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Englands best known, unknown artist

Exmoor

This man, so rough in appearance, with hands like hams, was an artist, producing the most delicate wistfull pen and ink drawings to a standard that has seldom been equalled

The Golden Valley

Frank Peterson, “Englands best known, unknown artist” is a very recent discovery for me. Through his published work in periodicals such as Cycling magazine he captured the romance of cycle touring in the UK with pen and ink. His first work for Cycling was in 1893, but I tracked down some copies from 1937-39 which as some excellent examples of his work. The majority have the running theme of picturesque landscape, with the bike that bought him there in the foreground.

St Dogmaels

For more information, visit The Frank Peterson Society, and
The Ride Journal Issue 6 has a feature on Frank Peterson.

The House of Books has no Windows

The Gallery of Modern Art in Oxford has this fantastic installation, “The House of Books has no Windows”. A collaboration between Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, it’s constructed from 5000 books. Sadly, I only had my iPhone with me, so the pics aren’t great:

Truly a book sniffers delight. You can see more of the exhibition and the artists on the BBC Culture Show site.

Geneviève Gauckler on CBBC?

I’m big fan of the French artist/illustrator Geneviève Gauckler, having discovered her work via the Guardian Angel Room project.

Now, I’m not sure why, but I was really surprised to see her work (or at least her style) in the backgrounds of CBBC, the site for BBC’s youth output.

I’ve tried to do a bit of searching, but no information is forthcoming, and I can’t see a credit anywhere. I’m surprised, can anyone tell me if these really are her work?

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There’s also wallpapers available too:

1280_games_wallpaperfair

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

Every now and again, you come across an artist so fresh and exciting, you can’t help but evangelise others about them. One such discovery is Oliver Jeffers, a surpremely talented illustrator who uses realia as the basis for much of his work. Leigh had picked up his book The Incredible Book Eating Boy, and we looked on in awe.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

Take a look at these spreads, where you can see how the pages started off as books folded out flat, and then painted on top of:

Book Eating Boy page

Book Eating Boy page

As a nice touch the back half of the book has the bottom left corner pre-bitten:

Book Eating Boy - prechewed corner

Be sure to have butchers at his portfolio and sketchbooks, and the book his highly recommended, whether you have children or not!

I heart people who send me art

I’m a lucky boy. Twice people have sent me digital art that floats my boat. Late last year, Siobhan sent me this, based on one of my photos on Flickr:

Siobhans art

I have a real thing about vertical lines (thats what the tree thing was about on the last site design), and I love this. After a lot of email communication, I finally got to meet Siobhan back in February and I now have a large photographic print of this beauty, as well as a new friend. Here’s a post where Siobhan explains the process.

At one point I was ready to use this in a revised site design, but then Veerle redesigned and scuppered that with her bars at the top of every page.

Kunal Anand has been busy with a Python script he wrote to create visualizations from xml file output of people’s de.licio.us tags. I was so glad he asked me for my xml file, and a copy of my (then) logo as a vector artwork, because here’s the result, and I think its fantastic:

Kunal Anand's visualisation of my de.licio.us links

(click the image for the full-sized view)

Thanks Siobhan and Kunal!

Do not return this to me as I do not want it back.

Please do not return this to me as I do not want it back

Finally, my favourite artist David Shrigley has relaunched his site. For too long now, he had displayed a ‘coming soon’ placeholder, and like a petulant child asking “are we there yet?”, I kept checking for signs of life.

I first came across his work in the 1998 Redstone Diary. These infamous diaries are coveted possessions of print designers, lovingly constructed and guaranteed to be a talking point at meetings. Amongst the pages were these strange child-like scrawls. Long hand-written pieces about being scared of technology (but needing a space crew all the same), and the kind of doodles and ruler-created shapes that could be found on exercise books. Its the sort of art that’s bound to create kneejerk “My 10 year old could do that” reactions. That misses the point, and especially the humour.

Later that year he released the book ‘Why we got the sack from the museum”, including tear-out postcards with messages such as “I’m sorry I painted ‘Twat’ on your garage door”. Then I started noticing his photographs in Scottish art galleries (he currently lives in Glasgow), and became hooked.

His work spans drawings, scuplture, photography, even music video’s (Blur’s recent video for ‘Good Song’). One commission had him construct a sequence of fake film certificates for films such as The man with the beady eyes. I remember seeing this sequence in the cinema – everyone in the cinema got the joke.

I can’t really put my finger on why I’m such a fan, but he does cheer me up like no other artist. He can also confuse, disgust and bewilder at the same time. Its his little world, and I’m happy to just watch him.