I made a 24 second animation in my studio using 3 old paste ups of flying meat wagons that work well as a sequence. Each frame is then painted and photographed until only the blue wall remains.
This is the first and probably not the last post that I’ll be making on the coming shit-storm that is ‘AI’ and its rapid encroachment into the creative realm.
Over the last month I have read a lot of articles from writers and artists on how these new tools are going to affect their lives but by far the most entertaining one is this piece from Catherynne Valente.
Santa Pigeon is coming to town
I designed this poster for the last Christmas Market that we’ll be having in our Studios on Tower Street.
There will be other studios in the future but no one likes a move and we love this place.
For our first Christmas Market I made this cut out giant Santa Pigeon that was stuck to the wall in the theater so it seemed fitting to use this pigeon as the mascot for the final show before the curtains close on this place.
If you are in town, come down. I think its going to be pretty weird/hectic/magical.
Art and how it works
What’s he building in there? (redux)
You know when you think that you have done something but that just turns out to be a lie that a part of your brain has told another part of your brain?
I really thought that I had uploaded these images from my last exhibition but it turns out that was just one of those lies from one side of the brain to the other.
Sorry about that.
Here are some shots from ‘What’s He Building In There?’
I do like to be besides the apocalypse
I found this old short story on a hard drive when searching for an old painting of Hastings Pier on fire.
As far as I remember, I wrote this story straight after waking up and this was an attempt to write a dream sequence down as a short story rather than a rambling dream narrative.
What strikes me about this story (and this is the reason I am posting this here) is the amount of ideas and themes in this short piece of writing that permeate my visual work.
Without spoiling any surprises, this story is loaded with apocalypse humor and dream logic but the important thing to know before reading is that, although there are waves in the English Channel there is absolutely nowhere to surf in Hastings.
It was a hot day in Hastings. Everything was either too bright or too dark as if someone had been fucking about with the contrast dials on the telly after stumbling home from the pub late at night. The shadows were etched into the pavement, harsh and hard, the copper plate of the world having been left in the acid bath just a few hours too long.
The sky sparkled and fragmented like a low-rez .jpg.
On the promenade people stood about staring out to sea, eating ice-cream, walking dogs and dragging kids, carrying spades and buckets and deckchairs, all looking as if they’d had been cut straight from picture postcards.
Two people crashed the scene. Between them they had a bicycle and two surfboards. The pair had inexpertly strapped the boards to the bicycle and, what had earlier seemed like a genius haulage solution was now a slow progress marred by swearing and bruises.
The pair wore wetsuits which, in the heat, was akin to wearing an extra skin made entirely of pins and needles.
‘Simon, this isn’t working.’ One of them said, staring down the bicycle as if it were to blame for the heat and sweat and bruises. Simon pushed on, heedless.
On the promenade overlooking the beach, rows of deckchairs housed old men who sat holding binoculars to their eyes, fedoras on their laps as they slowly masturbated to the harvest of young female flesh that sunbathed below them. In the distance a yellow bus rounded onto the seafront with all the finesse of a dying bumble bee.
‘The bus! Simon, the bus!’
Simon looked up from the handlebars, a grin breaking across his sunburnt face. Deftly Simon pulled at the straps that held the boards to the bicycle and within seconds the whole thing fell apart. The bicycle lay discarded as the pair ran, surfboards tucked under their arms, heads bowed, bare feet slapping against the melted tarmac that would keep an imprint of their toes for hours to come.
As they ran the cue of people getting onto the bus, all colour smudges and liquefied faces, got shorter. Still the pair ran. They ran as greyhounds after a stuffed toy rabbit. They ran as if Running for a Bus Carrying Surfboards was an Olympic sport.
Simon reached the bus just as the doors were hissing closed and he shoved the nose of his board between them.
‘Wait!’ The other called and the doors reluctantly opened to reveal a porcine driver trussed in blue sat sweltering inside a plastic cage.
‘Two returns to White Rock, please.’ The Other smiled, turning on the charm as Simon, unable to believe they had actually caught the bus, panted bedsides him.
‘You’ll have to pay for the boards too.’ The driver said, his light blue shirt running with rivers of aquamarine sweat.
‘They’re under sixteen.’
‘The surfboards, they’re under sixteen. So they get kids fares?’
‘Ok.’ The driver said, wiping his forehead as he poked the numbers into the ticket machine. ‘That’ll be 8 pound forty.’
The Other smiled. Simon smiled. They looked at each other. Up and down. Surfboards. Leashes trailing on the sun-baked pavement. Wetsuits. They patted themselves; vainly searching for pockets they knew weren’t there.
‘Er… we don’t have any money.’ The Other said, his charm school smile curling up and crawling away.
‘Well, fuck off then.’ The driver replied, closing the double doors and driving off, up the seafront towards where the waves were.
‘Simon, you ok?’
Simon looked crestfallen, holding his board close like a shield; he was a Saxon warrior, standing over the body of his fallen king. He just couldn’t fathom that they had both won golds in the Running for a Bus Carrying Surfboards race only to have the medals cruelly snatched from their hands.
‘We’ll walk, Simon. It’s not that far, it’s just past the…’
The Other looked down seafront to where a red and black scar tore at the fabric of the universe.
In the distance the white stilted mass of Hastings Pier seemed to be on fire. Simon looked. Black and red with streaks of yellow curling into the blue like some macabre Spanish dance. The matador fighting the bull in an orgy of blood and soot. Hastings Pier was on fire.
The tower of smoke seemed to turn down the too bright sun and even though people continued to stroll with their kids and dogs and buckets and spades, and even though the old men carried on wanking over the sun bathers, the general seaside idyll had taken a turn for the worse.
‘Oh, I do like to be besides the apocalypse.’
‘Simon, your camera…’ The Other said, knowing full well Simon had left the camera, along with his wallet, back at the flat. He had just wanted to say something, to use his voice to prove, if not to himself then to the universe, that he was real and that physics was still in effect.
Hastings Pier had been a constant in his life. He had kissed his first girl in its shadow, projectile vomited on its deck, danced the night away in its manky ball room, dived off of the railings into the shallow waters below and slept under its decking more nights than he cared to remember. And now the pier was going up, the flames spreading faster as they consumed his memories, memories that were as dry and flammable as Victorian kindling.
‘Simon, your camera…’ He said again but Simon was walking off up the seafront. Simon couldn’t give a fuck about the pier or penny arcade nostalgia.
Simon only cared about the waves.
The Forbidden Emoji: Behind the scenes
Many years back, when our art collective first moved into Vault Artist Studios, I made this street art piece for our first big art festival.
Afterwards I had quite a few inquiries about turning this piece into a painting or screen print but I knew that it would never work in the form I had created it so hid the idea in the back of my head for a later date.
Recently I started work on an experimental sculpture exhibition called What’s He Building in There and the first piece I created for it was a large painting on canvas of the Forbidden Emoji piece.
From there it was a bit of a hop-skip-n-jump to actually getting around to creating a screen print but with a bit of paint sweat and swears I got there in the end.
This is the first proper editioned screen print that I have created in quite a while and am really happy with the outcome even though the process took a few more years than it probably should have done.
For more details on this piece head over to https://www.leoboyd.com/product/the-forbidden-emoji/
And for more information on the What’s He Building in There exhibition head over to https://www.leoboyd.com/2022/05/whats-he-building-in-there-2/
WHAT’S HE BUILDING IN THERE?
The first ever drawing I ever remember drawing was of me lying down in a cosy front room full of sofas and 70s hi-fi equipment and within that drawing of me drawing on a page I had drawn a smaller version of me drawing in the cosy room full of sofas and hi-fi equipment.
Cut scene and I have grown up a bit. I have grown into the kind of person who wants to be a comic artist. Not because I was particularly good at it but because I loved the way that one drawing could seamlessly bounce to the next and to the next and the next as if they weren’t pinned butterflies but part of a sequence that would just keep going until the sequence ended.
The artificiality of art is what I like.
Sequence jump. I am doing a BA in Bristol where they had these pretty fancy photocopiers. You used to have to buy credit to use the machines but many of the students worked out a hack where you could get unlimited credit. I was one of those students.
For a while I was obsessed by the idea that you could print a scale map of the whole entire world and wrap it around the planet and that shitty facsimile would be us with full sized photocopies of us living out our full sized photocopy lives.
Cut scene and computers are invented. They are silly things and we shall never mention them again.
Except to say. Computers allowed me to communicate with printers in a way that wasn’t available to me when I had all the photocopier credit.
Another seamless jump and I moved country and learnt to screen print. The squeegee is going back and forward and I am thinking ‘This is brilliant. I am like a machine.’ And for a minute there I was as content as a photocopier.
The artificiality of art is what I like but I like it to be obvious. I like to see the pencil lines, the offset registration marks, the machine wearing a ghost costume or the Wizard of Oz’s feet poking out from under the curtain.
By exposing the artifice within itself the mise en abyme (the picture of a picture within a picture) perfectly captures this celebration of artificiality.
In this exhibition I have combined computers, rubbish photocopiers, screen printing and cardboard cutouts to create a series of interactive scenes within scenes that invite the audience to become a part of the art work.
In as janky manner as possible this exhibition explores what Nietzsche never said when he never said ‘Battle not with photocopiers lest you become a photocopier and if you gaze into the mise en abyme, the mise en abyme gazes also into you.’
What’s He Building in There runs from the 27th of May until the 7th of June.
Opening night in Vault Artist Studio, from 6-9 pm on the 27th May.
Live t-shirt screen printing for the first hour.
Everyone welcome! Bring your own t-shirt or garment to get printed!
I wonder What He’s Building in there?
Maybe this video will help answer the question?
What’s He Building in there?
It is spring time and I am metamorphosing.
I am like a thing that goes in the ground and comes out as something else.
A light bulb?
For the last two weeks in May I will be working on an exhibition in the Vault Canteen Gallery.
Instead of just collecting together a bunch of unseen paintings and screen prints from my studio and sticking them to a wall I am going to be working in situ in the gallery to create a magical wonderland of self referential nonsense.
This exhibition, What’s He Building In There? Will be a mash up of sculpture, sound, animation, film and as many visual jokes as I can fit in one room.
Some of this exhibition will be online but the main idea is the work is built and documented in the Canteen Gallery space and the public are invited to drop in and watch the progress.
Art For Guernsey
In January I was lucky enough to get to leave Northern Ireland for a wee art jolly in Guernsey.
The project was to transform a newly acquired space in the old town of St Peter’s Port into a street art wonderland. And we had 5 days to do it.
Working with 4 other UK based artists and the company Art For Guernsey we painted, sprayed, pasted and generally ran amok for 5 days until the tidy up day of the opening exhibition to the public.
A wee jolly it was not. It was a lot of hard work and dedication but driven with joy and easy camaraderie.
Prepare for a massive image dump below and if you want to follow any of the other artists invovlved you can find them tagged on Art for Guernsey posts here https://www.instagram.com/artforguernsey/
Adjust your set
Earlier in 2021 me, and 4 other non film making artists, were commissioned to make a series of 5 minute films on the trials and tribulations of being an artist in the pandemic.
The truth be told I had been wrestling and losing fights, with a few art demons so maybe this film would be a chance for me to explore these demons from other angles, get their tactics down, learn how to beat them?
With this film I wanted to create a world where the style of the film mirrored the style of the my art work so that the work could leap off the page and onto the screen. All of the props, backdrops and masks are simple 2 dimensional cut outs that take on another life under the lights.
I don’t want to talk too much about the content of the film except to say that the final film looked very different to the film that I had originally wanted to make.
Adjust Your Set is just the first in what I hope to be a long line of colorful cardboard based films.
Below is a short animation/advert made later in the year using some of the same techniques.
Fully Automated Luxury Blog Post
Living through this pandemic has made me evaluate the world we live in and spend a bit of time imagining a better future.
For me this involves giant laser cats destroying civilization so that we can go forward and build a glorious dayglow future on the ruins of the past.
Until that time though I will settle with releasing this print to raise money for Anaka Collective, a Belfast based women’s group.
Instead of me trying to write something about the work of Anaka Collective here are some words prepared earlier.
Anaka Women’s Collective is a group of women who use our collective skills to educate, support, advocate, and celebrate each other. Anaka is based in Belfast and is led, predominantly, by women with direct experience of the asylum system. We aim to empower each other and foster community in the face of an oppressive immigration system. Our activities are wide-ranging and rely heavily on the diverse skillset amongst us, currently we organise two community garden projects, 5 English classes per week, afro hair styling workshops, a yoga group, an education project that has been supporting non-English speaking mums with online schooling, training in food production, cooking classes, peer-led advice and support, and a campaign for childcare provision during asylum interviews.
The money made from the sale of these incredible prints will go towards our pottery project which is led by Eiman Haroon, an artist from Sudan and Anaka’s Welfare Coordinator. Whilst in Sudan, Eiman was an activist involved in movements for gender equality and freedom, she was also an active member of the Sudanese Artists Union and Communist Party and worked in areas affected by the conflict in Sudan giving art therapy sessions. In December 2020, Eiman started a pottery club with other members of Anaka and continued this on Zoom when we went into lockdown.
This money will enable us to continue and develop the pottery project project and will go towards facilitation costs, materials, and training.
To read more about Anaka Collective head over here:
And head over here to buy a Fully Automated Luxury Space Cat to help make the world a better place.
Magic Meat Wagon Redux
I thought that I was done with the colouring book pages but a few weeks back I posted the first Magic Meat Wagon on reddit and ended up having a conversation with some reddit folk about how the meat wagon needed a unicorn horn.
I couldn’t get the image out of my head and every time that I looked at the original all I could see was the missing horn.
That is the kind of brain glitch that keeps artists up all night.
It has taken me a month of procrastinating and itching the glitch until finally getting around to adding this final glorious detail.
So right click, download and get colouring!
Feline kinda blue
Here is it, the final colouring page.
Five weeks ago I started releasing these pictures and to me that seems like a lifetime ago. A lot has happened (inversely almost nothing has happened) during those dark winter weeks and I am ready now to face the longer days and this endless pandemic with a bit more surety.
I hope everyone is doing ok out there in the real world and I hope to see some of you, in the flesh as it were, when the sun is higher in the sky.
For the moment though here is colouring page 5.
Ps. Over on instagram I am going to be running a colouring in competition so get your pens ready and head over there for more details.
My First Sticker Pack
Last year I went ahead and created a collection of 5 full colour, shiny vinyl stickers that all came together in a finished and final pack of joy.
This pack contains 5 stickers that cover a lot of my obsessions from meat wagons to soviet propaganda and Godzilla who just can’t stop wandering into my pictures.
For me this sticker pack is like a miniature exhibition of adhesive art works that can be enjoyed anywhere there is a surface that can be stuck to.
To pick one up for yourself head over here
Phone it in
I hadn’t wanted to release this page of the colouring book just yet as this picture is pretty doom laden and the whole idea of these free colouring pages is to give people a bit of fun over lockdown.
But it is February, right? The Month of Doom? So, what better way to kick off the month than with a doomy colouring page?
Here it is. Doom Scroll. Right click, save as and get colouring.
Colour outside the lines
Here we go again. Part 3 of the magical bumbper fun colouring book of joy.
Today’s colouring page is my favorite so far and I am quite looking forward to getting stuck in and colouring this one.
So, here we go, Catageddon in all of its black and white glory!
Right click, download and get colouring.
The Colour of Monet
Here we go. Part 2 of the downloadable colouring in pages. This time we have a page that is a more traditional pastoral scene, with a mother and child taking a walk among the wonders of nature.
I have been working steadily on these colouring pages and am hoping some time soon to make a book of them but at the moment will keep posting a new one each week up here.
For now you can download these either to print out or colour in digitally. Simply right click and save as and then work away.
I hope everyone is keeping well and weathering this pretty weird winter.
Life is like a box of crayons
Welcome to 2021 everyone.
We are in lockdown again, probably until spring, when we will emerge from our 24 hour pyjama cocoon as dishevelled butterflies, blinking into the light.
I am quite lucky that the art studio is open for this lockdown, so I have given myself these 2 months to play and rearrange my brain and working habits and think about ways that we can tackle the future and come out smiling and smelling of roses in the end.
With that in mind I have been working on making some colouring in pages! I have an idea to make a full book of weird and wonderful colouring in pictures. But for now here is a free digital download of the ‘Magic Meat Wagon’ that can be saved to your computer and printed out or coloured in using photoshop or procreate.
I will upload more pages over the coming weeks.
Happy colouring one and all!
[Insert Smiley face]
The world is out of whack. Not to say that it was particularly in whack before but this situation is taking the out of whack biscuit to the extremes.
My background in art comes from the fairly apocalyptic visions contained in paperback sci-fi novels, 2000ad comics and b-movies where swarms of flying ants destroy entire cities, and in my work I had always been quite keen to embrace the collapse with a kind of childish glee. If I had known the ‘End of Times’ was going to be as crap as this one I might have given the whole notion a wider berth?
As it stands, I am locked in. But in this this ‘pocalypse I am going to try something different.
Contained in each art work (A3 size or over) there will be an extra cheeky little letter written by a fictional me from a fictional universe where art is going to sort everything out!
I am still a firm believer in the notion that art has a positive and powerful effect on the world that we live in but I think that now is the time to get my head out of the Apocalypses’s arse and get on trying to make the world a better place.
I hope everyone is well and good out there in the real world.
[Insert Smiley face]
Ps: Below are some pictures of new bits n bobs on the site that come with all the bells n whistles and bits added on that will fit in an envelope.
Ps: Some of these will come with a New Weird Order sticker but these are getting thin on the ground so future apologies if your piece doesn’t contain one. I can do nothing against the laws of thermodynamics.
FRESH MEAT WAGON
Some years back I wrote down all of the ideas that I wanted to mess around with using the Belfast Meat Wagon as the foundation of the idea.
One of the better ideas was to take over an older butchers shop and to redo it as as FRESH MEAT WAGON shop. This dream has obviously been pushed back a bit due to the current global fuck up but the idea is there and you know, if you build it, they will come to your Meat Wagon inspired art exhibition.
In the meantime, while we wait for better days, I designed the packaging for the shop.
Each of these is hand printed onto A3 corrugated cardboard which is a bit of an arse as cardboard moves a good bit as you print on it. This being said they are all pretty cool and printed to a decent standard.
All the prints come with a THIS WAY UP sticker on the back (images below) and each one comes posted flat in a compostable cello bag.
Link Here: https://www.leoboyd.com/product/fresh-meat-wagon/
Belfast Street Art
I had wanted to write a long blog post about the different pieces of street art that I have made in Belfast over the years. It was going to be a witty and inciteful blog post that contained a little nostalgia, a couple of jokes and the odd swear word.
But I can’t be fucking bothered.
Here are some pictures which I think do a decent stand in for the blog post that exists only in my head.
I have a pile of these sexy New Weird Order stickers to give away!
A free sticker for everyone who buys a print.
While stock lasts… but I suppose that is a given.
Hello cruel world!
Earlier this year I decided that it was about time that I had my own website.
It was going to be a pretty fancy site full of interactive elements, free downloads, archived art projects and a fully functioning web emporium full of paintings, odd little print experiments and limited editions.
And then the world went to shit.
Locked down at home with no access to the print workshop or art studio I had to find a way to exist and make art in this new weird order. One of the reasons I got into printing was that I always believed that art should be affordable, something to be enjoyed by everyone, and printing made this possible. With this in mind I sought some help and bought a fancy Oki C612DN A4 printer, a beautiful device that can handle printing onto heavy duty card and art papers.
Armed with this new machine I set about going through old artworks of mine, selecting pieces from my chaotic back catalogue and adapting them so that they work as digital prints. Some of these are from my earliest screen print exhibition ‘The Belfast that Time Forgot’
When I first put ‘The Belfast that Time Forgot’ together I had so little money that I could only afford to create very small editions of each piece and at least once a week for the last 6 years I get an email asking when I am going to re-release some prints from that collection. The answer I guess, is now. It has just come about in a way that I had never dreamed could or would happen. Before the old world fell apart I was working on a couple of new exhibitions and now that these have been postponed or outright cancelled I have started adapting some of these pieces as digital prints too.
Whether art is for activism, entertainment or to just look nice, I still think that, even in these weird times, art is important as it can open a window out of lockdown and help us imagine a positive future that we can build from the good bits of the past. Over the next month or so I will begin to take down my old shop site and migrate everything over to the one but in the mean time my screen prints and limited editions will continue to exist over here leoboydprints.bigcartel.com.
I hope you enjoy this new site and if you have any questions or feedback please don’t hesitate to contact me via the contact page.
Stay safe everyone