Welcome to The Max Bullock Project which is bringing a lifetime’s creativity to the internet for others to enjoy and hopefully, become inspired by. This project, the brain-child of Max’s wife, Maggie, aims to celebrate and pay tribute to an artist who has never exhibited, nor ever received any official recognition for his work in a broad range of creative disciplines.
Max was born on 4th December, 1938, near Morecambe, England, and showed a natural artistic talent from a very young age. His first memories are of drawing stick men that he’d seen in a Daily Mail Annual, a book he still possesses, along with his very first homemade cartoon books which he did as a young child (click the button below to view one of them).
He was inspired by comic illustrators from The Beano and The Dandy and later on at the age of 10, The Eagle. Max has always loved cartoons and animals as a result of these early influences and his cartoon Burds have been light-hearted companions throughout his multifaceted or scattered (depending on your view) life’s work.
Max has always had a good ear for music, a talent which led him into his first career as a piano tuner, although, he went into the Army before completing the seven year apprenticeship. Later he used use this fine skill to earn a living whilst pursuing his creative polymathy; music, in the form of jazz trumpet, being one of the other main domains and comedy script writing another. He did, at one point, secure an agent in London for his cartoon pirates but they wanted girlie romances and although he did try, he couldn’t bend.
Max studied Fine Art at Manchester Poly as a mature student. He graduated at 42 without his BA degree because although it did contain the requisite 5,000 words, his thesis was presented in cartoon form.
At the Poly Max’s creativity thrived. Prolific amounts of work were produced in all sorts of media. Whilst at college he worked on the first summer tour of Horse and Bamboo, a travelling street theatre company with Maggie whom he later married.
Post college years saw him involved with a home-made puppet theatre, works in clay, illustrator/designer for various private commissions and, of course, more cartoons — a media that has been most consistently used to give his ‘take’ on the world.
In his mid sixties, Max suffered a series of mini strokes and with his left hand being affected his artistic output was seriously impaired, but now in his seventies this ‘Renaissance man’ is rediscovering his artistic roots.
With the help of John Barry, who was initially commissioned to photograph his work, Max’s cartoons have been brought into a new light with John’s adept and sensitive digital colouring where the integrity of the drawing has been so skilfully kept in tact. Thanks to John, who has run so enthusiastically with this particular ball, there are now four published works, The Burdz of Burdle, Hats: the History of a Fashion, Cap’n Jake and His Bunch of Pirates and Just for Laughs. Enjoy!