Tag Archives: Passion

Snublic: A Portrait of an Artist, as a Young Man.

15 Nov

Colin David McAllister, is young Artist living in Colchester, England.  As a trained cartoonist and an illustrator, McAllisters Art work is an impressive feat to look at; along with its great intricate details,  he also gives his viewers a great deal to think about – as his work speaks loudly about the world we live in. PhotoGiraffe Live Arts correspondent Najma Hush, caught up with McAllister in his home in Colchester to find out more about the work he calls  ‘Snublic Drawings’.  She was amazed and fascinated by what she learnt, as he really opened up and honestly told her about his artistic pain, strife for truth and  the implementation of his own unique philosophy.

Night Owl: (Copyright Snublic Drawings) A self portrait of an artist, made marginally smaller than life in the contents of his bedroom, at the time of drawing

What does being an Artist and creating Art mean to you?

“It’s my Passion (from the Ancient Greek verb πάσχω (paskho) meaning to suffer) as I suffer, particularly back pain for the love of my art – but I still love it. Though I studied animation and computer science, drawing has always been a part of me, I have always liked to draw what I see and doodle what I think and sketch out rough concepts and storyboards but after deciding not to pursue a career in the rat race that is ‘Animation’, I started to focus more on drawing as a possible career.”

What do you mean when you talk about pain? How does your Art make you suffer?

“I never work at a table, strange habit of mine, partly born out of a lack of available space wherever I live to work at a proper table, also before I started using Indian ink I used to draw mostly on the move, friends sofas, park benches, cafe’s, trains and get lots of nice feedback from passersby.”

“Though I’m kind of house bound now I still always draw off my lap or over a knee, as the Nightowl picture portrays. I tend to work on one area of a drawing at a time very close up and make up whatever fits and inch my way across the page till it’s done, to the complete detriment of my spine. I also lose all sense of time and sometimes miss meal times as I’m caught up in the creation, it’s a kind of “sustained intensity” to quote Miles Davis that allows me to work without sleep, food or stretching my muscles for ages, until I come back to reality and realise I do need those things, so that’s the suffering for art.”

So, what are you working on at the moment?

Ancient Barrack (Copyright Snublic Drawings).

I am a cartoonist and illustrator and have been since I could hold a pencil, but my Artistic pseudonym (or trademark) as recognized today is ‘Snublic Drawings’ .  It began in 2006 and I’ve been busy with that professionally for about five years.  At the moment I am working on some illustrations of my home town, inspired by Rembrandt, Alessandro Magnasco with my light and shade tutor and friend Richard Gilbert. I am also reworking old masters paintings with a view to putting my own spin or angle on the subject, inspired by my cartoonist collaborator Daniel McCallum and various cartoons of a satirical, geo political nature, inspired by the likes of Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky and William Hogarth with his ‘modern moral subjects’. And my website http://www.snublic.com is awaiting renovation, restoration and updating, whilst I catch up with the work load as is.”

 “My day job is as a support worker and custodian of an art gallery in Colchester, I work for an Art Cafe charity set up to help adults with learning disabilities and I help out in the art department. I do all the promotion, run the art gallery and as of this summer tend the local allotment with the guys to harvest fresh veg for our kitchen. It’s one of the most laid back day jobs imaginable and the people we help, most innocently bereft of the concept of sarcasm are the sweetest I ever expect to meet, so that’s not too bad, but it still eats into my drawing time, which in turn eats into my leisure time, which is pretty none existent as most people would consider it.”  

(Check out the link below to follow the progress of the Level Best Art Cafe’s gallery shows in Colchester  http://levelbestartcafe.blogspot.com/)

Tell me more about your Tutor?  Who is he and what does he do?

“My tutors name is Richard Anthony Gilbert and he signs his pictures RAG. He is 40 years my senior though we’re very close friends who met at a life drawing class in 2006, I was blown away by the way Richard deflty sketched out the model with pencil or charcoal and only did what was needed to get a complete feeling for her personality and made you forget you were looking at a an abstract collection of lines, light and shade. Mr Gilbert’s back story is as a commercial artist on fleet street in the mid 60’s drawing and designing book covers and he managed to do one for his favourite childhood book, The Time Machine, by H.G Wells which are still doing the rounds on Amazon.”

Portrait of Richard (Copyright Snublic Drawings).

What is Gilbert teaching you that you didn’t already learn at University and why is it so important?

“The main point he made to me after my request for supervision was that my light and shade skills were none existent and academically I was fucked without it! Not sure if you’d like to substitute that word for something else but it was one of the points I immediately liked about him after he’d said it. So we arranged arbitrarily to meet every Thursday and spend a few hours going over the basics of light and shade that I’d missed not taking art seriously at school.”

How does he teach you?

“Every week he sets up a still life scene for us and we draw it for a number of hours, usually with a 6B pencil, his preferred tool. I’ve been visiting Richard for 4 years now and he has imparted wisdom upon me very subtly over this time, commenting on my efforts less and less as he likes what he sees and he put me onto the likes of Ruben’s and Rembrandt whom he calls ‘the master of light and shade’. ”

” I have now filled countless sketchbooks and am still learning, but have managed to achieve a level of light and shade sophistication in pencil to be proud of and make a point to draw something every day. More recently another close friend of mine has joined the drawing classes and both myself and Richard are able to tutor him whilst we drink rum, smoke pipes and roll ups and rant about the news on radio 5 live or listen to Elvis and Bob Dylan on vinyl. My hope has been that I will be able to marry up my detailed drawing style with my new found respect and appreciation for light and shade to change my style for the better, I’ve yet to consider including colour to the mix but I’m told it’s something he might be willing to move onto soon, so I’ll wait and see.”

  • Tower of Babel (Copyright Snublic Drawing).

What is your work really about and how do you think you are benefiting others by sharing it?

“Our society rewards stupidity and robbery on a grand scale whilst hiding basic truths about why people sacrifice their lives. Our society is based upon debt and endless consumption and the majority of people are unskilled compared to previous generations, we celebrate a very narrow mainstream and willingly give away our civil liberties, we attack people who offer a different point of view or simply try and point these facts out. I have developed an appreciation for the macro picture of the global scene and feel our society compared to many others has a fair bit to answer for. I try and represent the oppressed stories and people of the world with my drawing and hope I can educate people who otherwise will not have considered or heard of some of the points I allude to.”

RECESSION (Copyright Snublic Drawings).


Why does your work have so much angst?

“ “Angst is often confused with anxiety; it’s a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. Without the important element of hope, then the emotion is anxiety, not angst. Angst denotes the constant struggle one has with the burdens of life that weighs on the dispossessed and not knowing when the salvation will appear.” ~ A bit of Nietzsche there for you…”

” But going back to my own work, I always draw my pictures in pencil first to get it grounded then go over it in pen or Indian ink and I work on one bit of the drawing at a time not knowing how the finished composition will completely look. When I begin a project I spend a week or so researching it and finding photo references to work from, then generally spend a month drawing every day as much as I can stand till it’s done. I certainly don’t draw things simply because they look cool, it has to have something to do with something and hopefully in keeping with my developing philosophy, but generally because I do not feel I have the right to coerce any individual opinion I let the drawing do the talking – but as Bob Dylan points out in his auto biography, which I am currently reading, ‘everyone’s going through their own battles’ and this is mine.”

House Of Commons One (Copyright Snublic Drawing).

So there you have it folks, remember where you heard it first!  PhotoGiraffe Live Art would kindly like to thank Colin David McAllister for his time.  And, to all you readers, we strongly recommend you to keep a look out for more of McAllister’s Art.   Buy it now whilst it’s still relatively cheap because – guaranteed – you will be hearing much more about it through critical acclaim, in the near future.  But before you do anything else, why not check out more of Colin’s Art work on this site in the gallery and also by following the links bellow? I’m sure if you do, you will be delighted!

A PGLA recommendation:





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