known to urban artists unless they’re hitting the streets for some late night redecoration, we set off for the bright lights of MK. We had two big walls and a little bit of street work to complete over the course of a couple of days. We even had a scissor lift but unfortunately for us it wouldn’t reach to the wall behind the bar so it was back to basics and a huge ladder was soon procured. We couldn’t be having it too easy now could we?
Anyway, as a reminder to myself, the wallpaper style background is all well and good when you’re designing it but it’s a different matter when you’re trying to align stencils 30ft up in the air. Particularly when you’re hanging off a ladder to do so. Suffice it to say that we at least managed to get it all completed without a trip to A&E. After the walls were done there was then the matter of a little street promotion work consisting of us wandering around high traffic areas with a stencil and a few cans of chalk spray paint to get word out to potential punters. Some mucky hands and messy clothing later and it was time to bid adieu to MK until next time. Let’s hope the locals appreciate it all…
Life’s a beach bar – complete with smiling artist!
So there we ironing the curtains when a call comes in on the id-iom phone. It’s our main man Tommy with a mission, if we choose to accept it. As the curtains are crease free we decide that accepting is the best way forward. With nary a thought as to what we’ll actually be doing we load a bag with paint and head on down to the Electric Social to see what we’ll be painting. It turns out it’s a bar made from pallets for their weekly Sunday session ‘Life’s a beach’ and it needs a little decoration. A couple of hours later and here’s the result. Job done time for a pint.
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.
We were commissioned by the Electric Social (who we’ve worked for before) and Tiger Beer to design a picture that would adorn a large wall upstairs at the Brixton bar/club. Once we had a design finalised we measured up and went off to buy some canvas. At this point I didn’t realise quite how bit a 5.5m x 2.6m canvas would actually be…
It’s always fun to go big but we almost bit of more than we can chew with this one as the canvas was far bigger than any room we had to work on it so we had to come up with some fun logistical fixes to get it all done. Just priming the huge canvas took long enough never mind painting the background and cutting stencils. 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. At least they liked it and first impressions from customers have apparently been good so, thankfully, that’s another job done.
So there I was busily staring out of the window when I’m rudely disturbed by the ominous bleating of my phone. Happily it turned out to be Tommy (who has helped id-iom out before) but that quickly soured as all I heard him cry was ‘Spank the Bishop!’ a couple of times before the line went dead. Fearing the worst I gave Tommy a ring back but it turns out he wasn’t about to give himself friction burns but did, in fact, have a little job in mind for us. Tommy was looking to launch a new club night at Electric Social in Brixton called ‘Spank the Bishop’ and needed a snappy fresh logo to adorn his flyers.
After a bit of tinkering we managed to come up with the logo we have here:
Spank the Bishop logo
And her we have it on it’s debut flyer (it’s kicking off this weekend!):
How to shake hands properly – it’s a thing every proper gentleman should know. None of this bone-crushing stuff to try and prove you’re a tough guy nor limp soggy handshakes that satisfy nobody. You’ve got to get it just right, it’s really not that tricky and this little number will put you on the right track if you’re having trouble. I automatically hate people who try to crush your hand because unless you’re a giant with poor motor skills there really is no excuse to be so rude – especially when you have just met someone. Certainly not the way to start off any relationship as far as i’m concerned…
This guide will soon be adoring the walls of the Electric Social in Brixton. We’ve done a load of work for them before but they were looking for a few more artefacts to put on their already spanky fresh walls so we were more than happy to oblige.
After doing a blue version of this canvas which we gave to the manager of the soon-to-be open Electric Social we finally got round to doing a couple more for them to play with. The wording to go on the tape is yet to be finalised (depending on what they want).
We will be moving on with getting some work up in the venue in the next couple of days. And we even get to use a scissor lift. So there…
We have been commissioned to do some work for a new bar that is opening in Brixton later this month. The Electric Social is to be reborn on the site of The Gold Coast on Acre Lane and is already looking to be something pretty special (and that’s before we’ve got in to add our bit of sparkle!) It’s set over two floors and is due to be open for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend towards the end of the month so we’ve been hard at work for the past couple of weeks getting a load of designs together which will be adorning various walls.
Anyway the piece above was done as after doing far too many hours of pure design I decided to take a little time out from the computer to get practical and cut a couple of stencils that are definitely going to be used in there somewhere – and this is one of them. We are looking to get some pretty big pieces up so excited doesn’t begin to cover it (especially as all the design work is now pretty much all done – so it’s onto the exciting paint flinging part next!)
We’ll have some updates in the coming weeks but you can expect some classic id-iom work…