Thursday, 10 August 2017

RETRO BIRMINGHAM CITY

Here is the last of my Midlands Retro Football collages ...

BIRMINGHAM CITY

Feast your eyes on this Blues bonanza!!




The Blue half of Birmingham started life as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, and after a few name changes settled on Birmingham City in 1943.

As Small Heath they were the founding members and first Champions of the 2nd Division in 1892/93.
Since then they've gone on to win another four 2nd Division titles, and agonisingly been runners-up in the F.A. Cup twice.

Major success finally arrived by clinching the League Cup in 1963, and again in 2011, with exciting runs to consecutive Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals in 1960 and 1961, worthy of a mention.

Blues legend TREVOR FRANCIS is the main man on this collage. He was a teenage wonder back in 1970, making his debut at 16, and he never looked back, going on to score over a 100 goals for Birmingham and play for England. 
Sensationally, Trev was then the first £1Million British player, when signing for Nottingham Forest in 1979. He's best known for his winning goal in the European Cup Final that year with Forest, but his most consistent goalscoring form was with the Blues. He even came back as manager and got them to the final of the League Cup in 2001.

Here he is below, and as ever keep an eye out for these other bits on the collage ...

Trevor Francis in his classic Blues kit of the early 70s
Retro pin badge, dating from the 70s.

Two brilliant cigarette cards of Harry Hibbs, a goalkeeper who served Birmingham and England with distinction from 1924-1939, playing 389 games for the Blues and gaining 25 caps for England. He also played in the F.A. Cup Final of 1931. 
The top card is from the 1920s and other, with the superb caricature drawn by the artist Mac, dates from 1935. 

This is the current Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers Association, Gordon Taylor, seen here in his playing days! He turned out for Birmingham as a winger in the early 70s.

I hope you've enjoyed these four brand new collages of mine featuring all the major Midlands clubs.

My full list of RETRO FOOTBALL collages now reads like this:

ARSENAL
ASTON VILLA
BIRMINGHAM CITY
CHARLTON ATHLETIC
CHELSEA
CRYSTAL PALACE
EVERTON
LEICESTER CITY
LIVERPOOL
MANCHESTER CITY
MANCHESTER UNITED
NEWCASTLE UNITED
QUEENS PARK RANGERS
SOUTHEND UNITED
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
WEST HAM UNITED
WOLVES

I'm currently making new greetings cards of these teams, with a revamped design, to go in my unit at The Customs House in West Bay, Dorset. I'll let you know when they are ready!

Next on my list might be LEEDS UNITED and NOTTINGHAM FOREST, although I'd like to have a crack at the two Glasgow giants, CELTIC and RANGERS.

Stay tuned for more news!!!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

RETRO WEST BROM

Here is the next instalment of my quartet of Midlands Retro Football collages ...

WEST BROMWICH ALBION



This fine club began life in 1878, and were one of the founding members of the original Football League in 1888.

Down the years they have achieved success in all the major English trophies, most notably winning the F.A. Cup 5 times. The Baggies added a League title in 1920 and the League Cup in 1966.

Arguably West Brom's finest player, JEFF ASTLE, played a major part in their last big triumph. He scored in every round of the run to the 1968 F.A. Cup Final, and topped it off by scoring the winner against Everton at Wembley.

He also plays a big role on my collage as he leads the way over some fantastic West Brom memories and memorabilia!

Here he is below, and look out for these other bits on the collage as well ...


Jeff Astle bagged 174 goals in 361 games for the Baggies. 


Brilliant souvenirs of the 1968 F.A. Cup victory. Here we have the programme, an A & BC trading card and an original ticket for the final. Unfortunately I sold this ticket at Spitalfields Market a few years ago, but luckily I did a good quality scan of it first, so I could re-use it here!!

Cool retro pin badges from the 1970s, although the top one could be a little older?

These players created an iconic and really important step forward in British football. 
Although not the first black players to play in this country, it was the first time three had played in the same side. Dubbed a cringe-making 'The Three Degrees', they blazed a trail with their talents in an exciting Albion team in the late 70s.
Brendan Batson played in the first football match I ever went to, turning out for Cambridge United. And as I was leaving a packed tube station near Wimbledon's Plough Lane ground, on my way to a match in 1988, Laurie Cunningham squeezed passed me and sprinted down the road. Great memories!!
 

Classic vintage football programme, with a giant West Brom  player booting a ball at the Hawthorns! The Baggies won this match in 1962 against Man City 2-1. 


Next up will be the final part of this Midlands quartet, BIRMINGHAM CITY. 
Stay tuned!!! 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

RETRO ASTON VILLA

Here it is, my latest Retro Football collage ...

ASTON VILLA



This proud Midlands club, with a huge history and tradition, having been going since 1874.
And it didn't take them long to accumulate stacks of trophies, winning 6 League titles and 5 F.A. Cups before the First World War.

They've since preceded to win 5 League Cups and a further 2 F.A.Cups, before perhaps their finest achievements happened in the early 80s.
In 1981 they clinched the League Championship, their first for 71 years, pipping rivals Ipswich, in an extraordinary Liverpool-free Championship race. Sensationally, the next season they beat Bayern Munich to win the golden prize of the European Cup.

So I hope Villa fans will enjoy this tribute to the Midlands' most successful club!

Keep an eye out for these bits:


Captain Johnny Dixon lifting the F.A. Cup in 1957, after a Peter McParland double beat Man Utd 2-1.


Bit of a mystery this card! It looks like a classic Godfrey Phillips Pinnace Card from the early 1920s. But after a bit of research online I can't seem to find it. It must date from around 1924, as it mentions they were Cup Finalists in 1923/24. Could be a rare one then?! 

This was a very lucky find at a recent vintage fair. An Aston Villa autograph book with signatures of several Championship winning Villa players dating from the 1981/82 season. Some of them went on to win the European Cup later that season!

Fantastic Panini sticker of a fresh-faced Platty from Football 89. He would go on to have a stellar Italia 90 just a year later.



This 1977 programme didn't make it into the collage, but I just love the cover. It has a bold and slightly incongruous Art Deco font for the title, with a natty logo tucked into the letter O, and a fantastic cover photo. 



The editor thought better of having another boring photo of a player or action shot, and brilliantly decided to have an ordinary match day scene. Just some average punters checking their tickets as they wait to squeeze through the turnstiles. 
And I love it!! 


This match against QPR, scheduled for 19th February 1977, was actually postponed. Strangely they had to replay QPR in a League Cup Semi-Final clash on the 22nd, on their ultimately successful replay-ridden League Cup run. Eventually it was played on 20th May, ending in a 1-1 draw, hopefully they kept the same cover!!





Keep an eye out for the next instalment of my Midlands club collages, as I've now finished Villa's rivals West Brom and Birmingham!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE – 100 YEARS ON

Of all the First World War centenary anniversaries to come along, this one perhaps represents the most tragic.

Any modern-day historian who quibbles and moans about the fallacy of the "Lions led by donkeys" mantra, need look no more than this futile battle.

The worst conditions, the worst location and against enormous German fortifications, you had an utterly predictable outcome. Add the fact they threw huge amounts of high explosives onto the area, churning up the already waterlogged ground even more, made the whole battlefield a quagmire.

The arrogance and stupidity of Haig and his staff wasted thousands and thousands of lives.
Just the single word 'Passchendaele', has long since been associated with the wholesale waste and slaughter of a generation.

Any lessons and tactics learnt from the Somme a year earlier were simply thrown away.
The whole sorry saga started on July 31st 1917 and slogged onto 10th November 1917. Casualty figures, although much debated, stood at around a baffling 260,000 for the Allies and about the same for the Germans.

Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery near the village of Passchendaele, is the place to go to get a sense of the battle. It has 11,965 graves, and a Memorial to the Missing with the names of 33,783. 
Of course its a sobering place, with German pillboxes in amongst the graves and placed on crucial higher ground, giving you a view of the Cloth Hall tower in Ypres, barely a few miles away.

After visiting it a few years ago, I spotted a lone poppy just outside the entrance, on the edge of a field full of crops. A field where thousands of people died. 



Just a few of the names on the Memorial to the Missing at Tyne Cot.


Three postcards of the huge cemetery, dating to the late 1920s, early 30s. Note the still bare landscape in the background.


The totally ruined Cloth Hall at Ypres. This postcard was sent on the 1st August 1919, unbelievably, it had a Censor stamp on it. Meaning the military were still monitoring what people were saying.


The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres, which holds the names of 54,896 soldiers from the surrounding battlefields, including Passchendaele.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

RETRO WOLVES

Welcome to my latest Retro Football collage

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS




It was great fun working on this as Wolves are a great club with a great history.

I always chose a legend of each club as a main image. However, there were so many players that fitted the bill, I had a huge list! But in the end I had to use the incomparable BILLY WRIGHT.



He was the first player to reach a 100 England caps, won 3 League Titles, an FA Cup, and captained Wolves and England with great distinction throughout the 1950s. He even married Joy, one of the famous Beverley Sisters, making them the Posh & Becks of their day!

The 50s really were Wolves' moment in time, lead by manager STAN CULLIS, the trophies kept coming, and they established themselves on the European stage with iconic floodlit friendlies with some of Europe's elite. It's a shame the club has been on a roller coaster ride ever since.

Cups, promotions, relegations, financial meltdowns, you name it, it's happened to Wolves!!

As my cut-off point for these retro tributes is the year 1989, the extraordinary goalscorer STEVE BULL just about makes it on here! His debut was 3 years earlier, before he embarked on scoring an absolute mountain of goals for Wolves.
Other folk heroes included are 'THE DOOG' – DEREK DOUGAN, JOHN RICHARDS, JOHNNY HANCOCKS, MIKE BAILEY, KENNY HIBBITT and DEREK PARKIN.

See who you can spot in there!!

Below are a couple of bits to look out for:



Future Wolves manager, Stan Cullis, featured on a 1938 Churchman's Cigarettes Association Footballers card.


Rare metal pin badge celebrating Wolves' 1974 League Cup win over Man City.


Iconic 60s and 70s striker Derek Dougan.

And here is one item I just couldn't fit in:
THE DOOG'S AUTOGRAPH!!! 
At the top of the page, in amongst other Wolves players from the 1981/82 season.




I'm currently trying to complete the set of all the major Midlands clubs. At the moment I've nearly finished ASTON VILLA, and will then start work on WEST BROM and BIRMINGHAM.

I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

DRIFTWOOD ART

One of the many delights of living by the sea is finding driftwood on the beach after a storm.

But we at ArtPix Towers like to go a bit further. Not just picking up bits of wood, but coming back with whole bits of furniture!





We found this amazing and slightly bashed bench down on Chesil Beach a couple of months ago.
After hauling it up the hill and getting it home, I set about cleaning it up and working out what to do with it.




As it was missing its legs on one side, I sawed it virtually in half. Then stripped away the bits falling off and repaired the other legs.

After much sanding down, I painted it a rather dashing red and white, and hey presto, a lovely new bench for the back yard!!



So keep an eye out for washed up bits of furniture after a storm!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

SPACE INVADERS!!

Here is another decoupage that has just come off the ArtPix production line ...
As you can see there are some cool retro Space Invaders, raining down on a kaleidoscope of people.


I actually started thinking about this collage about 5 years ago, I painted the canvas bright yellow and collected the images, but have only really had the time to complete it now.  The canvas is 60cm deep x 45cm wide, so it was a nice size to work on.

It's a bit Sgt Pepper/Peter Blake as there are a few famous people in there, but they are mostly just cut from random spare magazines that were lying around. Although I was pleased to get John Betjeman on there, probably tutting at the horrible building!!

I've really enjoyed doing these collages, and I've also completed one on the Liverpool football team as well, that's already in my unit at The Customs House in West Bay.

I've been doing digital collages in Photoshop for about 20 years, so it was a completely different experience and way of working. Nice to get covered in glue and then realise you actually wanted that person over there, but is too late as you've already stuck it down!! A good tip is not to look at it too much when you finish, as you can't change anything, unlike a Photoshop collage!

Now I'm rooting around the ArtPix studio for any spare vintage magazines for my next venture!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

DELVING INTO DECOUPAGE!

Just recently there has been a flurry of creativity at ArtPix Towers down on the Isle of Portland!
I've finally had a crack at doing a decoupage as well!!

Have been meaning to try it out for absolutely ages, but have never had the time or actually worked out how you do it, and what materials you need.

So I bought a small canvas, some PVA glue and gloss varnish and rescued a torn copy of a Beano from my unit at The Customs House, which I could no longer sell, and started to rip it up!

After working out where all the bits will go, I started sticking it all down. I'd never used PVA glue before and couldn't believe how easy and brilliant it was!! I'll no longer be surrounding myself with clouds of spray mount or getting stuck together with double-sided tape in the future!!!

Then after 3 coats of varnish it was all finished!






It was all an experiment really, to see if I could do it, and obviously using a Beano is hardly original, but it was great fun!

Although I hate to use and cut up original vintage items, I do have a few tatty 1950s Belgian magazines hanging around, that have amazing pictures and adverts in them. So as they are beyond selling I can use those.

Monday, 26 June 2017

MATCHBOX OF DELIGHTS!

Here is something a little different that's in my unit at the Customs House in West Bay, Dorset ...


This rather elegant vintage piece features a 1929 4.5 Litre Bentley, perched on a black porcelain box.


Made in the late 1960s by the company Lesney, who are famous for their brilliant Matchbox cars, this Bentley is a plated version of their Models of Yesteryear range.

During the 60s they started to branch out into the world of giftware, using the Yesteryear models in a variety of different ways. Chiefly as desk decorations, they had anything from pen stands, pipe trays to book ends. Our stylish box was marketed as a cigarette box for the US in their Matchbox 1967 Catalogue, but you could use it for anything nowadays, like chucking your loose change in there!

To add to the 60s glamour, do you remember the groovy TV programme The Avengers?! Well Mr Steed used to drive one of these Bentleys!! It would have looked so cool sat on his desk!!

Come on down to my unit and check it out!!




Tuesday, 6 June 2017

ALICE'S WICKED TEA PARTY 2017

WOW, WHAT A FESTIVAL!!!!!



I had such a great time, the best event I've been to for ages.
I was a punter on the Friday and shared a stall with Arcane Publishing on the Saturday.

We managed to see all the bands and they were all amazing.
The whole festival was one chilled out party, all set in the beautiful Dorset countryside.

So many great bands were there and we met loads of interesting and creative people. Was a brilliant environment to just be who you are.

Special thanks to Shaun for organising the whole event, and for being so cool to invite us to have a stall there. You can just see him, with his partner Karen, in The Rabbit Hole on my collage above!!

CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR'S TEA PARTY NOW!!!!!

The combined forces of Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix!!



Monday, 29 May 2017

ALICE'S WICKED TEA PARTY


Very pleased to announce that I'll be at this amazing festival on Saturday 3rd June!!!

This is the best alternative music festival of the year, with a whole range of genres to suit all tastes, so be there!!!!

Tucked away in deepest Dorset, it's being held at Knolle Farm in Purbeck, not far from the gorgeous Corfe Castle.

I'll be sharing the stall with the marvellous Arcane Publishing, and together we'll have a fantastic selection of goodies!!!!
Check out Arcane's blog HERE, to see what they are bringing along!

Tickets are still available for the festival, so check out all the details HERE

Also, click HERE for the full line-up of bands!

Below is a sneaky preview of some items that'll be adorning the ArtPix table, a few are absolutely essential festival requirements!!

By the way, special thanks to our model Bertie, who is taking a break from his duties at my unit at The Customs House, to show you some of my stock. You'll be able to say hello to him at the festival, although he is a little shy!!!

This is Bertie, wearing groovy shades!

 Bertie modelling a 1990s Skanx Systems MA2 jacket.

The logo on the back glows in the dark, perfect while staggering home on those dark country lanes after the festival!!

 Fantastic Global Grooves shoulder bag.

Here is a Planet Sound record bag.


Absolutely essential Industrial Music fan footwear ... German Para Boots! These things NEVER wear out!!!!

 Optional festival equipment, depending on the state of the loos!!! This is an original Second World War gas mark.

 It actually pre-dates the War, as this date stamp shows ... 21st March 1938.

 It also comes with the original box, a pretty rare item these days.

So get your tickets NOW and we'll see you down there!!!!