Urban Creativity Workshop on 23rd May at The Proud Archivist

I’m delighted to announce the first Urban Creativity Workshop run by my wife Jacqui Lofthouse and her business partner Clare Barry. Together Jacqui and Clare are Paradise Road Project.

In the spirit of ‘a picture’s worth a thousand words’ here’s my take on what it’s all about.

Urban Creativity CartoonHowever, if you want to find out more about the workshop, which takes place at The Proud Archivist, an inspiring venue on London’s Regent’s Canal, do hop over to have a look.  Regrettably Jacqui is not offering special discounts for clients with hipster beards and tattoos. But, there is a substantial 20% off for readers of my blog, so don’t forget to use the code Spring2015 when booking or you can go direct to the booking page here.

The workshop is for anyone who really wants to get focused on a project, whether it relates to art, writing, a creative business or any other creative discipline. It’s a chance to switch off from digital distraction, to take an Urban Walk and be inspired by the city, to get good tips about productivity and to go away with an action plan to keep you focused. There’s a delicious breakfast and hot lunch from the chef at The Proud Archivist as part of the deal and cocktails with Jacqui and Clare at the end of the day!

Clare and Jacqui colour (narrow) (2 of 1)

If you go, hope you have a wonderful time! I can personally say that without Jacqui’s focus, drive, digital knowledge and business acumen, I would not have fulfilled as much of my creative potential as I have done. Short of marrying her, this is the best way of getting a shot of her coaching expertise and ferocious ambition – and I hear that Clare is every bit as inspirational! Do hope some of you get to enjoy the Urban Creativity Workshop and I’d love to hear how it goes.

Your Country Needs YOU: visualising World War One

It’s often difficult to demonstrate what I do. Often the material I work on is sensitive or confidential information, or it might simply be so specific to the meeting where it was recorded that it makes very little sense to an outsider. However, I was recently asked to draw a sequence of cartoons to illustrate the outbreak of the First World War for ‘Trench Stories’, an ambitious, original play, put on by the students of the Anstee Bridge Project, with the help of Bounce Theatre.

Explaining the causes of the First World War has spawned entire industries and is notoriously complex. However, visualising makes it simple. Here it is in five pictures:

Sarajevo

The heir to the Austrian throne is assassinated by a Serbian nationalist.

Serbia resists Austria

Austria demands reparations from Serbia; Serbia refuses.

Russia backs Serbia

Russia intervenes on behalf of Serbia.

Germany backs Austria

Germany intervenes on behalf of Austria.

France, Britain and Belgium involved

Germany pushes Belgium aside to attack France, who is allied with Russia. Britain, who has a treaty with Belgium threatens to counter-attack Germany.

So there you have it!


If you want to read a rather fuller version, Christopher Clark’s recent book The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is excellent, but long!

I would like to think that I would be able to convey any message, however difficult, through a handful of simple pictures. However, there are some subjects that are so abstruse, so controversial and so fiendish that they defy even me. I refer of course, to the off-side rule.

From my cartoon strip ‘Coach Kevin’, originally published by Greenstar Media.

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Crime and Punishment exhibition for Anstee Bridge

The Anstee Bridge Project is a cause that’s very dear to my heart and an organisation with whom I’ve worked for many years now. It aims to provide Kingston teenagers who are not achieving their full potential at school with a supportive and creative environment that encourages their aspirations and builds their confidence. Each year Anstee Bridge raises the bar with the ambition of their schemes, and this was their biggest yet.

Crime and punishment 3

A Thousand Years of Crime and Punishment was an exhibition at Kingston Museum, designed by me and constructed by James Rowlands. It aimed to capture the goriness of bygone Kingston, complete with stocks, ducking stool, gibbet and numerous rats!

The students all got on board, painting, making dismembered heads, writing poetry and recording video stories about real historic crimes. The most intricate exhibit for me was a reconstruction of Kingston’s original prison, which bizarrely was housed in a pub on what is now the site of the Bentall Centre. I worked closely on this project with my very talented niece, the model-maker Shameem Allen. Click on the images to see the detail.

It’s always extremely satisfying to see young people become enthused with a creative project and to see them stretch themselves and discover skills they never realised they had. The moment when one of the students came into the Grand Unveiling and saw the poem that she’d written painted on the wall of the museum was one I won’t forget in a hurry.

You can read more about the exhibition in the Surrey Comet here.