A Potted History of Steven Friel
"I was born in London in 1968. I was interested in Art from an extremely early age.
Exam wise I only gained a CSE Grade 1 in Art because at my school there was no 'O' Level course. The teacher told me to say I had gained an 'O' Level anyway.
I studied B TEC Graphical Communications for two years before computers became widely used. Now everyone has got one. If ever you want to know about pica's or em's I'm the man to know! I gained an 'A' Level in Art and a Diploma in Graphics. I have since learnt a great deal from The British Freelance Cartoonist's and Illustrator's Course at The Morris College of Journalism.
Member of the Cartoonists Club of Great Britain
I earned my crust designing T-shirts and flyers at a couple of shops down Carnaby Street. Then along came the Ska explosion in 1988 and I was in the right place at the right time. Various record company executives used me to design record and CD covers. And through some musical friends I became the official Bad Manners artist. For three years I worked on Doug's (Buster's) canal boat in the middle of his back garden. That was just one surreal moment of my life. I nearly got Buster arrested for advertising their latest album on the side of a double decker bus whilst we were filming a video in Oxford Street. We didn't know it was illegal! I was also responsible for doing the fascia of 'Fatty Towers Hotel' in Margate.
In this time I completed 70-80 record covers (for Bad Manners, The Last Resort, Yellowman, Laurel Aitken, Ansell Collins, Augustus Pablo and The Steve Gibbons Band - amongst just a few). I designed a shop front down Regent Street, drawn cartoon comic strips for Zoot Magazine, Scootering and Smut. I also redesigned the logo for Mencap and did the covers of three books.
I designed the look for a job recruitment company and won praise for their launch in Wembley Conference Centre and the front of their two shops in Wembley and Walthamstow.
I had a picture of Arnold Scharzennegger printed in The Sun newspaper and won first prize. The picture is now on display at Planet Hollywood, Piccadilly.
Since then I have been concentrating on comic strips and caricatures. I have written to certain TV magazines only to have the editor reject my caricatures for being 'too savage'. A friend of mine said that a portrait of his was 'bordering on the offensive' Praise indeed!
Currently I am working on a proposed film script in the form of a comic strip called 'Brainsick'. Also, I have developed the characters for an animated musical called 'The Umbrella Story'.I have received complementary letters and autographs from Oasis, Prodigy, Madness, Anna Friel, Joe Strummer, Reggie Kray, Charlotte and Lisa Coleman, the Eastenders cast, the Grange Hill cast, Tom Baker and - of course - Bad Manners!
I am a member of The Brent Artists Register."