Watching the World
Extraordinarily intricate and detailed drawings representing contemporary political and social events, and scenes and landmarks around Colchester.
Exhibition open Thursday 17 August to Saturday 23 September 2017
Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
Working under the pseudonym ‘Snublic’, Colin McAllister produces incredibly detailed ink drawings that document the physical place he lives – Colchester – along with the social and political world we all inhabit.
The style of Colin’s work could be seen as illustration or cartoon, and with his observations on political, ecological, technological and social events, his approach could certainly be seen to be satirical. Responding to issues of the day, he absorbs the ever-increasing volume of information that is released by various media organisations and individuals through a range of outlets, and combines this with his own research and views to produce images that give an all-encompassing overview of an event as an overwhelming and complete world of its own.
The subject matter that he chooses to analyse and depict include the Gulf War, the smoking ban, celebrity and fast-food culture, the world-wide-web, globalization, the war on drugs, the recession, Gaza, the 2011 riots, surveillance, consumerism, fracking, the dark web, terrorist attacks, the great Pacific garbage patch, Brexit and Donald Trump. These issues are all ones that we read and hear about frequently, and that have the potential to affect our lives in major ways. By tackling the mountain of information that is available and synthesizing it into an image (albeit an image similarly laden with information), Colin provides a way to view the ‘bigger picture’ and perhaps be able to see the actuality of the situation as he tries to show an unbiased story that presents all sides and viewpoints. This does mean that because of the wealth of information it can take a long time to study a work and take it all in, but these are serious and complex issues that are worthy of study and attempts to understand them.
Colin takes different approaches to the layout of his drawings, depending on the subject matter. Ideas around Brexit are portrayed laid over an aerial view of the United Kingdom and the coast of Europe – physically locating the arguments and ideas, a device that is also used in Trumpland USA, and imagined geographies like Deep Dark Web. He often takes famous historical paintings or imagery as a starting point for his format, as in The Family of Donald Trump (2017) that compares him with Henry VIII in a famous painting by ‘unknown after Hans Holbein’ c1543 – 47, and Weed Straat from 2012 that is an update of William Hogarth’s 1751 painting/print Beer Street, displaying the merits of Amsterdam’s liberal laws on natural herbal drugs.
The contrast between these global subject matters and his detailed scenes of Colchester remind us that it is easy to live in the here and now; absorbing ourselves in the local whilst bigger issues swirl around us. We don’t see the effects of these issues immediately, but they encroach upon our lives, and over time change how we live and affect our freedoms and liberties.
About the artist
Snublic began in the lazy summer of 2006, when at the end of a Computer Animation Degree Colin David McAllister embarked on a series of drawings. Colin studied a diploma in Graphic Design and Digital Media at the Colchester Institute and went on to study Computer Animation at Portsmouth University. He works Monday to Friday at the Level Best Art Cafe on Culvert St East, a not for profit venture and subsidiary of the Dacontrust which helps adults with a learning difficulty in a work skills environment.
Snublic exhibits frequently and has been known to take commissions. He lives and works in Colchester, England and is affiliated with CO3 Studios, ENAS & Made in Colchester.
Indian ink on paper
Inspired by Adam Curtis’ Century of The Self about 20th century consumerism.