About 10 years ago, this band first contacted me about the possibility of working with them. Larkin is a group from Tulsa, Oklahoma with Irish roots, and their music is a fusion of traditional celtic music and punk. A couple of members of the group were familiar with work I had previously done for a Kildare based band called Blood Or Whiskey.
Other than the instruction that they wanted a celtic tone to the artwork, I was given a free reign. The first CD package I did for them was a fold out of a celtic dog in battle with a number of small figures. After this, I was invited to come up with an idea for an E.P. called ALEXANDRA, named after a daughter of one of the band members.
After a lengthy sabbatical, the band regrouped a couple of years ago and in early 2015, commissioned artwork for an album called A TOAST TO ST JUDE to be released as a 12″ vinyl record. Like previous artwork, this has a similar celtic look and a vague tone of conflict to it which integrates with the group’s sound to form a complete package. Symbiotic working relationships like this are always a pleasure. Unfortunately, they are also infrequent.
DEEP IN THE WOODS 66
… a more engaging challenge than actual wallpapering ( a chore which I have had the displeasure of on several occasions ), the above repeated element was constructed as a graphic for an album cover. The commission came from DeepInTheWoods66, a Wicklow based producer-centric musical entity braiding strands of hip-hop, post-punk noise, primal electronic weirdness and random auricular psychedelic damage.
While the brief was open ( often the worst situation when dealing with bands and musicians – being given a CDR of rough mixes and no visual cues or clues ), I wanted to reel in a simple idea quickly. This was a convoluted melting pot of sound that needed a strong graphic identity to tie it all together.
Earlier in 2012, I filled a travel sketch book with simple black sharpie marker scrawls of demons and primal grotesques, mostly as an exercise in form for my larger ink drawings. I presented a selection of these as basic ideas for a starting point ( laziness or inspired move??…I don’t remember )… In any case, certain ideas amongst the sketches seemed to suit the tone of the recorded output, for better or worse!!
The chosen grotesque differs very little from the original sketch, apart from being redrawn and cleaned up. This one in particular that captured a gnawing primal weirdness that appealed to the client. Although several more advanced versions were drafted, the instinctive first idea was the keeper in this instance. The owl symbol was “borrowed” from the owl cave petroglyph in Twin Peaks, a nod in the direction of Mr Lynch… some of his far reaching inspiration was definitely present in the audio content. The wallpapering/repetition idea was applied to mimic blotter acid art and the red florets to give the design some of that stark “Magic Roundabout” diorama landscaping.
Amphibious electronic noise artist. Sounds like a bubbling hot-pot of electronic coddle apparently.
In January 2014, I was contacted by promoters in Helsinki. They were aware of my work from social media and were interested in commissioning a graphic and poster for an electronic club night called Untuva – which means “fluff” and can translate as down or feathers… no idea if it was coincidental or not, but this club was also happening in a venue called Uggla (owl)!
Initially, I felt that my style might be a little too organic for them, but the promoters were determined to use something with my artwork on it. Most electronic music is represented by computer graphics so I made the decision that whatever hand-drawn elements I used would have to be juxtaposed with digital effects to make it look convincing.
I finally took elements of earlier drawings and made a central icon. This was driven by instinct and time constraints, but the promoters were happy with the results.
“Elektronista SotaFunkkia Robottisodista” roughly translates as “Electronic War Funk Recovered From The Robot War”.
FANTASY APP GAME CONCEPT
In 2012, I was approached by a computer programmer about graphics for a fantasy app game. I previously knew him as the co-manager of an art gallery in Dublin city centre. I rented this space for exhibitions on a couple of occasions.
This was me dipping my toe into front end game design, something I knew very little about. My first impression was that I was the completely wrong person to do this. The only games I had ever played on a small device were Tetris and Snake. These are typically puzzles that come free with a basic phone. They are considered very basic technology.
The project manager particularly liked the tone of one of my artworks called PILGRIMAGE from 2006. He requested something based around this artwork that would be distinctive in style and work on a small scale. The concept was to create fantasy app game based on a quest for a hidden scroll. He was specific about not wanting a game with a typical “guns and violence” theme. This was to be a relaxing puzzle game. He wanted it to be something suitable for a commute.
A lot of my original drawings contain fine ink hatching. It takes a lot of work to convert them to digital art. The background detail in the original art was stripped out, leaving only main outlines. Everything was then rendered using sample photos of rock surfaces I had taken as reference material.
The hero ( sadly never given a name ), was created specifically for this project. The figure in the original drawing did not lend itself to basic animation. Unfortunately, the project didn’t get much further than the initial presentation.
This is one adventurer that reached the end of the line sooner than expected!
I don’t normally do large scale work and never had any designs on being a street artist ( It would be somewhat foolish of me to pretend that I can compete with the swell of very obvious talent that has risen over the last decade or so in this country). This exception was part of a community project in a neighbourhood where I lived at the time. A number of artists volunteered their time to liven up the walls of a “troubled” laneway leading off a north inner city residential area onto a main road.
None of the first spray paint people to claim their patch were particularly interested in this gable end recess consisting of one ugly burnt wooden patch-up job where there was once a garage door ( as a hot spot for fly-tipping, it had been the location for several late night flaming mattresses!!! ). This piece was executed in a nearby back garden over 4 days ( 5th -9th August 2012 ) and installed in Cabra Park, Phibsboro on 10th August 2012… It has since been replaced by a galvanised garage shutter…