Irkafirka (ear-ka-fear-ka, but I’m resigned to its more common pronunciation, urker-furker) is an ongoing collection of daily illustrated tweets.
It began in March 2010 from a conversation with my old friend, Chris Bell, conducted rather aptly, via Twitter. He challenged me to draw a daily doodle inspired by random tweets. “I don’t have time for this,” I protested. I was still a full-time employee channelling all my creative energy into studio output. I’d been missing the pleasure derived from working on your own project, but I really didn’t think I could sustain the daily delivery of content that Chris’s suggestion would demand.
Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued, and with Chris’s assurance that he would host the project, I decided it was worth a dabble. Irkafirka might have fallen at the first hurdle if I hadn’t located a tweet quickly (believe me, this is frequently the most time-consuming part). I knocked off a quick doodle and uploaded it via my own twitter account, @pockless. The response was almost instant. “That’s awesome” said the recipient, “you’ve made my day,” or words to that effect. That was good enough for me. Making people’s day is fun. Especially people you don’t know. People who may not even deserve their day making. That same evening, I registered @irkafirka, and not long after, Chris bought irkafirka.com, taking up his role as chief curator, and encourager.
Selling prints of Irkafirkas seemed a bit like taking unsolicited aerial photograph’s of people’s houses then trying to flog them, but without setting out to become doodle salesmen, it was not long before recipient’s showed an interest in buying prints of their irkafirkas. In order to cater for them, we set up shop at Zazzle, and have had fantastic feedback on the quality of the prints they’ve produced. But the project really thrives on the delivery of unexpected gifts, and this is what we intend to continue doing until such a time as somebody sufficiently well-placed discovers that we do indeed have a price, we sell our souls, and in so-doing, utterly obliterate the altruism at the heart of the exercise.
Until then, here are some kind words other people have written about Irkafirka.
“In Pictures: Tweet Modern” The BBC News Website
“Forget Britart – welcome to the world of Twitart. The latest movement, led by illustrator Nick Hilditch” irkafirka in daily newspaper, Metro
“Irkafirka provides a single illustrated cartoon of a single tweet plucked at random daily – and they’re always good.” The 50 Best Apps, The Independent
“a random act of kindness that will never be forgotten.” Bangs and a Bun
“Aside from the batty greatness of the pictures, there’s a smart marketing idea here.” Tim Footman, Cultural Snow
“I think it’s a wonderful idea that will work brilliantly over time – just so long as they can keep it going.” Peter Moore, My Digital Notebook
“My low level hum of strop was instantly transformed into silly giggles.” Dave Turner, Army of Dave
“Irkafirka illustrate tweets. Randomly. And they’re awesome.” James Whatley, whatleydude
Over 600 more firks to enjoy at irkafirka.com
“I just had a tweet illustrated by @irkafirka! [...] It’s great, isn’t it?” Ian Ravenscroft, Mind Over Matter
“irkafirka are my absolute favourite follow on twitter” Melissa Bentley, ICM Creative Communications
“Sometimes, the internet delivers us delightful things” Paul Battley, po-ru.com
Interview with irkafirka for Amelia’s Magazine
Listen to the irkafirka interview with Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 Music