Restricted Frequency #165
Alive!, Art For Music, Reluctant Reception, Halal Pornography, Joy!
Yes, it has been some two months since I last wrote and wuddya know? The New Year is already upon us! Don’t worry; I’m not gonna do one of those “what a trashfire year this was, but…” posts because no point in regurgitating a variation of every other newsletter or turn-of-the-year social media post. Best just carry on with what we do: make art.
2. Art For Music
My absence from writing partially had to do with a whirlwind of deadlines over the past couple months. It is, after all, how it goes in the life of the independent/freelance artist: long droughts followed by relentless floods. For some reason, many of these aforementioned deadlines had to do with music-related projects. Pictured above is cover art for YA HABAYEBNA, a single from frequent collaborator Ramy Essam, available now on Spotify and Youtube. It’s an electro-rock remake of a more folky tune by Egyptian dissident musician Sheikh Imam (who trailblazed many a timeless anti-authoritarian track with poet Ahmed Fouad Negm throughout the 60’s and 70’s). Also for Ramy was cover art for another single, EL AMIIS EL KAROO (also available on Spotify and Youtube) written by currently jailed poet Galal El Behairy. Pictured below is cover art I did for FLAP MY WINGS, a single from The Lazours currently available on Spotify. This is one of the tracks from their play, WE LIVE IN CAIRO; a kind of ballad that tells the story of the lead up to the Egyptian revolution some 10 years ago.
Call me biased, but as far as I’m concerned it isn’t really 2021 AD (or it is, but that’s irrelevant); it’s 10 ATS (After The Spring). “The Spring” not really being an “Arab Spring”, because that would be a disrespectful disregard for all the other movements that sprung up across the planet that very same year. The events that took place 10 years ago were no trivial matter; Ben Ali was forced to flee Tunisia, Mubarak was unseated after 30 years in power, the mighty Gaddafi was practically lynched by his own people, Spaniards took over Puerta del Sol in Madrid in protest of austerity measures, Americans occupied Wall Street to end the economic abuse sustained by the banking system, but not before teachers went on a major strike in Wisconsin. The anti-austerity protests started in Greece in 2010 were really galvanized in 2011, and Iceland introduced a new constitution drafted by 25 “common people” not affiliated with any political party (and they held a referendum wherein the Icelandic people refused to bail out the banks). Israel saw massive social justice protests, as did Russia. Chile saw 3 years of sustained student protests, and a series of square-occupations sprung up across the world, including London, Rome, Frankfurt, Bahrain and more. The events of which have not only shaped the decade (Ukraine 2013, Lebanon and Hong Kong 2019…), but will continue to shape the foreseeable future because the grievances expressed by these people have not in any way, shape, or form been adequately addressed. They have all largely been dealt with by force, which doesn’t make those grievances go away, it only makes them worse.
Anyway (long aside, sorry), a music video for FLAP MY WINGS is forthcoming, animated by N Slash A based on art by yours truly.
3. Reluctant Reception
One of the year’s highlights was the release of my lovely wife’s first book, RELUCTANT RECEPTION from Cambridge University Press, for which I had the pleasure of providing the cover art/design. This book she’s been working on since… well, since I’ve known her practically (which makes me feel not so so bad about not finishing my book yet), so a really big milestone this one.
4. Halal Pornography
Abstract art and kink copulated in the last of my poster series for 2020, resulting in a trilogy of sly works of Concept Pop, transcended from smutland to acceptably halal (unsinful).
5. I Put a Spell on You
If someone is depicted in grandiose fashion throughout their life, chances are they will live a grandiose life. Use art to ridicule that exact same person enough, and y’know what? Chances are they will succumb to a terrible downfall. Such is the power of art. Or, such is the degree of my naivete. Nevertheless, I figured I’d put my naivete to good use by depicting my child in joyous content before year’s end as a way to ensure we get some sleep in the year to come.
Wish I could do the same for all of you, but there are like 1500 of you reading this and I’ve only got 2 hands, only one of which is good for drawing. With that being said, I sincerely wish you all a joyous and happy year and beyond.
Thanks for bearing with me and keeping me on your radar,