Tuesday, 11 August 2009
A Saturday afternoon film is always a treat, and one involving fashion and my fave, Audrey Tautou was one not to be missed. The Times review treated Anne Fontaine’s Coco before Chanel with suspicion and accused it of scraping the surface, which I must admit it did. It did however, show the feisty Gabrielle Bonheur for Chanel SS09. nicknamed Coco, as a fierce feminist who wanted more than a shallow marriage and mundane life. A love story at best, Coco before Chanel documents the rags-to-riches story of a fashion legend, and if nothing else highlights how fashion forward her thinking really was. When women of the time were wearing uncomfortable skirts to ride their horses sideways, Coco borrowed men's pants and jumped on like a man. She swerved the fussy, hoar look of the era, opting to make her own elegant but plain designs. I came away a little disappointed with the film, but definitely not in the back-story to a designer that clearly deserves her place as a huge influence on 20th-century fashion.
Monday, 3 August 2009
At a recent Slow Club gig in central London, I stumbled across a small hand-made comic entitled Pictorial Showboat. Attracted by the striking cover, I handed over my 3 quid and was quickly approached by a mild-mannered guy who said, "Did you just buy my comic?" Always happy to support struggling creative types, I was obviously very excited to meet the creator of such a masterpiece. "You made this," I said, "Yeah I did.." he replied, and so, I was introduced to the talent that is Mr Tom J.Newell.
When did you create Pictorial ShowBoat?
I was drawing it all for about six months, and I got it printed up and released in a few shops about a month ago. I lived in Sheffield when I first started it, but when I looked up after finishing the last page I discovered that I'd moved down to London, which was nice.
You have a very distinct style of illustration, which illustrators have inspired you?
I've answered this question a few times recently, so I'm gonna take a different angle especially for your Blog and reveal my earliest artistic influences, who were probably everyone else's too but they never really get the props they deserve cos of their credibility and stuff... Anyway, this is a big shout out to Tony Hart, Rolf Harris and Neil Buchanan. If it wasn't for my mum and dad and these three guys (especially Rolf) I would've never got hooked on drawing as much as I did. I think a bit later on my passion was fuelled by stuff like Uncle Pigg's 'Oink!' comic and Simon Bisley's 'A.B.C Warriors' in 2000AD, and most recently I'm just in awe of the work of Charles Burns.
Tell me a bit about the work you have done for the band Slow Club and your involvement with Stool Pigeon magazine?
I've just done a gig poster for Slow Club which turned out really well, and I might be designing some kind of logo for them soon too. I think they're great so it's nice to have some stuff associated with them.
With the Stool Pigeon thing, I just sent the art director of the magazine bits of the comic as I was working on it and he was really into it, so now I get a little something featured every month.
I hear you have designed some pieces for the opening of the John Richmond store in Paris, how did you get the gig?
One of their design team got hold of Pictorial Showboat and it just went from there! I've decorated these replica skulls with old school tattoo designs based on some artwork from one of their collections, and they’re gonna be on permanent display in their new Paris store.. sweet!
What is the future for Tom Newell?
Tom 'J' Newell.. I'd never used my middle initial before, but I had to flip it out for my website name cos 'tomnewell.com' had already been taken by some guy who once caught a lobster and thought it'd be a good enough reason to create a website that pretty much only consisted of a photo of him and the lobster that he once caught!
Anyway, I'm just gonna keep on drawing things I think. I've got a lot of the second issue of the comic planned out in my head, but I'm gonna start transferring it to paper soon in case anything happens to my head. The immediate future for me is that I'm gonna make a sandwich when I've finished typing this, which I'm really looking forward to, so a short answer to this last question would've been.. 'Drawing and Sandwiches' (but not in that order)
..Which would actually be an awesome name for my autobiography.
For more of Tom J. Newell's creations go to http://www.tomjnewell.com/show.html
Also, you're life will not be complete until you have heard Slow Club's new album, Yeah So. http://www.myspace.com/slowclub