Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Doing Amanda Palmer Down Under

The secret's out: I've been invited by Amanda Palmer to illustrate each of the songs on her soon-to-be-released album, Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under. She will reproduce them as a series of signed, small prints that she will offer for sale from her web site and they will be featured as projections at the album's launch and during an unusual Australia Day event, on 26th January, 2011, to be 'curated' by Amanda at the Sydney Opera House.
Known for her years of punk cabaret with The Dresden Dolls, Amanda calls the album a "sonic gift to her antipodean family". A collection of piano and ukulele songs written in, inspired by and recorded in Australia and New Zealand, the twelve tracks include songs such as Map of Tasmania (her first collaboration with a dance DJ, Hal Ritson of The Young Punx), a sorrowful lounge tune about her hatred of Australia's favorite breakfast spread, titled (you guessed it) Vegemite, and duets with Aussie locals The Jane Austen Argument and Mikelangelo.
The collaboration with Amanda is unusual for me, despite her description of us both as "fellow DIY indie-punk provocateurs". It's the first time I've considered illustrating anything, let alone an album of songs – and it will take only one listening of Map Of Tasmania to understand the fine line I've had to tread between art and excess to come up with my visual interpretations.
Amanda has given me permission to reproduce here one of my earliest sketches for Map Of Tasmania. The idea was originally discarded out of concern for her fiancé, the best-selling author, Neil Gaiman, whose hair inspired the impressionistic map of Australia hovering atop Amanda's own 'map of Tasmania'. Thankfully, Neil has encouraged us both to publish and be damned.