Friday, October 31, 2008

Bec's Picha Book...

In honour of our fearless leader and editor Bec flying out today to start her new life in Manchester, I thought I would post some of her glorious artwork.

Now, this is some of her younger work, but I think you'll agree that she shows a natural flair for colour palettes, alignment, hierachy and general aesthetics (and spelling!)

If you want to see more kid art from blanket artists, look out for our "Drawings you did, as a kid" spread in the "Past and Present" issue of blanket, out December 1st. We're looking forward to many broccoli trees, smiling suns and surfing pirates!

Safe journey Bec, Manchester is going to be inspired by you!

xx Caitlin

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Be cool. Read 4000.

Or 3000. Or 2000. Depends where you live and therefore what you want to know about your city.

But what you SHOULD know about these cool weekly snapshots of Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney culture (get it, it's to do with postcodes! yes, someone else had to explain that to me...), is that they are BRILLIANT.

Get info about beautiful places to eat, shop, drink or watch other people who are very talented at music, art or similar. Discover things you didn't know about your very own backyard. Enter competitions and win cool things. And generally just feel better about how involved you are in the subculture of your town.

Subscribe to the one that suits you (in preparation for a trip to Melbourne at the end of the year I am subscribed to Brisbane's 4000 and Melbourne's 3000. I am so hip on everything now) and it will be delivered to your inbox on Thursdays, just in time to plan the weekend.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Highway to hell...

My car on fire... (I had saved my camera from the car so I took these images)

Stopping traffic... literally!

When I decided to start up the blog again, the intention was to give people an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. I never thought it would be this dramatic... posted recently about how my Dad and I had been working really hard to assemble all the Blanket Posters ready for our fundraising effort for Blanket. Well, only two days later, with more than 350 new posters ready to go, I loaded up my station wagon with boxes and set off down the highway for the two-hour drive to Melbourne. I was over half-way when my car started to decelerate quickly, the instruments on the dashboard flapped weirdly and a blue warning light flashed on. I pulled to the side of the road and then noticed smoke streaming from the bonnet. I leapt out of the car and flagged down passing motorists. Although one man produced a fire extinguisher, it was no good - the car was quickly ablaze and, within 15 minutes, was reduced to a smoking shell.

Firefighters extinguishing the car...

My car being taken away on a tow truck
You can see from the pictures how lucky I was to get out without any injuries. I was grateful that passing motorists stopped to help me, managing to save some of my belongings from my car before it all went up. Luckily for me, the first thing I saved was my laptop, which contains all of Blanket (and therefore my life!) As my hard drive was also in the car, I would have lost everything. Unfortunately I couldn't save the boxes of Blanket posters, as we were concerned the car would explode. Sadly they just fuelled the fire even more : (
Although I lost a few possessions, and all the hard work by Dad and myself, I'm lucky that I was able to save anything at all.

The aftermath... 

...and all that was left of my Blanket Posters : (
For a few days afterwards, I was in shock and feeling sorry for myself. This was a major blow and setback for me, especially as the posters were meant to be used as a fundraiser to help me continue producing Blanket. 

A couple of days later, I woke up to find 
a huge pile of folded posters. My Dad had been up for hours folding them!! The sight rallied me and we spent the next couple of days folding and glueing more posters. It was a great chance for us to bond as we sat chatting and assembling the posters and it made me realise how lucky I am to have such a supportive family.

So I'm happy to say we are now we're back on track for our Blanket fundraising effort - the posters will be available in the shop to buy - so if you love Blanket then please support us by buying a poster (and rewarding all my Dad's hard work!)
~ Bec

Artist Profile: Jon MacNair

"The Harpooners" Jon MacNair 

I spoke to emerging artist Jon MacNair, winner of last issues re_action, about his intricate and beautiful illustrations.

Can you tell us a little about the image you submitted?
I submitted a drawing entitled "The Harpooners." It's part of my most recent body of work that includes a bunch of ever-evolving characters, mostly animals or animal/human hybrids. As with most of my work, there's a narrative quality to it that seems to hint at a story, but it's never entirely clear what that story is. I like to think of each work as a little vignette or scene that you're getting a glimpse at. 
With this particular drawing, I wanted to convey a sense of adventure and mystery. I kind of imagined that the harpooners were on the hunt for sea monkeys, giant human sized ones. To the right of the boat you can see the tail of some aquatic creature. Is it a big fish? A mermaid? Or could it be the elusive, giant sea monkey? You decide.

Where do you get your inspiration for your artwork?
It's a real conglomeration of miscellaneous sources. Lately I've been really interested in Early Netherlandish art. I find the compositions, colors and meticulous handling of details really beautiful. A few years ago I became very intrigued by illuminated manuscripts and medieval tapestries and that is still a source of inspiration for me. Of course I love surrealism and symbolism and the artists of those movements like William Blake, De Chirico, Max Ernst and Henry Fuseli. As an illustrator I am inspired by the books I grew up reading as a kid. I love the work of Chris Van Allsburg, Tasha Tudor and Lane Smith. I'm also slightly obsessed with classical music by Russian composers and Russian animation.

Do you have recurring themes in your dr
I definitely have themes in my art that seem to keep popping up. I'm not sure how conscious I am of this while I'm working or how well I can describe them, but the condensed list would probably be: disguise, birth/death, night, silence, isolation, danger, the shifting of power, and the parasite/host relationship. Really, I'm more interested in figuring out why I'm drawn to exploring these particular theme 
and ideas, and what they reflect about me as a person.
Do you have a favourite drawing you have done?
I tend to get bored with my art pretty quickly after completion, so I usually like my most recent work the best. Right now I'm still liking a drawing I did called "The Mountains Wept for Her" which is loosely based on the death of my two cats.
"The Mountains Wept for Her" Jon MacNair
You recently set yourself the task of posting a new piece of artwork everyday for one year. What did you learn from this experience?
I decided to start up an art blog after being inspired by illustrator Martha Rich's "Freedom Wig" blog where she posted a painting a day for one year. I knew it was going to be a challenge for me because at the time I was sort of in a creative rut. I thought that if I got into the habit of drawing daily, it might help me stay out of those slumps and give me a inspirational boost. It was hard in the beginning because I was starting out by being in a rut, but as I kept going it got easier. I took some pressure off by reminding myself that the daily entries didn't have to be masterpieces and that it was more just about the act of drawing. I gave myself little exercises like doing blind contour drawings, which I hadn't done since freshman year of college. Some days it was hard to find the time to draw or even post the entries, so there were times when I got a little backlogged, but I always made up for those entries later. As time went on and I found that more people were looking at the blog, I got even more inspired to keep going. The feedback was positive and I felt almost an obligation to keep drawing and creating so those people would have something to look at. By the end of the year, I was actually feeling a little sad that it was almost over, but I was also feeling accomplished and somewhat relieved. It had been a very time consuming challenge, but it re-ignited something in me and I didn't feel the threat of creative slumps like I had in the beginning. I still post stuff on the blog occasionally, but I've really become enamored with the online art communities on Flickr. I've been exposed to a lot of amazing work on that site and have made many contacts. The response to my work has been wonderful.

Check out more of Jon's illustrations at:
~ Bec

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mini Munny Madness

In our last issue you might have noticed that David Self (our web_sights writer) was travelling through America on his magical mystery tour. Well, he's back now...and he bought PRESENTS!
Here's mine. It's tiny, it's white and it's from New York baby! He's (it's?) called a Mini Munny and he's a blank canvas for all your wildest drawings dreams to come true upon.
It actually seems to be a pretty big phenomenon in the US, with the Munny website (where you can buy your blank Munny and then display him, talk about him with other Munny aficionados and even download clothing patterns should you want to dress your Munny up for that special occassion) showing that amazing artists like Tara McPherson have put their stamp on the little man/thing...
So, I am debating how to work my magic on him. I have an obsession with enormous circus ringleader-esque moustaches at the moment (and who doesn't?), so that's a pretty good start. Sharpie at the ready...

- Caitlin

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Not a pretty face... 2

You might have seen in the latest edition of Blanket Magazine the photo story 'Not a Pretty Face' that my husband, John and I, completed back in 2004. Well while John has left to go to the UK before me we decided to start another edition.
Each day I have taken a photo in Australia while he takes a photo in the UK. My photos are basically taken around my parents house as I am staying with them before I leave for the UK. Not very exciting I know but it's challenging to try and come up with a good photo.
John on the other hand is making me very jealous with all his photos of London! It's only fair really as last time it was me who was traveling around Cuba while he was in Melbourne.
If you want to check out some of our photos you can see our flickr site:
~ Bec

Blanket Badges!

I must be crazy! At the last minute I decided that we needed to have some more Blanket badges in the store. So with less than 2 weeks to go before my big move I've been busy preparing to get some more badges printed. A big thanks to Paul from who has very kindly agreed to rush them through for me! And a special thanks to all the amazing re_action artists I contacted who have agreed to take part! I can't wait to see them all packaged and in the Blanket store... I will let you know when they're up!
~ Bec

The Production Line!

So the rush is on... I have only a few days before I move overseas to the UK and I have hundreds of posters to fold, glue and pack before I go! It makes me want to cry every time I look at the big pile of posters and how many more I have to assemble. Thankfully my Dad helped me out the other day folding them while I glued. It made the process a little faster - even though I had to keep stopping and showing Dad how to fold them properly (he kept folding them the wrong way!). I now have 6 boxes packed and ready to go for our Blanket fundraising effort... phew!
~ Bec

Monday, October 20, 2008

Welcome to the Blanket Blog!

Yes it's back again! The Blanket Blog was on hiatus for a while as I was completely overwhelmed by running Blanket magazine by myself - but thankfully I have lots of lovely contributors who help me out now so I thought it was time to bring it back!
Mostly it will be updates on what's happening in my Blanket world. Hopefully you will enjoy having a little insight into what happens at Blanket. We also aim to bring you the latest and greatest in art, design and photography so we will be including any upcoming exhibitions, artist interviews and folios, websites, products and basically anything else that takes our fancy! We might even have a few guest bloggers to inspire you!

If you would like to contribute to our blog you can email: editor(at)
~ Bec