Life is good.

October 17, 2014

Life is good. No sooner had I set up my MacAlfa Romeo Monza poster mini for an afternoon’s work than I received an order from Sweden for a poster through my Etsy shop. This is another of my occupations, and in this instance it involved repacking my computer and returning home for an hour this morning to print out a large giclee print of the art deco style Alfa Romeo poster that I designed a couple of years ago. It was no hardship.

These posters are my legacy. I have little else to pass on, and I certainly do need to press on with more designs as I’ve been otherwise engaged on a long-term writing project for the last two years (more of which later, I’m sure). But last week I took a welcome break from writing and completed a design that’s been sitting on BDLC2_smallthe back burner for a very long time. It’s a second version of my Bal De La Couture poster, following on from the 1927 poster completed a few years ago, the new design is for the 1928 event, but visually following similar lines and colours. I’m very fond of these designs but I can’t say that they’re selling like hot cakes. Probably something to do with key wording, as my automobile posters sell quite well.

But I do intend to return next year to my market stall in Framlingham, which I gave up a few years ago, or perhaps more accurately it gave up on me. I think this fashion poster might do quite well in that environment. But four or five years ago sales dwindled to zero for a run of several weeks, and I could do no more than crawl home to lick my wounds. It hurt. Since then I’ve struggled to find the necessary cash to renew my market traders licence, and also I no longer have a car that I can load with the stall and stock. But next year both of those issues should be resolved and I’ll get back to those lovely social Saturdays amongst the brilliant stall holders on the hill.

I have to say that I was probably a bit ambitious with the size of postersphone photos April 2008 027 that I hung in my tiny eight foot square stall, as so many people would say, “They’re really nice, but too big for my house.” That may have been a load of rubbish, but they did look a tad large. Ho hum.

But that’s the future and today is now. For mid October the weather is tranquil and I’m off to enjoy a teatime drink with a good friend to celebrate his birthday. We’ll meet up in The White Horse, a couple of miles from here, and get a couple of pints in before I get back and cook dinner for my sweet wife. As I say, life is good.

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pocket money pictures

November 7, 2011

In the last day or so I’ve introduced a new string to my bow. Pocket Money Pictures is a gallery of affordable original drawings that I’ve produced recently, selling for less than £50.00 ($80.00 US) and that I’m particularly pleased with. Pocket Money Pictures website can be found here.

The drawings featured on this website evolved from sketches and master drawings created during the development of my still life paintings made over the last year or so and sold through various galleries in East Anglia and London. These paintings can be viewed here.

And the hearts came from years of drawing and painting hearts as birthday and anniversary cards and pictures for my lovely wife Maureen. Every year (more or less) I’ve produced a new design as a gift on the occasion when I couldn’t afford a proper present.

So a few weeks ago I decided that it was time to put these on the market as an affordable picture for these difficult times. I know that an original picture is a lovely thing to have on the wall but a luxury that few of us can afford. At the moment these pictures are only sold through this website. The principal reason being that galleries charge 40 or 50 per cent commission on sales, so as I’m sure you can appreciate, at these prices 50% is a massive chunk.

So here they are. Please enjoy, and do tell your friends. They will make an excellent gift.

decent exposure #2

June 7, 2010

Oh, look, it’s happened again. Another very generous magazine article about my work. This time its my posters that feature in the lovely Garage Style Magazine, a quarterly publication aimed at classic car collectors and based in California. I’ve just seen the article for the first time online but my copy of the magazine itself hasn’t yet arrived, as it is, of course, reliant on international postal services.

The way this feature came about was in itself quite delightful and surprising. I got a call out of the blue one evening from Jeremiah McDaniel, one of the magazine’s writers, asking for an interview. This was a follow-up based on a half page piece the magazine was kind enough to give me about a year ago. The call must have lasted at least an hour as Mr McDaniel was very thorough building a profile of the elements that go into creating these posters.

The magazine had originally been given my name by one of my customers who is a keen car collector, and who displays a couple of my posters on the wall of his ‘gallerage’. I came across a picture of his collection quite by chance one time when I was searching around the net looking for classic car based images and saw this on the home page of Garage Style Magazine’s website, and noticed two of my posters on the wall. This I considered a very ‘small world’ event.

I’m always so very grateful when publications like this carry an editorial feature about the work that I do as the publicity for someone like myself, working from home as a self employed illustrator/designer/photographer and anything else that might turn a buck, is invaluable. Getting people to visit my website at New Vintage Posters is never easy, so when an article like this is written it sort of gives the work the seal of approval from a respected source. I’d previously had an article written around some of my photography which appeared in the May edition of Suffolk Magazine and such exposure is very encouraging. Thanks again to the lovely people involved who have been so generous.

“You can tell what God thinks of money by looking at the people He gives it to”.  My great friend and fellow artist Mike Chapman told me this line on the phone this afternoon. Mike has a lovely studio overlooking Thomas Hardy’s cottage in Dorset and works there as a sculptor. We talk about once a month to check up on what our lives are turning up, and quite often we have an excited conversation about a new commission we’re discussing with some wealthy client, and how we’ll keep each other up to speed on how negotiations are progressing. Then after a while you notice that the commission is no longer the first thing we speak about, and sometimes you start to think that maybe its slipping away.

But our conversations are always lengthy, full of excellent stories and punctuated with huge bouts of helpless laughter.

Today we talked about his website which he’s thinking of changing, and strangely enough mentioned a site similar to wordpress (in that it has templates for you to design you site around) but this is an inexpensive web design site for artists and photographers called clikpic. I said ‘strangely enough’ because this is the site I use to host my website.  Clikpic charge £35.00 per year, and its so easy to use that I’m sure even Mike will be able to upload images of his work.

Then eventually we got around to talking about a commission he was hoping to get for sculpting King Arthur’s tomb at Glastonbury Abbey. How about that for a dream job? Really big bucks, too. Mike was one of two shortlisted for the gig, and I genuinely believe his was by far the best. His King was a natural, Celtic King. A huge, wise and reflective leader of men, loosely dressed in rough homespun cloth, sitting in deep contemplation. His rival produced a graceful knight in shining armour. But it’s perhaps of little consequence now, because its looking more and more as though the project is not happening. Budget cuts, you see. Art is the last thing people are spending money on at the moment, unless its $100,000,000.00 on a Giacometti sculpture to grace the distant halls of some squillionaire who doesn’t yet have everything. You see, things are different for these people who God has chosen to burden with money. Nothing is ever enough. And it turns out to be people like me and Mike who are truly the chosen ones.

tomorrow the world!

May 26, 2010

I’m moving deeper and deeper into the Global Community. I’m rubbing virtual shoulders with my new best cyber friends.  Navigating my way fearlessly to infinity and beyond. It is an exhilarating experience akin, in many ways I’m sure, to that first bungee jump or cresta run. That leap into the unknown which will take you who knows where. Already complete strangers are turning up at my cyber door giving my work the once-over and returning admiring glances. I didn’t realise I was so popular. Oh, but please forgive this frenzy of excitement. This unseemly outburst. It’s just that I’ve started a new facebook page this morning promoting my poster website, newvintageposters.com, and a twitter page to run alongside, each enabling me to speak to the entire world as and when I wish and to claim that same entire world’s undivided attention. This is quite a responsibility, as I’m sure you can understand.

This latest adventure was , in fact, the idea of my very good friends James and Emma during a magnificently squiffy evening at their flat last night. Time flew, as it always does when I’m in their company, and suddenly it was gone eleven, well past my bedtime, and I had a headful of cyber stuff to keep and hold safe till I awoke. And I can tell you now that nobody was more surprised than me when I actually set this thing up this morning without a hiccup.

It really does represent a major adventure for me, because the possibilities seem quite limitless in terms of contacting friends of friends in this bonkers never ending network. I do not take these things for granted. And this being a social network I will be looking to discuss new ongoing projects and hopefully getting feedback from those sufficiently interested parties concerning things such as ideas for new poster designs and other stuff like tee shirts and greetings cards.

Sitting here all day in my isolated studio with only the spiders for company, it’s reassuring to know that there are people out there in the great wide world that not only care about my welfare and what I’m up to, but will also enjoy the opportunity to rubbish my work as it goes along. What’s not to like?

Decent exposure

May 7, 2010

I do enjoy writing this blog when nice things happen, and today I discovered that the May edition of EADT Suffolk Magazine carries a very generous six page article about my photography under the headline ‘The Colours of Summer’.

The introduction reports that ‘You can almost feel the warmth on your back and hear the lazy hum of bees with these bright, sunshine-filled scenes from Suffolk photographer Bill Philpot.’ And I’m quite sure that I couldn’t have put that better myself. Well, perhaps I might have slipped in a few words like ‘startling’ and ‘fabulous’.

I was told by the magazine’s art director Sandra Roberts that the work would feature in this month’s edition, but that was a long time ago and the information had slipped from my feeble memory bank until today when I happened to notice the publication on the racks in the supermarket, had a quick flick and the pages just fell open at this article. It contains about a dozen shots of Suffolk coastal images and landscapes, including a shot of Blaxall church almost obscured by a field of poppies that they’ve used as a full double page spread.

Now I shall be practising a nonchalant air as I stroll in the pub with the magazine under my arm and casually allow it to fall open on the bar. It has to be done. And for those of you who might not be in the pub at that particular moment there is a link to these pictures and more at ‘the suffolk snapper’ in the ‘my other stuff’ section on the right of this page.

Dodds Wood cock day

February 28, 2010

Cock day is a much anticipated end of season event when the brushes who beat Dodds Wood throughout the winter for very little pay plus a brace of pheasants or partridges for their pot, get to have a day’s free shooting. The idea is essentially to thin out the cock birds to leave the hens for breeding through the spring ready for next year’s shoot.

Maybe some of the terms here require a little further explanation. The pheasant shooting season lasts from October 1st to February 1st and I beat on syndicate shoots as opposed to commercial shoots. The difference between the two are that the syndicate shoots are formed by farmers who provide the land, raise the birds and grow the cover crops (maize or sunflowers etc. in which the birds will seek shelter from the winter winds) and the farmer’s friends who chip in the cost of all the above. Generally speaking, the number of birds taken on these shoots is relatively low. Commercial shoots, on the other hand, are organised more with an eye to profit making, and interested customers will buy a days shooting, usually at an eye-watering cost.

Beating, or brushing, depending on where you come from, involves teams of men (and sometimes women) driving the birds over quite long distances along ditches, through woods and across farm land towards the guns who will be waiting patiently on their ‘pegs’ often in the teeth of a bitter blizzard, the crazy fools.

Although I beat these and other wooded acres two or three times a week throughout the county I don’t actually shoot, so I spend cock day as sort of official photographer, and over the last three years have got some quite nice images, I do believe.

I love Dodds Wood. It sits atop a hill overlooking the Alde valley surrounded by farmland, and is really well managed both by the gamekeeper and by Jumbo, the woodsman who delivers my winter firewood. To walk through this wood and over the neighbouring farmland in good company, clambering through worryingly deep ditches, thick hedges and dense brambles, all in pursuit of game for the larder is a mighty pleasure not widely appreciated. It keeps me fit and healthy throughout the shooting season when I might be tempted to spend my time sitting by a cosy fire, and also brings in a little pocket money in the bleak midwinter when income is scarce.

The season is over now and my boots and leggings have been put away until next winter, and so today, on this grey and drizzly Sunday lunchtime, we fine company of country gentlemen and ladies drove gamely and eagerly through the flooded landscape to meet for the annual end of season beaters lunch at the Blaxhall Ship, as fine a pub as you might ever wish to fall over in, and recounted yarns of mishaps and adventures on shoots all over the county. Perfect.