I have lived in large cities all my adult life (about 11 years now) but have recently moved back to the area where I grew up. Sandend , a small village in the North East of Scotland that sits right next to a few beaches, a harbour, hills, forests and it's having an unexpected influence on how I look at my creative endeavours, health and life in general.
In the past I have been quite a control freak over how I would approach a creative project. Now living by the coast of Scotland and being able to go for a walk on the beach, hills and being near the sea and trees it is starting to influence how i'm looking at things. A more organic approach to artwork and life seems to be appaering.
The change in my artwork and health are the things that are most noticeable, everything seems to be much more organic and free flowing, less attention to strict details in the artwork and more experimentation. I am really into adding the organic side of nature I now live by and see everyday into my artwork and life in general.
There is something so calming and healing about walking across a beautiful beach barefoot or climbing some hills, almost a meditative mental reset everyday that is becoming a massive influence on everything I do. Finding some crazy, old , aged, warped, beaten, scratched up driftwood with amazing visual character and adding this into my work has almost become like a collaboration with nature. Rather than painting on a primed white canvas (which I still do by the way) seems a little dull now, it has it's place in my work but it is no longer the standard way start to my painting projects. Finding a way to collaborate with what nature has created can lead to some interesting results that I could never reach with just my creation alone.
Herre is a pic of what I'm talking about, this is a quick improvisation tribal/psychedelic piece done recently by burning the found driftwood.
Here is where I tried to add the organic, primal style to a functional object,
I call it 'The Primal Board' it's a 38" Longboard (the name is inspired by Onnit's Primal bell range).
Artwork isn't the only thing that has taken a turn, my general health and fitness have changed. After suffering from some chronic injuries, most of my adult life has been limited to what my body would let me get away with on a day to day basis. Somedays I couldn't do anything, I had tons of different physiotherapists, chiropractors, doctors etc, I tried many different strengthening routines with either little or no relief. This is where the whole organic/primal/natural outlook started to help me heal these chronic problems. Looking into and trying some mobility/primal movements and workouts I started to realise that this was helping in a big way. Moving the way the body was designed to move was something that all professionals had overlooked, so yoga, general mobility drills and primal movement videos started to change my body, feeling looser, more flexible and stronger everyday and it cost me no money at all (just an internet connection). I mean its so simple, do natural human movements through full range of motion everyday, it's amazing how this can change your body.
As I got stronger I could add in some more resistance and up the work load but not going back to the standard gym based isolated "body building" workouts I had been advised to do, but keep to the primal/mobility/yoga side of things, large whole body movements that would help keep the body in balance. This is where being near the beach and hills comes in. Going for a walk across the beach then up and down hills is a great work out especially when you add in some creative touches such as some hill sprints, putting a rock in your backpack, picking up a driftwood log and carrying it or flipping it, climbing some small rocks (don't kill yourself by climbing sheer rock faces folks, just small manageable stuff). These things have helped me get stronger and fitter than I ever could have thought. Injuries are significantly improved to the point i'm looking at being 100% very soon and going to start some Jiu jitsu classes (something I have always wanted to do but never in my wildest dreams thought I could). The trick is I think is that after years of sitting in front of a computer living a less active lifestyle (like most of has do or have done at some point), eating junk food and maybe drinking a little too much booze, it takes it's toll on the body and you have to get back that lost range of motion, flexibility, strength and balance that we were all born with. So these functional movements and workouts helped completely change my life and If anyone is in the same or similar situation as I was I highly recommend looking into these things (I will add sites to visit at the end) and like I said it doesn't have to cost anything, I researched this stuff online (there are some great people giving out great content) and have managed to get the results the professionals couldn't, simply by not giving up, learning about my body, how it should work, the basic functional human movements we should all be able to accomplish and building from there. A great site to check out is: Kelly Starrett's mobilityWod http://www.mobilitywod.com/about/kellystarrett/ and his book 'How To Become A Supple Leopard' has been invaluable to me.
Here is a shot of me making the most of what's around me, your creative ideas are just as valid in health and fitness as they are in painting. You want fun functional strength and conditioning here you go.
Some log flips, I have various weights and sizes of driftwood logs, this is the long awkward one,
great for balance and stability and the best for climbing hills with or walking longer distances on your shoulder.
Put it on your shoulder and go for a walk, climb a hill or just do some squats.
Log flips up hill, this will get your conditioning up quick. All these movements are natural movements your body should be able to accomplish (obviously start with light weight and practice good form as you would any gym movement) and it gets you outside.
When I don't have much time I have these things in my back garden. Only the kettlebell and sledge hammer cost money (£30 combined) the rest I salvaged or asked local farms and factories if they had spare tires, sandbags etc. Maybe a little unconventional but all very useful for a light functional strength, and conditioning work out. Just so you know I am not opposed to gyms I just don't have a decent one near me with the equipment I like to use and I like to be outside if possible. To be honest you can do amazing functional bodyweight workouts with no items.
The last part of this (now very long rambling story) is diet. We are all taught that a low fat diet rich in things like wholegrain bread and pasta is the way to go. So through all my struggles with inflammation and injury I thought I was eating healthy, a diet rich in lean protein (chicken and turkey breast etc), wholgrain breads and pasta and low in fats. After a good year of research I have found that not to be the case (well atleast for me), I am not going to go into all the details as there are people out there like Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson and many others that have said it better than I ever could. After eating this 'healthy diet' for a decade I had really bad inflammation, I had constant brain fog, lack of focus, crazy ups and downs all day, prone to depression and literally no energy and would have to lie down a lot. After researching a more paleo lifestyle (I suggest looking into this if you really want to change your life) and the benefits of cutting out gluten products (I didn't even know about gluten up to this point) and having a higher intake of good fats such as coconut oil, grass fed butter (man I never would have eaten butter before , gotta stay lean and in shape you know) and better quality meats such as grass fed steak. I decided just to go for it, I mean I live in this beautiful area surrounded by farms where I can get great meat, eggs and fresh organic veg and I can tell you the change was dramatic and instant. I definitely noticed the difference with cutting gluten out, my body changed shape, even my face just leaned out in a week or so and the higher fats in the diet was amazing, for the first time in as long as I can remember I had crazy energy, I even felt stronger and I hadn't worked out that week, my concentration and focus increased, man if this was put in a pill everyone would be taking it. With this high fat, high veg, low sugar (no sugar), no gluten I was getting leaner, stronger, more muscular, more focused, more energetic, more confident and the overall inflammation in my body was decreasing rapidly so the first time in my adult life I could draw, paint and play guitar free from pain, man i'm not ashamed to say I felt like crying it was such a turnaround from that decade of torture.
Like I said earlier I am not the one to tell you all the ins and outs of this type of diet as I am still learning everyday and will be for a long time but guys like Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson have it down and have great content online for you if your'e interested. I can just tell you my experience and the way it has benefited me. I have now been experimenting with this diet for nearly a year and finding different recipes/combinations etc, one of my favourite things is putting butter and mct oil in your coffee, man the energy benefits are unreal. You get such a great focus and there is no crash from the coffee, it creates this slow release when blended with the butter and oil and it tastes delicious (add in some organic stevia and your'e ballin!) I first heard about this through Tait Fletcher (an ex MMA fighter turned actor and stuntman) on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, his enthusiasm had me intrigued and coming from an athlete I decided to give it a go and man am I glad I did. It is all about high quality single origin beans mixed with grass fed butter and MCT oil (which is a an extract from coconut oil) to give you this sustained energy and focus, it also works as a fasting tool, you can drink this in the morning and not have to eat until much later in the day with no hunger or cravings throughout your day. Tait has since joined forces with another MMA fighter and actor Keith Jardine to create Caveman Coffee. They at this time offer two different beans 'Black Diamond' and White Gold' and lets face it it's the coolest name for a coffee brand ever!
Its weird as it seems the better I eat, the more mobility and functional training I do, the more I get outside, the stronger I get, the fitter I get, the more focused and relaxed my mind gets, the more ideas I have, the more creative I am. It's an awesome cycle that I never would have thought would work but it does.
So I suppose thats it, I'm not sure why I wrote this but ultimately I thought it might help someone who stumbles across it who may have had similar issues to me and maybe needs a little steering in a new direction. I am not a writer so this may not read as smooth as I would like but hey I hope some of it might be helpful or even just an interesting read about my journey. I'm also so thankful that there are people out there willing to spread this valuable information that I stumbled upon in the first place, Thank you!
My coffee cup is empty and I need a refill
"Civilize the mind but make savage the body." - Chairman Mao
So I have been spending a lot of time doing artwork the past few months. Everything from large canvas's to small ink drawings on paper. I have recently fell in love with spray paint and airbrushing which has added a nice new dimension to my larger work, it just helps add a texture/feeling that previously I felt missing.
So with all this work I have now collected a lot of finished art and plan on setting them loose into the world very soon. I will be adding some new stuff to my online store and also could possibly be having an exhibition in the near future.
Check out the store here and below I have added a few images of some recent work, finished paintings all the way through to scribbles on paper. If you see anything you like and would like to purchase some original art get in touch through my email firstname.lastname@example.org
New custom painted longboard design (just shows half of it really) Calling this ‘The Primal Board’ as its full of tribal, cave painting styled stuff. Should be finished up soon, full shot very soon. All you skaters outthere wanting something cool to cruise around on keep an eye on this page. 38" custom painted longboard deck, No wheels or grip tape but might look for a nice lime green or black set of wheels to complete the look.
Another one of my book cover designs has went to print. Did this one about a year ago now and really cool to see it in print form. I now have a few books out in the shops now, if you see this one or Tideland in your local store pick them up for a good read and some decent artwork.