The last physical free art drop I made was way back in March 2020. I didn’t think it was right to continue the game during lockdown, so apart from a few online drops – the project has been dormant for a while.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and as someone who has benefited from counselling to help with anxiety and depression – this feels like a good time to restart. The mental health charity Mind is inviting us all to do one thing for better mental health – and this free art drop is my one thing.
I’ve sprayed my newly commissioned ‘HumanKind’ design onto an LP – I’ll hide it somewhere in the neighbourhood over the weekend. This is the only time this design will be released as a free art drop – a unique opportunity to get your hands on one of my favourite recent pieces of work.
It feels good to be back – and I hope you will do something for better mental health too.
The first time Carole and I saw ELTEL perform, it was early 2017 and we were at an open mic night in The Brook. In all honesty, we weren’t sure what to make of them, two guys playing and singing a mix of their own kooky material, and reconstructed covers. After they’d finished performing we agreed that yes, this is our kind of music. We’ve seen them play several times since, becoming friends along the way.
ELTEL are now a trio, playing regularly in and around South London, Surrey and beyond. They’ve developed a really strong repertoire of material, they work hard and they’re great fun to go and see.
Here are some excellent photos of the band in full swing, taken by the very talented photographer, Shaun Duke.
Several months ago, the band approached me and asked if I would be interested in making the art work for the album cover. I agreed – and this is the work I handed to ELTEL towards the end of 2018. The album will be released in April 2019 and I can’t wait to hear it.
As the album launch nears, we’ve been thinking about ways to commemorate it, and after much discussion we’ve figured something out. Pressing vinyl copies of the album wasn’t possible this time around, but what if, instead of that, we made a limited edition vinyl junkie stencil and spray paint wall art instead?
After a few practice attempts, the design is finished.
We have decided to produce a limited edition run of this special vinyl, available to order until the end of April 2019. Each vinyl will be numbered and signed on the reverse by the band and the artist. Once the deadline has been reached and all the vinyl produced, the stencils will be destroyed, to protect the integrity of the limited edition. The cost of the vinyl is £25 plus £5 P&P in the UK, free delivery to SM5 and SM6 post codes, and free delivery to any of the three ELTEL launch party gigs. £5 from each sale will go to All in Wallington, who help organise a fantastic free local music festival every year.
To place your order, please send your money via PayPal to email@example.com – and if you prefer to pay by bank transfer, email me at the same address and I’ll message you the details. You have until midnight on April 30th 2019 to place your order. Thanks in advance for your support.
A story about trying something new, getting stuck, and moving on again.
“Nothing happens until something moves” Albert Einstein.
In April 2018 I made my first tentative steps into stencil cutting and spray painting. I used Record Store Day as the spark to cut and spray some simple lettering designs onto old LP records. The response to these initial pieces was positive, so I kept making, and the vinyl junkie project was born.
I began to develop my own lettering styles and experiment with different paint effects, and then I received my first vinyl junkie commission. I was learning lots about how painful on the fingers stencil cutting is, and how fiddly spray paint can sometimes be. I was enjoying the project, things were going well.
A couple of months later, while showing my work at the 2018 Carshalton Artists Open Studios, I received some unsolicited feedback on the vinyl junkie project. ‘It’s a bit A-level, a bit student. These aren’t very good, I think you should stop doing them’.
One of the things I experienced when I was at my lowest with stress and burnout, was a tendency to focus on the negative, and I took this feedback to heart. The open studios event was a success, but in the aftermath, I put the vinyl to one side, and stopped making. Every day I walked past a small stack of vinyl leaning in the studio doorway, and every day I did nothing about it. The vinyl shifted from something I really enjoyed using, to becoming an obstacle around which I skirted every time I passed through the doorway.
This went on for a while, until one day I accidentally kicked the pile, and some of the vinyl scattered on the floor. I restacked the pieces and carried on. Two days later, during my weekly counselling, I talked about this story, and concluded it was time to either restart the vinyl junkie project, or put it away and move on.
“Nothing happens until something moves” Albert Einstein
I decided to go again, and almost immediately after making the decision, a commission enquiry arrived, and that enquiry turned into this.
I was asked by some good friends to make something with a nod to the city of Cleveland where they live. I experimented with a few stencil cuts before settling on the one you see here, laid onto a starry night sky background. The piece on the right was a surprise thank you for my friends, incorporating letters of their names into a heart shape. Shortly after making these, I was approached by someone wanting a black cat vinyl. This black cat commission marked my first move into multi layered stencil cutting, and I am continuing to develop my practice with more layers, and different paint effects.
I’ve learned a few things from this experience:
Whilst I can’t stop unsolicited feedback – I don’t have to pay it any attention.
When giving feedback, I should ask if it is wanted first.
Getting stuck isn’t great, but it happens. When it does, remember that nothing happens until something moves.
Show your work.
What’s next for the vinyl junkie project? I don’t know, and I am open to commission enquiries so if you have any ideas, drop me a line and let’s talk.