Bloody hell, what a year it’s been! I’m writing this from the comfort of my sofa, where I’ve spent the festive season so far, relaxing and doing absolutely no work! Admittingly, I’ve been ill for the past week so I’ve used that as another excuse to lie down and mainly play GTAV!
Anyways, enough of my laziness, it’s time to think back over the last 12 months. To put it plainly, it’s been bonkers! I never have too much of a plan from year to year, I have ideas of things I’d like to accomplish but generally I like to have a few ideas, act on them, and then see where they take me!
2013 was full of surprises, in the best possible way - From my 5ft Gromit raising £29,000 at auction for Charity to our suite of Shaun the Sheep games ‘Championsheeps’ being nominated for a Children’s BAFTA award, these things still blow my mind to think about then, and I can’t quite work out how I came to be involved in all this stuff, I’m so very lucky to have these opportunities!
I’ve also been very fortunate to be able to waffle on a lot this year - Kicking it off in Manchester at the start of the year, taking part in the wonderful BLAB 14 and then finishing off the year with the mighty honour of talking onstage at Wired Magazine’s ‘Next Generation’ conference! I really do find it such an honour to be able to talk about what you love, so I never take it for granted to have the chance to be able to whitter on for a bit to people! I’ve had the chance to meet lots of great folk at all the different events and conferences organised by brilliant people who just want to connect people, and that’s really inspiring to see!
It’s not all been roses though, my Fixed ’n’ Chips 2 bike race event was cancelled a week before it was due to go ahead when the local police force tweeted and facebook messaged me to tell me about their concerns with safety, which led to a postponement until next year! I also got quickly obsessed with NERF guns earlier in the year, as we all did in the Aardman Digital office, until during an after-hours shoot-out I accidentally got shot in the eye with velcro-tipped bullet which tore a large hole in my cornea, which meant a weekend with my eye bandaged up and the next 6 months having to take ointment in my eye every few hours! So remember kids, safety first!
So, onwards to 2014 then! I can’t wait to get started - I’ve got a few things lined up that I want to achieve, from a new short film bit of fiction, hopefully teaching myself how to write a screenplay to taking my Droplets characters into a whole new world, there’s lots to look forward to!
Don’t forget, life’s too short to not pursue the things that you love - we’re all SO fortunate to be creative, to see the world for all it’s beauty and radness, so let’s not squander such an awesome gift, let’s have fun and make people smile by making bonkers and brilliant things for their eyes and their hearts!
Thanks for reading and a Happy New Year to you all!
(Top Left) Shirley Creamhorn & the Shithawk, my vinyl toy collaboration with South American sculptor Alex Avelino was finally released in an edition of 250 of each colourway!
(Top Right) I got the chance to do the design for the collaboration between Bristol’s finest Fifty Fifty Store and the mighty Diamond Supply Co!
(Bottom Left) Mr @rexmartin and myself got obsessed with our GoPro cameras and devised ‘GoProFoSho’, a film challenge using only Gopro’s - Ricky has won both rounds so far, I need to up my game for 2014!
(Bottom Right) I started hyping the fact that there was a sequel to the bike documentary ‘BÖIKZMÖIND' and a trailer would be launched soon. I released that trailer on April 1st and it what it actually was, was a shot-for-shot remake of the original trailer but using kids instead of adults, talking about trikes instead of bikes, called 'TRÖIKZMÖIND' :)
(Top Left) I got the chance to shoot a film of 2 graffiti giants ROIDS & SatOne paint a disused Boeing 737 plane for @wehangfire! It was bonkers and I really got the chance to learn a lot film-wise - taught myself AfterEffects mogfx in the process! An amazing experience!
(Top Right) After literally years of being a secret, the vinyl toy ‘Ember’ I designed for @dancounsell at Realmac Software was released! I’m still really happy with the packaging, which harks back to the old Swan Vesta matchboxes!
(Bottom Left) When #gromitunleashedkicked off I thought it’d be fun to parody the ‘Lost Dog’ posters, which I did just for a bit of fun. The Bristol Post ended up using it and it appeared on Newsagents swing boards across Bristol!
(Bottom Right) In Aardman Digital we were nominated for a shiny golden Bafta for our suite of Shaun the Sheep games Championsheeps! I luckily got to go to the ceremony but sadly we lost out to the awesome Sesame Street, who were well worthy winners!
What’s really been a big focus for this year has been the incredible #gromitunleashed project! I’ve been so lucky to be involved, it’s really been the most mind-blowing thing!
(Top Left) My 5ft tall Gromit in all his pink & gold splendour, sitting outside his trail home at Aardman HQ. He sold for £29,000 at the auction, all for the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity ‘The Grand Appeal’. His owners kindly anonymously donated him to the Bristol Children’s Hospital where he now lives. The perfect ending :)
(Top Left) They made mini figurine versions which is a dream come true for a toy geek like me! I did a special batch of 50 figurines which came signed & numbered with a specially designed certificate - they all sold out in 1 second, raising £2,500 for charity in the link of an eye!
(Bottom Left) I got the chance to collaborate with Nick Park, creator of W&G (I simply ran upstairs and excitedly asked if we could collab, he’s too nice & polite to say no!) - We did a print where I illustrated the techno trousers in my style, which we then got custom framed and Nick Drew Wallace and Feathers on the glass layer above! Again it went online as part of an art auction and raised £544 for the charity!
(Bottom Right) The 2nd part of a collab with Nick, we both drew Feathers McGraw on a ‘classic’ colourway Gromit figurine and was auctioned off as part of the same online auction and raised a lovely £790 for The Grand Appeal! It’s been so incredible being a part of this, I feel so very honoured to be able to do all the above, I really know how much of a lucky pup I am! The things on this page represent over £32,000 raised for The Bristol Children’s Hospital, which is a really beautiful thing and all down to the power of Gromit, the incredible character he is!