Saturday, January 31, 2009

up in smoke

This is going to sound a little strange (how unusual for me) I miss the smoke from cigarettes in Paris cafes bars etc..I miss walking into a cafe or bar and not seeing the room full of blue fact not seeing anything.I miss my eyes stinging from the dry fug filled rooms. I know the pitfalls of smoking and all that stuff.I don't and never have smoked, but I think it was a French institution to have bistro's etc full of smoke.Those days are gone now and I know Americans and my clothes are very happy to hear that (but what can we complain about now) I feel we (they) have chopped a huge part of french culture off at the knees.So when I pass a TV station called NRJ (energy) I see this outside ashtray always full...always.
The French cant smoke in the cafes anymore but they still smoke, they smoke like chimneys, in the freezing winter as well as the hot stinky summers.I shot this photo (above) when it was 11 degrees below freezing.There were maybe 21 people standing outside NRJ trying to enjoy a cig.They looked stiff and maybe a little frozen ...but god bless them for making the outside ashtray a little work of art and maybe a small revolution against..??? Well what? Are we all becoming health freaks at the expense of national institutions , are we not allowed our little vices anymore.The next thing you know, the Parisians will start treating people with manners and courtesy..God forbid!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

and now on the brighter side

Here is a little illustration I just finished for the Knight Foundation. As I'm sure a lot of you know (because I bored you to death with it) I won a grant from the Knight Foundation to start a project called 'The Miami Poster Project' Basically 'YOU' design a poster and win a lot of money, as well as great exposure. Its open to everybody. It doesn't have to be a drawing, it can be a poem, a story, a word...BUT!!! It does have to capture the essence of miami.(More about this later) Soon the website will be finished , so all you budding and not so budding artists can read all the simple details...who knows you may even win....Stay tuned, its going to be very exciting....
The illustration above is to call for entries for the new Knight Foundation awards 2009. Who knows, you might win that as well....I did.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

a promise is a promise ...except!!!

Remember dear reader, when I promised never to write anymore about my Dr Marten boots (see January 11th entry) I promised you this because my blog is supposed to be about art and culture and me and everything in between. Well I'm sorry, I have failed you once again.For here is (and I promise it will be the last word on boots) another entry about Dr Marten boots. No I'm not being paid to advertise them, nor am I short of blog entries...It's just that when I was out the other day (monday) I saw this brand new pair of Dr. you know who boots. They had my name all over them and they were on sale. What more could a starving struggling artist want (o.k. I'm not really either) So now, I am the proud owner of some very flashy boots...Dont you think?

Oh! the photo above are not the boots I bought (are you crazy !!!) NO NO, I bought another pair of classic dark brown ones...
Besides they didnt have my size in little flower prints....Shame. BLOODY SHAME.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

my screen saver or scream saver

I don't know about you but I have been through a million(maybe 9) screen savers over the last few years, I just cant seem to settle on one. So recently when I went into the apple store (as I tend to do every 30 minutes, it seems) the guy helping me (I think he was a genius) said ''what a scary screen saver''. In fact this Isn't the first time I've heard this and probably wont be the last. As an artist I usually like to work with a white screen, it seems cleaner and somewhat fresher. But since I bought my laptop, I have settled with one image. It's by one of my favourite artists. The painting is called 'l'historie centrale'and it was painted in 1928 , its by (as I'm sure you know) Rene Magritte. I have only used the top half of the painting, the best bit as far as I'm concerned. The story behind the painting stems back to when Magritte was fourteen, his mother committed suicide by drowning in the river Sambre. Following her footsteps to the river, Magritte saw a group of men pulling a woman out of the water, which turned out to be his mother. Magritte saw her body which was naked apart from the nightgown which had become wrapped around her face. This is all true, except that Magritte never actually saw his mother being fished out of the river. After some research, it seems the story was probably told to him in glorious detail, by his nanny .

I told the apple genius this story thinking it would put his mind at ease. He stared at me for a few seconds and replied ''will that be credit or cash?'' I probably wont tell the story again but I will keep my screensaver, at least till I find a gloomier image.

Screen Saver (also screensaver)
noun Computing
a program that, after a set time, replaces an unchanging screen display with a moving image, originally to prevent damage to the phosphor and now mostly for decoration or entertainment.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

time to kill..part one

I have so much stuff in my apartment (Big sigh) It's all very beautiful and hand picked from a lot of strange and wonderful places. I've been collecting 'stuff' since I was a kid. I simply couldn't part with one piece. Never! Ever! Out of the question.
Well dear reader thats what I use to think as of maybe a few weeks ago. Now Im back in Miami, I seem to be looking at things with a fresh eye (both of them in fact) So I woke up the other morning (really!) and took a long hard look.I came to the conclusion, that even though it's hardly junk, I simply don't want it anymore.So I'm starting a new segment on my blog, it's called 'What the F... am I going to do with my little treasures' O.K. it's not really called that, but you get the idea...The 'stuff' has been very important in my art and also I have really enjoyed living with it ,but it's time to go (the stuff that is , not me) So here is the first in a very long series...

Part One.
ALL MY CLOCKS (no it's not a soap opera)

Yes thats right...I have about 60 clocks, all very lovely and all in working order.All the times are set at 2.45. The question is what should I do with them?

A. Give them away to a clock collector?

B. Sell them on E-Bay?

C. Put them in storage?

D. Drown them?

E. Pretend I don't see them.

I'm taking suggestions. The winner will get a clock...What else?

Why are the clocks set to 2.45 you ask? well thats the time my mother died.
Who said they were happy clocks.

P.S. All my clocks are featured in the film I made about my mother 'Sylvia' If I can loose my mother I can certainly loose all my clocks...Cant I ?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

lights... camera...edit?

If you scroll down on my blog you will see (on the right hand side) the image above. There you will find all the little films I have made. I'm telling you this dear reader as a added service we (It's only me but 'we' sounded bigger) offer here at the blog. O.K. O.K. I'm saying this because 2 people complained they couldn't find my films on my blog. So that solves that little problem... It seems a tad strange to be editing yet another little film about Paris with the waves of Miami singing there sweet song outside. I wonder where I should edit the big film I'm making 'Au Revoir Monsieur Bonjour Mademoiselle' (The life of April Ashley) I shot that in Nice Paris London and liverpool. Oh well I have plenty of time to worry about that. Meantime stay tuned for the next little film, It was shot over Washington while the 'swearing in' was happening, and I have exclusive images ...How is that for a teaser...Then again maybe I'll post the Paris balloon film first...Then again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

where am I?

I just got back from Paris last night, so no postcards from Paris for a while (although I will be showing 3 short films here on my blog, in the next few weeks). Here is a photograph I took this morning, from the beach just outside my house. It's going to take a few weeks before I get use to not having Paris all around me.So bare with me.

I'll be fine....Really!! don't worry.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I'll be on a plane flying back to Miami when Obama is being sworn in. I wanted to write so much about this event and about the horror of the Bush years,but I wont. I'm just so happy to be flying back to a country that might just (by the skin of it's teeth) be o.k. Thank God Bush has gone...The photo above is an ad thats all over the metro.I think its for books (I really need to learn French) Really!!!!!!! I miss Paris already.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

bright and breezy

A lot of people (usually my family) say 'Philip why is your art so dark and gloomy?" and I usually reply "I need a martini" Anyway here (above) is an example of my lighter more colourful side. It's for a magazine called Mortgage Monthly (yes you heard right) and I produce four of these covers a year.I really enjoy creating these illustrations because the art director gives me complete freedom.My family likes these illustrations because they are happy and joyful, unlike my other work which is, shall we say a little deeper.I sent this illustration to my sister and she said 'Philip why don't you create more art like this?" to which I replied "I need a martini".
So for the readers who prefer the lighter side of my brain go to
for the readers who like it a little (lot) darker go to

Saturday, January 17, 2009

oh I'll just have one more

It's a well known fact that I hate birthdays. I have never really understood them. What is one supposed to be celebrating, a year closer to the grave? I know I know, I should lighten up (as they say)But I see the diggers waiting. So this year, after years of hiding under the pillow or something like a pillow, I have decided to take this situation head on and do what I do best, NO NO NO not creating art...DRINKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!Im really enjoying my birthday now (or rather the champagne) So maybe it's not so bad after all.....It will be lunch soon, maybe Ill have another glass. 'Happy birthday Philip'.. ' you're welcome'.

celebrate |ˈseləˌbrāt|
verb [ trans. ]
1 mark (a significant or happy day or event), typically with a social gathering
• [ intrans. ] do something enjoyable to mark such an occasion : she celebrated with a glass of champagne.
• reach (a birthday or anniversary).
2 perform (a religious ceremony) publicly and duly, in particular officiate at (the Eucharist) : he celebrated holy communion.
3 honor or praise publicly : a film celebrating the actor's career | [as adj. ] ( celebrated) a celebrated mathematician.

P.S. The photo above makes no sense at all but drinking and being creative never sat with me very well..unlike most artists...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

then and now...and then?

I know this isn't the most original idea, but sometimes one just has grit one's teeth and just do it. O.K. that said, here is a new segment I call 'then and now ' this of course will change with time..I came across this old postcard of a building I know very well (I walk past it everyday except when I don't..ha ha) Anyway , it looks a little like the flat iron building in New York, only much smaller( and its not in New York). I photographed a modern version of this building this morning, and the truth is, it hasn't really changed a lot, in fact it almost the same. Maybe this isn't the best example to start my new little segment (then and now) but maybe its good to see that progress (if one can call it that) hasn't swept over everything in it's sight....

I use to go to that cafe in the photo above, but they have a really nasty old pit bull working for them and she barks (and bites) very loudly in French.I passed the cafe this morning and heard her tender tones ringing out. I think she has been there since 1927..Ahhhh!! somethings truly never change. Alas!
(click on image to make it larger)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

a story with a soul and a sole

I was thinking how nice it is to be wearing my red boots again after so long. Living in Miami most of the year one didn't see much reason to put on big boots. But now I am living in Paris I try to wear them every chance I get. I know you are all wondering what sort of boots do I wear? In fact I'm convinced most of you must be loosing sleep over this question. Well dear reader, worry no more, I will tell you, Dr Martens...YES!!!! thats right, the amazing Dr Martens. I bought my first pair while living in the north of England, just before I started art school. What a big day that was for me (buying the boots not the first day of art school) I rushed home, all excited and with the vigor of a wild horse. I started to polish them till I couldn't feel my fingers anymore. My fingers had actually turned from a dark brown from the polish (and after many washes) to a nasty yellow.It looked like I was the heaviest smoker in Britain.I had those boots (and still do, just cant throw them away) for nearly 40 years, They cost 12 pounds...So 2 years ago I thought to myself in a moment of pondering, 'Isn't it time I bought another pair of Dr Marten boots' and in a flash I did. In stead of going to a dark dank workmans shoe shop, I ordered them online. Oh what a day it was when they arrived.After smelling them for an hour or so I set out to polish them all night long (as well as taking a sniff here and there) They cost $120 and will probably outlive me...Maybe I'll be buried in them 'God rest my SOLE'
Last night I got out the shoe polish and after an hour I could see my smily face reflected in them. Even though my fingers look like I'm now the heaviest smoker in France I know that I just might have the shiniest boots in Europe and who knows maybe the world.

A FOOTNOTE (ha ha) and a short history, because I know you need to know more
Klaus Maertens was a doctor in the German army during World War II. While on leave in 1945, he injured his ankle while skiing in the Bavarian Alps. He found that his standard-issue army boots were too uncomfortable on his injured foot. While recuperating, he designed improvements to the boots, with soft leather, and air-padded soles. When the war ended and some Germans looted valuables from their own cities, Maertens took leather from a cobbler's shop. With that leather he made himself a pair of boots with air-cushioned soles.
Maertens didn't have much luck selling his shoes until he met up with an old university friend, Dr. Herbert Funck, in Munich in 1947. Funck was intrigued by the new shoe design, and the two went into business that year in Seeshaupt, Germany, using discarded rubber from Luftwaffe airfields. The comfortable and durable soles were a big hit with housewives; 80 percent of sales in the first decade were to women over the age of 40.
Sales had grown so much by 1952 that they opened a factory in Munich. In 1959, the company had grown large enough that Maertens and Funck looked at marketing the footwear internationally. Almost immediately, British shoe manufacturer R. Griggs Group Ltd. bought patent rights to manufacture the shoes in the United Kingdom. Griggs anglicized the name, slightly re-shaped the heel to make them fit better, added the trademark yellow stitching, and trademarked the soles as AirWair.
The first Dr. Martens boots in the United Kingdom came out on April 1, 1960; with an eight-eyelet, cherry-red, Nappa leather design. They were popular among workers such as postmen, police officers and factory workers. By the late 1960s, skinheads started wearing Dr. Martens boots. By the late 1970s, Dr. Martens boots were popular among some British punk rock and New Wave musicians, and soon many punk fans were wearing them. The boots and shoes then became popular among other youth subcultures. (who are you calling a subculture?)
I promise I'll never write anymore about my boots or anyone else's.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

warm hands cold feet

My only regret in making this little film is that I didn't have my good video camera with me, and that I didn't have wool socks, on both feet. I shot it all on my tiny camera which only allows me to shoot 3 minutes (its not really a video camera, it just thinks it is )...I'm hoping it will snow again, in fact I think Paris will get lots of snow this winter...Remember you heard it here first. Sit back and enjoy the film.You may want to wear a hat and gloves and sip on something hot.
If you want to see this film in better quality, Go to you-tube and press the better quality tag bottom left of the film.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Film noir...(well actually film bleu)

I froze everything off shooting this little film (even my little camera caught a cold) . The eiffel tower was blue and now it's back to its normal colour (a golden yellow). The reason it turned blue 6 months ago, was because France took over the European Presidency, and I'm sure you all know that the EU flag is blue with yellow stars. Now the presidency will go to another country that doesn't have an Eiffel tower or great food.

Anyway I think the real reason it was blue, was because it's freezing cold in Paris at the moment. Im going to thaw out now, maybe Ill turn back to my normal colour!!!