Monday, 26 October 2009

Disney Collaboration Limited Edition print

My latest work is perhaps a surprising collaboration involving Disney. Popular art licensing and print company Art Print Japan, which has retail outlets across Japan, has tied up with Disney and approached 15 artists to offer their versions of Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh. These have just been released in Japan as limited edition giclée art prints.

For various reasons I prefered to avoid depicting the characters directly, and
chose instead to conceal their faces as optical illusions inside landcapes, thus....


The prints, in editions of 100 each, measure 348×424cm and are available from Art Print Japan.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

"Imaginary Journeys" exhibition in Bucharest

As a repeat of a successful exhibition last year, SCBWI in Romania organised a second illustration show Imaginary Journeys combining work by name international illustrators with Romanian artists in Cărtureşti Bookshop, Bucharest, and once more kindly invited me to participate. The show was widely covered by the media and opened on 4th October. there was a big reception on 8th October, and the show was eventually extended 2 days beyond the planned closing date to the 17th. The Romanian Cultural News website set up an online gallery showcasing some of the works, which is still running. The exhibition is to be shown again from the 25th to 29th November at the Gaudeamus Book Fair and in March 2010 at Cărtureşti bookstores in Timisoara and Cluj.

From the press release: "The exhibition’s theme is one of the most appreciated in children’s literature all around the world, one that attracts the imagination of illustrators and gives them a greater freedom than any other subject: The Journey – traveling to far-away places, exotic ones (the North Pole, Asia, Africa), space travel, imaginary travel (The Other Lands, Dwarfs World, Ice Queen Palace).

Among participants you can find: Bridget Strevens-Marzo (International llustrator Coordinator SCBWI), John Shelley (freelance illustrator that started his career in London, author of Hoppy’s New House and The House of the World), Brian Karas (author awarded with numerous prizes like New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Books, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award), Lois Bradley, Doug Cushman and many others.
In the exhibition you can see also the books of Romanian authors and illustrators from which illustrations were chosen - "Prinţul în palatul de sticlă", "Ziua în care a fugit somnul", "Legenda Sfântului Valentin"."

Due to the success of the show SCBWI hopes to repeat this as an annual event. Many thanks to Alina Darian of „Soarele si Luna” Publishers and members of SCBWI Romania for making the exhibition such a great success.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Illustration Friday - Frozen

Anyone who knows my work well may have seen this before, it's from the picture book 12 no Tsuki-tachi (The 12 Months), a traditional Slovakian fairy tale, from the version by Marshak and published by Miki House in Japan with a translation by Sho Suzuki. One of my older works, but often reprinted, a new edition is about to be released.

London Transport

The blog has been pretty quiet of late as I've been moving out of Staffordshire and settling into London. It's a big change from pretty, quiet Lichfield, but considering I've lived in cities most of my life, especially the bustle of Tokyo for so many years I feel a lot more comfortable in the big city. Location is very important for me, not only for artistic inspiration (see previous posts) but also for the convenience of living.

My biggest handicap in Lichfield was not being able to drive. Motoring has always been anathema to me, I've never even tried to learn, I was 40 before I ever sat behind the wheel of a car with the engine switched on. To this day my only driving experience is a single 25 yard crawl in a hired car. Ditto motorbikes and scooters, never has my posterior straddled any kind of engine.

I often wonder why I was never bitten by the motoring bug, I had virtually no interest in cars as a teenager beyond the aesthetic appeal of old classic cars. This was partly due to witnessing massive arguments about cars between the obsessed petrolheads in my family. I decided early on that entire weekends spent under a bonnet getting covered in oil or macho posing behind a wheel of the "right" car were not for me. While every member of my family passed their test and zoomed off down the highway, I remained a confirmed city-bound pedestrian. Had I remained in the UK perhaps my resolve would have eventually been undermined, but 20 years in Tokyo as a disciple of the fabulously efficient public transport system only strengthened my conviction. As I've mentioned before on this blog, sitting on trains was a great opportunity to observe, sketch and doodle. Happily, my late (2nd) wife didn't drive either, nor any member of her family.

I say I've never driven, but that doesn't mean I've never owned a car. Sad to admit, for a time in Japan I bought a series of cars, owned by me, but driven exclusively by my first wife. First we had a Citroen 2CV, eco-friendly, it was black all over, from the very last series before production ceased. It was slow, manual, and very draughty in the winter. I liked it, ex-wife hated it. Before long it was swapped for an Audi. That in turn gave way to a Mercedes hatchback. My soirée with motor vehicles ended when we split. I don't think I ever sat in the driving seat of any of these cars!

But back to now, and here I am in London after a 22 year absence. In the city at least, whatever I can't get hold of locally is only a bus or tube ride away (though Boris has just made this a very expensive option).

This afternoon I tried cycling to Kilburn. Blimey! I was out of puff before I was half way down the road, by the time I reached the High Road my legs were quivering lumps of jelly. Lack of transport in Lichfield kept me virtually house bound for a year. Hopefully time in London will get me back in shape.....