Saturday 15 December 2012

Morse Code Mitts

Well, It’s the coldest time of the year, time to break out the knitwear! I love knitwear but I can’t knit or sew, so I have nothing but admiration for those that possess the skill. This is the very same reason why I love Miriam McDonald’s work, a regular reader will recall my mentioning her ankle-less socks at this year’s Waltz on the Wye. So imagine my delight when I received an early Christmas present from her today… a pair of Morse Code Mitts! I love these! On the left-hand you find (dot-dash-dot-dot) for 'L' and on the right-hand (dot-dash-dot) for 'R'. As Mim put it, “geeks will appreciate the joke and most other people will simply see a nice pair of mitts.” It can get a little chilly in the studio and my hands and fingers are the first to feel the cold, gloves can at times restrict movement, but not with these! My fingers can move freely in them so they are a welcome edition, and I thank her dearly for her kindness!
Check out her blog for more details about them and a free knitting pattern!

 © Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

A Franktastic Christmas reminder

I understand that a fair few of these can be seen up and down Oldham St. in Manchester. Never the less I shall readdress it! All proceeds raised at the Franktastic Christmas party event will go towards erecting a statue of the late Frank Sidebottom in his hometown of Timperley. The event held at the Night and Day Cafe, Manchester on Saturday 15th of December promises to be an evening of music and celebration Frank Sidebottom style! Featuring music by The Stags, The Freshies (with Harry Sievey) and Hank Sidebottom and the Hellrazors’ (Rockerday Johnny & Bale and Frank Sidebottom’s long lost elder brother). Please check out the link and buy tickets and help get the statue up in the New Year! Thank you! Thanks to Gaz for providing the photo.

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Sir Patrick Moore CBE HonFRS FRAS (1923 – 2012) : The loss of an inspiration and friend

This is a very difficult post to write as I lost an inspiration and friend today, Sir Patrick Moore, CBE, FRS, FRAS passed away peacefully at his home in Selsey at the age of 89. This blog post will undoubtedly be lost amongst millions of other tributes being left for him as his influence carried across the entire globe. Tributes left by eminent Astronomers and scientists, men who have walked the moon and observed it in their back gardens will be mourning his loss. Sir Patrick had been on our screens since 1957 so he was a reoccurring, enduring figure on our screens as I grew up. During the 80’s and 90’s it seemed that he was either telling me about the Universe on ‘The Sky at Night’ or telling me how to cheat at video games with ‘Games Master’. Between these shows I would read his books trying to make sense of the night sky.  When I was at college and working through the night on a project I would often catch ‘The Sky at Night’ and treat it as a well-earned break I would then go outside to take a look and marvel at it all. In my 20’s I finally wrote to him and received a reply the following day. Several other letters were exchanged before being invited down to his home in Sussex, this visit became one of many there after. All the times I saw him he never let me down a true down to earth gentleman that lived up to my expectations and I feel truly honoured to have met him and call him a friend. Always supportive of my work I was fortunate to be able to work with him once, illustrating one of his books and our last endeavour was arranging my surprise marriage proposal to Beth in his garden last year. Looking up at the night sky has become all the more poignant now as I think of his legacy. Thank you Patrick for your inspiration, guidance, wit, generosity and friendship, I will miss you.

EDIT: 12/03/2018 I found this clip on my phone of Patrick speaking at the Autographica 12 event at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, London on the 25th of October 2008

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

“what’s in a name?”

William Shakespeare once wrote, “what’s in a name?” well if your name is also your website address, it’s very important, If someone misspells my name they will not be able to find my site! Arfon, (yes it is Welsh it means "Across from Anglesey" which is a coincidence really because I do just that) is not a name that people from outside Wales find easy to pronounce. Throughout my life I have had people drop the ‘r’ and call me “Afon” and after thirty something years of it I have learnt to live with it. But as the world continues to grow smaller my name continues to baffle people, so much so that I thought of addressing this with a recently abandoned business card in which a pronunciation guide could be located on the back of the card, Arfon Jones* Artist /Illustrator *pronounced “Arr-von”. But it’s not so much the pronunciation that’s the problem here it the fact that some people write my name as they would (try to) say it, either missing the above mentioned ‘r’ or bizarrely calling me “Afron” why this happens I have no idea… But either way it’s not ideal when it’s a website address. But what can I do? It’s my name, it’s located at the bottom of my work. I have no middle name, and Jones is the reverse of Arfon, in that it’s a very common Welsh name! Because Arfon is an uncommon name (if you are also called Arfon be sure to say hello at the bottom of this post!) I wasn’t given a nickname I could use instead of my real name (well one that I would wish to use on my work anyway!) I am known simply as Arfon... So how to combat this website address problem? Register the variations people use and redirect them to No, that would be costly! I know I shall write a blog entry about my name, writing it seven times, highlighting it each time and point out that it can also be found on my logo in the hopes that people will pick it up…

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Charity Auction

Around 10 years ago I volunteered my services to a charitable group by offering free artwork for their worthwhile cause only to have my offer declined, then having criticised my style they approached an ‘established’ artist who gave them a half hearted computer generated image. To say that I was disappointed would be putting it mildly, suffice to say it made me wary of offering ‘free art’ to charity. HOWEVER, I have been deeply moved by the work and efforts done by the Chernobyl Children's Project (UK) a charity that provides support for the children and their families in Belarus, most affected by the Chernobyl disaster.  Their hard work and dedication inspired me to want to help in some way, so I painted ‘The Cooling Pond’ to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster back in 2011. It featured in the Voices from Chernobyl art exhibition held in Los Angeles and now I am donating it to the Chernobyl Children's Project (UK) charity with 100% of the proceeds going to this wonderful charity. Helping children with disabilities, cancer or diabetes and delivering humanitarian aid to them and their families. It is now listed on ebay, so please check out the link and place a bid on it, the sale ends on the second of December so lets hope we raise a great sum in time for Christmas!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday 16 November 2012

Comic Consciousness: D. C. Thomson

I thought I would write another of these reflective/ nostalgic posts as they, much like my previous ‘Monster Memories: Spooky Chews', post offer some insight into my work. The subject of this post, comics, or more specifically the comics of D. C. Thomson. I have been reminiscing more than usual about these comics since they announced that the Dandy will cease publication on its on its 75th birthday this December unsurprisingly the news has touched many a nostalgic nerve in Britain. Many mourn the loss of a childhood heritage while others say the blame falls squarely on us for not buying the comics and supporting them in the first place. I agree, but my conscience is partly clear however, because I was always a Topper reader and they stopped publishing that back in 1993. (Although I still bought the Dandy from time to time if only to see how Beryl the Peril was getting on). Never the less it will be sad to see it come to an end, if not for the people the comic employs but for the next generation of readers. The future Brits no longer able to go to their local newsagents and pick up the latest exploits of Korky the Cat, Bananaman and of course Desperate Dan.

Comics have always played an important part in my life, whenever I am asked who my first was DC or Marvel? I always answer D. C. Thomson! This Dundee based publisher was always an essential part of my childhood providing me with weekly adventures and colourful characters.  
As I mentioned previously I was a Topper kid, my father would buy it for me every week. Being a huge comic fan, with what pocket money I had I would also buy The Beezer along with (‘Hoot’ anyone?) and of course The Beano and The Dandy. (Whizzer and Chips, Buster and Oink… but those are other publishers and a blog entry for another time).
When I wasn’t gorging myself on weekly comics I was making full use of a vast back catalogue of D. C. Thomson annuals that I had at my fingertips. These once belonged to my parents and went as far back as the mid 1960’s so I was able to follow the adventures of characters unheard of by many of my fellow 1980’s readers! This collection of annuals would grow with each passing year, as there was always at least one new one waiting for me under the Christmas tree. Despite the Beano and Dandy being the clear nation’s favourites my loyalty remained with The Topper and Beezer throughout the 1980s and in to the 90s, but by then sales had slumped. Children's television and video games were blamed for poor sales and with that D. C. Thomson decided to merge the Topper with the Beezer. This decision suited me just fine, I was now able to read two of my favourite comics for the price of one in between watching television and playing video games! But like all good things it came to an end the comic fizzled out in 1993.

Throughout my time growing up, reading the comics I dreamt of some day working for D. C. Thomson. I imagined myself drawing my favourite characters as my career in animation took off… Having sent examples of my work to D. C. Thomson much like my career in animation it wasn’t to be I received a nice letter (which I still have to this day) followed by a telephone call from then Beano editor Euan Kerr. He kindly explained that ‘ghost’ artists needed to draw established characters as close as possible to their regular art style, “I’m afraid this is not the case with your drawings. Your own style, good though it is, is much too evident’ and that was it… One of the few times in my life where I accepted defeat and gave up, I often locked horns with my tutors at art college but in this instance I simply accepted it, as he was the editor of the Beano he knew what he was talking about!  But I often wonder how things might have turned out had I been accepted. Never the less the comics have remained with me throughout, and despite succumbing to the siren call of American superhero comics I remained true to D. C. Thomson. I still have my comics they are filed in order on shelves alongside alphabetised annuals and their influence regularly emanate from me through something that I do (you should see how I serve Bangers & Mash). It has been reported that the Dandy will still exist online, which is something I suppose but a web site can’t hold that same glorious feeling of opening the latest issue and feeling the freshly printed paper and ink on your finger tips! But then, books are going through the very same woes… I sincerely hope that the cancellation of the Dandy will at least stir some public support to assure that it doesn’t happen again, because it’s all up to the Beano now!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Boffin Board Game Bonanza! 1:David Bellamy’s ‘Save The World!’

As we approach ever closer to Christmas and the days grow shorter this means only one thing… BOARD GAMES! So, I thought I would create a mini feature for the blog, which allows me the opportunity to share some rather obscure board games with you. These games are from my own collection they both appeal to my sense of design and nostalgia and celebrate the ‘tv boffin’. I shall highlight a few on here in the hopes that it will both fascinate and encourage you to seek out these obscure, lost games and enjoy them for yourselves! 
Today I shall start with David Bellamy’s ‘Save The World!’ game, Produced by Crown & Andrews in 1989 this game was endorsed by botanist/conservationist David Bellamy who informs us that. “Save the World is the most important game you will ever play, not just for fun but in real life, your real life.” (They rather naughtily change ‘play’ to ‘buy’ on the cover of the box). Growing up in the 1980’s I was and still am a fan of David Bellamy and his crusade so I was intrigued by this game. Clearly created to educate families on environmental issues when the UK started to take an interested in such things (ah, I remember it well). David Bellamy elaborates on the lessons that can be learnt on the information sheet, “The more we all know and understand about the problems and what we- yes little, old or young, you and me- can do, the easier it will be to put the earth back in working order. I have learned a lot helping to prepare all the questions. You may not agree with all the answers so before you start to play Save the World appoint an ombudsperson, someone who will have the final say. Hoorays and boos are all right- the house plants need the carbon dioxide you breath out. But no hot air, remember the greenhouse effect.”

The game can be played by up to six players and requires the players to move around the board and answer questions relevant to the category decided by the square they land on. Answer the question correctly and you win a token tile the first to collect all five tokens, wins!
The game consists of a wooden dice and six coloured pawns with a game board decorated with various animal species and their corresponding environments along with squares labelled by the categories that match up to the question cards.  The categories are Atmosphere, Environment & People, Forests, Rivers & Oceans, Landscape & Plants, Wildlife and Chance. 
The questions on the cards were complied by the Conservation Society and edited by David Bellamy and David Shreeve and they all relate to several environmental concerns, the information sheet points out “the answers are those decided by a panel of enthusiasts at the time of publication. Have a great game, learn a lot and help Save the World. There is no more time to waste in argument.” It also encourages the players to seek out further information from any of the organisations mentioned on the cards.

We have played this a few times now and found it to be a fun little game that doesn’t require much of your time think of it as a sort of environmental Trivial Pursuit. Although I’m not entirely sure that its suitable for the age suggested (9 +) as some of the questions relate to statistics, (which also probably dates the game somewhat) I am sure that they can be adapted if needed. I found it endearing that the product was reportedly made from recycled board and paper but the thing that struck me as we played was the genuine attempt to educate by means of fun with its mixture of scientific questions and challenges. All involved must have hoped that children would learn about these important issues while being entertained seeing their parents chirp like a bird or try and spell BREAM backwards! Whether it worked or not remains to be seen. Some of the methods may have changed since the 80’s but the mission remains the same so check it out! If not for the entertainment or nostalgic value but for the environment you help preserve by saving unwanted games from landfill sites. 

Next Time’s Boffin Board Game Bonanza Patrick Moore’s Astronomy Game 

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Franktastic Christmas party poster

It’s been over a year and no Frank Sidebottom related threads! Must put that right… I was recently asked by the Frank Sidebottom Statue Fund to create some artwork for a poster advertising the ‘Franktastic Christmas party’ to raise money (the Fund is trying to get a statue of the late Frank Sidebottom erected in his hometown of Timperley). I was delighted to put pen and brush to paper and create a poster for this fantastic cause. The image is based on artwork created by the man himself for his Christmas record ‘Christmas is really fantastic’ only with frank wearing a Santa outfit (I fondly remember him wearing this at one of his pantomimes!) and the proposed statue inside the snow globe.
The event held at the Night and Day Cafe, Manchester on Saturday 15th of December promises to be an evening of music and celebration Frank Sidebottom style! Featuring music by The Stags, The Freshies (with Harry Sievey) and Hank Sidebottom and the Hellrazors’ (Rockerday Johnny & Bale and Frank Sidebottom’s long lost elder brother). Please check out the link and buy tickets and help get the statue up in the New Year! Thank you!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Hallowe'en 2012: All Hallows' Eve -eve

Hallowe'en is here again and as usual it’s a busy time in the studio! I am just adding the final touches to ‘Slaughter House Farmmy latest collaboration with Hellbound Media before changing into my best suit for tonight’s ‘Zombies from Ireland’ premiere. An exclusive viewing for cast and crew that promises to be a evening of red carpet and glamour complete with television crews and media!
So, I shall update this blog as the day progresses!

BUT, before I do anything else “Happy 20th Anniversary Ghostwatch!” It simply wouldn’t be Halloween without Ghostwatch ah, twenty years since this chilling drama etched itself on to my impressionable little psyche! Speaking of which the upcoming retrospective documentary Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains should hopefully be announcing it’s releases date soon so be sure to check in for updates on that. If you read my ramblings on a regular basis you will know that I have been watching this project for many years with great interest. So I am really looking forward to seeing the finished documentary which I am privileged to be associated with by means of the poster art I produced for them.
Don’t forget to join the 2012 National Séance! A chance to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Ghostwatch's first broadcast by taking part in a 'live' simultaneous repeat viewing! All you need is a Ghostwatch dvd and a Twitter account…Set your Ghostwatch dvd to start at 21:25 (the time it originally aired in 1992) and then tweet comments and share thoughts on the proceedings as it plays. I have been advised that you should provide #Ghostwatch at the end of every Tweet for maximum efficiency. Until then please check out the Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains teaser trailer!

Hallowe'en  2012 part 2: All Hallows' Eve –ning out
Right, back from the premiere and what a great evening we had, It was a delight to be amongst such excitement and enthusiasm, as we ‘mingled’ I would spot the occasional zombie that I had featured on the poster. It was wonderful to be able to catch up with people that I had met at the bridge scene last year and others that I had not met before but wanted to tell me how much they liked the artwork! Everyone was hyped and eager to see the film and once we had taken our seats, director Ryan Kift made a very short but sweet speech before declaring “roll ‘em!”
As I am not actually a film critic and I have no desire to give anything away I shall avoid any details regarding the actual film itself BUT I will say I thoroughly enjoyed it! As a fan of the genre and a local to this area I found it to be terrific fun, it has a distinctive style and a lot of heart to it and I recommend you check it out when it becomes available for public viewing. I extend my heartiest congratulations to Ryan and Sian, their hard work and devotion has paid off and I look forward to seeing what the future brings!

 Having returned home with scarcely an hour of Halloween left I took my bow tie off, ate some ‘Terror Eyes’ (that I had bought at the bar of all places!) and ended the evening watching Ghostwatch… Back to work tomorrow! Happy Hallowe'en!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Countdown to Website Launch: 1 ‘What is a Neuro-mitter?’

The new website is about to be launched! I haven’t been this excited about a website for many a year, which reminds me I am often asked, “What is a Neuro-mitter?” well allow me to explain…  Back in 1998 I was a Graphic Design student at Parc Menai, Bangor and I realised that the Internet was the future so as my final year project I created a promotional website to showcase my work that could also be displayed at the college open day. Being 1998 a web site was still regarded as a novelty because promotional CD’s were the ‘in’ thing at the time. So after several weeks of teaching myself how to use html a site was created and it was called ‘Arfon’s Brain Online’ (Or “on the line” as one journalist unfamiliar with the Internet wrote). Hosted by Yahoo! GeoCities’ SouthBeach the site even came with a back-story,
 ‘Attached to the cerebrum the Neuro-Mitter© filters the bio-electric energy pulses from my brain and translates them into radio waves beaming them directly to the electromagnetic receiver. My thoughts are then translated into images that are uploaded onto the Internet.
In other words the Neuro-mitter was a device attached to my brain that supposedly uploadeds my thoughts to the Internet. The ‘surfer’ had the ability to navigate their way through my thoughts and memories, share news and ideas but more importantly they could view my artwork via an online gallery! The website was crude, but it served me well and during the college open day it was displayed to the public accompanied by a brain in a jar for effect.
As the years passed the site continued to exist in some form or another eventually becoming the subject of this blog in 2009 once again following the original Neuro-mitter premise, which was to share my thoughts, memories, news and work with the world.
So today will be launched and much like my logo is actually a reimagining of an original. 

Respectively dedicated to Mr Phil Brown and Mr Tom Pollock

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Countdown to Website Launch: 2 ‘The Hall of Fame’

With most of us on social networking sites these days “Word of mouth” has proved to be a major part of what we do within the creative industry. The recommendation of another helps spread the word and assures the work receives world-wide exposure but what’s in it for you? Why should you promote my work? Well, I have devised a system that rewards you for your efforts!
It works like this, promote my work and you will receive Arfon’s ARTillery Force ‘points’ achieve 100 points and I will capture your likeness in a portrait* that will be added to the Arfon’s ARTillery Force Hall of Fame! The more creative and successful the promotion the more points you are awarded. So join the facebook page, get your friends to do the same, promote my web site (launched on the 20th of October

*The portrait can be sent to you via email or post (postage costs apply).

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.   

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Countdown to Website Launch: 3 ‘Save the Date!’

Two weeks ago I posted a video and a photograph on Facebook and Youtube that may have been a little too cryptic as to its actual meaning… My web site has been a long time in the making, in fact many doubted it’s actual existence but I can now reveal that on the 20th of this month will be launched! It will be live, active and open for business for everyone around the world to log on and find out more about my work.

So what is the meaning of the video and photo? Well it relates to something else that has a reputation for being elusive that has many questioning its very existence, Bigfoot!  On the 20th of October 2012 the famous Patterson-Gimlin film, a short film purported to prove the existence of Sasquatch celebrates its 45th anniversary. Seeing this footage for the first time as a child opened my eyes to a sense of wonder that I carry to this very day, it fascinated me and made me ponder the possibilities so I celebrate its existence the same day as my site goes active!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday 14 October 2012

S4C Television Interview 'Y Lle' 15/11/2012

Not long after my interview with the Ladies of Steampunk Magazine I was also interviewed for television! Purveyors of excellent television Ryan Kift and Sian Davies came round to record a segment with me at my studio for S4C’s ‘Y Lle’ programme. The interview will feature some examples of my work as I witter on about my projects. To see the segment tune in to Y Lle on Thursday 15th of November at 10:00pm on channel S4C/SKY 134 (outside Wales).
November 2012 UPDATE: The item on myself and the studio which was written and produced by Ryan Kift and Sian Davies can now be found on Y Lle's Youtube channel. Non Welsh speakers take note…it’s in Welsh, So I transcribed it for you, because I'm like that...

Introdcution “Arfon Jones, Artist, Illustrator -Uber Geek explains to us mere mortals what SteamPunk is. What ho!”
Arfon:”Its a “what if” What if the Victorians had been more advanced? What if they had mobile phones, computers or the internet? This has inspired people to come together and create unique things because of it. It refers to the “cyber punk” term coined in the 1980's and “punk”, well that relates to people doing what they want to do and not following the norm. Steam just relates to the steam- Victorian era.” “This is 'Mus Digitatus' the Finger Mouse and is based on the Victorian aesthetic of taxidermy and also the old Victorian Sideshows would show off mummified hands.” “ 'Womblus Wimbledon Vulgaris’ is a little something I recently picked up on Wimbledon Common. Complete with his pocket watch, bottle of Cribbins Cough Syrup and a few bits of rubbish he had found out in the wild.” “Well, this is the ‘The Cellular Condenser Ray’ and the idea is that you point it at the dinosaur... as it charges and it shrinks it down to a size you can cage it.... then you can take it home with you. But once you've caught them you can also freeze them in their tracks using the 'The Glaciation Ray’ and then keep them chilled in the 'The Patented Cryo-preservation Curiosity Cabinet’
Sexy Female Voice over:Tell us about the eight incher Arfon!”
Arfon:This is my 8inch refractor telescope and this is what I use to observe the moon and planets. Specificity Jupiter.”
Ryan Kift Voice Over:Here is Orion the cat.”
Arfon:I named her after my favourite constellation.”
Ryan Kift Voice Over: “ah! Of course.”
Arfon:” Ten years ago I had an idea of getting one hundred bath ducks and placing them in the sea with my contact details on them... in the hope that whoever found them would get back to me and let me know that they had found it. That's what I was going to do, but as I was preping them I was told by one company (ferrying company) that I wasn't allowed because they said I was dumping plastic in the sea and another actually thought I wanted to use live ducks....
Ryan Kift Voice Over:Quack -Quack!”
Arfon:”Each person that has found a duck has had their own story to tell. Sometimes you might get a photo taken of the duck in their front room, other times a glimpse into their lives or the duck has been made a part of their lives.”
Arfon:Many people collect models of Minis that show off the development the car has had over the years... personally I felt that the Dalek was just as much an (iconic) style from the 1960's. Starting here, the 60's the first one (Doctor) and then the second. Then we have these from the Peter Cushing movies. Then here in the 1970's. Jon Petwee. Tom Baker... Then onwards to the 1980's. Then starting with the new series...”
Ryan Kift Voice Over:Uber Geek!
Arfon: ”... varying styles and colours. We also have Davros and the Emperor (I mean supreme- I was nervous!) from the new series.” “Well, I am proud to say that when I was online looking for a Cyberman there were only six pages on eBay devoted to them so it was fairly easy to find,. But now there are millions of pages because everyone wants a Cyberman... But I had to have this one in particular because it was my favourite growing up, I prefer these to the Daleks.” “This is my painting called 'Time Gentlemen' I started it nine years ago to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who. It originally finished here at Paul McGann, but they announced that the series was coming back the week I finished painting it, so, I added an extra section and left plenty of room for future incarnations... its been signed by Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann....”
Ryan Kift Voice Over:Now its time for a cuppa and a cigarette and enjoy the gallery!”
Arfon:” Well there we go that was the studio, I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, good bye!”

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday 6 October 2012

The Abandoned Jimmy Savile Project

 It’s nothing new for me to put my own projects on hold when a commission comes in, I set it to one side and return to it at a later date. I almost never abandon a project. Unfortunately it happened this week in light of rather unsettling news regarding the subject of the piece, which I started on last November.
I have been so busy here in the studio this last year that the piece had spent most of its time propped up in the corner waiting to be finished. The piece in question was to be a tribute to the late Sir Jimmy Savile who died in October 2011 aged 85. He was an iconic television personality to the British public, to millions he was a man that made things happen with his show Jim’ll Fix It and he raised £40 million for charity in his lifetime. The British public held Sir Jimmy in high regard and I had hoped to capture this in this piece. But in light of a recent documentary revealing some rather upsetting reports of his past I have had to abandon the project. Although I question the programme’s motives for making these ‘allegations’ after the man’s death, to anyone that viewed it- it seems pretty conclusive. Either way, you can not sway public opinion the piece and the mood I had hoped to capture with it no longer works. I was going to simply destroy it and move on but I thought I would mention it on here first because it provides an interesting lesson when working with ‘current’ subject matters in that opinions and ‘truths’ can change before the paint is allowed to dry.

© Arfon Jones 2012 All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Ladies of Steampunk: Vol 1, Issue 1

Sean McCaffrey and Sean W Makiney the makers of the Ladies of Steampunk calendar have now released the premier issue of the Ladies of Steampunk Magazine! This 60 page magazine features Kato, Unwoman, and Butterfly Frillies (not to mention an interview with yours truly) and lots more!
So, follow the link and buy your copy today!

© Arfon Jones 2012 All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Ladies of Steampunk 2013 Calendar

Keep an eye out for this drawing in the 2013 Ladies of Steampunk Calendar… The image will feature somewhere within the second steampunk themed calendar produced by Sean McCaffrey and Sean W Makiney of Monkey House Media which is now available for pre-order. 
Following on with the success of their 2012 calendar it’s always a pleasure to work along side these fine gentlemen. Follow this link to their facebook page for further news and updates on this and other exciting projects.

© Arfon Jones 2012 All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday 26 August 2012

RIP Neil Armstrong (1930 –2012)

I am a post space race child I was born into an age when man had not set foot on the moon for over seven years. By the age of 7 questions had been raised about the safety involved in transporting people into space after the Challenger disaster in 1986. It seemed that interest in space travel had weaned, yet I managed to retain an interest in the cosmos and man’s desire to visit it personally and the brave people that took those first tentative steps. Today this planet lost a pioneer in such matters, the first man to ever step on the moon, a gentleman explorer Neil Armstrong. A little something I sketched in tribute to this great man.   

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday 23 August 2012

The 100th blog entry Ghostbusters special: A Proton Pack Pilgrimage

This will now be my 100th post since starting this blog back in September 2009. I have decided to use this as an excuse to go back in time! Much like my ‘2009 end of year recap’ this blog post will recap 10 months before I started the blog and write about the time I made a pilgrimage to New York to celebrate a big influence for me growing up it both shaped my life and my work… Ghostbusters!
I saw this film during its original theatrical release back in 1984 and like its subsequent sequel, cartoon series and merchandise it has stayed with me ever since.
This pilgrimage was an especially poignant celebration of my youth, as it not only accrued during my final month of being “twenty something”, my brother also accompanied me, as children we rarely saw eye to eye but we both loved Ghostbusters. We hadn’t intended to make a comprehensive trip, just a few choice locations of particular points of interest to us so apologises if you are expecting a detailed tour. Despite the cold our spirits were high (pun definitely NOT intended) as we made our way to the first location which coincidentally was the site of the Ghostbusters first investigation, the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. There was no mistaking this magnificent building with its iconic marble lions seen at the very beginning of the film. Rocky fans will run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, Ghostbusters fans run down these steps!

Dana Barrett's Apartment otherwise known as Spook Central 55 Central Park West. I have drawn this building countless times. Outside this very building the Ghostbusters stepped out of Ecto-1 and made their way in to showdown against Gozer the Gozerian! The Stay Pufft Marshmallow Man stepped on the church before climbing up the side of this very building! (Yeah I know it didn’t really happen! but as a child it was very real!) Opposite the building is the Tavern on the Green where Louis faced the terror dog!

And then the finale, what the trip had been building up to the famous Ghostbusters headquarters Hook and Ladder 8, 14 North Moore Street. Used in both movies it featured in the animated series, comics, games and toys this building was like a temple devoted to my childhood. I stepped out of the cab and stared at it in awe, my young self wanted to live in this building and now here I was standing outside it! Being an actual firehouse it was interesting to see how different people view this building, we asked a citizen of New York to take a photograph and she simply took a photo of us cutting the building out of the shot… For her it was just that firehouse she saw every day she didn’t view it in the same manner as the tour bus filled with English tourists that piled out for photographs moments later. We were fortunate in the fact the fire truck returned as we stood outside, the crew very kindly granted us the opportunity to see the original Ghostbusters sign from Ghostbusters 2 left after shooting.
Once it sunk in we walked away, I took one final look with a stupid smile on my face. I didn’t think it would be possible to love the film anymore than I already did but it happened and certainly didn’t think it would be possible to add more precious memories to it but it happened, so pleased that I made this pilgrimage. 
Well there you have it blog post#100 I hope you enjoyed it, it certainly brought back some happy memories for me anyway. I have decided to write more posts that address my influences over the coming months- covering locations, objects or people in the hope that they might provide an insight to my work. Do please feel free to comment on the posts and thanks for reading the previous 100!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Silurian and Sea Devil Embryonic Phase

It suddenly occurred to me that I never shared my Silurian/ Sea Devil print with you all! Originally devised back in 2005 this illustration showed the embryonic phase of the Silurians and Sea Devils however it never went beyond the sketch book phase until this year.
For those not in the know the Silurians and Sea Devils are regular characters in the world of Doctor Who. The Silurians and Sea Devils are a prehistoric, scientifically advanced reptile- humanoid race that were first introduced during the third Doctor’s tenure. Both species went into hibernation believing that the moon was due to collide with the Earth only to awaken in the 1970’s discovering their error and frustratingly that man had evolved and replaced them as the dominant species of the planet!    
The drawing represents my favourite incarnations/ design of the characters over the years.  Staying with the original Sea Devils design from the 1970’s but favouring the 1980’s version of the Silurians instead. Since the original idea the new series have reintroduced the characters with another version of the Silurians, which I have also included to the chart. Designed to reflect a Victorian natural study drawing it has been designed to appeal to both Doctor Who fans and natural history buffs or better yet a Doctor Who fanatical, natural history buff!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday 9 August 2012

RIP Sir Bernard Lovell, OBE, FRS (1913-2012)

Very sad to hear that pioneering astronomer, physicist, and British legend (not to mention one of my heroes) Sir Bernard Lovell died on the 6 August aged 98.  Bristol born Sir Bernard founded one of my favourite man-made structures, the third largest steerable telescope in the world The Lovell Telescope based at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire. Back in 2010 I featured Sir Bernard in my September Science Spotlight,

Sir Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell, OBE, FRS Born in 1913. Studied physics at the University of Bristol, obtaining a Ph.D. in 1936. He worked in the cosmic ray research team at the University of Manchester until the outbreak of World War II. During the War he led the team at the Air Ministry’s Telecommunications Research Establishment, developing the H2S, the first airborne, ground scanning radar system earning him an OBE in 1946. he then returned to Manchester with an ex-army mobile radar to continued his research on cosmic rays However electrical interference from the city’s tram system prevented him from doing so forcing him to move to The University’s horticultural/botany department at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire. The first Transit Telescope constructed in 1947 provided valuable data however readings were limited, a fully steerable telescope was needed prompting the construction of the “Mark I” Telescope in 1957. Standing at 76.2 m (250 ft) in diameter it was the largest steerable dish radio telescope in the world. That same year, the Soviet Union launched the first space satellite, Sputnik I the “Mark I” was the only telescope in the world able to track the satellite's carrier rocket. Since then, it has been used for pioneering work in the discovery of pulsars and quasars. Lovell was knighted in 1961 for his contributions to the development of radio astronomy and served as Director of Jodrell Bank until his retirement in 1981.

Being one of my sanctuaries I have been to Jodrell Bank many times and still marvel at the Lovell Telescope for both its sheer size and accomplishment, it now stands as a testament to a great man’s determination find out more about the Universe. RIP Sir Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell, OBE, FRS (1913-2012)

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Blog Post #0

We are rapidly approaching the 100th post and looking back over them I realised that this blog just suddenly happened one day. There was no warning, no introduction or explanation as to who I was or exactly what it was that I ‘did’. True reading the previous posts might shed some light but that is quite a hefty amount of reading to expect of someone! So I thought I would write this comic book- esque issue#0 origin story to serve as an ‘introduction’ to any curious internet user…

I am Arfon Jones and I am an artist/ illustrator based in North Wales in the United Kingdom. I was raised on a healthy diet of 1980’s –90’s television. I also read comics, played with toys and games and created things!  Drawing has always been important to me I am hard pushed to think of a time when I wasn’t drawing or working on something be it drawing, clay sculpture or a puppet of some sort.
I delighted in the works of Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, William Hanna and Joe Barbara, Max Fleischer and Walt Disney and decided that I wanted to become a cartoonist. For several years I worked on my drawing skills taking influence from the countless television shows I watched and the comics I read. A year after the release of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, a true inspiration to me that strengthened my passion for cartoons, I watched the tv special Happy Birthday Garfield a documentary dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the Garfield comic strip. Hosted by its creator Jim Davis it opened my eyes to the world of comic strips and animation altering my vocation slightly I wished to pursue a career that would allow me to work in both fields. During the early 1990’s I became interested in American superhero comics, in particular the DC and Marvel catalogues, during which I worked at a vintage comic mail order company during evenings and school holidays, proving to be another major influence on my style
In 1995 I enrolled in Art College and studied at Coleg Menai, Bangor where I achieved a National Diploma in Graphic Design then graduating from the University of Wales with a Bachelor of Arts in Illustration. Unfortunately most of my lecturers had differing opinions on what ‘art’ was and this caused many a crossed sword at times causing frustration for me, (but making the few creative people I came into contact with shine all the brighter). Being stubborn I continued my work and developed my style.  During this time I kept myself busy by working on outside commissions being hired for both television and media working on illustrations, comic strips and animation concept art acquainting myself with the world of deadlines.  As I grew older I abandoned the prospect of becoming an animator realising that I much preferred to be in full control of my own ideas and develop them myself. I taught myself how to paint in acrylics and concentrated my efforts on creating single pieces of work and settled on being an artist/ illustrator.
That was 1999. I continued to do so to this day and my work has been publicly displayed and used in various publications I have also illustrated a range of books, comics, album covers, posters, logo designs and private portraits. Although I work mostly in acrylic and pens I also work in three-dimensions.

 I draw inspiration from the things I grew up with as a child classic cartoons, television shows, music, comics, retro computer games and toys. I have a fascination for many aspects of popular culture and what most regard as kitsch or even “tacky” along with an interest in both history and science and the way they are used to educate.
  I have a devotion for classic cinema particular the comedies of Laurel and Hardy and The Marx Brothers along with all vintage horror and science fiction movies ranging from the Gothic horrors of the 1930 – 40’s to the atomic and “B” movies of the 1950’s. Everything produced by the Hammer Horror studios and the cult classic horror films of the 1980’s tapering off at the end of the 1990’s 
If it features an ancient castle, wronged scientist, robots, mutants, dinosaurs, giant insects or alien invasions it has my undivided attention, I try to bring these in to my work, incorporating a sense of fun.
Over the years my craft has allowed me the opportunity to meet and work with the people that have inspired me and brought me into contact with many other creative/like-minded people from around the globe.

 © Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday 7 July 2012

The Midsummer Masque Ball

We had dear friends Rachel and Andy up for the weekend three weeks back and we celebrated the summer solstice at the beautiful Glynllifon Mansion for its first Midsummer Masque Ball. Being based in North Wales I am no stranger to Glynllifon and its gardens but I hadn’t been to the house for many years so I was looking forward to visiting it again. The theme of the ball, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream.
 Beth decided to go as midsummer night itself wearing a lovely blue sequin dress, finished off with Chiffon scarf that she applied stars to. This was attached via a moon broach. To match her dress I customised her mask, which she finished off with strands blue ribbon. To complete the evening sky effect she even wore a single Saturn earring and applied more stars to her hair. The ball website, encouraged guests to come as mythical creatures so I made a griffin mask out of recycled computer print out paper from the studio.  Rachel wore a lovely ball gown complete with fairy wings and Andy went as the Fantastic Mr. Fox!

We made our way there driving beneath the familiar Glynllifon arches and as the car rounded the corner and headed towards the mansion, we were greeted by two Hussars that stood to attention and saluted us! We donned our masks and made our way towards the red carpet (also guarded by more Hussars who were camping in the grounds) after another quick salute we made our way into the magnificent hallway to join the other guests. We saw many creative costumes, everyone had made an effort each one complemented by their surroundings. Between meeting and greeting we went outside to watch the Hussars firing off their cannon! As the mighty bang echoed across the grounds we made our way to a sumptuous buffet followed by the occasional trip to the bar before dancing the night away!
We had a wonderful evening, my compliments to the organisers I sincerely hope to do it again very soon.

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Morning at the Museum

Today I had a fantastic day, I was truly honoured to have been invited along to Bangor University’s Brambell building to look around the University’s natural history museum!
I have always been interested in natural history and always thought it was a great shame that apart from Stone Science in Anglesey there are no natural history museums in North Wales to help nurture any interest children might have in natural science. This little-known collection is occasionally open to the public and school groups so as you can imagine I was in my element browsing through this collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and fish. The collection started out in the 19th century and continued to grow over the years with donations from zoos, circuses and stately homes. What makes this collection doubly exciting is the way in which the exhibits are displayed. The staff have worked hard to make it both informative and accessible to visitors. It retains the air of a bygone era when conservation was unheard of but the specimens are presented in such away that allows the viewer to get up close, a sure way to maintain interest in the natural world in both children and adults.

As I walked in through the main door I was greeted by a collection of eggs and a long line of skeletons, several species made up the line including a gorilla, a tiger, hippopotamus and the skeleton of a baby elephant. Legend has it that this baby elephant belonged to a circus but it died during a visit to Bangor.  Above the skeletons was a vast array of mounted animal heads, staring down from the walls that ranged from the now extinct Irish Elk to a Cape Buffalo. Many of them have their stories included on the mounting base, clearly trophies that have been donated by guilty ancestors, not wanting to be reminded of their family’s sporting past. It is sad to think that these animals died for someone’s leisurely pursuits but personally I find comfort in knowing that these animals will now live on in the museum as a means to educate future generations that will both appreciate, study and conserve these animals.

The collection is divided into several categories with no corner spared, each one highlighting a creature of some shape or form, marvellous representatives of the wonders of nature. All I could do was say ‘fascinating’ and “oh, wow!” as I wondered around the displays. The second floor (with a view overlooking the first floor) of the museum was equally fascinating as this section was devoted to the specimen jars. Rows of jars and tins each one in no apparent order but each one seemed to belong, and each seemed to have a story to tell. Some items may prove a little too much for some visitors such as the rabbit, hedgehog and cat that had been partially dissected with the organs labelled but I thought it was incredibly interesting! As I write this I really can’t focus on one particular element because selecting my favourite from the collection is quite a challenge! The anteater skeleton perhaps? Or maybe the cabinet containing several species of New Zealand birds (Included a Kakapo, which is now under threat of extinction). I was suitably impressed by the narwhal’s tusk, The Elephant trunk preserved in formaldehyde?  I shall cheat and say I liked the whole museum! Before I left I took a moment to examine the various mineral cabinets scattered throughout the museum, which until recently had been in storage I find this interesting as I found the museum itself to be a real hidden gem! My sincere thanks to the University for allowing me this opportunity.

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

My Turing Sunflower

I had hoped to make this a double header sun-themed science thread. 
Unfortunately (if not rather predictably) the weather prevented me from observing the transit of Venus on the 6th. Dense low forming clouds prevented me from seeing this celestial event that will not occur again for over a century! I’m still rather bitter about this so let us hastily move on to the other sun related topic I had intended for this thread, Sunflowers.

I think its safe to say that we have now firmly established that I like science, but did you know that I am also partial to a spot of gardening as well? Well I am, More so if I can combine science and gardening together and that’s just what I have done! Like thousands of others I have planted a Turing sunflower in honour of the great mathematician Alan Turing on this his Centenary year as part of a new research project led by MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester)
Alan Turing the famous code-breaker, developer of the Enigma machine and the founder of computer science/ artificial intelligence in his later life became interested in phyllotaxy (the mathematical arrangements of leaves on plant stems) and the spirals on sunflower heads that conform to a Fibonacci number. Turing hoped to explain the ‘Fibonacci phyllotaxis’ but tragically died in 1954 before the work was completed. This year the University of Manchester is encouraging everyone to grow 3000 sunflowers to celebrate life of the great man and complete his work! Mathematicians at The University of Manchester hope to analyse thousands of sunflower heads to test the extent to which they follow the Fibonacci rule, to explain why this happens and the reasons why they sometimes don’t. The results will be announced during Manchester Science Festival (27 October – 4 November 2012) alongside a host of cultural events across Greater Manchester to celebrate Turing’s life.

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world

Monday 11 June 2012

The Jubilee Menai Strait Party

The Jubilee, I love it. It’s one of those rare occasions that this country gets to unite and celebrate its history rather than some silly sporting event that predictably fizzle out at the crucial point. 
Wanting to celebrate the Jubilee with Beth and my daughter (who missed the last one by being born 4months after) we attended a street party with a difference, this year we attended a Strait Party, as it was set on the banks of the Menai Strait! Organised by the National Trust in the grounds of the magnificent Plas Newydd, situated along the Menai strait. This former home of the Marquess of Anglesey provided a historical backdrop and marvellous views of both Snowdonia and The Britannia Bridge for the special day.
We took our seats at the Strait party table and watched the boats sailing along the Strait (although admittedly I was more interested in the Cormorants).  Just as the food was about to be laid out a few drops of rain started to fall BUT this was no problem for me as I had come prepared! I had brought along a little invention of mine, cobbled together the night before ‘The Union Umbrella’ allowing me to be both patriotic and dry at the same time! Once all the food was brought down the sloping lawn via a ‘food chain’ everyone enjoyed a delicious selection of cucumber or coronation chicken sandwiches, pork pies and a selection of cakes! Finished off with a complementary glass of champagne to toast our Royal Highness’s 60th year on the throne.  At one time ‘we’ appeared on television as part of a live link up with ITV coverage of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
We moved on to the lawn to listen to the brass band that delighted the crowd. At one point they played ‘Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines’ as RAF’s Sea King search and rescue helicopter (Of which Prince William now serves as captain) performed a flyover the Strait as the crew waved to the crowd that responded with waving their flags. The weather held back until it was time to leave, and that was our Jubilee celebration! 60 years of the reign of Elizabeth the Second where a good time was had by all.

In the North Wales Chronicle with Beth (and the 'Union Umbrella’)

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Waltz on the Wye 2012: (2 of 2) The Contraption Exhibition

I mentioned in the previous post (in great detail!) how I had a table at the Mechanised Market. As busy as it was I did manage to slink away from the stall for a short time to quickly pop to Chepstow Castle to take some pieces for the contraption exhibition.  A strange thing to do really considering how I didn’t actually have any contraptions this year!  The truth is that I wanted to make full use of this glorious location and introduce the public to my newest creations. So I took along some exhibits from my ever growing collection of ‘Wonderments and Atrocities’ the ‘Womblus Wimbledon Vulgaris’, ‘Mus Digitatus’ and The Finger of Paul Daniels.I then ‘hung around’ incognito for a short time to observe people’s reactions, which pleased me as they achieved the exact response I was hoping for.

Photographs the ‘Womblus Wimbledon Vulgaris’, The Finger of Paul Daniels and ‘Mus Digitatus
provided by Mr PP Gettins

My creations where in good company this year, standing amongst an amazing array of bright ideas, creative designs and ingenious methods! I had taken several photographs however my atomic blast camera flash didn’t do all of them justice so please forgive me if some pieces do not feature in this blog...There were several returning faces at this year’s exhibition, starting out with Mr. Matt McCall whose hats and goggles never fail to impress. Determined to make up for the poor selection of photographs I had taken of his work last year I took several this time round and here they are.

You will recall that last year’s winner was my arch-nemesis Mr. James Richardson-Brown, with his K-1909. This time he brought another famous robot with him, the Terminator!

I was pleased to see that organiser Andy Dingley had followed up last years ’s Pufferfish lamp with an Inflatable Glow Fish that did just that when you approached its cage! (He was also responsible for the amazing tentacle seen beckoning people into the castle to see the contraptions)

Other favourites included the HMS Victorian Enterprise (I am afraid I didn’t catch the artist’s name if this is you please drop me a line so that I may properly credit you.) and Vincent Swann’s Handyman’s Exo Spine

This exhibition had an extra coup to it this year as it had a special guest artist displaying his work, expert prop maker Mark Cordory! Obviously as a fan of ‘Knightmare’ and ‘Doctor Who’ it was fantastic to be able to see his work up close as each one was a splendour to see.  I sincerely hope to see Mark and his work at future events very soon. Once you have finished with these photos check out his site for further examples.

And the winner of this year’s Best Contrapion prize was awarded to Jarkman for his Skeleton pocket watch. This beautiful time peace was completely custom made from brass and ebony and was quite superb to look at but alas I have no photographs instead I urge you to follow the link and see how he made it! It’s worth noting though that not all fantastic designs and ideas where on display at the exhibition. Aside from the fabulously dressed folk that came in to look at the exhibit Miriam McDonnald (who recently, responding to my work called me the “Butcher of Trumpton”) was due to deliver a talk on how to knit ankle-less socks once she had finished minding the exhibit. As I was unable to attend the talk she very kindly showed them of to me and I thought they where simply marvellous, follow this link for more details and free pattern!

© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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