See You In September!

Going down to Cornwall for a while….

Don’t worry, a neighbour will look after the guinea pig and the fish, and a kindly granny has the mice.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this fascinating piece of artistic history:-
thumbnail of Lenin chucking a Frisbee in the Duma
Lenin chucking a Frisbee in the Duma

This is an early trial version of the Russian art of retouching political photographs. The artist has decided to practice his technique using a painting that shows Lenin demonstrating his deadly frisbee skillz.
Photographic manipulation was still very expensive in those days, and so learners in the arts of graphic deception were encouraged to use the cheaper medium of oil paint to practice with.
However, with the passage of time, the strings holding up the frisbee in this picture are becoming more evident, and the artist’s trickery is exposed. It’s so obviously faked.

(Cliquez sur l’image pour l’agrandir Für vergrößerte Darstellung bitte anklicken cliccare sulle immagini per espanderle.)

Art & Design in The British Film # 10: Douglas Daniels

Continuing a series about Art Directors in the British film industry up to 1948, when the book containing these articles was published.

This chapter deals with Douglas Daniels.

thumbnail of My Brother Jonathan
My Brother Jonathan, 1948
Thora Hird had already been appearing professionally for 8 years before playing a part in this film!

His sets are always very finished in detail. He gets much of his effect by paying attention to details of character and craftsmanship. He says that perhaps the most interesting experience in film making is to him ‘the contact with the chaps whose handicraft is shown on the screen but whose names do not appear on the credits’.

thumbnail of My Brother Jonathan
Another beautiful line and wash drawing from My Brother Jonathan, 1948

thumbnail of My Brother Jonathan
From My Brother Jonathan, 1948

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Every drawing a masterpiece. My Brother Jonathan, 1948

IMDB only lists him as production designer or Art director for 8 films. It seems surprising to me that such a skilled draughtsman as Daniels should have had such a brief (14 year) career.

Here’s the biographic details from the book:- Continue reading

Samsung Dancers Become Human Pixels

Forget former French Prime Minister Edith Cresson’s infamous quote about the Japanese, just take a look at this exhausting video and try to banish from your mind any thoughts of these dancers from South Korea’s Samsung being treated as human pixels.

I find it difficult to get my head round the practicalities of putting on a “live” animation show such as this. It’s an utterly astounding production.

(No more YouTube videos for a while, I promise!)

ApeLad Makes Teh Internets Errors luls

thumbnail of Apelad HTTP Errors
(Click the thumbnails to enlarge)

You might remember a piece about Apelad that I posted in early July about his Alphabet of Monsters

ApeLad (AKA Adam Koford) has now completed another set of illustrations this time with a very nerdy / techie theme.

He has interpreted the error codes that you see when you can’t find a page (404)
thumbnail of Apelad HTTP Errors
(Error 404)

or when access is forbidden (403)
thumbnail of Apelad HTTP Errors
(Error 403)

He’s drawn many other more obscure errors that you rarely see unless you make a habit of inspecting your website server logs. Nobody’s idea of fun! You are invited to download them and use them on your site.

Adam / ApeLad acknowledges the influence of Goopymart, who illustrated a batch of image macros that had developed into full blown memes and threadbombs. Link 1 Link 2 Link 3.

That last link will take you to a site devoted entirely to cats saying cute and smart things, particularly about the technology surrounding the web, and delivering their quotes in a crazy feline / infantile / illiterate patois.
That patois is the basis of the humour in one of Adam / Apelad’s other sets on Flickr called The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats

You will have to read the background notes to this superb series of comic panels.

I offer you this one image as a teaser:
thumbnail of Laugh Out Loud Cats poster
The Origin of Laugh-Out-Loud Cats

Links to Adam Koford’s Hobotopia blog,
his website, and his acceptance to DRAWN

The Hole That Cost 1,400 Pounds (and counting)

Just over a year ago, a carpenter screwed down some floorboards that were part of a new bathroom in our old house.

He used “modern” floor boards made from large interlocking sheets of waterproof MDF, and he affixed them to the floor joists prior to laying the flooring.

Unfortunately, among the many dozens of screws needed to hold down the flooring, one went astray and penetrated a hot water pipe just below the MDF sheet, the screw’s thread effectively sealing the screw in to the pipe.

thumbnail of Punctured pipe
Click the thumbnail to enlarge.

You can see some tell-tale corrosion in the cut off remains of the copper pipe. The errant screw was such a good fit that it held itself in place in the pipe for over a year without leaking. When the screw did start to corrode, it did so slowly. Eventually, the tiny drip became a trickle, and the trickle one day decided to become a flood.

It flooded into the ceiling of the dining room below. That ceiling had been there since 1896, and it had been built from a lot of sand and a lot of mortar, pushed up into a matrix of thin wooden laths nailed to the underside of the joists. The ceiling was at least 1 inch thick, and there was more material squeezed above the lath.

This mass of sand and mortar was bonded with copious amounts of horsehair, which gave the ceiling great integrity.

Here’s a picture of a clump of hundred year-old horsehair, its beautiful russet colour perfectly preserved.

thumbnail of Horse hair bonding

When the plaster in the ceiling was fully saturated, the water started to leak down the electrical connection to the overhead light in the centre of the dining room below, and drip onto the floor with that persistent sort of sound that meant lots of buckets would be needed. Fortunately this happened in daylight. I was alone in the house. Lucky me. At least I had lots of buckets.

Long story short: It took eight days to demolish the one and a half tons of soggy sand and mortar, shovel it, bag it, re-cover the ceiling with plasterboard and a skim, then repair the walls, re-line and redecorate them, and haul the many rubble sacks down to the re-cycling centre. Fortunately, the weather allowed us to dine outside during this time.

The carpenter’s name was Toby. I never knew his surname. He’s a New Zealander. If you ever meet a Kiwi chippy called Toby, point him to this blog post and ask him whether I had adequately marked the sections of flooring with warnings in thick black marker pen about the pipes beneath.

Whatever you do, do not fill him up with beer the night before he starts work on your house.
It could cost you more than a couple of pints. It’s cost us (and our insurance company who have been wonderful considering that half the country has been under several inches of floodwater for a fortnight) 1,400 quid so far, and we’re still waiting for the ceiling light to be wired in.