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Spreading the Word: Blasted French

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Friday, June 24, 2011 by Paul Grech

Perhaps it is because I was never any good at drawing but I'm always in awe of people who are capable to create visually stimulating pieces of art.  There are a couple of excellent designers who combine such a talent with their passion for Liverpool FC, Kitster being one; the people at LoveConquerFollow others.

Recently a new name has popped up.  Dan Leydon, who goes on Twitter with the handle Blasted French, has been putting his unique designs on-line.  A Liverpool fan, most of these look at the club's icons like Bill Shankly and Kenny Dalglish.  Dan also has a (understandable) fascination with Barcelona, who also feature in his designs.

A Liverpool Thing caught up with Dan as he spoke about his inspiration and future plans.


How did you start doing these pieces?


In a fairly routine move, I started my blog as a homage to Heat magazine. Football has basically turned into a soap opera and I thought that gossipy cheap way of examining it would provide a hefty wedge of funny material. If you look at the first blog posts on the site they are done in the form of a Heat magazine cover and feature outlandish stories such as Messi becoming player manger of QPR and Neil Warnock having a breakdown due to it. From there I began to think of more ways to comment on football and one day I did the Xavi poster that depicted him as a carnival show passing machine. From there I just started doing more and more. 



Which is your favourite piece?
My favourite piece is probably not a poster itself but my character Chavi who is Xavi but with a burberry cap. He tours council estates getting ASBO's and playing long ball football. If I had to pick one poster I'd say the King Kenny one. It just seems the most balanced.


What has the feedback been like?
I've had the full range of feedback from in depth emails showing appreciation to comments on new posters that consist of nothing but 'POSTER FAIL'. It's fun hearing peoples opinions on them though. That's why I love designing football related art. So many people love football and people are visual creatures. To have football culture presented in a slightly different or thought provoking way is a great thing and there is so many profound and unique types of art out there on the net.



From where do you get inspirations? And what is the creative process like?
I get my inspirations from everything. I carry a notebook with me and write down whatever pops into my head. I also practice exercises from Edward de Bono books on how to exercise your creativity. They're great for generating piles of ideas. I buy and read a lot of football related books too. Usually I can pick up around 5 or 6 books second hand for the best part of 25 euro. I'll read anything though. And I pour through a lot of graphic design books to figure out how certain artists come up with different types of results. Luckily though graphic design is everywhere you look nowadays so you can learn wherever you are. 


As for the design process it won't take long if I have a clear idea on what I want to do. For example the last poster I designed, the Liverbird European Cup, didn't take too long but arranging the liverbirds took up 99% of the design time. I'm happy with how it turned out though.


What next for you? What are you looking to achieve and what will you be doing with the designs?
Next for me? I'm clueless as to what I'll be doing next. A few months ago I didn't even have a website so in the next few months who knows. Ultimately I'd love a job in design with some connection to football. Nowadays I think if you want to be completely happy in your work life you have to go out and make a job for yourself. That's far more fun than looking for one that already exists. It's what I'm trying to do. I'm looking at setting up the website in a more professional way and getting posters and shirts for sale through it. I'd have to say my immediate ambition is to play right midfield for Liverpool though. That's what I'm aiming for.