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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Peace on earth and goodwill to all? Bah humbug.

We are being bombarded with thousands of Christmas marketing messages a day at the moment, whether we are aware of it or not; on bus stops, TV adverts, in magazines, in internet side bars, all telling us to spend spend spend. Hannah Bullivant muses on how we can counteract the consumerism and spread a little good will. With illustrations by Daniel Williams, Avril Kelly and Ellie Sutton.

Written by Hannah Bullivant

Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore
Wagner by Karina Yarv
Wagner by Karina Yarv.

Another year, visit another X Factor out of the way. I went through a period of not watching any telly at all, and oh how I used to poo poo this show, but somehow, in 2009 I got sucked in. It was the only break I used to allow myself as I was creating my first book Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration – a bit of enjoyably vacuous pop culture on a plate. And it was then that I discovered the joy of X Factor watched with my twitter stream open. Trying to think of the bitchiest tweets as fast as possible has now become a bit of a national sport, and I thoroughly recommend you do both at the same time once the whole bloody thing rolls around again next year.

X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J'Aton Couture by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J’Aton Couture by Krister Selin

As for the final outcome? I couldn’t stand Cher Lloyd’s sneery face but thought her final effort was at least IN TUNE, whilst even on the same note the One Direction cuties struggled (harmonies, what are they?) I loved Rebecca Ferguson’s voice until it started to grate on my nerves, as did the fact that she could not move, even singing the danciest of songs. I quite enjoyed some of Matt Cardle’s songs, but he was clearly not on form during the last few weeks. All in all, though, I’ve heard better singers at small indie gigs.

Abi Daker Cher Lloyd
‘The Lovechild of Jordan, Minnie Mouse and Jimmy Saville’ Illustration by Abigail Daker.

What really grabs the audience is of course the whole spectacle – the cliched dramatisations of the contestant’s back stories, the ridiculously over the top stage effects and the outrageously expensive outfits and stupendous styling choices of the judges and contestants. Here, then, is a chance to revel in the sheer glory of the X Factor experience, as seen through illustrators’ eyes.

Gareth A Hopkins Cher Lloyd
Cher Lloyd by Gareth A Hopkins.

jenny robins - amelias magazine -  x factor
Illustration by Jenny Robins.
Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv
Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv
GarethAHopkins Wagbo
Wagbo (a character from Harry Hill’s TV Burp that was supposedly the love child of Wagner and Tesco Mary) by Gareth A Hopkins
X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin

Wagner by Karina Yarv
Wagner by Karina Yarv.

Another year, capsule another X Factor out of the way. I went through a period of not watching any telly at all, ambulance and oh how I used to poo poo this show, seek but somehow, in 2009 I got sucked in. It was the only break I used to allow myself as I was creating my first book Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration – a bit of enjoyably vacuous pop culture on a plate. And it was then that I discovered the joy of X Factor watched with my twitter stream open. Trying to think of the bitchiest tweets as fast as possible has now become a bit of a national sport, and I thoroughly recommend you do both at the same time once the whole bloody thing rolls around again next year.

X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J'Aton Couture by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J’Aton Couture by Krister Selin

As for the final outcome? I couldn’t stand Cher Lloyd’s sneery face but thought her final effort was at least IN TUNE, whilst even on the same note the One Direction cuties struggled (harmonies, what are they?) I loved Rebecca Ferguson’s voice until it started to grate on my nerves, as did the fact that she could not move, even singing the danciest of songs. I quite enjoyed some of Matt Cardle’s songs, but he was clearly not on form during the last few weeks. All in all, though, I’ve heard better singers at small indie gigs.

Abi Daker Cher Lloyd
The Lovechild of Jordan, Minnie Mouse and Jimmy Saville. Illustration by Abigail Daker.

What really grabs the audience is of course the whole spectacle – the cliched dramatisations of the contestant’s back stories, the ridiculously over the top stage effects and the outrageously expensive outfits and stupendous styling choices of the judges and contestants. Here, then, is a chance to revel in the sheer glory of the X Factor experience, as seen through illustrators’ eyes.

Gareth A Hopkins Cher Lloyd
Cher Lloyd by Gareth A Hopkins.

jenny robins - amelias magazine -  x factor
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv
Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv

Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore
Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore

GarethAHopkins Wagbo
Wagbo (a character from Harry Hill’s TV Burp that was supposedly the love child of Wagner and Tesco Mary) by Gareth A Hopkins

X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin

xfactor wagner by elliott quince
Wagner by Elliott Quince.

Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore
Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore.
Wagner by Karina Yarv
Wagner by Karina Yarv.

Another year, buy information pills another X Factor out of the way. I went through a period of not watching any telly at all, pilule and oh how I used to poo poo this show, site but somehow, in 2009 I got sucked in. It was the only break I used to allow myself as I was creating my first book Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration – a bit of enjoyably vacuous pop culture on a plate. And it was then that I discovered the joy of X Factor watched with my twitter stream open. Trying to think of the bitchiest tweets as fast as possible has now become a bit of a national sport, and I thoroughly recommend you do both at the same time once the whole bloody thing rolls around again next year.

X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J'Aton Couture by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J’Aton Couture by Krister Selin

As for the final outcome? I couldn’t stand Cher Lloyd’s sneery face but thought her final effort was at least IN TUNE, whilst even on the same note the One Direction cuties struggled (harmonies, what are they?) I loved Rebecca Ferguson’s voice until it started to grate on my nerves, as did the fact that she could not move, even singing the danciest of songs. I quite enjoyed some of Matt Cardle’s songs, but he was clearly not on form during the last few weeks. All in all, though, I’ve heard better singers at small indie gigs.

My fave live performance by Matt:
YouTube Preview Image

What really grabs the audience is of course the whole spectacle – the cliched dramatisations of the contestant’s back stories, the ridiculously over the top stage effects and the outrageously expensive outfits and stupendous styling choices of the judges and contestants. Here, then, is a chance to revel in the sheer glory of the X Factor experience, as seen through illustrators’ eyes.

Abi Daker Cher Lloyd
The Lovechild of Jordan, Minnie Mouse and Jimmy Saville. Illustration by Abigail Daker.

Gareth A Hopkins Cher Lloyd
Cher Lloyd by Gareth A Hopkins.

jenny robins - amelias magazine -  x factor
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv
Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv

Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore
Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore

GarethAHopkins Wagbo
Wagbo (a character from Harry Hill’s TV Burp that was supposedly the love child of Wagner and Tesco Mary) by Gareth A Hopkins

X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin

xfactor wagner by elliott quince
Wagner by Elliott Quince.

Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore
Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore.
Wagner by Karina Yarv
Wagner by Karina Yarv.

Another year, generic another X Factor out of the way. I went through a period of not watching any telly at all, viagra approved and oh how I used to poo poo this show, viagra approved but somehow, in 2009 I got sucked in. It was the only break I used to allow myself as I was creating my first book Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration – a bit of enjoyably vacuous pop culture on a plate. And it was then that I discovered the joy of X Factor watched with my twitter stream open. Trying to think of the bitchiest tweets as fast as possible has now become a bit of a national sport, and I thoroughly recommend you do both at the same time once the whole bloody thing rolls around again next year.

X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J'Aton Couture by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J’Aton Couture by Krister Selin

As for the final outcome? I couldn’t stand Cher Lloyd’s sneery face but thought her final effort was at least IN TUNE, whilst even on the same note the One Direction cuties struggled (harmonies, what are they?) I loved Rebecca Ferguson’s voice until it started to grate on my nerves, as did the fact that she could not move, even singing the danciest of songs. I quite enjoyed some of Matt Cardle’s songs, but he was clearly not on form during the last few weeks. All in all, though, I’ve heard better singers at small indie gigs.

My fave live performance by Matt:
YouTube Preview Image

What really grabs the audience is of course the whole spectacle – the cliched dramatisations of the contestant’s back stories, the ridiculously over the top stage effects and the outrageously expensive outfits and stupendous styling choices of the judges and contestants. Here, then, is a chance to revel in the sheer glory of the X Factor experience, as seen through illustrators’ eyes.

Abi Daker Cher Lloyd
The Lovechild of Jordan, Minnie Mouse and Jimmy Saville. Illustration by Abigail Daker.

Gareth A Hopkins Cher Lloyd
Cher Lloyd by Gareth A Hopkins.

jenny robins - amelias magazine -  x factor
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv
Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv

Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore
Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore

GarethAHopkins Wagbo
Wagbo (a character from Harry Hill’s TV Burp that was supposedly the love child of Wagner and Tesco Mary) by Gareth A Hopkins

X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin

xfactor wagner by elliott quince
Wagner by Elliott Quince.

Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore
Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore.
Wagner by Karina Yarv
Wagner by Karina Yarv.

Another year, viagra dosage another X Factor out of the way. I went through a period of not watching any telly at all, and oh how I used to poo poo this show, but then, in 2009 I got sucked in. It was the only break I used to allow myself as I was creating my first book Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration – a bit of enjoyably vacuous pop culture on a plate. And it was then that I discovered the joy of X Factor watched with my twitter stream open. Trying to think of the bitchiest tweets as fast as possible has now become a something of a national sport, and I thoroughly recommend you do both at the same time once the whole bloody thing rolls around again next year.

X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J'Aton Couture by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J’Aton Couture by Krister Selin

As for the final outcome? I couldn’t stand Cher Lloyd’s sneery face but thought her final effort was at least IN TUNE, whilst even on the same note the One Direction cuties struggled (harmonies, what are they?) I loved Rebecca Ferguson’s voice until it started to grate on my nerves, as did the fact that she could not move, even singing the danciest of songs. I quite enjoyed some of Matt Cardle’s songs, but he was clearly not on form during the last few weeks. All in all, as could be predicted, I’ve heard better singers at small indie gigs.

My fave live performance by Matt:
YouTube Preview Image

What really grabs the audience is of course the whole spectacle – the cliched dramatisations of the contestant’s back stories, the ridiculously over the top stage effects and the outrageously expensive outfits and stupendous styling choices of the judges and contestants. Here, then, is a chance to revel in the sheer glory of the X Factor experience, as seen through illustrators’ eyes.

Abi Daker Cher Lloyd
The Lovechild of Jordan, Minnie Mouse and Jimmy Saville. Illustration by Abigail Daker.

Gareth A Hopkins Cher Lloyd
Cher Lloyd by Gareth A Hopkins.

jenny robins - amelias magazine -  x factor
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv
Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv

Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore
Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore

GarethAHopkins Wagbo
Wagbo (a character from Harry Hill’s TV Burp that was supposedly the love child of Wagner and Tesco Mary) by Gareth A Hopkins

X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin

xfactor wagner by elliott quince
Wagner by Elliott Quince.

Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore
Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore.

High-Vis

An octopus with a cake hat, capsule holding a cigar, viagra 40mg a clarinet, rx a bicycle and a picnic basket while looking at you with a ‘so what’ expression. Next image – two birds with boys’ heads flying with an umbrella amongst the clouds. Then – a sailor with jumping jack doll-joints, holding hands with a mermaid. You get the picture? Welcome to the world of Lynn Hatzius.

With degrees in illustration and printmaking under her belt, London-based Lynn works as a freelance artist for publishers, record labels, magazines and newspapers. I first stumbled upon Lynn’s fascinating human-slash-animal figures at The Last Tuesday Society, where she is taking part in the ‘Beasts Royal’ art exhibition until 28th January (read our review of this wonderful place here). Later, looking through the gallery on Lynn’s website, I quickly found myself having one ‘wow’ experience after another. The work is quirky without being cutesy, and beautiful with a dark undercurrent. Looking at Lynn’s work means making a string of discoveries, with the seemingly neverending flow of the most randomly put-together imagery. Someone get this lady a solo show, please?


Royal Lady

You frequently mix human and animal forms in your work. Where does this come from?
With my collages, the significance lies with the process of discovery. It is almost as if these creatures pre-exist, simply waiting to come alive through my act of selecting, shifting and finally fixing a composition down. In extracting elements from different sources that catch my attention, humans take on new and surprising characters and animals are given human traits and expressions, sometimes humorous, other times maybe a little disturbing.

Could you tell us a little about your work process – how do you build up an illustration?
Working with illustration is quite different to working on my personal collage pieces. An illustration brief will give me a conceptual framework, meaning the piece is not left to chance. This is why I usually use the digital medium when working on a commissioned illustration, as this makes changes much easier. I will scan in material from my vast collection of printed papers, books, maps, magazines and old photographs, or search the internet for related imagery. I cut and paste elements in a similar way to working with a scalpel or scissors, but with the advantage of being able to reverse an action and alter an illustration to fit certain requirements.


Adem

Your portfolio has illustrations, collages and prints – which is your preferred medium?
Collage and printmaking both open up the possibility of chance encounters and the happy accidents I so enjoy. I am fascinated by the thought of taking a given structure, shaking it up and letting the pieces take on a new life and reveal hidden meaning. The recycling and mixing of materials in the collage process is similar to the way I work in print. I will mix different print processes, use found scraps to print from and let the magic moment of the ink transferring to paper surprise me with an often unexpected result. Printmaking lets me reuse elements and produce multiples, whereas a collage will always be an original, which I can often be rather precious about.


Self-portrait

Your work is full of clever little details. Where do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from the material I use – books, manuals, magazines and found printed papers. The juxtaposition of disparate elements, and the joining of entirely different subject matters, seems to hold the key to a neverending number of new images. I work in a very playful and spontaneous way on my collages, it is like solving a puzzle. The separate pieces get shifted until a certain combination startles me, and a new figure is revealed.

Sometimes your work feels a bit sinister (in a good way) – casually so with the bolted-together body parts, but with the monster pieces it looks more deliberate. Is it?
I guess I am attracted to the unusual, the uncanny, to combinations that might seem strange at first. This wanting to be surprised or startled is part of my working process. With projects such as the ‘Monsters’ playing cards it is quite different. The work needs to follow certain guidelines and a preconceived idea, which narrows down the possible scope of an image. While this way of working sometimes feels a bit contrived, I enjoy having to limit myself to certain restrictions and channel an image towards a purpose. If it is a commissioned piece, working with a good art director can push my work towards new approaches I wouldn’t naturally choose.


Monsters playing cards

Why did you become an artist? What do you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out?
I don’t think being creative is a choice. I always felt it chose me and I did my best to make it happen. I would say you need to be honest and true to yourself and don’t ask too many questions, just do, make, create and if you’re focused and want it badly, I believe things work out.

Your work has been in The Guardian, and you have several well-known magazines and publishing houses on your client list. How did you build up this network?
Having studied illustration, rather than fine art, meant my mind was set on finding a way of applying my work to a commercial use. After I left the course I eagerly visited some publishers to present my portfolio. My focus on book cover design has taken several years to establish. While it is important to send regular mail-outs to remind clients of your work, building a network through friends has helped me significantly along the way. Over the years I found that allowing time for my personal work alongside illustration projects has given me a good balance, mainly in that I panic less about not finding jobs all the time. My work as a collage artist has grown more important to me since doing an MA in printmaking. I view this side of my career separately to the illustration work in the sense that it is less pressurised through deadlines and restrictions.


Book cover: Shalimar the Clown (Salman Rushdie, Vintage Books). All images courtesy of Lynn Hatzius.

You are part of the Monsters illustration collective. Tell us a little about this please.
I joined the Monsters shortly after finishing my studies. We try to work a little like an agency. We send mail-outs together, keep a joint website and a group portfolio. The idea is that we represent each other and share costs of promotion material. We try to meet once a month and keep each other up to date on our personal progress. The advantage of being part of a collective is that you share a network of contacts and feed off each others’ experiences.

What do you do when you are not making art?
I rummage through charity shops and enjoy going to flee markets, always on the hunt for used cheap books and other ephemera, old frames and unusual bits and pieces. I love the outdoors and coming home to cook some delicious food. Taking care of the plants on my tiny balcony or checking on my fish gives me regular welcoming breaks when I work from my studio at home. And of course travelling, which I can fit nicely around work as a freelancer.

See more of Lynn Hatzius’ work on her website, or look at her ‘Oh so special’ invites venture here. You can also follow her on her blog.

Illustrated by Ellie Sutton

As a little girl I loved Christmas, dosage and all the pink plastic that went with it, as most little girls do. Then teenagerdom struck and I decided that I was so OVER Christmas with its relatives, Brussels sprouts and crap telly. But in some strange counter-evolutionary development, I seem to be regressing toward the level of excitement I felt as a 6 year old. My Christmas tree has been up for three weeks and I am pee-my-pants-excited about it. I keep coming home, seeing the tree and wanting to run around in excited circles. At the same time however, my awareness of the potential for Christmas to be nothing more than a festival of shopping weighs ever more heavily on my shoulders.


Illustration by Avril Kelly

Christmas is supposedly about “peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind”. But for me, those sentiments sit awkwardly with the present version of Christmas before us; heaving crowds pushing and shoving down high streets, being bombarded with adverts for stuff we must buy (DFS. Must. Die) and a general frenzy of thoroughly depressing mass consumption.

Everywhere I look, people who are normally pretty calm, are stressing out about what to buy for friends and loved ones. Blog land is packed with Christmas gift guides and wish lists and this year we are once again told that despite the countries huge debt, major cuts to public services and rising unemployment, we should shop (with glee!) to save the economy and make everything better this Christmas. Bah.


Illustration by Avril Kelly

It is easy to fall into a little self-absorbed cocoon at Christmas, becoming consumed by present buying stress, family drama and how you might co-ordinate your baubauls with your toilet roll. I confess that I had a bit of a mad moment last week where I spent half a day fretting about how I am going to wrap my presents this year because I couldn’t possibly wrap them in the same way I did last year (The horror! Gasp!) It wasn’t until after I had spent £18 (yes, £18) on two rolls of posh sellotape that I was able to proverbially slap myself across the face and shake myself from the Christmas stupor I was in. But fear not, I am here to save you from similar Christmas sellotape induced madness.


Illustration by Daniel Williams

Rather than locking yourselves in isolation or emigrating, I have talked to friends and put together a few ideas to prevent the Christmas consumer gloom and spread a little good will.

  • Step back from the high street, where possible and ignore the retail desperation. If you do buy anything, try to keep it handmade, vintage or local.
  • Turn the TV off, for a while at least. Give your head a rest from the smorgasbord (I love that word) of christmas visual stimulus.
  • Rather than stuff, consider giving experiences as gifts. A spa day, a picnic, a home cooked meal, a pretty walk, a short break, a cinema visit.
  • We should all remember to step out of our over-heated homes and go for a walk. It’s crucial for re-building tolerance for relatives and easing the indigestion caused by eating colossal amounts of food.
  • Christmas is bad news for the environment. There’s the cards, wrapping paper and packaging, the mountains of presents, the meat, the heating and the lights. Try to choose the greener, less wasteful option, be mindful of energy usage and switch stuff off at night. Wrap presents in reusable fabric bags, recycled newspaper, or give presents that require no wrapping at all (vouchers, or experiences- see above)

You get the jist, yes? I have included some other ideas below, intended to make Christmas just that wee bit nicer. I’d love to hear your suggestions too, if you have any.

If you have 5-10 minutes to spare (and we all have 5 minutes, right?)

  • Buy a meal for a homeless person (online or in person.)
  • Give a gift to a vulnerable child in the UK, many of whom will receive no presents this year.
  • Wish a stranger and any retail staff you come into contact with a happy Christmas.
  • Give an online donation to the NSPCC who fund Childline, or The Samaritans helpline. Both are sadly gearing up for their busiest season. Every little helps, so even if you can only afford a few quid it will be appreciated.
  • Give a mince pie to your neighbour. Just because.
  • Or donate a Duck online and help Bangladeshi communities.
  • Smile at people. In a non creepy way.

If you have 30 mins-1 hr:

  • Make something, even if it looks shit. Its good for the soul. (See my article on home made Christmas cards, for starters, and look out for my article on Christmas decorations tomorrow)
  • Or maybe send a shoe box of gifts to poor children in Swaziland. Because it’s a good thing to do, but also for a trip down memory lane; anyone else remember packing shoeboxes In school?! I do. I packed chocolate Santa’s which I now realise would have arrived in Africa as a melted mush.
  • Send a Christmas Card for Amnesty International, to somebody who is unjustly imprisoned.
  • Quickly dash to your local charity shop with a few good quality books, CD’s clothes.
  • Sing a carol. Because singing feels weirdly satisfying.

If you have a few hours/ a day:

  • Visit a granny.
  • Have a big clear out and donate any (good quality, non trashed) clothes, books, crockery and cutlery, CD’s, games, books etc to a charity shop. Donate even those items you know you could get a bit of money for if you sold them and allow the charity shop to make the money instead. It also feels unbelievably satisfying to have a clear out.
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter

As for me, I have had a huge sort out and given tons of stuff to charity and I am making all (yes all) of my Christmas presents this year. I have boycotted Oxford Street and all high street shops and am spending very little money. On Monday I showed you how to make Christmas cards.  Tomorrow I will talk about some ideas for non-traditional decorations too, in the hope that you feel inspired to make something this festive season rather than buy it. Try it! Even if you don’t think you are very crafty, because trust me, it feels good.

If you have any other ideas to spread a bit of festive cheer, any other charitable schemes we should be aware of or any ideas for easy home made Christmas presents, do share below so we can all benefit.

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One Response to “Peace on earth and goodwill to all? Bah humbug.”

  1. [...] wenn euch das alles zu oberflächlich ist: Hannah Bullivant hat bei Amelia’s Magazine Alternativen zum jährlichen Power-Shopping, die nicht nur eurem Geldbeutel, sondern auch anderen [...]

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