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1st December. 7 days to go. That is all…


Draw Duke Street shopfront.

Draw Duke Street shopfront.

What passers by spot - note the biscuits!

What passers by spot – note the biscuits!

2012-11-20 10.18.10

Another view of the gallery from the workspace.

2012-11-16 09.55.35

The all-important urn by the research area.

2012-11-11 18.16.21

The boards laid out for scaling and planning.

2012-11-11 11.50.23

Biscuit crisis.

2012-11-17 12.04.48

Panoramic view, courtesy of @borrachoeneldia.

2012-11-20 19.59.17

My better half intervenes…

Work area

I have started to think of this as home – after all, it’s where I hang my coat!

2012-11-16 09.56.11

Close up of the research area. Books are on hand for the curious and those waiting to speak to me.


Sketch plans for the final display

Sketch plans for the final display


From 15th October I will be starting work on DRAW DUKE STREET a residency at Market Gallery. The caps are purely because this is possibly the craziest thing I have ever done: I am going to set up shop in one of the gallery’s space for about six weeks, and attempt to draw all of the shops and places of interest on a particular stretch of this Glasgow suburban high street (between Duke Street and Bellgrove Train stations). I will draw stretches of the street on the usual A0 board and piece these together in a strip along the walls of the gallery, representing the street. I will be working in the same space, day in, day out, and will be running an open workshop policy where anyone can come on in, say hello, ask what’s going on and, if they feel so inclined, contribute.

I am however, going to need to put together a team of volunteers to help with two broad areas of the background research, of, broadly speaking ‘local’ guides (I am local myself, but I know there is stuff I don’t know). These are people with particular stories to tell about the street, a long association with it, and a good knowledge of the ins and outs of Dennistoun.

And I also need to assemble a team of fellow field-researchers to assist with the process of contacting places on Duke Street, interacting with shopkeepets and helping to gather the information that goes into creating the dialectogram. This would be particularly suited to students in anthropology, geography, architecture or environmental art, but I’d be interested in talking to anyone who think they might be able to give a few hours here and there to help me pull all the info together.

For your time and trouble you would be acknowledged as a co-creator of the final piece.

So, if you think you can help – – very much looking forward to hearing from you.


Firstly, I have to pass on the bad news that my recently completed drawings of the undergound Bingo and Brig Bar will not be available on this site…yet. I have been collaborating with Chris Leslie on Red Road Underground, a major part of which consists of a website. I have been asked to hold back on publishing my drawings here, until that is officially launched. Once it is, I will put full commentaries and notes up on here immediately, so do please keep checking!

In the meantime, we could use your help… to tie in with Red Road Undergound we have an exhibition of our work scheduled for February 2012 at the New Glasgow Society. We will be showing our latest pieces, based on our work at the  underground Bingo and the Brig Bar, and are still raising funds to aid with printing and staff cover.

So if you have some Christmas presents to buy, and would like to help us out, click on the image below to go to our IndieGogo campaign and donate! We have a range of prints and artworks available for high quality download in return for your assistance, as well as films and explanatory literature.We need to raise about £3000 to do the exhibition properly, but every little helps, so whatever you can manage would be gratefully received, and guarantee you a credit as an exhibition patron!

So, the next Dialectogram is very (very) imminent – so while you wait, and because you never asked for it, here’s another postcard sized illustration from the literary world –

It’s from James Kelman’s Busconductor Hines. Kelman is generally taken to be an arch-realist and purveyor of grit, but this passage from his first novel is almost metaphysical in nature, and to my mind, encapsulates the titular character very well. So what is it about then? Well, here’s the whitespacecubegallery style caption…

In attempting to illustrate this segment, I ended up thinking about the philosophical concerns of the text, the way the main character’s anarchic imagination bucks against both the rhetoric of authority and his own variable capacity to adjust to prevailing realities.

Except that description describes a sequence of events entirely at odds with reality.  I flicked through the book for some time and had thought of a composition I thought was very clever. The Hines character would seem to emerge out of a particular piece of text – here it is from my notebook –

The idea has its merits. The quote in this image is from another part of the novel where Hines is considering buying a gun. I like how the spinning revolver seems to be turning itself on Hines  – in the novel, he obsesses about getting a gun, but we never know why – to use on others, or himself? However, it is perhaps a little too literal. I found it a bit of a strait-jacket and the composition became increasingly staid as the postcard size was much more punishing than the leaf in my notebook. None of the attempts satisfied me, or had any sense of fluidity about them, so I ruined a couple of nice acryllic boards pursuing an idea that wasn’t quite going to come good.

So it was almost in exasperation that I began drawing, without pencilling first, the figure in the foreground of the final image. Liking the sense of movement in my Hines here, I drew in other positions for him to take. Seeing that his hands seemed to be grabbing at something, I added the ball (I could easily have left it to the viewer’s imagination, I suppose) and the LAST thing I did was actually select a piece of text that fitted the image. I had to look long and hard – I knew this illustrated something about the novel, but I did not know what exactly.

And that’s all there was to it.

I’ll admit it, I’m pleased with this one. Dialectograms tend to be quite ‘static’ in nature so it is nice to get a chance to draw bodies in motion and focus on things other than the correct arrangement of bingo seats or the correct name for a box room! The discipline of working in this postcard sized form is also appreciated; if your marks fall outside the tiny frame, they’re lost , so make every stroke count and think carefully about where you put things (a useful lesson for the big drawings too). So I shall do more.  I have  other excerpts from authors I likecued up for this treatment, so expect more postcards from nowhere in particular.



Dialectographic Tweeting

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