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Wow WordPress has informed me this morning that I’ve been doing this thing for 7 years! How time flies, so here’s to 7 more years! I’ve enjoyed the journey and the cybernetic winds of destiny that have brought some of us into contact ha ha. Speaking of flying, destiny and time, there was a time when people (well at least in the East and West blocks of the mid 20th century) dreamed of a space age and this was reflected in music, films, clothes, cars, household appliances, architecture, you name it, it was everywhere. It was our destiny to explore and live in space, inner and outer. I think the 60’s marked the point where people increasingly turned to inner space as everyone realized that cold war paranoia, racial/class tensions, corporate wars and all out Roman-feast type consumerism was here to stay.

These days inner space means plugging into the internet and staying there as long as possible in the belief that somehow we are living in the future. What we have for the most part is a bunch of techno gadgets in the attic, far away from personal jet-packs and holidays on the moon. So NASA’s ‘imagination is our window into the future’ rallying cry reminds me that, for example, science fiction novels and movies were these windows before google search. I wonder if my generation can muster the same kind of innocent amazement without detachment and irony? Anyway, what this long rant actually brings me to are these imaginary space travel posters that evoke those very same novels by Asimov, Clarke, Dick, Gibson and others we all sought out in dusty second hand bookshops at one time or another.

3 of these were designed by Invisible Creature, a multi-disciplinary design and illustration studio founded in 2006 and based in Seattle, WA. This was a special project for the two founders as their grandfather Al Paulsen was an illustrator and graphic designer at NASA for over 30 years.



Been too busy to think about posting anything so here’s a bit of a tribute to David Bowie, pretty interesting I thought. Some are funny and some are just downright scary ha ha, created by designer/illustrator Butcher Billy.


I first encountered Benjamin’s work in some Fantagraphics article which featured the comic book ‘Terror Assaulter’. Both the title and artwork struck me as demented, funny and clever at the same time while also transporting me back to childhood with its grotesquely exaggerated characters. We’re talking He-Man and Masters of the Universe proportions here but with large dozes of sleaze and violence thrown in ha ha. On the technical side of things, some of the intense pen and ink work (particularly the shading), brings to mind Raymond Pettibon’s early work. Is it social commentary with its feet planted firmly in the neon bathed junk culture gutter? Maybe. A few review samples below may give you some idea of what you’re in for dear reader ha ha.

“… New Wave Hookers meets Death Wish III as seen through the eyes of a 14 year-old, heavy metal kid.” Dean Rispler, Drug Front Records

“All the guy characters look like action figures you would have killed to have owned when you were little, and all the girl characters/strippers look like drawings of sexy ladies you would have made to impress your friends and convince your enemies that you’re not gay.” Nick Gazin, Vice

Like a lot of artists today, Marra seems to operate in some alternate reality somewhere between the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s with political correctness removed. And for me at least, the art brings back memories of heavy metal, punk and rap posters and record covers back when it was still relatively fresh and even innocent. This has always included the no holds barred do it yourself ethic which means hard work but a large amount of creative control too. In that spirit, Marra publishes his work through his own company ‘Traditional Comics’ and it’s ‘about’ section gives you some idea of where the artist is coming from. Pretty funny stuff!

Richard M Powers (sounds like the sort of name a comic book hero would have!) is known for his many cover illustrations for pulp and science fiction paperbacks from the 1940’s to the 1990’s. His striking  imagery caught my eye a few years ago because it came off as playful rather than dry and academic.

Here are some examples of surrealist, almost abstract expressionist paintings or designs which sometimes remind me of Jim Flora’s figurative work. He’s known for his record cover design and worked in the same era but is much more cartoonish and illustrative. Maybe it’s an odd association but I’ve written about Flora before on this blog if you’re interested in checking him out. Other names such as Pollock, Miro and Dali come to mind. The approach seems fairly free form and open ended and is visually very inventive, employing one or any combination of modern (at the time) techniques. Some compositions look like they just want to continue beyond the margins of the cover as if to say ‘you can’t contain me’.


Rule of Law 1, 2014

An artist based in Los Angeles, California, Cleon Peterson’s vision evokes characters and scenes you don’t want to meet or see. I first came across it on a record cover and then bizarrely a friend of mine sent me a link to his art book about a week later. I guess I was meant to find him, thanks Thad! Genesis Porridge has a great saying: ‘force the hand of chance’, I think its an interesting approach to life at least, you never know what you’re going to find ha ha. Anyway, to me it looked like lino or woodcuts but a lot of it is paintings, including some sculpture and even a chair. There is a lot of negative space, clean lines and stylistic continuity, not surprising considering Peterson has a graphic design background.

Balance of Power, 2015

“A gray world where law breakers and law enforcers are one in the same; a world where ethics have been abandoned in favor of personal entitlement.”

Cleon Peterson

Paint The Town, 2014 Untitled, 2014
Its like looking at ancient versions of comic book or film storyboard panels, as some come across like a kind of Greco-Roman wrestling match to the death. A post apocalyptic return to base animal instincts where fear, force, power, hatred, terror, submission and domination rule the day. To me its the mirror image of the modern techno-gadget filled world of today, for all the toys in the world can’t disguise the fact that most of our planet still faces the same human dualities it always has. Our minds are living in the space age but our bodies are still stuck in the gutter.

Destroying The Weak 2 - Gold, 2015 Night Has Come, 2014

If I could buy a jet-pack today, it would probably be built by a 12 year old in some forgotten developing country alleyway sweatshop. Not that I want to get too negative or preachy or deep (ha ha), but Cleon’s savage vision seems to strip away the smoke and mirrors and reveal how we really are and its quite unpleasant. For some reason, my mind sees these dystopian images as an unholy trinity of George A Romero’s ‘Return of the Living Dead’, Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘American Psycho’ and cult cartoon ‘Ugly Americans’. Take off the mask of civility and you’ve got yourself a handful of blood thirsty beasts.

record 1 record 2

record 5 record 3

Following on from the last post, here is a possible modern heir to the classic ‘punk’ artists of yesteryear and his name is Sam Ryser. Chances are you might be more familiar with the bands he plays in (a few have had a bit of hype!) namely Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans (what a great band name, take note kids ha ha) and Murderer. In true DIY fashion, he has also started a shop called Dripper World in his native Brooklyn, New York, selling T-shirts, pins, records, cassettes, jewellery, trinkets and posters. Much of the work is by Ryser and his collaborators, making it sound like a kind of post/hardcore/cyber/punk version of those local ma-and-pa stores that had all but disappeared at the turn of this century.

flyer 2 flyer 3 flyer 4 flyer 5

I guess it’s easy to file his work under ‘punk art’ but I think that would be doing it a disservice. As much as it has its roots in late 70’s/early 80’s hand drawn, cut-up and photocopied flyers of the underground, to me it also recalls the savage, surreal and grotesque art of the early 20th century dadaists and surrealists. I’m thinking of Pushead, Gary Panter, George Grosz, Edward Gorey and Otto Dix getting together to make a demented hardcore punk flyer for a show at CBGB’s in an alternate universe. But really that’s just my first impression.

record 6 record 4

There is a variety of techniques used too such as stamps, rubbings, relief prints, glue, small cut out prints, illustration etc but in large part there is a thread running through the work. It seems to have its own inner logic even as it jumps out at you at some weird angles, which is a good thing in my opinion. Repeated images of chains, walls, bricks, windows, fire, eyes, teeth, mutant creatures, walls and buildings are to me more symbolic of fear, paranoia, anger, control, disgust and generally a deranged view of the world than anything to do with general popular culture.

flyer 11  flyer 8 flyer 10flyer 12

Anyway I’d say there’s something pretty unique going on here and its worth searching out. A lot of his flyer artwork has been compiled in a zine/book called ’56 Flyers’ (covering the years 2006 to 2013), which also features work by fellow artist and band mate Eugene Terry.

septic death 3 destructors

rattus metallica

Anyone familiar with the bands Misfits and Metallica has seen the work of one Brian Schroeder aka Pushead, a name well known to those in the hardcore punk and heavy metal community but probably not so much to the wider public. He has also done work for Corrosion of Conformity, Dr. Octagon,  Rattus, Integrity, Hirax, Prong as well as his own highly influential band Septic Death. And when I say influential, Septic Death is mandatory if you have any interest in extreme guitar music. The exact same thing can be said of his illustrations, and at this point his extreme visual art has completely melded with the equally extreme music. Anyway, Metallica being one of my favourite bands when I was a kid, I’m fairly certain I was copying this man’s work before I even knew who he was. There were definitely a few T-shirts made for local metalheads, my crude imitations of band artwork now a nostalgic and often comedic memory ha ha. So seeing as Pushead is one of the reasons I still draw today, I thought I’d share some of his work with you dear reader.

septic death 2 dr octagon

prong metallica 2

Pushead: ‘I was into hardcore music before I did art for the music, even though I did art way before the music. It was 1980, when I did a few illustrations that I hoped would be used for gig flyers in L.A. I sent these pieces down to my good friend Glen E. Friedman(I was living in Idaho at the time…) who I had known through the “Skatepark” days.

Glen was involved in L.A. photographing this new explosion of bands like BLACK FLAG,CIRCLE JERKS, etc…Glen was pretty aggressive(to say the least…) and I had figured he might possibly show some of this art around. He did and some of it got used. In conjunction with this, I was corresponding though the mail with good people in Washington, D.C., NYC, Boston, and the Detroit area, as well as correspondence in England,Scandinavia, and Japan. I had originally thought to conceive a fanzine, but when I sent out samples of the art, there was more interest in the art than the fanzine. I was busy doing lots of art and listening to the rise of a great generation of bands. Totally excited to be a part of it all!

As for art training, i am basically self-taught. But I would recommend for anyone who can to go to school for art, just so you can use the equipment they have available. It can be very helpful. Artwork is not my only form of income and I have to work long hours to make money from the art.

I don’t know why it seems so important to be concerned whether its mainstream or underground, it is just all art to me, and every “client” whether from the mainstream or underground treats you different. I couldn’t say one is better than the other. Beside stuff for METALLICA…RUSH, AEROSMITH, SOUNDGARDEN, MINISTRY, etc…’

Interview form Hardware #8

septic death hirax

The subject matter may not be to everyone’s taste as it does include a lot of skulls, zombies and other iconography generally inspired by the horror genre. But its the detailed line work, textures and clarity of images that distinguishes his illustrations from a million others doing this kind of thing. Among his primary influences are Will Eisner, H.R. Giger, Albrecht Durer, Rick Griffin and in particular Virgil Finlay, an American pulp fantasy, science fiction and horror illustrator (for magazines such as Amazing Stories and Weird Tales) I wasn’t familiar with previously. Might have to dig into this artist further, I love it when one post leads to another ha ha. Schroeder has also worked with skateboard, clothing, shoe and toy manufacturing companies so you never know, you might already be familiar with Pushead!

rest in pieces inferno

On some of his most well known work: ‘Well, I came across Metallica when I first moved to San Francisco from Idaho. When I met them, they were fans of the Misfits shirt that I’d done, ’cause they were real fans of the Misfits’ music. A few years before that, a friend of mine had introduced me to Glen Danzig. I’d told him that I’d do some drawings for him, and that maybe he could use it on a poster or something. I just wanted to be nice, to be a friend to him. It was cool, one of the drawings he used on the back of an album cover, and Metallica really liked it. When I met those guys, they asked me for some shirts and I gave ’em to them. They wore them around, and then James called me up and asked me to do a drawing for the Masters of Puppets album.

But being that they recorded in Denmark, and that James gave me the wrong telephone number to contact the management, I had no idea what to do, and by the time they got back from Denmark, it was too late. So, then they got me to do a t-shirt design, and together with James, we created the “Damage, Inc.” skull. I’ve been working with them ever since. The success of that design has been phenomenal, and the people in that industry, saw the success of this-helped bring skulls in general back to merchandising. I’m not saying that I created the skull thing, but the merchandisers say that I rejuvenated something that was already there. Now, every rock band has a skull t-shirt.’

Interview from Seconds #10 (1990)

rattus 2 integrity

lightning bolt agent 505 death trap beirut ipcress file kiss kiss bang bang

While the film genre generally known as ‘Euro-Spy’ was largely a low budget spin-off of the James Bond franchise, much of it goes well beyond the spy theme and European borders. This also includes other trilogies, franchises and the like such as ‘Agent OSS 117’, ‘Fantomas’ and the ‘Harry Palmer’ films starring Michael Caine. There are films focusing on assassins, cat burglars, master criminals (some made in the U.S.A., Brazil and Japan for example) and anything else the writers or directors could throw in! One often gets the impression that they could get away with more sex, bizarre subject matter, political in-correctness (ha ha ha some of it is truly cringe worthy!) and violence than most mainstream films. Some are really awful while others such as ‘Danger: Diabolik’, ‘Our Man Flint’, ‘Tokyo Drifter’, ‘The Ipcress File’ and ‘Girl From Rio’ are definitely worth your time!

satanik Fantomas Strikes Back kriminal million eyes of sumuru

kiss_the_girls_and_make_them_die danger_diabolik_poster_03

I’m posting on this subject matter because a lot of the sets, graphic design, fashions as well as the soundtracks from this era (roughly spanning the 60’s) are a wonder to behold. The poster designs usually offer that uniquely 60’s mix of cheese, style and danger in equal measure that I don’t think has been replicated since. There is also a cartoon like quality to some of it and its not surprising since Modesty Blaise and Diabolik were well know comic book characters. I’ve spent a bit of time searching out a few good examples of posters to include here, and who knows, you might even seek out a few of these films!

modesty_blaise 7 golden men Blue Panther lone she wolf 2

23 envelope

Well here’s a quick one, a documentary on graphic design team 23 Envelope, responsible for some of those wonderful 4AD Records covers. It’s a time capsule of one of the 80’s ‘indie’ underground’s shining lights, and I’m talking about the process not the sound. It’s a world where art rules over commerce and encompasses production, graphic design, packaging, photography, video, literature and the music of groups such as the Pixies, Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins. I’ve always loved a unique or interesting doco and this one is no different. It’s amazing to see the massive amount of video material people keep rescuing from old VHS tapes because not everything makes it onto DVD for various reasons. I’ve already posted about this subject matter so I’ll keep it brief:

4AD Record Cover Design: Vaughan Oliver

Here’s a link to the feature length youtube video:

Hubcap Idol 10 (2015) Hubcap Idol 7 (2015) Hubcap Idol 8 (2015) Hubcap Idol 9 (2015)

Another update on some of my own work from the last few months, I have been working with found hubcaps, lamp stands and old cassette tapes no one plays anymore (a few have melted in my car during past heat waves ha ha). There’s an unknown quantity to these objects which makes it simultaneously frustrating and exciting at the same time. I’m never quite sure how they’ll turn out due in part to the fact that they’re constructed out of some very different materials but it’s great to see them come to life as ‘totems’, ‘idols’ or ‘masks’ or whatever one wants them to be really.

Lamp Figure 4 (2015) Lamp Figure 1 (2015)

Lamp Figure 2 (2015) Lamp Figure 3 (2015)



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