Making & Thinking part one


Making & Thinking

I spent a week this summer in the workshops at Liverpool School of Art and Design constructing a large scale Wooden Compass.

I run a workshop with the MA students were I draw two very large circles on a wall and ask them to define within the circles where their Practice sits. We discuss a concept or idea, and sometimes make presentation boxes, this frees them to really think and form opinions. I’ve always found making these making experiences really empowering, they allow us to process and reflect on our day. To use a clumsy metaphor, this project is about a journey, something like going in a circle. Making Thinking Making. Repetitive making actions are often like a form of meditation

The Wooden Compass was constructed from a single piece of hardwood. Courtesy of Terry’s Timber on the Dock Road in Liverpool. The compass has two attachments. One arm has a section with rubberised point and the other has three different adjustable drawing tools. One fits a brush for painting onto glass. The other is designed to take a graphite stick. The final section has solid wax crayon drawing section for drawing on paper and card.

I’ve broken down each stage of the process and matched it against a number of concepts and ideas I’ve been trying to make sense of. It may read like a stream of consciousness but it’s less depressing than other streams of consciousness text like William Burroughs Naked Lunch or the songs of Justine Bieber




one Where next to go with my ongoing project inspired by my scent and perfume obsession? Working with an external partner ?    

 two Where are the images from for Dr. David Heathcotes Driving Project ? A project about driving through Europe. David wants one of my drawings on the cover. Where the image is sourced from is part of the challenge.

three Skill exchange works shops for post graduate students.  

four Revisiting the Elusive Edge Project. Lost Arts is relocating to a new site in Liverpool. This has given me a reason to revisit and reshape the project.

five I’m normally thinking about food


Boxing & Academia

Dr.Rob MacDonald Is a Reader in Architecture at Liverpool School of Art & Design. Rob’s dad was Billy MacDonald, a lightweight Boxer from Liverpool. Rob kindly lent some of the photos from his family archive for this submission.

If it came to a scrap between Art School programmes, most money would be on the Architecture team. Mine would be on the Fashion squad.

Some info about Rob’s dad –

Billy started out at Unity Boys Club in Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool, before moving tothe  Kensington ABC. He sparred with Terry Allen during the Second World War whilst both boxers served in the Middle East. When he left the service in 1947 he immediately turned pro. He had a total of 28 paid contests, winning 18 and losing only seven. The Ex-Liverpool pro Gerry McNally stated that a six-rounder between Billy and Billy Barton was the best fight he’d ever seen at the Stadium. After retiring Billy stayed in the game as first a trainer with his old Kensington club and later a manager. Amongst those he trained in their early careers was the legendary Liverpool Champion John Conteh. 

writing as drawing

This is a work in progress / writing as drawing – most of the text is completed, these are background textures / risograph prints. The photos were taken at my Liverpool HQ.  

Writing and drawing letters, something that sits in that space between Graphic Design and Illustration Practice.

This document represents a number of collaborations and experiences with The Everyman Theater and Tate Liverpool. How using calligraphy as a starting point it can be used to promote social engagement for an audience that doesn’t normally engage with traditional art and cultural institutions.

This is an examination of how to can make public text based artworks that engage with a wider public but also acknowledges a marginalised and disenfranchised community. There is a convergence of thinking which challenges the idea that handwriting is an indicator of intelligence in young people.

Hello Magazine and the Daily Mail have all been in touch about publishing. But because there’s no pictures of Kim Kardashian or Kerry Katona. They’ve bailed. It will now be printed as part of GARg – Graphic Arts Research group / Graphic Design and Illustration at Liverpool School of Art & Design


spider from Michael O’Shaughnessy on Vimeo.

This is my short Spider film.

I use this to discuss Drawing Practice with undergraduates. How repetition Is a fundamental part of drawing memory. My Spider Drawing Machine was developed for a collaborative music and performance event at Liverpool School of Art & Design on Wednesday 2 December 2015.

Molecular was founded in 2010 by Enablers vocalist Pete Simonelli and Lynn Wright of and the Wiremen. Molecular cast of musicians have performed around New York City and Spain. The Liverpool event included Simon Goff (And the Wiremen) on violin, Sam Ospovat (Enablers) on drums, and Algis Kizys (ex-Swans, Of Cabbages and Kings) on bass. Liverpool’s own David Hand performed with his supergroup Bonnacons of Doom.

It’s hardly music that your parents would dance to. But I suppose, it’s not that different from dancing to Agadoo or anything by One Direction.

Spider was played as part of a series of live back drop projections. This version of the film has a Bach Soundtrack. The Goldberg Variations played by Glenn Gould.



Visible Signs

Hot off the Cultural Press. The Latest Edition of Visible Signs by David Crow. This is one of my many contributions. Try playing the cultural theorists game. Which one are you ? Foucault was a snappy dresser, with cool gigs to match. Derrida knew how to work the  pipe vibe.Imagine him puffing away on real tobacco ! I kept spelling Charles Peirce incorrectly, which made me appear not very clever like.

This is such a class book, not because I’m in it. But because it makes all the complicated stuff really easy to understand.



The Fashion lifestyle style and culture newspaper Essential Journal did a nice feature on me. They described me as a creative genius, this got the thumbs up from Team Mike O, but didn’t please my old fella when he saw they spelled O’Shaughnessy – O’Shannassy on the header page.They highlighted my latest venture Edition Sportif. It’s my new commercial site featuring contemporary high quality limited edition sporting prints.

The first collection is my Liverpool Legends series – I’ve launched the site with two new prints. One for Liverpool fans and the other for fans of Everton Football Club.

The other good news is, it looks like Sepp Blatter might be going Prison. Peace





Summer Sketchbooks

I spend at least one day a week throughout the summer, drawing in Art Galleries in The North West. The Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, The Atkinson Southport and the newly reopened Whitworth in Manchester.

The best way to study and really look at a Painting or Sculpture is draw it.

This type of drawing is like doing press-ups or stomach crunches, only this helps develop your drawing skills. It’s very challenging. It requires real concentration. This can be hard when there is a baby yoga class taking place in one of the Art Gallery rooms, like the Whitworth for example. Talking a notebook and drawing at a Museum or Art Gallery enables you to see the intent and skill in the original work.

I also spend one week surfing and eating pasties in Cornwall. I’m pretty crap at the surfing stuff but highly proficient at eating Cornish Pasties.

The Drawings / studies are from the following works – Olympia by Uli Nimptsch, Two Jamaican Girls by Augustus John, both at The Walker Art Gallery. Minnie by Philipe Naviasky at The Atkinson Southport. Two studies of Olympia by Uli Nimptsch. Finally, Peter Schlesinger by David Hockney  at The Whitworth, Manchester. The first image of drawings on my desk includes a Laura Knight study, from The Atkinson.

This post is for one of my students Liam Miller who was killed in August. Everyone loved him, a real old Art School Drawer.

John Conteh

This is one of my Mickey Mouse Scouse Series: Liverpool’s John Conteh was the WBC Light Heavy Weight World Boxing Champion. He won the title at Wembley in 1974, by defeating the Argentinian fighter Jorge Ahumada. He also won the BBC’s Superstars in the same year, I wasn’t too keen on that programme, although one of my other heroes Kevin Keegan was on it. I had a Kevin Keegan haircut up to the age of 23.

This image is part Silk Screen and Part original text drawing.

I have 5 of these prints for sale. The paper is 300gsm heavy weight cartridge.The paper dimensions are 40cm x 50cm.  Please contact me for more info-

Steven Gerrard

These prints originally began as part of a project about promoting Liverpool. The term Mickey Mouser is part affection but part derogatory reference. I was lucky enough to be at the Liverpool v Olympiakos game when Steven Gerrard won the game with that stunning 25 yard strike. We went onto to lift the Champions League Trophy in Instanbul in 2005

I have 10 very limited Editioned Silk Screen Prints for sale.They are priced according to the size / weight of the paper stock. Each print is between 3 – 5 colours – there are variations. The inks are Speedball. The Gerrard text/ calligraphy is hand drawn.

01: 4 x 300gsm Uncoated heavy cartridge paper. The paper dimensions are 50mm x 40mm.  For more info –

02. 6 x Fabriano 220gsm Cartridge paper. The paper dimensions are  30mm x 42mm. For more info –


The framed version shown is the 30×42 mm version


mickey mouse

This series is called Mickey Mouse Scouse. I’m working on two versions, a digital version and a Limited Edition of Silk Screen Prints. watch this space for more info

The first image is of the former World Light Heavy Weight Boxing Champion, John Conteh. He was my favourite British Fighter of all time. I listened to him winning the WBC Title on the radio, when I was a kid.  This series of images are all based on Liverpool Sporting Heroes, Writers and Philosophers. I have a Steven Gerrard version that is top secret and under wraps…Jose Mourinho keeps asking for one. As for the Mickey Mouse thing, cheeky non scousers use this a derogatory term for Liverpudlians. They’re all woolly backs, so what do they know ? Word.