Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mad dogs and Lancastrians

In the months before I left Lancaster, I had the fortune of being asked by two of its more creative denizens to create business cards and other stationary for them. Both are free spirited, open minded artists, though of quite different artistic temperaments.

I've worked with poet, editor, puppeteer and performer Sarah Hymas for three and a half years. She has a definite sense of aesthetic and an openness to outside ideas, and there is something about her that has always made me think of the early modernists, and Art Nouveau's Alfons Mucha's relationship with Sarah Bernhardt. I took a photos Sarah uses on her blog, Echo Soundings to create this image, a hand drawn, slightly distorted version of Sarah's intense performances. The colours and style are drawn directly from modernist traditions. and the energy of her pushing out her own name I find quite dynamic.

Meanwhile, Hilli McManus, set, prop and garden designer extraordinaire, asked me to create business cards. Her starting point was her identity, Hilli the Fish, Monty Python, some semi-nude shots taken of her for a theatre company and a few fishy books borrowed from the local library. And the rest is history, or something similar, photohsop montage perhaps.

Hilli's definite ideas of what she wanted combined with an openness to new ideas made her an ideal friend/client. Like Sarah, she was demanding but direct.

Denizen, interestingly, originally referred to people who had come from elsewhere to inhabit a place, perhaps distinguishing them from citizens. Both Sarah and Hilli have come from across the Pennines, Yorkshire and Newcastle respectively, to inhabit Lancaster. And both have come to represent what is best of the city, an embracing comfort that allows the right artistic minds to prosper.


  1. Hi I love this design of Hilly,it totally blew me away it is such a clever design, the colour is awesome!!!!! Sharon

  2. Hi Martin,just to let you know your T-shirts designs are now featuring on the My Passport to Style blog.

    Sharon (Lancaster)