Saturday, 29 August 2009

Sat 29th Aug: Profile Weekender : Ritta Ikonen Part II

Ritta is a collector. She collects lots of different bizarre unconnected things...........e.g hair clippings to catalogue her colour changes or just random round things found on the floor for no reason at all! Here some of her ziplock bags of findings from her 3 month stay in NYC. I would like to have seen the security scan of her suitcase on the way home! Whilst away she kept up an ongoing project of sending obscure and obsolete objects to her old tutor at Brighton. Not only is it a really fun looking idea to document with addresses squeezed onto strange surfaces but its pure entertainment in experimenting with what exactly can be posted........

"Post office queue in Chinatown after lenghty negotiations over some A6 sized seeds, car tyres, moneyrolls etc trying to get into the NY postal system. Still anxiously waiting for confirmation from Margaret Huber whether they reached the destination..."

Sat 29th Aug: Profile Weekender : Ritta Ikonen

Here is a little introduction for anyone possibly not familiar with the work of Ritta Ikonen..........if you aren't = sit up and pay attention.......RITTA RULES!
I have to ashamedly confess that I wasn't aware of her work and therefore extremely grateful to have been invited to the very 1st ItsNiceThat talk which was focused on Ritta (watch it at the link below). Both her work and her character are in equal measure charming, trailblazing, enchanting, ridiculous, intuitive, whimsical and real. Her natural demeanour is just hilarious and if you stick with me this weekend I'll let you in on some of her many, many obsessions and projects............thanks to Ritta for compiling an incredible batch of behind the scene snaps for a glimpse into her world..........

Ritta is originally from Finland but cultivated itchy feet for travel from a childhood with time spent living in Greece and France...........more recently Japan and London..........and most recently New York. I contacted Ritta for an update on what she has been up to over the last few months whilst on her transatlantic adventure. Her work regularly takes her to bizarre destinations (Neel - this wreeeeks of you!) for example dressing as an iceberg in the Baltic or Snowflake in Moscow..........
these are projects where Ritta has created costumes to convey a certain concept .........this is certainly a definitive Ikonen tool but by her own admission she is not a one trick pony and experiments with other mediums...............which I will be able to show with each post.........
But to get things started here are some shots of her body of work with costumes.........the classic Nylon project which found her dressed as a car seat is one of my favourites...........the other was a toothbrush which you really should check out at her site.........

Friday, 28 August 2009

Friday 28th Aug: Talky Talk Talk

Here is Chrissie Abbott who was the guest speaker of last evenings talk for the monthly ItsNiceThat series of lectures. She chose Danny Sangra and I to follow her speech with a little one of our own. The other chap concealing his identity is of course one half of the ItsNiceThat team who prefer to stay anonymous .............c'mon lads............take some credit for your ridiculously lush enterprise and the hard graft that has garnered it!!!!!
To find out about Chrissie's childhood of hippie parenting and penchant for Fraggle Rock & Bagpuss and Danny's preference for drawing on magazine covers instead of sketch books from growing up in a hairdressers..............there will be a playback on the website...........

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Thurs 27th Aug: En Vogue

One day left to vote....................PLEASE VOTE..............our campaign worked.............thanks to everyone who helped!

Thurs 27th Aug: Rachel Gilman

When I had my first meeting with boutique owner Nathalie Kabiri, she was wearing a captivating pair of geometric hand painted earrings that I later discovered are from the store's repertoire of rad jewellery. I fell in love with this designer and was terrifically chuffed to be put in a display cabinet next to this line. They must have sensed our joint passion for all things angular and colourful.............which has since brought about us making contact ftom all the 100 designers stocked. Not only do we share a similar aesthetic but I have discovered that Rachel also got into making jewellery firstly as one-off pieces for shoots she was styling..............

Me doing jewelry was an absolute last minute fluke. I was going to style a shoot for Missbehave magazine and I wanted to have crazy large earrings, unique things as everyone borrows the same things for shoots, so i wanted to personalize my fashion stories.... I found materials and paint and glue and was excited about what came about. This was about two years ago. I am a full time first assistant to stylist Aleksandra Woroniecka so the only time I have to play with jewelry making is at night. I like to paint and craft to scary movies, especially from the 80's like Fright Night, Sleepaway Camp, They Live and whatever ghost hunting paranormal show is on the Science Fiction channel.

Rachel is from the USA and went to F.I.T. in NYC to study fashion design but didn't enjoy it as apparently she couldn't sew well and would get "stress stomach aches from being overwhelmed". That's a familiar story! Although she confesses to not having patience for intricate detailed work, I think that's not actually the case as they are so dinky and cute! More recently she has started to play with metallics and different materials such as chains in combination with the wood pieces. So where does her inspiration come from?

My parents raised me around Native American art, Kachina dolls and paintings of sunsets so those have served to be great inspiration. ...We have pink wood benches with cactus painted on them and a life size wood sculpture of a cowboy named Slim in my parents house. Their sense of whimsy and taste in art is what guided me.

Above are Rachel's own snaps of earrings inspired by folk art entitled "Southwest" and "Santa Fe". There is also an editorial scan of her earrings in Numero and an unpublished shots of Aggy wearing her earrings. There is also one of my snaps of how Rachel's collection looks at KABIRI...............who have relaunched their website today so anyone can order a pair ..........anywhere............go click and check out the new look site.............

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Weds 26th Aug: David Byrne, playing the building

We all love David Byrne...............and I wasn't at all dissapointed when I once saw him on Lafayette looking dapper, dressed in a lemon yellow linen suit and panama hat.............
..........which brings me to the yellow tinted program for his installation at London's Roundhouse...........
If anyone can get to Chalk Farm to visit this I recommend the trip! For it is a trip!
David has turned the entire cavity of the circular structure into a musical instrument. How? What? Without the use of amplification or speakers he has installed various devices to bang, blow and vibrate elements of the structure to produce sound. The metal beams and pipes have been rigged with numerous pumps and hammers to generate the natural resonance created when contact is made............its a mix of bizarre and enchanting soundscapes. The best thing is that it is interactive and the whole idea is for the visitor to tinker with these musical mechanics and play their own tune sitting at an organ. David had inherited an old pump organ that was in no condition to be played for recording so it had been sat in his studio as decoration..............until the concept of this exhibition required a vehicle to generate the notes and he didn't have to look further than his front room.

"I realised that its antique body and keyboard would make the perfect controller for this piece - it would emphasise the Victorian steam-punk technology at work here, as well as the simplicity of this completely mechanical acoustic piece. There are no microphones, no amplification and none of the sounds are synthesised or altered electronically. The organ keyboard basically serves as a series of switches at the back or the organ, which is left open so people can see the workings."
(I have taken this from the programme.............I haven't actually interviewed David myself!..................I wish!)

David goes on to explain that there is too much music used and exploited in every day life as a space mum would agree with that!..........she can't stand piped music in shops! So this exercise is to make us open our ears to appreciate the accidental sounds in life (from machines and nature) and block out the arbitrary shit relentlessly attacking our ears. Go and have a pull on the stoppers and bash on the keyboard to blow away the smog of London's noise pollution............its really good fun!

Weds 26th Aug: Maki Lou Lou

Today's pin up girl is Maki Lou Lou who is a legend.
She changed her work shift to come to the shoot for Dan Wilton's campaign and she even drew a new tattoo for the day!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tues 25th Aug: Jim Stoten

It is the closest thing to what is going on in my head but im still perplexed as to what the hell is actually going on inside Jim's?!
In his solo show that opened last week there was a turtle with the face of George Harrison and cowboy's riding takes aproximately 10 mins to decode each artwork and involuntarily laugh at the hidden gems within each complex and intricate drawing. Im not going to waffle on anymore and just hand you straight over to the interview which is GREAT!!!!!!! Thankyou for your time in answering Jim..............look out David Bowie! Skip straight to question 6 if you want the best first

1) Favourite picture book as a child (illustrator) and why?

I loved Richard Scarry books when I was really little. All the hippos and foxes driving fire engines and climbing ladders. I also liked The Beano annuals and Fungus the Bogie man. But I think my favorite picture book was called The Tiger that came to tea. I loved it when they sat at the table together and ate tiny cakes and drank tea from a tea pot in little china cups. The tiger just eats everything on the table. It's such a weird idea that a Tiger should come to visit randomly and eat you out of house and home, but not eat you or your house and home. I still love it now.

2) Was there something else you saw as a child that has influenced you style? (I inherited furniture decorated with stickers from the 70's that undoubtedly influenced me............rainbow shooting stars and cosmic hippos.........)

Well, yes, probably. But not consciously. All I can tell you is that I watched a lot of cartoons when I was little. I absolutely loved children's television when I was little. The was so much variety and so many good ideas and strange images. I loved Jamie and the Magic torch, Fantastic Max, Button Moon, Ivor the Engine, Bananaman, Defenders of the Earth, Knightmare, Centurions, M.A.S.K, He-Man and The City of Gold. But I was totally obsessed with Laurel and Hardy over everything. I used to love drawing them. I think I was entertained purely by their contrasting body shapes primarily.

3) Whats the best thing you have seen recently? (literally anything that's just tickled you)

I was very happy last Thursday on the night of my Private view in Covent Garden. There were so many people there from all different times in my life. That was brilliant.

4) Whats your favourite new material / tool to use?

I really love pens and I think I will always use them. But recently, I am using a lot of collage. I just like how much like playing it is. My girlfriend bought me a special pair of collage scissors. They are my new favorite thing to use while I am working.

5) If you could bring out a toy what would it be? Collectable miniature or soft toy..............which character?

It would be one of those wind up tin toys and it would be frankenstein on a bike and you would wind him up and he would ride around and his brain would go in and out of the top of his head like a flip top lid.

6) In the illustration on your new business card there are lots of characters swimming around...........what would be your dream inflatable if you could design one for a kid on holiday?

I would love to make a massive bright orange inflatable horse that you get in and put your legs through two holes at the bottom so you can walk around with it on you outside the pool. But the best bit would be that there would be a drawing of a saddle and legs on either side of where you sit so it looks like you are riding the horse over the water.

7) I used to love those free give-aways in cereal boxes when I was a kid. If you could design one, what would it be and which cereal would it be? (fake tattoo, yo-yo, .........)

I LOVE THESE QUESTIONS! I would make a little cow that you could fill up with milk. Its udders would have holes in them so that when you squeeze the cow, milk comes out. So you would use it everyday to put the milk on your cereal. I don't know what cereal though. One of the ones that isn't just loads of sugar wrapped round something crunchy.

8) You have just designed some interior products for Habitat which are awesome. How about apparel? I can imagine some Stoten wellies like those ones with the frog eyes. What would be your dream clothing item to design?

The wellies. I want to do the wellies.

9) You are taking part in this year's IYC. Can you just tell us a little bit about who you chose to collaborate with and why. Can you reveal what might be the outcome?

Yep. I was going to collaborate with my excellent friend Bill Williams. He is a scientist and every time I speak to him, he tells me something which takes about 2 or 3 days to sink in just because it is so difficult to get your head around. Usually something to do with space. He has always told me about his idea to make a giant fried breakfast, so I thought it would be good to document Bill on his quest. We were going to have a special sausage made, then use gammon steaks for bacon, butter beans in tomato sauce for baked beans, giant mushrooms and a fried ostrich egg. But on the first day we tried to start making the film, we discovered how difficult it is to get ostrich eggs. So the idea had to change. That's when I contacted my friend Andy Rementer. I have loved his work for ages and always wanted to do a zine with him, so that's what we are doing. We are doing a zine about the future.>>

10) Rolf Harris painted the queen. Who would be the most unexpected person/thing that you would like to immortalise in felt-tip and collage?

I would like to draw David Bowie. Or Neil Young. I spoke to someone recently who told me they knew someone who was commissioned by Neil Young to go to his ranch and make an enormous sculpture out of lots of different colored glass. So it can happen. I am here for you Neil. Or David

If you can't make it down to his exhibtion to see the work or get hold of a print or t-shirt..........stop crying and get down to Habitat to buy a Stoten tea towell to mop up those tears! Yes, Jim has designed a few items for a mini household range at Habitat based on urban landscapes Yipee! Here is a cushion. It is the wrong colour though, sorry. Blogger has decided to upload its own version with a different colour palette, sorry Jim?!

All images courtesy of the artist, with thanks!

Tues 25th Aug: Dan Wilton

One of the best things about running this blog is getting to know the artists that I feature! Case in point is photographer Dan Wilton who I inadvertently met when I used his portraits of thecocknbullkid in March............I rarely use images from other sources and Im glad I did on that occasion as he contacted me to publish the correct credit...........which then led me to do a profile on his work in May. (
Fast forward to last Friday when we got together to shoot the campaign for "Vote Fred". Whatever the outcome of the Dazed award, I thought it would be good fun to do something ridiculous and hilarious to mark the event. So Tom and Lucy helped make the Napoleon Dynamite inspired t's with Teo's assistance in designing the font. Thanks to everyone who was free to come along to model..............I will post a pin-up each day for you to see the fantastic faces! The idea is now to spread the portraits over a game of Guess Who? choose a picture and add it to your profile to join the campaign..............

Or just clicking the Rosette on the right of this page and following the link.........its the last week so please vote each day until Friday................

Monday, 24 August 2009

Tina Turnover Takeover

So the day started with Susie's stall at Brick Lane and ended with the Swap'n'Shop at WAH! nails salon which I managed to catch the end of to see the newest development. Here is Tina Turnover (one third of the WorkIt empire). She has been strategically amassing a treasure trove of 90's treats to set up a section within the walls of WAH!. As of this week there will now be a dedicated concession to all things Moschino, NAF NAF, Chipie, Versace, Valentino, Hilfiger etc. Amongst the garms are an extensive collection of original cute heels and sweet sunglasses just like the ones on the covers of the records also on sale. Their other collection that is going to multiply is the VHS gallery which may become a free library to trade and discover old titles. As always the WorkIt team have added their own personal touch with swing tags and screen printed grocery bags gotta feel the love with the attention to detail and passion in thier product..............
Next weekend is obviously carnival! WorkIt are taking part West at the "Oi You" bloc party and then bringing it back home East for the eve......

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sunday 23rd Aug: Sidewalk Bubble

Twitter really works! Susie sent out a twit that she was selling some of her clothes on Brick Lane this morning ..........all for £5! So whilst I was the other side of town in the edit suite, Camille went along to check out her booty (collection not arse!). They acquired a Victor & Rolf dress and um'n'arred about a Bernard Whilhelm T-Shirt. That sounds like an outrageous bargain to me and of course the purchase is going to have a story attached to it which is priceless! A definite future ebay earner when Susie scoops the mantle from Schulman on her departure at Conde never know!
Maybe she could start up a contributor feature on her blog for people to send in a pic of an outfit comprised of the article originally from her wardrobe integrated into thier own....................
Thanks to Camille for the photos.