Wednesday, 15 November 2017

VINTAGE ENGLAND v BRAZIL!

A glimmer of optimism for English footie fans could be on the horizon, as the kids shone in our recent friendlies with Germany and Brazil.

Have a look below at this fantastic original match ticket from another encounter with Brazil in 1956.
This is from the ArtPix Archives and will be on sale soon!!



Brilliantly, England won 4-2!

Wembley was packed to the rafters as 97,000 turned up to see some of England's most famous players take on the Brazilians. The team sheet included the magnificent Stanley Matthews, Billy Wright and Johnny Haynes.

Manchester United's Tommy Taylor and Colin Grainger of Sheffield United both grabbed two goals as the home side triumphed.

Taking a closer look at the ticket, it appears that although the match was on a Wednesday, it kicked off at 3pm. I imagine quite a lot of the crowd had sneakily phoned in sick that day to get to the game!!
The price of 3/6 is roughly, according to one website, £6-16p in today's money, peanuts for a top game like that.

Below is the full line-up that day:
ENGLAND v BRAZIL 
Wednesday, May 9th 1956
Reg MATTHEWS (Coventry City)
Jeff HALL (Birmingham City)
Roger BYRNE (Manchester United)
Ronnie CLAYTON (Blackburn Rovers)
Billy WRIGHT (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Duncan EDWARDS (Manchester United)
Stanley MATTHEWS (Blackpool)
John ATYEO (Bristol City)
Tommy TAYLOR (Manchester United)
Johnny HAYNES (Fulham)
Colin GRAINGER (Sheffield United)



However the match is tinged with sadness, as three of the team that day would be killed by the Munich Air Crash less than 2 years later on 6th February 1958. The Manchester United players Duncan Edwards, Roger Byrne and the goalscorer Tommy Taylor all lost their lives.





Saturday, 11 November 2017

ARMISTICE DAY

On November 11th I usually go to the Cenotaph in London to pay my respects, but this year was very different. 

As I now live on the Isle of Portland, I today went along to my local War Memorial at the top of the hill on Portland. It is a stunning location, with sweeping views across Chesil Beach and the Jurassic Coast.

The dark and threatening skies and howling wind added to the dramatic feel of the moment. And just like in London, when the whole of Whitehall falls silent at 11am, the small troop of people huddled around the huge obelix of Portland stone perfectly observed the two minute silence.

Portland's War Memorial

The amazing view from the memorial.

Just some of the names inscribed on the side of the obelix.

Two poppies to remember.


I always like to finish with a Siegfried Sassoon poem on November 11th, and as we are still acknowledging the centenary of all the major events of the First World War, here is one of his poems entitled Two Hundred Years After.

Trudging by Corbie Ridge one winter's night,
(Unless old hearsay memories tricked his sight)
Along the pallid edge of the quiet sky
He watched a nosing lorry grinding on,
And straggling files of men; when these were gone,
A double limber and six mules went by,
Hauling the rations up through ruts and mud
To trench-lines digged two hundred years ago.
Then darkness hid them with a rainy scud,
And soon he saw the village lights below.

But when he'd told his tale, an old man said
That he'd seen soldiers pass along that hill;
'Poor silent things, they were the English dead
Who came to fight in France and got their fill.'


©Siegfried Sassoon

Friday, 10 November 2017

FRANCE IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR

This is my tribute to the French in the First World War.



Having visited France many times and picked up various bits and pieces, I've always wanted to create an artwork to commemorate the country's experience of the war.

All the images used are drawn entirely from my own collections and photographs. 

The war rocked France, and as their territory was being invaded in 1914 they learnt bitter lessons in modern warfare. Their armies were still wearing traditional red and blue uniforms as if fighting 19th Century campaigns. But they learnt fast, as the new Poilu grey/blue uniform encapsulated the spirit of stubborn resistance.

One word can define France's First World War: Verdun.

The Germans attempted to capture the strategic forts on the hills in front of the town of Verdun in 1916, pinpointing the town as a symbolic part of French culture. 

The French resisted, but the price was incalculable. 

It almost destroyed the country and its army, and if anything sums up the folly and utterly senseless slaughter of the war then this is it. 
I've read all about the battle, but I could never find the right words to describe what happened to the people involved. Whenever I go to France I think of Verdun and I'm gripped with sadness. It was worse than the Somme and Passchendaele and had catastrophic implications when France was invaded again in 1940. 

For this collage I've gathered together various pieces that I've either bought in France or over here. I have quite a few medals and postcards and a few unusual bits.
I've also trawled through my photos to find the many French war memorials I've seen in towns and villages. 
I've noticed their memorials can be striking and bold. Often featuring defiant soldiers, with heads held high, they are artistically much more inventive than our own. Inside churches, they also have colourful and elaborate plaques and memorials.
I'm very pleased to finally have put this together, especially in time for Armistice Day.
Have a look below for a few of the items that I've used.

Items related to the Battle of Verdun. The Michelin guide book to the battlefield sites from 1921. Inside I found this map showing where the forts and the front lines were. Amazingly the person who owned the book would have picked up this map while touring the area, a lovely authentic touch.
The medal is The Verdun Medal, an unofficial medal initially awarded to the soldiers who served there. There are seven different versions, but this is the 1st issue by Vernier.

An original postcard of the basilica in the French town of Albert, which was behind the lines of the Somme battlefields. In 1915 the golden statue of Mary on top of the building was hit by a German shell and got stuck in this position. Legend soon sprung up that if it fell off the war would end. It finally went in April 1918, but the war would go on another seven months.                

 A rare French army postcard. Sent to a Monsieur Adrien Bayle, presumably by a relative who was in a hospital.

 Henri Barbusse. The French author who wrote the famous book Le Feu (Under Fire) in 1916. Having joined up aged 41, he served for 17 months and endured all war could bring, thus writing his enraged and detailed account.

Although this shell fuse is British, it was dug up from the Western Front in France. The 'iron harvest' is still a common sight on the battlefields. 

 The French Victory Medal. All the Allies awarded their soldiers one of these and each country had their own version. This is the reverse of France's medal.

 An example of a striking French war memorial, time hasn't weathered this defiant Poilu.


The image of the soldier I've used in this artwork, was from a tiny photograph I picked up in a brocante fair in Auvergne last year. I've done a little bit of research on it, which I'll share with you another day, watch this space!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

NEW STOCK!

Got some exciting new bits to put in my unit at The Customs House at West Bay in Dorset!

Below is a selection of the goodies on offer, which of course all make fantastic Xmas pressies!!!


The classic game Master Mind is always a favourite! This one is from 1972 and comes with the original instructions.





These rare Photographers Maps are made by Kodak and date from the 1950s. They are gorgeous maps and I've never, ever seen any of these before!




Great book about the legendary band produced by WH Smith in 1984. It has plenty of pix of the Fab Four.




One of the brilliant books from the I-Spy range. This copy of the History edition dates from 1968.




I've always got loads of retro football stuff in the unit, now including this brilliant book on Arsenal, covering the club's first 100 years.




This lovely annual from 1974 features all the timeless Walt Disney characters you can think of!

So come on down now and check it all out before everything gets snapped up!!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

PROJECTS ON THE GO!

Just a quick update on the many things going on in the ArtPix Studio at the moment!

Work is progressing nicely on my latest decoupage idea. I recently bought a lovely 1930s bedside cabinet and decided to give it a unique Art Deco twist. I've sanded it down and painted it black and I'll soon be adding a decoupage of amazing 30s theatre magazines to the top of it.
The cabinet before the work started!

Got through a few sheets of sandpaper!

I've also started a couple of brand new digital collages, each with completely different subjects.
One is a crazy one based in Portland and the other is a tribute to France during the First World War, which I'm hoping to finish in time for November 11th.


The reverse of the French Croix de Guerre medal, awarded to soldiers who served in the First World War.

Another very exciting project I've got is coming up with ideas for posters and visuals for an event in London. The combined forces of Arcane Publishing and Oil54 are to hold another feast of music and literature next February and plans are already well under way!

So stay tuned right here for updates on all these things!!!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Despite the horrific commercialism of this event, the roots are deeply embedded in Britain's mysterious Pagan past.

And luckily for me, I live in the deliciously dark Dorset, so I can see evidence of that not-so-forgotten era all around me.

This is my suitably unsettling Halloween picture for today, put together entirely with my own photos of unusual things and places around Dorset.





Sunday, 29 October 2017

BLADE RUNNER 2049

It is with some relief that I can say the new Blade Runner film is absolutely outstanding!

Like many, my heart sank when I first heard of the sequel being made, as the original was such a stand-alone classic.
The revered 1982 movie has been such an influence to so many people, and is rightly regarded as one the best sci-fi films ever made.

The new film though can proudly sit alongside it and is easily a worthy continuation.

The epic cinematography, sprawling and crawling cityscapes, paranoia, technology, human condition, bleakness are all achieved with a quiet and understated air.


I then managed to dig out my old VHS video of the original film!



On the cover they've put Harrison Ford holding a gun (still standard Hollywood practice, to feature guns), drawn in a strangely dated 70s action comic style illustration. Sean Young though is looking like those weird airbrush paintings that you'd always see in the 80s! She's also having a crafty fag, which you would definitely NOT see in Hollywood now!!



This alien piece of technology is of course the not-very-missed video cassette!!
Which once you've watched the film, hoping it wouldn't mess up half-way through, you would have to rewind the tape. The video player would then become this crazed machine as it made a terrible racket, sounding like it would fly out of the window at any moment! After that you would have to troop back to Blockbuster Video to give it back, happy days!!