Blog Archives

Major Cain

Major Robert Henry Cain VC

After reading about the exploits of Major Robert Henry Cain I just knew that we had to create a piece featuring him. They don’t come much more swashbuckling than the good Major. He is the only Manx recipient (to date) of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, which was awarded for his brave actions during the Battle of Arnhem. I’m sure the history books can describe it much better than me but suffice it to say he loved to take out German armour with whatever weaponry was at hand and at the Battle of Arnhem alone personally destroyed six tanks and an unspecified number of self propelled field guns. As the wording for his VC states:

“On 20th September (1944) a Tiger tank approached the area held by his company and Major Cain went out alone to deal with it armed with a PIAT (anti-tank weapon). Taking up a position he held his fire until the tank was only 20 yards away when he opened up. The tank immediately halted and turned its guns on him, shooting away a corner of the house near where this officer was lying. Although wounded by machine gun bullets and falling masonry, Major Cain continued firing until he had scored several direct hits, immobilised the tank and supervised the bringing up of a 75 mm. howitzer which completely destroyed it. Only then would he consent to have his wounds dressed.

In the next morning this officer drove off three more tanks by the fearless use of his PIAT, on each occasion leaving cover and taking up position in open ground with complete disregard for his personal safety.

During the following days, Major Cain was everywhere where danger threatened, moving amongst his men and encouraging them by his fearless example to hold out. He refused rest and medical attention in spite of the fact that his hearing had been seriously impaired because of a perforated eardrum and he was suffering from multiple wounds.

On 25 September the enemy made a concerted attack on Major Cain’s position, using self-propelled guns, flame throwers and infantry. By this time the last PIAT had been put out of action and Major Cain was armed with only a light 2″ mortar. However, by a skilful use of this weapon and his daring leadership of the few men still under his command, he completely demoralized the enemy who, after an engagement lasting more than three hours, withdrew in disorder.”

Before the remains of his division withdrew and crossed the Rhine he took the time to shave then waited til all his men were across before he himself crossed on an old boat. Now, if that’s not a classic British stiff upper lip then I don’t know what is. To top it all off he was the only man to receive the VC at Arnhem who lived to tell the tale. To list more of his adventures would take far too long and I would suggest you check out his wikipedia page for more information and unlikely tales of derring-do. Now I just need to find something suitable to do with our little tribute…

Cheers

id-iom

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Mr Voodoo

Mr Voodoo does Mardi Gras!

With the temperatures hitting sub zero and the nights somehow still drawing in we decided the remedy was to brighten things up a bit and make our second Christmas wall at sportswear shop ‘Forty Five’ about as full colour as we could go. So we decided to hit the Mardi Gras theme and go for Mr. Voodoo in his Mardi Gras mask enjoying some bodyrocking sounds as the carnival gets into full swing. I’ve never been to Mardi Gras so am having a hard time imagining exactly what kind of tunes he’d be getting down to but they’re definitely party tunes and his mojo is surely rising…

Cheers

id-iom

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Life moves faster at 45

Life moves faster at 45

Life moves faster at 45 – complete with cheeky little nephews…

Ever wondered what you’d get if you ask us to do some designs based around the number 45? Well, wonder no longer. This is  the first of two walls based on exactly that…

Despite the fact that it’s been Christmas (and I hope you had a good one!) we have been busier than usual for this time of year and have, for once, actually managed to get some work done. We were commissioned to do a couple of walls in Forty Five, a sportswear shop on the Isle of Man, and had the designs all approved before returning home for Christmas so all we had to do was cut some stencils and get to work. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well it should have been but Christmas drinks are hard to avoid around here. At least we got it done though. Even if it did take a bit longer than anticipated. The quote was taken from the drunken ramblings of a friend but I think it fits the bill perfectly in this case…

Cheers

id-iom

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How’s Drake?

How's Drake?

How’s Drake?

Whilst back home for TT week I decided it wasn’t to be all just beer and sleeping so determined to pull my finger out and do a little work, not too much mind as I was on holiday, but a little… First off I had to find some paint and as the Isle of Man isn’t your textbook hive of graffiti artists and artist grade spray paint I had to head off to B&Q to peruse the aisles of car and radiator spray paint. Not to be put off by their lack of choice in make and colour I grabbed what I could which consisted of two different types of blue car spray paint. So, with such a meagre selection of paint I decided to rummage through my mothers art supplies and came up with an old can of pink Ironlak, a touch of black car paint, a few  acrylic paints and some gloss paint that I wouldn’t have given to anyone. Anyway with the paint in order I headed off in search of a wall that I could throw my lacklustre wares at and like usual the place to head was the Howstrake summer camp which has long been forgotten and left to fall in to disrepair.

So with paint in hand and a few friends for company I set upon throwing some paint about. I can’t really say there was any plan for this piece apart from deciding on painting a face and having to get it finished as soon as I could as I had return my mum’s borrowed car as soon as possible. I think the most important thing I can take away from this piece is NEVER USE GLOSS PAINT. Sage advice if there ever was any…

How's Drake?

How’s Drake?

How's drake?

How’s drake?

Cheers

id-iom

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Go down gambling when you hear the call of the wild

With these dark and depressing days we all need a little something to spice up our life and us artists are no different. There we were wallowing about in our creative filth when the idea struck that we would have a little paint-off using the same base image. The rules were simple; we had to create a complete design using the same image of a friend of ours, we would then paint the background of the image before passing it over to the other to finish off with their foreground design.

After having a small photo shoot we headed off to our respective caves to complete the first step of the mission. We emerged with our canvasses held aloft screaming and taunting one another with ‘How’s about this then?’ or something similar (but with more swear words). We then both looked at each others’ work so far and gave a non-committal shrug before grabbing the offending canvas from the other’s hands and stalking off, looking to cover the others’ inferior work with something a little higher class. What we’re left with is two mashup pictures; one was originally to be called ‘Go down gambling’ and the other ‘Call of the wild’. What exactly they’re called now i’m not so sure. Maybe ‘Go down calling’ and ‘Go wild gambling’? Got any better ideas? If so, just drop us a postcard with your suggestions…

Cheers

id-iom

Title: Go down gambling when you hear the call of the wild
Materials: Paint pen, acrylic, pencil, pastel, spray paint and charcoal
Size: 60 x 60 cm
Please email if interested in either (or both)

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Piscine passion

Piscine passion panorama

Piscine passion

 

Piscine passion (fish eye)

Mr Goldfish

 

Lady pinkfish

In progress shot – I really liked the fish at this point and we were wondering whether to reapply the stencil or not. We finally agreed we should but may explore this style a little further…

So there we were back home for Christmas with a load of paint we’d brought over when Mother Nature turns up blowing an absolute hoolie. With that kind of weather we didn’t need any more of an excuse not to paint and decided that having a couple of festive drinks indoors seemed to be a much better idea. That was when our older brother said we could paint the big wall in his back garden for the kids if we wanted – and as any self respecting artist will know that’s like a red rag to a bull.

So with no plan whatsoever we ended up going for a nautical theme. And having some fish falling in love. I’m not really sure why but we had to decide on something. Thinking about it it was probably because the fish was the least offensive and most kid friendly of what we had with us. We also only had 4 hours to complete the wall as we were booked in to take our nephews ice skating – but then again that’s how we like it – a deadline to actually make us pull our fingers out. So off to work we went making as much submarine mess as we could, which is actually bit tricker than you may think. It was at this point that my brothers little rats said that they wanted to join in and who are we to stop budding creativity in its tracks. Armed with every sort of way to apply paint to a wall they jumped on the wall with unnerving gusto, so much so that I felt bad when they had to be reined in a bit…

Finally, with the light failing we’d just about got to the point of completion. A somewhat fishy scene of piscine passion,

Cheers

id-iom

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Mandela mandala

Sometimes, even as the artist, the motivation behind a piece can be impossible to work out and sometimes it’s easy. Today’s piece is one of the easy ones. I’m not really sure if it needs any further explaining but i’ve got a bit of time on my hands so i’m going for it…

With the recent demise of international man of the masses, Nelson Mandela, I obviously kept hearing the word ‘Mandela’ being bandied around on TV. Combine this with the very similar sounding word ‘mandala’ and, hey presto!, you’ve got a Mandela mandala. A little bit of wheatpasting action later and it’s on the streets. Job done.

Cheers

id-iom

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The Boy who Cried Wolf

The Boy who Cried Wolf

The Boy who Cried Wolf

Now we’ve surely all heard the tale of the boy who cried wolf and the fact that when a wolf did attack his flock no would would believe him and come to his aid as he’d cried ‘wolf’ too often before. This is obviously a cautionary tale on the perils of lying and believability that the subject of this picture could do with absorbing. He’s forever telling tales to try and make himself look good and his buddies/siblings/other kids look bad. He’ll be in danger of having no one left to believe him when things do eventually go pear shaped, as they appear to have here…

To say painting this piece was a labour of love would be a lie as I find painting skin tone is one of the hardest things to get right. There are just so many colours involved that you would never guess would be. Whenever I try it usually makes me feel pretty inadequate as an artist but this time I kind of like it – even after hating it for so many hours. Oh well onward and upward i suppose…

Cheers

id-iom

Title:The Boy who Cried Wolf

Materials: Spray paint, paint pen, acrylic, pencil, pastel and charcoal

Size: 60 x 60 cm

Please email if interested

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The Wraith

Despite appearances to the contrary this woman is actually a shimmering wraith. She may appear substantial but that is only a trick of the light. See her from another angle however and you realise that you can see straight through her spectral form. There are many differing stories attached to this apparently friendly ghost but they all agree on a few basic facts; she can sometimes be found shimmering on the ramparts of Castle Rushen, she’s female, and her appearance is an omen of forthcoming events (although opinion is divided on whether her appearance foretells good or bad events to come). Well, there you have it. We’ve done the paranormal footwork so you don’t have to…

Cheers

id-iom

Title: The Wraith
Materials: Spraypaint, charcoal, acrylics and paint pen
Size: A2

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They will come… we must fight!

Manx anti-Nazi propaganda c.1939

I decided that I wanted to produce something that looked like a vintage anti-Nazi propaganda poster for the Isle of Man and one of the perks of being an artist is coming up with some outlandish idea and then being allowed to bring it to reality regardless of any other factors – and today’s piece is a good case in point. I had just finished Ian Tregillis’ enjoyable alternate history book ‘Bitter Seeds’ about British warlocks fighting Nazi superheroes in WWII and thought to myself that Nazi bashing is pretty much encouraged in other media – books (like Bitter Seeds), computer games (like the Call of duty mini-game where you have to kill as many Nazi zombies as you can) and film (Inglourious Basterds springs to mind). So I thought I’d jump in on the action through the medium of art.

As the Laxey Wheel is one of the most iconic and easily recognisable of the island’s historic landmarks I thought it would be a good place to start. Throw in an improbably large evil Nazi owl descending from a darkening sky with it’s talons outstretched  to snatch at the wheel and you’re off and running. Then all you need is some patriotic sounding text and you’ve got yourself some fake Manx propaganda c.1939. Right, what’s next?

Cheers

id-iom

Title: They will come… we must fight!
Materials: Screenprint, spraypaint, stencils, watercolour and paint pen
Size: A3
Please email if interested

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