29 April 2012

Popcorn. The Design Files.

The Novocastrian Files are reporting that The Design Files are in town, and I'm sure the locals welcome you! So do we at This Is Ikon, we're always keen to see what The Design Files have on their radar.

Spin. 50 Words for Snow.

Kate Bush has been creating perfect pop moments since the 1970s, each one more ambitious than the previous. Kate's captivating 50 Words for Snow is no exception to that rule and is on high rotation here providing a perfect soundscape for cool grey days. Stephen Fry's kooky contribution works, oddly, with Elton John's appearance on Snowed In At Wheeler St charming – and I'm not an Elton fan. Like many in the 1980s I was fixated on Kate's music and videos, particularly Sat In Your Lap with Kate on Skates in dunce cap – that clip was as transfixing for me as Nina Hagen's Smack Jack. Kate's 50 Words for Snow is the perfect way to welcome in a lazy Sunday.

28 April 2012

Pinboard. Shenzhen Lurker.

Three new Lurker covers are currently in production. This one is the first of them taken in Shenzhen late last year. Who said double denim doesn't work?

27 April 2012

Flipfactor. Toxic Love Story.

Susan Freinkel's Plastic, A Toxic Love Story is a riveting read about plastic and its effects. I found Susan's well researched portrayal of plastic hard to put down, and at times I was bewildered at how an educated society can seemingly not care about the impact this material is having on life. Albatrosses are one of many animals affected by a material that is all too often disposed of without thought. Susan's in depth account of various objects including cash cards, combs, monoblocs and bottles, but particularly the ubiquitous cigarette lighter, had my head in a spin. And then there is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Highly recommended.

26 April 2012

Popcorn. The Three Bears.

Sifting through the various collections in my studio – if you come back I'll tell you about others – I stumbled on a few old cards which I found in some magazines picked up in an op shop. The Three Bears is an old favourite, but I'm a little sketchy on just how baby bear's grandparents can be a pigs.

25 April 2012

Roaming. Lest We Forget.

The Salvation Army's window displays regularly display flair and creativity in their design. Both the Wallsend and Hunter St stores colour code their shop fronts weekly, while others devote their displays to current events with a certain panache. When I lived in Canberra, the Belconnen outlet often caught my eye; this is the Salvo's Anzac Day 2007 display with mirror balls just out of view. As a side note, people love Belconnen, which formed the basis of Lee Grant's heart-warming Belco Pride series.

23 April 2012

Roaming. Bridal Precinct.

On the strip between Civic and Wickham, Newcastle's once thriving Hunter St is home to blushing brides-to-be, brothels and artists. I've always been slightly amused that the bridal precinct could be located so close to the pleasure dens, the likely last destination of bucks nights. In full public view, this mural suggests where precinct borderlines meet.

22 April 2012

First 13. Maitland Jail.

As a non sufferer of triskaidekaphobia, the number thirteen doesn't bother me at all. I find it rather amusing that people change their house number to 11A or 15A, that some streets skip thirteen as a  number altogether or that some buildings are without a thirteenth floor. Though the number four is feared in Chinese culture, people of eccentric persuasion are said to be at 'thirteen o'clock' which is rather fun. The Reception Cell at the former Maitland Jail is numbered thirteen, and I doubt fun was ever an option. 666 seems more apt.

21 April 2012

Popcorn. Psychic Cheryl.

The infamous Maitland Jail closed in 1998 but has since found a revenue source in themed tours. My skeptic friends and I went to the Psychic Tour hosted by a woman called Cheryl, who not only promised a reading or two at the end, but that we'd see orbs in our photos. I've checked my photos – though Cheryl referred to them as 'photas' – this morning, and I'm sad to say there is not an orb in sight. Nevertheless, the journey into the jail was fascinating, though not spooky. Cheryl relayed story after story as we trudged through the dank buildings, where it became evident to us that our host and fellow tourists may well be subscribers of The Daily Telegaff. Needless to say, my arty gang and I stuck out like sore thumbs despite the dark depths of our surroundings. I was expecting a more chilling experience, particularly when we entered the section where Ivan Milat spent time; I'm reminded of Cathy Laudenbach's Belanglo State Forest series. Was it worth the $30? Maybe.

16 April 2012

Roaming. Not Quite Hollywood.

The comparisons between Hollywood and Newcastle are near non-existant, aside from a need for a car to get around. Public transport in Newcastle is woeful, which is a shame considering the extensive tram network that was once in place. But I digress, Trevor Dickinson's transformation of the city continues. Since his exhibition at the Lock-up in 2011, Trevor has painted murals all over the city bringing a vibrancy to some worn out areas. Is he on the council's payroll one wonders. The image above can be found outside the Newcastle Museum near Civic station. But if you want a real treat, track down his post box prints. They're terrific fun.

15 April 2012

Spin. Leave Them All Behind IV.

Modular's latest Leave Them All Behind (LTAB) sees the Bag Raiders at the helm. LTAB number four is a fluid mix of housey disco tracks providing a consistent groove for early morning parties. When compered with LTAB I, II & III's vibrant, party starting indie/rock tracks, IV's energy is subdued, perfect for long nights on cool club dance floors. I could say that's a shame as unexpected clashes of sounds and bands is what I've come to expect from LTAB, which is less obvious on this offering. Nevertheless, Modular delivers another worthy chapter, one that Bag Raiders fans will love.

12 April 2012

Roaming. Impending.

The view from Callaghan station never looked better. Despite just missing the train – the next one would be along in forty minutes – my mood was lifted by the full moon in the distance and the bustle of the coal trains behind me.

11 April 2012

Doodler. Winter Mode.

An old issue of Virgin's Voyeur inflight magazine has provided treats in the past including Tokens' first post. Winter is warming up in the southern hemisphere which should see a reduction of garish board shorts on the streets. That said, guys in Newcastle seem to still wear their luridly coloured shorts on the coldest days teamed with hoodies and ugh boots to keep warm.

Roaming. Pineapples.

Go West on Hunter St and you find yourself in the Detroit end of Newcastle, a district with few people and many empty shops. Following the 1989 earthquake, in 2011 a former popular shopping centre transformed into bizarre markets. The first casualty of the refit were the old fashioned murals, nearly all victims of graffiti attacks. Dull beige walls and insipid advertising signs replace said murals.

08 April 2012

Roaming. Playtime.

Canon's G12 miniature setting is sometimes irresistible to play with. The transformation of the ubiquitous McDonald's cup and its spilt nutrition-free contents into something approaching beauty is miraculous. Just the ticket for Easter.

07 April 2012

Popcorn. Cats & Poodles.

Everyone loves a gift, particularly a prescient one. I've befriended a lovely cat on Laman St, in fact I often go out of my way to see her en route to the supermarket. And then there's Millie, an adorable spoodle belonging to an equally adorable friend, Kate. So when these cards were given to me by Shan Turnser-Carroll – an upcoming artist to keep your eye on and remember you heard it here first – I was flabbergasted by their aptness.

Roaming. Velour Vandal.

Graffiti that complements public transport is rare. It's usually senseless glass scratching, illegible tags or some other mindless nonsense. This velour vandal seems to have worked the insipid CityRail pattern into one of those Magic Eye puzzles that were popular late last century. I can see a dinosaur in boxing gloves or a kidney.

06 April 2012

Found. New Friend Eliza.

You'd think for such a pedestrian unfriendly city, Canberra may not be such a good source for found drawings on the street. As this introduction to new girl Eliza shows, Canberra can be surprising.

Roaming. Wicked.

Wicked vans are quite often ugly with cliché quotes decorating their backsides. That's not to say I don't like them, I often laugh loudly on reading the ridiculous statements. And I love the idea of people roaming the world learning. This one was spotted in Newcastle with one of my pet peeves in the background: lights on in broad daylight.

04 April 2012

Roaming. Dali in Brisvegas.

Outside Brisbane Airport the rain pelted down delaying flights for hours and hours. Like many of my fellow fliers, I was a little bit grumpy. But then Dali sat down opposite me. My mood lifted as I looked at the man before me, and at what seemed an incongruous tattoo.

Glossy. Newsweek Timewarp.

Newsweek celebrated Mad Men's latest series by taking its design back to the 1960s with its last issue. How bold! I've mined my archives and pulled out a couple of covers from the 1960s for this slideshow. The current issue is back to its usual clean design and features a story about following Jesus. It's on the reading stack for now.

03 April 2012

Roaming. Fifty Years.

Pina Deli in Hamilton is celebrating fifty years in business, and it's no wonder they've survived. The lovely ladies behind the counter know their stuff serving up a fresh and delicious range of cold meats, fattening cheeses and a sourdough to kill for. I'm guessing the Bella Donna pictured was painted when they opened. She's holding up well.

02 April 2012

Popcorn. Secretaries & Ulcers.

Midweek Social's game stack is quite impressive, and at times threatens to topple from the shelves above. One game that has always intrigued me is Ulcers, and not because of its odd title, or even its rules stating that each player must gather together the following staff to win: a Vice President; a President; a Sales Manager; two Salesmen; and two Secretaries. No, my interest is in the depictions of the female characters, in this case, the secretaries. Some look like the salesmen, while others seem to have a five o'clock shadow. I love them, and I love the resourceful family member's rendering of a secretary to replace a missing card. It's those little finds that make me smile, like the Bullwinkle drawing I shared weeks ago.

01 April 2012

Roaming. Late Breakfast.

Low key, laid back and hip, Rolador in Hamilton is one of several places in Newcastle to sit back with a perfect brew in hand to ponder the wonder of the world outside. Inside their 1950s decor ensures there is always something to see, while sitting out sees eccentric passersby come into view.