Friday, 9 November 2012

People Whose work I admire: 3 Tattoo Glass by Tom Spencer

Tom Spencer. "Ooo the Farks 'e then?"

For those of you not familiar with the modern Hounslow parlance, the above question put forward by my friend Kay roughly translates as 'I have never heard of this artist, please tell me more about him'. Which is exactly what I'm going to do in this post.

I first saw Tom's work in the B&B Project Space when his lovely Mrs left some fliers after doing a Club Shepway event or a Lady Lucie photo shoot. I can't remember which.

I think the image on the postcard was this one:

It pretty much blew me away how beautifully a traditional technique could be used with much more modern imagery to create such a fantastic piece of work, and it kind of struck a chord with me (I'm a sucker for traditional workmanship done to a high standard) and inspired me to put into practise an idea that had been swilling round my head for some time; Embroidery techniques plus tattoo imagery = Tattoo Tapestry:
Unfortunately the Emily Peacock Tapestry company beat me to it when it came to getting tattoo imagery tapestry kits out on to the market (grrr!) and then every f***er started doing it. But I'd like to churlishly point out that I thought of it first! Anyhow to cut a long story short, the Tattoo Tapestry episode was part of what made me decide that life was just too short to be stuck in an office job and I should just do what I want. So Thank You Tom.
Tattoo Glass can be seen everywhere from The Crobar in London, Tattoo Shops up and down the country to private houses and everywhere in between.
This giant glass window is in The Crobar, Soho.

I believe this piece was part of a Libertys window display, and is now in The Intrepid Fox pub.

This gorgeous panel was made for Feline Tattoo Studio, Sheffield. I want it.
It would be really, really hard to pick a favourite Tattoo Glass piece, so I'll post a few images and let you decide which ones you like best.
One day I'll get a panel made for me and Herman the cat just like this.

It's the little details that make all the difference - my favourite bit of this sugarskull is the Newky Brown eyes.
Everybody needs a Pirate Ship & bottle of Rum.
A Mermaid Panel done for the R.A.R.E. (Rock & Roll Expressionists) show at Resistance Gallery, which I went to. Each artist was also a gigging musician, we got to see people such as Vince Ray, Gaye Advert and Tyla play as well as look at their artwork (although I think my brother was more interested in the charms of 'Bonette' Miss Miranda than the artwork or bands).


Hand painting panels before insertion.

Some very lucky person's front door.
Tom's website for Tattoo Glass is here. He takes commissions for any size and budget, and exhibits regularly in the UK. See the site for more pictures of his work & news on events & shows.
When he's not cutting his fingers on sharp bits of glass, inventing cocktails or trying to board Thames Houseboats Pirate style at 3am (a story for another day) Tom is also a pretty shit-hot musician. A (small) selection of his current & previous bands are below:
The Yo-Yo's video for Sunshine Girl from about 2000 - also starring a gorgeous Black Cat:
My Loyalties favourite, Sofa Surfin' UK live and very noisy!
And the awesome Banjoey Ramone - who me, Malicious Opera & Sweary Seagull have vowed to see but, um, somehow haven't quite got round to yet.... We're busy OK?!?
 So Kay, I hope that answers your question, and before you ask, No he's not one of the Lostprophets, and yes, at 14,592 he has has more hits on youtube than you (Public Health Warning - you may need earplugs to watch the last link!).

Have a good weekend Folks, and don't forget to Rock N' Roll! I'm off to the Windfarm Christmas Annual launch, and to find out why half the Kent Police force are parked on my street. See ya!


As a footnote I'd like to point out that the Koi Carp panel (below) was stolen from The Old Cinema in Chiswick two weeks ago. It wasn't insured so is a massive loss to Tom. If anyone sees it doing the rounds in the art world please contact Tom (his website is here)


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Born Schizophrenic - a Young Girls Story

I came across this video about a young girl with schizophrenia from birth, whilst randomly looking for something else and became fascinated, not in a morbid way, but with the difficulties and bravery faced every day by this family. I watched the Oprah special on this little girl, but It was not as good or insightful as the five part 'Born Schizophrenic' documentary below.
Childhood Onset Schizophrenia is rare, but not unheard of; there other children with similar or the same diagnoses as Jeni shown in the 5 part documentary below.
The footage taken of Jeni as a baby appears to show her seeing hallucinations in other parts of the room, so it is thought she has had this condition since birth.
Wednesday is a Rat, and 400 is a black cat who both hurt Jeni by biting, scratching and hitting Jeni until she obeys them and hurts someone else. The 'lucid' part of her knows this is 'wrong' but the psychosis and hallucinations are so strong that telling her that Wednesday, 400 et al are not real would be like me telling you that you are not real.
What is truly incredible here is the way the family have stuck together and trusted their own instincts to treat their little girl; it was recommended at 7 years old that Jeni be taken away to live in a psychiatric facility for her own and the family's safety. Her parents refused to allow this to happen as they wanted to be part of their little girls life, so they came up with a novel solution; they would live in two different apartments, one for Jeni and the parent acting as 'carer' which was set up like the hospital ward she often recovered in, and one set up for their baby boy Bodi, so that he could grow up in as normal environment as possible whilst he was too young to understand his sisters violent episodes.
The parents worked as a 'tag-team' for about 3 years, to bring their children up (whilst Mr Schofield had a full time job! The family are now united again and living in one apartment together, and it would seem that their unusual approach has paid off, with the two children having a good relationship with each other. Unfortunately it now looks like the youngest, Bodi, may have some symptoms of Schizophrenia, on top of Autism.

The family have set up a charity 'The Jani Foundation' to highlight the plight of Children with mental illnesses or disorders and the lack of services available to them. From what I've read of it, Michael's blog seems particularly interesting as it is well written, honest and insightful.
There is also a book 'January First', which I will be looking out for. You can read an excerpt here.
I'll let you watch the documentary and make up your own mind. It is difficult viewing in parts but very touching.

The Top 5 Internet Cats. Meow!

Another list. This time of the best Internet famous cats that you should all know about!
(It's my blog & i'll post what I want to OK?)
1. Lil Bub!

The amazing, adorable polydactly dwarf kitty who has come from outer space to save us all!

Bub has one extra toe on all her paws, plus two opposable thumbs on each front paw, she also has a rare genetic mutation which means she is a 'perma-kitten' and will forever remain small, as well as being a dwarf with incredibly short legs and a long body. In addition she never grew teeth (don't worry, her appetite is fine) and her lower jaw is smaller than usual, hence the tongue.

She is a happy healthy cat and lives in Indiana, USA with her 'Dude'.

Here's a video of Lil Bub at the park. Her facebook page can be found here.

2. Colonel Meow

One of the grumpiest kitties on the net, Colonel Meow likes scotch, treaties and planning world domaination. He hates Boo and the Vet. He is a Himalayan and lives in the USA with his 'Master' and a golden retriever called Boots, who doubles as his bodyguard/henchman.

He has an adoring army of Minions who send in fan art, honouring his grumpiness in all it's glory.

 Join the Colonel's Army here.

3. Anakin the Two Legged Miracle cat.

Anakin is a beautiful little kitten, born without any back legs or pelvis. He was part of a feral colony living in the woods in Florida, and was rescued by his current owner from near her Dad's place of work. It is not known why he has no pelvis & back legs, but his x-ray is below.

The owner has set up a facebook & Frequently Asked Questions page for Ani, originally for family and friends, but like all things facebook, it has gone worldwide!

Below is a video which shows how Anakin walks, and that he plays like any normal happy, healthy kitty.


4. Oskar the Blind Cat

Oskar the blind Cat lives with his brother and best buddy Klaus. I believe they are moving to Seattle for Christmas, so good luck with that boys!

Oskar has been blind from birth, but his other 4 senses are very well developed.

This is his brother Klaus.
Oskar and Klaus model their own range of designer cat ties and other goodies here.
I love this Rebels with Fuzzy Paws logo!
5. Henri the Existentialist Philosopher
Henri makes me laugh out loud. Another Seattle resident, a selection of his videos art house shorts are here:
Paw de Deux
Le Vet
Henri on Politics:
And I think the BEST EVER YET Henri film, L'Haunting

"No one ever dresses as Crippling Self-Doubt...."

Kitties of the Internet, I Salute You!


As a footnote; the Walker Art Centre in Minnesota recently held an 'Internet Cat Video Film Festival' which included some of the above mentioned moggies.

'Henri 2: Paw de Deux' was awarded the Golden Kitty award by Walkers website viewers.

For more info on the festival see this NY Times article or the Walker Art Centre website.

The Film Fest was so successful it has now started touring to other parts of the States!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Saturday Night Shopping List!

 I'm ill and in bed, so will bore you (and entertain myself) with a virtual shopping list.
1. A Vintage Welsh  Blanket
like this apricot and fuschia number

or this gorgeous unused gold and black one.
2. Grey wool cable knit throw
This one is from Jane Beck Welsh Blankets
 or maybe one of these from a&R cashmere (i'm liking the Paprika colourway).
3. A Chris Bourke lino print
Maybe 'Storm in a Teacup' (also available as a screen print for a very reasonable £20)

4. A Wardrobe
Vintage like this one

or maybe just a simple but modern one like this (anything is better than the current hanging rails!)
5. More Sewing Machines
a nice singer overlocker so I can make Katwise style coats! (with her tutorial purchased off Etsy of course)
this incredibly Kitsch coral sewing machine
 or and a beautiful vintage one.
6. A Microwave
may as well go for this stylish DeLonghi number (mine has a spot of rust)
7. A Roberts Revival Radio
8. Books on J.G. Posada's Artwork

9. Skull Knitting needles from Punk Knits
available from Punk Knits $19 including postage (i'm gonna get me some net time I have ££'s)
10. Brown Leather boots
They have to be calf length and they have to be chocolate brown
Dr Martens Mirage boots *sigh*
I'm size 8 by the way.
11. Leopard Print Vans
 12. A Bycicle
a Pashley Brittannia or Princess would be lovely, but any dutch style town bike will do.
13. This Leopard Print Ring
Gold and Citrine. Price on application from The Great Frog
14. A Set of Ceramic Moomins
so that I can pretend to be Tove Jansson and pose like this.
15. A Tattoo Glass lightbox or window panel.

Yep Tom, I want some of your art.
16. This Felicity Hall clutch bag kit
17. A Cat Radiator Bed
 Doesn't that look like the most content kitty in the world?
PS, Santa I have been good this year..... Honest!