Sunday, 18 December 2011

Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design - Kunsthal Museum, Rotterdam

Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design, the exhibition (which features my work) curated by Rick Poynor that was at the Morovian Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic last year has recently been showing at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It finished earlier in December so you've missed it now, and so have I. The show is 'available to tour internationally' through the Barbican International Enterprises, so I'll let you know if it ends up anywhere else. Here is a description with some pictures from the show.
Kunsthal Museum, Rotterdam, Netherlands
24 September to 4 December 2011
Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design, conceived and curated by Poynor for the Moravian Gallery in Brno, is the first major exhibition to explore the influence of Surrealism on graphic image-making and graphic design. Featuring more than 250 items — posters, prints, books, magazines, record sleeves, typefaces and films — Uncanny investigates the profound impact of Surrealist ideas and images on visual communication from the 1930s to the present.
Uncanny includes images and designs by Karel Teige, Jindřich Štyrský, Toyen, Jindřich Heisler, Jan Švankmajer, Eva Švankmajerová, Josef Vylet’al, Karel Teissig (Czechoslovakia); Roman Cieslewicz, Jan Lenica, Franciszek Starowieyski, Bronislaw Zelek (Poland); M/M (Paris), Marion Bataille, Laboratoires CCCP (France); Andrzej Klimowski, Vaughan Oliver, Quay Brothers, Graham Rawle (UK); Elliott Earls, Brian Schorn, Edward Fella, Jonathon Rosen (US), and many others.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Card comes early for Clare

THE CARD comes early for my friend Clare Harris who, as my InDesign instructor, has helped me enormously with technical aspects of the design. She has created herself a mini pdf for her iPad so that she can read the book over Christmas. The rest of you will have to wait until June next year.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Woman's World review

Here's a nice review of Woman's World by Darby Faeth of the Foley Readers. I love it when people use the G word.

WOMAN'S WORLD    Graham Rawle
Start with the most cringe-worthy I Love Lucy episode you can imagine –– the kind you can't bear to watch, but can't turn away from either. Now filter that through a muslin of schizophrenia and dump it into a cocktail shaker along with cross-dressing, car crashes, murder, theft, and a budding love affair; all played out against a bucolic somewhere-in-England backdrop. Apply some vigorous agitation, pour the whole thing into a ransom note, and… you'd still only be halfway there.
       Nearly every review I've seen of Graham Rawle's kick-ass psycho-drama Woman's World relies on the the word "genius". I was hoping to take an original approach and avoid using the term but I may not be that strong.
       The premise of Rawle's novel would be distinct on its own but it's only the beginning. Composed entirely of phrases written by others, he actually allowed his work to take the course their words guided him on while still somehow navigating his plot perfectly and managing to keep his own voice mixed, as we say in the studio, "way up and in front."

       "What the…?", I hear you saying. 
       Rawle imparts his vision in a most unique manner. Rather than being typeset, every page of Woman's World is a collage of phrase and sentence fragments that he carefully cut from fashion and home-maker magazines of the Fifties and Sixties and pasted on layout board like a blackmailer's demands. The assembly process alone took him years.
       One might reasonably suspect that a jumbled visual presentation would make reading difficult but that's not the case. Rawle is an accomplished collage artist and his choices were clearly far from random (which, when you think about it, only accentuates the magnitude of his achievement). The deftness with which he alternates fonts, text weights and illustrations imbues this book with a rhythm akin to reading a side by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five. 

       His craft yields a piece one very much looks at look at as well as reads (or more accurately in this case, devours); a book not quite written in standard English, but rather in some specialty language replete with more "lady-of-the-house" soft-sell, hard-sell, jargon and journalese than the combined marketing arms of Mary Kay, Avon and Martha Stewart could dream up in a decade.

       And it's a story! Woman's World is a compelling narrative, completely rendered, full of twists and turns (see "Lucy", above) that careens like a drunk driver between the hysterically funny and achingly sad.

       What can I say –– the guy's a genius.

Monday, 5 December 2011

THE CARD - designed

I've just finished designing my book, The Card, published by Atlantic Books, June 1st 2012. The pages have been sent off for first proofs. Here are some (non-consecutive) spreads.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

YCN Inspirations - Five Influences

YCN asked me to talk about my top five influences. Here's a link to the piece. Where? Here.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Card found

This card was recently found by my friend, Fiona Blair, near Bewl Water (wherever that may be). On the back someone has written 'Noah's Ark Speldhurst'... and a word she thinks might be 'superstore'. Since I didn't find it myself it doesn't count as part of my own found card collection, but this would have been a great one to find. Fiona has now found two cards so is well on her way to collecting a full pack.

Monday, 26 September 2011

THE CARD - cards on the ground

Here are some pictures from my forthcoming book which show cards that have been found on the ground.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

THE CARD – Your Country Needs You

This is one of the cards for my book. It's the third card Riley finds and it comes at the end of Act One. Princess Diana...In grave and imminent danger... Your Country Needs You! –The ultimate call to adventure.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

THE CARD – Prepare to Execute!

Another card I made for my book. This, supposedly, is a 19th century drawing of an execution, possibly Sir Walter Raleigh.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

THE CARD - a card for the front cover

Here's a card I designed to go on the front cover of my book.

Thursday, 30 June 2011


Here's another card I made for my book, THE CARD. This time it's the legendary golfer William Hollydean, who no one has ever heard of. As you can see, the club he is using is a driver, which may or may not be significant.

Monday, 13 June 2011

THE CARD – May Day

“Who’s that, your girlfriend?” he said, looking at the picture on the card.
            “It’s a cigarette card. I just found it on the floor.” I started to put it in my pocket.
            “Let’s have a look.” He took it from me, setting his beer down on Mr Orhy’s window ledge. “It looks old.”
            “It’s from the fifties.”
            He turned the card over and glanced at the text, then cupped his hand to his mouth and pinched his nose to imitate a nasal upper-class voice. “Mayday. Mayday. Mayday. Calling all rescue. This is HMS Pinafore. Come in, please. This is an emergency. Over.” Laughing at what he thought was a piece of brilliantly conceived satire, he handed the card back and took a swig from the can.
            The use of mayday as a radio emergency call had not until then occurred to me, though I was familiar with it from its use in films and television programmes. “Why do they say ‘mayday’? What’s it got to do with May Day?” I asked.
            “It’s not May Day, you berk, where little kids go dancing round the maypole. Mayday is the international distress signal. It means ‘in grave and imminent danger’. You’re supposed to say it three times. Mayday, mayday, mayday. It’s from the French m’aidez, meaning help me. Didn’t you know that? It’s always coming up in pub quizzes.”
            “I don’t go in much for quizzes.”
            “That’s why you don’t know anything.” 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Paul McCartney's hair

I happened upon this picture of Paul McCartney I did some time ago .

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Congratulations to my editor

Congratulations to my excellent editor, Sarah Norman, who was short-listed for the 2011 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize - the first award to recognise the professional achievements of women in publishing with new focus on emerging talent.
After graduating with a First from The University of Cambridge in 2005, Sarah Norman joined Atlantic Books as an Editorial Assistant. Moving swiftly through the stages of Assistant Editor and Editor, she was promoted to Senior Editor in 2010 and now works across three imprints, Atlantic Books, Corvus and Callisto. Sarah is now responsible for acquiring new titles and for taking complex non-fiction titles as well as critically-acclaimed fiction from delivery to publication each year. Across all aspects of her work she is known for her intellectual rigour, her professionalism and her ability to help her authors reach their greatest potential.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Message 43- Text and Image Symposium

On Tuesday 5th April I will be giving a talk at a one-day Text and Image symposium at the University of Plymouth. The other speakers are Rob Mason, David Pearson, Rebecca Pohancanek, Lizzie Ridout and Brian Webb. More details here

Sunday, 20 March 2011

WEBSITE updated

At long last, my website has been updated. 
So what's new on the website? Well, not much really, but all the out of date stuff has been changed or removed. There's a new Work in Progress section for The Card and we've added another interview I did about Woman's World.
Many thanks to Miles Donovan for doing the business.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Another card I made for my book, The Card, to be published April 2012.

Monday, 7 March 2011

THE CARD - Mission

Another card I created for my book, THE CARD. Details below.

Friday, 4 March 2011

THE CARD - Save!

Another card I created for my novel, The Card, published April 2012.

Friday, 25 February 2011

D&AD Blog

Here's a link to a bit I wrote about image and text for the D&AD Learning blog.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Card - S. Prince

Here's one of the cards I created for my book, The Card. It's about a man who picks up cards he finds on the street, believing that they hold clues to a secret message. Here, S. Prince translates to Prince S. (Princess). There is in fact no such racing driver, no such card series and no such cigarette company. All the cards will be invented specially for the book.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Card - Published April 2012

For those of you who are already waiting at your local bookstore, I should tell you that publication of The Card has been put forward to April 2012, so you'll have to wait there a bit longer. Everyone agrees it is a better time to publish than Christmas. I'm still writing it, but it's nearly there now. Here are some rough page layouts I did to show my editor how I think it might look.