New beast of a tune…
New beast of a tune…
I’ve been getting into Instagram more and more over the past 6 months and I’ve discovered loads of great illustrators, some well know and heavily eye-balled, some not so much. One of my favourite ways to pass the time these days is a quick flick through the folk I follow’s latest work to get a bit of daily inspiration and motivation.
Here’s twenty Instagram accounts specialising in illustration, cartoons and art that you really should follow:
1. Jermaine Rogers – I first discovered Rogers’ work via the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester. He’s done loads of great posters for bands like Queens Of The Stone Age, Radiohead, Weezer, Ween and Rage Against The Machine, and he also likes to create cool vinyl toys too.
2. Luke McGarry – Manchester born, LA based cartoonist supremo is a tittersome delight on Instagram, posting loads of funny, pun-heavy and daft cartoons daily.
3. Omega Tbs – Spanish illustrator Omega’s work is a highly stylised and incredibly detailed collection of surreal, frequently grotesque and seedy looking characters.
4. Gangster Doodles – Working almost exclusively on 3×3 post stick notes, this hip hop obsessed cartoonist is the master of the doodle. I discovered him via a QuestLove recommendation about two years ago and he’s been entertaining me ever since.
5. Pete Fowler – I’ve been a huge fan of Pete’s work ever since his early illustrations for the Super Furry Animals back in the mid-90s, and his Instagram account is an absolute joy. Not only do you get to see all his marvelous creations, from small carvings and owl pouches to murals and prints, he’s also piss funny too.
6. Jim Mahfood – Visual funk maestro and comic book legend, Jim’s account is a sprawling pulse of brilliantly ink splattered illustrations. There are collaborations with other artists, curvy female studies galore and the odd video showing the master at work too.
7. Punksgitcut – Creator of the charcater art for TV’s Bob’s Burgers and all round surrealist and anarchist, Jay Howell regularly creases me up. New characters like Melon Man and Botanical Dave are the latest in a long line of joyous creations.
8. Jimpwasere – If surrealist excellence is your bag then the peculiar and wonkily soulful art of Jimp will tickle your underbelly. I’ve got one of his originals in my front room and it pleases and amuses me daily.
9. Abstract Sunday – Visual storyteller, Christoph Niemann is a gentle genius. His clever illustrations regularly pull in household items like pens, socks, teacups and bananas, creating abstract takes on funny images and jokes. You may have seen some of his work before gracing the covers of The New Yorker.
10. Graaaham – Graham Roumieu is one of those master doodlers that’s an absolute ace at satirising modern life and the world around us. Like many of the accounts I love and follow there’s a intelligent daftness at play with everything he posts.
11. Maria Herros – I love the off-kilter and wonky brilliance of Spanish artist, Maria’s paintings. She’s a superb portrait artist and has a truly unique and bold style.
12. Karl Kopinski – If your a bit of a role play / Warhammer / D&D geek you may already be familiar with Karl’s work as he’s done lots of stuff for Games Workshop. It’s his portraits of cyclists that really blow my mind though.
13. The real that Polish guy – Eisner award winning artist, Bill Scienkiewicz is probably my all time favourite graphic novel / comics illustrator. I’ve got a fair bit of his work, Elektra Assassin, Stray Toasters, 30 Days Of Night, Wolverine : Inner Fury and Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix. All of them packed with beautiful illustrations. He’s the perfect blend of comic book illustrator and fine artist.
14. Wocco – Warwick Johnson Cadwell (aka WJC) has a unique style and his gothic fantasy pencil drawings and werewolf doodles are brilliant and amusing in equal measure. He also does lots of mini character studies called PotD’s (Person of the Day) and is a masterful sketcher of alleyways.
15. Dirk Van Dulmen -Dutch storyboard artist, Dirk has being posting a lot of cut out illustrations these past few months. He lights them really nicely too and they’re a tittilating collection of everyday vignettes, puns and visual gags. He’s a master of catching people going about their everyday business, socialising in cafes, wandering around museums and galleries etc too.
16. Huge Skull – Marc Etherington is the kind of artist I think of when someone uses the word ‘outsider’ or ‘naive’. In all honesty they’re pretty wanky terms – his work embraces a child like approach with a wry pop culture edge and a real skill that takes his work beyond just a tongue in cheek in-joke. He’s really random too – I can’t think of many artists who’ve produced studies of fish tanks alongside a He-Man poster, film scenes painted on wooden iphones and Star Wars character studies.
17. John Kenn Moertensen – I first discovered JKM’s work on Pinterest. I loved the idea of beautifully drawn monsters and creatures strewn across dozens of post stick notes. If it was a gimmick to get noticed it certainly worked and his illustrations are like modern day Grimm Borthers’ fairy tales brought to life. He’s ditched the post stick notes for now and he’s got a new book called Monstre that I really should buy.
18. Jonofski – One of my favourite new ‘art finds’ is the work of Welsh illustrator, comic artist and toy designer, Jonathan Edwards. His portraits of music and film icons like, George Harrison, Tom Waits, David Lynch, John Hurt and Jim Jarmusch are sublime (his lines are incredible), and his cartoons and design work are equally brilliant too.
19. Nebdeneb – Nebdeneb AKA Lamare Ben is a french artist I know relatively little about, but I’ve never seen anyone doodle a portrait on a receipt quite as brilliantly as he does. Seriously, he has the best receipt doodles ever.
20. Dunstan Doodles – It would be remiss (and far too humble) of me to exclude myself from this list. I’ve been building up a big body of portrait work over the past four or five years and I’m just about to embark on a freelance life. I love a good doodle but a lot of my recent work has been cut and paste portraits mixing illustrations on coloured card with bits of collage. Follow me and see how I progress…
Back October / November time last year I had the pleasure of undertaking a Lynyrd Skynyrd portrait commission. I decided to base it on a publicity shot from the early 70’s. Check it out below and come and follow Dunstan Doodles on Instagram:
Ex Earlies keyboardist and ‘amiable drunkard‘, Christian Madden has just released his debut solo album and it’s an absolute stonker. ‘The Wrecking Place‘ is a 12 track instrumental concept album described as, “providing the soundtrack to a string of unimportant events that took place in Burnley between 1985 and 2004“. It’s a humble pitch but always better to under promise and over deliver.
From start to finish the album runs amok across a variety of genres with ease, tipping a hat to funk, jazz, hip-hop, breakbeat, and prog rock without ever seeming like some rag bag collection of random thoughts. It’s a beautifully well crafted journey through Madden’s musical loves and adventures.
Check ‘The Wrecking Place‘ via the Bandcamp link below:
As I get older and busier, I feel it is only right I take things a bit easier and just pick ten favourite albums this year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great year for music, it’s just that ten seems a bit less daunting than the usual twenty as I sit here arguing with myself.
2016 saw the return of hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul and great new albums from Slacker Shack favourites like Bon Iver, Future Of The Left, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Danny Brown, Aesop Rock and Cate Le Bon. All on fine, fine form.
As far as new artists go nothing’s cracked my top 10. There’s been loads of great music from debutants like Swedish producer sir Was (who’s sound is intriguingly described by his label, “as though D’Angelo and Prince threw David Crosby into the studio with Tame Impala and Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis”), 4AD’s latest quality find, Pixx, Toronto indie-rockers, Weaves and The Magnetic North with their excellent concept album, Prospect Of Skelmersdale. But nothing that quite squeezed in.
So, my top ten. I like to think it’s a vaguely eclectic mix (variety is the spice of life and all that). Firstly, there are brilliant sophomore releases from Morgan Delt (Phase Zero) and D.D Dumbo (Utopia Defeated). The former is a truly joyous album, all psychedelic curiosity and playfulness – a retroist summer of love album that gurgles and floats without ever seeming kitschy or forced.
Two British albums make the cut. Cate Le Bon returned with Crab Day, and I had the pleasure of seeing her live earlier in the year in Manchester. The album is a heady mix of Magic Band jerkiness, Kate Bush meets Nico wonderment and gloriously skew-whiff melodies, and I’ve had it on heavy rotation for months. The second British pick is The Future Of The Left’s latest, The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left. Lead Leftie, Andrew Falkous remains not only one of my favourite current lyricists but one of the best of the past 15 years. A sardonic wit underpinned by a chugging post hardcore malevolence, his band’s latest album, might not quite reach the dizzying heights of a couple of it’s predecessors, but it’s a fascinating and humorous growl of a record nonetheless.
As far as rock music goes the real stand out album this year was King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s psych-rock chug-a-thon, Nonagon Infinity. I’ve loved their last three albums (particularly last year’s Paper Mâché Dream Balloon), but Nonagon Infinity just turns the amps up to 11 from the off and stays there.
2016 been a good year for hip hop too. Albums by Kool Keith, De La Soul, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak, DJ Shadow, Open Mike Eagle, clipping. and London’s very own, Skepta, were all whiskers away from my top ten. Three albums did make it onto the shortlist though.
Firstly, Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition – an album that widens his sound palette further, pulling in everything from trap to free jazz, and from grime to dubstep – all of it smothered in Brown’s nasty rasp and hyperactive flow.
My next pick is the latest album from one of my favourite rappers of the past fifteen years, Aesop Rock. The Impossible Kid is probably Aesop’s most accessible album to date without losing any of the verbal dexterity and poetic wordplay that have graced his previous albums. This time though there’s less abstract thought and surrealism and something all together more autobiographical.
My final hip hop choice is A Tribe Called Quest’s glorious return, We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. With the untimely death of founding member, Phife Dawg, the album was always going to come with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye, but what gets you is the overwhelming joy of it all from start to finish. The people making this album clearly loved being involved, everyone just bounces and buzzes off each other and it acts as a mighty epitaph to Phife.
Penultimately, one album I’ve only really found and got into over the past month is Nicolas Jaar’s, Sirens. It’s a fairly sprawling affair but after a few listens it becomes a wide-eyed and cinematic landscape of an album. Cherry picking all kinds of influences it’s held together with a kind of electro-jazz wizardry. It thrills both the beard stroker and foot tapper in me simultaneously. Given a few more months of frequent listens and it might even have grabbed Slacker Shack’s coveted (pfft) top spot!
So, onto the winner – Bon Iver’s 22, A Million – Slacker Shack’s album of the 2016. It was a far odder album than I expected. Something more experimental and abstract than I’d envisaged and in many ways it’s a beautiful album of opposites and gentle curveballs. Justin Vernon’s lyric’s are oblique and obtuse but there are pockets of tender, personal snapshots and warmth. Vernon even manages to make his heavily processed vocals sound touching and soulful like an alien Neil Young. Some reviewers have compared it in spirit to Radiohead’s Kid A and I can see the comparisons. Both have an electronic, experimental and alien approach but both have a real soulfulness and soft underbelly too. At times I’ve listened to 22, A Million on repeat, getting gently hypnotised by it all and lost in all the strange glitches and gurgles. I love it.
Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Nicolas Jaar – Sirens
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your service
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
Morgan Delt – Phase Zero
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
Cate Le Bon – Crab Day
Future Of The Left – The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left
Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
D.D Dumbo – Utopia Defeated