It takes a good stomach to go to the Surgeons’ Hall Museum just after your Sunday breakfast; but, it is just one of the most fascinating places if you are a little interested in the history of medicine. I did some drawings of plastic surgery back in the days, deeply impressed with what was already possible.
And a drawing of an installation showing Robert Knox at his work desk surrounded by a bunch of skeletons he kept in his various closets.
This is a drawing I did last night in what I’ve been advised to call an ‘old man’s pub’. I can see why one might call it such a thing as there were lots of old-ish men in there discussing the football whilst keeping a safe, manly distance from each other.
Left the studio early yesterday to catch a bit of sun and this is what I found: a houseboat on the union canal in Edinburgh. There are a lot more of them too and I will go back and draw the other ones soon. As for the sun I was attempting to catch, not quite sure where it went. As for myself, well I went home soon after to get a hot cup of tea with a big shot of rum.
I spent most of the weekend cycling around Edinburgh in the sun – this is true and I’ve even got a bit of a sunburn to prove that the sun was there! Unfortunately I haven’t yet got to the point where I can draw while cycling and so all the drawings tell the stories of stopping off in places such as this pub on a Friday night. Nobody was harmed in the making of this drawing – instead I guess boredom or drunkenness might have caused this man to have a little snooze in the corner…In Leith I discovered a ship that was an office at the same time. I love the way that this scene threw together so many images as a natural collage. There were reflections in the windows showing trees and buildings, then there was the view you got when looking through the ship to the other side of the dock showing more buildings. All of this was overlaid over the actual view of the inside of the office boat where the desk lamps looked a bit like the cranes you get at docks.
At Sainsbury’s I was watching three men organise themselves at the self checkout. The Sainsbury’s Superstore has a cafe where you can sit and watch all the goings on at the tills and they have liquorice and peppermint tea which makes it even more worth while.
And finally a typical Sunday afternoon table scene in the Scottish Storytelling Centre with typical Sunday stuff scattered around the table.
So looking forward to a good night’s sleep after I spent most nights this week working on a poster and brochure for an event taking place in Montecassino, Italy; but this is what you do as an Illustrator because you simply love your job. The event organised by the Italian Department of the University of Edinburgh is inspired by and includes work by Italian writer and poet Carlo Emilio Gadda. For the designs I took inspiration from old military maps of the Battle of Montecassino during WWII as well as from photographs taken by Dominic Scappaticcio, which will be exhibited at the event in May. I also designed a T-shirt and some tote bags; I will add photos once I have found some suitable models; for now, here are some pictures:
And here is a glimpse at some of the work whilst it was being developed; you can see bits on my studio wall (and often my colleagues studio wall space as well – I am known to be the notorious wall space stealer).
And even more interesting than that is the glimpse you will get of a deer man (I’m sure this is not the correct title) stood in the corner, made by Amanda, one of our Performance Costume Design students, who will soon be taking part in the eca fashion show. This event was breathtaking last year and I’m sure will be just as good this year. So if you’re around make sure you get a ticket!
During the past days the death of Margaret Thatcher has divided the British nation just as much as her political career did back in the 1980s. Not being rooted in Britain myself I do not feel emotionally involved in either side, but thought this would be a good opportunity to share a remarkable story that I was told by John last year. John is in his 80s and a resident at an Edinburgh care home where I spent time collecting stories from those residents who were born and raised in the city. He is an interesting and strong character who has been shaped by an eventful life. The stories he told include memories from his childhood in the Canongate before the slum-clearances, his youth and seeing the city from a different perspective while being homeless and living on the streets of Edinburgh.
Asked about the 10 years of his homelessness, John made an instant connection to Margaret Thatcher, and inspite of blaming her for ‘ruining’ his life also complimented her for her good looks:
I was looking to create an image, or actually more of a symbol, as I didn’t want any complex or busy imagery to compete with or distract from the story I had been told. So I ended up cutting Thatcher’s portrait out of paper, after all John felt that she had had a major impact on the course of his life. The story was then closed off behind a door as part of a larger installation, to be revealed (along with the physical beauty of the Prime Minister) by the viewer!
More about the project can be found on my website: www.astridjaekel.com