Bumblebaa

A collaboration with my son Dali.

Bumblebaa is the name of his little gang of friends at school (and I’m sure they’d hate being described like that). They like bees and they run around playing games in worlds of their own imagining. I can understand that feeling – hell, I yearn for it some days – so I’ve tried to capture that in the collage I made with a Dali-painted canvas and collaborative image selection.

Leisurely Jaunts Through America

I’m talking about 20th century America of course, this sort of thing would certainly not be permitted these days.

I don’t recall exactly when I made this but it’s likely to have been around 1998 when my wife and I spent five weeks traveling around the US. We visited 15 states and got married in Vegas. We were going to get a quickie Mexican divorce to go with it but unfortunately it wasn’t possible.

This collage is loosely inspired by that adventure.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Strangeflowers

“In a desperate mind,
Little gardens grow,
They grow very wide,
They grow very tall”

Dead Kennedys – ‘Ill In The Head’, 1980

There’s something a little unhealthy fertilizing the soil under this odd plant.

I don’t usually mix illustrations and photos, but the Bart Simpson plastic toys look like cartoons or illustrations so the difference is only visible to a pedantic eye like mine 😉

Peppermill Label

CD label created for boutique Canadian label Peppermill Records.

As well as creating the label for Set One of this compilation, I also ‘licensed’ the use of my “Blue Album” collage for the front cover.

I was supposed to get sent a physical copy of this album for my collection, but it never happened. That’s the drawback of working with small labels, they’re not always reliable when it comes to providing you with copies of the albums bearing your work.

Fatherhood

A collage about being a Dad.

Contrary to the instructions on an airplane safety card, being a good father means putting your son’s mask on first. You need to accept and embrace the possibility of sacrifice, putting your child’s needs before your own and going without oxygen if necessary in order to sustain them. Of equal importance is showing them how to keep themselves safe and take care of their own basic needs.

The tunnel / airlock symbolizes the journey from childhood to adulthood, as a father guides his son along the path, eventually setting him free to explore on his own, well-prepared and confident.

One of the best things about being a Dad is making great memories – having silly fun together and taking photos of weird and wonderful things, photos you can look back at later and share another laugh about.

At the top we have the helicopter Dad. He’s guiding his son’s rocket, being everywhere at once and engineering little successes that will help to build the boy’s confidence.
And last but not least, there’s a floating Dad in the middle firing his retro-rockets, so to speak, because being a Dad is also about fart jokes, right?

This piece feels really cohesive because it’s about something very specific and of course also because all the people come from the same source material.

The Return Of Mr Thoth

A tribute to one of my favourite gods.

Thoth is the Egyptian god of knowledge, the moon, wisdom, magic, and secrets. In other words, a good guy to have on your side!

This is one of the earlier “drippy paint” works, I can see how I improved that technique with later pieces but this one certainly doesn’t suffer because of it.

Dream Machine

The first white (or partly!) canvas I’ve worked on in years!

Since I’m such a creature of habit, it felt odd to not work on a black canvas, they are pretty much all I’ve worked on over the last few years.

The psychedelic background on this is actually made from the leftover paint I used on black canvases! I’d flick some onto the black canvas and then pour the rest onto this one. I love that the colours ran together, they remind me of 1960s light shows with oil on projectors.

Copenhagen Under Siege

Tiny tots terrorize town, full story at 11.

This is a rare example of mixed images, illustrations and photos in the same collage. For about the last 15 years I’ve used only illustrations – I like the way they look, they last better than photos do, and more importantly they can create a much more seamless effect than photos can.

Maybe it’s because there are no faces visible in the photo of Copenhagen but the illustrations seem to blend really well and create the effect I was looking for: giant kids using a city as their own personal playground. I was so pleased with how that technique worked here that I applied it to many of the pieces that followed.

I sold this about ten years ago to an insurance company CEO from New York. Not my usual audience maybe but it’s good to have your work appreciated by a wide range of people.

Sea Of Tranquility

Ganesha, space, and symmetry – these are a few of my favourite things.

I had a lot of fun making this one – I restricted myself to a smaller number of characters than usual so I had to choose carefully. I enjoyed the challenge of focusing on only ‘populating’ a small part of the canvas with characters and eschewing my usual “everything and the kitchen sink” approach.