Dan Cullen-Shute

Kraken & Eggs

Dan Cullen-Shute
Kraken & Eggs

February 2019

A monthly collection of creative ferocity from your friends at Creature


On the way to work

I've just finished reading 'On the way to work'. It's a series of interviews with Damien Hirst by Gordon Burns. It covers his career as he's going through his ascendancy and they cover everything from creative process, colour and artistic integrity through to smoking and bestiality. Worth a read if you're interested in finding out how the worlds most successful living artist's brain works.
Here's a link.

Virgil Abloh

I had the privilege of walking down New Bond Street the other day and seeing Virgil Abloh's latest collection for Louis Vuitton. It's use of colour is amazing and the decisions to use casts of mannequins wearing the clothes in windows, rather than just the clothes themselves looks wicked.



John Burningham

The children's author and illustrator John Burningham died at the start of the year. His book Mr Gumpy's Outing was my favourite as a kid.


He found the idea of writing kids books 'a jolly line of work' irritating, saying; "They say "What fun! There's no fun attached to it at all. It's a bloody nightmare." He'd take months working out how to tell the story pictorially, creating characters and working out how they interact. This was all driven by is motto "Children are not less intelligent, they're just less experienced". 

I find this same unpatronising, respectful and brilliant approach in Jon Klassen's books. Particularly in 'I Want My Hat Back' - a story about a bear going out and finding out who stole his hat, ending with grizzly revenge. It's darkly funny and beautifully told and from my experience utterly delightfully received by kids.


We can learn a lot from both, particularly that of not underestimating any audience not matter how young or old, uneducated or educated. 



I've been trying to reduce my plastic waste recently and came across the 'Ecobrick' project. It's a really simple way to prevent un-recyclable plastic ending up in a landfill. You just cram a plastic bottle with all your plastic waste as tightly as you can, and then post it off to the 'Ecobrick'. They use it to build houses, wells etc. If they tear the structure down, the bricks can be reused for something else.

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I've had a lot of fun playing with Elias Hanzer's generative type tool 'Phase'. It reacts to sound and manual sliders to manipulate a typeface on screen, creating completely unique letter forms. In a time where all brands seem to be rebranding to generic typefaces, things like this really excite me.

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Conversation between David Blaine and Juergen Teller 

From The Travel Almanac where they discuss magic and how the impossible becomes possible. It changed my mind from WHY DAVID!? to YOU DO YOU DAVID. 


Glow in the dark ramen

A mobile noodle shop for 6 people at a time where you eat glowing ramen under blacklight. No word yet on any side effects.



1+1 = 3

I finally read 1+1=3 by Dave Trott earlier this month which is absolutely packed full of my favourite kind of creativity: crazy, stupid smarts. 

Here are a few examples of some stupid smarties that I've come across on t’internet:

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Sophie Tea

Here is an Instagram artist I follow called Sophie Tea. I like her art because of its randomness (and also because of the pretty colours). And I like her because she's one of the few 'influencers' who isn't a total w*nker. Mainly because she acts like a real-life (sometimes flawed) humanoid who appears to be using her 'power' for good and running her business in the spirit of 'Glasnost'*, which is what I'd do.

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* for those of you who didn't study Russian history it's basically all about openness and honesty (FYI - they were very bad at it). In her case, it's largely a case of, 'yes here I am downing champagne in Verbier and spending thousands on paint, but I'm also going to do massive discounts on my work just because it's my birthday and make less money by making smaller pieces so people can own some art).


Andy Dixon
I was reminded of Andy Dixon, a Canadian artist whose work explores the psychology behind the value of luxury items and challenges us to evaluate whether value is intrinsic to the product itself or whether an abstraction of that same item can be just as valuable. That bougie Versace bomber? He did a painting of it. Million dollar vases? Painted. Expensive Hermes blouse? Duh. Basically, he paints expensive things and asks the viewer, "Is this painting of *insert thing you can't afford* worth as much or more than the thing itself and WHY?" Plus, he does colour in a big way (lookin' at you, Poppy) that I really love, and I don't even really like colour? 

His most recent exhibition Alchemy, which I caught at Beers, featured paintings of his own paintings in their owners' lavish homes. TL;DR Imagine Inception as impossibly intricate paintings; super meta and super colourful. 

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Annie Wang

It also just reminded me of Annie Wang's "The Mother as a Creator" photo series where she took a photograph of a photograph of a photograph etc. of her and her son every year to create a 'time tunnel'. https://artanniewang.weebly.com/the-mother-as-a-creator.html

Phoebe Bridgers

Been listening to all iterations of Phoebe Bridgers, who is a musical and lyrical genius. She just released a surprise collab with Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) — Better Oblivion Community Centre (great name, better conceit). boygenius her band with fellow geniuses Julien Baker and Lucy Daucus is equally smashing, if not more. And her solo stuff, of course. Check it!


The Thing Explainer

I was looking for an encyclopedia that explained things to adults like encyclopedias explained things to kids. I found the 'Thing Explainer’. It's great. Part of the joy is working out what thing it's explaining. Like 'Machine for burning cities' (think mushroom clouds), or 'tiny bags of water you're made of' (think...cells). 10/10 would recommend.

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Guy Garvey's Finest Hour

A 6Music show hosted by the ever-so-lovely-voiced Guy Garvey. Each show has a theme, and as well as playing clips from stories related to said theme, he also plays music that's (sometimes tenuously) linked to the clip.

A wonderful resource for random information and new/old music.


The Adam's Room @ Lloyd's building

On the 11th floor of the Lloyd's building (a striking and very modern looking building) lives the Committee Room (also known as the Adam Room), an 18th-century dining room designed for the 2nd Earl of Shelburne by Robert Adam in 1763; it was transferred piece by piece from the previous (1958) Lloyd's building across the road at 51 Lime Street. Mad Skillz.

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Battersea Art Club

On 13 March 2015, during a major renovation programme, a fire broke out in the roof, and engulfed the building, causing severe structural damage, including the collapse of the tower. The Grand Hall and Lower Hall were destroyed. After a big fundraising campaign they raised the money to complete the renovation. However, rather than sticking to the original plans, much of the damage caused by the fire has remained a feature of the design - creating a beautifully dramatic space.  

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Alan Partridge - Nomad.

It's Alan Partridge. It's a book. It's hilarious. You can hear Steve Coogan, as Alan Partridge, narrating the entire book on Youtube:


Mike Stilkey - Book Sculpture Illustrations

Mike is an LA based painter / illustrator that creates sculptures out of old books and then paints illustrated characters on to them. Some are smaller (first link) whilst others are massive (second link).