Our World, Personal, Rant, Work

An open letter to Tim Watts MP

Tim Watts MP is my local Federal Minister, here in Williamstown VIC, Australia.
I wanted to publicly post this letter which I have just sent through to him, and will also post any replies I receive on the matter.
I would also encourage anyone who has an interest in Human Rights and the Welfare of people in need to write to your local member of Parliament, voice your concern with the way that Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott have been treating these Human Beings; allowing people to essentially get away with murder; launching no investigation to the recent riots and death in custody of a Refugee, desperate to seek asylum in a country where he is not at risk of being shot, blown up or simply killed for his beliefs or his job.

Hello Tim
My name is Patrick, and I am a resident of Williamstown. My family has lived here since 1854, so I guess you could class me as a local now. (I also just won your photographic competition with my guess of the Timeball Tower!)

Last night, I attended a lecture being given by Colleen Hartland MP, with guest speaker Julian Burnside AO QC.
Julian was speaking on the plight of Asylum Seekers, and how our government (I am deliberately using a lowercase ‘G’ as I do not respect them or their views) are treating these innocent human beings.
He spoke of the fact that no laws are broken when they arrive, as it is a human right to seek asylum in times of desperation. Also mentioned was the disgusting laws that state that if they are unprocessed and have no visa, then they are to be locked up until either a refugee status is given, or they are deported.

Mr Watts, Julian Burnside speaks for many, many people in Australia on these disgusting and immoral acts brought forward and amplified by Scott Morrison and the Abbott government.

Another thing that Mr Burnside spoke about, and one which I wanted to raise to your attention, in the hopes that this could be raised somehow in Parliament, is his rational, effective CHEAPER method of treating these Human Beings, that will actually save the government $750,000,000.00 per year on average (and we all know how much Hockey likes to cut spending!)

I have linked to this information below, as well as pasted in the text behind the link for you.

Mr Watts, things need to change. These people are struggling to survive in a hell on earth. Offshore means they receive no visitors, no contact with the outside world, and no hope.

When Guantanamo Bay was operating, their lawyers were allowed to visit the inmates there, yet we heard last night that Julian Burnside himself has been blocked in the past by the President of Nauru from entering the country, even after receiving a visa from the government of the day. Legal representation is occasionally blocked, the UN have been blocked, religious groups have been blocked, Salvation Army have been blocked. What is Scott Morrison hiding?

Mr Watts, I did not intend to write such a long letter. My intention was to direct you to Julian Burnside’s idea, in the hopes that it could be implemented in some form. This idea solves many problems; from Immigration Detention costs, rural employment (See how it is working in Shepparton, Castlemaine and other regional hubs), and most importantly of all, Human decency.

A link to Mr Burnside’s “Rural Plan” is below for you to read and hopefully raise in parliament as a viable option to the current situation.


During the 2013 election campaign, both major parties engaged in a competition to outdo each other in their promises to mistreat boat people. The theory was that this would deter others from seeking protection here.

As it happens, the boats kept coming, even during the monsoon season in late 2013 and early 2014.

Promising to treat innocent people badly is not usually a vote-winner. In most cases it would be seen as a mark of depravity.

But in any event, the argument starts at the wrong place. It starts with the Coalition’s oft-repeated statement that boat people are “illegals”. It starts from the language of “border protection” and “queue-jumping”: language calculated to make the public think boat people are undesirables, people to be feared, people we need to be protected from.

The fact is that boat people do not break any law by coming here the way they do. Over the past 15 years, more than 90% of them have ultimately been assessed as refugees entitled to our protection. Their arrival rate in the 12 months to 30 June 2013 was much higher than the historic average, but even so it represented only four weeks’ ordinary population growth. While 25,000 boat people arrived in Australia in those 12 months, we received 200,000 new permanent migrants and 4 million visitors during the same time. Boat people do not present a demographic problem for Australia.

Spooked by tabloid scare-mongering, both major parties chose deterrent policies: treat them harshly; push them off to small, impoverished Pacific neighbours. The low point of this was the Coalition bringing in the military to deal with the “emergency”. This, and the language of “war”, was calculated to make the public at large feel that Australia is under attack, which is so ludicrous as to be an insult.

The spectacular cost of these measures passes without complaint because it is seen as a kind of protection. While it is difficult to separate out the various components of the cost, on current estimates, we are spending about $4 billion each year trying to evade our responsibilities under the Refugees Convention.

So, how better to deal with boat people?

First, it is essential for a political leader to show some actual leadership by explaining the facts: boat people are not “illegals”; they are practically certain to be refugees; we deliberately, consciously mistreat them for political purposes; it costs us a fortune to treat them this way.

I do not advocate an open borders policy. Initial detention for people who arrive without papers is reasonable. But it should be limited to one month, for preliminary health and security checks. After that, release them on interim visas with the following conditions:

they must stay in contact with the Department until their refugee status has been decided;
they are allowed to work or study;
they have access to Centrelink and Medicare benefits;
until their refugee status is determined, they must live in specified rural or regional towns. There are plenty of country towns which are slowly shrinking as people leave. The National Farmers Federation estimates that there are 96,000 unfilled jobs in country areas, the likelihood is that many asylum seekers would get jobs.
If this approach were adopted, and if every asylum seeker remained on benefits, it would cost about $30,000 per person per year, making a generous allowance for administrative overheads. Even assuming a continued arrival rate matching 2012-2013, the total cost would be about $750,000,000 per year. That is to be compared with the current cost of about $4,000,000,000 per year. More importantly, all that money would be spent in the local economy of country towns: on accommodation, food and clothing. there are plenty of country towns in Australia which would be enthusiastic to receive that sort of economic stimulus.

This new approach would save us more than three billion dollars a year. It would also avoid all the massive psychiatric harm which is caused by locking up innocent people indefinitely.

If an Australian government could be persuaded to adopt an approach like this, I would urge it to use part of the money saved to create benefits within the community. A billion dollars a year could be turned to creating more public housing for homeless Australians; another billion dollars a year could be applied to building schools or hospitals or other infrastructure projects, or used to reduce the deficit or reverse tertiary education funding cuts.

We would still save at least a billion dollars a year. That is one thousand million dollars: quite a lot considering how much hand-wringing went into the decision not to give SPC Ardmona $25 million to help it restructure.

There are many ways these ideas could be implemented. A few billion dollars a year can be used to damage asylum seekers profoundly, or it can be used for the benefit of the community in which asylum seekers live pending refugee status determination. But it won’t happen until someone shows enough leadership that we are behaving badly because we have been misled about the character of the people who wash up on our shores.


Art, Movies, Music, Rant, Work

More copyright infringements…?!

hi guys

yes its been a while since I have written in here, but that’s what happens when planning a wedding!

rather than give a huge spiel on the process of planning a wedding (that’s coming later, don’t worry!) I wanted to rant for a change about ‘copyright infringements’.
yet again I have been threatened with legal action over my own artwork, as it contains celebrities. How is it that if I draw something myself, with a pencil on paper, in my own house, that I can then be subject to criminal proceedings when it resembles a celebrity? (A dead celebrity, at that!)

Music is a major part in my life, and the people who have created it are my idols. Drawings done by fans should not be frowned upon! obviously if I was printing up hundreds of t-shirts and selling them for a huge profit, I would understand that; but I have placed them on redbubble, they have been there for well over a year, and I have sold perhaps 2 greeting cards of each picture.

A grand profit of about .39cents.

By all means, pass on your account details, and I will give you 50%!

below are the images that have now been removed. I for one do not think they are super-great, but hardly a threat to the Queen empire or the Morrison Hotel chain…

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These two drawings now raise my currently banned list of drawings to 5. Considering some of the blatant copyright infringements out there in the world, I hardly think fan-art is a major threat to these industries, in fact, it can act as an advertising tool in their favour. If I have a poster printed of my artwork hanging up in my house, and a group of friends come over and question it, I would tell them about the movie or band.

I actually had a friend a few weeks ago admit sheepishly that he had not seen Star Wars before… ever!

This fact came up when he saw a drawing of my artwork showing Chewbacca (see here for the post about THAT one being banned)
He asked about what Chewbacca was, I told him, he admitted never seeing the films, and after a bit of persuasion, he has now purchased the box set.

So, Lucas Films, I expect a cut for my advertising of your films to the uneducated. Inbox me for payment details, and we can call it even.


Art, Our World, Work

Graphic Design Through the Decades: The ’60s

I was recently browsing the internet for inspiration, and discovered this interesting collection of design from the 1960s. So much more inspiring than some of the design out there now… and remember, this was all done by traditional methods… no computers were harmed in the creation of this artwork!


Graphic Design Through the Decades: The ’60s.

via Graphic Design Through the Decades: The ’60s.

Art, Personal, Rant, Work

Legal Dramas…

So today I received an email from RedBubble, the site where I sell all of my drawings and photography. (See here for more information)

This email was to inform me that three of my sketches have been removed, as they breached copyright. I have been ordered by Lucasfilms Pty. Ltd. to remove the pieces, and cease selling them.
Do I take this as a compliment, or a slap in the face?

I choose to take it as a compliment.

That said, I will not stop sharing the pieces, in fact I will post them in this post further down to show you what the argument is all about.
Firstly, I sketched these drawings myself, with a pencil and paper. I used inspiration from the internet that is freely available to use, some were even on Lucasfilm’s own website. These were then printed, and I drew the final pieces from scratch over the course of a few days each. So is this work breaching their copyright licenses, or are the pieces deemed original?
I have never claimed that these pieces were official releases, in fact I went to say that “the drawings were inspired by the cult Star Wars trilogy”. They were all clearly labelled “Pencil Drawing / Illustration” and was obviously NOT an officially released image of the characters.

The email I received reads as follows:

Dear Patrick

We are contacting you in accordance with the Redbubble policy, as a result of us having received a complaint from Lucasfilm Ltd., specifically naming the following content:


As you will be aware from our policy, Redbubble requires a certain amount of information before it acts on such a complaint, including that:

–          the relevant content is specifically named;

–          the complaint come from the owner of the respective rights (or someone authorised to act on their behalf); and

–          they have a good faith belief that the use of the relevant content is not authorised by the owner, its agent or the law.

On the basis of that information and in accordance with our agreement and policy with you, we’ve removed the above mentioned content from Redbubble.

If you believe that removal of the above content is the result of a mistake (for example, that you have authorisation) or misidentification, you can send us a counter notice. Such counter notice must provide the following information –

1.       an electronic or physical signature of the person authorised to act on behalf of the owner of the relevant matter;

2.       a description of the content which we have removed, including the URL on which the content was located on the Redbubble site;

3.       your address, telephone number, and email address;

4.       a statement by you that you consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court, Santa Clara County, California, United States and that you will accept service of process from the person who provided notification described above or an agent of such person;

5.       a statement by you that, under penalty of perjury, you have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled;

You can send a counter notice to dmca@redbubble.com

A sample counter notice can be viewed at http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca/counter512.pdf

Before providing such notice, you should be aware that we are obliged to inform the complainant that you have provided that notice (and provide a copy of your counter-notice to them) and that their next step would be to take court action against you in the United States.
Now to me this seems a little unfair. If I wanted to contest it, or question it, I would apparently be taken to court in the US system, which we all know is all about huge payouts for the already rich. So what avenues can I take? Well, obviously none. I was considering reuploading the artwork as a private item, so only I could purchase them as greeting cards, but I need to look into the legalities of that also.

The images in question are shown here:

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what do you guys think? Are these drawings really that bad? Are they really causing LucasFilms to lose money, and perhaps go without food on their tables?

Art, Catherine, Family, Memories, Our World, Personal, Work

so much has been happening!!

Well, where to start?

It has definitely been a busy few months since I have updated on here…

Firstly, I have a full-time job, which could be a major contributor to the semi-recent lack of posts. I am now one of five Graphic Designers working for L’Oreal Australia. This involves many things from the advertisements, in-store signage and even the packaging. It has been a very steep learning curve for me; coming from a recent bout of drill-bits, power-tools and automotive industry work, learning the specifics of the largest cosmetics manufacturer in the industry has indeed been an eye-opening experience. I now know far too much about hair colouring and foundation shades to be deemed healthy for a heterosexual male.

That said, I am enjoying it, I am surrounded by an awesome design team that seems to click with each other (a very good thing!) and can have a joke with each other. I am learning a lot of invaluable skills and knowledge that I will take with me where ever events and life take me.

I have been spending a lot of time trying to re home my Grandmother. Nan’s nursing home has ‘changed directions’ and will no longer look after long-term patients from July 1st. I have been searching for a new place, inspecting a few of them, and chasing the inevitable paperwork that this sort of activity entails. It is not a pleasant thing to have to do, however it needs to be done.

I guess one thing to be thankful for, is that Nan’s dementia is so afflicting now, that she will not know what is going on behind the scenes, and therefore wont be stressing about the move, as she has done in the past. It is a small comfort to me, knowing that she will eventually end up in the place I have her on the list for, and potentially be able to attend an occasional Sunday church service.

I am engaged!

Last Tuesday I finally took the plunge and proposed to my gorgeous, wonderful girl.

I’ll tell you how it all went down.

I wanted to propose on our anniversary (the 16th), but when I got home from work, Cath was in bed and feeling ill. So no dinner, no proposal.
Then i was hoping to get her involved in an art project for her nephew, and slide the question in somehow… however, she chose to watch Twilight…
Sunday night I asked if she wanted to go out for dinner, to make up for the 16th… however Downtown Abbey was on, so no go!

Tuesday I texted her at work, asked “Would you like to go for a beach walk after work?” which is not an uncommon thing, considering that we are about 600 metres from the beach.
She replied with “if it’s not too cold or raining, then maybe”.
Got home, she started complaining about it being cold… I said ‘put on a bloody coat, let’s go for a walk!’
Once we got to the beach, we sat there on the wall for a bit, talking crap etc…

I then asked her “can i ask you something honestly?”
she said “ummm… ok?”
so i dropped to one knee and asked her if she would marry me.
she lost it, crying, emotions etc… after 5 minutes, i asked if i could either get an answer or get up, cos my knees are arthritic, and not good on cold concrete.
she said yes, and i asked “Well, did you want the ring i am holding?!”
she hadn’t even seen it, so lost it again, and finally said yes, and i put it on her finger…

Then began the crazy phone-calls and SMS’s to everyone close to us, followed by mutual Facebook status messages (so are the times we live in, folks!)

Although it has been slightly less than a week, we have already started with the planning; calling and visiting places for prices etc.
Be confident that there will be many more updates as details are finalised!

Apart from all of that, nothing else is really new.
My artworks are slowing down due to work, my writing has all but stopped (but I am still planning it all in my head, writing and rewriting plots for upcoming stories, songs, novels, children’s books etc)

I am hoping to write in here more often, now that I am becoming acclimatised to working life, and all of the other extra things that seem to come in my direction.
Please, if anyone wants to hear about something specific, or wants me to just do a general update, please leave a comment on here! 🙂

Boring, Feb Photo, Memories, Our World, Personal, Rant, Work

Feb Photo 26 – Night

Feb Photo 26 – Night

To some people, night-time is a time best experienced inside, rugged up in front of the heater or open fire, and definitely not to venture outside for photos. However, I see night-time as an amazing time to go and get photos, or simply to be outside and observing. Once night has fallen, it can be a completely different world out there. Lights, atmosphere, the lack of office workers. Amazing things happen after nightfall.

I see a few people out each evening, watching the sunset at the beach or from another good vantage point, only to leave as soon as the sun has gone below the horizon; night-time has almost set in, so they feel they need to be indoors. So many beautiful natural experiences are missed even in the first hour of the evening.

People go about their daily business, working for “the man”, and doing all of the things that people do during the day. Pay the bills, dress in a suit for work, crunching numbers, pushing papers, shopping, banking etc. At night, however, these things take a back seat, and people tend to let their hair down and relax a bit. People enjoy the evenings more, as its generally when they can see their loved ones, their friends and simply be themselves.

As some people enjoy simply being at home on the couch, staying warm, or in the case of Summer, eating ice-cream like a crazy ice-cream-eating person, others enjoy getting out, socialising, going to a bar, a restaurant, or even simply a walk with a friend.

To some, night-time is a cold, boring time, consisting of fog, cold toes and silence, to others it means lights, people, excitement, action and even glamour.

Some cities tend not to quiet down or even sleep until the small hours of the morning, only to start-up again a mere three hours later for the next days business. Melbourne only has a few hours of sleep in the CBD core, and even then, there are some restless corners that operate throughout the night, however NYC is renowned as “The City That Never Sleeps”. I can vouch for this, from my time there.

In New York, we could have a hot meal cooked in a restaurant at 1am, McDonald’s at 4am, One night I couldn’t sleep, I left the hotel on my own, walked to Times Square (only one block away) and bought a Slurpee at 7-11, and watched a live concert. at 3am. with other people all around me. I really liked that aspect of New York; the ability to do whatever, whenever, and not seem ‘weird’. If I wanted to walk the streets at 3am, I was not considered ‘strange’ or ‘threatening’, and not only that, the city would put on a concert for people just like myself.

This nightlife activity does not only exist in the human species, of course. There are many nocturnal animals that live most of their waking lives under the cover of night. Australia has its Possums, friendly to anyone bearing food, but will potentially eat your finger if you tease them… I prefer the insect world. 90% of the small critters in our neck of the woods are nocturnal. So much happens at night, and most people do not even realise it.

Recently, we had a Garden Orb-Weaving Spider (Eriophora biapicata) that set up home near our front door. It wasn’t hurting anyone, it’s web didn’t block the way, so I allowed it to stay there; observing and photographing it on a few separate occasions. During the day, she was usually found curled up, sleeping, but seeming almost dead. Nothing would move her from her little nook in the eaves of the house. At night, however, she would be hard at work, repairing the web from the day’s assault, caused by small insects, moths, mosquitos, and even the occasional bee. Every night, hard at work, working the night-shift of the arachnid world. This is when I would photograph her, getting incredibly close, as you can see in the photos. I was perhaps only 1-2cm from her, and yet she remained still, allowing me to photograph her underbody.

I tend to get more work done during the evening, and well into the night. My design work is often completed post-midnight, as are my sketches, paintings, writing, photography, web design and music recordings. It is the hour when there are no disturbances. My phone is usually silent, no one is knocking on my door to sell me cheap electricity, there is nothing on TV, and there is no outside disturbances from traffic, people, or even birds. The world sleeps, so a few people stand guard, and usually get things done.

Night time is my productive time.

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Art, Personal, Rant, Work

The Cost Of Design…

Recently, I have encountered a rather unpleasant trend, which unfortunately seems to be catching on.

You may remember an earlier post of mine, where I was talking about a client who refused to pay for works already completed ( Look here for a refresher )

Well, this seems to be an upcoming trend. I have faced 5 clients who I have designed for in the past 6 months, all have refused to pay. Various excuses have been used, including “I am not happy with the design”, “I can’t afford to pay you now”, “Stop demanding payment, it’s rude and unprofessional” (this was after 3 months of no payment, I simply asked twice in a month…) and even “Why should I pay? You enjoy doing art, so you shouldn’t expect money for doing it!”. These are my favourite excuses, out of a growing list of garbage.

I wish to address each of these excuses on their own, because, quite simply, they are ridiculous.

#1. “I am not happy with the design.”
At each stage of the design process with each client, I am always conscious of the fact that I might be going off in the wrong direction. To address this, I contact the client regularly, showing them Low-Res JPGs, a PDF, or some other form of “Where I am up to” with the opportunity to question, comment and direct me back on track, if I am indeed ‘going off the track’. I usually write a long, descriptive email to accompany these images, explaining what is happening, why they are the way they are etc (Sometimes they are simple pencil drawings, so a descriptive paragraph can help with colours, digital effects etc)
I usually ask in the emails that, if they are unhappy with the designs, or have any input or advice to add to the discussion, to please feel free to do so. My feelings don’t get hurt if I am told that ‘They are all crap!’ or similar.
In the end, you are paying for something, for a company that you know lots about. I am flying relatively blind, I don’t know much about your company except what you have told me. You understand the requirements of any designs done, I can only help with the artwork and the technical requirements.
For example; you own and run a legal firm, and need a new logo / identity. You know your target market (age group, type of clientelle, ethnicity, gender, income etc) and you also know what you want the artwork for (letterhead, envelopes, business cards etc). If I ask you these questions (and I always do!) and you answer them with simple answers like “oh, you know… all people, all ages, all incomes, blah blah blah” then I can only work with what I am told.
When I show you the concept sketches at each stage, don’t say “I love them all, keep going with them all”, it is not helpful. As a company, it is not feasible to operate with 5-10 different logos, so one needs to be chosen. The quicker you give direction at the beginning of the process, the less money is spent by yourself, as I can target one specific area. We can always revisit sketches from previous stages.
Simply nodding and agreeing all the way through the process will only deliver you something you are not 100% happy with and a huge invoice. Telling the designer at the final stage “I am not happy with it, now” is not constructive.
If this was used in a different setting, a house being built for example, you would still be expected to pay for the house, the labour and all costs incurred. Graphic Design works the same.

#2. “I can’t afford to pay you now”
I am sorry, but as a business owner / CEO, you need to know how to do some simple budgeting. You were aware that I have been designing on this project for the past 3 months, and I expect to be paid at the completion of it. Perhaps I cannot afford to get to work in the morning, as I haven’t been paid in 3 months? Perhaps I have costs to meet myself, like food, rent, bills and petrol. Not to mention art supplies.
This excuse is usually quickly followed by a mixture of several excuses, for example: “I can’t pay you, because I am not happy with the design. Stop demanding payment, it is rude”. See above.
As a designer, I often work as a casual, floating from job to job. I don’t get benefits like Health Plans, Company Car, Sick Leave, Holiday Pay, or any of these luxuries. I live from pay to pay, and if the pays are sporadic and far apart, it plays havoc on my bills and rent. Yet I have never been disconnected, evicted or blacklisted.
If I can manage to budget despite all of this, you can manage to pay me for works completed.

#3. “Stop demanding payment, it’s rude and unprofessional”
Oh I am sorry, how rude of me. To demand payment for work that I have completed for your company, often for you to make even more money on… what was I thinking.
I would have thought that not paying an employee and refusing to return their emails and calls, even hiding in the back room when the employee comes into the office, simply to avoid a confrontation was a little unprofessional?
Also, I usually start with a simple email of my invoice. Following this, I mail a copy to the office, in case the I.T. boffins have some how eaten the email… After about 2-4 weeks of not hearing anything, I call the office and ask to speak to accounts. Once these avenues have been addressed, I visit the office to speak directly with the person in charge, or to someone in accounts. After these steps have been exhausted, yes, I will probably start demanding payment. Who wouldn’t? Be glad I don’t sit outside you home as you sleep at night in a parked car… or perhaps I do?

#4. “Why should I pay? You enjoy doing art, so you shouldn’t expect money for doing it!”
Although true, I usually enjoy doing artwork, It is usually artwork for myself. As with any job, I do my work to get paid, not because I enjoy it. Yes, I usually enjoy it, but I still expect to be paid for services rendered, you know, to pay those pesky bills and that other small thing called “rent”…
If you ask a Chef if they enjoy their job, they will no doubt say that they do, however ask them to work for free, and you will discover how surly a Chef can be. People may enjoy their jobs, but most would not do it without pay. People have responsibilities and costs to meet. People need to eat.
Perhaps paying me will make me enjoy my job just a little bit more, knowing that I will have a meal and a house waiting when I get home.

I have encountered a few other excuses, but they usually stem from these root excuses. As I hear of more, I will be posting them here.

I am usually rather professional, polite and approachable when I am working (and sometimes even outside of work!) and hearing these excuses after I have completed the work, and spent so much of my time on their assignments, it’s a wonder I don’t explode in a tirade of nasty, however I like to think that for the most part, I contain myself and remain professional.

If anyone reading this blog ever has dealings with me as a designer, please, feel free to communicate with me, talk with me, discuss the designs with me. I don’t bite… unless you don’t pay me…