Saturday, 22 August 2009

Space Invader



whilst researching for a project a couple of years ago a came across a certain Frenchman, ‘Invader’ as he likes to be called is a street based artist from Paris. He is renowned internationally for publicly ‘displaying’ characters from and inspired by the Space Invaders game. Made from beautifully vibrant coloured square tiles these mini mosaics come in the thousands.

The mosaics depict characters not only from Space Invaders but other video games from the late 1970s also. At the time the images in these games had to be made with fairly low-resolution graphics, because of this they are extremely suitable for reproduction as mosaics. (The tiles representing the pixels) Being outdoor pieces they have to be durable and weather-resistant, the Tiles used as media are perfect for this.

He does this in cities all around the world and documents them as "Invasions", spreading the ‘invasion’ to 35 estimated cities in the world being: PARIS LONDON AIX EN PROVENCE ANVERS MONTPELLIER TOKYO AMSTERDAM GRENOBLE LOS ANGELES NEW YORK BERN AVIGNON LAUSANNE GENEVE PAU CLERMONT FERRAND LYON HONG KONG ROTTERDAM BERLIN BARCELONA AUSTRALIA ISTANBUL DHAKA MANCHESTER MARSEILLE BANGKOK BASTIA MOMBASA LJUBLJANA NEWCASTLE VIENNA COLOGNE COTE D'AZUR BILBAO KATMANDU VARANASI (BENARES) if you click on the name of city you will be directed to the index of his works in that designated city.


Starting in 1998 with his home city of Paris, it is the most ‘invaded’ city to date, totalling a massive 704 pieces. He really has been busy. Whats best is say you want to see some of these mosaics yourself around a city like.. Manchester or Newcastle for instance, well if you look on http://www.space-invaders.com/gmap.html you can download a free map! Alternately purchasing one of his awesome books which feature detailed images, information and the maps of every single piece’s location also.

With this art form you’ve got to think, where’s the money? But that’s just the beginning, he exhibits a lot of work also. His most recent exhibit being



Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Mr Scruff

Mr Scruff / Andrew Carthy is a DJ, illustrator, animator and self made Tea Connoisseur. Most famous for his djing he has been on the scene since 1994-5. Starting on a small Manchester based label; Robs Records with his first 12” 'Hocus Pocus'. Moving to a larger label 'Ninja Tune', he subsequently released his wider known albums 'Keep it Unreal' and 'Trouser Jazz'.

I found this Interview on the Independent Website:

The 5-minute Interview: Mr Scruff, DJ and producer
'I introduced tea tents at my DJ gigs because I'm obsessed by tea'
Thursday, 26 June 2008

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...
On my way to the studio. I've been recording a new album for about three years – just slowly getting my arse in gear.

A phrase I use far too often...
"Morning" in a West Country accent – at any time of day.

I wish people would take more notice of...
The way British lifestyle and culture affects other people's lives. By-products of our comfort cause poverty overseas.

The most surprising thing to happen to me was...
Getting asked to make a record for the first time in 1994, after a mate sent a demo to a label. I was 22, working in Kwik-Save, spending my £30 a week on records and making mix tapes.

A common misperception of me is...
Everybody thinks I'm really scruffy – that was how I got the name – but in the past 15 years I've learnt to iron and got married.

I am not a politician but...
I can waffle for hours and never get to the point.

I'm good at...
Making records and making good tea. I introduced a tea tent at my gigs because I thought "If I'm that obsessed about it, then maybe other people are too". It's gone down really well. If you're at a club and not drinking alcohol, the alternatives are pretty disgusting. I've got my own tea company. It's one of those odd things that just happened. It's brilliant because now I get loads of free tea.

I'm very bad at...
Tidying up after making a brew. I'm 36 but I have the tidying-up sensibilities of a 14-year-old.

The ideal night out is...
Good company, good food in a relaxed environment then off to the pub for some good ale.

In weak moments I...
Get the kettle on. It's my reaction to everything.

You know me as a DJ but in truer life I'd have been...
In another human existence I would have definitely been a tea-taster.

The best age to be is...
Whatever age you are, make the most of it. Relish the moment.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is...
Believe in yourself and be nice to other people. Just keep it simple, really.

Interviewer: Ben Naylor.

The thing I like most about Mr Scruff is the animations he creates for his gigs, I found this out first hand by going to see him at the Warehouse Project in Manchester a couple of years ago. Upon entering his set I was approached by an extremely deep pumping bass line tickling my stomach, moving round to the stage I immediately looked up at the screens surrounding and witnessed these magnificent little cartoons that were accompanying his music. These drawings were extremely playful and clever, synchronised perfectly in time to the music. He uses these cartoons for singles and album cover art, music videos and merchandising also.
The thing I like most about Mr Scruff is the animations he creates for his gigs, I found this out first hand by going to see him at the Warehouse Project in Manchester a couple of years ago. Upon entering his set I was approached by an extremely deep pumping bass line tickling my stomach, moving round to the stage I immediately looked up at the screens surrounding and witnessed these magnificent little cartoons that were accompanying his music. These drawings were extremely playful and clever, synchronised perfectly in time to the music. He uses these cartoons for singles and album cover art, music videos and merchandising also.

"Art was the one academic subject I enjoyed whereas music was something I did from a DJ perspective - I never did music lessons. When I left school I did A Levels, a foundation course and a degree that were all art-based. I've been drawing longer than I've been making music but I've never quite taken it seriously."


Scruff's illustration technique may appear simple but, it's not as straightforward as it appears.
"People try and copy my style thinking it's just a five year old's drawing with some sloppy writing," says Andy, "I've seen some ridiculous copies on flyers for club nights. It looks really terrible, like someone wearing oven gloves trying to forge your signature. That's the serious aspect of it for me - trying to maintain my signature through my images. It's odd, I never get asked in-depth questions about my art - I suppose because I don't really consider myself an artist..."

"It's an instrumental tune which meant I could go anywhere with the video. We ended up working with Cosgrove/Hall who are the legends involved with cartoons like Dangermouse. They're a mile or two from where I live so it was very convenient as well as an opportunity to work with people at the highest level of animation. There were six or seven cartoon boffins working on my video which is basically about people running around after pies. My humour is quite British and eccentric - tea and pies are very British things which pretty much everyone likes so I can't really go wrong there. People bring pies to my gigs. Cosgrove/Hall were quite excited about it as they'd never done a music video before. It was a real dream to work on and a learning experience."

video

I like the mellow music teamed with the simple and elegant animation, the cool slightly muted colours fit perfectly to create a somber element relaxing the viewer. I enjoyed this video and would find it hard to find someone else who didn't, this is Mr Scruff all over.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Colony - Rob Grant

Robert Grant is a British comedy writer and television producer. He was born in Salford and studied Psychology at Liverpool University for two years. The 'Grant Naylor' collaboration as it's become known, was best renowned for the creation of the cult science-fiction comedy series Red Dwarf. Since Red Dwarf Grant has written two television series, The Strangerers and Dark Ages. He has also written four solo novels, his most recent being Fat, a satirical look at how obesity is looked upon by society and the media.

Colony was the first novel written by Rob Grant outside the Red Dwarf series however it stays within the same comedy science fiction genre. “Lifetimes ago, the generation ship Willflower set out, manned by the cream of humanity, on a mission to colonize the stars. But by the 10th generation, things are starting to go badly wrong. The only man who can save the ship is astrophysical Dr Piers Morton. Only he's not an astrophysical engineer, he's not a doctor, he's not even Piers Morton, and all that remains of his body is his head, his spinal column and absolutely nothing else. Better yet, somebody on board is trying to kill what's left of him..”.


I read this book on a recent holiday to Ibiza with my girlfriend. She had read the Colony a few years before and had really loved it and thought I would like it equally as much. My initial response was to accept her offer but secretly planned to just leave it in the bottom of my suitcase as I've never been big on reading and always found it rather boring. You could say my expectations of the book weren't very high. That was until an hour into the flight, my girlfriend by now was fast asleep and I was bored out of my mind, so when I found the book in my hand luggage I decided to have a quick flick through. Within minutes I was laughing to the point where I was a distraction to my fellow passengers who were trying to nap during the early morning flight, and from that point onwards I hardly put the book down.

Colony is a sci-fi thriller, mixed with psychological twists at every corner that constantly kept me in suspense and wanting to read more. The author wrote this book with the aim to make its reader laugh at loud, and it did exactly that. I have never laughed so much when reading a book let alone enjoyed one as much as I did when reading Colony. As a child I found reading difficult and saw it as more of a chore, but since reading this, especially in such a relaxed and calm environment, it has shown me that reading can be thoroughly pleasurable and even entertaining. I'll definitely be taking a look at other Rob Grant novels in the future.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox

I came across this today, Wes Anderson’s stop-motion
movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox.
This classic and well loved
story
by Roald Dahl has been modified for the silver
screen using an animation method that I am very keen
to learn more about.



video

I love this type of animation. The simplistic and rigid
movements on the characters give the audience time
to focus on, and appreciate the fine level of detail and
craftsmanship of the models. This can sometimes be
diverted by the fast packed action of the film which is
unfortunate
.














Like many peopl
e I know I really liked this book as a
child and think that the film will be a success
because
it appeals to all age groups. I don't think any
other form
of animation could have worked quite so
well or been
as appealing.

From what I've seen in the trailers it looks to be an
awesome adaptation of the magical tale and I will
definitely be visiting the cinemas around it's release
date of late October this year.