I spent most of Wednesday going nowhere fast.

Helen and I decided that, as we were both on leave, we'd take a leisurely drive to Leeds for a spot of shopping. We'd also planned to go on to York afterwards and stay over, have a romantic evening meal and take in the pre Christmas atmosphere.

The forces that conspire to throw spanners however had other plans.

We were in no rush so we had some lunch and left home about mid day. The trip to the M1 is about a twenty five mile drive from home. We went via Derby, picking up some fuel on the way then joined the motorway about 1.00 pm which is when, almost immediately, the Statham jinx hit. No sooner had the motorway trip started than it stopped, literally, dead. Three lanes of stationery traffic stretching as far as the eye could see. We were trapped. Minutes tuned to hours. Lots of hours. 6 long, infuriating, bloody hours during which time we were able to cover a staggering 6 miles. Traffic updates on the radio just kept reporting that 'both North and South bound carrage ways of the M1 are closed'. You don't say? Eventually a glimmer of salvation came when we reached the next junction by which the traffic was being diverted. The problem now moved from the M1 to the A whatever road into Chesterfield. Another hour to cover three miles.

By the time we were able to resume our journey it was way too late to even consider Leeds so we headed straight to York. Unfortunately we were so late that the car parks were all closed (I was stupid enough to book a Travellodge with no parking. Smart move, eh?). O.k. so, car's finally parked and we book in. The room stank. Like a stale smokey smell. Helen went to reception and came back with the key to another room where we both collapsed, hungry, exhausted and emotionally drained.

We were both woken at 11.45 pm be a loud screeching noise closely followed by a deep rumbling sound that went on and on and on. It appeared that the new room was right next to the laundry. Somehow, we both managed to drift off, only to be woken again by the same sound at 6.45 am.

The car needed to be moved by 8.30 so we just left, feeling just as tiered as when we'd arrived.

York is a beautiful city but have you ever tried to find breakfast at 8.00 in the morning. Jesus H Christ. Finally found a scanky cafe which A) didn't take debit cards and B) had had a problem with the food delivery that morning. I found a cash point and we had toast and something that tried to pass as scrambled eggs.

After a couple of hours of walking around in the bitter cold we decided to cut our losses and go home. The return journey took less than three hours.

What was the M1 hold up? It turned out that some idiot had stopped his car in the fast lane on one side of the motorway and tried to walk across the other. Seconds later he'd been hit by traffic and killed.

So, I guess that the Statham bad luck isn't that bad after all.


They don't make 'em like this anymore.

Drew this sketch of retro Robbie last night and it got me to thinking; weren't we supposed to have robots by now? Remember when the science programs of yesteryear would make predictions of what life would be like in the 2000's. For those old enough to remember, I'm thinking specifically of Tomorrows World, but I'm sure there were others all of which were equally as inept at predicting what technical marvels the new Millennium held in store. I remember them preaching the virtues of a new music media called the Compact Disc. It was supposed to be nigh-on indestructible. Experiments were conducted live on air to show the fortitude of this little silver miracle. Sand paper was applied to its surface. Microwave ovens were employed to show its durability. It was dropped. Frozen. Burned. Hammered. Yet still it played with a clarity of sound unparalleled by any other recording medium before it.

Oh, and it would last forever.

So why the f%*k are all my CD's rapidly wearing out and refusing to play. Thank God for Mp3's.


Another day, another disaster.

Second session at Green Door Studio today didn't go quite as planned. After last weeks minor triumph my expectations, once again, exceeded my artistic ability. Looks like I need to work on my transparency preparation. The trans for the final layer of the print was just too fine and wouldn't let enough ink through the screen. Not sure what I'm most annoyed about, the waste of 5 hours or that I just didn't think. Still, early day's I suppose.

in the words of Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, 'never give up, never surrender'.


And here it is.

First solo effort at Green Door, first 'official' screen print.

I found inspiration in two places.
I'd been looking at a book of old movie posters and came across the striking, red and black image of the
West Side Story poster. The black type against the stark red background immediately drew my eye. I've always had an interest in typography and its use in art. The juxtaposition between words and pictures plays a big part in my creation process. I'd also seen a documentary about BASE jumping a few days before and I remember thinking that not only were these guys certifiable but they were putting all their trust in a parachute that just might not save them. Literally a leap of faith.
Having said that, the piece itself is ultimately just about me and the insecurities that I have about my own ability as an artist. I don't even like the word. I think this is a title that can only be bestowed by others. That's why my logo has the word inverted.

Right now, I feel I'm anything but an artist. When the time is right, I'll flip that word over and say "hey, that's me. That's what I do. I'm an artist". Until then, I'll just have to take a leap of faith and trust that, one day, I might be good enough.


I was on leave last week.

A whole seven days worth of not having to go to the office. Pure bliss! But that's over now and tomorrow morning I'll have to haul my ass out of the bed at the crack of dawn once more and wend my weary way through dangerous streets to spend hours on end glued to a computer screen.

However, let's just forget that for a moment. My week off was gloriously restful and highly productive in equal measure. One of the crowning achievements of the week was being able to fix the washer jets on the car. The motor had packed in and, from previous experience, I knew that replacing it would be a bitch. I tried to talk myself into taking the car to our local garage but my conscience and empty wallet got the better me. So, armed with only a spanner, screw driver, brute force and ignorance I tackled the job myself. And to my surprise I actually managed to fix the damn thing (four hours, scrapped knuckles and frayed temper later).

My other achievement was my first visit to
Green Door Printmaking studio in derby. Loved every minute of my time there. Pan showed me the ropes so now I'm being let loose on my own. Yay! Got to come up with something to work on though. I'm figuring on something not too complicated for my first solo print effort (as I'm bound to cock up big style).

I have something in mind. I'll post some images here later, once I've worked out what's what.
And here are the final two Lucha Libre heads.

don't forget the shirts can be found at my Zazzle store.


Who was that masked man?

These are a couple of designs that I've been working on for some new shirts that I'm going to put on Zaxxle. They're based on the Mexican wrestlers known as Lucha Libre. I'm planning to add two more to make a quartet.

Check the shirts out at Zazzle.com.