Users of Twitter will have no doubt started to notice a series of posters and designs mainly featuring Liverpool players and all in a new unique style.
Dan Leydon, aka ‘blastedfrench’ on Twitter, has been producing his designs as a sideline to his day job but would like to make a career out of it. The talent is undoubtedly there but for now he’s at the stage where he is trying to get himself noticed, selling some prints and t-shirts of his designs through his ‘Footy News’ blog.
Dan’s affection for the ‘beautiful game’ has been relatively new-found but, as most football supporters find, as soon as the bug gets you there’s little chance of shaking it off. “I’ve loved football for the last few years,” he says. “I began playing it when I was young but it was hard to get into as I was the oldest in my family, had no brothers and my father loved surfing.”
There’s no doubting his passion for the game: “There’s something fantastic about how football draws together the strings of fitness, skill, reward and social interaction.
“I find it provides a massive, broad range of inspirations for the way I think and look at producing artwork. To sit and stand and shout and sigh with thousands of other people in one stadium is spiritual. It’s so rare to be at an event where so many people are so transfixed with one thing, where so many people are united in similar emotions at the same time.”
In words not far removed from some that caused John Lennon a bit of trouble in the sixties, Dan goes on: “Football is the most popular thing in the world bar breathing and sex. It’s what the Christianity wishes it was.”
Although Dan is capable of using the more traditional tools of the artist’s trade it’s one of the modern tools he’s used to build up his portfolio: “I’ve drawn things since I was able to hold a pencil, however my ability to really express the art that was in my head came when I was introduced to Adobe Illustrator. This began when I went to college and studied product design and I’ve been learning it for the last five years. It’s the best program I’ve ever used; I’d advise anyone who is serious about producing digital artwork to open themselves up to what the program is capable of.”
It was a desire to write about football that soon inspired him to start getting artistic about it: “A few months ago I started Footy News as a way to satisfy my hobby. I began with surreal football stories presented like a Heat magazine cover.
“If I could make myself smile I generally thought I’d be onto something vaguely humorous that people might start emailing around on their lunch breaks. I was greatly inspired by the wit and style of The Fiver. However once I started writing a few articles for ‘In bed with Maradona’ and I discovered the well spring of esoteric mumbo jumbo that is ‘Run of Play’, my work began to change.
“This is when I started producing football posters.”
Inspiration has also come from the collective efforts of other individuals in expressing their thoughts about Liverpool FC in the form of posters and logos in online communities, something that was most noticeable during the angry years of Hicks and Gillett when all supporters felt the need to express their distaste in whatever way they could. Names like ‘Art Vandelay’, ‘Feint Zebra’, ‘Kitster’ and ‘Armand’ will be familiar to users of sites like RAWK but not just those sites as their efforts often went viral, at least in the LFC online world. Dan says: “There is a lot of talent about and a mountain of great works to sift through. Whether you want to laugh or have your thoughts provoked, there is a piece for you out there.”
For now Dan’s efforts are a sideline to his main work but he has ambitions for the future: “I work at a part time job and get graphic design work on the side whenever I can. Recently I started to sell posters now and then; I must admit it’s a great buzz to make a bit of money from my passion. My aim would be to somehow develop my skills enough to create a niche for myself to earn a consistent wage from what I do.
“I’m open to commissions and love chatting about what people would like to see in my next piece so if anyone wants to drop me an email I’d welcome the chat.”
And for all those with kind words and encouragement for him: “I’d just like to thank everyone who has looked through my stuff since I started sticking it up on Footy News.”
Email Dan: theblastedfrench [at] gmail [dot] com
Follow him on Twitter: blastedfrench
Check out his website: Footy News