Friday, 28 April 2017


Stuck for what to do this Bank Holiday weekend??

Well come on down to the Customs House in West Bay, Dorset and check out all the goodies in my unit!!!

I've been plonking loads of new stuff in there, so have a rummage and see what you can find!
Peruse through my own designs, a fantastic selection of vintage items and amazing books. 

What are waiting for?? See you down there!!

Fortunately our in-store helpers Bertie & Gertie will be there to assist you!!

Gertie is showing off her latest 70s top, and check out that collage in the background!!

Wow! Just look at all that stuff!

New fiction and carefully selected vintage books brought to you by Carya Gish of Arcane Publishing are all here.

Audrey Hepburn and Clint Eastwood are keeping an eye on things as well!

More amazing vintage books and a Scrabble for Juniors game from 1959!

My madly popular Retro Footie range, which includes my own designs and vintage football items. Here you can see an original print of Liverpool legend Roger Hunt and retro Tottenham programmes.

Now for something completely different...

This is another ArtPix idea, a bit of furniture restoration!
I took this tired old vintage stool, fixed it up and painted it to look like a fantastic new and bright piece of furniture. It would look amazing in a kitchen, or as a stand for a vintage lamp, the choice is yours!!

Monday, 24 April 2017


Here is my Photo of the Day...

Officially the only beach on the Isle of Portland, Church Ope Cove!

And what an amazing spot it is, with the beach huts that have their own walled gardens, to the incredibly calm and blue sea lapping at the white Portland stone beach.

But as with everywhere on this island, there is always something unusual lurking.
The cove is overlooked by the mysterious Norman remains of Rufus Castle, casting a sinister shadow!  

Thursday, 20 April 2017


Had a great blast of fresh air recently at this stunning place on the Dorset coast...

Took a load of photos as usual and played around with this one.
This is the amazing chapel up there on this exposed and windswept spot.

Inside you can find intricately carved graffiti on the stone columns going back to the 17th century.
Isn't it weird that when you see modern graffiti in the street, you hate it, but see some from 350 years ago, and you think WOW!!!

One of them is from 1665, the year of the The Great Plague in London. I like to think it's a mate of Samuel Pepys, escaping the lurgy and carving their name for a bit of fun.

To add to the air of mystery about the place, everything disappeared almost instantly soon after in a huge mist!!!
What is known as a 'sea fret'...!

Near the chapel are white cottages that would've housed the coastguard. One of these occupants was a real Dorset hero.

If you read my last blog, you would've been alerted to the strange things you can find in books.
Tucked away in a great book I've had for ages about Dorset, written by the splendidly named Aubrey de Sélincourt, there was a newspaper clipping about a dramatic rescue.

The hero was a certain Percy F. Wallace, who was lowered down a 230ft cliff to rescue an airman, who'd lost his way and fallen down there. The article goes on in great detail of the dramatic rescue. Note that it says St Alban's Head, which the place can also be known as.

I've long wondered what year it was, as the clipping is trimmed off, and if there is any further info on it, so today I had a quick go at researching it.

And whaddayaknow, there is another article on it!!!
Having gone through the British Newspaper Archive, I found that the cutting is from The Western Gazette, based in Yeovil, and the date of the rescue is February 1949

On Friday 20th May 1949 they ran a small feature saying our Percy had been awarded a framed certificate in honour of his bravery. 
Well done Percy!

So keep on checking those books for hidden gems!!!

I'll do more blogs about the other stuff I've found when I've finally unpacked all the books in the ArtPix Library!

Saturday, 8 April 2017


I picked up this copy of The Chelsea Football Book recently for the princely sum of £1.

And although there are loose pages throughout the book, hence the very cheap price, not only is this a great book but there were hidden surprises within!

Printed in 1970, it was essentially a history of the West London club, but as Chelsea were basking in the glory of their recent FA Cup triumph, the book heavily features the famous win.
Several chapters are devoted to it, which reveal some interesting insights into what happened at the Wembley 2-2 draw and the replay victory at Old Trafford.

Edited and written by the club's revolutionary programme editor, Albert Sewell, the book also has a foreword by manager Dave Sexton, loads of pictures and a nice, clean design with imaginative cut out pics on each chapter heading.

So all in all a great find and a great bargain!
But that was not all...

Tucked away inside there were 6 Chelsea football stickers!!!

WOW!!! The hidden gems are from The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Gala Collection sticker album. Published by FKS in 1970, these stickers can be worth between £1 and £4 each on eBay.

The stash included John Boyle, Eddie McCreadie, Alan Hudson, John Hollins and 2 of John Dempsey, who the following year would smash home the winner in the European Cup Winners Cup final against Real Madrid!

By an odd coincidence, I'd bought this sticker album last year in a book shop at Broadstairs in Kent.
Despite the album being in good condition, several pages had been torn out, including the page on Chelsea. So at last I'm starting to fill in the missing stickers!!

The moral of the story is...
Always check a vintage book in a shop for anything inside it, no matter how bashed it looks.

And also, if you are selling the book, always check!!!!

I've found so many weird and wonderful things in books over the years, I've often thought I could actually write a book about it!
So go and check out your collections right now!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


On a recent jaunt to an antique shop I found this small and unassuming little envelope...

It's a 1930s Kodak envelope that would contain negatives, and I absolutely love the fantastic Art Deco design!
Not only does it have a gorgeous illustration, it has classic Deco black borders that gives it a touch of class. Just look at the geometric shapes on the back cover of the envelope!

So then I wondered who PERCY S. SMITH was.
A tiny meander online found a few references to our intrepid and mysterious photographer from Bridport.

He gets a mention in Kelly's Directory from 1935...
'Photographic artist, children's portraits a study; Kodak & all amateur supplies; picture frame maker'

There is a shot of East Street in the 1930s, from the famous Francis Frith, where you can just about see his shop.

From The Francis Frith Collection website:

The other is a brilliantly playful photographic montage.

This pic was found here:

I love the thought of Percy, getting slightly bored of developing endless holiday snaps and taking pictures of kids in his West Dorset Studio, doing a bit of surrealist photography. It says he was a 'photographic artist', so I just wonder if he was a secret fan of Man Ray?!

I also hope Daisy, who this negatives envelope belonged to, was pleased with her 7 prints she ordered from our Percy.

Sunday, 2 April 2017


My Mum has dug out a long-forgotten book from the ArtPix Family Archives...
Produced by yours truly sometime in the 1970s, this must surely now be a much sought-after antique!

As a nipper I was slightly obsessed with cars, hence the subject of this weighty tome. The lucky(?) recipient of this book was my Dad, who has kept it all these years for future generations to enjoy. It also comes with the very succinct message on the back cover.

I shall of course be contacting Sotheby's to arrange the sale by auction, as this will be one of their finest ever sales...

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Got loads of new bits and pieces to put in my unit at The Customs House!!

Have been sifting through all the boxes, after my recent move, to dig out some gems for you!
I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time on my unit now I'm finally based in Dorset.

These are exciting times down at West Bay's finest emporium, with new management and big plans for the coming year. So get yourself down there and check it all out!!

Find The Customs House on Facebook HERE

And look at a sneak preview of some of the new goodies on offer.....

Early 20th Century brass candlesticks.

A clock to play chess, with stoppers that are pressed when the player has made their move.

One of my own photographs, taken at Hyde Hall in Essex, in a white frame.

Fabulous late 70s retro tea set, made by Johnson Bros.

Maps dating from the 30s to the 50s. Check out the rest of the vintage maps I have in the unit.

Princess magazines for girls from the 60s, including a rare Holiday Special from 1963.

Hard-to-find copies of the famous Private Eye magazine, from the early 70s.

A 1959 copy of Scrabble for Juniors game, with brilliant retro letters.

A must-have item for any fans of the 80s! The best of the classic mag Smash Hits plus a free poster of Wham on one side and John Taylor from Duran Duran on the other!!

Lovely old London Underground poster from 1913, featuring my old stamping ground Southend!

Unusual brass and copper tea caddy, which can be used as a handy storage for any bits and pieces.

A special treat for any West Ham fans... A SIGNED copy of the legendary Tony Cottee's 'West Ham: The Inside Story' book!!

And more treats!! Some copies of the Hammers magazine from the mid-90s. Check out current boss Slaven Bilic in his playing days!!

More retro footie, this time a huge framed pic of Chelsea's squad from the season 1995/96. Glenn Hoddle was manager and Ruud Gullit had just been signed!!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

I'M BACK!!!!!

Hello folks, sorry for the break in service, but the big news is, I've moved!!!!

Yes, I've left Essex to go to the delights of Dorset!
In fact, we have technically left mainland Britain as we are on the magnificent and mysterious Isle of Portland!

I've also left my job as a magazine designer at a publishing company in London, so there are lots of changes going on. Instead of the daily grind of the commute from Southend to Euston, I now have a 5 minute walk to Chesil Beach!!

I will be working on many ArtPix related projects in the coming months, so keep tuned right here. And once I've found everything from the million boxes that are still hanging around, I'll be sorting through the tonnes of amazing vintage items that I've got for sale.

So bye for now from Portland and see you soon!!

The insanely long Chesil Beach, as seen from Portland. ArtPix Towers is close by!!

Portland's most famous landmark, the lighthouse at Portland Bill. As you can see from the flag, it does get a little draughty around there!!

Sunday, 15 January 2017


After our trek down to Dorset last weekend, there are now even more goodies in our unit!

So get down to the Customs House in West Bay very soon and check it all out.
Here are a few handy pix to show you whats in store when you visit!

Here is our welcoming sign to the unit!

Stash of classic annuals from the late 70s and early 80s. 

No, that's not the washing on the line, that's a fabulous retro Brazil footie shirt! And exclusive knitted vintage style bags alongside an Everton shirt!

Lots of exciting vintage bits here, including groovy shades and 1960s ceramics and biscuit tin.

Lots of children's book and a basket full of cheap books, have a rummage!

A selection of Arcane Publishing's vintage and hard-to-find books.

Retro footie books and also a great West Ham 7"single and a rare Soccer Diary from 1986.

Footie scarfs and also my own Retro Football designs on framed pictures.

Read about Arcane Publishing's original novels. 

Clint Eastwood is keeping an eye on The Book of Thoth!

Check out the Arcane section of the unit!

Close-up of some of the carefully chosen vintage books sold by Arcane Publishing.

More amazing books and here is The Book of Thoth and I Am a Muse written by Carya Gish.