nic farrell illustration

Category: people

Cambridge Community Arts

Recently I created a design for graduates of this year’s courses at Cambridge Community Arts, to be printed onto t-shirts and given out at graduation. The words to be included were creativity, wellbeing, confidence and inspiration, and I made a little picnic party scene. Through my side project Hot Yoghurt with my partner, we printed 30+ of them – originally it was going to be in orange, but we decided on turquoise in the end. CCA do really great work in so many creative fields – you can find out more about them here.

Croatia sunburn

Rotund, balding, sunburnt men on Croatian beaches.

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ikea pitch

This is from sometime last year… for a (winning) pitch to Ikea, to turn unused and run-down urban areas in London into communal eating and relaxing areas, using their furniture.

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found this in an old sketchbook from a trip to italy, 2010

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FILMING

Morning all!

This weekend I’ve been shooting a short ‘how to screenprint’ film to help people set up their own DIY businesses and make us millions. I’m sure I’ve mentioned Hot Yoghurt on here before – we make small-run limited edition t-shirts, tote bags and prints with downbeat slogans for people who hate slogan t-shirts. You can view our blog here and our lovely shop here. Film will be out soon…

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HANDS

… and 1½ feet.

and here’s something to give you nightmares

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sweet dreams xoxox

NSFW Studio Portraits; or, Can You Be a Feminist and Like Hip Hop?

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When in a thrift store in New York some years ago I came across a trough full of old studio portraits ranging, I think, from the 1930s to 1980s. I’ve had a vague idea since then to create images that provide a funny juxtaposition of tame and dangerous, and I started asking friends for their favourite lyrics from rap and hip hop, that are decidedly vulgar or offensive, in order to create an illustrative series. Let it be known that a) these are not genres that I generally listen to, and b) in no way am I an expert. But the more lyrics I read and the more videos I watched, the lower my tolerance became in terms of the attitudes and language towards women, when I would expect my tolerance to increase. I am a feminist; I recognise that women taking their clothes off sells products, although of course I strongly disagree with it. I am used to being under- and mis-represented in the media, and used to fairly forward-thinking friends of both sexes saying things like ‘man up’ and ‘don’t be a pussy’. In short, I detest being called love or sweetheart, let alone being told to grab my titties and swallow for B.I.G. I don’t want to, Biggie. Come on.

However, I also have a sense of humour, and don’t spend my days sticking pins in figurines of Tyson Fury and Donald Trump while boiling my own menstrual blood in a cauldron. The lyrics I was reading threw up an odd contradiction: can you enjoy and endorse, and ultimately make money for, musicians whose careers revolve partly around representing women as lesser citizens? I know I am hardly the first person to come up with this bold and revolutionary question; I’m also not the most erudite. But for me it’s not something I’ve thought about much up until now. For example, I enjoy dancehall and bashment music, despite the general consensus being that the majority of it is homophobic. I would not buy records by someone who has made sexist/racist/homophobic remarks publicly – but is watching a video of theirs on YouTube ok? Can you listen to the sexist lyrics of a hip hop song and distance yourself from it, and just appreciate the music and songwriting, and is that still ok?

The line that I have semi-conclusively drawn while I’ve been watching the 300th oiled bum jiggle around on my monitor is whether or not the songwriting is clever. To give you an idea: I am someone who appreciates the mundane, very British aspects of lyrics by bands such as Half Man Half Biscuit and Arctic Monkeys – niche references to shit English nightclubs and high streets and bus routes, that are very funny. And rhyme well. I am not naturally drawn to songs making obvious references to money and/or bitches, because to me it feels tired. However, if the song is about money and/or bitches, and it’s got witty rhymes and specific references, my interest is piqued. That’s why I’ve included the bottom image (Nasty Girl by Notorious B.I.G.) – ‘…and give me what I need while we listen to Prince’. Haha! Biggie wants to get dirty to Prince! We all love Prince! Sure, Prince is probably turning in his doll-sized grave, but it’s a neat reference, so I can overlook the lyrics throughout the rest of the song (‘and I don’t stop til I squirt/jeans, skirt, butt naked, it all work’) … sigh. Maybe.

I’m not sure I can make a conclusion one way or another. You might be surprised to learn I am neither a journalist or a professor. I am, however, a gender expert, being that I am a human being who has a gender. I am just interested in what I’ve come across in this tiny, tiny section of the music/gender Venn diagram, and I’d be interested to know what other people think. I wonder whether trolls frequent illustration blogs? Now’s the time to find out, I suppose.

Images, from top: Bitches Ain’t Shit – Dr Dre ⋅ Shake That – Eminem ft. Nate Dogg ⋅ Nasty Girl – Notorious B.I.G.

BANGING FUN STUFF

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Brighton poster final [flat] RGB

I designed a poster and flyer for Cambridge-based comedy duo The Cutlery Crew for their show at the Brighton Fringe later this month. Murder! Police! Spoons!

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KPMG Spring launch

This Thursday KPMG launched their corporate responsibility initiative ‘Spring’ with installations and events in their Canary Wharf office. I was asked to create lettering and illustrations on a 7m wall over the course of two days, plus some book jackets for the launch – here are some photos of the painting and the finished thing. You can read about Spring here.

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mural!

Last week I was working in-house on some wall art for the launch of a thing that I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about, really. So I’ll wait for the launch date – but here are some photos of the process. Words! Pictures! A lot of the colour blue!

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robbie burns

Seems topical to be working on this at the moment …

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Cambridge Film Festival 2014

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HOLLER

If you are from East Anglia then a) my sympathies, you poor thing, but more importantly b) you will know about the annual Cambridge Film Festival which is Sort Of A Big Deal – the third biggest in Britain I’m led to believe. This year myself and the talented Melissa Castrillon teamed up to design the t-shirt – I am good at words and she is good at pictures so it sort of made sense. Here it is in all its red (urgh) glory, and here I am smiling like a mug next to lovely Lucy modelling it.

Also if you are interested in films as well as illustration then the festival is running all this week, finishing on Sunday 7th, at the Arts Picturehouse, Emmanuel College and St Philips Church on Mill Road. Plus the t-shirts are for sale at the Picturehouse for £15!

fat people on beaches

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