Monday 1 December 2014

Reckless Love Jacket Replica

After a number of months I can finally say that the jacket commission which I have been working on is complete! The commission is one of the most detailed and specific projects which I have ever undertaken, and I'm pleased to say my client was happy with the end result.

My brief with this work was to create a replica of Olli Herman's jacket (of Finnish Glam Metal band Reckless Love). The client had specific details in mind which they wanted altering slightly, and some additional features such as logos adding. I created the custom piece using a combination of photos of the original jacket, the official band logo and sketches/diagrams indicating stud placement, numbers and configuration as reference material.

Creating the back piece involved several layers of air brushing, combined with controlled stippling and splashing. On top of this came hand painted layers of blocked in colours, line work and detailed fine logo work, all painted using a mixture of leather paint and Createx wicked colours. The artwork is sealed with layers of varnish to limit the effects of time on the creation. Across the jacket are small additional pieces of paintwork, as well as 438 studs of assorted shapes and sizes, each of which was applied to the jacket by hand.

Working to create this jacket replica has been a very rewarding, enjoyable challenge! Many many thanks to my client for giving me the opportunity to work on such a different project! Its been fab!

Saturday 15 November 2014

Re-Animated Romance

A while ago a client contacted me inquiring about creating an extra special card for her friends Hayley and Gaz's wedding day. After a little discussion with the client and getting to know the couples interests and personalities (vintage horror enthusiasts like myself, so that's always a bonus!), this idea was born; The Bride of Frankenstein (with a feline twist).

The piece (Biro on 220gsm cartridge paper) is based on the iconic image from the silver screen, which sees Frankenstien's Monster and his Bride meet for the first time. However in this twisted version, the Bride does not reject the Monsters affections, they are living quite happy together in the laboratory with their three cats, a Gothic fairytale.

The concept came from the idea of two people being 'made' for each other, which I wanted to use to symbolize Hayley and Gaz's union, and the cats are drawn from their own pet cats. By combining these elements, and classic horror cinema, I aimed to create a card which reflected, and celebrated Hayley and Gaz, and their uniqueness as much as possible.

Today the couple tied the knot, so I can unveil this macabre celebration of love at last! Congratulations Hayley and Gaz, may you have many years of wedded bliss!

To inquire about your own project, get in touch via the contact tab, or email me at:

Friday 17 October 2014

MADE @ No. 18

There have been some exciting developments afoot at Danse Macabre of late and its great to be able to announce that my original artwork is now on display at brand new creative cafe MADE @ No 18. in Alfreton. Original artworks and cards are available to purchase from the cafe, which is situated on Church street. Head on over and check out the various arts and crafts on sale in the cafe, which is aiming to showcase a variety of local talent, as well as running all sorts of creative classes and workshops.

Monday 15 September 2014

HR Giger Museum: An Artistic Pilgrimage

For the past eight years I have been planning an artistic pilgrimage to the museum of my favourite artist, Hans Ruedi Giger. Giger has been an inspiration and hero to me virtually my entire life, and since the age of 16 I have been desperate to visit Château St. Germain in Gruyères, which houses some of Giger's most prolific pieces of artwork and sculpture.
After so many years of waiting, hoping and planning, the fact that the moment had arrived at last seemed utterly unbelievable.

We arrived in Gruyères early evening, after a long, tiresome drive from Southern France.
We were greeted by a tiny picturesque town, perched atop a rocky hill. Its cobbled streets and ancient buildings looked as though they were straight out of a movie set, and with little noise other than the gurgling of the public water troughs and the faint clinking of cow bells, the slower pace here was welcome after suffering the manic bustle of the Swiss Motorways.

On first exploration of the town we stumbled upon the Giger Museum and Bar almost immediately,
as sculptures reared their heads suddenly through a large arch, we were there. I had made it. At last.
We enjoyed some much needed refreshment, in the form of a few beers in the Giger bar, as I marveled at the staggering reality and magnificence of the place, desperate to study every tiny detail, and attempting to absorb the fact that I was really in

The next morning after a breakfast consisting of mostly cheese and salami, it was up to the Museum to wait for the doors to open.
With early pieces lining the staircase from reception to main museum, and another 'Baby Wall' similar to that on display in the bar, the museum eased you in gently, allowing excitement at what awaited to build. Once inside there was such a wealth of things to see it would have been easy to feel overwhelmed. Entire rooms dedicated to Giger's work on movies such as Alien and Species had everything from original sketches and conceptual ideas, to vast pieces of artwork, as well as film props, models, sculptures ... even a room to sit and watch the entire Alien film, surrounded by artwork.

The museum leads you through a labyrinth of rooms, mostly themed by subject matter or a particular series of paintings. The scale of some of the pieces is incomprehensible when viewing them in a book, in particular the 'Spell' series. These were in their own room and covered entire walls floor to ceiling they are so vast. 'The Spell IV' in particular was utterly breath-taking and left me speechless. I cant even begin to guess how long I stood staring at the piece and every minute detail. Giger's use of layers and depth is truly fascinating and unlike anything Ive ever seen before, something which can only truly be appreciated in the flesh.
As well as a wealth of Giger originals, the museum also houses Giger's personal art collection, which was an interesting insight into the art that Giger enjoyed and was inspired by. Many pieces are familiar from the books 'www HR Giger com', and the Taschen Icons book 'HR Giger', with some wonderful Ernst Fuchs pieces on display.

Artwork from every phase in Giger's life can be seen within the museum from early pen and ink works and oil paintings, to air brush works growing in complexity, sculptures, jewelry and furniture. For any Giger fan, or lover of surrealist art, the museum is a haven, where beauty and the beast are one and the same. The unabashed, unapologetic presentation of the grotesque, horrific, bizarre and erotic is refreshingly honest, I adored it. The museum was everything I ever dreamed it would be, and more. I certainly wont be waiting another eight years before I return to the incredible, beautiful museum of my hero, Hans Ruedi Giger.

Monday 28 July 2014

New card series

New cards featuring my original artwork are now available to buy from the online store at:

The new cards feature work from my Sanctus Strix series, inspired by the ancient symbolism of the owl throughout history, and their relation to good and evil in a number of cultures.
The crow also makes a fleeting appearance within the collection of cards, with two designs featuring artwork from my new, reworked series of expressive crow portraits.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Jacket Comission Progress

The custom jacket painting which I am currently working on is progressing well. After several layers of Airbrushing, paint splattering and runs, the background is finally complete and work is progressing on forming the jackets centerpiece, the huge sugar skull. Below can be seen the progression of the jacket so far.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Highgate Cemetery

During the 19th century every city with a population boom suffered the same social and economic issues; overcrowding, famine, disease, unsanitary conditions, an endless list of problems bought on by the ever evolving, and growing, world. Victorian London was no exception. The conditions in London worsened as the population increased, the church yards overflowed and diseases spread like never before. Every great city had it's own solution of what to do with it's dead when the room finally ran out. Paris built the catacombs, and the vast park like cemetery Père Lachaise, which inspired the solution to Londons problems; Highgate Cemetery and 'The Magnificent Seven'.

Highgate at the time of its creation was a place to bury your dead far from the metropolis of London. A green park on a distant hill, free from the Victorian obsession of miasma, where your loved ones could be buried in peace, without fear of being exhumed, and you also guaranteed your own resting place, by buying a plot with a contract which is still binding today. This new system gave peace of mind in a time when the threat of disease and death were ever present.

Highgate was a popular choice of final resting place for many well to do Victorians, with many notable figures of the age buried within the cemetery. Though, as attitudes towards cemetery's changed and Victorian indulgence and grandeur gave way to the sorrow and mourning of the Great War, Highgate fell into a state of neglect. Eventually it's gates were closed, and both vandals and nature took over.

Now reopened, thanks to the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, and available for visit by guided tour, the cemetery is a beautiful, tranquil treasure, hidden within ordinary suburban London. Highgate has so much to offer as a slightly 'alternative' activity to partake in when visiting the capital. History, exemplary craftsmanship, wild plants and flowers, a registered nature reserve, and importantly, the human story behind the stone. The lives (and deaths) of those interred at Highgate are wonderful stories, and capture the true reality behind the thousands of monuments.

Next time you're in London, I urge you to indulge in something a little different and visit Highgate Cemetery. By supporting the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, you are helping to keep a slice of history alive, and ensuring the maintenance and preservation of this incredible place for future generations.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Custom Jacket

Currently I am working on a project very different to my usual work, and in a very different style.

Recently, a client asked me if I'd undertake a commission for her, a painting on her new leather jacket, with the aim to creating a replica of rock star Olli Herman's (Reckless Love frontman) jacket.
Jacket painting is something which I have only ever done for myself in the past, and never have I undertaken such a large design, but I always welcome a challenge!

The flamboyant design calls for some serious airbrush work, which is the perfect excuse for me to get more acquainted with this marvelous machine.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Lincoln Cathedral

Even though I am half Yellowbelly, and my Grandfather truly epitomised Lincolnshire, I had never been fortunate enough to visit Lincoln, until today.

A chance trip to see the living legend Brian Blessed for the second time led me to the new, exciting territory of Lincoln. With a Cathedral, Castle, Museums and a wealth of history, Lincoln sounded perfect ... and it was.

Though I had heard of Lincoln Cathedrals beauty, I was rather unprepared for its reality. Upon arrival I was greeted by an utterly colossal specimen of Cathedral, which makes York Minster look modest in comparison. A service was being conducted during our visit, so we were only permitted to visit half of the Cathedral, and steal slight glimpses of the remainder, listening all the time to a glorious chorus from the choir.

On the exterior Lincoln Cathedral is a vast mountain of stone, erupting from the cobbled streets to great heights. Impressive and powerful the buildings gardens and pathways lead you around the entire Cathedral, discovering various new gems with every turn, such as the Norman Cathedral. Initially  hidden from view, this strange structure looks alien beside the building in its present, predominantly Gothic, form, and resembles something you're more likely to see in St Guilhem le Desert or a Templar Church. Different periods of history are clearly visible across the Cathedrals exterior, showing how the building has evolved over the years and the events which have shaped what we see today, from ravaging fires, to building collapse and Henry VIII's protestant reformation.

Within the Cathedral lofty vaulted ceilings and chunky columns are aplenty, however it is clear that this Cathedral requires funding to maintain its magnificent architecture. Cracks in the ceiling and patched up plaster work hint at the mammoth task of maintaining a building like this, and the finance required to do so. These imperfections, for me, give the Cathedral a certain charm, however they are also a poignant reminder that these great buildings need your support, visitation and enthusiasm to ensure that they are preserved for future generations.

For more information on Lincoln Cathedral, or to plan your visit, head to:

Tuesday 13 May 2014

HR Giger: The Zeitgeist of the 20th Century

Today, my studio is filled with sadness as I mourn the passing of my hero, my inspiration and the greatest contemporary artist in the world; Hans Rudolf Giger.

I have managed to collect my thoughts, and compose myself enough to write a little about the artist who has changed  my life and inspired me more than I can say.

What Hans Ruedi Giger meant to me ...

Giger, to me, has felt ever present throughout my life. Having been exposed to his creations and imaginings from birth, this mysterious man has always been present in my life in some way. As my life has progressed, Giger and his fantastical images have only become more important to me and more involved in my life.

Around 10 years ago my interest and strange curiosity in Giger turned into a passion. As I began to buy his books, read his thoughts and study his images in more depth, I also began to fall in love with Giger's work. Throughout my early years as a developing artist Giger was a huge influence, and a relentless inspiration. For me, Gigers artwork set a president for what could be achieved with imagination, skill and time.

During my years at college I grasped every available opportunity to study Giger, write about his work, and incorporate him into my projects. I didn't mind that everyone thought I was slightly bizarre (they weren't far wrong!), I desperately wanted to spread the word of Giger and share my love of his talent with everyone I could!
 Around 6 years ago, during a study I was conducting on Giger, I contacted Les Baranay for advice on visiting the museum and seeing Gigers work. I received a very pleasant reply, and Les was kind enough to put me in touch with some wonderful people, who felt very passionately about Giger's work.
Unfortunately as a young student I was unable to afford the costs of traveling to the Museum, however, Les had put me in touch with a friend of Gigers in the UK, whom was kind enough to invite me to his home to see his collection,  and very generously gave me a Poster signed by the great man himself, acts of kindness for which I am eternally grateful.

The trip which has been in the making for over 6 years, to Gruyeres, Chur and Zurich, had finally been planned to happen this summer. After the recent events, this trip could easily be tinged with a bitter-sweet sense of tragedy, however, I hope I will undertake this trip with a sense of joy and celebration at the wonderful artwork which was given to us by Hans Rudolf Giger, through which he will live on forever.

In my studio sits a portrait of Giger I drew a number of years ago. I see this everyday, and it is a constant reminder of Giger, his work, all that he has achieved, and all that can be achieved. It inspires and encourages me, every single day, and will continue to do so. For a number of years years I have been planning a Giger tattoo, and during the last 6 months I have drawn 4 different versions of the tattoo. I have completed a fifth design, with this portrait which is so important to me incorporated, as a true homage to my hero.

Giger has remained a constant inspiration, throughout my life. He has made me strive to new limits, to push forth towards his benchmark of perfection, to allow my creativity to take control and not feel restricted by conformity. Giger has, eventually, made me feel confident enough to draw what I really want to; what I feel and what I love, rather than what I think I should, and what society expects. He has changed my life in a way he will never know, and his legacy; his work, will continue to enrich my life, and the life of millions, forever.

Thank you, Hans Ruedi Giger.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Sanctus Strix

I am currently working on a project which,for the time being, I have given the temporary title 'Sanctus Strix'. The theme of the series is one which is a great love of mine and a recurring subject matter within my artwork; Owls. Owls are something which I have fondly been studying for years, but with this series I intend to return to a concept which I began to develop during my university Degree collection, and build upon its imagery; Sanctus Strix, The Holy Owl.

The concept of the collection is a multi-layered one, with various messages to be interpreted by the viewer. I am incorporating my beloved halo imagery within the series, as a visual representation of both the divine and the damned. As ever the series is intended to be packed with symbolism, intentionally adding a sinister twist to each owl and giving them their own little personality. These symbolic features differ from bird to bird, but each has an underlying concept, again indulging in my love of giving animals intelligent, humanistic traits, in this case almost supernatural.

This series is intended to be an unabashed return to fine art. A highly detailed, delicately layered fantastical imagining. These undiluted pieces will undoubtedly be a labour of love, hopefully a successful one!

Monday 5 May 2014

Taxidermy: A colossal collection

One surprise I wasn't expecting hidden within the decaying walls of Calke Abbey was the largest Taxidermy collection I have ever seen. Of an unprecedented scale, the vast collection was scattered across various rooms of the house. Ranging from mounted heads lining the walls of most rooms, to colossal glass display cases housing entire species. The collection reared its head at every turn, sometimes smartly lining a wall, appearing neat and well organized, more often though, housed in spaces far too small, or even haphazardly piled into rooms, barely visible.

Naturally the taxidermy specimens which interested me most were birds (unsurprising with my enduring obsession), and they were in great abundance. A huge variety of specimens ranging from Pelicans, to Sparrows and everything in between could be found, some faded and ravaged by time, others bright and beautiful.

The scale of the collection reflects nothing but sheer, unabashed obsession. In high society there has long been a fascination with zoology and scientific study, but the collection at Calke Abbey reflects years, and generations of collections, all under one roof. Despite the size of some of the rooms within the buildings they manage to feel mildly claustrophobic due to the number of paintings, skulls, display cases packed with taxidermy and countless mineral specimens on display.

Taxidermy has been a morbid fascination of mine for some time now. Our ancestors obsession and hobby of recreating the beauty of nature, and animal behavior through death really is a curious one. In the age of photography and global technology the idea of having to kill and preserve something to be able to revel in its beauty is an alien concept to many. Yet there is still something utterly captivating about observing the most beautiful creatures from every corner of the globe in a level of detail normally impossible. However, the ultimate irony of this is you are not viewing a wild animal, but an inanimate object.

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Calke Abbey: Documeting Decay

For a number of years now I have curiously desired to visit Calke Abbey, after being exposed to its existence by Rhiannon Williams during a context lecture, and now a number of years later on a dark and dismal Saturday afternoon, I had my chance.

On approach it struck me that externally the house resembled a miniature Chatsworth. With its regimented symmetry, countless features borrowed from classical architecture and rolling grounds, on first glace Calke Abbey was not dissimilar to the most Stately homes which dot the hills of Derbyshire.

But looks can be deceiving, and within the house reveals itself as a magnificent labyrinth of rooms in varying states of decay and disarray. Once you've made your way past the warm open fires and greeting smiles, you can truly begin to appreciate and understand what sets Calke Abbey apart from the usual Stately Home experience. Each layer of history is left tantalizingly exposed, with the different stages in the houses history easily distinguishable. Some rooms remained full of furniture, books and everyday objects, in  a state of fading deterioration, others claustrophobically packed with an eclectic array of collections. The dank smell of damp hanging heavy in the air was an ever present part of most rooms, and an occasional cold chill, only enhanced the lonely, eerie neglect of the building. In one room however, the ethic of preservation not restoration, appeared to have been lost. The only room in the house to have been restored felt somewhat uncomfortable and bizarre in comparison to the ruinous, threadbare atmosphere of the rest of the house.

The element within Calke Abbey which struck me most, was the bizarre ever present reminder of death and decay, not only in the house itself but also in the vast collections on display. In virtually every room was not only taxidermy but countless skulls, horns and antlers. This unabashed, slightly grotesque display of death sat strangely beside portraits of the great and the good, giving the house an inescapably sinister atmosphere.

Visiting Calke Abbey provided a wonderfully inspirational insight into the decline and decay of the stately home. A visually exciting and inspiring experience I encourage any creatives, especially those with a slightly morbid constitution to pay Calke Abbey a visit, I doubt you will be disappointed.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Danse Macabre Store

I am very pleased to announce that the official Danse Macabre Designs Big Cartel store is live! The store has been specifically created to stock my cards, and other products that I produce over time. I am aiming to improve the design of the store over time, and integrate it with my blog, but being no web wizard this is 'work in progress', and for now you have a fully functioning, slightly dull, store.

So please give the link below a click and visit the store to see what products are on offer presently!

(Please Remember that this is a brave new world for me, and to expand my product range I need your support. The more cards I sell, the more money I can invest in building the business, so dont think your support is unappreciated or doesn't count!)

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Danse Macabre Facebook

We are now present in the world of Facebook!

After investing quite some time in building the Danse Macabre Facebook over the past few months the time finally seemed right to for the page to go live. Hopefully this means more frequent studio updates for those interested, and allowing my art to reach new audiences.

Check out the page here:

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Bunch of Fives

The artwork for the 'Bunch of Fives' collection is finally complete, and has just been submitted to the printers. So as I wait with a mixture of eager anticipation and horrific nervousness to receive the cards, the time feels right to reveal all that Ive been working on, and the concept behind the collection.

The 'Bunch of Fives' collection is designed to be an exciting, different approach to expression and greeting cards. Each design is inspired by Traditional Tattoos and incorporates traditional imagery, as well as age old symbolism. Every card expresses a different sentiment, which is intended to be very personal, but versatile.

The initial idea for creating the collection came from the feeling that this art form and style rarely receives the attention it deserves, and that alternative people have no access to creative, different greetings cards which truly express what they think and feel, or which reflect their art, culture or personality. My aim in creating the collection was to design a range of cards which did exactly this, in a fun, honest way.

I feel really pleased with the finished designs, and the support Ive received has been absolutely phenomenal. Thank you all!

Below are the eight designs which I chose to send to the printers:

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Studio progress: Bunch of Fives

The new 'Bunch of Fives' project is moving forward at great speed. I'm really pleased with how everything's coming together. Its been a very rewarding challenge to work in a different style to that which I'm accustomed to.

Many of the designs which I am currently working on have been developed from sketches in my 'Ideas book'. The 'Ideas Book' is a bible like book which I carry absolutely everywhere and is thoroughly jam packed with anything my head conjures up. This unholy relic has a vast backlog of work which needs realization, some of which is being developed now.

The idea factory has been working overtime of late (both day and night at times) so expect lots of weird and wacky things. I really cant remember a time when I felt more creative or was having more ideas, which is a truly wonderful thing, I just need considerably more hours in the day!

Monday 31 March 2014

Brave new world ...

I have begun work on an exciting new project! The concept is a great little idea to keep me on my toes, and challenge myself creatively. It is worlds apart from the majority of my work in the studio, I don't want to risk getting lazy or complacent. The project revolves around themes which I am very interested in; age old symbolism and imagery, and Traditional Tattoos. The latter of which is something I never usually get the chance to incorporate into my work (and is a style Ive never drawn in before!). My aim with this project is to create something fresh, new and different, all to a very strict deadline. More to be revealed soon ...