Tuesday 24 February 2009

Caricature for Nelly B Page and news on The Chantilly Belles!

News about The Chantilly Belles!:

The Chantilly Belles are to be included in a major exhibition this summer at The Lowry! 'Expess Yourself' will be an exhibition dedicated to dance and will showcase all forms of dance from tap, ballet, tea dances and you guessed it, burlesque! The aim is to show dance is for everyone and encourage people of all ages to embrace the music!
We are to be filmed being interviewed and performing soon so watch this space... Exhibition details to follow.

For more news and details about The Chantilly Belles and upcoming events go to our page at: www.myspace.com/thechantillybelles.

Caricature for Nelly B Page:

This week I thought I show you some of the other work I've been doing whilst working on the vintage tattoo project: See post for 3rd Feb 2009

I was recently commissioned by Oxford DJ Nelly B Page to create a caricature to promote her upcoming spot on OX4 Radio 87.9 FM. Nelly also DJ's at Trashy in Oxford's new Carling Academy every Saturday in the Zodiac Room. She is a busy bunny!

I wanted to convey a feeling of 60's glamour as Nelly is well known for her BIG hair and retro styles, but also I thought this was a great way to get across that this is a DJ with a difference. She plays a wide range of music and is well knowledged about all things popular culture, just ask her, go on I dare you!
I started off by doing some rough sketches and ended up choosing this one which I thought had a lot of appeal:

As you can see, I couldn't decide how her rigth foot should look at first. It took a bit of shuffling about and sitting in that position to figure it out. I then inked in the outline:

I then drew out a vintage style record player on a seperate sheet and scanned it in. I used tracing paper to get the size correct. Once I had it right I then tranferred it to the image of the figure and printed it out. I used only three colours in this drawing as I wanted to keep it simple and punchy:

I just had to clean the image up and add a few finishing touches and it was finished as you can see above (right at the start).

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Viva the pin-up!

Image taken from Nautical but nice at myspace.com/nauticalbutnice

During my recent travels through the internet looking at all things naval, nautical and tattoo themed I've happened upon a couple of saucy little numbers I'd like to share with you:

Firstly Viva Van Story, a website of girlie photography by Miss Van Story, a genius with an eye for the pin-up style. Her models include Masumi Max and Jamie Deadly and the timless images she creates range from 'smouldering seduction to coquettish playfulness'.
I love her work as it embodies the classic retro pin-up with a kinky twist. Many of her models have tattoos and a penchant for latex, but none of the images are gratuitous.

Image taken from vivaspinups.com

My second offering is the website that is 'Nautical but Nice the premier purveyor of the nautical and aeronautical pin-up'
I stumbled upon this when looking up nose art on world war two bombers (a distant cousin of vintage sailor pin-up art) What can I say? A website dedicated to sexy maritime pin-up style photos. The girls pose on 40's bomber style planes and mid century yachts and sailing ships in a range of cute nautical accessories. A full five stars from me!

My own designs for my series of nautical pin-ups based on sailor style tattoos is going well, but I have to admit to making things difficult for myself by over complicating the images. I am over thinking them. I guess it's because I'm used to spending hours at a time painting a single image instead of simply drawing. I'll keep you posted as how things go...

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Follow the Fleet

I had to post this while I remember: One of my favourite films is the Fred and Ginger classic, 'Follow the Fleet' which combimes both my love of all things nautical with fantastic dancing and lots of old school glamour!

Here's my favourite song from the film sung by the lovely Ginger Rogers, check out her gorgeous little sailor suit and keep an eye out for a very young Betty Grable performing as one of the backing singers (a nice coincidence, see post 'Hello Sailor' from the 03.02.09). This film had a strong influence in shaping my ideas for a nautical themed painting seires.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Stewed, scewed and tattooed.

Carrying on from last week; I am researching vintage sailor tattoos for a new series of paintings based on the classic style and inspired by nautical phrases. My findings so far have covered some of the symbolism and history of this artfrom which I plan to expand on later...

However this week I wanted to highlight once again the genuis that was 'Sailor Jerry', the daddy of sailor tattoos and the original creator of the iconic look copied by many ever since. I've been wondering about him as a person and how he came up with his designs and what inspired his look. Then I found out about a documentary called 'Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry', I can't seem to find out much about this but have found some clips on youtube. If anyone knows where I can get a copy please let me know. In the meantime enjoy this snippet of machismo, tough guy living and bad language which seems to have summed up Sailor Jerry's attutude to life:

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Hello Sailor!

Myself and international burlesque performer, the beautiful Beatrix Von Bourbon

As I metioned last week, I have been researching vintage nautical tattoos, as seen on many a burly sailor since the 1940's and 50's. But as you can see from the photo above this classical style of tattoo is still very much in favour among burlesque and rockabilly lovers today!

The reason for the research? My next series of paintings is going to be inspired by the artwork of the vintage sailor tattoo, using the pin-up girl as the main character, with each painting taking influence from different nautical sayings still in use today.

Have you ever called someone a son of a gun? how about hanging on until the bitter end? or even found yourself looking for some dutch courage? Cue some fab potential for some new paintings featuring traditional pin-up girls and sailor gear!
I'm going to illustrate everyday sayings that began as true to life nautical phrases!

I've always liked the pin-up girls that featured it these classic tattoos. They are an echo of that other famous pin-up girl, Betty Grable. In fact Grable's famous rearview pose, hands on hips, is still an iconic template used for tattoos across the world.

But the pin-up girl that sat on a sailors arm were more than just a hot chick to keep morale high, they were also symbolic of the travels and places the individual had seen. For instance a hula girl meant that the sailor had reached Honolulu or Hawaii.
There is also symbolism to other well known designs; Anchors signified the sailor's crossing of the Atlantic whereas a swallow was for luck and loyalty as they always return home each year, sailors being a highly superstitious lot!

Images taken from www.sailorjerry.com

I've been working on some designs for my new paintings and as I've studied the styles and use of line and colour I've come to realise that this isn't like any other form of drawing. I've almost had to re-teach myself how to look at things. Dismiss my knowledge of proportion and perspective and think only in terms of what will work as a tattoo, as I want my paintings to look as authentic as possible. That isn't to say I want to carbon copy the orignal work of others, but for my work to be an obvious nod to the artists of yesteryear.
Here's my first design for the saying 'Rack and Ruin', meaning for a ship to become wrecked, as mentioned earlier, it's the pin-up girl who is telling the story;

Image copyright of Gemma Parker, www.gemma-parker.blogspot.com

In all my research I couldn't go without mentioning THE man who epitomises the classic vintage tattoo, Sailor Jerry! An artist who many see as the father of old school tattoo, who became a sailor himself at the age of 19, travelled the world and began his life long affair with tattoos. He studied the art of southeast Asia which became a huge influence on his style, opening his first tattoo shop in Honolulu's Chinatown which according to his official website was;

'ground zero for swaggering sailors, drunken soldiers and whoever else wasn't afraid to hang around volatile levels of testosterone.'

These rowdy sailors appreciated a bold impressive design that they could show off 'back home' and Sailor Jerry's signiture style became iconic in tattoo art acroos the world.