Wednesday, November 9, 2016

March

i recently finished reading the third volume of senator john lewis and nate powell's 'March' trilogy.

it tells the story of the black civil rights movement in the usa, from the first hand perspective of sen. lewis.
it's an often brutal, but inspiring story - i was a bit ashamed that i didn't know more about the history of the movement, and shocked that such appalling injustice was routinely condoned so recently - some of the events retold happened in my lifetime.
the narrative concludes with the inauguration of barack obama - a hopeful conclusion. if you've not read the books, i'd urge you to seek them out, they're really good.

then a few days ago, alvin hall was on the bbc. he was talking about the rhetoric spouted by donald trump, and about how, if you were a person of colour, or a member of a minority group, there's a there's a chilling and unmissable subtext to that language.

so when trump talks about making america "great again", i'm wondering if the golden age that he's harking back to is that segregated age... or at least if that's what great chunks of his support are hoping for. he has the backing of the kkk for starters.


and that's got me thinking about the michael rosen poem that's been doing the rounds...

'I sometimes fear that
people think that fascism arrives in fancy dress
worn by grotesques and monsters
as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis.

Fascism arrives as your friend.
It will restore your honour,
make you feel proud,
protect your house,
give you a job,
clean up the neighbourhood,
remind you of how great you once were,
clear out the venal and the corrupt,
remove anything you feel is unlike you…
It doesn’t walk in saying,
“Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transportations, war and persecution." '

and even if he doesn't turn out to be a fascist demagogue, america has still elected a temperamentally unstable, tax-evading, draft-dodging, philandering, lying, narcissistic, racist, misogynist, sex pest as their commander-in-chief.

and of course we'll be sending boris johnson over there to do business with him.

all very depressing.

Monday, February 8, 2016

experimental fiery church chair/chariot


as promised, here's a scan of the finished print that i was hinting at in that last post...

i made 29 of these, and they vary a lot in quality - they're effectively preparatory pieces for a 'proper', finished design which i'll try to get stuck into this week...
i'll keep a couple, but the rest are just hanging around cluttering up the place, so if you'd like one, just drop me an email - si(at)simonsmithillustrator(dot)co(dot)uk - with your address and i'll stick one in the post... first come first served :-)

the work is being made for a group show which i'll soon be curating up here in a local church - there's a blog here - http://anddidthosefeetexhibition.blogspot.co.uk/ - if you fancy a look :-)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Blake's 'Jerusalem'



...it's been a while :-)

So here's some images of a thing that I'm working on at the mo...

It's for a show exploring Blake's 'Jerusalem' (the popular hymn, as opposed to the long form poem) which I'm curating...*

I'm thinking about some of the elements of the text of that song, and have got hooked up on  the line about "my chariot of fire"...

These four colour reduction prints feature a chair from St. Edmund's, the local anglican church who are hosting the exhibition...

I'll post a image of the finished print once the final colour (black) has dried properly and i can scan it...


*(more information about that in the coming months)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

new thing

it's been a while since i posted, so here's a new thing.


i've been thinking about the city.
over the past few years i've drawn people in leeds, and been round various bits of it on various buses; i've drawn local houses and made prints of them.

and recently i've been thinking about how i can make those various explorations a bit more joined-up and coherent. a commissioned illustration project that will come to fruition early next year will satisfy some of that for me (and i'll blog about that when it happens) and i'm working on a series of careful digitally painted portraits of leeds folk (that's been really enjoyable, but each image takes a long time to complete...)

so now i'm also wondering about narrative.
i love a good story, and i want to weave some of that need for narrative into my work - lately i've just not felt that i've got much of a tale to tell. again, that will maybe surface with this illustration job next year.

in the meantime, this little thing has come about.


it's a series of lino prints of leeds places/structures that i've been and drawn, some suggested by friends on facebook.

the text on each is the first line of a song playing on my ipod as i made the drawing or the print.


it's something that i did with the house prints, though the wording on those weren't necessarily the opening lines of songs.
i like the idea that the first line of a lyric is the beginning of a new story, and i like the way that the image and the words juxtapose to suggest a narrative.


i also really enjoy the way that each image can link up, put side by side the prints can begin to develop a storyline all of their own, with the suggestion that it's being played out across the city.

and of course i've always loved imposing my record collection on folk :-)


the plan is to make and release these prints in sets of maybe ten different designs... i've got these first five done so far.


i'm treating this as a little project in it's own right, but also maybe as preparatory work for some future stuff, part of something ongoing and a bit more intentional and authored.

[the lyrics come from songs by paul buchanan, cherry ghost, arctic monkeys, the blue nile and ride]