Thursday, July 23, 2015

Exhibition time



  Part of the Tread Softly Festival in Sligo, here's a new exhibition at the Hyde Bridge Gallery. I'll be showing new work, old work and attempting to tell the story of how the Yeats in Love series started from a chance remark in a graveyard to a lifetime's work.
Everybody is welcome, we'll have lemonade and KitKats

Thursday, January 1, 2015

In praise of Online Shopping





     I have to get up on my rickety sopapbox for a minute as an online trader living and working in rural Ireland.
     I sell my stuff online. I get my clients online. I read in various places about how online shopping is killing the High Street.
     I sort of disagree with this, if that's allowed.
     I go to my office in the wilds of Sligo every morning. I do my drawings with pencils I bought in Sligo Supply. I then go and get prints made at Digicreativ, two miles away. I frame my piccies 100 yards further down the road, with Kevin Woods. While I'm waiting for Kevin I go to Chapters Coffee and have a bit of a chat and a cuppa. I make a few calls in Cafe Fleur and naughtily steal a bit of their WiFi to tweet about some daft thing, and answer emails from people in Hong Kong and Mullingar asking about work they need done.
     Later on I have a couple of meetings with clients who , by the way, have come to Sligo to meet.         We have lunch in Hargadons or Lyons Cafe and once the meeting is over I say *While you're here why don't you take a walk up Knocknarea*. One client did that and he's still here, six years later. So that's good. One more city dweller who succumbed to the charming yet irresistible witchcraft of Sligo.

      Being able to say you can safely and efficiently run a business here is half the battle. That and the Cake.
 
     Back to the office having bought a load of Cake in O'Hehir's Bakery , parcel up some stuff people have bought online. I call the local Fastway courier or post them from the post office down the road.
       Later on I phone Caroline in Printfix and get a couple of quotes. I realise I have one of those meetings tomorrow that requires the Suit, so I run to Master Dry Cleaners.  A quick visit to Liber Bookshop to see how the book is selling- the book which, interestingly, would never have existed because I would never have been introduced to Eoin Purcell online, the idea would never have been suggested and the book would never have been published.
       Because the work is coming along nicely, or because I made a hideously huge series of mistakes, I buy more paper from Art Upstairs.
       For me it's simple: some might say too simple. Sue me for oversimplifying but if I couldn't sell online I don't think I'd be living here at all. The internet allows me to live and work anywhere. I use local suppliers for nearly everything. I spend a fairly sizeable chunk of my business and personal income in Sligo town and county, as far as is possible at any rate.
        I make a decent living by working in rural Ireland and doing business online, without personally being responsible for closing any high street shops.  If it weren't thus, and I had  to try and stay here without running an online business I think I'd spend every day sprawled on the couch in my jim jams, watching Judge Judy and eating beans from a tin. And then I'd leave.
       Online shopping doesn't kill the high street. It gives it another reason to be there. Both can (I think), if allowed, exist happily together.

www.anniewest.com


Monday, December 1, 2014

40 gallons of Elephant Pee

     
                                                                                                                                       

 I was working in the Art Department of Neil Jordan's film "The Miracle" with Top Production Designer, Gemma Jackson.
       On the list of things to do was "Bring Elephant into St. John's Church, Sandymount for interior scene".
       With a note attached reminding us and the Elephant handler and the property department to "make sure the Elephant has performed any and all loo business beforehand".
       We showed up at the Church in good time. I checked and checked again to make sure Nepal (for it was she) had done her business early. All was well.
        I should mention at this point St. John's Church, Sandymount is a lovely example of neo-Norman Architecture and has a typical early example of underfloor heating, ie. a set of heating pipes set below the floor and covered in an ornate cast iron grille the whole length of the aisles.
        I should also mention, and we did not previously know this, if you have one Elephant in a place, and it happens to be a Mother Elephant,  you also have to have their child within eyesight. At all times. No matter what.  Otherwise Mother Elephant goes berserk. We found that out fairly early on while filming on Bray promenade a few days earlier. So the brief now was "Bring two Elephants into St. John's Church, Sandymount".
       As is the norm with film production, there were a few delays before we got the proverbial show on the road. The Elephant handler finally got both Elephants into the Church without much drama. It was a bit of a squeeze but after a bit of squirming and shoving everyone got into position.

       After about twenty minutes I slipped outside as I was no longer required and it was getting fairly warm.
   
        I was outside chatting to the neighbours when the doors opened and the entire cast and crew emerged gasping and roaring and laughing and pointing. At me.
       Five minutes after that I and every member of the production office were on the phone to every  contract cleaner in south Dublin. Finally I managed to find one still open at 5.55 pm.
       "What is the nature of your accident?" says he.
        "Yes, well an Elephant has peed in St. John's Church Sandymount and all the pee has gone down through the lovely ornate cast iron grilles into the underfloor heating system" says I.
        "Really", says he. "How much pee?"
        "About forty gallons".
         They laughed and hung up.

http://articles.philly.com/1991-07-28/entertainment/25785284_1_circus-elephant-protestant-catholic-church

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yeats in Love by Annie West



Yeats in Love 
by Annie West


‘As for Willie Yeats I love him dearly as a friend but I could not for one minute imagine marrying him.’

Maud Gonne


        Yeats in Love is an illustrated, semi-fictional account of WB Yeats' obsessive yet ultimately fruitless pursuit of Maud Gonne, illustrated in detail on every painful page by award-winning Illustrator Annie West.
        To celebrate WB Yeats' 150th Birthday in 2015, Annie has gathered together remarks from those who bore witness to this unfolding story- Douglas Hyde, Katherine Tynan, Lily and Lolly Yeats and others- and mixed them together with some of Yeats' most enduring love poems in this richly illustrated, handsomely bound Collector's edition from New Island Publishers in Dublin.
        With an introduction by Theo Dorgan, and designed by Amy West, Yeats in Love promises to be the Book to delight and amuse lovers of literature, illustration and unrequited love for many years to come.

‘Annie West is a remarkable and individual artist with a sense of fun who combines skill in draftsmanship and colouring with a sly insight into literature.’

Senator David Norris


Yeats in Love is published by New Island Books, Dublin  €34.99
Special limited edition (200 only) cased, signed and numbered  €80.00
Pub. 14 November 2014 | 978-1-84840-392-5



Yeats in Love will be launched at the 2014 Dublin Book Festival on Friday November 14th at 6pm in Smock Alley Theatre, 
with guest speaker Cathal MacCoille.












And in Sligo on Friday November 21st at 6pm in the Yeats Memorial Building 
with guest speaker David McCullagh













New Island Books, 16 Priory Office Park, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin
Tel: +353 1 278 4225, +353 85 8710269
Email: mariel.deegan@newisland.ie | www.newisland.ie








Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seamus Heaney 13/4/1939 - 30/8/2013



Very sad yesterday to hear of the sudden death of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.
I met Seamus a few times. He had that way of talking to you, while standing in a hall packed with his enthusiastic and determined admirers, as if you were the only other person in the room.  Seamus was a charming, sexy, mischievous, lovely man.

I was exhibiting the Yeats in Love series in Galway in 2009. President Higgins (Michael D as he was that day) kindly agreed to open the exhibition and after the event asked me what I intended to draw next. I admitted I hadn't had much of a chance to think about it. 
"Why don't you do a series on Seamus Heaney?" 
I considered this and then remarked,
"Well he does have fabulous eyebrows"

Being a girl who keeps her promises I repaired to my office and began researching Seamus.
I asked a close friend of his if he could give me some small bits of information I could use.
I wanted to do an amusing series of pictures about Seamus but did not want to be the very first person in the world to insult or offend him. I wanted to draw him with some of the things that meant something. His awards. His remarkable hair. A jar of Tadpoles. His favourite shirts. The squadrons of women who followed him around like Bobcats.

Picking up tiny stories I'd heard like bits of string, I slowly put a couple of drawings together. 

One drawing said he needed to be reading in his study and I wanted the book to be something relevant.
 I asked his friend, 
 "What might Seamus read in his spare time?"
Expecting the answer to be oh, Plato or Horace or Yeats.
"The Ben Sherman Catalogue" came the reply.





Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making an Album Cover with The Waterboys



"All right, design a cover for the new album. You have two weeks". Okay.

The rough.
The title track made me think of Funfairs . Well that and I also happened to be in the middle of working in the Art Department,  filming Neil Jordan's 'The Miracle' on Bray seafront, and we happened to have a Funfair hired out for the week, so it all fit together perfectly.
Or so I thought.
The plan was , shooting for 'The Miracle' was about to end, and I had asked Cullen's Funfair to stay on for another day on the seafront so that the Photographer, Executives from Chrysalis Records, Design Department, Road crew and all seven members of the Waterboys could conveniently assemble for a quick few photographs on their Waltzer.





Simple, you'd think.
But no.
Shooting overran on 'The Miracle'. I realised to my horror that unless I found an alternative Waltzer quickly I would find myself standing redfaced in the midst of Screen actors, screaming film crew, grumpy, tired rock stars and tetchy record company people all requiring the same piece of Fairground machinery on the same bit of Bray seafront at the same exact moment.
This is what I get for trying to be like Alasdair Paton.Who?

I can tell this story now because I know there is no way I am ever going to get a job in the Movies again. Which is fine.

Because this was 1990 and there was no Google or Twitter or Facebook or computers generally I was faced with the prospect of phoning Funfair operators around Ireland based on information from a maggoty old phone book and the old reliable,Word of Mouth. Mobile phones had only just arrived. I remember standing on the roof of the Director's Driver's Mercedes Benz at the car park in Bray Head with  a huge phone (with a cord attached to a car battery) trying to communicate with a confused Fairground bloke in Bundoran, just as a gust of wind arrived and ended the conversation for good. There was also the point, made by several helpful onlookers, that the chances of a Funfair operator actually being close to his phone at any time of the day, never mind at the exact moment I was calling,  were slim to non existent. After several attempts, I realised I was not going to be able to sort this out here. Not with everyone watching.

So in short, I had to mitch the last two days of shooting on The Miracle.  Philippe Roussellot, I'm sure, would notice I was gone. Hm yeah.

With only two days to go (there was no way I was going to call Mike Scott and cancel this photo shoot, nor Chrysalis records art department either. My reputation, after all, you know) I finally managed to make contact with the owner of the Funfair in Tramore Co. Waterford. Established that the thing worked, went round and round, looked reasonably okay and was available at 8.30 in the morning.
Frantic rejigging of various bits of drivers , accommodation and catering as I realised designing an album cover isn't a matter of sitting at a swish desk twiddling the moustache and throwing shapes.
                                                                        
                                                                             ***

Everyone arrived in the deserted, freezing car park in Tramore at the ungodly hour of half eight,  as arranged, much to my surprise.

I can tell this story now  because I know there is no way I will ever get a job with The Waterboys again, which is also fine.

John Pasche leapt out of his car and bounded across the car park like a puppy, grinning and shaking my hand with the enthusiastic grip of a woodworker's vice.
I did not at the time  realise it was the actual  John Pasche, and being youngish and uneducated in the history of album design, was unaware of John's impressive pedigree. All right sue me. I know now.
www.johnpasche.com
Mortified.
 My only excuse is I was an exhausted,hungry, panicky wreck and was busy thinking about being marked absent from 'The Miracle' Roll Call back in Bray. And the consequences of same.

John was charming, generous, modest, handsome, sympathetic and enormously helpful to me in my hour of terror. Between us we concocted an impressive air of authority and proceeded with loading the Waterboys into the Waltzer, yelling various instructions and getting down to business. After about ten seconds we realised it all looked a bit. Sort of.  Boring.
"There needs to be, sort of, movement" we agreed.
All seven members of The Waterboys eyed us with suspicion. Noel Bridgeman started to wonder if it had been wise to have that full Irish Breakfast earlier.
 I drew the short straw and had to ask the Fairground guy to set the Waltzer in motion. "Very slowly please".
So there we were, spinning away at a snail's pace as the photographer snapped away. Then he turned to John and me and declared "Not enough movement"

Waltzer guy cranked up the motor. We all backed away a bit.

It wasn't long before we realised we'd better get a decent photograph soon because Sharon was turning a delicate shade of green as the Waterboys spun around and around and around and around.
"We have to go again, one of them blinked."
And again.
And again.
Anyone who has studied physics and /or photography will know already that the chances of seven people in continuous double circular motion are, in fairness, unlikely to all have their eyes open at exactly the same moment. At nine in the morning and breakfast repeating at an alarming rate.
Eventually the whole thing was brought to a conclusion, partly because the light was going but mostly because there was a good bit of complaining happening.
John  wrote to me afterwards and told me they'd had to "airbrush Steve in" back in the studio because his eyes were closed "in every single photo" (ironic considering Steve had left the band by the time the album landed in the shops).

As rock stars staggered around the car park trying to regain their balance, like seven divers released far too early from a decompression chamber (much to the amusement of Waltzer Guy) , John and I discussed what was going to be on  the back of the album, picturewise.
Oh Lord. Erm.
With that I had an idea. I spotted a lovely Buttercup Yellow wall of the Ghost Train nearby. I muttered instructions to the irrepressible John *nothing is too difficult, too mad or too annoying* Dunford, road manager, who rounded up some of  the country's most gifted musicians and piled them up in an inglorious  heap behind the Ghost Train wall.
For my pleasure.

The back cover of it

With that, everyone dispered, holding their heads and making small groaning sounds. I was reassured by John Pasche, iconic album cover designer, known to everyone, except me, that "everything will be fine. You did good Annie" .
Then he leapt into his car and was gone.

I returned to the set of 'The Miracle' the next day. I was asked where I had been.
 "Well I was off in Waterford trying to make The Waterboys throw up".
"Yeah right. No really , where were you?"

I still have a polaroid that shows the remarkable physical contortions that enabled the back cover photo to be taken. I keep it on my office wall to remind me of the glory and glamour of the olden days. And also to remind me why I will probably never be asked to work with musicians again.
John Dunford holding the whole thing together as always







Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Handy if the house burns down

Got a very nice invitation recently to donate some piccies to the permanent illustration and cartoon archive at the National Library of Ireland.
Here's their blog about how I came to be (sort of) obsessed with poets : http://www.nli.ie/blog/index.php/2012/02/10/yeats-in-love-joyce-skateboards-and-dreamboat-laureate/

Yes I am busy. I am very very busy.


I was working on a film in Limerick some time ago. We were shooting at a tumbledown ruined castle near Limerick, miles from anywhere, in the freezing cold of a November morning.
People were tearing around, constructing tracks, winding up key lights, running around shouting into walkie talkies . Because I was Art Department, I had already finished most of my work by six, and  was ready for breakfast.
           As I neared the warm, inviting dining bus I was approached by the First assistant Director.

“Siggins! Are you busy? “ He yelled.

“No, but…” I answered.

That was my first mistake. “We need you to stand in for Daryl Hannah” he yelled, as camera crew raced around, trying to get things ready.
            “Daryl Hannah?” I yelled back above the din of lorries parking, tracks clattering and people shouting orders.
            “But I don’t…”
             “And we need you in a wedding dress, up there on the parapet of the Tower”.
             What should be made clear is that unless you're a senior crewmember, or Daryl Hannah, if you're given an order you must act on it without asking questions.
             I immediately repaired to the wardrobe department and asked them where this wedding dress could be found.
            “We haven’t got any wedding dress here. They'd have it back in Shepperton. You’ll have to go and get one. And make sure it’s exactly like the one we’re going to be using” she added, at the top of her voice.
           “What does the real one look like?” I shrieked.
           “ We haven’t designed it yet” came the reply.
           Back to the First assistant director, standing hip deep in a lake, shouting orders, and told him about the non existent wedding dress problem.

“Well just get something” he yelled.

            There was also the small matter of the fact that , being as I was a small, dark haired, dumpy person I did not bear even the slightest resemblance to Daryl Hannah.
             In fact  at that very  moment a blind man passed by on a galloping horse and shouted “She looks nothing like Daryl Hannah”, and continued on his way, laughing hysterically.
            I pointed out to the First Assistant Director that  one of the Riggers working on the scaffolding tower over there looked more like Daryl Hannah than I did or ever would.
            I waited for a reply, or at least an explanation. When I realised I was getting none I made my way to the Transport department to see if I could be driven to Limerick to find a wedding dress in a hurry. No one was available. Sighing with exasperation I jumped on my motorbike and headed for Limerick, freezing and starving.
            Not being familiar with the city I spent at least half an hour asking puzzled passersby if they knew where I could find a Bridal Wear shop in a hurry. At half eight in the morning. People started moving quickly away from me as I ran down the street, muttering and cursing.
            The Lady in the Bridal shop remained unruffled, in fairness to her, when I burst into her shop on the dot of nine and yelled “I need a wedding dress, quickly please. Anything will do. Anything. Here, give me that one.”


Returning to the back end of nowhere on my motorbike with freezing needles of rain pelting down and several yards of embroidered tulle blowing airily out the back of my knapsack, I wondered once again if perhaps I had made a mistake in deciding on a career in film work.
           “Quick. Get dressed, we need you up there now. Hurry UP” shouted the First Assistant Director, hustling me into a roofless, doorless shed to get changed.
            I emerged in all my finery, minus something old , something borrowed and the only blue thing being my frozen face.
            I was shoved in front of The Director, who glanced in my direction, muttered “Yeah, grand”, and shuffled off  to his nice warm caravan for coffee. It did at that point cross my mind that he could have cared less. But I kept my powder dry.
            I began my ascent up the tiny stone stairs, followed by a trainee with a length of rope.
            “What’s that for” I asked, as the rest of the crew snorted into their tea and choked on their Custard Creams.

“Well it’s to stop you falling off” he replied.

Until that moment I hadn’t considered the fact that I was about to walk along the parapet of a half rotten tower in a ruined castle , in a wedding dress that was about four sizes too big for me.
            Still no word as to whether there was any resemblance to the proper wedding dress; but then I decided this was only a minor issue as the person wearing it bore as much resemblance to Daryl Hannah as Peter Lorre to Cary Grant.
           “Hurry up. HURRY UP” shouted the Assistant Director as I bumbled and tripped up the stairs.
            The stairs ended. I was faced with a long ladder for my final ascent. What followed is best left to the imagination as the Trainee almost smothered trying to help me and my gorgeous train up the ladder to the parapet. Things were said. Profanities were exchanged.

We were about 80 feet above the ground. I looked down and saw the entire camera crew looking up at me. The trainee tied the rope around my waist. I wondered if this could be adorned with  a garland of flowers to dress it up a bit. I could see in the distance, the wardrobe mistress running toward the camera crew, having a canary , shouting and roaring at the First Assistant Director. I couldn’t hear much but the words “What are you ****ing playing at?” and “This is completely ****ing stupid” floated up to my lofty perch.
           “Up you get, love” shouted the First Assistant Director through his loud hailer . I turned to the trainee and asked, in the most menacing voice I could muster, that if by chance I did fall off the edge of the parapet, would he be able to hold on to me with that skimpy bit of rope and haul me back up again?
            “Oo er. Hadn’t thought of that” he sniggered.
             I did not snigger.
             To cut a long story short, I walked along the parapet. Several times. I did not have to worry about getting into character or what my motivation might be.
 The scene was shot moments before a violent thunderstorm broke and outdoor filming was abandoned for the day. Not being a senior crewmember, or Daryl Hannah,  I did not get any assistance with my descent. I finally made it back down 45 minutes later , cursing, freezing,  dripping and swearing only to find everyone had left for an early lunch with the proper Daryl Hannah and Peter O’Toole.
              I had a feeling anyway that this was probably not going to work, cinematographically. Turned out the Editor agreed with me and somewhere in a rubbish bin  in Shepperton studios there’s a tiny strip of film showing a short, grumpy, frozen, hungry female in a cheap, muck- stained wedding dress, muttering swearwords as she inches along a crumbling castle wall.

 So the lesson I learned that day was, if anyone asks “Are you busy?”
Always, ALWAYS say Yes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Robert Plant

When I was young, I was a huge Led Zeppelin fan. As my parents and neighbours will testify. I collected every one of their albums and played them to death on my record player with the massive speakers stolen from my brother. On a date in 1975 I arrived home with Physical Graffiti under my arm and proceeded to play it. Realising it was that good I decided the whole street should hear it; not just the once but all day long and at an ear-splitting, head wrecking volume. Suffice to say not everyone on our road in Rathfarnham agreed with me.


I was more a Jimmy Page gal than a Robert Plant gal: I did admire Percy`s vocal range but found his onstage contortions , and his tummy, a bit off putting. Jimmy was darker and weirder and , well, darker.

Makes it all the more cringey and painful to tell this tale. In 1987 I left my job in the design department of Tyne Tees TV and joined a new crew at Pinewood Studios to begin a new Channel Four music series titled *Wired*. This was meant to be a leaner, better, cooler version of The Tube which had just ended.

I was employed by an infuriating little man called Willy, or Alasdair, depending on what day it was and who was asking. Within a couple of weeks of working with him I realised he was either working on two or three other films at the same time or , more likely, on the run from somebody.

He had designed a set for the show which, among other anomalies, featured an incongruous and completely impractical  sloping stage, and then simply abandoned it, and me, and disappeared, never to be seen again. Needless to say any road crew that arrived to set up found this more than annoying as it made setting up equipment quite a challenge. Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of physics would know this was not going to work. And because my boss was entirely absent when the shouting started, I, being his assistant, had to face the flak from numerous sweaty disgruntled crewmembers as amps and snare drums slid gently off the stage with alarming frequency . After a couple of weeks of this, during which I was shouted at by backline from Ry Cooder to the Style Council, I realised this was a job I would not be enjoying for much longer.


Then one fine Monday morning I was informed that Robert Plant and his new band would be doing a *special* in Studio 8. Now, if you were me,and this was an ordinary situation, and you were fourteen, and happy at your work, this would definitely be something to write home about. A lot of squeeeeeeeeeing and fainting and pawing and fainting again.

But no.

I had spent most of the morning being yelled at down the phone by somebody or other followed in quick succession by a lengthening queue of people making utterly unreasonable demands, followed again by people wanting to know where my boss was and more importantly what was his real name.

By noon I was grumpy,fractured, tetchy and exasperated as I marched up and down the corridors of Pinewood muttering about having quit better jobs than this.

I stamped into my office , slammed the door and sat at the drawing board, fuming and hissing with resentment.


Then came a gentle *Tap tap tap* on the door and before I could shout an expletive, Robert Plant poked his head round the door.


"Hi babe. Mind if I use your phone?"


Oh all right then, I thought. But said, "Of course. I'll just leave you to it", and moved toward the door, wondering if I'd ever get the plan finished.


"No, no, work away", which I did; I remember drawing skulls and crossbones on a cartoon of my boss`s annoying little face and writing hate words all over the drawing. Which was supposed to be for next week`s show with Joni Mitchell.

So there I was , hunched over my drawing board, hacking and scratching all my hate and loathing on the paper, with my 2H pencil , held in my hand like an ice pick, as Robert Plant, leonine rock God of the luxuriant hair and the alarmingly cropped britches, chatted on the phone beside me.

When he`d hung up he leaned back in the chair (sadly it was just one of those rubbishy plastic chairs) and asked me what I was up to. I mumbled something like "Oh, nothing much. Just, you know, Joni Mitchell".

"You look as if you`re having a bad day, babe" he said. (I know, I know, I`m still annoyed about it) and before I had a chance to bore him to death with my tale of woe, and also ask him did he call everyone *babe* or just me, and was there any chance at all that Jimmy might show up ( I know. What is my problem) , he immediately said

"You know,I think I can help. I wrote a song once about times like this. When everything`s going wrong...called *In the Light* ...do you know it? "


"Though the winds of change may blow around you, but that will always be so.....er, um......


.....erm......


Then there was this... silence... that grew louder and louder as I realised that not only had he forgotten the lyrics but so had I.


Suddenly he jumped up out of the cheap plastic chair, patted me on the shoulder and said,

"So anyway, babe, gotta go. Thanks".


And, with that, he was gone.

























Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ireland, 2010

This is us, now, Ireland, in the twenty-first century, 30th March 2010.
I may send this to Brian Lenihan later.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Genius switch

Contrary to widely held belief, there IS in fact an "OFF" position on the Genius switch.
And Mary Coughlan has found it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bankers



"In some places the verb 'to scumbag' means to mislead, betray or fool another person. It is synonymous with the equally colloquial 'fuck over.' Often used in the past tense."

Source:Online Dictionary

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Damn.

This illustration is , in the space of a day, not only irrelevant but also possibly grounds for some kind of lawsuit. Thanks darlin. I still love you though

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Hello Mary. Is John at home?"



Sometimes I am unlucky and turn on the telly and there he is, stepping into a half built house, pretending he has just happened by with a camera crew. There`s Mary, swinging out of the rafters, sawing, lifting, hammering away while John swans around, pointing at things and sipping coffee.
Duncan has no desire to speak to Mary. Duncan wants to speak to the man of the house.
One of these days Mary will answer " Sorry, Duncan, John is dead. I killed him with this nail gun here".

I have an image in my head of Duncan in a Tutu, dancing round a huge pile of burning nappies. I may draw it later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Room to Roam remastered



The remastered Room to Roam is out now. Cover by Mrs. West, unless you believe what they say in Wikipedia.
Get it here: www.mikescottwaterboys.com

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The best portrait of WB Yeats...ever




No comment required. Except maybe PFFFFffffffffffffffffffffffff.................

Seamus Heaney. The new Joe Dolan




On my travels recently I noticed a very large contingent of ladies present to see Seamus Heaney reading his poetry at Listowel Writer`s Week: I noticed that a number of them weren`t really listening... rather, gazing fondly in his general direction with a misty look in their eyes.

This week Seamus visited Sligo for the Yeats Summer School and as I was exhibiting the "Yeats in Love" art in the theatre (trying to annoy the Yeats committee- again-) I remarked to a couple of the ladies in the box office that there was once again a large contingent of "Mature Ladies" in attendance; not only were they there but there was a considerable amount of fawning and cooing going on when big Seamus arrived.

"What`s the story with all these women slobbering all over Seamus Heaney?"
"Well, you know, Joe Dolan is dead now..."
"So... what you`re saying is Seamus Heaney is the new Joe Dolan?"
"Precisely. Look at him. Sexy beast..."
I spent the rest of the evening pondering whether or not to fling my knickers in his direction, yelling: " Gimme some syntax, big boy! Show us yer iambic pentameter!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Galway Exhibition


The next exhibition opens at the Bold Art Gallery St. Augustine St., Galway at 6pm on July 15th. Everybody is welcome and the show will be opened by the effervescent Ms. Sharon Shannon.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cearc an Phrompa Douze points


The children’s picture book, Cearc an Phrompa, written by Colmán Ó Raghallaigh, and illustrated by Annie West, has been selected by a European jury to represent Ireland at an exhibition of books from each of the 27 countries of the EU which will take place from October 11 2008 to January 4 2009 at Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France) in Paris.

Cearc an Phrompa was published by Cló Mhaigh Eo in 2004 and is a witty retelling of the international children’s folktale “Chicken Licken”. The exhibition, entitled Tour of Europe in 27 picture books will consist of large panels, each dedicated to a European country represented by a children’s book. Each panel will show enlarged images from the book, accompanied by short texts and information regarding the country’s children’s literature.

"Anthoneeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"


Sligo Rugby Club presented Anthony Foley with a specially commissioned Illustration the other week; this was not an easy piccy to execute but I think it worked out OK. It features various elements including family, children, Heineken Cup,Caps and Wasps as well as a thick volume on the shelf titled "Why I love Anthony by Gerry Thornley: Volume 1 of 66"
(I`m the short one on the right)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Phoenix Mag Advertising rates



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Thanks you too darlin. I have been through my spam folder and with the aid of my trusty calculator, have realised a cool 598 million and change, in various currencies, mostly Nigerian Dollars if I reply to all of these emails. Cool. That should take care of my Phoenix advertising bill for this month

Patch me through to McGarrett


First full season of Hawaii Five-O arrived in the post. So...no work done for the next few days

Monday, April 21, 2008

Exhibition news




The new work for 2008 is ready and will be showing in the following venues:
June 5th opening at Gallery Zozimus, Francis St. Dublin www.galleryzozimus.ie
This is a group exhibition with Kevin McSherry and Fintan Taite and will be opened by Sam Smyth.

July 15th Bold Art Gallery Galway during the Galway Arts Festival www.boldartgallery.com
July 26th Hawk`s Well Theatre Sligo during the Yeats Summer School www.hawkswell.com
August 5th Mill Theatre Dundrum Town Centre Dublin www.milltheatre.com
To preview or buy prints please visit www.anniewest.com/shop.php

Monday, March 31, 2008

You`ll never see the Cone of Silence on CSI


I wonder is there any hope of ever getting to see Get Smart again. I guess the nearest we`ll ever get to that is watching David Caruso throwing shapes. Nearly as funny.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Ligind that is Peter Stringer



Peter Stringer launched Moxie the Underdog on Saturday- waived his fee and instead asked us to make a donation to the Children`s Leukaemia Research Trust.For more info please visit www.clrpireland.com.
The guy is just a wonderful decent polite charming handsome modest talented and fabulous human being.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Moxie The Underdog launch in Galway




Moxie the Underdog will be launched in Easons Galway at 11 am on Saturday March 29th. Peter Stringer, Ireland scrum half and Munster "Ligind" will be there to do the honours, meet the kids and sign autographs.
I will be there also.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yeats in Love II : The wrath of Gonne


I`m struggling. I know I have to go back to the Yeats thing. There`s mountains of other stuff to play with...
Maybe I`ll do something on the old Steinach-impotence-cure-second-puberty-elephant-testicles thing for a while.
See what comes up...
................................
...............................
...............................
Pfffff.....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Got that Granuaile thing finished




Finally. Couldn`t decide whether they would have been drinking shots or beer.. held me up for ages. Decided on the beer in the end.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Quote of the day

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
Robert McCloskey, Children`s Author and Illustrator

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Politicians looking at things


Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan was on the radio the other day talking about misuse of alcohol; during his interview he used the phrases "we will be looking at", "that will be looked at" and "I am confident that is being looked at" at least 18 times: I would have continued counting but instead I ran from the kitchen with my head in my hands. For sheer fingernails-down-the-blackboard irritation this comes top of the list, for this week at any rate.
In my little world, "Looking at" something means precisely that: looking at it. It doesn`t mean anything is going to be done, necessarily. So can I assume that if a politician continuously says that whatever it is is "going to be looked at" that this is as far as it will go? I can see these guys taking out the file, looking at it, and putting it back on the top shelf again, before heading out to RTE where they can smugly announce that this issue "has been/is going to be/ was looked at". Or better still, if they ask some trainee in the office to simply stare at the file back on the desk while they are on the air, they can cheerfully pronounce that this issue is "being looked at". Hurrah!
While I`m on the subject of Politicians, I would have thought Trevor Sargeant, former leader of the Green Party, would have made it his business to learn the correct pronounciation of the word Nuclear.
In Woody Allen's 1989 film Crimes and Misdemeanors, the Mia Farrow character says she could never fall for any man who says "nucular."
It`s almost as annoying as the misuse of the word "Presently" .
End of rant (for now)

Mrs. West recommends


"The life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson.
Makes me wish I was small again.
"Bryson zaps his story with about a million kilowatts of affectionate comic energy, conjuring slapstick scenes with Tom and Jerry kinetics and comic-book plots in hilariously hyperbolic prose."
Bruce McCall, The Toronto Globe & Mail

Na Dódaí nominated for Celtic Film Festival Award


Children`s TV programme Na Dódaí has been nominated for best Educational programme in the Celtic Film Festival.
The programme is in Irish and produced by Imagine Media and BBC Northern Ireland, featuring storybook Illustrations by yours truly.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Queen Elizabeth learns Irish


I did a bit of work on Elizabeth I last year and I`m thinking of expanding the whole Elizabeth I / Tudors/ maybe Granuaile thing. Nothing`s come up yet though...I was impressed by the fact that (allegedly) Queen Elizabeth got a few Irish lessons before meeting Granuaile; I wonder if that was true. I`d love to have been a fly on the wall that day. No worries about where to start the conversation at any rate.
I guess if Pat Kenny were to interview either of them he would patronisingly call them "Feissssssty", as he recently did with the Managing Director of the World Bank which hopefully would draw the same kind of reaction as one would if one were to get a swift kick in the teeth for no reason.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Artist`s Statement?... Huh?



I was asked to provide an Artist`s Statement for an upcoming exhibition.
"A what?" I asked, having been until now unaware of such things.
Apparently people want to know why you do what you do. "What`s wrong with just doing it?" I enquired, only to be met with a glare I hadn`t seen since the day I got sent to the Headmaster`s office.
So off I went and had a look at other people`s Artist Statements. After a while I asked for a Dictionary, Thesaurus and Translator.
"Annie dear. You have to write something. We neeeeed it for our clients" whined the curator.
I muttered something along the lines of "You`re getting a king`s ransom for this work I`m doing so why don`t YOU write it then" but not within earshot.
I`m an Illustrator.I draw stuff that hopefully people will like and maybe buy because they like the look of it. I didn`t know I had to EXPLAIN this as well.
I sat at the keyboard for a day or two and eventually came up with
"My work centres on the parallel abstraction of shape and form whilst manoeuvering between the conflict and tension of light and shadow in the emotional chaos of the unconscious symbolism consisting of ideograms which reflect in a negative way on shape and form.
But mostly I do this because I need the money".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yeats in Love




















"Yeats in Love" opens at the 101 Talbot, Dublin. A series of limited edition prints depicting Yeats as a nerdy, whiny, lovesick poet who allegedly proposed to Maud Gonne at least four times before throwing in the towel and waiting until her daughter was old enough to try for. Eeeeu.
Senator David Norris was the guest of honour and delivered a ripping speech, confirming nearly all of the not very charitable opinions I have had about Yeats, Lissadell and all of it. It is reassuring to know that it is unlikely I will be escorted to the boundary of Sligo County with my backside on fire for daring to show Yeats in this way. Ambassador Tom Foley attended complete with "a bit of Security"; my son Bob rushed over to me in the middle of proceedings and announced "Mum! There`s guys outside packin`heat!". Just what you need really at an exhibition opening.
The exhibition later in the Summer moved Northwest to Sligo where Michael D. Higgins TD delivered another cracking opening speech and left many students of the Yeats Summer School in stitches; quite an achievement.
I still wonder about the whole Yeats and Sligo thing: he wasn`t born here, he didn`t live here... and we all know he isn`t buried here. The skinny around Drumcliffe at the burial was that it was just some poor French soldier.