I've been sorting through some old backup disks, and I found some things from over a decade ago, and being a generous sort, I thought it might be quite nice to share a variety of work and photographs, and the memories they stir, with you all. So I guess if you are interested in seeing where I was and what I was doing a little over ten years ago, read on.
Around thirteen years ago, I had a little studio on Market street in Birkenhead called New Age comics. Being modest, I thought I was going to be bigger than Neil Gaiman, writing and producing my own comic books.
The area was being revitalized as an arts quarter, and I remember that my studio was next door to some multi media exponent. I never quite figured out what it was they did, other than a penchant for illegal substances.
One night, the local council threw a big shin-dig, and invited a bunch of cronies over to review there investments, and whilst I had wine and Phillip Glass playing, my neighbours had a rave-all flashing lights and banks of make shift monitors showing bad 3d. I was greatly amused to see these old ladies and men in tweed jackets, horrified by the coked out throng in there.
I also remember some artist with another studio,who had crocheted a huge vagina at entrance of the door.
What a shame I don't have pictures of that.
In the foreground are copies of the first issue of Post Mortimer which I self published. I've no idea how I scratched a living, probably bits of graphics and such, but I think I had around 200 copies made, which I managed to sell out on. It garnered some great review's in Comics world etc, and luminaries like Al Davison and Steve Bissette contacted me to tell me how much they loved it. The paintings you see on the wall were enlarged frames from the comic-sort of Lichtenstienesque I guess.
The first issues cover, which was fairly confrontational for a front cover at the time. It came from a dream I'd had were all the babies had been born with a congenital absence of eyelids, and I wrote the nightmare into the protagonists story. The tale was about an ageing mortician called Mortimer with a fear of his own mortality, and an unnaturally unrequited yearning for one of his corpses. I called it Post Modernist techno angst in a cardigan.What a pretentious tosser I was.
The second issue cover, and the issue that broke me. I did another 200 run of the first issue, and had 500 of these printed. I also tried to make it regular comic book format, little realising that what made the first one stand out (other than its scary cover) was its odd size. Still, its better than the first issue, and though it didn't sell as well as the first, the plaudits kept coming so I battled on to finish the third and final issue.
Unfortunately, the rent was killing me, and I had to move to a new location-a shared space with a band and a dance troupe.The drawing above is a view out of the window. Very entertaining, but not conjusive to business, because I wasn't as visible anymore. In the end I conceded to get a proper job-such is life. I'd still love to publish all three issues into a graphic novel someday.
Below are some never before seen pages from the third issue...
Below is a picture taken a week before I moved out of the studio, taken by photographer and my best friend at the time John Liddy. I look about twelve, and I was pretty stressed that day and perturbed because he'd turned up unannounced, just to snap some shots. John was bisexual and I guess he had a bit of a thing for me. It was cool, we were still best friends, Afterward's, we went to the Copperfield pub across the road and had a blazing row about something. It was one of the last times I saw him, because pretty soon afterward, he had a massive heart attack and died.
Beneath are the two self portraits I did around the time of his death. Things were going badly during my first marriage, and I would get tanked up on Southern Comfort and lemonade, and whatever else I could get my hands on-I think I was on peroxetine which is an anti depressant too. Looking at them now, the images are fairly visceral and filled with self loathing, but I really like the abandoned way I threw the paint on.
You can't tell from the scan,but the first one has a bunch of journal pages I'd ripped up and pasted to the canvas before painting over them. The rest of my journals I burned in a midnight BBQ
At weekends, I'd to take long introspective walks on Bidston Hill, which was close to were I lived, and one hot summer some kids had set fire to the brush there, and one particular Sunday, I was taken with how much the landscape seemed to reflect my inner turmoil perfectly. 'Disposition on the Hill' was the result.
Meanwhile, because of the cocktail of substances I was using at the time and my own mortal unrequited yearnings for someone, I painted these two fragile musings called 'The Liar' and 'The Lover'.
Finally, throughout my life, I've always kept sketchbooks, a majority of which sit collecting dust in my mothers attic, but the pages overflow with visual snapshots, be it of my kids asleep, family visits or my surrealist renderings of the time.
I hope you've enjoyed my little retread through my past, and perhaps one day I'll post some more.