I'm really excited to share my poetry in this way, I've had it on my mental to-do list for a good long while, but never really found the time for it. Also, a lot of poetry competitions and publications want to be the first and sometimes only places a submitted poem can be printed. So for a long time I avoided adding them to my portfolio.
But I recently applied to the Adobe Residency program, with a proposal to turn my horror poetry and short stories into a book! It’s an incredibly popular and competitive program, and I’m sure they have a lot of amazing applicants from all over. Really it was just an achievement to put my proposal together! It gave me a great sense of pride in my work which has been lacking of late.
So that made me want to finally add the horror poems to my site. Not just for the people at Adobe to take a look at, but to share them with everyone. Creating my application freed me from a lot of self-doubt and anxieties I had about my work. Paired with a lot of time this year spent on self-reflection, healing and mental health, I was finally able to change my mindset about my own work.
So here it is! I really hope you find it enjoyable, and altogether terrifying. I’ve already got a new one in the ol’ brainspace, cooking away, and there are a few more illustrations in the works. So be sure to check back soon, I’ve really loved creating these little gifs to make them come alive and think it’s such a fun way to deliver them.
Check them out on the new page 'Poems' in the navigation bar, or by clicking here.
Enjoy! Don’t read them alone at night….
It's been a long time coming - as my art and career grow and develop, so too must my web presence. I've had it on my mind lately to give the site a spring clean, but it always seems so daunting - figuring out what should go and what should stay, and how best to represent myself - but thanks to a weird slip up in the code I was pushed into it!
This version is a little cleaner, and a little simpler than before. I got rid of everything on the homepage and decided to go with my moody lighthouse gif to welcome newcomers. It's the perfect imagery to represent my personality! So everything feels sleeker. With more of my time going towards copywriting and collage than illustration these days, I wanted to make sure the site was representative of that.
So new look! And new things being added to the shop every day - Now that I'm back in Vancouver after the month-long exhibition in New Westminster I can squeeze a few more projects in before flying to the UK in a few weeks.
Hope you like the new look!
First Solo Exhibit - The Gallery at Queens Park in New Westminster - Opening night Weds October 3rd 6pm to 8pm
Very proud to announce that the first ever solo exhibit of my artwork is being held this October at The Gallery at Queen's Park in New Westminster. It's a collection of reproductions of my hand cut collage pieces, which create new and captivating worlds from seemingly ordinary objects. Showing everything from mermaid grottoes, to cozy winter firesides captured in snow-globes. Each image draws you into a magical realm with tiny details and succulent imagery. The longer you look, the more you discover.
Opening Reception - Wednesday October 3rd from 6pm to 8pm
I'll be in attendance for the opening night, providing snacks and hot drinks, and answering any questions you have about my work. Prints of the artwork will be available, and Christmas cards featuring my snow-globe winter wonderlands. There will also be some mini collages for you to take home as a souvenir! But it's first come first served, so get there early to get your favourite ones!
The Gallery is easy to get to from Downtown Vancouver - catch the Expo Line to Columbia Station, then hop on the 105 bus heading Uptown from Bay 3. Get off at the 6th Ave at 1st Street stop, then walk into the park through the entrance at the corner. You can click here to see the journey on Google Maps.
If you're driving, there is plenty of parking next to the gallery, and just past it along the road. The entrance to the park is at 3rd Ave and First St - make a right at the traffic circle and you'll drive past the softball fields on your right. Head right at the fork in the road just before the gallery, and you'll find the parking lot.
The exhibit runs from October 3rd - 28th, so you have plenty of time to catch it if you can't make the opening night. I'll be at the gallery every weekend from 1pm - 5pm, and on Sunday October 14th I'll be running a collage workshop all day. It's drop-in and create, so anytime you can head on down and have a go at making your own collage creations! It's free to do and you can take your artwork home at the end.
The gallery hours are Wednesday - 1pm - 8pm, Thursday to Sunday - 1pm - 5pm. It's closed Monday and Tuesday. Prints and Christmas cards will be on sale on the weekends, but you can also leave an order form with your details any other day, and I can contact you about any purchases you'd like to make. The art reproductions will also be for sale, frames included.
And you can always come back here to my shop and buy online! I'll be giving out free shipping coupons at the gallery, so if you do drop by remember to grab one -- there's no limit on items, so get those Christmas gifts for loved ones sorted early!
Looking forward to seeing you at the gallery! Any questions, feel free to leave a blog comment, or get in touch via instagram -- @sethmacbethcollage or @sethmacbeth. The Gallery at Queen's Park also has an instagram you can follow @ArtsCouncilNW.
See you there!
New collage piece - 'Familia' - a digital piece celebrating the wedding of Jorge and Mayuko, Japan and Colombia combined
Whenever friends reach a great milestone in their lives, nothing makes me happier than celebrating with them. But being so far away means sometimes we don't get to be there for the big day. This time around we missed the wedding of my very dear friends, Jorge and Mayuko in Japan. At times like this, when we miss all the big stuff going on, I like to create artwork to give as a gift to mark the occasion. My way of being a small part of the celebration! A celebration of love, friendship, and the coming together of two cultures - Colombian and Japanese.
Even before I had started working on this piece, I already had in mind what I wanted to do. I chose their adorable doberman - Dobby - as the focal point, and around him brought together elements of both cultures. they weave a narrative around him, blending together and playing with the spaces. The overall piece has a joyful, energetic feel that brings out the beautiful details in each culture's items.
I chose a lot of circles for the items in the design - the most notable at the top, being the largest. I wanted to give a more subtle nod to the Japanese flag, and the Land of the Rising Sun. The circle gently rising over the dog's back and above the mountain I created with the items does that without being too blatant.
There's also a nod to the yellow, red and blue of the Colombian flag within the palette, and where the Japanese elements are more uniform in shape and pattern, the Colombian elements - like the coffee beans, the birds, butterflies, mountains and airplane - have a bit more of a playful nature.
I hope they like it! it was so fun to explore imagery from a new source of inspiration, using things I've never used before. I can already feel my mind working on making this dog concept a bit of a series....
Congratulations, Jorge and Mayuko! Wishing you many many years of happiness and success.
This is quite overdue, as I have been preoccupied with other things lately. But better late than never! I found out back in March that the Poetry Institute of Canada had once again awarded me a prize for their latest anthology. I won third prize for my poem 'The Workmen' - a deliciously dark monologue from a surprise perspective.
I am so happy that I've been selected for a prize two years in a row. It's a huge boost to the confidence I have in my writing, and makes me want to hurry back to my desk and start scribbling out another macabre tale.
Thanks to everyone who had read my work, I'm hoping to publish a collection soon, if I can get myself organized. As per, I have too many pots on the stove right now, but I am ticking things off the old list lately...slowly...one little tiny task at a time... But my ultimate goal is to mix my illustration and writing into one project, so I don't want to rush such a huge venture.
If I can concentrate for 5 freakin' minutes, I can get it done... one day...
Like most of us, for the longest time I've been downright in love with the products of yester-year. We all get a little misty eyed remembering vintage packaging and advertising, don't we? Seems like they strike a chord with all of us, one way or another. A lot of these old ads and products remind me of my great grandparents. I think about how different going down to the local shops would have been for them at my age, and nostalgia plays that familiar tune. Visiting them up in Warrington, in Cheshire in the UK was one of my all time favourite things when I was younger. Most of my youth was market stalls, hand painted signs, and old fashioned living.
Last autumn I went on an amazing 'ghost sign' tour with my Dad around London, which had us bounding about London Bridge area in the pouring rain on an app-guided tour of fantastic fading signs on the sides of buildings. It was incredibly inspiring, and there's just something about that old way of advertising that has always captured my heart. The designs, the fonts, the imagery - yes, I get excited about fonts. Who doesn't?! All these things used to be created completely by hand, and it gave them a certain vibe that we're missing these days. I know, I know, I have my rose tinted glasses on for sure. But it's so easy to lean on digital tricks to perfect mistakes now, I actually kind of miss making them. Remember at school when you were on a trip to some museum or other and you had to sit in front of a relevant relic you were studying and draw it? Even back then, I wanted my art to be like looking at a photograph, it was that accurate! Alas, I didn't have that skill at 8 years old, and I still don't have it now.
During that same visit back home I also went down to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising on the Lancaster Road - if I lived in London right now I would be at that place every damned day. I must have been there for a solid 3 or 4 hours just staring, sketching, and soaking in 100 years or more of brand design. If you haven't been there yet and you, like myself, are a vintage design fanatic, then you need to get yourself down there pronto - it is out of this world. Just a heads up though, bring your sketchbook because they do not allow photography. Which actually made for an even better experience, as it was a completely selfie-free zone...
So with this new obsession rattling around in my brain since last year, I've started to take advantage of the down time I have on set to have a go at recreating some of my favourites. So far I've done most of them in inks of various colours, but I also enjoy the look of raw pencil on paper, and have drawn some in traditional lead. But the main theme in all of them is no digital corrections - no eraser, no exact measurements, and no worries.
There's something I really love about the look of a pencil sketch. This has been a great exercise for me in remembering that in art, not everything needs to be perfect. I get down on myself a lot of the time - like most artists I'm sure - about not getting it right. That internal critic will say "that's not what it looks like! Look at this mess! No one wants to see that!" and I'll lose all my confidence. In an effort to allow myself those mistakes and enjoy the work again, this collection has been purposefully imperfect. I mean, what's the point in recreating something exactly how it already is? I want my art to reflect me the way I am, and the way I create. And not some exact replica nonsense I beat myself up making.
I just went out tonight to get some new coloured pencils, so I can really get back into less digital patterns of work. These pieces are really helping me connect to a part of history that I love, by dusting the cobwebs off the ol' paper pad and not letting myself use the excuse "what if it's not perfect?" Take that Ctrl + Z safety net away for a while, I want to remember what it's like to get lost in a project with a pencil in my hand! And what better subject matter than artwork created before Photoshop was even a twinkle in Adobe's eye... come to think of it, before photos of any kind...
These are a few of the pieces I've created so far, which are also available as 8.5" x 11" prints. Keep an eye on my shop for more to come! If your kitchen is feeling a little too modern and you feel like bringing a touch of nostalgia to your mornings, grab a print or two to hang over the kettle. Make your great grandparents proud!
In case you missed it on my instagram, I am so beyond excited to report that the SDCC official souvenir book 2017 published my article! A heartfelt piece about my Dad and I, it was created in celebration of the 25th anniversary of one of my all time favourite tv shows - 'Batman, The Animated Series'. And what's more, I was able to get it signed by the dark knight himself! Kevin Conroy - voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne in the show - very graciously signed a copy for both myself, and for my Dad.
I was not aware before heading to Comic Con that they had published my work, so when I opened up my copy in the restaurant before dinner that night I literally screamed with delight. It was such a lovely surprise, and really kicked off the weekend right. My friend Ali (another cool illustrator, check her out on her website and on tumblr. Though she spends most, if not all of her time on Twitter) also got her illustration published for the Batgirl feature, so we were both mega stoked. We did have a hilarious conversation about the possibility of only one of us getting published, and even practiced our 'I'm so happy for you, but I'm dying on the inside' faces. Luckily neither one of us had to use them.
If you weren't lucky enough to go to the event itself and pick up a copy of the book, fear not! I scanned it, so you can click this link to read the article right here from the comfort of your very own livingroom/office/classroom/toilet/whatever. I'm afraid I couldn't scan the entire book though, but if you're ever in the neighbourhood I might be convinced to let you borrow one of the 12 copies I own...maybe.
Now that I'm getting a lot more collage work done I've decided to open up my shop again. It's been closed for a long while, and some of the things that I sold previously are now no longer available. But if you've been following me on Instagram, you'll be able to spot a few of my more popular collage pieces. I've been toiling away at the computer for the last few days trying to get them all scanned and re-sized for printing!
The collections available at the moment are the Alphabet series - up to the letter O so far, but more to come! - the Day at the Market series which I completed recently for the BC Association of Farmer's Markets in partnership with the City of Westminster, and my personal favourites: The Carousel.
Over the next week or so I will do a more in-depth write up for each of the categories, to properly introduce you to the artwork and my thinking behind each piece. But for now I just wanted to celebrate the fact that it's finally open again! So go take a look!
You can click here to go straight to the storefront and view a little bit of everything, or select one of the categories below to see the full collections. I've also selected a few personal top choices for you, as recommended by the artist!
It's finally started! For so long I've been trying to convince myself to get moving on this project - One of my ambitions for my illustration and my writing has always been to combine the two in a way that feels right for me. A lot of people have said that I should write a children's book. Now I have TONS of experience working with kids of all ages, from my time at summer camps, and teaching at the art studio. But it just didn't quite feel like the right fit. Since working on the wonderful Kooper's Tale I have been batting some ideas around on that subject, but for now I'll keep those on the back burner - with dozens of other projects all waiting to boil over...
What has taken my fancy, is really trying to go somewhere with my poetry. Thanks to the success of my poem 'All that had fallen' I became inspired to create a whole host of other creepy and slightly macabre poems and short stories, and put them together in an illustrated anthology. As I mentioned before on my old blog, I've taken a lot of inspiration from an absolutely brilliant illustrator called Emily Carroll, and a few other comic creators with a fantastic sense of style and storytelling.
Now I've been working on this slowly here and there for a long time. I've got two or three comics already storyboarded out, and all the poetry ready to go. But me being me, I have this really nasty habit of questioning absolutely everything I do - to the point where it literally paralyzes any progress in a particular area, because I'm so scared of getting it wrong. It's a killer, to both my motivation as well as productivity.
But enough is enough! I've messed about and skived off for way too long, and now that all I have is great ideas and time on my hands in between set days, I'm going for it!
I'm one page down, with about 20 to go in this story alone....but forward is forward, and no matter how small the step, I'm inching that little bit closer to my goals one image at a time.
What do you think?
Now that I've finally settled on a look, I can't wait to get started on the rest. Come back soon and see if there's more!
Last week my copy of 'Island Tides' finally arrived. It's a lovely anthology featuring many amazing poems from writers all over Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The poems are all themed around the coast, and it is really interesting to read how each poet is influenced by it differently.
I haven't read all of the poems featured yet, but I think I can probably say with confidence there won't be many that are about the dead rising from the sea...
In the future I hope to illustrate the poem, and create a collection of my own. It will feature this, and other spooky short stories and poems that centre around the ocean - my favourite theme. As I create each page I'll post here, so keep coming back to check on my progress.
If you would like to purchase a copy of this or previous anthologies from the Institute, you can email them here and they will send you prices and shipping fees.