"Real Artists Ship"

Colin Johnson’s blog

Archive for April, 2016

Family Stories (2)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

There was a little shop in the town where I grew up which sold local souvenirs etc., and often had pictures of the locality in the window. One day I was looking in the window of this shop with my mother, and there was a painting of the street where we lived.

Mum: “It’s Mr. Zoff.”
Me: “Who’s Mr. Zoff?”
Mum: “No—they’ve missed us off. Our house isn’t in the picture.”

From that day, any unknown artist was referred to in our family as “the famous Polish artist, Mr . Zoff”.

I am the only person alive who remembers this.

Personal Practice (1)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

My colleague Sally Fincher has pointed out that one interesting aspect of architecture and design academics is that the vast majority of them continue with some kind of personal practice in their discipline alongside carrying out their teaching and research work. This contrasts with computer science, where such a combination is rather unusual. It might be interesting to do a pilot scheme that gave some academic staff a certain amount of time to do this in their schedule, and see what influence it has on their research and teaching.

Interestingly, a large proportion of computer science students have a personal practice in some aspect of computing/IT. It is interesting to note quite how many of our students are running a little web design business or similar on the side, alongside their studies.

Family Stories (1)

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Scarborough, mid-1980’s. Sitting on the beach, which if you don’t know it has tall slopes at the side, and there are some fields at the top.

My grandmother: “Those blobs up there look just like sheep.”

My mother: “They are sheep.”

For many years afterwards, we carried on referring to sheep as “blobs”, finding that endlessly amusing in a way that is quite distinctive to family language that can be tracked down to one specific incident.

I am now the only person alive who remembers this.

Sht London

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Found on my credit card bill:


“Somerset House Trust”, of course!

The Diversity of my Interests (2)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

What Alibaba thinks I should be buying for my business:

gift box, kangertech, marble iPhone 6 case, mobile phone, plastic bag, brazilian hair, overboard, stretcher, bondage kit

Creative (1)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

An interesting challenge for computational creativity research. Build a system which takes in a large dataset, and which builds an interesting and informative infographic from that data.