A.Richard Allen
November 2007
Some more
Music themed portraits for your viewing pleasure. First up we've Brazilian muso colossus, Chico Buarque. His 1971 Long Player, Construção is, im[ns]ho, one of the greatest albums ever.
Next up, it's everyone's fave West Coast arthausers, Deerhoof.
The third one doesn't really relate to music (I guess there might be a reggae subtext) but this one's a snapshot of a killed job. It was to accompany an article about changing political allegiances amongst Black Britons. A fascinating article about how most West Indian and West African immigrants have tended to favour the Labour party (our Democrats) but that how many from the ethnic minorities find themselves drifting towards the Conservative party (our GOP) although the Conservatives still have to shake off a common perception that they're a party of bigots.

My initial feeling on reading the text was having an image of a black Conservative candidate being elected to government with multi-ethnic voters in the election hall. Various ideas were knocked back and forth before the concept of a rasta with a blue (Conservative) rosette was suggested by the AD. It's easy to say after the event but I had some real misgivings about the rasta. It wasn't that it seemed racially insensitive, more that it was a clunky, slightly dated piece of iconography that spoke more of a specific subculture than it did about multiculturalism and shifting psephological allegiances. I worked up the image but at the 11th hour the Ed and Dep. Ed. spiked it because of reservations about the concept (not the execution, I hasten to add). With hindsight I can't say I was surprised and whilst the AD (a great guy, v experienced, creative and professional) was contrite about having led me in the wrong direction, I felt that I was equally to blame for not proposing alternatives, not voicing my doubts about the imagery and blithely going along with things for an easy life. Ah well, I still think it's a nice pic.
Crumb on advertising
Here's an interesting piece from R.Crumb in response to an advertising magazine's entreaty that he do a cover for them.


A scathingly candid way to turn down a commission if nothing else. In many ways it chimes with my own weary, despairing view of advertising. Although if ever I get into a debate on the subject (as I recall doing with an ad creative once) I fold pretty easily and admit that, since I've not gone to live in a croft in the Outer Hebrides I can't feel in any way superior and that technically, yes, I too work for The Man.
Coming home from a drunken night out in London many years ago I tried to make it all the way through a tube station without subjecting my brain to any poster ads. Of course, I (literally) bumped into someone I knew and had to explain what I was up to making me look a right tool.

Sorry no pics to accompany this one. I had a foie-gras goose being force fed but didn't want to make anyone queasy.
family illness to peg a post around so I guess I'll have to focus on worky stuff.

A few weeks back, a client that I really wanted to work with commissioned me but then my illo didn't run; then I hear that I won another illustration award, to be announced next year. Yin and yang, yo. To be honest, both things left me a little ambivalent. I know for the award that might sound a bit blase- but maybe constant tiredness has blunted my emotional responses a bit.
Here are a few recent bits and bobs. The ice fishing on the Rockefeller rink one's a wintery-themed possible self-prommer. I just can't help myself doing crowd scenes although here I've tried to make things a bit better composed than I might've in the past.
The red carpet one is for an airline magazine on the subject of The Four Hundred- a club for highrollers that- for a mere seven Gs a year- lifts the velvet rope for you at lots of exclusive events and puts you in touch with all manner of movers and shakers. Naturally if the Allen Learjet weren't out of action right now (we're having it reupholstered with albino gazelle hide. Inside and out) I'd be heading straight over to the US to make the most of the complementary membership that this pic will no doubt be earning me.
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