Friday 1 December 2017

Friday 1st December: #SAMPLEchristmas at Greenwich Peninsula

The artist at work = Darkroom prepping for the #SAMPLEchristmas artisan market at Greenwich Peninsula this weekend.  "Urban Village" curated by Hemingway Design is put together to support seventy independent makers and producers.  The late-night food and drink fair opens tonight with live music performances from Ebony Steel band and DJ sets including Worldwide FM's Ruby Savage.  Follow the lights to find the festive scene as neon sign makers, God’s Own Junkyard have set up a gateway light installation specially for the weekend.  Workshops will be available from the designers taking part including candle-making, wreath-making, chocolate-tasting, macrame plant hangers, printing letterpress and origami.   Follow the link to book your place.

Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0SQ
Saturday 2 Dec 10am - 11pm & Sunday 3 Dec 10am - 7pm

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Wednesday 29th November: Basquiat: Boom For Real at The Barbican

After paying out for the initial entry to an exhibition I can never justify the additional cost of an audio guide, however much I know that it'll benefit the experience.  But luckily and uniquely the Basquiat show at The Barbican has no need for such extra premium insight as everything has conscientiously been included within the show.  Every item of in the retrospective of his life's work has a complimentary description, decoding the origin and possible references.  This meant that I happily spent two hours around the two floors without notion of time passing.  I didn't event stop to watch film clips, my focus was reading annotations and peering into the paint.  It's an incredible collection, all pulled together from so many different places and personal collections.  There's the famous block-buster canvases and then rarer ephemera treasured from friends and poignant moments in time.  Postcards, letters, sketches, matchboxes, books, xerox, a baseball helmet, a vase and even a fridge all tagged with graffiti or doused in oil paint and pigment.
  It seems completely inexplicable that he achieved so much in his 9 year career especially as he seemed to enjoy the social scene of his New York network too.  He was discovered at a party and continued to form working relationships and collaborations with friends made whilst out and about but yet he was prolific in turning out both quality and quantity in work.  This is highlighted in a self-portrait that he made of himself with Andy Warhol after a photoshoot with the artist which he delivered back to him a couple of hours later with the canvas still wet.  
Each chapter from his journey is catalogued in a timeline of rooms within the Barbican Gallery.  Therefore you can see the ascension from street artist SAMO to international superstar of the downtown art scene.  Along the ride he plays in a band, produces a record, acts in a film, has numerous romantic attachments and manages to cut and grow his afro into multiple styles from Mohawk to twists to his iconic locks which inspired the future genre "Funki Dred".  It's fair to say that his personal image was just as powerful, impactful and alluring as his work.  So why is it that such a profitable artist in today's market and who had an equally public profile in his own lifetime is still relatively void in the mainstream's knowledge of art history?  His paintings are amongst the highest sellers at auction and his raw talent equal to that of any other household name artist.   That is why the Barbican's show is really, really important in positioning his legacy in the mindframe of the masses as a genius mark-maker, not just a Uniqlo T-Shirt.
The one emblem we probably all know him for and attribute to his name is his signature logo of the illustrated crown.  But what we might not realise is that it came about from his trips to the MET Museum admiring the Baroque Caravaggio religious scenes.  Or that the stick-man style can be attributed to his research into Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the symbols of "Hobo" signs.  Infact his preoccupation for body representation (and possible fascination with Caravaggio's anatomical realism) came from a childhood influence of being given Gray's Anatomy by his mum when he was in hospital recovering from an accident.  Which brings us to the subject of mortality and the undeniable unease and lingering questions within his narratives and obsessions.  It's so bizarre and such a shame that his gift was so short lived but we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that he is just one of the special souls who stepped to the other side in the twenty-seven club.

Thanks to the Barbican for this epically brilliant show, I can only apologise for breaching the wishes of taking photos but I think it is for the greater good to share.  
These images have been collated from four anonymous secret squirrels............... and my snaps of the two Banksy works on the outside walls of the Barbican Centre (see Mitchell for scale).

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Tuesday 28th November: Carhartt WIP Kings Cross Opening Party

My previous post explains the exhibition and publication for Carhartt WIP by LAW Magazine which launched in conjunction with the new store designed by Faye Toogood.  Here are images from that opening night with some of the musicians, MC's and poets who modelled the collection in a film commissioned for the project.  The acts included are Abondance MatandaFlohioNilufer Yanya and Oscar #worldpeace – who can all be seen wearing the custom Carhartt WIP Chore Coats customised by London's menswear designers in the clip.  The party was also soundtracked by the likes of Martelo, Miles Hartley and Shy FX captured here on the controls.  Needless to say by the end of the night the whole affair was totally out of control......... in the best way only Londoners know how!  Kings Cross Carhartt WIP in now officially anointed by Pabst Blue Ribbon and open......

All photos thanks to Mitchell McGillvary

Monday 27 November 2017

Monday 27th November: Carhartt WIP Kings Cross Opening

Last week Carhartt WIP opened their fourth London location in the new development at Kings Cross by Granary Square and Central St. Martins.  I've been looking forward to this concept store since hearing about the new site a very long time ago and more recently seeing developments under way as I have been past.  A small slither of the ceiling has been on view exposing a grid of circular lamps which became repeated as a graphic for the launch identity.  Here you can see the artwork of textile polkadots by Jason Evans commissioned by LAW Magazine who curated an exhibition and publication to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the iconic Carhartt WIP Chore Coat.  The team worked with design house "Toogood" who are responsible for the layout of the interior.  To mark the centenary, other menswear designers were asked to make an imaginary image of the Chore coat as it will be in the next one hundred years on the theme of "2117".  Here you can see Toogood's own interpretation as a padded jacket treated with latex and an embroidered patch jacket by Sadie Williams.  Judy Blame also embellished a one-off piece with his trade-mark pins and rivets which no doubt inspired the party's freebies of badges to pocket.  Alongside other collaborations from Christoper Shannon and Kara Messina was a Liam Hodges installation on the shop's forecourt of a polyhedron tent made from patchwork coats.  Infact the entire surface-area of the walls and shelves inside the shop are upholstered in duck canvas .......... and the hanging Carharrt logo sign on the outside!  It looks like a massive undertaking for the brand, in perfect position for international foot-fall right by the Eurostar terminal.  The covetable classics from this utilitarian fashion line will now look even more desirable in this tactile and avant-garde store.

(All photos by me except the last of me, from the Carhartt WIP blog)

Sunday 26 November 2017

Sunday 26th November: Support 3rd Rail Print Space in Peckham

Every Summer Londoners visit Peckham's derelict multi-storey carpark for the open-air sculpture park (Bold Tendencies) and city skyline view drinks destination (Franks Bar). Now the seven separate floors leading up to this rooftop cultural hub will become a year-round hive of artistic activity. For six years "Peckham Levels" will become a centre for small businesses to set up shop in affordable studios for their own practise and operate as a public resource. One of these enterprises will be London's biggest open access screen printing studio from South London's 3rdRail Print Space. This means their artists in residence can engage with the local community and visa versa. Southwark Council's ambition for the project is to transform this empty space into a new grassroots creative destination that will offer longterm opportunities for independent enterprises and local people. The overall layout will also include food stalls and refreshments, music rehearsal rooms, photography and ceramics studios. Visitors will be able to book a desk or meeting area in a co-working space, have a hair cut, take a yoga class or stay for an evening cocktail! 
All of this will be opening on the 8th December for us to have a poke around and enjoy a Hawaiian Poke bowl!  But just before we can settle down to sampling on the 3D printer or sampling Other Side Fried's chicken burgers and shakes, there are some final logistics to take care of.  Some of the facilities still need support in the finishing touches.  3RD Rail have raised enough for rent and bills but experienced a shortfall in trying to cover the refurbishment costs. With the launch fast approaching they’ve set up a Kickstarter  campaign to raise the additional £10,000 needed to make the multifaceted print studio a reality.  This means that you can pre-book sessions / services at bargain prices as rewards in exchange for backing the project.  For example they are giving away one day t-shirt printing workshops for just £50!  You'll be able to book into either a paper, fabric or garment printing class depending on your fine art or fashion application.  The equipment caters for novices and pros so anyone can have a go at trying out the process or setting up a production line.  Head over to the Kickstarter page to check out the different packages available such as purchasing limited edition artist T-Shirts or print series to discounted rent on desk and studio spaces.  All donations will be gifted with a ticket to their launch party in January where you’ll get to print your own tote bag.    

All images c/o 3RD Rail.