My Website: www.mrbartle.com
I am an artist, graphic designer and illustrator working in Bristol, England.
I’ve been enjoying art all my life. During my school days I did a lot of stuff with coloured pencils. I remember getting a gift of a tin box of caran d’ache pencil crayons with a photo of swiss mountains on the inside. I still find some of these old pencils cropping up in my boxes of pens and art materials these days. At secondary school I became fascinated by the pop artists and began using very heavily applied pencil crayons to create flat blocks of colour to mirror the style of the screen-printed work of Warhol and Lichtenstein.
Growing up we’d visited my dad’s friend who had produced several collages using cut up magazines, and I loved these. It was only slightly later as I was going to art college in Lincoln that I found the work of Hannah Hoch and Richard Hamilton who changed the course of my work with his infamous collage “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?”
I began making collages using old magazines including adverts and pictures from the Sunday times style and culture magazines… at one point I had about a hundred of these old design magazines that the college library were throwing out – wish I’d kept them all now! So I spent a lot of time with a scalpel and pritt-stik. I haven’t got any of these anymore unfortunately.
What I really wanted to do was animation at college, new fangled 3D computer stuff was just emerging and having had an Amiga 600 with DeluxePaint I’d spent hooouuurs making animations pixel by pixel, frame by frame. However the closest course I could find was Photography and Video which included modules on animation.
So into the darkroom, and having a brilliant (if quite small) library and with great lecturers I discovered the works of Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Sebastião Salgado, Martin Parr and in time the fantastic macabre theatrical genius of Joel Peter Witkin after seeing the Death exhibition in Bradford. We had one computer and a scanner in our department and here is where I first began my love of Photoshop. What I really wanted to create was Giger, but for whatever reasons, I kept this to drawings and for instance made a series of star signs using scanned images, mimicking my collage style but adding text and beginning to explore during this time design. One of my lecturers put me onto Raygun magazine and Carson and this style of design coupled with the work of Dave McKean has been somewhat of a love affair ever since. I was also experimenting with sandwiching negatives to layer up images.
Music has always been a big influence beginning with my parents collection of Beatles, Stones (although I’ve still never quite got into them for some reason), Pink Floyd (probably thousands of hours listening to their albums!) Queen, The Who (mainly Tommy), Roxy Music, The Eagles, Neil Young… but it was while at school that I found the SEX PISTOLS! pure, raw, dirty, angry, just what I needed at the time. Me and my brother used to go and buy second hand vinyl in Lincoln, and while he learnt guitar I bought a bass guitar and looked at it a lot and imagined being able to play instead. So Jamie Reid also became an influence again adding to the cutup style that I would later be doing in Photoshop.
After college I went on to …. maaan this is getting quite long, congratulations if you’ve read down this far, quite enjoying reminiscing to be honest… anyway I went to Manchester Met to do Photography. It was supposed to be a Photography and Imaging course (i.e. with computer work too) however they changed that a couple of months before I started and we never got time to do any of this which was a bitch to be honest but there we go… so more time in the darkroom. A few people started getting computers at this time. Seems crazy now but this was just as the internet was starting to be used more widely, no-one had mobile phones, no mp3s, in fact I still have a large collection of minidiscs – doh!… It wasn’t a fun time in my life, the black dog being a close personal friend since school. I did do a lot of drawings while getting stoned and drunk but again these along with all my photography from school, college and university got thrown away in a self-destructive hole I found myself in one weekend. I still miss them sometimes but there we go, such is life! :)
At university I started doing more design with friends of mine (as they had computers!) learning more about Photoshop. After uni I got a job at a printers and learnt Quark on the job along with Freehand, later replaced by Illustrator. I never liked Quark… in fact I thought it was a pile of **** :) and when I decided to move to Bristol it was a joy to begin using InDesign and I’ve being using Creative Suite for 7 years now.
It was a couple of years before moving to Bristol, having being given one of those bubble iMacs by my lovely Grandma (she’d being using it for email but decided she was happier writing letters after all), that I started drawing and collaging with Photoshop creating a chopped up style that I now love. This grew from a laziness for cutting things out properly. It was taking too long to get the images and ideas from my head onto the screen so I just lassoed everything like a drunken cowboy and jammed them together. Done. :)… well, there was a bit more to it than that.
This is getting too long methinx, so to summarise some other stuff – I’m now working for a branding agency as a designer, I’ve done some BIG collages, I know html and css so have designed and built websites, I also work freelance when I feel like it, books have been a big influence from Clockwork Orange, Burroughs, and the genius that is JG Ballard, and am currently happily spending time doing drawings again after some experiments with photography and video this year. Hope you like my stuff here I absolutely loved making it all… and hope you love it as much as I do! All the best! :) sam