Saturday 28 January 2012

Sat 28th Jan: NYC Galleries - Damien Hirst at Gagosian

On my last day in NYC last week I had the freakish and fantastic stroke of fate when I saw a very old friend having breakfast in the same hotel as me. Richard Toon and I were partners in crime on the fashion & textiles course at Brighton Uni and haven't seen much of each other since. Rich moved to Stockholm to work for H&M, fell in love, started a family and now head's up design at GANT. One of Rich's great fascinations is dots and spots - which has literally inspired his life with one of his daughters being named "Dot". He told me about the great Gagosian show Damien Hirst's 'The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011' happening in the city so that afternoon I headed West to check out the polka dot patterns..........
This retrospective is a simultaneous exhibition happening in across eleven Gagosian Gallery locations across the world. The works on show are all of Hirst's spot paintings, from the first spot created in 1986 up until the most recent pieces from 2011. The paintings range in size from a single half spot measuring 1.5 inches up to a painting depicting 25, 781 images, with no single colour ever repeated. The entire back catalogue has been pooled from private individuals and public institutions lending the pieces which make up the 300+ accumulated paintings. I had no idea that such a simple idea could be explored in so many different dimensions and scales. It all makes sense to me now! Some are on circular canvases, arranged in spiralling lines which give you a real disorientating experience as the spots flicker infront of you in a strange "magic eye" optical trick. I can't believe that they found enough colours from the household paint used to guarantee that no hue was repeated - astonishing! I'm sure lots of my readership know someone who has taken part in painting these works over the years at Damien's studio, so its great to have this opportunity to see them all brought together to appreciate the epic scale of the long running series...........
"I was always a colourist, Ive always had a phenomenal love of colour... I mean, I just move colour around on its own. So that's where the spot paintings came from - to create that structure to do those colours, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of colour." Damien Hirst
From pinning down colour to purchasing a little DH dot pin to add to my ever-growing collection.............see above!
The exhibition opened worldwide on January 12th so I recommend taking a visit to your nearest one.........

Thursday 26 January 2012

Fri 27th Jan: Danny Sangra - Behind the scenes on set of Lianne La Havas "Forget" video shoot

Whilst I was watching CharliXCX and The Maccabees at Koko, Lianne La Havas was playing to another crowd of musos in central London at The Heavenly Social. Its a luscious voice and sound I have had on my radar from both Radio 6 and Black Cab Sessions so I was very excited to see that Danny Sangra directed her latest beautiful video. I contacted him to find out more and fortunately he made time to compile these shots to share whilst he's busy shooting in Paris this week:

"I met up with Lianne just before christmas as we both happened to be in LA at the same time staying in the same neighbourhood despite the fact we both live in Hackney
I said how I wanted to build a set using shadows as the bulk of the set.
Sarianne Plaisant
helped me designing the set. We made a little mock up in a shoe box (you can see my tests at the top) she then went and built it for real.
The video is much softer than most of my other work. Using more pastels (which is tough as I'm colour blind so I had to be really specific) I knew I didn't want any bright white in the video."

I'm equally in love with this graphic promo and her fun dancing around the set as the raw guitar riff and cutting clear vocal of bitter sweet truths - its a catchy one I can't turn off! Lianne has a string of future gigs coming up so there are more opportunities to catch her if you haven't already ......... check her site for dates and venues............... "heed my sound advice" = she's one of the most exciting new faces of British female singer / songwriters ........

Read archive posts on Danny here, here, here and here.
Check out the stylist Beth Buxton here.

Thurs 26th Jan: HARK x Jaguar Shoes Exhibition


You will have noticed a few posts recently in preparation and build up to Andy Macgregor and Audrey Roger's joint venture and exhibition "Hark". The graphic pattern paper totem poll pieces have finally been transported from nestling in the storage nets at their studio and been installed at The Old Shoreditch Station gallery. The show opens this evening and runs till the 18th March with a stop-frame animation and posters produced in conjunction with the actual artifacts assembled. Its an army of precision cut cardboard cubes arranged in tessellating formations to configure abstract stalactite and stalagmite sculptures hinged to reflective silver surfaces added for a mind bending infinity effect. Drop in for a maccihato and enjoy the experience of sitting amongst a myriad of magical futuristic Mayan inspired interior design.........

HARK at Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DA

(Top 2 photos: Andy & Audrey studio pics by Hark)

Thurs 26th Jan: Behind The Scenes of 'She is a Rainbow' on Volt Cafe - report by Emily Beard

These behind the scenes images give a peek at the work behind editorial 'She Is A Rainbow' just released on Volt Cafe'. The shoot features an array of whimsical colour with a kawaii edge, and a few Fred Butler pieces for good measure.

Photography & Layout Rebecca Hawkes
Styling & Art Direction Emily Beard
Make up Anne Sophie Costa, Hair Haruhide Ishizaki
Model Tessa@Select, Make up assistant Danielle Byrne

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Weds 25th Jan: Charli_XCX

This season I am working with a new musician Charli XCX on writing an exclusive track that she will perform at my LFW presentation................ so I went to see her perform at KOKO last night as part of the MTV Brand New For 2012 tour.......... with one of my favourite bands The Maccabees .............
Watch this space for updates on my musical collaboration with Charli which has been made possible with the help of Red Bull Catwalk Studio (logo illustrated by Alex Noble). We will be working together down at Red Bull HQ to record and produce the track with their team and facilities resulting in the final song as a free download over on the site going live on the day of my show. Head over here to find out details .......... with more photos from our sessions coming next week .......... follow the progress live on Twitter @rbstudioslondon
To see an archive contribution post from Felix of The Maccabees go here.

Mon 23rd Jan: Nike+ Fuel Band launch, NYC in film

Nike + Launch Day from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Mon 23rd Jan: Nike+ Fuel Band launch, NYC at Roberta's Pizzeria

After the work-out and almost reaching our ultimate Nike+ Fuel points goal, it was time to recharge our bodies with fuel ........... in an active culinary class which took the form of an authentic Italian Stone baked pizza workshop at Roberta's. We learnt that flinging the dough around is actually an affection which results in loosing vital air pockets to aid rising so we perfected the knuckle roll and pattacake rotation technique! Never touch the outside rim so that the crust stays light and airy............ use tinned tomatoes for the sauce as they were canned fresh from the tree which is tastier than raw ones which have sat around .............. Mozzarella loses flavour so these guys make their own every morning................ sling on whatever topping you fancy - arugula gives a crispy addition I didn't know about.......... but I actually put EVERYTHING on mine .......... just to see, like ............ artichoke, olives, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, garlic, speck................. spectacular! All washed down with homestyle lemonade and a mug of cwarfee..............

This was the best pizza I have ever sampled in my life. It was prepared and cooked within 10 minutes so I could still taste the essence from inhaling the scents whilst layering the multi-colour topping. The crust was steaming with the stone oven smoke.......... I don't think any pizza will ever live up to this one. The complete fun experience of baking with the Bridgerunners made it taste all the more out of this world!
Props to Nike for introducing us to the art of proper pizza making!

Monday 23 January 2012

Mon 23rd Jan: Nike+ Fuel Band launch, NYC at Bartendez

Once we had been synced up with our very own Nike+ Fuel band it was time to put the theory into action and get physical! Still totally in the dark about what the day's activities had in store we looked out of the window of a bus ........... driving out of Manhattan, across the bridge to then deliver us at this Brooklyn destination - Bartendez. Once inside the gymnasium a stopwatch was started and we had to quickly locate our numbered locker and change into a kit awaiting us. My dude's name nominated me with a football kit instead of the ladies svelte spandex, but I didn't mind because I curiously felt more empowered in the boy's attire!
Now to the sporty part .......... it was all about upper body strength and working out the arms with the Bartendez who hyped us up in a frenzy of body slam push ups. This unique practise is built around a combination of military drills, calisthenics and break dancing. After warming up on the floor it was onto the bars and a process of rounds doing chin ups which miraculously I kept up with........ my standard level of fitness did me proud! As our breath got shorter and our heart rate got quicker we could see our Nike+ Fuel points sore up the LED scale on the wrist band. This sense of achievement was echoed with the group motivational chants and hollas following lead from the dexterous dynamic martial arts Bartendez demonstrating how its done. I think we needed to stay in Brooklyn for at least another year on their physical fitness program before getting anywhere near their superior athleticism, but all in all we did well for a bunch of bloggers! Red faced and sweaty we were onto the next installment of the trail and back on the bus to the next surprise pit-stop............

Sunday 22 January 2012

Sun Jan 22nd Jan: Nike+ Fuel Band launch, NYC

.......... the new NIKE+ FUEL BAND product that launched at this special social-media savvy event, is a devise that will bring your physical performance to the very same interface. I suggest you get up from your seat and start jogging on the spot as you read this ........ which will all make sense by the end and you would have earned some hypothetical NIKE+ FUEL power points......

International "influencers" (geeks such as I) were brought together in NYC on Thursday to be the first to see this secret formula and road test its performance whilst it tracked our own. When the team members came together from far flung destinations to join forces for a group mission, it felt like we were the excitable families taking part in that golden ticket visit to Willy Wonker's Chocolate Factory. The clusters of critics were whisked into the elevator of the High Line Studios until we came to a stage lit by hundreds of LEDs......... which we later realised was a giant replica of the wristband itself. The announcement (drum) rolled out as a fanfare of beats via two percussionists calling and answering each others riffs in a game of high hat tennis, bouncing juicy beats across the stage which caused the set's lights to travel from red thru amber to green............ a further nod to what was to come. The fact the battling musicians in question were Questlove from The Roots and Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa was only the beginning of the highlights to capture my curiosity.........

What can I tell you? Its an accessory. Its made of coloured lights. It keeps you fit. BAM. 3 of my preoccupations in one animal. Perhaps this is the reason I found myself at this incredible event......... and thank goodness I AM fit as we were later challenged to test the technological invention with a group of criminally agile athletes. However, the objective of this state-of-the-art piece of equipment is not aiming exclusively to sportscentrics but diametrically open to absolutely anybody and everybody. We all have a body and its what we do with it on a daily basis that makes our own unique workout and this is the message of "Nike+ Fuel" and making it count. Perfect timing if you are feeling that you haven't quite asserted or maintained your new year's resolution of implementing fitness into your regime. Nike are on a mission to educate us desk dwellers that an unavoidable seditionary existence can actually be easily and realistically altered. By setting yourself an energy goal in the morning, its up to you to burn it off however you wish, which will inspire decisions such as taking the stairs instead of the escalator or getting off the bus a stop earlier to walk to the door. Every decision counts and switching how you regard one simple movement as a way to keep fit is a small but effective way to long term well being.
Nike+ Fuel is a method to measure your activity in a new metric score system which counts steps, calories and time in this wearable neat device (via a system originally based on oxygen uptake). As you make progress in reaching the end goal, the inbuilt lights change colour a little like KITT from Knight Rider - making this piece of kit the nearest thing to your own answerable motivational kit. Nike Rider, if you will.

You can sync the program to an iPhone app to share with friends on facebook for even more motivation and encouragement e.g training for a marathon together ......... and check in on others targets on the worldwide cloud of users which will include professional athletes such as pro basketball player Kevin Durrant, current world's fastest woman Carmelita Jeter, and cycling legend Lance Armstrong who were at the event. But you don't need to be an Olympic winner to take part, the focus is rewarding your ability the same as any sports star. "If you have a body, you are an athlete", "Life is a sport" and "Just Do It" are a few of Nike's slogans. As any action counts, it could be dancing on a night out or if you are the other side of the turntables - schlepping vinyl and changing records on the decks also counts! Great news for me and another of the Brit crew, Thristian Richards who is the man behind Boiler Room TV who you can see in the photo above being filmed by director Grace La Doja. Grace counts carrying her camera equipment around as a key activity in her career and Cassetteplaya can measure her Nike+ Fuel during her weekly swims as its waterproof. Another of our team players, writer Charlie Dark heads up RunDemCrew which is a running club in East London who meet on Tuesday evenings for en masse training if you fancy joining a free and fun exodus of exercisers. If you've been on a night out in Shoreditch and thought you've been swept up in a scene from Warriors, chances are it was pack of 150 RunDemCrew runners sprinting past you............. something I fancy signing up to after seeing the inspiring bridge runners in NYC. I already cycle to work every day and do a yoga class in a concious attempt to battle stress clamping my body down to a squashed bag of nerves and also to stay supple till I'm in my 80's like the guru that is Vidal Sassoon. I'm hoping and aiming to still be doing sun salutations into my seventies...........

Without wishing to sound like a converted Drum'n'Bass star to Bikram, I do genuinely believe in the unparallelled pay back from natural endorphins produced from exercise that swoosh around my body after activity. Ive recently got into hula hooping which I can highly recommend as a ridiculously funny but effective work out! Whatever you think will get you standing up out of the "laptop hunch" then just get going......... start implementing this train of thought in training your body with easy steps ........ and before you know it, the Nike+ Fuel band will be on the market to record it .......on sale in the US on February 22, in the UK on May 1. Check it.............