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Ancient High house

I’ve recently painted the Ancient High House, Stafford using Ibis paint X. Being able to do these drawings has been really enjoyable for me and has stopped me going mad when I have been unable to get out and about because of the current Coronavirus pandemic. There has also been a huge surge of Internet traffic recently, so if I can’t get online I just paint something instead.

The Ancient High House is an Elizabethan town house located on the main street in Stafford. The house was constructed in 1595 by the Dorrington family, from local oak from the nearby Doxey Wood, and is the largest timber framed town house in England. Many of the original timbers bear carpenter’s marks indicating that the frame was pre-assembled on the ground and the joints numbered to aid the on-site construction. Some timbers have additional joint housings cut into them, which would suggest that they have been reused from an even earlier structure. It was not unheard of for a building to be dismantled and rebuilt at a different location – hence the expression to ‘up-sticks’, which means to move house. During the English Civil War, a member of the Sneyd family of Keele Hall, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, was renting the building.

Charles I visited Stafford and stayed at the Ancient High House on 17 and 18 September 1643, not long after raising the Royal Standard at Nottingham, the feudal signal to call his loyal subjects to arms – this act was seen as the start of the English Civil War. Having made the High House his temporary headquarters, the King talked to his advisers and dictating letters and military orders for the forthcoming campaign (some of these have been preserved in the nearby William Salt Library). While in Stafford the King attended St Mary’s Collegiate Church, an account being made by a local woman for the strewing of flowers along his route to the church. There is a story that while walking in the garden of the High House with the King, Prince Rupert fired two shots through the tail of the weather vane of St Mary’s in order to demonstrate the accuracy of a continental Horse Pistol. The weather vane was removed several centuries ago, and so the story cannot be verified, although the pistol Prince Rupert is said to have fired was far more accurate than most of the weapons then in use.

The main room of the house would have been the central room on the first floor, and it is here that guests, including King Charles I and Prince Rupert, would have been entertained. Today a tableau represents the scene during the visit of the King who stayed as a guest of Captain Richard Sneyd. The King was accompanied by his nephew, Prince Rupert of the Rhine and his Standard Poodle ‘Boy’, who was already an accomplished military commander (Rupert, not the poodle). Sadly The structure was weakened by renovations to the ground floor in the 19th century. This work included the knocking-through of a stone fireplace to create a corridor and the removal of one of the corner posts, which lead to a splaying of the overhanging upper storeys. A second chimney was demolished to create more space, this taking place following the advent of electricity when the rooms were presumably kept warm in winter by portable heaters.

There were rumours that the High house was going to have to be demolished due to the amount of work that was needed. However the townsfolk got together and a group was formed to raise funds to “save the Ancient High House”. At weekends people would have stalls selling souvenirs and encouraging people to donate. Local band “the Climax Blues Band” held an event at a local night club and raised a substantial amount towards the cause. There was talk of a “Blue Plaque” to commemorate the band’s efforts, sadly this never transpired. The Ancient High House is now largely a historic house museum with a collection of period room furnishings and displays, including the English Civil War, Edwardian and Victorian eras. Three galleries feature changing art, photography and history exhibitions. The museum is operated by the Stafford Borough Council and entry is free of charge. The Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum is housed in the attic floor, and features uniforms and artefacts of the Staffordshire Yeomanry. The Ancient High House adjoins ‘Shaw’s House’ and the ‘Swan’, both of which have Elizabethan origins. St Chad’s Church and the Collegiate Church of St Mary’s, Stafford are also close by

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Garfield the Cat day

Garfield the Cat Day takes place annually on 19 June to commemorate The anniversary of the first appearance of American comic character Garfield the Cat on 19 June 1978. Garfield was created by Jim Davis and chronicles the life of the title character, Garfield, the cat; Jon Arbuckle, the human; and Odie, the dog. As of 2013, it was syndicated in roughly 2,580 newspapers and journals, and held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip.

Though this is rarely mentioned in print, Garfield is set in Muncie, Indiana, the home of Jim Davis, according to the television special Happy Birthday, Garfield. Common themes in the strip include Garfield’s laziness, obsessive eating, coffee, and disdain of Mondays and diets. The strip’s focus is mostly on the interactions among Garfield, Jon, and Odie, but other recurring minor characters appear as well. Originally created with the intentions to “come up with a good, marketable character”, Garfield has spawned merchandise earning $750 million to $1 billion annually. In addition to the various merchandise and commercial tie-ins, the strip has spawned several animated television specials, two animated television series, two theatrical feature-length live-action/CGI animated films, and three fully CGI animated direct-to-video movies. Part of the strip’s broad pop cultural appeal is due to its lack of social or political commentary; though this was Davis’s original intention, he also admitted that his “grasp of politics isn’t strong,” joking that, for many years, he thought “OPEC was a denture adhesive”.

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M. C. Escher

Best known for his mathematically-inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints many of which features mathematical objects and operations including impossible objects, explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry, perspective, truncated and stellated polyhedra, hyperbolic geometry, and tessellations, the Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher was born on 17 June 1898 in Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands. In 1903, the family moved to Arnhem, where he attended primary and secondary school until 1918. Known to his friends and family as “Mauk”, he was a sickly child and was placed in a special school at the age of seven; he failed the second grade. He excelled at drawing,and He took carpentry and piano lessons until he was thirteen years old. In 1918, he went to the Technical College of Delft. From 1919 to 1922, Escher attended the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts, learning drawing and the art of making woodcuts. He briefly studied architecture, but switched to decorative arts, studying under the graphic artist Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita

Early in his career, he drew inspiration from nature, making studies of insects, landscapes, and plants such as lichens, all of which he used as details in his artworks. In 1922, Escher traveled through Italy, visiting Florence, San Gimignano, Volterra, Siena, and Ravello. He also visited Madrid, Toledo, and Granada in Spain and was impressed by the Italian countryside and, in Granada, by the Moorish architecture of the fourteenth-century Alhambra. The intricate decorative designs of the Alhambra, based on geometrical symmetries featuring interlocking repetitive patterns in the coloured tiles or sculpted into the walls and ceilings, triggered his interest in the mathematics of tessellation and became a powerful influence on his work. Escher returned to Italy and lived in Rome from 1923 to 1935. While in Italy, Escher met Jetta Umiker – a Swiss woman, like himself attracted to Italy – whom he married in 1924. The couple settled in Rome where their first son, Giorgio (George) Arnaldo Escher, named after his grandfather, was born. Escher and Jetta later had two more sons – Arthur and Jan.

He also visited Viterbo in 1926, the Abruzzi in 1927 and 1929, Corsica in 1928 and 1933, Calabria in 1930, the Amalfi coast in 1931 and 1934, and Gargano and Sicily in 1932 and 1935. The townscapes and landscapes of these places feature prominently in his artworks. In 1936, Escher travelled back to Spain, revisiting the Alhambra and spending days at a time making detailed drawings of its mosaic patterns and became fascinated with tessellation and The sketches he made in the Alhambra formed a major source for his work. He also studied the architecture of the Mezquita, the Moorish mosque of Cordoba. He also interacted with the mathematicians George Pólya, Roger Penrose, Harold Coxeter and crystallographer Friedrich Haag, and conducted his own research into tessellation.

After 1937, his artworks were created in his studio rather than on location. His art correspondingly changed sharply from being mainly observational, with a strong emphasis on the realistic details of things seen in nature and architecture, to being the product of his geometric analysis and his visual imagination.

By 1935, the fanatical political climate in Italy (under Mussolini caused the family to leave Italy and they moved to Château-d’Œx, Switzerland, where they remained for two years. In 1935 The Netherlands post office had Escher design a semi-postal stamp for the “Air Fund”, and in 1949 he designed Netherlands stamps. These were for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union; a different design was used by Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles for the same commemoration. Escher, had been inspired by the landscapes in Italy, but was decidedly unhappy in Switzerland. In 1937, the family moved again, to Uccle (Ukkel), a suburb of Brussels, Belgium. However World War II forced them to move in January 1941, this time to Baarn, Netherlands, where Escher lived until 1970. After 1953, Escher lectured widely and the illustrations and text for the lectures were later published as part of the book Escher on Escher. He was awarded the Knighthood of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 1955 and later made an Officer in 1967.

In July 1969 he finished his last work, a large woodcut with threefold rotational symmetry called Snakes, in which snakes wind through a pattern of linked rings. These shrink to infinity toward both the center and the edge of a circle. It was exceptionally elaborate, being printed using three blocks, each rotated three times about the center of the image and precisely aligned to avoid gaps and overlaps, for a total of nine print operations for each finished print. The image encapsulates Escher’s love of symmetry; of interlocking patterns; and, at the end of his life, of his approach to infinity. In 1970 Escher moved to the Rosa Spier Huis in Laren an artists’ retirement home in which he had his own studio. He died in a hospital in Hilversum on 27 March 1972, aged 73. He is buried at the New Cemetery in Baarn.

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German born Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens sadly passed away 30 May 1640 from heart failure, brought on by chronic gout. He was Born 28th June 1577 In Antwerp and received ahumanist education, studying Latin and classical literature. By fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the city’s leading painters Adam van Noort and Otto van een.Much of his earliest training involved copying earlier artists’ works, such aswoodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi’s engravings. Rubens completed his education in 1598, and entered the Guild of S. Luke as an independent master. In 1600, Rubens travelled to Italy, stopping in Venice, where he saw paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, before settling in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga. The coloring and compositions of Veronese and Tintoretto inspired Rubens and his later, mature style was profoundly influenced by Titian.

With financial support from the Duke, Rubens travelled to Rome by way of Florence in 1601. There, he studied classical Greek and Roman art and copied works of the Italian masters, the Hellenistic sculpture Laocoön and his Sons was especially influential on him, as was the art of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. He later made a copy of that artist’s Entombment of Christ, recommended that his patron, the Duke of Mantua, purchase The Death of the Virgin(Louvre), and was instrumental in the acquisition of The Madonna of the Rosary (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) for the Dominican church in Antwerp. During this first stay in Rome, Rubens completed his first altarpiece commission, St. Helena with the True Cross for the Roman church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.

Rubens travelled to Spain on a diplomatic mission in 1603, delivering gifts from the Gonzagas to the court of Philip III. While there, he studied the extensive collections of Raphael and Titian that had been collected by Philip II. He also painted an equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma during his stay (Prado, Madrid) that demonstrates the influence of works like Titian’s Charles V at Mühlberg (1548; Prado, Madrid). This journey marked the first of many during his career that combined art and diplomacy. He returned to Italy in 1604, where he remained for the next four years, first in Mantua and then in Genoa and Rome. In Genoa, Rubens painted numerous portraits, such as the Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), and the portrait of Maria di Antonio Serra Pallavicini, in a style that influenced later paintings by Anthony van Dyck, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. He also began a book illustrating the palaces in the city, which was published in 1622 as Palazzi di Genova. From 1606 to 1608, he was mostly in Rome.

Rubens returned to Antwerp in 1608 and His return coincided with a period of renewed prosperity in the city, he was appointed as court painter by Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, sovereigns of the Low Countries. In 1610, Rubens moved into a new house and studio that he designed. Now the Rubenshuis Museum, in the centre of Antwerp, it accommodated his workshop and made the most of his extensive collection of paintings, and his personal art collection and library,. During this time he created altarpieces such as The Raising of the Cross (1610) and The Descent from the Cross (1611–1614) for the Cathedral of Our Lady which were particularly important in establishing Rubens as Flanders’ leading painter . The Raising of the Cross also demonstrates the artist’s synthesis of Tintoretto’s Crucifixion for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, Michelangelo’s dynamic figures, and Rubens’s own personal style. The Spanish Habsburg rulers also entrusted Rubens with a number of diplomatic missions, Between 1627 and 1630, Rubens’s diplomatic career was particularly active, and he moved between the courts of Spain and England in an attempt to bring peace between the Spanish Netherlands and the United Provinces. He also made several trips to the northern Netherlands as both an artist and a diplomat. It was during this period that Rubens was twice knighted, first by Philip IV of Spain in 1624, and then by Charles I of England in 1630. He was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree fromCambridge University in 1629.

In 1621, the Queen Mother of France, Marie de’ Medici, commissioned Rubens to paint two large allegorical cycles celebrating her life and the life of her late husband, Henry IV, for theLuxembourg Palace in Paris. The Marie de’ Medici cycle (now in the Louvre) was installed in 1625, While Rubens’s international reputation with collectors and nobility abroad continued to grow during this decade, he and his workshop also continued to paint monumental paintings for local patrons in Antwerp. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1625–6) for the Cathedral of Antwerp is one prominent example. Rubens’s last decade was spent in and around Antwerp. Major works for foreign patrons still occupied him, such as the ceiling paintings for the Banqueting House at Inigo Jones’s Palace of Whitehall.

In 1630, the 53-year-old painter married 16-year-old Hélène Fourment who inspired the voluptuous figures in many of his paintings from the 1630s, including The Feast of Venus (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), The Three Graces and The Judgment of Paris (both Prado, Madrid). In the latter painting, which was made for the Spanish court, the artist’s young wife was recognized by viewers in the figure of Venus. In an intimate portrait of her, Hélène Fourment in a Fur Wrap, also known as Het Pelsken Rubens’s wife is even partially modelled after classical sculptures of the Venus Pudica, such as theMedici Venus. In 1635, Rubens bought an estate outside of Antwerp, the Steen, where he spent much of his time. Landscapes, such as his Château de Steen with Hunter (National Gallery, London) and Farmers Returning from the Fields (Pitti Gallery, Florence), reflect the more personal nature of many of his later works. He also drew upon the Netherlandish traditions of Pieter Bruegel the Elder for inspiration in later works like Flemish Kermis (c. 1630; Louvre, Paris).

His extravagant Baroque style emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality, and he was known for his Counter Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintingso mythological and allegorial sujects His studio in Antwerp produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England. Religion figured prominently in much of his work and became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting.

Peter Paul Rubens

Following his untimely demise Rubens was interred in Saint Jacob’s church, Antwerp. The artist had eight children, three with Isabella and five with Hélène; his youngest child was born eight months after his death. Rubens was a prolific artist. His commissioned works were mostly religious subjects, “history” paintings, which included mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw theephemeral decorations of the Joyous Entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635. His drawings are mostly extremely forceful but not detailed; he also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems. His fondness of painting full-figured women gave rise to the term ‘Rubenesque’ for plus-sized women. Rubens was a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci’s work. Using an engraving done 50 years after Leonardo started his project on the Battle of Anghiari, Rubens did a masterly drawing of the Battle which is now in the Louvre in Paris

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Thomas Gainsborough

English portrait and landscape painter Thomas Gainsborough was christened 14 May in 1727. in Sudbury, Suffolk, the youngest son of John Gainsborough, a weaver and maker of woollen goods, and his wife, the sister of the Reverend Humphry Burrough One of Gainsborough’s brothers, Humphrey, had a faculty for mechanics and was said to have invented the method of condensing steam in a separate vessel, which was of great service to James Watt; another brother, John, was known as Scheming Jack because of his passion for designing curiosities. The artist spent his childhood at what is now Gainsborough’s House, on Gainsborough Street (he later resided there, following the death of his father in 1749). The original building still survives and is now a dedicated House to his life and art. During childhood he impressed his father with his drawing and painting skills, and he almost certainly had painted heads and small landscapes by the time he was ten years old, including a miniature self-portrait.

In 1740, he left home to study art in London with Hubert Gravelot, Francis Hayman, and William Hogarth. He assisted Francis Hayman in the decoration of the supper boxes at Vauxhall Gardens, and contributed to the decoration of what is now the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children. In 1746, he married Margaret Burr, and the couple became the parents of two daughters. He moved to Bath in 1759 where fashionable society patronised him, he studied portraits by van Dyck and was eventually able to attract a fashionable clientele. In 1761, he began to send work to the Society of Arts exhibition in London (now the Royal Society of Arts, of which he was one of the earliest members); and from 1769 he submitted works to the Royal Academy’s annual exhibitions. He selected portraits of well-known or notorious clients in order to attract attention. The exhibitions helped him acquire a national reputation.

In 1769, he became a founding member of the Royal Academy, but his relationship with the organisation was thorny and he sometimes withdrew his work from exhibition. Gainsborough moved to London in 1774, and painted portraits of the King and Queen, but the King was obliged to name as royal painter Gainsborough’s rival Joshua Reynolds. In his last years, Gainsborough painted relatively simple landscapes and is credited (with Richard Wilson) as the originator of the 18th century British landscape school. In 1774, Gainsborough and his family moved to London to live in Schomberg House, Pall Mall. A commemorative blue plaque was put on the house in 1951. In 1777, he again began to exhibit his paintings at the Royal Academy, including portraits of contemporary celebrities, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland. Exhibitions of his work continued for the next six years. Gainsborough began experimenting with printmaking using the then-novel techniques of aquatint and soft-ground etching.

During the 1770s and 1780s Gainsborough developed a type of portrait in which he integrated the sitter into the landscape. A splendid example of this is his portrait of Frances Browne, Mrs John Douglas (1746-1811) which can be seen at Waddesdon Manor. The sitter has withdrawn to a secluded and overgrown corner of a garden to read a letter, her pose recalling the traditional representation of Melancholy. Gainsborough emphasised the relationship between Mrs Douglas and her environment by painting the clouds behind her and the drapery billowing across her lap with similar silvery mauves and fluid brushstrokes. This portrait was included in his first private exhibition at Schomberg House in 1784. Gainsborough sadly passed away from the effects of cancer in 1788 and is interred at St. Anne’s Church, Kew, Surrey. However he has left the world with some wonderful paintings most of which are characterised by a light palette and easy strokes. He preferred landscapes to portraits. There have also been many films based on his life and Cecil Kellaway portrayed him in the 1945 film Kitty.

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Edouard Manet

Prolific French painter Édouard Manet Sadly died 30 April 1883 in Paris After contracting gangrene, Rheumatism, syphilis and Locomotor Ataxia. He was born 23 January 1832 at his ancestral hôtel particulier (mansion) on the rue Bonaparte. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law. However His uncle, Edmond Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1841 he enrolled at secondary school, the Collège Rollin and in 1845, he enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts and subsequent lifelong friend. in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro, but twice failed the examination to join the Navy. Instead From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet copied the old masters in the Louvre and From 1853 to 1856, visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, and was influenced by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya.

In 1856, Manet opened a studio Where he painted The Absinthe Drinker (1858–59), beggars, singers, Gypsies, people in cafés, and bullfights. He rarely painted religious, mythological, or historical subjects; apart from Christ Mocked, now in the Art Institute of Chicago, and Christ with Angels, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Manet had a portrait of his Mother and Father and The Spanish Singer, displayed at the Salon in 1861. In 1862 he painted Music in the Tuileries (See below), and in 1863 he painted The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe) which was exhibited at Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) and also painted Olympia, both of which caused great controversy. In 1868 he painted Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets and also became friends with impressionists Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, Morisot also became his sister-in-law when she married his brother, Eugene in 1874. Unfortunately Manet was excluded from the International Exhibition of 1867 at the Paris Salon, so he set up his own exhibition.

In 1879 he painted a self portrait and became influenced by the Impressionists, especially Monet and Morisot and also painted two portraits of the composer Emanuel Chabrier. Among Manet’s fans were Émile Zola, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Charles Baudelaire. In 1878 he painted The Cafe Concert, which was set in the Cabaret de Reichshoffen on the Boulevard Rochechouart, and went on to paint many other cafe scenes depicting the Bohemian social life in 19th-century Paris in which people were depicted drinking beer, listening to music, flirting, reading, or waiting. Manet also visited Pere Lathuilles a restaurant on the Avenue de Clichy and painted Chez le père Lathuille (At Pere Lathuille’s). In 1873 he painted Le Bon Bock and in 1864 he painted The Races at Longchamps and Masked Ball at the Opera and his 1868 painting The Luncheon was painted in Manet’s Dining Room.

Manet also painted War subjects including View of the International Exhibition, and the Battle of the Kearsarge and Alabama (1864), the Battle of Cherbourg (1864) and The Barricade. The French intervention in Mexico also interested him and he Painted The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, 1867, an action which raised concerns regarding French foreign and domestic policy and is currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In January 1871, Manet traveled to Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Pyrenees and his friends added his name to the “Fédération des artistes” of the Paris Commune. In 1973 He painted The Railway, widely known as The Gare Saint-Lazare, and In 1874 painted several boating subjects which are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, His last major work, was A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère), and In 1875, he provided Lithographs for a book-length French edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. Then in 1881,the French government awarded Manet the Légion d’honneur.Sadly Manet contracted syphilis in his forties, for which he received no treatment. He also suffered from rheumatism and developed locomotor ataxia, a known side-effect of syphilis, which caused him considerable pain. Then In April 1883, his left foot was amputated, sadly though the wound became infected causing his death eleven days later on 30 April 1883 in Paris, he is buried in the Passy Cemetery in the city.

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Jamie Hewlett

English comic book artist, designer, and director Jamie Hewlett was born 3 April 1968. He is best known for being the co-creator of the comic Tank Girl and the virtual band Gorillaz. He was Brought up in Horsham, West Sussex, and was a pupil at Tanbridge House School. He contributed to the art work of a road safety campaign that ended up runner-up in a national television competition. He then attended Northbrook College, Worthing. Where alongside Alan Martin and fellow student Philip Bond he created a fanzine called Atomtan. This brought him to the attention of Brett Ewins. After leaving college Hewlett and Martin were invited by Ewins to create material for a new magazine he was setting up with Steve Dillon in 1988.

The magazine was called Deadline and featured a mixture of comic strips produced by British creators, and articles on music and culture. Martin and Hewlett created Tank Girl, an anarchic strip about a teenage punk girl who drove a tank and had a mutant kangaroo for a boyfriend. The strip proved instantly popular and quickly became the most talked about part of Deadline. Hewlett’s eccentric style proved popular and he started to work with bands such as Senseless Things and Cud providing covers for record releases; he also contributed artwork sporadically to Commodore User magazine. He also designed decor for a nightclub called The Factory in Chatsworth Road, Worthing, this features red and green stripes, a wall of blown-up panels from Tank Girl set against 1970s wallpaper, a Ford Escort hung from the ceiling and toilets pasted with pages from old comic book annuals. The Factory has since been refurbished and renamed several times.

By 1992, Hewlett had become a major creator in the comics industry, and one of the few to break into mainstream media. He had worked with writer Peter Milligan on Hewligan’s Haircut in 2000 AD issues 700 to 707. He provided covers and art for Shade, the Changing Man, also written by Milligan for DC Comics. Tank Girl was made into a film in 1995 by MGM featuring Lori Petty as Tank Girl. He also drew a Tank Girl mini-series for the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics written by Peter Milligan.

He also opened a secondhand clothing store, 49. The shop, at 49 Rowlands Road, Worthing, was managed by girlfriend Jane Oliver, originally a member of Elastica, Hewlett is also involved with British bands and illustrated a comic strip version of Pulp’s song “Common People”. Deadline was eventually cancelled in 1996 due to falling sales in a changed market and Hewlett concentrated on working in advertising and designs for television, most notably the children’s series SMTV Live, featuring Ant & Dec. He also created the strip ‘Get The Freebies’ published monthly in British fashion magazine The Face. The stories, followed the exploits of Terry Phoo, a gay, Buddhist kung-fu law enforcement officer and his sidekick Whitey Action, an enigmatic young anarchist with a bad attitude, as they tackle their primary adversaries The Freebies Gang of the title.

Musician Damon Albarn and comic book artist Jamie Hewlett met in 1990 when guitarist Graham Coxon, a fan of Hewlett’s work, asked him to interview Blur, a band Albarn and Coxon had recently formed. The interview was published in Deadline magazine, home of Hewlett’s comic strip, Tank Girl. Albarn and Hewlett started sharing a flat on Westbourne Grove in London in 1997. Hewlett had recently broken up with Olliver and Albarn was at the end of his highly publicised relationship with Justine Frischmann of Elastica.

The idea to create Gorillaz came about when Albarn and Hewlett were watching MTV. Hewlett said, “If you watch MTV for too long, it’s a bit like hell – there’s nothing of substance there. So we got this idea for a cartoon band, something that would be a comment on that.” The band originally identified themselves as “Gorilla” and the first song they recorded was “Ghost Train” which was later released as a B-side on their single “Rock the House” and the B-side compilation G Sides. The musicians behind Gorillaz’ first incarnation included Albarn, Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala, who had previously worked together on the track “Time Keeps on Slipping” for Deltron 3030’s eponymous debut album. Although not released under the Gorillaz name, Albarn has said that ‘one of the first ever Gorillaz tunes’ was Blur’s 1997 single “On Your Own”, which was released for their self-titled studio album Blur. Albarn worked on the music, while Hewlett came up with character designs, and both came up with ideas for the members of the band.

The first Gorillaz EP was released in 2000 followed by the first album, Gorillaz in 2001. In 2005, their second full studio album, Demon Days was released. In January 2006, Hewlett’s artwork for Gorillaz was shortlisted for the Design Museum’s ‘Designer of the Year’ award. In May 2006, Jamie Hewlett was named the Designer of the Year 2006. On 25 May 2006, both Hewlett and Albarn won the joint award for “Songwriters of the Year” at the Ivor Novello Awards. In 2007, Hewlett and Albarn premiered their first major work since Gorillaz. Entitled Monkey: Journey to the West, a re-working of the ancient Chinese legend Journey to the West. Albarn wrote the score whilst Hewlett designed the set, animations and costumes. Written and adapted by Chen Shi-zheng, the show featured 45 Chinese circus acrobats, Shaolin monks and Chinese vocalists. The ‘Get the Freebies’ strip was also adapted by BBC Three for a pilot entitled Phoo Action, broadcast in February 2008. Hewlett and Albarn also created the animation sequence the BBC used to introduce coverage of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The sequence titled Journey to the East uses the Monkey character from Monkey: Journey to the West.

In 2011 Hewlett married French presenter and actress Emma de Caunes at St Paul de Vence and a new Tank Girl book 21st Century Tank Girl was released, featuring co-creators Hewlett, and Martin as well as other artists including Brett Parson, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Philip Bond, Jim Mahfood, Craig Knowles, and Jonathan Edwards. In 2015, Hewlett debuted his first art exhibition called ‘The Suggestionists’ at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The exhibition then made its American debut at the Woodward Gallery in Manhattan in May 2016.

The Gorillaz latest album Humanz, was released in 2017 Featuring the songs “Saturnz Barz”, with vocals from Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan, “Andromeda”, featuring American rapper D.R.A.M, “Ascension” (featuring American rapper Vince Staples) and “We’ve Got the Power” (featuring Jehnny Beth of the English rock band Savages and Noel Gallagher of Oasis).