How far does the apple fall from the tree?

Posted in Art, News on June 23, 2011 by Richard Savage

I have had this piece in mind for ages, just waiting for the right available time slot to make it happen.  This was a lightning piece for me, the sculpting process took about five days from start to finish.   I first saw an image like this on the HBO TV series The Sopranos.  There was a monkey holding a human skull.  The idea of the monkey looking at the scull, wondering if there was a connection really captivated my imagination.  In looking for source material I found a number of artists have felt the same.  I did wonder if I should proceed as the path was not a new one, but on reflection this is my take and it was modelled freehand without using reference material from other artist’s work.  The sculpture for me is not the last part of the process in this case, I want to work on a mould so I can reproduce the figure in either cold cast bronze or stone, maybe marble.


Looking at the question, how far does the apple fall from the tree?  Well as a person watcher, I look into the bars and cafés and see fans at football matches and come to the conclusion that we are closer to our primate roots than we might like to think.  To quote W.S. Gilbert, “Darwinian man, though well behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.”


Art about town

Posted in Art, News on June 23, 2011 by Richard Savage
Over the last 6-7 years I have been working on projects for the town.  The initial idea came about when our town entered the “Anglia in Bloom” competition. Essentially it is a flower show, but there are a number of elements that make a difference to the town’s final result.  One of the things is the town being involved with community groups and societies.  My involvement started when I was asked to help brighten the facades of derelict buildings along the judge’s route. They are rather comical subjects designed to raise a smile. 


The essence is life sized rather cartoon like characters. This year we have revamped two of the oldest shop fronts, that were looking rather shabby.  I was also asked for a new display board.  The idea for this is to be put up at the town’s historical festival and people can have their photographs taken with it.  There must be a name for these things but I have no idea that they are.  When I have tried to talk about the problem I have made a rather elongated description; “it is one of those things people stand behind at the fairground”.  Seriously if you know what they are called do let me know.  

"One of those things you stand behind at the fairground!"

It is rather fun being involved with these larger projects as it is something rather different, last year’s project was massive, by far the largest surface area I have been involved with in a single project. It spanned approximately 80 feet in length.  They are fun things to do but there is always a feeling of relief when they are completed and out of the studio.

In situ

All the panels shown together


Bound to Cast

Posted in Art, Erotica, News on June 23, 2011 by Richard Savage

I have been working on are some new life casts. The idea was to do some bondage casts for the D/s and BDSM market. The impetus was more from the model than myself, if the truth be known, as I was aware of the technical difficulties involved, but her enthusiasm carried me along and it is always interesting to tackle difficult and unusual subjects. It was an interesting session which lasted a weekend. It was largely experimental but we did get some nice casts.

Preparing for to cast

In previous casting sessions I have worked with a substance called alginate which is a seaweed extract, if you have had any dental work done and have needed a cast of your teeth you would have bitten into alginate. We usually use this substance in life casting for its exquisitely fine detail. I have in the past cast with clothing but there is a huge problem when it comes to rope; it sticks like the proverbial to a blanket. I don’t know why it should stick so much but believe me it does. As a consequence to this I elected to use silicone as a moulding compound for these new casts. There are two big drawbacks to using silicone. First, I had never used it before and had no idea of it’s properties and, second, it is devilishly expensive compared to alginate.

Experimenting with silicone and rope

Our model was very patient considering my lack of experience and we blew most of the Saturday morning with only one cast to show for it and that was an alginate cast involving chain rather than rope. The afternoon didn’t get a lot better and I wondered if I was wasting everyone’s time. The Sunday session went a lot better and we got a total of five good casts thanks to my rigger, Rarius, my assistant, Marian, and, of course, our model who asked to remain anonymous. You can see more about casting on my website here.

Blogging all over the world

Posted in News, Writing on June 22, 2011 by Richard Savage

I can almost hear the repetitive chords of the veteran rockers, Status Quo, as I type this.  A double irony as I am not a massive fan of the group or totally comfortable with blogging.  As I have whittled on about, on more than one occasion, I am kind of struck by the thought “why would anyone be interested in my thoughts on any subject?”  Yet I do get some very kind thoughtful e-mails and responses, for which I am truly grateful.  I have been invited to be a guest blogger a number of times this year, most recent of which is today on Starla Kaye’s blog.  It is interesting to blog for someone else and of course the ripples of that blog spiral out and you get all kinds of responses long after the blog has been published.  I am due to embark on a blog book tour, promoting my four stories for Black Velvet Seductions.  As writing is rather a solitary thing it is rather nice to have direct contact with readers, hearing exactly what they think of your work, be it good or not.  Thankfully the response has been good, but I am always aware that my writing might not to be everyone’s taste.  I did read a review on Amazon the other day that read “Richard Savage defines the word erotica.” I was rather chuffed to read that.  The reviewer did make the comment about the depth of characterisation, it is a fair point.  The story was only intended as a short story, a follow up to my contribution in “The Crimson Z” but  all in all I am very proud of the story “Temporally Yours” as a standalone story.

More about the blog book tour nearer the time; as there will be opportunities to win copies of the books


What is it with creative people and publicity?

Posted in Art, Odd rants on June 10, 2011 by Richard Savage

This is a topic I have talked about quite a bit over the years, I think I have blogged about it before too but I want to talk about it again!  🙂  

There are two points I would like to talk about,  both applicable in the writing and art worlds, but it really makes a difference in any area if you have something to promote.   In writing, I cover this subject quite a bit with my friend, and CEO of Black Velvet Seductions, Laurie Sanders.  It struck both of us that a writer will spend a number of months, maybe even years, writing a book or story.  Once written some writers resent spending a minute promoting the book!  I just don’t understand; I have four stories in print and I am still as keen to promote them as I was when the first was published five years ago.  It’s a given! 

In art, which is the reason for this post really, the subject of artists and publicity.  Before I start, I have to say, I am equally guilty!   Publicity is not something that comes easily to creatives for some reason.  Maybe it’s English thing?  I don’t know.  I would love to hear your views on this.  It might be that artists feel it is in some way “showing off”,  there can be issues of confidence and self-doubt too, but surely if you have gone to the trouble of putting an exhibition together you would like a few people to come along to have a look…??   

Publicity!  If you have ever been on a marketing course you will know it takes at least three hits for anyone to take any notice of you or your work.  Two artists I know have exhibitions starting this week, one’s exhibition opened last Monday, he told me about it Monday evening.  The other opens tonight and I receive the poster today with a message asking me to promote it as much as I can.  He didn’t even send me the poster himself,  it was sent by a mutual friend.   Do we really think that people are clairvoyant?  

Artists!  Writers!  Be proud!  Believe in your work.  Stand up straight  and promote, share your gifts with the world!


Posted in Miscellaneous, Odd rants on May 18, 2011 by Richard Savage

Work-a-holic that I am, before continuing with the current novel, as I sat in the dentist’s waiting room this morning, a few thoughts popped into my head on the subject of dentists.

Teeth are an emotive subject.  Mention the subject of teeth and you will get people either sucking in breath or telling you their horror stories of dentists past and present.  I have had my fair share of dental stories.  People reminisce over the days of free dental service as it was in the UK up until a few years ago.  It is now heavily subsidised but the idea of cheap dentistry puts a shiver down my spine.  My dental hassles came from that time.  A dentist was paid for the number of holes drilled, relying on professional integrity that holes were not drilled unnecessarily.   Hmmmmm,  just not convinced that faced with the dilemma “shall I make more money or shall I do the right thing” they would actually DO the right thing, certainly my teeth are testimony to that.  From the early 80’s I have been going privately and I have had a succession of top notch dentists, although I feel I should mention the price…  there was a time when it seemed fair value, over the last two years I have started to suspect my dentist has put a down payment on a Ferrari and I am picking up the tab!

I am always keen to hear your thoughts on any subject…  although do feel free to keep any dental horror stories to yourself….  at least until I have had my tooth crowned!  🙂

Highs and Lows

Posted in book covers, illustration on May 9, 2011 by Richard Savage

Without question a high spot as an illustrator is getting another cover out there. 


My 50th book cover

 This is my 50th book cover and I am thrilled.  🙂  It is for Black Velvet Seductions.  I really enjoy my illustration work; there is an excitement to the tight deadlines but it has its challenges and frustrations too.  This cover came on the back of two other cover projects, one of which got shelved.

Original version of Their Lady Gloriana cover

Above is first version of the cover for Starla’s book.  It hit what was asked for in the design spec but ultimately it was not the cover they wanted.  As a cover I liked it and I hope we will be able to use it for another book at some point.  The other cover project that won’t see the light of day? I liked it  but the publisher certainly didn’t!  I won’t offer you a look at it as it’s not really fair to flag up the other publisher.  Just a shame. 
Well that is what it is to be a freelance illustrator  some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you…

I-m not sure I get it…

Posted in Odd rants on May 1, 2011 by Richard Savage

This whole fad for i… i-Phones, i-Pads, i-Books, i-Pods……… well, they are sold to us as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I have serious doubts. First, I come from a background of PC’s. I bought my first IBM compatible back in the late 80’s and never looked back. I have had a series of newer PCs, every few years. I would be the first to say that Microsoft products frustrate the heck out of me and that PC’s are really very annoying. You only have to think of the last time you saw the blue screen of death and the inevitable re-boot which will cost you your morning’s work. Every now and again I toy with the idea of Mac. It is supposed to handle graphics better. It is supposed to be a virus free environment. It is supposed to be quicker and more hassle free. I saw an i-Pad the other day and thought that’s neat, it looked great fun to play with. Part of my work is as a graphics designer and I am told all pro graphics designers use Mac… I was also told by a guy at an exhibition not that long ago that “You would have to be mental not to have a Mac, as only imbeciles still used PC’s”. So why is it I am so sceptical? For my main work it would mean buying new software but that in itself doesn’t worry me that much…. IF I thought it would work seamlessly with the all the work I do. Ok so here is the rub, why don’t I switch? Well I bought an i-Pod. It is supposed to be a nifty piece of kit; everybody tells me to. First hurdle…. I did need it explaining to me, how the menu system works. Ok, so I am a bit thick… then I want to import my music and audio book libraries. The interface with i-Tunes is a bit lumbering and not all my books would download onto the i-Pod, don’t ask me why,  maybe it just had the hump that day.. oh yes, and every other day I tried to down load them! I am at the point of one last try before it ends up in my desk drawer along with the growing collection of gadgets that are supposed to be brilliant, that actually turn out to be not that great. I had three days holiday recently and I load in my latest audio book purchase, Stieg Larsson’s third book in the Millennium series, “The Girl that Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, so I can listen to it in the bath, gym, walks, etc. I listened up to the 11th segment on the first day of the holiday and then my i-Pod went into a self diagnostic mode till the battery died…… fantastic!  So, my reasoning goes… if i-technology is really that good, why do I think it is a pile of crap? Now in the name of fair play I would love to be proved wrong and if someone from the Mac organisation would like me to road test some products I would gladly give more honest views, but until that happens I am feeling less than inclined to change my ways….. as always I am happy to hear your views!  🙂

The Paranormal and Me

Posted in Art, Miscellaneous, Writing on April 11, 2011 by Richard Savage

Over on the Black Velvet Seductions blog this Thursday and Friday I will be blogging about my paranormal experiences and the effect they have had on my work, both art and writing.  This is part of my blog on the subject:

The Paranormal and Me

by artist and author Richard Savage

I have always been fascinated by the paranormal and the occult.  To quote William Shakespeare from Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  I am not sure about that, I bet there is a lot of weird stuff that is dreamt up, some of which has fueled my art and writing. 

There have been quite a few things that I have experienced that I have not been able to explain, first of all, spiritualists.  I have seen four spiritualists – mediums, call them what you will.  Let me say first I went into this with a skeptical outlook.  I expected confidence tricksters and charlatans.  The first was a one on one session and it was uncanny, he was an elderly guy, who put me at my ease, it was a conversation in which he told me of things he could not possibly have known.  He mentioned a friend, whom I had lost in a vehicle accident, by name.  He mentioned things that seemed to make a lot of what I felt about my life make sense.  I have always had an affinity with the air and he made the claim that I had a previous incarnation as a First World War flyer.   As I say, it made a kind of sense to me but even so it still had a half-baked quality to it, if you said it out loud.  On the strength of seeing this first guy, a couple of years later I wanted to repeat the experience.  The next two spiritualists were, how can I put this, real con merchants.  It was like a fishing expedition on both occasions.  “I feel a presence in the room…  does anyone here know a John that may or may not have passed to the other side?”  Give me a break…. On both occasions the spiritualists had a go at looking for the gullible and vulnerable in the audience.  Nothing good came from either of those two experiences and furthermore it made me doubt the validity of the first one.  There was a gap between these events and the next one.  In the mean time I changed career paths from an entertainer to that of a pub-restaurant owner.  Events happened there that made me reconsider the nature of spirits and the like…….

To read the rest of the piece visit the BVS blog on Thursday

Colour blind art

Posted in Art, Arty ponderings on March 21, 2011 by Richard Savage

How do colour blind people perceive art?  This was not a subject I had considered much until recently.  I have an artist friend that is colour blind, his solution is to draw with a graphite pencil.  He is very successful and his colour blindness causes him few problems, with one exception.  He mentioned to me an incident where he mixed a number of paints together for an outdoor project and made what he thought was a nice powder blue.  When his wife came home she asked “what inspired you to paint the shed pink?.”  From then on he’s not been tempted to play with colour!   

The only other time I have really considered the subject was when one of the people that comes to my art class, who is colour blind, wanted to draw and paint in colour.  It posed a dilemma and I needed to find a language that we could both use, for example, you can’t say I think it needs to be a bit bluer, or I would give it a warm wash.  The breakthrough came because artist grade materials, watercolour, pencils, acrylic and oil or whatever, have a proper name.  The different manufacturer’s products may well vary marginally from colour to colour but they are, by and large, called by the same name.  So we have a language in colour, burnt and raw umber, burnt and raw Sienna, yellow ochre, Alizarin crimson etc.   The artist and myself worked for several months and he came up with his own takes on working with colour.

Having not thought much about colour blindness in an artistic context before, I would love to hear from others who have stories of a similar nature either overcoming disability and art or just general stories of overcoming adversity.  As you may know I am dyslexic which poses challenges for writing.  But the more I talk to other writers there are a surprising number of dyslexics in art, writing and the arts in general, so I would love to hear your stories.