Welcome to the Animal Farm

The Autonomous Zone is like ‘The Animal Farm’ by George Orwell. It warns that if we create power vacuums in our societies, ruthless sociopaths will step into that gap and take control.

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The ‘Autonomous Zone’ project is developing along the lines of George Orwell’s novel ‘Animal Farm’.

The seemingly uneducated and idealistic youths are discovering that ‘The Animal Farm‘ wasn’t so much a novel as a warning. They are now living in an all-too familiar Orwellian nightmare. A power structure has quickly developed. As might be expected, it is dominated by the well-armed violent and powerful individuals..

It seems sad that in an attempt to shrug power they have surrendered their power to bullies, thugs and criminals. Sooner or later this social experiment will collapse. (History suggests it always does.) Law enforcement will then take back control. I fear it may not end well.

We need a State, but not too powerful. We need Law Enforcement – but not too violent. I identify with the sentiments of these youths. I just think there are better ways of changing society. You don’t bring about justice with injustice. You can’t make the world kinder with cruelty. It’s pointless to create better societies with destruction. You make things better by building better mousetraps, not by allowing vermin to lead.

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Why Black Lives Matter More.

Political Cartoon
Unless All Lives Matter, No Lives Matter.

We all live in an overly politically-correct world. Insisting that black lives are more vulnerable than the other lives is untrue and divisive. UK and USA data doesn’t support any claim that Black Lives are less important or in greater danger. In fact, one can only find evidence to the contrary.

Black Lives Matter are most active in UK and USA. These countries have massive social security programmes. Most immigrants have come to expect support from Government. It benefits them to claim extraordinary levels of ‘fear, anxiety and distress’ because it qualifies them for more of the mothering Government’s resources. An accusation of ‘racism’ is the trump card in this game of extortion. The louder Black Lives Matter protestors screech about ‘systemic racism’, the more the State accedes to their demands. The noisiest mouths get fed first. This is incentivising interlopers and indigents to act like young Cuckoos.

The foundational premise of Human Rights is that we are all created equal. Insisting that certain lives are deserving of greater consideration based on external characteristics such as skin colour is racism.

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BLACK or WHITE doesn’t determine what is RIGHT.

Black or White? The world is suddenly ablaze with accusations of racism. The political discourse has become overwhelmingly binary. This can only be bad.

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The political discourse at the moment has become binary. This is toxic and should be defused as quickly as possible.

Forcing the political discourse to extremism is no longer politics. It is fascism. Politics is the art of diplomacy. Politics explores the shades of grey and seeks compromise. Compromise means both sides lose as the price of progress. Living in the most peaceful, prosperous period in recorded history is the result. It is worth securing for future generations.

History shows us that intolerance in discourse is the death of civility and debate. It is the reserve of dull bullies not suited to lead or determine the future of society. We need our brightest minds at the helm, not the brutes.

Those who seek to shut down Freedom of Speech reveal themselves as unable to discuss things reasonably. This is poisonous to peace, freedom and prosperity. It cannot be more simply put.

I will not bend the knee to Black Lives Matter. Coersion by populist pressure is morally wrong. It reveals Black Lives Matter do not have any valid arguments. They should muster facts in support of their claims but they shout louder, destroy things, bully and act out like spoilt children. They are a divisive minority trying hold the greater society as hostage by their moral bankruptcy.

I cannot – and will not – condone or support that.

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Owl CoronaVirus Safety Posters

I recently created these cute Owl Coronavirus Safety Posters for my friend Frith who is the manager of the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre. I love wildlife and birds of prey in particular. It was therefore a great opportunity to rally support for this worth cause.

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Ranked 4th Digital artist on CreativePool.

I have recently been ranked 4th Digital Artist on CreativePool. What an honour! My thanks go out to all the creative people on creativepool.com who have taken the time to view and interact with my work. It’s very encouraging to see this during a time when all commercial activity has almost ground to a halt. There is hope that when things go back to normal the work opportunities will flood in! 😉

Rob Hooper 4th ranked digital artist

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Making an Isometric Mill.

Making an Isometric Mill is ordinarily no mean feat. It’s further complicated when the mill is in Mozambique and the site is under restoration. My client Premier Foods had recently invested in CIM. I was flown to Mozambique to meet with the team and was given a walkabout tour to gather information about the site and take reference pictures.

Original Mill circa 1950’s

The CIM (Companhia Industrial da Matola) Mill dates back to the 1950’s by the look of the style of architecture. It’s in typical Portuguese colonial style and absolutely stunning in its scale and detail. The restoration of CIM by Premier Foods has revitalised the site and is returning it to a more beautiful, clean and safe workplace.

The Mill from ground level
CIM Mill Building

There were restored buildings the company wanted to feature in a revitalised roadmap or mission statement. The administrative offices seem like a good place to start:

Reference photo of the CIM Administrative Building
Isometric CIM Administrative Building
Reference photo of the CIM Bakery
Isometric illustration of the CIM Bakery
Reference photo of the CIM Feeds Plant
Isometric Illustration of the CIM Feeds Plant
Reference photo of the CIM Warehouse
Isometric illustration of the CIM Warehouse

Premier Foods and Companhia Industrial da Matola were able to incorporate the buildings I created in a critical roadmap. The roadmap informed and inspired their staff whilst transitioning through the company’s change process. It was an honour to meet the team and help create a strong vision for the team to internalise and work towards.

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Isometric Illustrations. Creating a Railway.

Isometric illustrations and Railways are two of my passions. so creating isometric railway illustrations is a dream come true. What an opportunity!

I never had time to explore isometric railway illustrations until a commission came along that indulged both these passions of mine. I obsessed about making all the details of a railway starting right from the bottom:

The Railway.

…followed by the the basic railway bogey.

Basic railway bogey.
For closer inspection…

…building up from that I created a series of goods carriages with South African Railways livery to place on the railway.

…followed by diesel locomotive tractor unit.

…having created this set as a base for other railway collateral, I was able to later create a parallel railway set for Mozambique Railways.

Mozambique Railways diesel loco.
Happily both railways use the same width of rail so the rolling stock was very simple to adapt.

More recently I needed to populate a mine scene with a garratt locomotive. I cheated a bit but was pressed for time! 😉

At times like this I appreciate the versatility of isometric vector art because it allows me to take existing base work and create a complete new look with a little effort and a little ingenuity.

I am inspired by the sheer multitude of historic railway equipment still in operation here in the UK. I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than re-creating an entire station or shunting yard as isometric vector art. That will take some time, but I will share each isometric railway illustration as I complete it.

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Practice What You Preach

If you don’t do as you prescribe, you will undermine your own authority.

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Practice what you preach.

I couldn’t help but notice that members of the press were standing on top of each other whilst confronting a local politician about why he didn’t observe the Social Distancing Guidelines. Questions like : “Do you think the rules don’t apply to you?” are important but seem hollow when the accusers are part of a melange of hot sweaty bodies crushing together to assail the hapless father and daughter.

This seems to suggest all the members of the upper echelons of society including the upper class, intelligentsia, celebrities, journalists and politicians see themselves as untouchable but virtue of their status. The fact that the press absent-mindedly trip over one another to ask that one incisive, damning question reveals their sanctimonious self-importance.

Whose pandemic is it, anyway?

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St. Gobain Products in perspective.

St. Gobain products are seldom visible in a building. To make this apparent It’sago marketing was tasked with creating awareness of how superior and pervasive their products are in order to drive sales choices in the future.

I was commissioned to illustrate a home and with cutaways to reveal St. Gobain’s vast library of products. These are ordinarily not seen by the home owners who benefit from the quality and design excellence that surrounds and protects them.

technical illustration
How St. Gobain products are used in building projects.

This illustration was created as vector art in Adobe Illustrator so the entire image could be infinitely enlarged to zoom in on actual screws, fasteners and membranes that are so taken for granted by self-builders and contractors.

Details such as polystyrene fillers, membranes, insulation all had to be true to life and resemble the actual product. When viewed at actual size they faithfully depicted the product and informed viewers.

I enjoy this sort of challenge immensely, I love to dive down into details and surprise and delight agencies and their clients with such a visually rich and infinitely expandable work of art.

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Simba Chips Brand Mascot journey.

The New Simba was off to a great start.

Back in 2000 Simba Chips was facing an identity crisis. Their Simba brand mascot was losing ground to younger and more contemporary snacking brands. Simba looked aged and uninspired. Back then he looked like this:

Historical Simba Character

There was a need to update Simba the Lion to be more contemporary. A TV commercial was created and aired circa 2005/6 called “I wanna be a Simba Chippie” which featured a computer-generated version of Simba that certainly looked a little more ‘with-it’ but the charm of a ‘Disney-esque’ character was still lacking.

The Computer Graphic version of Simba.

The new version of the Character was also very low resolution and pixellated when enlarged. It performed very poorly on paper. What sufficed for television back then was simply not suitable for print. A Johannesburg based design studio called Quartermaster was tasked with addressing the problem. Creative Director Rory McClean approached me to help solve the problem and we immediately set to work.

After just a few rough revisions we arrived at what everybody agreed was a fantastic solution to the problem and a vast improvement on anything that had gone before. The presentation art was proudly presented to client.

Simba Chips Mascot created by Rob Hooper.

The client was overjoyed and bought the character without any further adjustments. The final character illustration was completed then applied to a few other scenarios before Pepsico bought a controlling share in Simba Snacks and we lost touch with – and control over – our baby. Years have passed and our Simba Mascot creation continues to stand for the brand values of the King of Snacks. If someone ever asks me what I do for a living I need only mention the Simba character to explain what I do. My daughter Emma proudly points him out to me whenever she sees him in store. She’s awfully proud of her Dad’s achievement. 😉

The latest version of Simba which I did not work on is below. See if you can spot any changes!

The latest Simba Brand Mascot.

Brand identities have to be managed with wisdom and clarity. The role of the Brand Guardian is still the most important job in the marketing game. It’s good to see our Simba still going strong and steadfastly representing what we believed are the core brand values almost 14 years later.

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