If you’re wondering who the hell John Speed is then you may be more familiar with his nom de plume Rebel-yüth. Though it’s highly unlikely that he uses an actual plume to create his ace illustrations with there’s no denying he’s a dab hand at at the old drawing. So as fans of his work we decided to get him away from his easel for ten minutes (he doesn’t have an easel) and to give us five.
From a young age I was interesting in wearing different clothing to other people, and these days you have to really hunt. However, at the start of secondary school, I had caught the Fashion Bug as I would proudly wear my dads Levi jacket that he bought in the early eighties. It was far too big for me and people always used to poke fun at me, but I loved it and eventually grew into it – along with my slicked hair. I think denim jackets are the antithesis of cool. From punks to suede-heads to rockers, everyone had one, and I feel that they are one the most iconic jackets you can own. I love mine with a passion. It is a staple piece for any man’s wardrobe. I used to have another one which I bleached, patched up, cut up and drew sharpie doodles all over it, and it still looked good. Well, to me anyway…
Another nod to my dad, one day he told me to listen to a CD. It was The Queen is Dead by The Smiths. Morrissey, for me, has always been special because it felt like someone who really related to me. Someone that had ‘got it.’ He now still a rare one of the rebel voices, a thorn in the side of the royals, the Tories and a multitude of vile people that exist purely for themselves. For fear of sounding like something similar to a mini Russell Brand, I will hold my rant. However, Morrissey has been (and is still) great and he has influenced me to write poetry as his ideas have echoed how I had thought even before I discovered him. Life can be really painful and miserable but also ironically funny, and I think that lies with Morrissey’s genius in every song that he does: ‘In my life / Why do I smile / At people who I’d much rather / Kick in the eye’?
It is always refreshing to hear from someone that is not trying to rip you off, tell you that there are too many of ‘them’ over here or sell you something. Ultimately you should just be a nice decent honest person. I got that from ‘Harry’s Last Stand.’ I just finished it and urge everyone to grab a copy, it’s about a 91 year old who survived the Great Depression, World War II and Thatcher’s Britain. He voices his humble opinion that people should be kinder to each other, the elite perception should be halted and that everyone has a right to die with dignity, live in safety and security, with a good healthcare system and not get stuck in a repeated Age of Austerity. The youth have a voice and it should be heard. Top bloke. Top read.
A piece of art that stuck with me is Guernica –Pablo Picasso. It really inspired me to take art seriously from an early age. The idea that art that can convey a message is something I have always been interested in, as it has such an impact of pain and suffering. A brave piece and a message that echoes the tragedies of the Spanish Civil War – and war in general – and the suffering that it inflicts upon individuals. A beautifully melancholy piece that stands tall and proud as an antiwar message.
Creative Writing and Poetry is something that has always been another one of my keen interests, as it consumes my boredom and when I am not doodling I am scribbling down something, (I know this sounds very pretentious but I find it very helpful to convey how I am feeling). It’s all very personal at the moment, but I would love to be able to mix my illustrations with my writing, perhaps turn them into lyrics and front an angst band voicing my critical thoughts on life and people. It works for others after all…