Remember The Face? Miss it? I do. The last person to edit it, can't remember his name, was a tw*t and made a complete mess of things. But before he botched it up and took the title down, The Face consistently provided me with a damned fine read. A lot of stuff in there went straight over my head, and the fashion shoots certainly did nothing for me. But the important thing was that the writing was good, especially the interviews, and every now and again they’d tell me about something that was new, special and right up my street.
It was The Face that told me about flipflopflyin'. Well, more accurately, they told me about minipops. Craig Robinson’s tiny pixel recreations of famous folk are what his site has become most renowned for, especially after they did the rounds last Christmas in the form of one of those massive quizzes on an Excel spreadsheet. More recently, we’ve been seeing Craig’s work on adverts for the Observer Music Magazine and at the last MTV Video Music Awards. Yep, Mr Robinson and his creations are big-time now, but I’ve been checking out his website since 2000, which makes me really COOL and really HARDCORE. Alright?
Sorry about that. Posturing aside, it has been an honour to watch Craig set sail on his creative journey from somewhere near the beginning. I've seen idea build upon idea, image upon image, minipop upon minipop, as his site has steadily grown into a menagarie of colorful teeny-weeny pixels arranged and re-arranged into a myriad different forms, all for your viewing pleasure. Of course, it ain't just the pictures, the boy can write too. And he writes in the same way that he illustrates, without pretence, but cleverly, and most importantly, with more than a dash of humour.
If you already know about the site, then I'll bet you have your favourites. Mine? Well, I really liked 'der ohrwurm', where Craig used to document the random songs that popped into his head every now and again. A simple idea, but a good one, and funny. More recently, 'What If? was amazing, where he illustrates a timeline showing what possible paths his life might have taken. Maybe it's a geeky male list-making type thing (the kind of thing Nick Hornby was supposed to have first identifed) or something, but I really like it, and I know that I can leave the site for a while, safe in the knowledge that I can check it out at any time, even for a short while, and I will find something almost immediately that will make me giggle. Then I can toddle off back into reality with a spring in my step and a smirk on my face. Simple as.
Why else do I choose to sing this site's praises? For one, Craig shows us that being a football fan does not prevent you from being intelligent, imaginative and interested in art. And secondly, well, being a sucker for the Hollywood-style happy ending, I like the fact that here is a guy who's trained himself, kept doing the things he likes doing, worked hard at it and then made a success of it. Craig Robinson, you're my hero.
Christ, I sound like I'm in love with him don't I? Craig, I'm not stalking you, I promise...just lovin your work.
So then, please immerse yourself in the wonder that is flipflopflyin.
Oh, and if you're wondering where the name comes from, it's from a Beach Boys song.