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Kate Moross: Make Your Own Luck

Apr 16th, 2014

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The industrious British designer/illustrator Kate Moross is celebrating the publication of her book Make Your Own Luck with a London exhibition surveying the impressive body of work she has assembled to date.

I recommend the book highly, and not just because Moross gracefully thanked me for what little input I may have had. Also, as a fellow dog-lover, it’s great to see that Moross’s beloved Shiba Inus Tako and Ebi are given prominence on the flyleaf.

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Handbags, gladrags, fragrances, films, lectures + twitter spats…Barney Bubbles’ undimmed lightbulb of inspiration

Nov 14th, 2013

//Olympia Le-Tan handbag based on artwork for The Damned's 1977 LP Music For Pleasure, with promotional t-shirt for Fred Burns' documentary Johnny Moped Basically using 1978 lightbulb design//

So potent is the creative legacy of the graphic design master Barney Bubbles – who died on this day 30 years ago – that he is continually cited as an inspiration by contemporary visual communicators, while his name and work is attached to all manner of endeavours.

Recently, Bubbles artworks were chosen by the French fashionista Olympia Le-Tan to lead her exclusive collection of handbags. Meantime Tokyo lifestyle label retaW has named a range of fragrance products “Barney*” in celebration of “the many album covers he was responsible for in the 70s and 80s”.

//Barney* products named after Bubbles by Japanese lifestyle company retaW//

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“Bring me your dented and bent out of shape”: Johnny Moped documentary is on the way

Jun 3rd, 2013

//Johnny Moped, Dave Berk, Fred Berk, Slimy Toad, 1977. Photo: Chiswick Records//

In an age clogged up with boil-in-the-bag popular music documentaries, I’m looking forward to Fred Burns’ Basically, Johnny Moped, about the unpredictable outsider who emerged via associations with The Damned and Chrissie Hynde during the post-punk period to strut and fret his hour upon the stage.

Moped and his band – Dave and Fred Berk and Slimy Toad – were out and about a lot in 1977 and 1978; I caught them a couple of times, once as part of a bigger bill at Camden Town’s Music Machine (now Koko) and another time in the West End (possibly The Marquee).

Their single Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby was (and remains 35 years later) a stand-out song of the period and Barney Bubbles’ artwork for that and other Moped releases and promotional material sealed the deal.

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The story behind a long-lost single sleeve design

Apr 18th, 2013

Read the story behind this obscure record sleeve design – for a single which failed to dent the Top 75 on release 30 years ago – over on the Barney Bubbles Blog.

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Graphics: Simon Haynes’ designs for City Lights Studio 1972

Mar 11th, 2013

//Swingtag, printed card, 4" x 2", 1972//

Artist/designer Simon Haynes has allowed me access to some of the treasures in his archive. Over the next few weeks I’ll be dipping into it and presenting a selection of artworks, display items, stage sets and graphics he has created over the years.

//Design on silk swatch for fabric for shop interior fittings, 1972//

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Feast your eyes on this Barney Bubbles rarity

Feb 4th, 2013

Justin de Blank: 1927-2012

Jan 5th, 2013

//Marque, Barney Bubbles, 1969.//

I interviewed the restaurateur and fine food champion Justin de Blank – who died last month aged 85 – for Reasons To Be Cheerful; de Blank recognised Barney Bubbles’ design talents when the pair met at the Conran Group’s design studio in the 60s.

//Justin de Blank, mid 70s. Courtesy Melanie de Blank.//

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White Noise: Pictures from the exhibition

Jun 13th, 2012

//Shoboshobo's installation faces off with the Barney Bubbles exhibit The Past The Present & The Possible. (c) R. Pelletier.//

The exhibition White Noise: Quand le graphisme fait du bruit – held at Les Subsistances in Chaumont, France – closed on Sunday to the public, though is being visited this week by students, teachers and others from educational institutions.

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Remembering graphic artist David Band

Apr 23rd, 2012

The Scottish Sunday Herald’s Teddy Jamieson has sent me this piece about the late graphic artist David Band, who is probably best known for his work for such 80s groups as Spandau Ballet and Altered Images but established a strong reputation in Australia before succumbing to cancer at the age of 51 last year.

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British Posters: Advertising Art & Activism

Apr 19th, 2012

//Kiss Kiss, Go To Work On An Egg, Christopher Logue + Tom Salter, 1968.//

//Go To Work On An Egg, Mather & Crowther, 1964.//

“People do love huge pieces of paper”.

So runs the quote heading up a section in V&A curator Catherine Flood’s excellent overview British Posters: Advertising Art & Activism, published by the museum to coincide with its multifarious design celebrations this Olympic year.

And it’s true. We do.

Or we all did, when this vital form was simultaneously a mass-medium and a highly personal communications device, when huge promotional budgets and lack of urban controls resulted in the accretive papering of our street-scapes. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, we gave posters pride of place on the walls of our bedrooms, bedsits and sitting rooms.

//Top left: Your Britain, Fight For It Now, Abram Games, 1942. Right: Keep Death Off The Road, Carelessness Kills, William Little, 1949.//

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