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Court of the Dead

Jan 1, 2018

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Jon Burgerman 2017 Year End Update and Wrap Up

Jon Burgerman just emailed a year-end update and it's fairly epic and worth republishing.

Follow Jon here, buy his stickers here, and buy his book here.

Hello and happy holidays!
how are you? Did you have a nice holiday time? I hope you did. I didn't really get up to too much here in New York. I nurtured a seasonal cold for a week or two, taking care to bathe it in hot whiskey from time to time. I think it's just about left me now, ready to find a willing new host to incubate it's grotty germs.

Normally I'd avoid New Years Eve in a similar way to how I'd avoid going to the dentist or visiting my relatives but this year I'm hosting a party at the swanky Roxy Hotel in the city. I'm not really hosting of course, I just made some cardboard props for the photobooth but that's enough to get my name featured on the flyer and a free overnight stay. Though trudging around the icy streets and stinky subways with a huge grinning rainbow, lobster telephone, 2d champagne bottle and jubilant pizza slice more than qualifies for a little end of the year pampering I think.

I'll be honest, I'm most excited about the complimentary brunch in the morning. I hope there's one of those bespoke omelette stations you sometimes see in hotels where you get to tailor your own omelette order to the on hand chef. I'll go for spinach, mushrooms and cheese I think. This being America there will probably be 'home fries' which I've learnt are actually sad little lost roast potatoes. I'd imagine they're potatoes who have been partying since dinner the night before and who've stumbled back to the hotel kitchen too late and have accidentally wound up on the breakfast service. We don't belong at breakfast, they're probably thinking, we're roast potatoes! Too bad guys, you're fried and home now... we'll call you 'home fries'!

Anyway, 2017, what a year eh?
There were several times I didn't think the world would make it to the end of December so in one way we've all been spared / achieved something miraculous. I'm a bit concerned about 2018, I mean, it's just another day right? Just another Sunday turning into another Monday but perhaps the calendar change will enforce a sense of purpose to improve on the last 12 months, that might last until February. Either way I suppose we all need to keep on being vigilant to the more obnoxious political deviants out there. And be positive. A good mental attitude goes a long way (I'm increasingly reminded)!

So what did I do in 2017? Scroll down and relieve a few of my highlights below...
The short version of this is probably scroll through my Instagram and see what I've posted.

I started the year in February 2017 (there's no rush when you have a full 12 months ahead of you) by doing a little mural in New York. I've forgotten how many murals I've made for Xian's, they're dotted all over Manhattan (and one in Brooklyn). It's nice that unlike street murals, no-one buffs over them and I get delicious noodles as part of the payment.

I then had some work installed in the new Children's Hospital in Sheffield. The idea was to distract the poor kids undergoing operations with goofy, colourful characters. I can't think of anything much sadder than children having to spend prolonged periods in hospitals, so it was a pleasure to be able to help out in a small way.
I also donated work to Refuge to help with the domestic violence charity.

My debut picture book Splat! was released in March and I did a tiny tour of the UK to promote it. I've failed to add any of the images from that tour to my website but here's a series of Splat! inspired art activities I wrote for the Design Museum. You and or your kids might enjoy doing them together!

Whilst in the UK I gave a talk about my social media work for It's Nice That. The talk has proved quite popular and you can watch it for free here. If I give a similar talk again in the future please pretend you've not seen this one and still laugh in all the right places.
I'm still not too sure if I should be trying to do more public talks and lectures. I really enjoy doing them but they take a lot of time to prepare and rehearse. I guess I like being invited to festivals at least because it makes me feel a little bit important.

Around the same time I completed a commission for Apple which you can see in all their fancy big stores. It was really easy to do and I think people would be surprised, thinking that working for such a large company would be a big pain in the bottom. Actually it was the opposite (not literally, no-one at Apple touched me in a would-be appreciated but inappropriate way). They just let me do my thing (drawing colourful doodles) and didn't micro manage. Later in May I appeared in an Apple advert for a couple of seconds. This was even easier than doing the digital mural, as I just stood around flapping my arms for 30 mins or so. Oh and the food table they had set out for the film crew really great and kept me full for the day.

OK this is getting a little tedious to write (and no-doubt read) so speeding things up...
customised a chair for Natuzzi and did a mural for them at a party in SoHo. Live painting is fun!

The New York Times invited me to do a Facebook live doodling for them. You can watch it here, it's had over 245k views and The New York Times featured it in their best illustration things of 2017.

Unrelated to that but I suppose sort of connected, theNew York Times also wrote a super nice article about me and my practice. This connects to the talk I gave in the UK earlier in the year (linked up there) and my books..

Books - This year I had 4 books published. Four! Almost all at the same time, which i think was a bit of a marketing faux pas.

The book are -
Jon Burgerman's Daily Doodle
It's Great To Create
Rhyme Crime (which will come out in the US in the Spring)

Anyway they are ALL excellent books. They really are. Sometimes I do make crappy things and hope no-one will notice but with these guys I actually think they're good. Please check them out if you like to be entertained in some way.
If you do like the books please tell a friend! Then refused to speak to them until they get a copy for themselves. It's the only way I'll have a writing career, so, erm...please and thanks in advance!

You might be thinking 'Jon, who the hell are you and what is this email?' and you'dl be right to ask that. Why not watch this cool video documentary film maker Bas Berkhout made about my family history.

In September I went back to Europe for some work related things. I can't really remember what exactly but one important thing I did, and something that was difficult but super rewarding was a workshop at the West London school primary school affected by the Grenfell tower fire tragedy. See what we made together here.

In October I made my own conference in New York and invited some brilliant people to speak at it. It seems like, (with a bunch of help from ustwo), that making your own conference isn't that difficult. The ticket prices were super low and everyone got free drinks and pizza and art supplies!
I'd love to tour this event, maybe internationally, so if you are a big important company please get in touch to sponsor us and fly us all over to you!

Then I went to Minneapolis. I took a tour of Prince's Paisley Park, which was both amazing and cool and sad and weird. I wasn't allowed to take photos but I did meet his doves (!) Highly recommended. I also spoke at the AIGA Eye on Design conference and they filmed it and put it online here. During the rest of the conference I customised people's bags. And so hence forth I now refuse to draw people's pets (all anyone wanted me to draw was their pets). I have nothing against pets but I don't want to draw them anymore. I can't explain why, it just feels like something I don't want to do anymore, unless the pet is with the person in front of me.

November... I know something must of happened in November but what...?! I finally gave in and signed up to Spotify - find me on there and let's be music buddies; JonburgermanUS

And December... well my year ends in November, ten or so months is quite enough, thank you.

So there you go - has anyone read all the way to the bottom? Anyone? Send me a message if you have, I'd be super impressed / surprised / suspicious.

And what does 2018 hold for me?! I have no idea but I'd guess, if I'm lucky, maybe an omelette and some lukewarm home fries.

See you in the future - Happy New Year!



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