Sunday, 30 June 2013

Friends in the City

Here are another couple of pages for The Ridings 'Week in the Life Of'' project. These were drawn together and kind of sum up the 'who do you really know' when you are in the heart of a city. I am constantly surprised at the lack of people I know when I walk through the city centre, Expecting a wave of a quick hello from a friend or a colleague. I don't work traditional office hours and I know people across all classes, I do occasionally bump into people to say hello too, which says more about my social circles than the friendliness or popularity of a community.

It must be noted that the second page is a lesson in drawing comic strips, cinema or writing and visuals in general. I had the images before I had the writing and struggled like hell to come up with a cohesive way of presenting them with words around them. Words First then pictures!

“Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous."

- Queen Victoria (Maybe, there's evidence that it may be King Leopold who said something similar in a letter  to Vicky?)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Getting On With It...

I am having trouble with my writing today so I have turned my attention to doing something else I can do. I can't say too much as it's in the fragile embryonic idea phase. I think I have talked here before about not giving away too much of an idea or work in progress, as can prick the concept and 'decompression' sets in with the idea going nowhere. Anyway, I think I am safe enough to think about and sketch this bit of the project, the project involves the foxes from the other day.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Late Night Mama

A late night spent watching the ghost story Mama on Dvd. It caught my attention because  Guillermo Del Toro is attached to it and so is the actor Javier Botet who gets to 'animate' the character of the films title with his own body. There is a lot of Cgi in the 100 minutes of screen time but there is also a lot of physical effects. It's in the physical side where the genuine creepiness lies for me, Botet's angular and distorted twitching limbs and the clever use of shadows could have carried the story for me without having to fall back on what are now digital stereotypes. Crawling inky black veins on walls and bodies, floating shroud wrapped wraiths have all been done many times before, mostly in the Harry Potter movies. Removing glasses from a small child and seeing the blurred haunting figure from that point of view was scary as hell. There's a funny legs dangling from the ceiling shot that is so simple it's magic. Mama coveting 'her' children 'till the bitter end see's the ghost strike a pose that looks like a lone warrior about to engage an entire army. Which basically is the Mother's Love will win/destroy the world of her child theme throughout. It's a simple premiss but then the film does start with 'Once Upon A Time...'

As a side note Kingslayer Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is also in the film and plays his own brother Lucas/Jeffrey which for me created a bit of confusion and is never really explained or if it was, I missed it gone 1am in the morning.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Fox in the Woods

Something I have been working on in the background today.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Stuff I Carry

I am a big fan of Every Day Carry and there is now a UK version. The original site started in the US, at least judging by the amount of fire arms that's where I think it began. Here's my EDC from today, when I got home today from a reference gathering trip, I threw the things I had on and about my person on to the kitchen table, in a kind of orderly fashion.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Chill... A Birds Eye View

Early June and we finally get a decent run of sun and warm weather, enough for me to comment on the luxury of air having conditioned buildings to escape the midday heat from. My eyes take time to adjust inside and The Ridings which felt different today, transformed by the amount of light flooding through the roof and reflecting of the glass and chrome surfaces inside.

Google Maps shows just how big a land area The Ridings inhabits and It got me thinking about the various levels within and the tower blocks that surround them. It is a walled city within a city type of scale that driving or even walking about at street level you miss, because it's happening above eye level. Sandal Castle was clearly identifiable on the horizon, as was the amount of green spaces around Wakefield. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Then... and Now

I wasn't around Wakefield in 1983 when The Ridings opened, but in doing this project I have come across a few photos and videos on-line showing the shopping centre in its heyday. I moved to Wakefield in 1999 after a few years on the North York Moors, 40 Miles from the nearest bustling arcades of York, so to have a shopping centre within walking distance was a novelty for me indeed. Helen my partner used to smile when I got confused with the multiple layers of The Ridings. I had been 'smiling' at her before hand in the brief time she had spent in Milton Keynes where we first met. I grew up in Bletchley near MK and was used to the miles of Milton Keynes Shopping Centre strip malls and could navigate my way around there without getting that lost or walking the wrong way which always seemed to happen to new-comers to the city.

When The Ridings opened it was a shining, mock Victorian arcade with bright lights and gardens with water features. Over the past 30 years things have been streamlined both through desire and through necessity. There are remnants from the original interior design. Flooring materials, structural pillars and physical layers are still there, although generally today it's looks a lot more neutral. This fits with modern ways of design thinking and kind of what I mean by the term iDevice design. The eighties was a design decade, but also a decade of decadence. Thatcherism, yuppies and showing off were the cultural ways of the day. Expensive shirt logos, boy racers, neat and magnificent hair, shoulder pads making the wearer seem bigger and more important.

Thank heavens that decade has passed.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

View from on High

The spelling of climbed jumps out to haunt me for internet eternity.

Today was a scorcher. Spent some time on top of The Ridings taking reference photos from the car-parks of a view which will hopefully become one of the pages for the exhibition in September. Up there looking down on the world it reminded me of a drawing I did for the short lived Awakefield Diary I self published in 2004. I was drawing the diary as I went about my business each day, without any planning or context, and using a thick 2mm pen calligraphic pen to make my marks with.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. At the time I thought I was doing something important with my drawing. Looking back through the sketch book I tore the page from the drawings in there are really bad, without enough content or context to keep anyone interested.