Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Having a Re-think/Re-draw #3: World Cup '74 #3 (Ruben Ayala)

coloured pencil & putty eraser/30x20cm

Presenting the third in the series of drawings based upon, & as the initial point of reference, the stamp/sticker collections issued by FKS & Panini to celebrate the then-upcoming 1974 football World Cup, ‘hauntologically’-rich objects & repositories of memories of the time (specifically, & more generally of the decade of childhood-into-youth).

The immediate visual source from which the drawing was processed was actually an A4 colour print of a digital scan of the original stamp, this image thus considerably scaled-up & consequently significantly pixelated, breaking up into a horizontal-vertical grid of constituent squares of an individual & somewhat ‘unmixed’ nature in terms of colour (like digital ‘pointillism’) which in turn impacts upon the mark-making & appearance of the drawing, which attempts an interpretation rather than a slavish copying.

The subject of the drawing process thus resolves itself into a representation, filtered through time as it were, of Ruben Ayala of the Argentinian squad, one of those names/players I do actually recall from watching the televised coverage of the tournament, cutting a rather distinctive figure as he did with his dark, flowing locks & scoring the third goal in Argentina’s 4 - 1 First Round victory over Haiti.

Also presented is an image of the drawing at the point to which it had progressed at the time of the re-think a couple of Saturdays ago, done in the original style, thus allowing something of a comparison between the old & new approaches.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


In the traditional manner in which serendipity has occurred here at TOoT, on numerous occasions in the past, so flattened drinks cans (reformed thus, one might assume, as ‘roadkill’) have returned to consciousness thricefold recently.

In the first instance, one was found & considered to be suitable enough object-matter for a return to drawing such that a drawing was duly embarked upon, before a pause occurred allowing reflection upon the efficacy of continuing such an endeavour (essentially, this concerned matters of available daylight hours, & the seasonally dwindling nature of, in which to pursue what would be such a labour-intensive task involving not only the representation of the crumpled surface of the can but also that of the sheet of paper upon which it had been placed for the purposes of active contemplation of both): photographic evidence of the decisively abandoned/postponed circumstances is hereby presented.

Following this, it came to my attention but a few days later that, amongst the selected work on exhibition at the John Moores Painting Prize 2012, was a painting by Laura Keeble, entitled "I’d like to teach the world to sing!" made upon the support of a flattened Cola-Cola can (to be found amongst an online gallery of the exhibition, & also, with a brief explanation of its coming-into-being & in the company of two similar works, at the artist’s website here).

The very next evening, A & I happened to be visiting a local theatre where the cultural produce currently showing included a substantial retrospective exhibition of the work of a number of years of Wales-based artist Terry Setch, featuring, amongst other subject/object matter, representations (as elements within compositions in the form of large scale digital prints) & actual examples of such found detritus embedded within mixed media polythene-sealed paintings-collages-objects, most striking ‘pictures’ indeed.

Suddenly, following a period of hibernation, flattened cans – ‘my’ flattened cans, ever-deferred at the point of embarkation upon a ‘big project’ - were everywhere to be seen!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Having a Re-think/Re-draw #2: World Cup '74 #2 v2

coloured pencil & putty eraser/30x20cm

With reference to the previous post, this is the second of the World Cup '74 football stamps/stickers collection-sourced images to be re-drawn, with immediate recourse to an A4 colour print of a digital representation of the original stamp, its image consequently enlarged to the point of significant pixelation, which appearance informs that of the drawing.


Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 'Abattoir Blues' & 'The Lyre of Orpheus'
Sol Seppy 'The Bells of 1 2'
Moon Wiring Club 'Striped Paint for the Last Post'

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Having a Re-think/Re-draw: World Cup '74 #1 v2

coloured pencil & putty eraser/30x20cm

Halfway through the third drawing of the new ‘project’, perhaps due to this being scattered frustratingly across unsatisfactorily short sessions & days, the critical thought occurred that to continue in such style would itself be unsatisfactory & that something thus needed to be done, to change.

That something was influenced, it must be credited, by Mr Ian Hodgson’s work concerning the Moon Wiring Club, during a ‘whimsical’ visit to the Blank Workshop & the ‘Discography’ section of the website in particular, opening as it does with an image of the cover art for the debut single ‘I’m More Than a Memory Now’, featuring in crudely pixelated form what is still recognizably a portrait of a female face, as might be appreciated:

By way of coincidence, one of the visual (re)sources being used for the basis of the drawings, for plotting form & features, has been A4 prints of digital versions of the original FKS & Panini album stickers/stamps, the images pixelating as they are enlarged to such scale.

The ‘memory’ in the title is highly significant too, as it relates to the nascent project, in that the 1974 World Cup tournament constitutes my earliest memories of (taking an interest in) football, as mentioned, that, however vividly ‘hauntological’ the sticker albums that form the initial, essential level of source material may be, are inevitably subject to & filtered through many layers of loss, over the course of the 38 years that have lapsed since the completion took place, was ‘live’ & ‘now’, & the pixelated image represents such haziness & ‘interference’ perfectly: certain names might remain, as do recollections of watching particular matches – the Final, West Germany versus Sweden on a Sunday evening before school again on the Monday, the latter part of the hosts, again, v Poland upon returning home from school one afternoon, Holland v Brazil – but much has inevitably passed into generality.

Thus the appearance of this drawing is informed primarily by that of its direct source, the A4 colour print taken of a digital image of the original stamp, in its album, enlarged substantially from such source & therefore pixelating rather significantly in the process.
The pixel being a modular unit, of course, implies the arrangement of multiples in the form of a grid, our old modernist-minimalist friend of yore, & this is indeed the case with the source: the drawing, less rigorously, is influenced by this rather than slavishly imitating, at least in this reworked instance, & thus takes the form of a network of horizontal, vertical & ‘square’ marks that acknowledge the source, as does the range of colours used, where a distinct yellowing/pinking into individual unmixed modules occurs in the transition from smooth printed original to pixelated image.

This process being the formal subject of the drawing, the portrait subject then comes to resemble, again but in a different style, the first member of the Argentina squad to be represented, alphabetically, in the FKS album, Norberto Alonso.

Monday, October 08, 2012

World Cup '74 #2 (Roque Avallay)

coloured pencil & putty eraser/30x20cm

Surprisingly hot on the heels of the previous drawing (although keeping up a rate of production that should be necessary for the proposed ‘Project’ to take any such form) comes a second processed from the visual source material of a combination of an original stamp from the FKS-published collectors’ album ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ & an enlarged, A4 photocopy of, this time featuring the second member of the imagined Argentinian squad, alphabetically arranged, one Roque Avallay, who, in common with the initial/preceding player, was subsequently not actually chosen to represent his country at the tournament.
This being the case, & personal memories of the first real football action in which I took an interest being rather hazy in most of the particularities, although a few of the ‘exotic’ names have stuck, the ‘hauntological’ aspect of such a drawing relates to the generality of the 1974 World Cup rather than anything other pertaining to the portrait subject himself (of whom I’ve never previously even heard), but nonetheless the source material is most evocative & is imbued with its own especial vividness, even at almost 40 years’ distance.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

World Cup '74 #1 (Norberto Alonso)

Today the opposite of tomato is 'the jagged metal bad-life'

coloured pencil & putty eraser/30x20cm

Presenting today what is intended, ambitiously, to be but the first of a series of drawings processed from a combination of closely-related source material, being the sticker/stamp collections contained within two albums issued to celebrate the then-upcoming 1974 football World Cup, FKS’s ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974’ in all its original glory & the reproduction of Panini’s ‘Munchen 1974’, as have previously featured, relatively recently, & been duly enthused about as iconic examples & objects of nostalgic delight.

To reiterate, the portraits of then-contemporary footballers depicted upon these (sets of) stickers are imbued with a ‘hauntological’ quality that exerts an irresistible attraction – essentially the 1974 World Cup, with all its international glamour & intriguing names, was the point at which I belatedly, at least compared to school peers, developed an interest in & passion for football - hence their suitability, their insistence, in providing the visual matter from which to proceed with the planned drawing project.

The format the drawings, individually & as a series(-to-be), (will) take, is based upon a combination of the source stickers & album designs, primarily utilizing the portraits in the FKS album, replacing these with their Panini counterparts or alternatives when & where the latter might prove more appropriate to purposes.
The FKS album features regular squads of 16 players for each of the 16 competing nations (plus the inclusion of a 17th country, Spain, who had yet to settle the outcome of their play-off with subsequently-victorious Yugoslavia at the time the album went to press, evidently some time before the Finals took place), whereas the Panini album adopted a more ‘hierarchical’ approach, featuring 20 players to represent the powerhouses of West Germany (the hosts & subsequently winners), Brazil (the reigning champions) & Italy, 14 for 10 other countries & but 6 for the newcomer-‘minnows’ Australia, Haiti & Zaire: the ‘project’ as envisaged will follow the FKS pattern of 16 x 16 portrait drawings, but then might possibly expand to take in a further selection based on the Panini album’s inclusion of ‘excluded teams’ (i.e nations who failed to qualify for the tournament, such as Spain, & on this occasion England).

The first subject therefore, alphabetically the first player representing the first featured nation, is Norberto Alonso of Argentina who actually, it transpired, failed to make his country’s World Cup squad as subsequently chosen: an interesting side issue of the project is to compare the players depicted by the albums’ publishers with the official list of the 1974 squad, to note the omissions & replacements – one notes that such Argentinians as Carlos Babington & Rene Houseman, whose surnames seem to imply something of an English heritage & became fixed in the memory, are absent from the albums’ squads yet went on to appear at the tournament.
Nonetheless, the project will endeavour to represent the portraits as featured on the stamps & stickers, irrespective of whether the subjects were included in the actual playing squads, as finalized, for the competition.

Technically, as coloured pencil has become the most oft-used drawing medium over recent months, & given the nature of the coloured reproductions upon the source albums’ stamps/stickers, the process will be carried out using such means, which somehow seems appropriate for a project so rooted in childhood memory, being tools associated with drawing during such times. The immediate visual source for the drawings is a photocopy of the image from the album, enlarged by about 50%, with recourse also to the actual stamps/stickers themselves – these reproductions of reproductions inevitably experience some degree of colour difference in the process, & the ‘re-mediated’ drawings’ appearance is obviously informed by this.


Moon Wiring Club ‘Clutch it Like a Gonk’ & ‘A Spare Tabby at the Cat’s Wedding’
PiL ‘Metal Box’

A PiL sandwich, with the autumnal sounds of the Moon Wiring Club either side: mmm...most nourishing & satisfying.