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The Comedy of Errors

Art Works: Rikki Marr

25 September 13

"It has a mix of sarcasm, silliness and seriousness. I think people recognise that as an element of the Nottingham identity"

The LeftLion pieces that stand out in my mind are the ‘Proper Notts’ Tea Towel I did with Al Needham, which started as a centrespread but then soon became a much sought after product. We did two runs of a hundred and they both sold out within weeks.

I like them for a number of reasons. It opened the doors to merchandise, which I hadn’t really played with before; it was kitsch but cool - who in their right mind would design a tea towel?! and it was made up of loads of home truths about Nottingham that lots of people ‘in the know’ could instantly get and would make them smile. It also had a certain universal quality; grandmas liked it, and so did the scallies, you could buy one for your parents or your mates. A lot of Nottingham ex-pats bought them, the thought that it is hanging in pride of place in kitchens around the world is nice.

Other favorites would be some of the illustrations where I’ve managed to squeeze in secret bits or images of people about town. Putting my (now) wife onto the cover of the Christmas issue was a lot of fun. The editor getting naughty with Su Pollard appears in the SkegNotts cover. And I’ve dropped a few standard issue willys in here and there. People sometimes ask if a cartoon was supposed to be them, but surprisingly no one has ever picked the right images that are true portraits.

I did an entire series of portraits of people that I’d seen in bars under the Nottingham Zoo banner. It’s something I still do while I’m on my travels. I’ve got tons of black books full of observational cartoons of strangers in my private collection.

The other obvious one that seems to have become a bit of a classic is the Brian Clough as Lord Byron cover, Byron Clough, originally commissioned for the Cross Keys pub. I had to push myself on that one as it was a style departure in many ways. Again, it a mix of sarcasm, mixed with silliness and seriousness. I think people recognise that as an element of the Nottingham identity and sense of humor even if they can’t quite put their finger on why. It’s a great big statement, made in a tiny off the cuff manner.

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