NOLA, Wien, Coney, NYC, London and Cranch’s Sweet Shop

I’ve visited the site of many of the patches on this jacket!

Oh gosh, my life really is turning into a Johnny Cash song! I’ve literally been everywhere, man! May to September 2015 will see my travelling between 3 continents, 5 countries and something like 16 towns/cities at latest count. So here’s a map of my latest movements.

June was Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, and the rainy weather did not dampen spirits. I think I was photographed almost as often as I shot the glorious costumes of sea creatures, King Neptunes and mermaids, here’s my outfit that day featuring Spookarama dress:

With my doomed polaroid which got drenched and needed replacing!

This time in Coney there has been something very much missing. Sadly the wonderful Billy of Paul’s Daughter passed away earlier this year, so I created a portrait of him for the restaurant so that he can always be there behind the counter watching over the boardwalk.

Billy of Paul’s Daughter

My sketchbook has been filling up to bursting, with drawing continuing in the eateries and bars of Coney Island, on the boardwalk, at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, inside Coney Island USA, at the Nathan’s 4th July Hotdog Eating Contest, on the subway, and in my loft. Highlights are:

I also created some artwork for Ruby’s Bar, in the form of an actual bar extension for Mermaid Parade and 4th July:

Amy The Mermaid

And this tshirt design featuring the late, great Ruby himself:

In June I received an invite to New Orleans by my old London pal Kathy (illustrator and textile designer whom I’ve known since our days selling our creations in Camden Market). Kathy has been doing a similar jaunt to myself in Coney – returning to NOLA two years running to draw all of the crazy voodoo that inspires her there. We drank crawgator daiquiris:

Because Gators gon’ gate…

Sampled beinets (deep fried icing sugar donuts – healthy!) and iced cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde:


Read up on a bit of voodoo at America’s oldest inn – Lafitte’s on Bourbon St:

Hung out with Ignatius J.Reilly (from John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces”) and in some of the finest dive bars this side of The Mississippi, including Bud Rips and my favourite, The Saturn Bar:

And sketched, sketched, and sketched some more:

House of voodoo……

Plus, America legalised Gay marriage in every single state whilst we were there, so celebrations were in order:

August brought a New York farewell and a return to The Emerald Isle, starting with a family holiday in Devon. I finally semi-immortalised Cranch’s sweetshop, whose pink striped candy bags have been the staple of my collage since 2002, in my travelling sketchbook:

South Hams favourites

And sat for this dashing portrait by my 4 year old cousin, Megan:

Family skillz, innit

Followed by another bucket list tick – Vienna. I poured over the works of Schiele, Klimt and Hundertwasser via The Leopold, The Belvedere Palace and The Hundertwasser Kunsthaus. There is something utterly indescribable that comes from seeing an original artwork you’ve admired for years in books, in the flesh. Whole techiniques and brushstrokes were unveiled that I’d never before imagined in these familiar works, and I sat and sketched Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze for hours, taking a full day to complete the works of HRH Egon. Inevitable sketchings happened:

I’m currently running around London catching up with friends, colleagues and fellow illustrators, eating up cinema, West End shows, tattoos and vintage shops like a humanoid Rainbow version of Pacman. In the next fortnight or so I’ll be journeying home to Australia via NYC and LAX, with my feet only just touching farm soil with enough time to cuddle chooks and gather up an exhibition worth of art to take to Sydney for The Other Art Fair, 10-13th September. I can now reveal some very sneaky sneakpeaks of what will be a GIANT 3 metre Sarah Beetson colouring in wall – so if you live in the Sydney area come on down with your kids and help me colour in this monster artwork!

Next update comes in via Sydney when I will reveal all sorts of secrets I can’t share with you…. yet! Until then, aufweidersen my friends! xxxxx

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