Tiny Dance

Flea Waltz

The latest cover art project to come out of Rickmansland is Frederic Robinson’s Flea Waltz. It’s his second album, but first on Med School and first I got to create artwork for, and it’s a good one!

The brief started with Joan Miró, but I brought in a little bit of a Matisse to it too with the cut-out vibes, then I made it all out of wood. It turned out really well, and compliments the music too (if I do say so myself). Thanks to all involved for indulging me, and to Frederic for making a great album to inspire it!

Speakerbot III

Speakerbot III

This weekend’s project was an upgrade of sorts for Speakerbot, the little robot that lives beside my turntables.

He originally came to be because my speakers sat on different shelves that weren’t the same height in an old apartment. Of course the way to remedy that was to make a robot to bring one speaker up to the right height. Here was my original illustration of the idea:

120210 - Annoy

A couple of days later, he emerged from the cardboard

120211 - Speakerbot

Then he had a well-received lick of paint

120311 - Productive Day

About five years later, the cardboard was starting to get a little soft and wobbly, so this weekend I rebuilt him out of MDF. Who knew cardboard could be so human-like?

woodbot

An upgrade was done to his electricals, including some new switches on the light-matrix and a new meter that can just-about be hooked up to the music to display its current.

Press the button

He stands a lot firmer now, and will hopefully last longer than the cardboard incarnation did!

Ricky goes to Rio

Maybe I’m becoming a closeted sports fan?

doublefaultEvery summer for the past several years I’ve been wondering why all the people around me who support sports teams throughout the year go off to music festivals in the summer, while I prefer to stay at home listening to Wimbledon.

Yet I continue listen to Wimbledon while I work. Then the notion of summer sports ambience expands to the Tour De France, and as part of trying to figure out how on earth this sport works, I’m left wondering what the hell mining explosives suppliers and unopened hotels are doing sponsoring professional sports teams.

The next thing I know, it’s a Summer Olympics year and I’m watching that too.

The Olympics is a kind of madness though

Two weeks where hundreds of people from all over the planet gather to show off how they’re really really good at doing some really obscure (usually) physical thing, and the BBC is dedicating dozens of channels to presenting it all live for the nation’s bafflement!

Steele Johnson? Seriously?I find myself watching Synchronised Diving, wondering why they made an insanely complicated way of jumping into a body of water even more complicated by expecting two people do it in sync. I’m not even going to try to keep a straight face when ‘Steele Johnson’ is on the screen in his tiny Speedos.

Next my attention is diverted to Taekwondo, where two people are trying desperately to kick each other in the head, live on prime-time television. After that, I’m watching a field of grown adults on undersized bikes race around a concrete obstacle course and hoping they don’t break their necks.

There’s so much going on it demands the attention of my post-it pad!

Greg Van Lavamat
The intrigue begins with the cycling road race. A bit like a miniature Tour De France, humans race in the space in a couple of hours over a distance I couldn’t cycle in a week. The race is won by a Belgian chap whose name sounds an awful lot like Greg Van Lavamat. He probably would benefit from having a motor inside of him as well.

Professionals
Look at the swimmers, propelling themselves 100 metres in the time it takes me to paddle 25! They must live in the water, a bit like the ducks on the canal.

Fencing
I can’t say I’ve ever watched fencing before this Olympics, but I have to wonder if it’s the fencers that have taken a lot of influence from Daft Punk in recent years, or if Daft Punk were influenced by fencing?

Rafa's Routine
Never mind that, it’s stopped raining so the tennis is back on. Oh look, it’s Rafael Nadal, sweating profusely, going through his pre-serving routine. Have another banana, Rafa!

T-Rex Table Tennis
There are people who aren’t on television who take table tennis very seriously. To call it ping-pong would be offensive. I can see why- this sport is madness. Their postures remind me of dinosaurs, but they move like fireworks. I can’t even!

Etch-a-sketch
Oh yeah, basketball, that’s a sport that is totally competitive outside of the United States. Why is the coach drawing his tactical plans on an etch-a-sketch?! Is chalk too old-fashioned? Is an iPad too modern?

Vault
What would the Olympics be without a little bit of the track-and-field? I find myself wondering – am I the only person who thinks this is completely insane? I mean, pole vaulting, how do you even get into that? Is that your only job as a human? Or do you run online marketing pyramid schemes between vaults or something?

Strange as all that is, it only barely scratches the surface. I don’t even know what to write about the dancing horses event or the synchronised swimming duets, except that a fortnight later I still can’t work out which is more bizarre. I’m exhausted from just having watched!

Still Not There Yet

One day in a meeting at The Purple Gates, Tony said ‘I’ve had a great remix done from Are we There Yet, maybe we should do a whole album of remixes’. A few weeks later, I was briefed on ‘Are We There Yet: The Med School Scans’.

Tony’s idea for the artwork was Soviet X-ray bootlegs, but this wasn’t something we could produce with any kind of authenticity, even on a small scale, without looking like just another X-ray record cover.

Instead I came up with an idea for coloured vinyl with a purpose (rather than coloured vinyl for novelty), and made a cover design that you have to scan with the record to be able to read.

The whole project looked great once printed – fluorescent Pantones worked perfectly with the colour-blocking idea and look super-tasty in person!

UCI World De-tour

Watching the Olympic cycling road race last week, I was struck by how unadulterated the cyclists’ uniforms were. They had essentially no sponsors at all, which is in stark contrast to the teams in which the cyclists ride.

One of the strange/charming things about professional cycling teams are that they are named for their sponsors. This would be a bit like Manchester United being called ‘Team Chevrolet’, or the England cricket team being called ‘Waitrose Pro Cricketeers’. Except pro cycling is such a fringe sport, oftentimes these teams are sponsored by companies who probably aren’t widely heard of in their native countries, let alone on the world stage.

The whole thing got me wondering – what if UCI WorldTeams were simplified to what the sponsors’ companies actually do?

UCI World De-Tour 2016

I thought these team names were strange before I set out on this quest, but things only got stranger as I dug deeper! Continue reading “UCI World De-tour”

Mystery Machine

Krakota's Strange System

More newness! Here is the artwork I created for Krakota’s debut album. He called the album ‘Strange System’, which is totally up my alley when it comes to record titles.

The title made me think of black boxes (as in science/engineering, not aerospace), which are systems that you can give input to and get output from without having any idea of what happens inside the system. I had some crazy idea to create some artwork completely obscured by a black box, but that was too, well, obscure. Everyone on the project seemed to like what I was drawing to go into the box though, so we ended up with that as the cover itself.

Krakota Black Box

Everything is connected in this artwork! Clearly some of the objects are straight out of the mechanical/system corners of my noggin, but a lot of it comes from Krakota – his love of vinyl, celebratory beers and coffee to fuel the writing process, audio bits and pieces, and objects taken from some of his track titles. On the cover is a xylophone (from Xylo), a ghost, some samphire, an ice machine (for Ice Hands), some bones (for Lazy Bones), and the odd elastic bands. There are more track titles in the gatefold artwork too.

krakota-gatefold

I kept my illustrations on this artwork as geometric as possible to make it feel very mechanical, so to contrast that and bring it back into the world of humans, we had all the artwork printed on a nice and heavy unbleached card stock. It roughs it up just the right amount and looks pretty fresh in physical too.

Check the Hospital Shop if you need a copy in your life!

Lost Property

I received a package from Russia this week, which isn’t something that happens very often in Ricky Trickartt HQ. Inside were finished copies of some artwork I had created for St. Petersburg’s Microfunk – more cardboard cassettes, but in a totally different vein to last time!

Lost Dubs on Microfunk

The album is a collection of tracks from various members and friends of the Microfunk collective that were lost or unreleased over the years. The concept was about finding new life in something that had been left behind. I was commissioned by Bop to illustrate this concept with the bouquet from the bowl, and got to have plenty of fun filing the inside with pipes too!

Lost Dubs on Microfunk

I love print so much. The art looks great on the heavy brown paper stock and white ink – it almost looks like I drew each copy myself with some super-fine white Posca markers.

Thanks to Bop and everyone at Microfunk for the project. You can get a copy on their Bandcamp page.

Oblique Fascinations

Hello Internet! I bookended this month with travelling. As we start this roundup, I was in Hamburg, being astounded by the amount of riot police in town, and struggling to practice my German. Toward the end of the month I found myself in Ibiza, trying to stay as far from the party towns as possible. Instead I hired a Vespa and drove up a mountain, which was a lot like being at home in Britain, except with nice weather!

My favourite post-it from the month was, as usual, one of the least understood. Never Lonely Tomorrow was a picture about the ever-increasing amount of gadgets in the world that you can talk to. The Amazon Echo and its success in the States particularly fascinates me, as it leans into Amazon’s core business of selling you… toilet paper? I’m sure there will be only more and more of these devices to talk to as the future presses on.

The other oblique fascination of the month wa They Say Love Is Blind, a more easily digested post-it note about how my rockets and my squid drawings look so similar.

It’s Made of Paper!

Here are another two recent record covers I’m pretty proud of, both following a paper theme:

NHS291-Packshot-2400px

The Hospital Mixtape series has been a bit of a puzzle since it started a couple of years back because despite it being called ‘mixtape’, there’s a certain discomfort with cassettes behind The Purple Gates. That means it’s down to me to find a way to think alternatively about tapes.

This year the mixtape was put together by S.P.Y, so I took the raw and minimal production finishes from his last album Back To Basics, and set about mixing them up. I got the knives out and ended up crafting a 1:1 scale cassette tape out of reverse cereal box and ribbon. I even made a cardboard case for it too, for the ongoing messy desk imagery used in the series.

ddesk

A bit of careful photography and a lot of retouching later, it all came together.

Hugh Hardie is a new Hospital signing. For his debut EP, titled ‘City Soul’, I drew a very rudimentary skyline and chopped it up into something a lot more abstract. I had recently bought myself a slightly mad paper circle cutter, and this proved the perfect job to take it for a spin.

NHS292EP-Packshot-2400px

The textures came courtesy of logarithmic graph paper from my grandpa, excess ink from Etherwood’s Blue Leaves album project, and a copy of The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon (which I thought was appropriately city), ran through my increasingly temperamental photocopier.

The whole cover then got a bit of explosion treatment on the back cover.

hardie-back

It’s all made of paper!

April Showers

What a scattered month!

This April I have been trying not to glue my own lips together, having strange dreams about sandal-shaped buses and sunbathing goths, spending far too much money on MP3s (Streaming services? What are they?), and a little bit of travelling here and there too.

My favourite square came quite early this April, in the form of the advice slip. I’ve never understood why ATM receipts are labelled as advice slips. It’d make much more sense if they really dispensed advice, as I pondered in my drawing.

I was sad the world lost Prince too – another hero of imagination has gone. As I noted on Twitter, I’m still in denial about Bowie, so having His Purple Majesty go too is an extra sad time. Shame I couldn’t come up with a better post-it note to commemorate him.