A little time ago I was sitting in a cafe in Beijing in the Art District (The 798) and, after buying a replacement pen and a replacement book I, on a slight whim, decided to leave behind a little sketch for whoever could find it:
The hardest part was letting it go, understanding that I had no control over the piece, no right to put it in a nice frame, or restriction to stop staff throwing it in the bin. It was quite nerve-wracking just to walk away.
And that started the slow beginning of my Leave Behind project. From the first to the ninth I was still testing the water trying out this different pen to my normal and looking at the brown paper as though it was an alien surface. To aid my memory I took photos of each of them, giving me a timeline and a narrative of my trip, though focusing on my thoughts rather than an environment.
My first direct response, from a waitress at Mocha Bros, was compounded by my inadequate understanding of Chinese but her excitement at running it out the back into the kitchen gave the idea some merit.
From then on I've drawn many coming up to almost 300 leave behind sketches folded into tent shapes and deposited where I've had a chance to be seated.
From the literal consumption by a friends child:
to the first response outside of those sharing an evening or night with me:
And now to being recognized while in process of sketching I've had a good chance to leave them everywhere I go around Melbourne and other venues when I've visited.
I'm not stopping this project but all I can say is, if you want to try your own, don't hold back. Get out there and leave some art for the world. As the receiver on the piece once gave me the best compliment by saying that 'It had made their night.'
And if you do see me scribbling away at my A6 notepad there are only 2 rules if you want to take it. 1. If you haven't had one before just ask and you shall receive, first in of course. 2. If you already have received one, you can only take it when I'm not looking.
And so, I can now say that the Grade B project is now complete.
After all the blood, sweat and tears with only an addition of a further 6 months on the clock from the original plan the full mix of posters can now be seen.
From the start I thought this project would be complicated and with about 160 hours work on the full range I'm extremely happy with the full outcome. After finding each one took between five to eight hours work depending on the complexity I did think I'd bitten off more than I could chew.
From all the inspiration, all the work and the help that I've got over the past year and a half I can proudly say thanks to all those who supported me. It's been a roller coaster ride of a time but I'm proud to say it's all complete.
At this stage I'm resting but I would like to have an exhibition later in the year of the whole lot.
As well as this I will have a limited run of books made for anyone needing to learn the alphabet for the first time (or even as a refresher).
So, now the question is, what is your favorite of the whole series.
If you want to run through the whole lot again you can have a look at them on my site
For your chance to win a poster version of your favorite one. Post your favorite letter from the series below (Entries will also be accepted on Facebook)
As many of you may already know, I'm not one to shy away from a project, in fact Lucky is happy to tell you that I tend to commit myself to too much. But I tend to think that if I stop doing something to keep my mind active then I'll go insane.
Regardless of that I've got quite a few projects on the go for the year already and I think I should probably list them then stew a little on my self imposed workload.
1. Grade B - Alphabet Movie Poster Series
Every second Monday for 2013 I will be releasing an alphabet poster (A is for...., B is for ...., etc.) in the style of a B grade movie poster. The first, A is for Attack of the Alien Bombshells , has been released:
All posters are available for sale but there is a limit of only 10 per letter. Click through the Red Bubble Contents Page to the poster you want (when it's available) Alternatively you can buy postcards and greeting cards of the designs.
2. Archibald Prize Entry - Jessica Madden
This is the first I've officially announced this but I'm going to put an entry in for the Archibald Prize with the subject as my friend Jessica Madden (Tremp). The Archibald is said to be the pre-eminent competition of portraiture paintering in Australia but I'm really looking at this as a challenge for the first three months of the year.
The subject is intended to be an artist and can be a self-portrait but requires you to have had a sitting with the subject that I completed early last year while sitting next to her dog Soda. You may recognise the name from other posts I've done or just from her being a highly talented and well known photographer, but I'm really looking forward to enjoying putting this piece together (as big as it becomes.)
I hop to have the piece completed before the end of February so I'll keep you all updated with the progress and the final option.
3. HIVE - Tile-set Art
What would it be for a year without something entirely out of left field and HIVE is a project I didn't see coming but am really happy to be working on it.
HIVE is a role playing video game being written and developed by a friend of mine, Dave, and he was looking for assistance in a tile set artists. Essentially this will involve working with tile-sets, patterns and creating artwork for the world.
A while back, while watching the waves at the beach I started imagining giant creatures slowly wandering through the surf. This idea kept on floating back and forward until I started to get the idea together for a book and the idea still hasn't left my head.
The story, about a boy of 16 traveling on the top of a giant mechanical contraption, known as a nautical, over the waters of the Mediterranean has not left my head and every day new ideas pop in about the world, the mythology of the creatures and the ways that the rest of the world would respond.
I'm hoping to start getting art out and about after the next six months but like all my projects, if I don't happen to get it done then nothing will happen but while the idea sits in my head it's easiest to get the concepts out.
And that's 4....
If you have any questions on the four I'm more than happy to answer them, just place a comment below.
but wait there may be more:
Ukelele design (Pimp my Uke - Melbourne Ukelele Festival)
1 Niece is turning 3 and so get a personally designed book each.
The school of faces is still going (but has been put on hiatus, at least for a few months)
Sketchbooks from 27 onwards
So as you can see there are a few things on my plate, a few things more than I expected but nothing that can't be finished if I have a Delorean and a Hoverboard.
I'd like to ask the help of anyone out there to find my sketchbook #13 and I'm going to post this out to a few different places but I'm going to try and get it back again to make my collection whole again.
About 2 years ago I left one of my sketch books #13 on a seat at Flinders Street Station and it sailed off into the unknown. And while I don't have much of an idea of the contents I do remember that the back of the book has a hand drawn poker chip with the number 13 on it (for luck of course).
Rough impression of what it looks like.
The sketchbook itself is about half full (as far as I remember) and is, as all the others, an A5 sized visual diary with a black plastic cover. As far as I can remember it, it was a 100 sheet(they market them as 200 pages) book and all the sketches in it will have been created in pen, as per my other sketches.
I know it could already be in a landfill in a Werribee Refuse centre but I am hoping for luck to be on my side.
So the big thing that I'm throwing out there is a reward of $100(Australian) and a personal sketch for the person who brings it to me, or multiple sketches if there happens to be more than one person helping.
If you are holding out for a bigger reward I can possibly offer some stationary from desk drawer but other than that I'm pretty much out.
I don't know whether this will help but I really would like to have all 27 books back in my hands. Also If you can send this around, I'd appreciate it too.
If you have any questions please post below. I'll answer them as succinctly as possibly.
p.s. I do apologise to all international and interstate viewers. Though if you do find it somewhere I will still give you the reward. (and may have to write a story based on it)