Titus Books has a page up advertising my book To the Moon, in Seven Easy Steps, which they're launching in March, but they flatter me by claiming that I painted the image on the cover (even at primary school my attempts at visual art were an embarrassment, and at secondary school I endured compulsory art classes by 'drawing' white rabbits on fields of snow).
The image on the cover of my book was in fact painted by Ellen Portch, who is a teacher at Elam School of Fine Arts and one of the dark horses of Auckland's art scene. In the middle of this year Ellen staged a remarkable exhibition of paintings of nasty politicians at the University of Auckland's Old Government House. Stark and yet multilayered, stylised and yet unpleasantly realistic, the paintings made an impact on everyone who saw them. I remember going to the launch of Ellen's exhibition and having the uncanny feeling that Deng Xiaping's eyes were following me around Old Government House. Every time I turned to confront Deng, his visage seemed to have changed. From one angle the man behind the Tainanamen Square massacre looked serenely contemplative; from another, he looked on the brink of tears; from yet another he looked almost fierce.
Besides lending me 'Periscope' for the cover of my book, Ellen let us use her paintings of George Bush jr and Saddam Hussein on the front and back covers of the new 'War' issue of brief. Cheers mate.