Saturday, 8 May 2010

Sat May 8th: Blackwhite at SHOWstudio SHOP

Luckily my hour at SHOWstudio perfectly coincided with the private view of their latest SHOP exhibition "Blackwhite".  The title is an exact description of the theme which ties all the works together in a narrative exploring the classic match of a black and white palette in fashion.  The original iconic Harlequin Dress print by Irving Penn has been lent for the show and hangs alongside a brand new sculpture of a white shiny bondage table made for the exhibition by Peter Saville.  Stylists such as Simon Foxton and Amanda Harlech have work displayed with others in line to hold performances to be broadcast at intervals over the duration of the exhibit.  Archives have been dipped into for early editions of Visionarre, Chanel couture headpieces, a flag by Michael Howells and 2006 beauty shot of Kate Moss by Nick Knight himself.  The most exciting collection the team were privileged to filter through were Cecil Beaton's contact sheets of Audrey Hepburns "My Fair Lady" portraits.   These original silver gelatin print artefact's complete with his red chalk workings are on show for the very first time and on sale through the archive at Sotheby's.  
I was transfixed with the video reel of a recent performance by Shystie wearing Nazir Mashar headware which you will soon be able to watch at home here.  Keep an eye on the upcoming live transmissions from Judy Blame, Gareth Pugh and Edward Griffiths with the pieces they produce being added to the catalogue.

Sat May 8th: Mirror Mirror at Top Shop for SHOWstudio

SHOWstudio asked me to take seat in the hub and take over the guest slot as the voice of the mirror in their latest interactive project "Mirror Mirror".  To mark the arrival of Top Shop's new makeup range, the two power houses collaborated on inviting fashion industry artists to make contact with shoppers via a two way glass.  Customers can stand infront of their reflection and seek style advice from the establishment via a live feed of  interactive interaction thru an LED screen shining out across the structure.  I found it tricky to be of any help to the crop of uninspiring fashion lambs that came past during my hour at the helm................I'm so sorry, I am not usually negative but really every single girl looked the same and it drained me!  The only thing I could say towards the end was "Top Shop shoppers should keep shopping".   I find it so depressing when gorgeous looking gals feel the need to disguise their unique charm by hiding themselves in swathes of ethnic scarves.  Go get a life and get wearing some interesting accessories...........there is plenty in store to try out!  The highlight was blogger Shini Park coming to take her self-portrait in the to follow hopefully.
I nipped round the corner from SHOWstudio HQ to the flagship store to have a go myself and had a nice shy wave at Leith Clark who was the next contender.  Here are Nova Dando and Bubbles Gilmour who were manning the decks before me.  The event has been running for the last few days with input from the likes of Edward Enninful, Julie Verhoeven, Susie Lau, Bryan Boy, Mary Katrantzou and Katie Shillingford ending today.  Head down to Oxford Circus tomorrow if you are a Gaga fan as Nicola Formichetti will be at your disposal between 4-5.  Check the schedule for more info here.

Sat May 8th: Cassette Playa for Swatch

On Thursday night Carri invited me down to the ginormous  Shunt space under the arches of London Bridge station for the launch of her watch designed for Swatch.    To introduce the 2010 SWATCH & ART Collection to London, the brand decked out the venue with multimedia installations and interactive white-hot art pieces.  There was a mini cinema to sit down and watch documentaries about the four different artists chosen for the can watch Carri's interview here.  The 24hr faced timepiece comes in its own collectible spherical case in the quintessential CP eyeball emblem.  It must have been a child hood dream come true to collaborate with this iconic brand as it was such a omnipresent item when we were kids in the 80's.  I think its time (excuse the pun) for accessorizing with a watch to make a come back as an essential item after the practise has been phased out due to the replacement of clocks on phones.   There are 3 other exclusive styles to chose from by Ivan Navarro from New York, Enki Bilal from France and Manish Arora from India.
To see more from the event, check out Carri's blog.


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Thurs 6th May: NIYI on your radio

Just popped round the corner to catch NIYI before his radio show over at Diesel radio towers.........(in the same block as Christopher Kane, Emma Cook, Peter Jensen, Kim Howells and Skin.)
Listen live to his election day special now over at or check back later for a podcast.  There were 4 foam microphone covers for the guests...... one in each colour......yellow, green, blue and red................NIYI's mic is blue but that's no indication of his vote!  I know what it is but he's keeping it disclosed for the transmission!............tweet in to ask them any question here.

Thurs 6th May: Rubbish Party Political Broadcast

To get into the groove of today's election mania, I headed down to the Rubbish Party Political Broadcast at "The Parliamentary Waffle House".  Specially designed finger puppets acted out the scene whilst the house sipped on Prescott Punch and chowed down on Waffles ..........waffling on like Ken.  Nail Polish-ticians were on hand to paint your digits to match your pledge.  You could choose your "party" hat and show your vote by dropping it off in the ballot box.  Here is Dot in her hat, styled up with Rubbish dot stickers.
To buy your own finger puppet go here and watch them live here:

Thurs 6th May: You, Me & Everybody Else - Part 3 - Anna Leader

The final post of my preview to "You, Me & Everyone Else" photo exhibition opening this evening is from Anna Leader, the third artist from the group show of six.  Anna has been documenting the changing shape of her first time pregnant body through a series of self portraits and art direction of creating different masks for each stage.  Every individual guise is a diverse manipulation of materials from someone who is usually involved in polishing pixels rather than full credit Anna for pulling off this powerful set of timeless portraits.  To better explain the concept here are her own words:

"When I first became pregnant, several people told me I was now a warrior. I did not know how to respond as I did not feel like one and it left me with the question of how one can deliberately become a warrior. 
The most obvious thing that came to me was to dress like one. If feeling like one was intangible, I could try to look like one wearing a reproduction of a tribal mask full of symbolism and ritualistic weight.
All the 'warrior' masks produced so far for this series run with a similar vein of depicting a role one could assume in a moment of metamorphosis; an oversized and cumbersome body shield; a soldier esq. persona 
whose rigidity and stability seem absurd; a mask of fruit and fertility that are contracted by a jesters scarf. All leave something fleshy and insecure, an exposure to a grey area of doubt and contradiction in a transitional period."

"My favourite piece of equipment generally I think is the Mamyia 7II. It can take wonderfully sharp (when my focus isn't off...) medium format images, but is light and compact so you can kind of take it with you anywhere. It is also really silent, which is sad when you would like the heavy 'clunck' noise film cameras make, but great for going about your business un-noticed." 

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Weds 5th May: You, Me & Everybody Else - Part 2 - Tara Darby

Tara Darby needs little introduction to this blog as a regular featured artist and of course the recipient of the now illustrious rainbow birthday cake (reciped designed by Lily Vanilli)!  You can keep up to date with Tara's travelling antics over at her own blog with recent portraits of MGMT............  Tara's blog has been selected as one of AnOther Magazine's favourite titles on their Blog essential one-stop shop for anyone wishing to get an edited overview of the day's best treats.


To me, "You, Me and Everybody else" signifies the intimacy of recording any friendship or relationship on film... how memories get preserved and then shared by anyone else interested enough to take a look. 

My pictures are a series of my friend Milena taken over the last ten years.  Many are unguarded moments, some are more considered portraits, all tell a story of my friend and a friendship.  Milena is someone I have always been inspired to photograph and looking back over the huge amount of pictures I had of her made me realise how much we have done and seen together since we met back in 2000 when we were both assistants.
There will be a limited edition book called TuttoLula 2000-2010 which will be available to buy at the show.

Here is a little collection of my favourite cameras...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tues 4th May: You, Me & Everybody Else - Part 1 - Annie Collinge

Its going to be Ladies Night on Thursday when 6 photographers come together to launch their documentary portrait exhibition.  I have contacted half of the group to each send me a selected shot as preview of their own projects and an explanation of their interpretation of the umbrella theme that unites each separate component.  I also requested the girls to send over a snap of their favourite camera equipment to get a sense of what they like shooting on............all photographers are secret tech geeks/pervs so I like to know which shutter release flicks the switch for every one I meet!

Last year Annie sent me lots of photos for a little write up about her blog.  One of the images really stood out to me and I'm so happy that she has delved deeper and developed it further into this series.............I can't wait to see it all on Thursday! 

The title "You, Me and Everybody Else" represents our theme of extended portraiture, the idea that we all spent some substantial time with our subjects, rather than just going round and papping them once.  It's also inspired by Miranda July's 2005 film, just incase anyone was wondering.  
I met Linda in the street in New York, I took some pictures of her and she said that she was happy for me to take some more later on, I was a little terrified, not of her, but of going round to a complete stranger's apartment to photograph her for no particular reason, other than my own amusement.  After the first time, I realised that she just really enjoys being photographed, her and her boyfriend spend the weekends doing shoots together for fun. It was very refreshing to meet someone who doesn't ask you why you feel compelled to take pictures of them wearing a china town dragon perched on her head or in a strange yoga pose.

Here is me trying and failing to take an arty picture of my canon G10.  At the moment this is my favourite thing, I can put it in my bag and forget about it and then, when I see two dogs in a pram or sea of gravestones out of a window, I can whip it out..

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Mon 3rd May : Interview - Josh Caffe

There has been absolutely no escaping the new Levi’s campaign in London “The Craftworkers” ……..even more so for the models involved who have been standing at bus stops next to their own face or sitting on a bus with it stretched down the side.  I caught up with DJ Josh Caffe (formerly of Caffe Latte) for a cafĂ© latte and catch up at one of his local regular venues “Dalston Superstore”.  It turns out that most of the artisans in the adverts are from the East-End-Bermuda-triangle-bubble as the camera crew discovered when they visited them at home for their video interviews, which you can watch here.

Levi’s have cunningly crept back in to the consumer consciousness of London’s cutting edge by cashing in on the trend of promoting talent as the alternative fresh face for the brand.  As with the likes of Richard Nicoll & Cooperative Designs shooting their designer friends for last season’s look book, Levi’s have sought out a selection of the city’s blossoming crop of creatives.  You will either recognise or get to know a leading light in the new breed of set design, photography, illustration, sculpture, cookery, drumming, knitting etc. etc.  The individual identities were chosen for their unique skills, which you can investigate further at an exhibition in the flagship store on Regent Street.

Here are Josh’s records, which he put together to represent his "craft" as the only disc jockey amongst the collective.  I instantly recognised and dated Felix da Housecat and Les Rhythmes Digitales but had to ask Josh to explain the Steve Silk Hurley and Contrast choices.  I have now been introduced to 80’s Chicago house / disco and Detroit techno, which Josh plays out for its unabashed up-tempo, feel good dance floor fillers.  All 5 records encapsulate his nostalgic direction in accumulating sentimental tracks and the memories of discovering them, which strikes a dance chord when you hear it.  His own musical education started with house music of a nature literally closer to home………being at home when his older siblings had parties.  He picked up the R’n’B & Hip Hop records in their bedrooms and got locked into listening to Aaliyah, Jodeci, Sista, Naughty by Nature and Snoop.  All these early incarnations of the genre had Josh dancing in the front room with his high-top hair and planted the seed for wishing to share tunes to move to on a greater scale.  Growing up experiencing time spent between the UK, Uganda and New York and more recently Stockholm, you can now find Josh settled in London’s east end with a flat cap and signature smile!

We discussed how the current hip-hop mainstream industry crossover mish mash has diluted and destroyed the original pure sound.  Artists that instigated the movement have strayed off course and lost their way ………..losing love from followers in the wake of the fall out……..thus Josh diverting to disco and the kick drums of the previous decade………..when “four on the floor” beats shook the nightclub walls and celebrated free love and sexuality for the high energy crowd.  

……….Which brings me neatly to Josh’s favourite Levis advert from the past of the puppet Flat Eric directed by and featuring the French electro house track “Flat Beat” by Mr. Oizo, aka Quentin Dupieux.  And how about Josh's preferred design and pair of Levi’s?  Josh opts for the 1950’s workman’s dark indigo style with turn-ups and buttons to be worn with braces.  The styling of the "Craftworkers" story shot by Dean Chalkley was arranged to capture the essence of the subject so Josh wore his own clothes and took his favourite accessory – his headphones!  When I asked if there was another brand he might like to collaborate with, his answer was Acne who have recently brought out t-shirts designed by the band The Teenagers.  On the controversial questioning of personal opinion on double denim – do or don’t – Josh’s own take is “Yes” as long as its not stone-wash!  My sentiments exactly, although I can never quite get over the days of  B*Withched and “What are you like?”.

Moving swiftly on……………what have been the benefits of being involved in “The Craftworkers”?  Well, Josh got to open for N.E.R.D at the launch event last month, which was a definite career high as he is a big fan of the seminal supergroup.  The exposure has not just got his mug printed on the pages of music magazines but also slots playing across Europe ……..where most recently he ended up stuck in Berlin due to the dust cloud………with no suitcase for the duration!  Josh didn’t want to come across vain in divulging the details of disappointment in having to share friends clothes but his wardrobe is an important passion in his life……….. no doubt this element was key to this snappy dresser ending up in a campaign for an international clothing company!  Josh’s appearance is very easy on the eye and I have to confess that this interview strand to my job really isn’t half bad.  Especially when I can learn about music history from an enthusiastic, energised sweet natured hottie like Josh. 

To listen and learn for yourself, his next clubnight is this Friday “Double Up” playing alongside Lovely Jonjo (HOTBOY DANCING SPOT),  Mikki Most & Ian Robinson (TRAILER TRASH).  Check out here for details 

OR fire up his mixes on SoundCloud here

(Photos:  poster at South Kensington subway, exhibition at the Levis store, Josh at The Dalston Superstore)

Sun May 2nd : Shula's Wigwam Prism Party

Shula's Wigwam a.k.a Vickie Hayward and Chrissie Abbott have been tinkering for quite some time preparing their Prism Party at the Pattern Cutters..........plans of a Prince complete with Kareoke and motorbike for the purple (rain) room, giant swiss cheese for the yellow room and seacaves for the blue room.   Yes, an entire club of individually coloured rooms to comprise a whole spectrum.  Party goers were asked to wear white to reflect the projections and Smirnoff supplied drinks dyed and inspired by the theme........a ginger beer was infact cobalt blue.  I made the door girls some rainbow hair pieces and wore an iridescent spectrum foil piece myself.   Now Ive had a party in a monochrome  divided warehouse I just want my very own monochrome divided house...........a different room for each day of the week.........or just totally kitted out by Vernor Panton would suit me fine.

Sun May 2nd : Tony Hart recorded by Nick Knight

Thanks to Little Doodles for finding this from SHOWstudio and letting me know, its AMAZING!

Sun May 2nd : Telephone Hat, The Remixes

On average I gross aprox 15 communications a week from people requesting something connected to the Telephone Hat.  If I were to make a book to compile these varying bizarre messages I would like to illustrate it with accompanying artwork that also pops up.  I feel like Tony Hart putting up a little gallery here for everyone to see.........the top is my favourite - a birthday card by illustrator Alice Nyong.  Happy Birthday Shane!
  There are videos on youtube of lessons on how to make it................which is very interesting indeed as I don't think that I could figure it out again myself.........and on that note, NO I am categorically not going to make another, NO I cannot tell you how it was done and NO you cannot buy them ........sorry folks,  it was a one-off for the lady herself specially for the concept of the video.  
If one day I were to make another just for me, I would like it to look a little something like this phone that Alex Cunningham spotted: