All this week the good folks at the Creative Review will be offering blog readers a chance to grab a half price magazine subscription in order to raise money for Comic Relief.

The offer includes 12 issues of the Creative Review Magazine plus Monograph and accsess to the Creative Review’s online archive, all for £35 (90% of the proceeds go to Comic Relief, with the remaining 10% used to cover selling costs)

After being announced yesterday, the first load subscriptions sold out within one minute. For those of you who missed the offer, the Creative Review blog has promised to add more half price subscriptions over the next few days.

Keep an eye on further announcementsHERE

It is predicted that today will be the busiest shopping day of the year with credit company Visa predicting a £1.2 billion spend by UK shoppers. So as is the tradition at this time of year, there have been a bucket load of new products unleashed on the consumer buying public, tempting you to part with your hard earned cash. Here’s a quick post containing three of the best books  released this holiday season.

Dran – I Love My World

Here’s the new promo video for “I Love My World”, the 6th book by French artist Dran.

A great looking publication featuring satirical parody’s of everyday life in the form of beautiful illustrations. It’s no wonder why Pictures On Walls have giving the artist so much attention recently.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGPqW9hBqmk

The book is available now through http://www.editionpopulaire.com/blog/ priced at £15

Rop Van Mierlo – Wild Animals

“Wild Animals” is the new book by Rop Van Mierlo. Featuring 14 water colour animals in 40 pages. Here’s how the artist describes his latest work:

“The Snake rattles, the Lion yawns and man makes a book. A wild book for civilized people. a sophisticated book for wild people. A beautiful book with wild animals for civilized people. a book with beautiful animals for wild people”

Wild Animals is available now through Rop’s Website, priced at € 30.

Phlegm – Issue 10

Phlegm latest comic has been available for a couple of weeks now and is arguably his best self-publication to date. Featuring a three colour screen printed cover and 20 litho printed pages, the book has been made in an edition of 1000 and is a steal at £3.

Also for a limited time you pick up issues 7-10 of phlegm for £10 with each issue hand wrapped in a screen print!

For more infomation check out his official web Here

In his third book in as many months, Ian Stevenson aims to tackle large and often confusing subject of the art industry in the signature style we’ve all come to love. The book is  a mature take on an intresting subject as the artist internally critiques an industry he currently operates in, with insightful opinions and messages that come across in way that can only make you smile. 

Now That”s What I Call Art is Lithograph printed and features 48 pages of twisted Art goodness.  Available now through Pictures On Walls for £5. Bargain!

Phlegms large scale and intricate street art has taken many forms over the years. From full colour wall murals to black and white illustrations, with his current pieces looking like they’ve jumped straight from the pages of his sketchbooks on to the walls of South Yorkshire.

But aside from being one of the most talked about street artists of  this year, with work featuring on the Wooster Collective, Concrete Hermit and Vandalog to name a few, Phlegm holds a true passion for comic book publication and one could argue that he’s an illustrator, first and foremost.

Having recently declared that he’ll be turning his back on the exhibition circuit for good in order to focus on new projects, Pejhy decided to catch up with the artist for a rare interview in order to gain an insight into some of the themes behind his work, his current methods and his views on the art industry.

When speaking to artists and galleries in Sheffield I found that you had a reputation for being quite a private artist. Gaining the respect of the local artists by exhibiting only when it feels right to you and then only on your terms. What are your thoughts behind exhibiting? Are you against your art being used a source of entertainment?

I’ve done a few small shows in the past but last year I decided to I stop exhibiting altogether, even in group shows. I have a love hate relationship with what I do.

Working on walls instead of canvass and making books instead of doing shows cuts out all the crap. It puts my work in the world for people to take it or leave it, with no brands or gallery reputations attached. Too many artists these days just don’t seem driven by ideas and a burning desire to follow a body of work. It’s just constant spamming, networking and hype. For me the work is way more important than getting somewhere with it.

One aspect of your work I really admire is your mock advertisements, highlighting the naivety of consumers and the way businesses manipulate us into believing we need there products to be happy. How do you feel as a consumer yourself?

I try and just keep away from it all; apart from buying paint and ink I really don’t need anything. Most of the time I find it funny like I’m walking around in a Douglas Adams novel.

I love the fact that you can advertise a shoe with a special heel that tones your arse and that people will buy that rather than exercise properly. That you can buy face creams that cost huge sums of money because they have some extract from a herb that flowers once a year on a full moon or some shit…like we can force back the ageing process with this 0.00001% extract.

Your recent time lapse video has been well received around the web, featuring on many blogs (including this one). Why do you think more and more artists, street artists in particular, are using the medium of film to show their work?

I think for artists that work in an ephemeral and spontaneous way video has become a great outlet these days. It shows the speed and freedom that makes this kind of art what it is.

You regularly blog you work in progress and keep your site updated with recent work and show previews of up and coming comics. As an artist working today do you think it’s important to have an online presence?

My blog is for me really, I see it as a diary. I update every week and it keeps me on my toes, helping keep lulls and burnouts at bay…helps me keep my pace. I’m not sure if I can say it’s important for all artists, I can only speak for myself really. It seems that having an online presence is important whether you’re an artist or not these days so I guess it must be important.I don’t mind updating one thing every week for anyone out there interested.

Some people have Myspace, Facebook, twitter, a blog, a website, a flickr account… I think at some point you must have to take a day off to do some artwork… so yeah it’s important but I think it can easily be detrimental as an artist or just as a person too.

Your last comic publication, issue 9: the sketchbook issue was unique in that it showed the reader how one of your works would evolve over time. It seemed like quite a personal issue. What made you want to publish a comic of your work in progress?

To honest it was just knocked together because I didn’t really have time to do another issue at the time. I was working on a bigger long term book project.

I produce huge amounts of sketchbooks; I have shelves full of them. I think I’m always looking for ways to use them in some way. The old issues of my comic from one to five had sections of sketchy Shrigley style drawings all of which I used to scan from my notebooks.

I recently purchased a comic on your recommendation, “Funeral” by Barnaby Richards which was absolutely beautiful. What other comics can you recommend?

I love Chris ware and Tom Gauld. Lesser known artists like Mark Beyer too. I like a lot of outsider art like Henry Dargers mad journals or the books of insane flying machines drawn by Charles Dellschau.

I don’t read a great deal of stuff because I don’t like being influenced. Every now and then I’ll treat myself though.

Is it true you’re currently working on your first book? What other projects do you have lined up for the future?

Yes I figured that if I’m rejecting gallery work I need to look at taking my self publishing to another level. I’m working on a long story set at sea called ‘in brine’ Its going to be a few hundred pages long, a4 and with a hard spine.

I’m currently about half way through drawing it. The next issue of phlegm will be out mid to late November and then I’m going to take a long break from the comic while I get in brine wrapped up.

Unfortunately I’m unable to post all of my favorite images from Phlegm’s huge portfolio of sketches and street art, so to see more from the artist please visit his website HERE

Legacy of Letter is a short video from calligrapher Luca Barcellona, showing the artist at work in his studio.

One thing that really impressed me about this film is the speed at which the artist works, completing a flawless piece of typography in just under 5 minutes.  A true professional.

Art Support is hand drawn, surrealist animation from 1994 by the 54 year old Dutch artist Lars Nørgård featuring a well executed sound track composed by Vagn E. Olsson.

The ultra fast pacing in the film makes for some really compelling viewing, with every occurrence moving the story on to another subject (which is not dissimilar to Blu’s recent animations). Unpredictable and brilliant:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLNfGsaOYSQ

To view more work from Lars please visit his website HERE

Al Murphy has just released a new print on POW. His idea of paradise would be sitting in a pub with Neil Young whilst Jenny Agutter pulls pints of real ale. What’s yours?

Video is increasingly becoming an important medium for Street artists to show work and communicate to their audience. Whether their producing time lapse videos such as Lucy Mclauchlan’s “Tacit”,  viral hits such as Blu’s “Muto” or fully blown feature length movies such as this years “Exit thought the gift shop” by Banksy.

“It’s Snowing” is the latest animation project from the Brazilian street art duo, Os Gemeos.

I’m particularly excited about this project as i’ve always wanted to see what their creations would look like in motion and after seeing this beautifully illustrated trailer, expectations are sky high. We can’t wait to see how this one turns out.

A friend showed me this recently, and i was amazed i had never heard of it before. Salvador Dali and Walt Disney collaborate on a beautiful short. Good Stuff!

As another academic year comes to a close, universities up and down the country present to us their finest servings of fresh faced graphic designers and illustrators. This years show at Sheffield Hallam University has introduced me to the work of recently graduated illustrator Tom Casson.

Displaying his work in the form of prints and hand made zine’s, in his up and coming self publication “A Vision Of The Future” Tom has taken examples of modern culture and twisted them to paint his own (hilarious) view of western civilization in the year 2020. Tom writes “A Facebook profile is deemed worthy enough that Birth Certificates and Passports are fazed out”. We certainly hope that isn’t the case.

Showing a great sence of fun in his work we decided to invite Tom to answer a few questions for Pejhy before he enters the working world, heres what he had to say:

Congratulations on your nomination to take part in this years D&AD show. What will you be displaying at the exhibition? have you been given the opportunity to submit new pieces or will you be showing work from your graduation show?

This is awkward *laughs* Unfortunately, I can not attend this years show. I am off to the USA for the summer next week, as I am working at a Special Needs camp in Pennsylvania. I did it last year and really enjoyed it so I am not too upset about missing out on the show.

Something i particularly enjoyed from you at the Creative Spark group show was your zine “A Vision of the Future”. Do you have any plans to make this publication more widely available?

Thank you and yes, I am going to release ‘A Vision of the Future’ later this year. I am going to reprint the zine, send a few out to possible employers. Then start selling the zine itself with a few screen prints of images from the booklet on my website, once that is up and running. Don’t hesitate, get your orders in now !

As an illustrator do you think it’s important to work on one recognizable style or is that something that comes naturally?

I believe when starting out as an illustrator it is important to have a certain style, wether that be the method and techniques you use or the concepts behind your work. This, then leaves room for experimentation as you progress in your career. I guess when you have been drawing for so long it eventually becomes natural when you first put pen to paper. I think its important not to be too strongly influenced by what’s fashionable and/or the current trend within illustration.

When creating pieces of assessed work or exhibition pieces, what are your ideal working conditions?

I really enjoy working at home. With everything I own around me, as then I can refer to a book or have a can of Rubicon Mango whenever I please.The most important thing is that I must always, always have music on. Its got the ability to inspire you and it can suit every type of mood you are in. I am currently listening to the album “Nigerian Rock Special: Psychedelic Afro-Rock & Fuzz Funk in 1970′s Nigeria”.

Who are you favourite illustrators working today? if you could work for/with anyone in the industry who would they be?

I have a few, Simon Spilsbury, Peter Arkle, I also really enjoy Vic Reeves’ work. I went to see him at a Q&A recently at the Lyceum in Sheffield and he was hilarious. His book ‘Vast Book of World Knowledge’ is one of the funniest things I have ever read/looked at. As for work, I would love my illustrations to be represented by the CIA (Central Illustration Agency) they have a great collective that show the full range of illustration that is around around today.

How would you personally measure what it is to be a successful illustrator?

Very difficult question especially as a graduate. Personally all I want to do is make people laugh. I think to be able to create images that need no caption, no explanation, that people just understand and enjoy, that’s being ‘successful’ for me.

Finally, now that you have finished your degree what do you have planned for the future?

Well as I said earlier, I am off to America for the summer. I am treating it as somewhat of a sabbatical, before coming back refreshed with quite afew exciting projects in the pipe line, including the “Vision of the Future” publication release. Of course setting up my website and looking for freelance work as I go. For now there is my blog:

http://tomcassonillustration.blogspot.com