Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Central Saint Martins BA Fashion Show 2009

One of the most anticipated dates on the fashion calendar, Central Saint Martins Fashion BA once again put on a show that displayed the vast range of talent from over 40 forward thinking students, many of whom seem to be kicking off recession blues with power dressing responses.

In these leaner-than-lean times graduates should choose to move away from a slim line into the bulk of expansive metres of painstakingly wrought fabric, whether outsize proportions, billowing trains or vast crinolined skirts.

Indeed, volume was a general trend, with bold and hefty shoulders, low slung crotches and a few plumped feather-stuffed puffa’s.

The winning collection was Dutch fashion print student Marie Hill, who sent out a series of fluorescent-techno bodycon cocktail dresses, with the body divided by contour lines of delicate folds with spider webs taut at the back. Hill won L’Oreal Professionnel’s 1st prize for her designs which certainly epitomised the power woman.

By Imogen Eveson, Carmen Ho

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Lives of Buildings Festival at Trinity Buoy Wharf

jotta artist Lee Simmons exhibits his work ‘The Hidden Histories of a Broken Boat’ an exhibition and workshop in the Chain Store at Trinity Buoy Wharf this weekend.

Behind Closed Doors gives the public a chance to take a look inside the studios of the Trinity Buoy Wharf creative community.

Find out about the low cost but highly effective approach that turned a former buoy manufacturing site into a thriving centre for the arts and creative industries that includes a range of historic buildings and London's only lighthouse alongside the innovative Container Cities- housing and workspaces built inside containers.

Take a peek at artists and fashion designers at work whilst having the opportunity to purchase a one off straight from its creator.

Wheelhouse from a wrecked boat is residing at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, where the memories of this structure are visibly evolving as drawings and photographs: a walk in book.

jotta artist Lee Simmons has work and will be taking part in workshops which invite visitors to interpret the boat's past, to record it's stories in colour, and therefore contribute to a book in process.

There will be a series of 1 1/2 hour dynamic painting, drawing and drama workshops for young people (of any age), with the artist. Water based paints will be used, all skill levels are welcome.


27th & 28th June

12pm - 1.30pm & 3pm - 4.30pm

All ages (under 5yr's must be accompanied by an adult)



By Millie Ross

Craig Barnes

Craig Barnes seeks to make 3d objects in an increasingly two-dimensional world. Fresh out of Central Saint Martins Fine Art BA, Barnes employs an arsenal of seemingly redundant modern materials to create architectural sculptures, which while responding to contemporary living, also seek to re-appraise the forgotten moments of the past.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I can’t help myself.

What or who inspires you?
Car boot sales and people who do their own thing.

What is your final piece ‘Corbusier’s Cabanon,’ about?
Le Cabanon was the only building the architect Corbusier built for himself. Located on the French Riviera, the building is humble in scale but rich in the proportional detail inherent in Le Modular, his system of sizing which draws heavily on the human figures proportions. "Le Caban-non" (my piece) is an approximation of it constructed using a modular system derived from a standard wood panel sized sheets of 2440mm x 1220mm (or in imperial ft, 8' x 4').

What’s your favourite object?
Right now, a small ceramic lobster.

Your work that features a bicycle and paint (the bicycle powered centrifugal casting machine) looks like a lot of fun…
I was working with ways of affecting the casting process without directly being in contact with the material. It was an experiment to see how plaster would set when a centrifugal force was applied (ie, spinning it) - would it retain its 'shape', the same vortex like shape that you get when you take the plug out the bath. The shape of the mould itself was a circular piece of cardboard folded into 12 sections that allowed the mould to be removed leaving the moulded plaster intact. It was open at the top to allow the plaster to be poured in, and was also a little wonky, which aided the spillage greatly. The mould leaked if I cycled too fast. It was filled with coloured plaster and it took me a week to remove the spillage of the floor. It was a happy accident however.

How was your recent degree show?
Rather pleasant all told. It was certainly a relief to let go of the work and see how people took it. I had some great conversations with a bunch of people. I sold two pictures and had a small piece stolen, which at this point I'm beyond caring about. In fact, I'll take it as a compliment. However, I am now in quite great need of a bacon sandwich and cup of tea.

What are your plans for after you graduate?

Lie down for a bit, and get back up again.

By Stephanie Grace

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Itamar Ferrer

Itamar Ferrer is a designer in the broadest sense, her practice stretches far and wide, you name it she’s done it. Winner of the NEU NOW design brief for ELIA, her innovative logo was highly praised by the judges. Itamar talks to jotta about adapting to the challenges of London and the value of perserverence.
A firm believer in the future and its possibilities, Itamar has grabbed every opportunity and produced some mind-blowing work, from drawing voices with light to tackling the future of education through interaction and collaboration.

Your website states that you are ‘working, living and enjoying London,’ coming from Venezuela what is it about London that you like?
Coming to London from Venezuela was a big leap; I mean literally you have to cross an ocean! And despite missing terribly the beautiful warm Venezuelan weather (and by now I know that I will never get over that!) I enjoy London’s diversity... in every sense. The fact that you can live here for years and there will always be something to discover, is fantastic. Just walking down the street and seeing creativity expressed in so many shapes and forms makes me smile and reassures me that I can just be me, and do what I enjoy here. And despite what the general opinion may be regarding the current situation, I still think there are many opportunities in this city. One just has to be creative…and persevere.

You recently won a competition to design a logo for the ELIA, how did you come up with the concept?
Winning the competition for ELIA was a wonderful surprise. One aspect of the brief was to take into account that the logo had to somehow represent something ‘truly European’. As you can imagine, not an easy task for a Latin American! So besides looking into European references, I did two main things: ask all my European friends what being European meant to them and I armed myself with a camera, walking around London taking pictures of things and situations that I thought were, or looked European in my eyes.
It was a difficult one. The concept came out quite mixed and fresh. I’m happy with it.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I freelance regularly for Design Against Crime at Central Saint Martins Innovation Centre and Textile Futures Research Group, developing their communication design and strategies, assisting in project management and administration.
I’m also developing a social design project with Universidad del Zulia in Venezuela (where I did my BA) and continue to participate in different competitions. I'm keen on exploring and applying my visual communication skills to other design areas, collaborate, continue learning and gather other experiences. To be honest, I'm happiest when I get to stick my fingers in different pies.

In the past you have set up a design studio, how did you find that process?
It was immensely gratifying, beautifully difficult, endlessly challenging, character strengthening, self-reliant, terrifying, liberating, restrictive and attractively independent. It has been one of the biggest learning curves I have had professionally, and personally. It taught me many lessons about myself, how to be strangely bold and confident, develop my design skills, handle a business, speak to clients, manage budgets and overall how to communicate with people. Definitely one of the best experiences I have ever had and one of the reasons I am now in London.

I will definitely do it again…….someday.

You were a recipient of the Program Alban Scholarship in 2007, which enabled you to undertake postgraduate study at Central Saint Martins, how beneficial did you find this?
Coming to Central Saint Martins in London and doing my MA was an amazing experience. It has definitely influenced my way of thinking and literally changed my life. I know, I know, it sounds like a cliché but take into account that I am thousands of miles away from my home country. I really do have to thank Program Alban’s scholarship and their generosity, as well as my family for supporting me in this choice. They were both key in enabling me to come to London. I am certain that without the Alban scholarship I would not been able to study at such a prestigious institution as CSM. It has been beneficial from every angle you can view it: I developed my design and conceptual skills, have been re-introduced to the world of design, met people from all around the world, made friends, I'm developing more work and have had the opportunity to do a bit of traveling… what more can I say?

You had a really interesting and varied career, what drives you?
I sometimes ask myself that same question: “And why am I doing this exactly?” and I do ask myself a lot of questions...
But truthfully I enjoy beginnings, the excitement of starting new things, responding to different situations, researching into varied subjects and disciplines and specially working with other people. I think that’s one of the things I enjoy the most about being a designer: you’re always changing what you are working on. You start something, see it develop through, finish it, hand it over, move on to the next thing and start all over again. I'm of a restless character and I'm always up for a challenge so if I had to do the same thing everyday in the same way, I would be terribly bored and frustrated.

Do you have any words of wisdom for recent graduates?

Persevere, persevere, persevere and one more thing, persevere! Have fun. Fail and learn. Enjoy what you do and do it with heart, as there are always opportunities out there. Just be ready to go when they come!

For more of Itamar's work click here

By Stephanie Grace

Emma Rios and Dan Price: Cutters Delight

Emma Rios is a sought-after illustrator and cut-out queen. Her intricate drawings hint at dark undertones and the sets and scenes she creates are of fairy-tale proportions. Dan Price’s on-the-road photography style captures epic journeys across cultural landscapes, his camera know-how knows no limits.
Imagine what happens when these two multi-talented individuals decide to work together- a magical mash-up of illustration and occurs.

Emma, how would you describe Dan?

Dan likes challenges so he’s good to work with. When he’s working things out in his head he slaps his thighs making good drumbeats, now I keep doing it too. His photography is really beautiful, full of colour and adventure. Dan likes boys’ stuff, bikes, robots and making things out of cardboard. He’s sharp as you like, so good with ideas; he is a creative jack-of-all-trades. I am yet to find something he is not good at...mmmm sometimes he’s really late for stuff, ha ha.

Dan, how would you describe Emma?
I am always impressed by Emma's confident approach to projects, her ideas are always strong and fun and it's such a treat to watch her draw and make her elegant paper cut-outs. Above all she's super-inspiring to work with! (And she likes good music and buys me biscuits/coffee/chocolate to keep me going)

How did you end up collaborating?

Emma: We where flung together to make a book for the Royal Hospital London, I was pretty sad because I wanted to work with my friend Harry but actually Dan was so brilliant I am glad we worked together on that one.
Dan: We immediately clicked on a creative level, and friend level!

What work have you done together?
Dan: We're currently working together on a King James-themed 'make-your-own-amazing-hat-and-then-be-photographed-like-a-king' marquee for West End Live (this weekend Leicester Square!). I look forward to working with Emma again in the future.

What are your working on now individually?
Emma: My next project is top secret but it is some set design.
Dan: My next project involves riding all over the UK to photograph huge Radio masts in the middle of nowhere.

Catch Emma and Dan at the V&A on Friday 26th June where they have created the hilarious and amazing CHip CHop illustrationworkshop. An illustrative journey from the newsroom to the chip shop complete with battered verbs and vowels, ketchup glue pots, newsroom tension and our special seaside megamix, think Ian Drury, Cockney 80s and Martin Parr. Click here for more details.

For more of Emma Rios work click here

For more of Dan Price's work click here

By Stephanie Grace


One big and very instrumental piece of the South London puzzle, Pat and Trevor are an independent curatorial duo, who after splashing their innovative experiments in sound ‘n’ vision across South London roofs, basements and pool parties, moved onto the posher confines of the ICA, Whitechapel Gallery and Tate Britain. Their latest project is set to be bigger than ever and calls for ideas from YOU.

This Is Why We Meet is an investigation, celebration and showcase of collaborative working practice within the arts. A call out for collaborative installation ideas from University of the Arts London students.

How was the idea for the project born?
We were running the Sassoon Gallery in Peckham and working a massive range of shows from MA Sculpture at Wimbledon to boyleANDshaw performance work and experimental music events with Janek Schaefer (British Composer of the Year 2008) and a very special Seb Rochford/Leafcutter John collaboration. We were constantly meeting people, talking, working, collaborating. Laura Vent (from WK) must've been coming to some of the things going on there and wanted us to work with her space at Wieden+Kennedy. At the same time as all this we we're tutoring. It was all about collaboration, exhibiting and meeting people.

Both being fairly recent graduates yourselves, how do you feel about working with students both in this project and as lecturers at London College of Communication?
We feel like current students who graduated 2 years ago. We've been working hard since leaving London College of Communication and have had the chance to work on incredibly interesting projects at respected institutions. Actually Pat And Trevor started when we were still in college. Now there are things we can pass on to students about working together.

Some of the best advice and tuition we got from college was from our peers. We're just at the next stage. We can talk to students about what happens next, and most of the time, they believe us.

The work produced for the competition is going to be collaborative and participatory. How important are these aspects of art practice are at the moment?
They are very important, it seems.There is a difference, however, between participation (you create a situation/have a proposition and invite people to take part in it), and collaboration (something that emerges together from a group of people, always built together) - our good friend Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre pointed this out.

Chaos and challenge can (sometimes) take your experiments further. I found a nice video with Jim Dine talking about collaboration. Usually working in solitude (but for his tools, Pinocchio, an owl, a raven), he says, "It gets lonesome being an artist in a studio. It's a social act as much as anything. And sometimes you run out of ideas, it [collaboration] gives you ideas."
So collaboration is just another way of working.

How will your other work as Pat And Trevor inform this project?
We will be using everything we have learned ever, go out all guns blazing, throw the kitchen sink at them, and then see what happens.

Actually, the most important thing we have to be concerned with is creating an environment in which students will be comfortable. It is going to be very intense, there is a budget for materials, a studio space, and 4 students. We have no idea what is going to happen, but that's what makes it so exciting.

What will the students gain from taking part?
There will be thousands of people walking past their piece every day which is always a good thing. They will meet lots of fascinating people, they will be pushed to experiment, they will be busy and they can do or say anything they want. And they won't be assessed! Actually, we might devise our own special assessment criterion...

By Millie Ross

Sash B

Sash B is a recent graduate of the Fine Art MA at Central Saint Martins, his choreographed performances seek to redefine space; he draws new boundaries that defy limitations as lines reach over, above, across and eventually beyond. jotta talk to him about marking his territory, dis-lexic dance practices and intellectual masturbation. Can you tell us something about yourself? I find it very difficult to hit repeatedly on my head with my right hand, and simultaneously make circles on my belly with my left hand.

What mediums do you choose to work in and why? I try to 'keep missing a step' between Disciplines and media. Which is implied by my exploring a 'dislexic In between', isn't it?
I listen to Dance. I Install words. I sew painting. I Draw dis-placement, dis-function, dis-tortion.

How important is the ephemeral aspect of your work? I like my practice to be time consuming and resulting in ephemeral works. Because I like the Wisdom of the Absurd.

Like the needle of my sewing machine biting into the flesh of the paper, whilst biding together fragments of paper... I like this transient and fragile quality of my work, because it materialises the flowing and elusive quality of the artistic Quest (made 'flesh' in Dance). I like to dwell on the ephemeral. Guess I like stretching Time in Space.

Can you tell us about the relationship your art practice has to a dance practice? My work is inspired by my 'DIS-lexic' way of processing the world. Which I approach through the hyperlaxity of my body, and my moving between practices and media. I am a Fine artist who searches through a dance-based practice based on improvisation, fusing choreographic process & performance in the flow of a same Space & Time, thus giving flesh to my quest for the 'equation of an overlapping of categories and a slippage of levels', by being in the process, thinking through it and showing it as a result. And... putting a stop to intellectual masturbation. Sometimes.

I investigate a 'Double Axis of Dis-location', through the dislexic In-Between of 'Trans-lation', between and within Stretching, Geometry, Space, Time and Language. My interest lies in the tridimensional tension between a very physical approach of a 'Concept', its translation into abstract/linguistic/mathematical terms and domestic items/material/situations. To make abstraction figurative. Whilst keeping its methaphoric quality, whilst keeping it 'grounded 'into a physical practice that is about being 'centered'.

In the ‘Hunting for the Inbetween’ series your photographs feature a physical trace, an outline… Your work seems to deal heavily with boundaries and borders...Liked your association of ideas here: from the 'In-between-dance-and-Fine-art' to 'please talk about borders'. Yes I was trying to cut or sticky tape ‘through/across/over' the claustrophobic and authoritarian limitations that established 'categories' are, to suggest the 'beyond'. Was trying to create a new logic of classification. Like in 'My-friend's-hairdo-that-was-so-much-part-of-my-landscape'.

What or who inspires you?
Deleuze and his Rhizome, the pink contortionist at 'Britain's got talent', Yvonna Rainer, Francys Allys, changing gears in my car on my Island.

I am interested in the paradox within the notion of 'process', which is about the 'Now and Here' experience. But it also implies a 'forward', a direction, a 'becoming', a 'work in progress'. For me those sum up the 'elusive but pregnant' qualities embedded in the always 'middle of the Now' that the 'In-between' is, embodied in the flow of a 'constantly renewed Now' in Dance.

What are you currently working on? Currently working beautifully in my studio. And on a project, Yes, which is my In-between with your next question. Do you have any up-coming exhibitions? Watch out for 'Time Out' in October, for 'The Artist & the Institution, the Body & Fine Art: a DIS-lexic In-Between'. It may happen.
But let's not sell the skin of the bear before killing the bear, we say in French...

To see more of Sash's work click here

By Stephanie Grace

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Invisible Library

We’ve all read books of fiction, but what about fictional books? There’s a world of unwritten stories alluded to in films and other mediums that until now have sat gathering dust in an alternate reality. Masters of materialising the imaginary, Ink Illustration - a London based collective founded by Chloe Regan, Rachel Gannon and Fumie Kamijo, at the Royal College of Art - have lovingly dedicated these forlorn and reader-less books a home, where once-blank pages will come to life, their unknown tales inked into existence.

Residing at The Tenderpixel Gallery from 12th of June- 12th of July, the Invisible Library opens the pages of 40 pretend books. Plots and characters are being drawn into being, infused with depth and colour-palates by visionary illustrators. Titles already created include “The Red Top Hat” —from Vladimir Nabokov's Look at the Harlequins! and “The British Twilight” —from John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos.

Collaborating with literary foundation Real Fits, Ink’s month-long residency will host a programme of creative writing, music and illustration workshops. Special guests of cultural notability have been invited to write the first and last pages of the books, including Iain Sinclair (author), Peter Blegvad (musician, author) and Saci Lloyd (author), these will then be available for visitors to ‘sign out’.

Readers are encouraged to continue the line and add their own piece to the patchwork story, creating richly diverse and cathartic novels that speak volumes above the ordinary paperback. The finished articles will be exhibited again in libraries across London.

"We would love people to come down and write in the books!" exclaimed INK's Rachel Gannon, "They are filling up already with a multitude of stories, think exquisite corpse. We would prefer them to come in person, because we think that various different handwriting makes for a more visually interesting book, but where this is not possible we would be more than happy for them to email us submissions and we will write them in the books."

Now that is a happy ending.

Invisible Librarty's open events:
Workshop Wednesday June 24th with Europa graphic design collective’s book making workshop for students from Newham New Vic college.
Breaking News Launch (INK in Collaboration with Real Fits): 3 July 6-9PM

Pages in Plectrums: Curated by Kieran Leonard 8 July 6-9PM An evening of music with stong literary reference or influence performed by guest artists. Set in the chamber of the heart of London's literary arcade, acoustic swirlings and gurglings and hurlings curated by Kieran Leonard.

The Invisible Library

By Esther Bradley

The RA Summer Exhibition

It’s the longest running open art show, and the most diplomatic one at that. The Royal Academy of Art’s Summer Exhibition, where works by unknown artists sit cheek by jowl with the industries most famed. First time exhibiters (and jotta members) JocJonJosch take us on a tour of the hallowed halls.
Their two photographs have commanded fine spots in the photography section of the Summer Exhibition. At eye level, they are arresting and dynamic, holding their own in a sea of prints.

“Seeing the work up there on the Royal Academy walls was special,” says Joc Marchington, one part of the team. “We'd been really lucky to have both pictures hung at eye level rather than at the top of the wall, it makes a big difference.”

Not bad for a first effort (JocJonJosch are one of 225 first timers) and considering the Royal Academy receive in the region of 10,000 submissions with space for only 1,000.

“We submitted our pieces at the beginning of April, carried these big 1.5 metre by 1 metre frames on the tube and our backs to the RA,” reveals Marchington. “We got there pretty early so the queues weren't too bad and even got interviewed and our pictures taken by the BBC. Afterwards we fantasised about which photograph might get in and all the awards, fame and fortune! Of course none of that's happened but it's an amazing opportunity for us.”

Perhaps they shouldn’t speak too soon. The Summer Exhibition has a reputation for helping to launch the careers of great artists and alumni include Constable, Millet and Turner.

The show has run every year since 1769 and each summer becomes the highlight of the UK art calendar. Despite this year’s theme ‘Making Space’ lightly lassoing the collection (you can see the idea playing on JocJonJosch’s imagery) when it comes to style, genre or medium, anything goes, from the most contemporary of art to traditional; from monolithic sculpture (by the likes of Hirst and Caro) to minute architecture, with print, film and everything in between.

The view from the gallery’s central atrium is an arresting one. From one angle, David Mach‘s Predator (a photorealistic wildlife shot made up, upon closer inspection, from collaged Botticelli postcards) glowers in the distance, flanked by sculptures in stone and limewood. Spin on your step and Cy Twombly’s 7.5 metre wide contribution commands your vision; a largely turquoise affair with the artist’s idiosyncratic italic scrawl and paint explosions. A Tracey Emin sits to its right, while contributions from lesser-known artists share the same space. A successful stab at socialism in the art stakes.

A wander round the vast space sees the pattern continue, with the print room equally varied; an Aladdin’s cave of etchings and illustrations stacked chaotically on top of each other so that each inspection reveals something new. A tiny Louise Bourgeois sketch may go unnoticed were it not for the scrawled initial in the corner and similarly works by Emin and Paula Rego lie anonymously with the masses.

It is a jumble sale of an art exhibition, with rare gems waiting to be unearthed with every second glance. And, with no labels announcing household names or otherwise, it allows you for once to look objectively at all that you behold.

“It's really pleasing to feel that people appreciate our work,” Marchington agrees. “You know that it's not just us. I think our family and friends might actually believe us now when we say that we're working!”

See JocJonJosch appear on BBC's The One Show discussing their work at the exhibition.

For more information on the creative team visit their website or see here for our very own interview

For more information on the Summer Exhibition 2009 click here

By Imogen Eveson

RCA SHOW Fashion 2009

Royal College of Art is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most prestigious incubators of new design talent, and a hot seat at the MA graduate show is the place to discover the new fashion stars of the future.
Home of the world's only wholly postgraduate Fashion Department, and founded in 1948 by Madge Garland, former editor of Vogue, the School of Fashion and Textiles is renowned for its connections with big name brands and design houses, and for producing a winning roster of graduates including Philip Treacy, Julien Macdonald, Boudicca, Neil Barrett, Georgina Goodman, and Hamish Morrow – whilst others, the hidden designers, have become important contributors to other labels.

jotta’s Simon Spiteri went along to seek out the cream of the class of 2009.

Jasper Sinchai Chadprajong and Jae Wan Park were the standout designers and the strongest amongst the menswear collections. Their collections were completely contrasting, yet interesting in their own right.

Jasper Sinchai Chadprajong showed the most promise commercially – his garments could be sold as is directly to stores, which, from a buying perspective is great. Jasper adopted current trends of workwear and hunting inspirations like checks and denim cord, yet played with the silhouettes to create something young fresh modern and relevant.

Demonstrating a strong gift for tailoring, Jae Wan Park concentrated on super sharp formal wear. Creating suits in contrasting fabrics was a brave twist, but worked because of the subtle differences in the fabrics he chose.

In womenswear Johanne Kappel Anderson, Maja Mehele and Siofra Murphy were the collections which impacted in the show and left a lasting impression.

Johanne showed an understanding of the current trends in her choice of silhouette- a billowing sleeve and full torso over tapered legs. Her illustrative print designs inspired by the collective cacophony of a Magpie’s nests.

Siofra presented an interesting juxtaposition of romantic watercolour prints and futuristic silhouettes. The shape is almost insect like in it’s paneling, while the colour palette was muted and feminine, and an open back kept it sensual.

In the stand out womenswear collection, Maja Mehele presented a strong and impactful silhouette. 80s influences coming through in the strong shoulders and masculine inspired tailoring, while still feeing very new and relevant.

In the static exhibition, Chau Har Lee’s shoe designs, in particular his acrylic heels, were astonishingly innovative in their design. They are at once futuristic and fetishistic and completely justify the homage paid to Pierre Cardin. They put me in mind of the YSL cage shoe in that they are like a timeless work of art.

By Simon Spiteri

All Work And More Play

They may be all about the fun and experimentation in illustration, but Playroom collective have not been toying about. Since joining hands last September at Camberwell College of Fine Arts, the gang of illustrators, digital artists and print makers have upped their game and are playing with the big boys.
As students at Camberwell, they shared a passion and drive to create waves in the world of illustration, and a belief in the power of images to speak to all nations. They were also savvy enough to know that going it alone in the art world is far less exciting than gate-crashing it en mass.

Existing through meetings at college and social events, the team has established a co-operative ethos, promoting success in various forms for all involved.

“There is a sense of trust born out of the knowledge that as friends and colleagues, we are all undergoing the same professional development and have shared creative challenges. There is a willingness and an openness to share solutions and this dynamic inspires each member of the group in a unique way.”

A fundamentally playful and experimental atmosphere surrounds the collective and gels them together. They create their own briefs but never limit themselves to one pathway. This coupled with undeniable skill and craftmanship is what keeps the audiences and buyers coming back.

Their most significant and successful event to date was their self-titled exhibition at Dreamspace, in March 2009. Generating sales and recognition, the well-attended show has spurred on numerous future adventures for Playroom. They’ll be crossing continents later this year to exhibit in Osaka, Japan, as well as filling the wharehouse walls of the Bargehouse gallery with work by over 40 artists. Publication plans are also in place with the alternative press fair, and the MA Camberwell Degree Show takes place from July 15th to 19th.

Playroom is a model example of the human pyramid- core strength and a balance of talent. For them, collaborating breeds exchange of knowledge and a shared network of contacts, which ultimately results in an international creative platform for both individual and group work.

Check out Play Room on jotta


By Esther Bradley

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Balancing Act

Using conflicting forces and materials jotta artist Theo Turpin’s sculptural equilibrium redefines an average office environment, transforming it into a battle zone between objects and space.

Responding to the secure and formal settings of the Central St Martins Innovation Centre, jotta artist Theo Turpin’s exhibition of new work, Equilibrium is a direct reaction to the spatial environments in which it is exhibited.

The audience is invited into a dialogue between object and space, where the viewer’s relationship to these aspects becomes part of the suspended narrative. 

Through the re-arrangement of furniture typically found in most offices or galleries, Turpin sculptural assemblages not only acknowledges but also subverts the standardised aesthetics of these institutions. 

In ‘Balanced on a Prayer’ (2009) a plinth balances precariously on the leg of an upturned chair creating an uneasy harmony between the pairing of objects, a tension arises between the objects function and what they come to represent and symbolise. 

Again playing with the relationship between chair and plinth in ‘When There’s Nothing Left to do, But’ (2009), the chair seems to attack the plinth. Is this an act of construction or destruction? Chair vs. plinth, office vs. gallery, Turpin’ s work becomes a perpetual balancing act between tension and harmony and succeeds in occupying the space between. 

In the accompanying collage series, opposing powers manifest themselves in subtle arrangements of found imagery resulting in a chemical like reaction between objects. Regardless of medium, the visual language Turpin communicates in and the tensions he exploits are inherently sculptural.

Equilibrium opens Friday 19th June and continues until the 25th June at the Central St Martins Innovation Centre, Procter Street.

See more of Theo's work here

By Stephanie Grace

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


This year the Royal College of Art did not fail to present an impressive gaggle of fine artists in their MA show, but the wow factor was found in Metalwork and Applied Arts, where the once homey crafts had been injected with irony and intelligence.

Suzi Tibbetts explores metalwork, audio and spatial instillations all under the umbrella of applied arts. Her chattering teacup sits atop a bronze side table, instantly conjuring images of a granny in her parlour dreading an earthquake, or worse, tankers. Tibbetts' gramaphone spins a gold plated disc, while Audio books and The Silencer, an Audio Escapism Device examine the role noise plays in our daily life, providing acceptable levels of noiselessness.

In the same room Joanthon Mathew Boyd has ingeniously created a typewriter that produces script in his own unique handwriting.

Further in Rhys Himsworth's mechanical hybrids seek to interrupt the anxiety and disengagement caused by advancing technology. His drawing machines and painting machines find a balance between the automated and the intuitive.

Elsewhere fluffy feather hanging sculpture entitled Dreamcatcher had a delicate allure, Hector De Gregorio's printed and painted Portraitshad a clasical appeal, and dripping lemon scnted goo wheels were grotesque yet mesmerising.

By Millie Ross

Millie Burton's Looking Glass Worlds

London based photographer and video maker Millie Burton takes notice of the nooks and crannies where we store nostalgia and hoard memories. With an eye on the details, she examines domestic spaces and their debris, with a lens and painstaking precision.

Two projects documenting Millie's grandmother's house in the years leading up to her death and the house's subsequent sale spanned 4 years. Here, when Millie swaps a still camera for a moving one, we see an attempt to unfreeze the process, to investigate what goes on in an empty room during the seconds of a long exposure. In 2007, the London College of Communication MA graduate was commissioned by Pavilion in Leeds, her series Home Improvements is showing there all this month till July 9.

You've moved from a very personal domestic space to a more anonymous yet accessible subject in Home Improvements. Was this a natural progression or was it directed by the theme of the Pavilion exhibition?
A bit of both. Home Improvements came from looking beyond the personal domestic space I had been working in for General Effects, and observing the outside world. I also wanted to focus on a more universal theme for the Pavilion commission. Still, there is a clear progression, since all the objects in Home Improvements had once been part of someone’s domestic space, but have been evicted into the public space of the dump.

How intensive a project was General Effects?
General Effects was a two-year project, it followed on from a closely related project in the same house, Pictures from an Interior. I photographed from time to time over those four to five years during visits to the house that were usually months apart. But the periods of photographing were quite intensive. I spent a lot of time crouched in empty rooms framing shots and making long exposures.

Obviously it was a very personal subject matter, Is there a cathartic process?
Yes absolutely. It was a way for me to hold on to something I knew I was going to lose. Photographing the house and its objects was for me a bit like hoarding them. The photographs are no substitute for the real thing, in fact, they are very different from the real thing. But the process of photographing every part of the house forced me to explore it from top to bottom and preserve it, if only on film. Sometimes when I photograph a room or object with strong emotional associations, its “aura” or atmosphere seems to get sucked up into the lens … some of the strangeness disappears after I’ve finished the exposure, as if a spell has been broken. So yes, it is a kind of catharsis.

Could explain the project titles?
General Effects, has different implications. It is used by auction houses to refer to the miscellaneous contents of cleared homes - as in ‘Auction of Victorian to modern furniture & general effects. ‘Effects’ is also used to describe things that once belonged to a deceased person, as in ‘Personal effects’. It could also refer to the emotional impact of a place or a photograph, or the effect of time. For me the title is an objective way to describe a very subjective project.
Home Improvements is a reference to the unseen side of house refurbishments. It refers to the things that get replaced, the waste products of our attempts to update our domestic interiors.

What type of camera do you use?
A Mamiya 7, and a Hasselblad.

What are you currently working on?
I’m discussing a collaboration with another photographer, Neri Kamcili, about found objects. I’m also working on a different edit and re-print of Home Improvements for a new exhibition in Brighton this August.

By Millie Ross

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Light Fantastic

United Visual Artists began with 3 people, in a room, with a bright idea. 12 members later the artist collective are glowing with the success of their phenomenal light installations for live concerts, including Massive Attack and Battles. UVA’s latest photographic unveiling ‘Deus’ is an experiment in the emotive power of artificial light.

How was UVA formed?
UVA started as three people in a room - Chris Bird, Matt Clark and Ash Nehru, responsible for production, art direction and software respectively. Each member has their own core skill, but all are equal partners in the creative process. UVA has applied this ethos as it has continued to expand - we now have a total of 15 people with a diverse range of skills including animation, programming, architecture, lighting design and electronics.

What does UVA do?
UVA started out creating stage shows for live music acts - our first job was for Massive Attack's 2003 tour '100th Window'. We have since diversified and begun to create large-scale responsive public artworks and permanent architectural works. Our work straddles the boundaries of art, design and commercial services.

Is there a particular style and ethos that runs through the UVA productions?

There aren't any clearly defined rules - but we do feel an attraction for simplicity, minimalism, rhythmicity and showmanship. We're also somewhat obsessed with new technology, although we're ambivalent about it, and this finds its way into our work.

Tell us about the role of the audience and how they engage with UVA work?

When we started, we were building light installations that were separated from the audience by the stage pit (and security cordons and bouncers); our public art installations are all experiments in how this artificial line could be crossed, and the audience could enter the work, have a more
intimate connection with it, and affect it in some way. The question of how to do this while retaining some sense of mystery is a continuing preoccupation in our work.

And Deus - how has this idea developed through research and experimentation?
The music video we made for the New York avant-garde band Battles was shot in a quarry in Wales. We became fascinated with the contrast of the stark natural/man-made background with the light sculpture we created, and felt that this was an interesting avenue to explore.

We also noticed that we were drawn to pictures of the faces of people experiencing our interactive works (such as Volume or Tryptich) and wanted to try to distill that emotion into a photograph in some way. As the project developed, we became interested in the way that our artificial light changed the environments we placed it in, almost creating a 'new space' that only existed for the duration of the shoot. This idea of light as the 'creator' led us to the title of the exhibition.

Which artists are involved in this project?

Projects at UVA generally advance through a process of discussion and argument, so most people in UVA get involved sooner or later. However, the main driving forces behind 'Deus' were James Medcraft, who specialises in photography and animation, and Matt Clark, our art director. Alex Dey and Yasmin Mokhtarzadeh were also part of the team that actually created the installations - no mean feat considering the weight of the equipment that had to be carried by hand into some fairly challenging environments.

By Esther Bradley

jotta animates the V&A

jotta lands at the Victoria & Albert Museum on Friday 26th, where we’ve been invited to host two amazing areas as part of Pen Paper Scissors. Help us colour outside the lines at a night devoted to the crossover between Illustration and Animation.

“Discover the multi-disciplinary nature of illustration by making a stop motion movie with the Peepshow collective and marvel at the live collaborative animation by artists from Jotta. Join a talk by inventive illustrator and writer Graham Rawle and listen to Julie Verhoeven discussing her varied practice. Witness illustrators battle it out at the Secret Wars Drawing competition.”

jotta has been invited to join a impressive roster of world renowned illustration and animation luminaries to create an interactive, exploratory and fun night of creativity.

The jotta.com animation arena will see a multi dimensional performance encompassing illustration, set construction and digital animation inspired by the Monsters of the V&A. Drawing from the myriad of inspiration housed within the grand museum’s galleries, from scary masks (Japanese), to enormous marble giants (David).

Marvel at the live transformation of a miniature theatrical set, filmed and animated onsite by jotta collaborators Moving Picture Company, then finally projected in the V&A’s grand entrance with accompanying music, for all c. 3000 visitors on the night to see!

On the other side of the museum, jota's Greasy News illustration workshop will take you on an illustrative journey from the newsroom to the chip shop!

Choose your breaking stories from the newspaper stand, dive into the newsroom where our editors will help you fill your broadsheet template with leading stories and illustrations specially design by jotta artists Emma Rios and Dan Jones.

Take your completed paper to the chippy, fill it with 3d yellow card fish and chips, then have your pic snapped in our super size paper chip shop.

jotta have extended a call for submissions of illustrations from the jotta community, which the team on site at the V&A will incorporate into the animations.

Click here to submit your work

26 JUNE 2009, 18.30 - 22.00

By Millie Ross

Friday, 5 June 2009


Pure Evil and Gallery Nosco team up to present this storming show of new works from five emerging French artists whose sometimes cynical sometimes comical treatment of mixed media – from taxidermy, to painting, sculpture and illustration- all have their roots in France’s vibrant street art scene.

Opening tonight this quintet of artists; Dran, Bom.K, Remy Uno, Jaw and Heng, create works that flirt with political satire, juxtapose the intricate with the disturbingly graphic, and succeed in roughly seducing the viewer with their vision of a darkly humorous reality.

Dran’s sculptural installation Free Party - a congregation of taxidermy chick-lets captured frozen in time, in an eternal dance in the midst of a rave, positioned next to a huge sound system and booming speakers, captivated by the music played to them by the DJ – a taxidermy weasel, on the decks. Empty beer cans surround them, along with cigarette butts and crushed half consumed disco biscuits.

Bom.K’s intricate delicate pencil drawings are a stark contrast to the sometimes pornographic and often-brutal subject matter he chooses.

Heng‘s fanatical and near religious obsession with perspectives, lines, construction, structure and space translate onto the canvas and street in a depiction of cityscapes around the world. His recent work includes painting industrial machinery, the vital elements contributing to the creation of the cities.

Marseille's Remy Uno's slashes and layered portraits on canvas are an emotive depiction of aggressive poetry, the textured faces revealing themselves subtly as the viewer acquaints himself with the layered and torn canvas.

Jaw's illustration book La France D’en Bas was a storming success and led to a rapid increase in demand for commercial work with big name brands and the foundation of a design studio. His paintings have developed a unique poetic and eclectic photorealist style.

The exhibition will be open daily from 10-6 at Pure Evil Gallery.

By Millie Ross

My Town - Annick Ligtermoet

Annick Ligtermoet creates dark romantic photographic stories, eerie scenes which seem aged and timeless at the same time. After catching the attention of bloggers and foreign galleries, it’s been upwards for Annick. She tells us about her hometown Amsterdam, where she likes “to escape from reality and create fantasies”.

What projects are you currently working on?

Beginning this year I have started working on a project in Russia. I stayed there for two months to shoot photographs and it is almost finished. I went to Russia because I got selected by the ACF (a photography institute in Amsterdam) after my graduation.

You mentioned that you will do a solo show in NY, how did you achieved that?
I was tagged on a known blogspot for photographers (www.Iheartphotograph.blogspot.com) and as a result approached by two galleries. I decided to choose Gallery Sunday since they offered the best opportunities, later on I got in contact with Galleria Glance via the same way. I won several competitions during my final year which led to shows in Arles and Berlin. Consequently, they blogged me again and more galleries started to approach me. So, the internet has really made my work accessible and it offered me a lot of opportunities.

Where do you work?
I have worked in a lot of other cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam. But I always try to make my work look less as possible from a time and place, so that there are barely any signs of recognition, because it is more about the atmosphere that I want to show.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From personal interests, to literature, friends, movies, and currently Moscow, its culture and way of life. I like contrasts, for example, Moscow is a tough but beautiful city, a country of extremes. In my photos I want to show that, the magical, the mythical, the story behind it.

Your favourite gallery?
That would be Seelevel, a new gallery in Amsterdam which is absolutely fantastic. They want to make art more accessible so they sell high volumes against low prices. In short, they show ‘visual artists who express themselves through photography. “

Where’s the best place to shop?
The ‘Negen Straatjes’ at the Jordaan, where you can find a lot of antique and second hand shops. It is very nice and a little less crowded as the inner city of Amsterdam.

Best place for a good coffee.
I like to go to Foodism in the Jordaan, it is a small but very nice restaurant at the Oude Leliestraat in Amsterdam.

Best place to see some nature
I like the nature when I am cycling alongside the water from West Amsterdam to the Schinkelkade (in South Amsterdam). It is a little industrial but it also looks really nice. But the best place would be at my hometown, the Veluwe. I basically grew up in the forest and I love landscapes and trees.

What is your favorite hotspot in Amsterdam?
That would be Overtoom 301, a former squat which has turned into a creative centre. The atmosphere at the Overtoom 301 is very relaxed. (www.ot301.nl )

Name a song that best sums up how you feel about your town.
The complete oeuvre of a Dutch singer Johhny Jordaan

Name an artwork that you feel represents your town
The statue of a diseased writer named Gerard Reve. He is my all-time heroe and he kind of had a love-hate relationship with Amsterdam.

Annika exhibits 27 June, Westerpark Amsterdam at the Gay monument; 30 June in Italy, Turin at Galleria Glance and 4 August a solo show at the Sunday Gallery in New York.

By Nicky Ruisch

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Tony Hornecker

He wined, dined and dazzled us with his pop-up restaurant spectacle, and now set designer Tony Hornecker takes us behind his pale blue door for a run through some trade secrets. From home-spun exhibitions to Bat For Lashes collaborations, he reveals how anything is possible if you stick to your convictions.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Texas, my father was in the American Air Force and we moved between the States and here. From the age of 10 we settled in Hertfordshire.

What first inspired you to get into set design?

Set design came quite naturally, there was no real intention it just grew. I had always made things, loved collecting oddities and when I moved into my current space 6 years ago, an empty warehouse in Dalston, it became one giant set build really. The set designer role grew from that.

How did you get to where you are today?

I began doing a few shoos with my friend Benjamin Huseby and it just grew from there... lots of very hard work and working with as many people as possible, doing tons of editorial shoots.

Can you describe your studio?

My studio is more or less a collection of houses, the workshop itself is pretty basic, then I built a house within the space. It's very much my style, very rickety and made from lots of reclaimed things I find and collect. This is where I live and inside this house there is the tiny wee house in the attic, up some stairs made from old wine crates, this is where I sleep. Then there is my summer house I built on the roof and the Brazilian brothel tucked away in the corner of the attic.

I constantly have to keep working on it... it will never stop developing.

How does an average working day unfold?
Walk the dog in the morning, send my emails, then I start getting whatever materials I need together, off in my van collecting what I need. If I'm making anything I often don't start ‘til the evening, strangely I still like to work alone and really get stuck into things once my assistants have finished for the day.

There is a certain zone I fall into and love pottering about the workshop on my own, although having people around can stimulate other areas and I love the company.
I'm really enjoying having a space big enough at last to actually have people here working with me. It wasn't really possible before and that was a real strain at times.

What is the inspiration behind The Pale Blue Door?

The Pale Blue Door came about due to some desperate times. Then the recession hit and the work just vanished, it really seems set designer seems to be the first chop off the budgets! I realised I was four months behind in the rent and was going to have to do something pretty quick.

I had worked in restaurants all my life off and on and it just came in a flash. Samara my assistant had come in one day and I just said we're opening a restaurant!
I really wanted it to be very much like a speakeasy, maybe on the banks of the Mississippi or in Berlin as the Nazis rose to power.

We went round making little tables in all the nooks and crannies, a table in the shack, a table in my bedroom. We made tablecloths from scraps of fabric in the workshop, old shirts became napkins. I had been collecting old plates and cups and old tea pots for a while and I just added to these from car boots etc.

I was a little embarrassed by the whole thing initially. I felt it was a slight failure to be pushed to having to cook for the masses to survive but it was so well received the initial four days became a month. I loved it, it was very intense but everyone was always so happy and impressed with it that it became the thing I’m most proud of achieving in a way.

It's back in June for a few weekends.

What advice would you give anyone trying to make it?

If you want to make it as a set designer, try and be true to who you are, it's often better to work less but what you do is utterly your work, your style. I made the mistake of saying yes to everything and diluting what I was really about to the point where I'd lost any sense of who I was... let alone expecting others to know what you do.

Be brave, be strong and say no if you feel you won't get anything out of it.
At the end of the day you do editorials for free to get great pictures in your book, which leads on to money work, which leads on to more great editorials etc.
Don't worry about what everyone else is doing! Just keep at it and your time will come.

Could you tell me about your collaboration with Bat For Lashes?
Bat for Lashes just popped out of the blue really, she came to my studio for an initial meeting and fell in love with the place. We are both huge dreamers and share a very similar aesthetic, I really get what she's about, she came to my last exhibition and seems to really get me too... we will work together in the future, we keep trying to make an exhibition happen, a collaboration, taking all the inspirations from the album and creating something amazing. I have so many great ideas it just keeps coming back to funding. I would love it to happen though

And a bit about the exhibition you staged recently at your studio?
The exhibition was an extension of my first show the previous year. It told the story of my journey to London, finding my feet here and frequently falling off them! This last one was really the story of my 20s, lots of boy heart ache, travels and adventures. I built a little street of houses through my attic and you would crawl through, peering in the windows at these little scenes I'd made telling some memory of mine.

What projects are you working on now?
I'm building a shop front for Jeanette's new shop in Shoreditch. I'm making it from old doors I'd been collecting, they are all really beautiful, it looks a bit like an old Jamaican shack and all those doors flapping away should make a very pleasant summer for dear Jeanette.

Working on a piece of work for a group show at the new Dalston Superstore, it's entitled The Tree Of Fucking Creatives and should raise a few eyebrows!

Went to Northumberland last weekend to create an eccentric country garden for Harper's Bazaar with Benjamin Huseby and Jacob K.

Apart form the raging insomnia which comes whenever I'm creatively happy things couldn't be better.

The Pale Blue Door will continue at weekends throughout June. Contact thepalebluedoor@hotmail.co.uk for more information. Visit Tony's blog or click here to see more on The Pale Blue Door.

By Imogen Eveson

David A Smith

Chelsea graduate David A Smith won last year’s Cecil Lewis Sculpture Scholarship with sculpture and instillation work that belies not only his years (all 25 of them), but also a macabre sense of humour. Smith divulges exactly how he garnered the Cecil Lewis bounty, and a penchant for ebay, resin teeth and dancing on camera.

Many of your works seem to be pieces in an overarching narrative. Is there a conceptual framework that you keep to?

Narrative has always been at play in my work. My slightly dark sense of humour has always been a tie in. I try to manifest some kind of tension in my pieces, the premise that something is going to give, be it physical or otherwise. I sometimes use materials that can deteriorate before the viewer and other times I like the viewer to have some command over the work. I think this leads a piece into becoming part of a larger narrative or held within a moment that the viewer experiences rather than something kept at arms length.

Where do you source materials? And does this have weight in the overall meaning?
I source materials from a variety of places; some components have even come from eBay. At the moment a lot of materials are wood, Aluminium, latex and now I’m using electrical fittings. I find that using raw materials with found or sought objects I can make quite diverse pieces that can also pose an interesting challenge during development. Obviously some objects are heavily loaded with meaning and I tend not to work with them unless I have some kind of personal connection. A piece I made called Cane (2008) was my Grandfathers walking stick that I attached a number of resin teeth to. It looked as though they were growing out of the handle, aggressively defending it. For me it meant defending the last lingering grasp he had on the cane, it was an object that I wanted to preserve but also render useless for another user.

What work did you win the scholarship with?
I submitted sixteen images of work that covered my BA work and pieces that I had made during my Postgraduate Diploma at Chelsea. The latter was work that I had made using resin teeth which are used in dentistry and some ceramic pieces. Earlier work included a weather balloon that I had filled with helium and tied an antique sword to the bottom of it with a length of rope. As people moved around the space their movement caused the balloon to move and follow them around with the sword tip carving a line in the floor.

What work did you produce with the funds from the Cecil Lewis scholarship?
The work I have produced has strayed from my core practice to include two-dimensional work and video. I think the best thing about the scholarship is that I have begun experimenting with my practice and trying to turn my sculpture into work that could lend itself to being site specific, a performance or being for documentary only, so the sculpture as a whole only exists as a moving image. I know that my practice will always involve some form of physical manipulation but I’m far more open to how I can achieve certain ends and this is a result of the freedom that the award has afforded me.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a piece that resembles the shape of a television but is hollow and built from a wooden frame with short dowel legs. There are three light bulbs, one red, green and blue that hang in the centre of the ‘set’ from the ceiling of the space. The cables then trail all the way across the ceiling and towards the plugs on the opposite wall. The screen is a piece of clear Perspex that I’m going to have some text engraved onto so it becomes illuminated from the lights behind. I’m torn between two pieces of writing, one my own and another from a film. The text is what holds the piece together so I have to get it right, after that it’s how I decide to place the piece in a space. I’m aiming to make work that commands a space without staring down the viewer and lambasting them with my own opinions. I enjoy hearing the different ways that my work can affect people as much as they respond to my thoughts.

Are you represented by a gallery?
Cathy Wills, who formed the Cecil Lewis Scholarship, has also been incredibly helpful, introducing me to people and opportunities that I would have otherwise missed. Cathy is passionate about being involved with my development and it’s so nice to know she is there to give advice and, in a sense, represent me.

What's that Dancing Sculptor video all about?!
The dancing sculptor video was my first foray into performance. I had wanted to play a character attempting something graceful and perhaps out of place for the attire he wore. I wanted to look like I was prepared for something mechanised or dangerous and then move into a routine that I personally felt daunting, wearing all the protection I was used to but would not serve me for the task. I decided that I would put on my overalls, heavy foundry boots, gauntlets and welding mask and dance, in a clumsy ballroom style, around my studio. I think that performance may be somewhere to explore further, perhaps with the Dancing Sculptor attempting a live performance with willing volunteers...or not so willing, who knows?!

Check out more of David's work here

by By Millie Ross