Millie McCallum

So…Just stumbled upon this amazing designer! I want to be her!!

The juxtaposition of colours and imagery is just delightful. So playful. So skilled!

a0144ba60d92b15763611dc4db5c899b images Image.aspx Image-1.aspx dsc_0536So…Just stumbled upon this amazing designer! I want to be her!!

The juxtaposition of colours and imagery is just delightful. So playful. So skilled!


Summer Break!

4 months is a long time to be without Uni. I really miss it. Really!

To be a little proactive, I have ‘put myself out there’ to do a spot of design work for anyone that asks for it. Already I have had quite a few little contracts which I have loved. Being so new to all of this has been quite daunting. All of a sudden I’m sending ideas off for them to be judged. The hardest part has been waiting for what seems like forever to get any kind of response – so I’ve been waiting with baited breath and fingers crossed that what I have produced is good enough.

I’ve been getting a real kick out of the designs that have had some big thumbs up though. It keeps the ambition going and helps me to believe in myself a bit more. I’m learning something new all the time with the software I’m using and the blogs and subscriptions I’m reading too.

Ideas are everywhere! And though I’m still a long way off from perfecting my niche, whatever that still might be, I feel that perfecting my skills during this Summer break can only be a good thing!

I want to use this blog as a means to collect altogether my thoughts, ideas, designs I just love and designs that I have made (whether it be private commissions or the briefs set at uni). That way everything is stored in one nice little place for me to reflect on whenever I choose. If anyone out there gets something from this blog that helps them out a little – then great! That would be awesome!!

100 Years of Graphic Design


My visit to the Kemistry Gallery

Independently led research (with toddler in tow!)

Thursday 12th Feb 2016

Kemistry Gallery: 100 Years of Graphic Art and Design

Kemistry Gallery: 100 Years of Graphic Design was the first pop-up incarnation of the legendary design gallery since it was forced out of its Shoreditch home in December 2014.

Ranging from 1914 to the present day, the exhibition was a unique Kemistry-curated retrospective of some of the most iconic and exciting moments in graphic design history. Artists included Alan Fletcher, Fredun Shapur, Hans Hillman, Ken Garland, Lou Dorfsman, Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser, Saul Bass, Anthony Burrill, James Joyce, Jean Jullien, Geoff McFetridge, Parra, Rob Lowe, Ryan Todd, Stefan Glerum, Zero Per Zero, Experimental Jetset, Geneviève Gauckler, plus anonymous works from important private collections of classic design images, including Polish cinema posters of the 1960s and the propaganda images of the Latin American radicals OSPAAL.

For ten years London’s Kemistry Gallery has been the UK’s leading exhibition space for cutting-edge graphic design, supporting and showcasing the brightest emerging talents (including Parra, UVA, Ben Eine and Yoni Alter) and classic masters (from Saul Bass and Ken Garland to Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast) alike.

I took some photos of my favourite pieces whilst there…

It was a short lived jaunt out into London as my 3 year old daughter obviously couldn’t contain how bored she was.

Monster Energy Drinks are the work of SATAN!

Need to compile a tongue in cheek response to this…

Something to do with a Jesus Juice maybe? Or is that too perverse?

Oranges from Jerusalem where everything is holy (we were going to use Jamaican oranges but they’re mostly of Rastafarian belief so the oranges there will be tainted with some sort of devil goo.

Maybe the slogan could be ‘Savour the Saviour’

and maybe the unique properties would be that if you buy the product, touch the product and drink the product then a little bit of purity, healing, ‘JESUS’ will be fed into you. I think we could go as far as saying that drinking this juice will instantaneously make you into a perfect person and you’ll morph into a Christian.

All of course tongue in cheek as a response to the highly sensationalised claims or ‘hintings. that drinking a monster drink will somehow infect you and infest you with some evil spirits. This can’t just be clever advertising of a product – a religious fanatic has to turn it into a fault of the consumer that if you buy and consume this product you’re somehow buying into some sort of evil and drinking pure evil too – therefore there can only be one conclusion – you’re going to turn evil.

…so let’s redeem people with our Jesus Juice.

Meeting James Dodds

To start delving deeper into my personal led subject of houseboats I wanted to look at an artist whose work is a symbol of the coast, the boats and also two of my favourite mediums – lino cut and wood cut.

Immediately I emailed James to see if I’d be lucky enough to strike a meeting with him and ask him a few questions myself about what had inspired him in his work, which medium he preferred (oil painting, lino cut or wood cut) and the different processes and tools he’s taken in each of these mediums to create the effect of his master pieces.

Very kindly, he accepted my request and I met him yesterday, 12th November 2014.

On meeting him, I was struck at how humble and down to earth his was. He wasn’t a pompous artist that flounced around camply or some eccentric hippy (stereotyping is not good)! In fact you could tell he was a man of his trade. The mediums he focuses on are extremely ‘hands-on’ – it’s a real craft that hones in real patience. One mistake on a piece of lino or wood could cost dearly and that was clear more than ever on what he said were his ‘perfectionist’ disciplines.

The sheer complexity and delicacy of his work was apparent when looking at the size of his pieces. More square inches of material mean more square inches to fluff up. One photo to show how these are works of some sort of vulnerability is demonstrated by the photo below:

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He works back to front so the original photo is shown above the lino.

The way in which he has drawn the water in this piece is a brand new technique that he has never used before. The water has a flowing and calm quality to it whereas the water he is famous for carving out in previous works has been more wave-like giving the thought that the sea was a bit rough that day. A comparison is shown below:


And the original lino cut for this famous piece?

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The tools he used were well-loved and were his third hand in creating these wonderful pieces.

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He said that his scalpel was his best friend in the creation of his works, but stressed that the 10a blade was the best and most versatile as it made more of a cleaner and precise cut.

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James started off his working career as a boat builder, but it was years before he channeled those years of building boats to flow out as pieces of art. He went to the Colchester School of Art, followed by 6 years in both Chelsea School of Art and Royal College of Art. He said that by the 7th year he was well and truly fed up of art college.

One thing he said about his years at The Royal College of Art, was that he was 1 of 12 pupils that were accepted each year. Potential students were in their hundreds and he was one of the lucky 12. I mentioned how lucky he was and how obviously naturally gifted he must have been to be considered all those years back. He mentioned how that on one hand he felt extremely privileged but that on the other hand he felt extreme pressure to continue a high grade of work that lived up to other peoples expectations.

He was pleased to leave the college world – which he mentioned didn’t cost him a penny as back then all further education was funded. ‘Something of the history books’ he said.

The boat builders a few doors down from his studio let James come in to take photos which directly help his work.

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The printing presses and inks that he uses:

All the presses were handed to him from his college days and the main printing press he uses is type high, so he rest his work on big wooden boards to raise them up to type height.

photo 1-4 photo 2-4  photo 4photo 3

When he built his first studio it had a direct view of the sea front at Wivenhoe. Since then new flats have been built right in the way of his view, so he decided to buy one of the shops underneath the flats that had floor to ceiling high windows and the seafront right on his doorstep so no other building could spoil his inspiration ever again.

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For the last year James has been mostly concentrating on his new found love for oil paintings. His works are incredible, like unbelievable. The tones and the shadings of the boats make his work look perfectly 3D, I couldn’t help by approach them individually and reach out to touch them to see if they were actually coming out of the canvas. In fact, his oil works looked like a colour filled version of his wood cuts as they have the 3D effect naturally engraved into them. Some examples of his wood work and oil paintings are below:

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Examples of some of his college work are below too. The first is of his study of coastal politics in Poland and the other is of shipping politics in England. Unfortunately the photo I took of the trio of paintings which depicted the 1934 ship building, the political speech given in the 80s when the Unions were battling with government and the more current painting of the building of an air craft carrier ship were James’ way of depicting before, a turning point, and now.

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Contextual Studies and PD – Studying an object for the hell of it.

As part of my Contextual Studies part of my course we were given a talk by laura about her thesis and her study of beach huts which was focused in their placement and space. As a response I wanted to look at an object/thing/person that interests me to study, discover and ANALYSE (Laura’s ‘hot’ word)!

I decided not to waste any time and instantly knew what my subject matter was going to be. This subject was house boats.

Living on Mersea, I have grown up with house boats dotting the coast line down by the water front. I’ve always been quite interested in the oddness of a house, that is a boat, that resides on water.


Initially I decided that those that decided to live on these living vessels must be completely weird and a little bit bonkers.

Questions always popped into my head to try and make sense of how boats could be liveable and also comfortable.

I’ve never been on a house boat before, but growing older I’ve made friends with people who either know someone who owns one of them, or who own one themselves.

Each has it’s own private ‘driveway’, most of which are rickety jetties precariously cemented into the mud. Crossing one when it’s icy, or when carrying loads of shopping would just be a potential hazard, especially for me being quite naturally clumsy!

I’m happy with my subject matter and am keen to start analysing the boats and feel that I could receive a lot of information about them i.e….

The construction

The destruction

The hazards

The pros and cons compared to living in a ‘normal’ house

The smells

The weather

The views

The history

The names

The feel and look

I feel that studying house boats would also be a good subject due to there being a massive variety of house boats and am instantly drawn to heading to London to look at the barges that line up together like a patient queue of people waiting for something to happen(!)

A local artist, James Dodds, is a popular and well known artist who has studied the Essex coastline, in particular the marsh lands around our estuaries and creeks. Whilst taking my own photos of the Mersea houseboats and coastline, I will be setting up an interview with James Dodds to talk more about his mediums, why he is inspired by the coastline and spends his time focusing on that. I’m also interested in his processes and the equipment he uses in his studio.

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