Norman Hetherington has died at the age of 89 after a career spanning 70 years as a cartoonist and puppeteer.  Best known for his character Mr Squiggle, a popular children’s television moon dwelling astronaut puppet, that had a pencil as a nose.  The television program tantalized the imaginations of many generations of children over its 40 year duration along with Bill the Steam Shovel, Gus the Snail and the grumpy Blackboard. Hetherington worked his puppet Mr Squiggle from above holding onto the cone cap to draw pictures with Mr Squiggle’s pencil nose onto the ‘squiggles’ sent in by viewers. Mr Squiggle would say “upside down, upside down” to his assistant, turning the picture around to reveal the drawing.

Political Arts | Ian Bunn Visual Artist

My digital art work is essentially politics and art. It’s about iconic people, places and events of our day.  Recorded visually through daily compilations of manipulated digital images, posted online and disseminated via online media and social networks. The works are diaristic in nature that metaphorically record a spectator’s experience of the contemporary digital age.  The resulting work intentionally has a painterly aesthetic acknowledging my historical painting practice.

Adapting Pop Art’s notion of mass media imagery into a context of the contemporary digital age, the work draws on a myriad points of reference. Utilizing fractured images to provide an allusion to the digital noise pounding away daily into our sub consciousness.  The work is essentially popular culture arts, diverging from the traditional Pop Art notion of a pronounced repetition of a consumer icon, instead this work focuses on the deluge of contemporary digital content. The compilation of the fragmented imagery is vividly distractive, not unlike cable surfing or a jaunt through Times Square.

This digital photo manipulation art work is premised on the basis that Pop art in its beginnings, freeze-framed what consumers of popular culture experienced into iconic visual abstractions. With the advent of the techno age, visual information circulates in such quantities, so rapidly and exponentially, that to comprehend a fraction of it all becomes a kind of production process in itself.  Hence this work considers fragmented elements of Popular Culture through an artistic and conceptual exploration of specific people and events of the day.