Posts Tagged With: Sparky

To Sparky, wherever you are…

Cat postage stamp
It’s almost exactly a year since I said goodbye to Sparky, my lovely big fat ginger tom. He was an old rescue cat who’s health was failing and we had to take him to the vet, fully expecting to be bringing him home. Unfortunately he was worse than we thought and they kept him in, and on the 21st of December we had to put him to sleep. You can imagine what kind of Christmas I had. Autopilot. Now I don’t want to depress anyone at this time of year, so this is a celebration of my daft and loyal cat. Continue reading

Categories: Cats, Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Art From Mark – Fun With Photoshop

Northern Flower shop digital painting the vibesThis is a digital painting I did based on a very dull photograph of a little flower shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. To see how the picture was transformed, check out the original here.

This was my first attempt at a magazine cover, which was an assignment for OutNorthWest Magazine in Manchester. My brief was to provide a bright, uplifting image to inspire people and increase readership. I went for warm summer colours and a radiant, aspirational character, based on a photograph of a real person. Part of my inspiration was the Hed Kandi CD covers, and I think I managed to inject some pop culture into the image, because circulation spiked immediately: it was the most successful issue to date. Inset is the printed cover. I’ll be posting more magazine covers soon, but first:

singing cat

Regular readers may recognise this image from my blog header. It’s Sparky, my ginger cat taken from a photograph of him singing. He was more than likely yawning, but singing sounds better. The original image can be seen in a forthcoming post about this handsome ginger tom in December.

Art Deco Dalek Photoshop

There was some speculation a few years ago that the Daleks would be redesigned in the style of the 1920s. Noticing that the original Dalek already had a bit of a retro-industrial look to it, I designed the Art Deco Dalek, just for fun. Using an original 1960s movie Dalek as a base, I incorporated elements from chrome radios, toasters and glass valves – thank Buddha for Google Images.

Psychedelic CD Cover

This is my psychedelic CD cover for a compilation I did for friends called Far Out. It shows a Ganesh-type figure holding a Sonic Screwdriver (from Doctor Who,) a Mars Bar and an iPhone. I’ve noticed a have a radial style to a lot of my artwork, and rather than admit to being repetitive, I’m embracing it as my unique signature.

Panos Photoshop

This is Panos, taken from a photograph and processed in the same style as the magazine cover above.

Barberella Barbers Manchester Poster

My friend Nikie wanted to raise her profile, so I designed this poster for her, using elements from her well-establshed barber shop in Manchester.

Here is another friend of mine, recreated in Photoshop.

This was made as part of a series of still images for an animation which I included in a Goldfrapp video. You can see the eye blinking here in the Goldfrapp Live! video.

Gay Wedding Picture

And finally, my friends got married and as a big surprise, I did a huge ‘Gilbert and George’-style canvas which I gave them to blast away any nerves just before the ceremony. The canvas now hangs in pride of place in their hallway, and creates quite a stir for new guests as they come through the door.

Categories: Design, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sparky the Amazing Dancing Cat


Watch in HD, fullscreen!

Ok, he can’t really dance. Or read. But he was definitely funky.

Ever since reading Orlando the Marmalade Cat as a child, I wanted a ginger tom. Sparky was a rescue cat, and he was old when I got him. After six happy years with me, he became ill and passed away just before xmas 2010. It was a tough time, and shortly afterwards, I went to London. Staring out of my hotel room window, it really hit me that he was gone. I distinctly remember saying ‘Thankyou, Sparky. Thankyou for leaving me. Thanks a lot.’ Not my finest hour, but by a strange quirk, at that exact moment, underneath the planet in Oz, The Found Sound Orchestra were making a song out of heart strings, called ‘Thankyou 3 Times.’ Spooky! It’s the song that soundtracks my video, and I’m glad I had the forethought to record Sparky in glorious High Definition, during a blazing August sunrise in The Northern Quarter.

As Mrs. Madrigal says in Armistead Maupin’s Michael Tolliver Lives, ‘Someone to sit in the sun with me. Who doesn’t want to go anywhere.’

(Please. Don’t send kittens.)

Categories: Cats, Music, Vibe Monitor, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Over the Edge

This is Sparky’s final resting place, up on Alderley Edge, near The Wizard’s Well, sprinkled liberally on a warm spring day. It felt quite liberating in a way. Rounded things off with ice cream and a bit of mountaineering. Sparky was my loyal ginger rescue cat who passed away shortly before Christmas 2010. Incidently, Alderley Edge is traditionally the heart of English folklore, and legend has it that Merlin the Wizard lived here, destined for greatness after King Arthur rode through the Edge on horseback, and the rest is history. There is actually a natural spring, gushing from a carving of Merlin’s face, hidden deep in the hillside. I thought this was a fitting grave for such a legendary cat.

Merlin face stone carving
There’s not much of his face left, but you could be looking at the ancient Magus of pagan Britain…

It was a beautiful day- a real break from the city. There were Porsches in the car park and proper elocution coming through the trees. Someone called Helena, who only lasted three years with the flute glided past with a giant poodle… that kind of affair.

Sparky lasted seven wonderful years with me. Now I have a place I can visit, without having to worry about anyone building a conservatory over him. As an update, although the ferns have grown around him, you can still see his ashes on the ground. He finally got to be an outdoor cat.


The Piglet. Possibly singing, more likely running a food cartel in the kitchen. Rest in peace X

You might also like

To Sparky, wherever you are…

Sparky the Amazing Dancing Cat

and Orlando the Marmalade Cat

Categories: Cats, Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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