Darcy Prendergast

This week’s blog is going to celebrate the animation of Darcy Prendergast and his production company ‘Oh Yeah Wow’. There is quite an impressive backlog of work to be mentioned here; Darcy’s films include music videos for the likes of Gotye and Bombay Bicycle Club, and a short Nickelodeon series called ‘Critter Litter’ featuring a llama for a hero. These animated delights are usually stop-motion clay productions but Darcy has also produced some experimental ‘light-painting’ films such as Rippled in 2012 (see video).

Darcy Prendergast was also involved in the animation of critically acclaimed feature film Mary and Max back in 2009, but has since chosen to work independently with his own production company. ‘Oh Yeah Wow’, which he runs with a group of close friends. The team’s most recent film is for Wax Taylor and Aloe Blacc and follows ‘a crochet quadropus’ as he floats about turning the world blue.


Darcy’s animation, whilst varying in technique, is recognisable for its darkly humorous, sometimes gothic, style. Darcy’s animal models, perhaps influenced by his father’s career as a zoo-keeper, are some of his most frequently occurring and most imaginative creations. There is a saturation of the colour blue in many of Darcy’s films which adds to the surreal atmosphere of both his animated and live-action films. ‘Oh Yeah Wow’ has also produced slick films for advertisements and music videos which are stylistically more formal. Whatever your animation preferences, Darcy Prendergast is one to watch.



KRD – graphic design

It’s always exciting to find someone who is both professional and has fresh ideas when it comes to graphic design, and with Kathryn, Gola has been lucky enough to find both of these things.

‘To me, graphic design is everything really…it’s everything I do, and everything I will do’

Passion like this is Kathryn Davies down to a tee. Full of knowledge, excitement and drive when it comes to graphic design. She’s currently in the second year of her degree at Northumbria and spends a huge amount of time perfecting her art, ‘I practically live in the studio, and find any excuse to take a trip into the print room!’.

Kathryn describes herself as, ‘ginger by choice and obsessed with the printed word’. She was raised in Rochdale, and with both her parents being graphic designers, it is little surprise that she has turned out the same way, believing that ‘it must be in the genes’. Kathryn’s skill in publication is impressive and eye catching.  She is not just someone with a hobby or a passion – she is someone who knows exactly what she is doing, and her art reflects that.

Kathryn has a huge span of knowledge when it comes to graphic design, and is particulaly interested in Victorian typefaces. She enjoys working with people and bouncing ideas around in order to achieve fantastic results.

Kathryn’s dream is to design her own typeface, one that becomes a staple of any typographers arsenal and to work in the graphic department of films such as Harry Potter.

In a world where we are met with graphic design all the time, it is refreshing to meet someone with a real and raw talent, and it will be exciting to hear more from her in the future!

If you want to see more of Kathryn’s work, click here!

James Bruce Textile Designer

Over 6 ft 8 tall, size 15 feet and always happy. James – ‘the friendly giant’ (don’t worry he is a close friend of mine) is a recent textile design graduate from Edinburgh College of Art where he gained a 1st class degree last year. His degree collection ‘Holocene Extinction’ is a definite reflection of James’s character. It is a vibrant wardrobe commenting on the evolution of man and the destruction of natural habitats in clashing colours contrasting patterns with hand drawn intricate imagery. He juxtaposed harsh structural forms of factories and urban buildings with delicately drawn animals exploring their pattern, texture and skeletal forms.He devoted hours to not only screenprinting his collection but also producing digital prints alongside spending hours embellishing the prints with stitching and beading (albeit while watching a good film!) His fur embroidered sample is definitely one that has to be seen and it went down a storm at New Designers! His degree collection is a massive fresh take on menswear and was nominated for the David Band award at Graduate Fashion Week.

 As other screenprinters will know it can be hard, manual graft but James’s height and strength make it look like a breeze (annoyingly!) as he produces prints in minutes and carts screens around the printroom as if they are as light as a feather! With strong drawing skills and a experimental approach James find inspiration in the bizarrest things(!) from the TV screen when it has no signal to graffiti and geometric patterns found on the street. With past work experience at Timorous Beasties and at George at Asda, for which he was the runner up in their Graduate Fashion Week National Competition 2011 for his childrenswear collection (some of his designs went into production and were beautiful girls dresses!), he seems to be working in his way into the textile field with ease.

In the past year James has worked on his own range of hand screenprinted scarves and t-shirts while broadening his portfolio with some interior design. He is currently an Artist in Residence at Edinburgh College of Art and is always there to help lend a hand or give his unique view.

Check out James’ creations on his tumblr http://jamesbruce786.tumblr.com/


Matthew Lawes

‘Emma imagines a World based in Colour,
Where dreams are not nightmares and Children don’t suffer.’

Matthew Lawes is a London based director, animator, writer and all-round creative genius. When I first saw Matthew’s videos the vibrant colours, artistic narratives, beautiful music, creative sets and skilful animation took me back. In 2012 Matthew animated and directed the beautiful, yet haunting, short film Emma. The dark moods juxtaposed with the children’s fairy tale, makes for an unexpected narrative. Matthew constructs his Cinderella meets Rapunzel-esque narrative around a young girl called Emma, who “is different, her story unkind”. Emma’s authoritative father enjoys watching her suffer, and locks her away in a tower. However not all is to despair, as Emma’s hardship does not oppress her creativity; with her only way to escape her cruel reality is through her imagination and the cinema.

After being visually enchanted by Emma, the narrative filled me with a bittersweet pathos for the young innocent girl. I felt pathos and empathy for the cruel life young Emma endured. Emma’s salvation through her imagination and the cinema made me relate to her. In times of ‘doom’ and ‘gloom’, I can relate to Emma wanting to use her imagination to escape a harsh and mundane life. I think this is something we can all relate to.

Matthew’s career path has taken an interesting turn since graduation from the University of Newcastle, where he studied Architecture. Yes, I too was wondering how Matthew ended up in animation and not architecture. So I put my journalistic hat on, and got Matthew to answer a few of my questions. Matthew was kind enough to chat to me about the making of Emma and Emma’s fairy tale world, his creative background, awards, inspiration, and advice for all you young avid filmmakers.

So you studied architecture at Newcastle University, how did you end up wanting to make and direct short films?

I have always had a huge passion for film but didn’t want to study it at university. Architecture appealed to me as it was design led and the skills are easily transferrable to film – from the pitching process through to completion. The biggest lesson was how to use limitations to your advantage, which is hugely relevant to animation when you start out. I want to make films for the rest of my life, so three years of studying something else seemed more important at the time. I also wanted to see if I could achieve in something that I was not naturally drawn to. If I could achieve that then I felt I could do anything in the ‘real world’.

How long did the making of Emma take?
Around six weeks; with the sets and models taking three weeks, and the animation and editing taking another three weeks.

How did you come up with the narrative of Emma?
I have lots of poems and small bits of writings in various notebooks around my studio, so it was basically just a case of which one do I want to make first. I like to think it is a compendium of ideas, however most of it is total gobbledegook. I found a note the other day in capitals that said ‘I AM TOO SERIOUS SOMETIMES BECAUSE I AM TIRED!!!’ Sigh. The narrative came from a poem I wrote. Whenever I think of something weird and wonderful I jot it down and sometimes I connect those thoughts to form something more substantial. I suppose it is like a diary of my daily thoughts but less personal.

Are you Emma? Do you find happiness in a dark world through filming and capturing your dreams?
I think there are parts of me in Emma, but I’m not directly her. I was surprised how dark people thought the film was. It is really interesting to think of a story and form your own opinions and then have them changed once an audience has seen your film. I hate negative emotions so I would say the opposite; I find happiness in a positive world personally. Maybe I have a darker side I don’t know about yet, maybe Emma suggests that.

How did you feel when you were nominated for Shorts 2012 New Director of the Year?
Honestly that has been my biggest personal triumph so far. I am incredibly chuffed and inspired to work even harder. It was amazing to be put in a category with some brilliant new directors from around the world.

What inspires you?
Emotions and people that convey them well in any art form, inspires me. Also, my friends and family inspire me. Stories and late night chats around a large dinner table with lots of bottles of wine and laughter. I love finding out about people and what they stand for and experience.

For young people trying to break into the film industry, what would your advice and wisdom be?
Work harder than the hardest worker you know. Be tenacious and stay positive. Surround yourself with good people, enjoy the highs and learn to deal with the lows as quickly as possible.

What have you got planned for the future?
I am working on a number of adverts at the moment and I have just written a new short film about childhood imaginary friends. It’s a live action short with animation. I also produce a site called www.citysessions.co.uk, which is great fun. I want to collaborate with as many people as possible.

With the success of Emma, Matthew saw himself nominated for New Director of the Year at Shorts 2012, along with other nominations from Phoenix Comicon Film Festival 2013, Golden Kuker Sofia International Animation Film Festival, Rob Knox Film Festival, N4YP Film Festival, Basauri – Bizkaia International Animated Film Festival, and Cornwall Film Festival. As you can see, Matthew he has already created a huge international buzz around his animations.

Quick. Hurry. Go and check out all of Matthews other awesome videos: http://matthewlawes.co.uk/ and check out www.citysessions.co.uk.

The Well Rested

Oliver Ninnis sits down across from me in the dusty pub, pint in hand. The warm afternoon light of early summer streams in behind him illuminating the decorum of the establishment, glinting off of antique relics of Edinburgh’s past. I promised Oli I wouldn’t make him sound like a pompous moron, so this is already off to a good start!

Truth be told, Oli and the rest of ‘The Well Rested’ are actually pretty normal and down-to-earth people who are all from an art-school background. I heard once that there is an unspoken bucket list of things you need to do when you’re at art school including; dying your hair a funky colour, trying magic mushrooms and of course, starting a band. The Well Rested have successfully ticked at least one of these boxes.

This alternative band’s members include, instrumentalists James and Tim, and Oli on instruments and vocals. Oliver also claims to play the tambourine in his set but I’m not entirely convinced. They are entirely self produced and very D.I.Y, demonstrated by their lovely set-up where the microphone is attached to the stand with a sock. Their influences come from many different places but they admire bands such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Pink Floyd and The Kinks. The main effort in their music is as live performers, and they urge everyone to see them live because that is where they shine. The trio are as much crowd entertainers as they are musicians.

They music of The Well Rested is mostly about general experiences in life, and I would best describe it as musical narrative. The band’s name ‘The Well Rested’ is intended ironically, as everyone knows, the life of a creative trying to make it in the world is rarely ever glamorous and full of luxuries like a good night’s sleep. Oliver has clear opinions on sleep and explains that he rarely gets up earlier than 10 am because, ‘Nothing good happens before 10 am’. The bands rehearsals and meetings take place in their spare time, which often goes into the small hours of the morning. They may even rehearse their music while drunk, in order to prepare them for how to play should they get intoxicated during their live shows. The band mates share a close friendship and look out for each other both on and off the stage.

Some exciting news for the Well Rested, and I can proudly announce that they have just released a new single, ‘Family Tree’ which is now available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. I urge you to buy and listen to it! They are having a launch for this on the 3rd of May at Teviot Underground.

The band are unsure of their future plans, but they want to keep making music and possibly release a full length album in the not so distant future.

Have a listen, like their facebook page and buy their new single!

Us Baby Bear Bones

Daisy Emily Warne and Puff Gandolfo head up the trio Us Baby Bear Bones together with Luke Phillips. Though the band name may invoke feelings of twee-ness and sugary sweet nostalgia, their music couldn’t be further from that. There seems to be a play on the foreboded naivety, as the first track from their new EP, what starts with a U and ends with an I, sets the tone with a punch of a heavy, eloquent backdrop that gives way to airy, yet forceful vocals. Their sound is polished, and enigmatic of grandeur, yet still maintains a sense of youth and the ruggedness that accompanies this.

Interestingly, there’s something reminiscent of great female pop legends, but battered in dream-pop and turned in electro-beats. Us Baby Bear Bones are definitely not afraid of giving you a big punch in the stomach with their forceful sound; the vocals doubled up by the density of bass. The opening track, Mountains, has been released as their first single from the new EP, accompanied by a video that is self-directed and self-shot by the band. Warne says of shooting, “we got the worst camera we could find and locked our selves in a room for eight hours with a ladder, a laptop, a projector, a PA system and just had fun.” They’ve also been kind enough to give all of you who can’t wait to get your bear claws into the album, a free track up on band camp! Download Rain here.

Us Baby Bear Bones formed in Brighton, where they continue to work and are currently signed to local label Love Thy Neighbour. What starts with a U and ends with an I will be out June 10th, and it’s looking to be an immediate success. The track Sun is bound to be an anthem, as much as the ending track Swamp is the perfect soundtrack to all festivals this summer. It seems as if Us Baby Bear Bones are shaping up nicely, and I can’t help but think of Warpaint’s The Fool, which blew up over the internet immediately after its release. Could Us Baby Bear Bones possibly have the same fate in store? We’ll have to keep an eye out.

Jemma Thorne

This week I had the pleasure of chatting to an amazing illustrator from Hertfordshire; Jemma Thorne. She has such a unique style that conveys so much raw personality and depth that I’ve been hooked from the first encounter. Her impeccable skill when it comes to drawing and line art, allow her to communicate her visions effortlessly, allowing her pieces to capture the imagination of the audience. She has developed her work over the years to combine beautifully detailed illustrations, with bold block colours. This has created an edginess in her pieces that is so infectious, with her sense of humour always shining through. Her work is both unique yet timeless, with something for everyone. I implore you to spend some time enjoying her work as I have been. Here’s what she had to say:


Can you tell me a little bit about your style and your work?

My style of work involves detailed, and often laborious, line work that I then scan into my computer and colour on Photoshop. This approach works for me because my work is best suited with a flat, limited colour palette to show off the strong, clean line work. I find myself drawing most things, but I particularly enjoy drawing items of clothing and interesting objects. My work can be quite satirical at times, commenting on the many issues of the world, but I also enjoy working on a purely aesthetic level, helping me to develop my illustration style.

The Gola campaign is called “Born in Britain” are there any british artists or illustrators that inspire you?

An illustrator that inspires me for his genius humour and opinions that he puts forward in his illustrations, is the very talented Peter Brookes.
In terms of style, I adore the work of a lesser known illustrator called Jonathan Williams. Situated in Scotland, he has produced some great works for clients such as Virgin and The Times. I came across his work recently while researching for a project. His style is beautiful, clean and his use of colour is exquisite.

Your work is so visually effective, but it is also funny and expressive. Do you feel you are able to express yourself and your personality through your work?

I feel I am able to express my many opinions through my artwork and that it can often have a much punchier and hard-hitting effect than by trying to express this with words alone. It allows me to poke at things I feel are wrong or right about life and the universe in a, hopefully, more eye-catching and effective way.
An example of this would be my final major project that uses the alphabet to highlight all the issues (in my eyes) that our country faces.

Do you have any tips for young illustrators, trying to develop their craft and their style?

Practice, practice, practice. I have drawn obsessively every day since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I think there is an element of having a natural talent when it comes to drawing, but I think what’s more important is how hard you work and how much you want to make it. You will always have doubts about yourself and your work, but by realising what your weaknesses are you can develop your skills more.
You learn as much from your peers as you do from highly successful, professional illustrators. By looking at what others do better than you, and trying to reconcile that in your own work, you can strive to get your work to the best it can be.

I think the key to being a good illustrator is to never be satisfied. Friends and family laugh at me for being a ‘perfectionist’ and never being completely satisfied with my work, despite giving it my all. But that has allowed me to push myself further each time. There’s nothing better than looking back at earlier work and realising how much you have improved!

Finally, where do you hope to be in the next few years?

I am hoping to combine my two great passions in life: illustration and teaching. I hope to be able to maintain a steady job in education as well as taking on freelance commissions. Drawing is a massive part of my life and I hope to be doing it until the day I die!

If anyone is interesting at looking at a bigger collection of my work, I would be happy to send you an online PDF. My e-mail address is: jemmathorne01@yahoo.co.uk


Well I hope you enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed talking to Jemma! Go ahead and email Jemma for any work enquiries, or just to learn more about her pieces.


Holy Esque

Holy Esque are a four-piece indie-rock band hailing from Glasgow.

What immediately grabs you when hearing Holy Esque is the distinctive vocals of singer Pat Hynes. There’s a gravely tone to his voice which is incredibly unusual but it really makes them stand out – if you don’t believe me have a listen to some of their songs on soundcloud.

They’ve been around for a couple of years now and in that time they have toured with The Raveonettes, got noticed at SXSW Festival a few weeks ago and they will be playing this years Great Escape Festival too. Two festivals which are great for finding new music.

I imagine we’re going to be hearing a lot more from Holy Esque in the future but in the meantime have a listen to their latest single ‘St’ which was released on the 25th March.

Sour Cherry

Sour Cherry are a small independent jewellery company based in Sheffield who specialise in fun and quirky designs that are jam-packed with character. The adorable, affordable accessories are all designed and handmade by owner Kayleigh Walker and, because they are either produced from scratch or adapted from recycled items, are all guaranteed to be distinctive and unique.

Kayleigh works with a range of materials, including laser-cut plastic, shrink plastic, glass beads and ceramics, and the diversity of her designs is simply astonishing: just scrolling down the necklace section of the websites, you’ll be able to spot foxes, teacups, bananas, Pacman, gameboys, Russian dolls, cameras, keys, sewing machines, owls, James Bond, Liquorice Allsorts, glasses, elephants, Wayne’s World and bourbon biscuits. And that’s not even all of them, I’ve just run out of breath.

In the unlikely event you can’t find the design you want, you can even commission your own – contact Sour Cherry with the idea for your design and they’ll try and create it for you. Bloomin’ marvellous.

Bright, bold and bags of fun, and at prices not to put a dent in your wallet, Sour Cherry’s designs are hand-crafted delights. If you don’t have one, your wardrobe is lacking. Sort it out, why don’t you?

To check out the full range of Sour Cherry designs, or to commission your own, visit the website. Alternatively, follow them on Facebook or Pinterest.

Bear’s Den

Beards. Banjos. Bear’s Den have it all.

(However before any Glaswegians among you say a word, that’s Bear’s Den as in the animal habitat thing,  not Bearsden as in the town off of Glasgow thing- and don’t let Google correct you different)

Seeing them first this February after a friend kept relentlessly recommending them,  the first thing that strikes you when you listen to them, is just how have you not heard of them before? The acoustic three-man band (Andrew Davie, Kev Jones, and Joey Haynes), are more than on the rise however, and it only seems like only a matter of time before they become a much more well known name. Last year they supported both Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men on their US tours, and are part of the same West London record label Communion that has helped boost the careers of those such as Daughter and Laura Marling.

When describing them I suppose the easy way out is just to directly compare them to the likes of Mumford & Sons, since they are fitted into the same ‘modern folk’ category. But really they’re a bit more mellow than them, and more soulful. But that’s not to say their sound is mournful at all- the prominent use of a banjo and solid drumming keep the pace upbeat and dynamic; their songs can be ridiculously catchy.

But it’s the storytelling and sincerity of their music that makes them vital listening; in particular their best known single Pompeii, and A Year Ago Today from their newest EP Agape is beautiful listening, full of emotion and lovely harmonies.

You can follow them on facebook, twitter, and check out their music on the Communion page.

The Audacious Art Experiment

“The Audacious Art Experiment is more than a record label, we’re a community mindset that yearns for something more than ‘nine to five’ and aim to take back our chosen social freedoms, artistic expressions and community spirit from the companies trying to sell them to us. Music is our voice and the records we make are the product of our beliefs, dreams and desires.”

The Audacious Art Experiment is a community arts collective firmly at the heart of Sheffield’s DIY scene. The group has suffered personal losses in their upward climb but since its inception TAAE has managed to secure a well-deserved level of success.

The group pools together resources and offers out their local rehearsal space in order to encourage “challenging” music which they can them promote through their channels.

As the group states themselves ‘they are more than just a record label” and the ‘Information Buffet’ at the side of their website attests to this. Poetry, visual arts, photography, events are all disciplines the group contributes to and gets behind.

The video features friends of the TAAE, Algiers, and the song below is by previous label signee Cowtown.

Ski School by COWTOWN

The Audacious Art Experiment

Stephanie Jayne Designs returns.

Now you may recognise the name from a blog post about Stephanie from my fellow ambassador Rebecca, so I hope you are already in love with her but be prepared for a box full of new products ideas and brand points. She has come so far in a year she is a shinning example of creativity fine tuned in to a strong business.

 A intro from her.

Hi I’m Steph! Currently studying an Enteprise Placement Year with Huddersfield Uni. I study Graphic Design BA Honours, but have a passion for illustration and patterns! Next year I will complete my final year. After a placement in the Tigerprint Studios last Spring I gained freelance work in and out of the studio for the past year, which is fabulous because I get to work with a lovely bunch of fellow creatives and so far I have had 6 designs in M&S with more on their way to the shops! I am passionate about creativity ( sounds super cheesy I know). But if you love and enjoy doing something that much then why not peruse it. Being so driven to succeed I decided to take the plunge and launch my own creative business. So I started off with a goal I’d love to see someone walking around with my designs and products and be able to get all super excited. 8 months down the line, that happened I got super excited and my goals are now a lot more ambitious. I think my passion and drive is what is making my business such a success. I started out selling a few stationery designs, now moving on to baby clothes, homeware etc; it’s great to be diving into lots of things!!

Tell us about the new ranges, since the woodlen creatures?

Well, the woodland creatures are still there! Got to love them, my plan was to do them as limited runs! Only they recieved too much attention ( they were really flattered) and I had to continue them, so I introduced some more. I think the Whimsical Woodland will be continuinally changing with new characters etc. I also created Little Spring Collection, quirky cute spring animals like sheep, cows , rabbits, chickens! And now I am creating a baby range full of super cute little animals!

So a new baby range how did that come about?

Well it was through my customers really! I always ask them what they would like for me to be bringing to them, and something for babies really stood out! Who wouldn’t love to design some uber cute little baby grows and super cute animals! Well, my baby range is still in development but it is branded Little Deers by Stephanie Jayne! Imagine pink and blue turtles, spotty elephants, stripey whales, you name it I’ll do it! I want to create unique designs that really will make that special gift for a new baby! I am also offering a bespoke service in which I create a design that will be special for one little baby! No one else will have it. I have already completed a bespoke collection, including baby grows, vests, plaques, cards , bibs and bags adorned with Pink Giraffes and Purple Hippos! It went down a storm!!

Your designs have an animal theme, is that your signature style? As well as the typographic puns and one liners.

I never actually thought I had a style, until people said! Oh I can tell that’s yours its definitely your style! Gotta love the puns and the dodgy looking animals! They make people smile! So why not create more! I would’nt say I’m a witty person but those animals definitely bring it out of me!

So the we can buy online at…. Any fairs or plans for a stall or store some time soon?



you can buy here via PayPal
I have Thought Bubble Again in Leeds this year November 13
And I’m planning on a few other events this summer.

Future ranges?? any sneak peaks you want to tell us about first?

Future ranges….. Well lets just think Safari, Jungle.. Maybe I’m telling you a bit too much!

Anything to add.Please come follow me on Twitter and Facebook!
Stay Lovely My Deers!
So lots of new stuff from Stephanie but plenty more to come I am sure. So please do follow her on Facebook and twitter and pick yourself up some amazing stuff which make perfect gifts or just keep for yourself and brighten up your day.
Posted in Art