Posts Tagged ‘Foldback Right’

Rockaway Beach: Johnny Marr, Public Service Broadcasting, Echo & The Bunnymen to headline new indoor music festival 9 – 12 October 2015

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr

By Guy Sangster Adams

With a name inspired by The Ramones’ 1977 single, Rockaway Beach is a new indoor music festival, “the inspiration for which,” says festival organiser, Ian Crowther (from The Way of Music), “comes from the pure excitement of hearing great music for the first time”. His criterion for the line-up is that it should “bring together a selection of the best emerging, breakthrough talent, and established alternative artists”.

Echo & The Bunnymen

Echo & The Bunnymen

To this end the acts already confirmed include Johnny Marr, Spiritualized, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Monochrome Set, and The Fall. Alongside, Public Service Broadcasting, whose live AV Transmissions weave old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics, Ghost Poet, the 2011 Mercury Music Prize nominee, who mixes spoken-word, electronica, and alt-rock, plus a live electronica set from acclaimed DJ and producer, James Holden.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

Also, the hotly-tipped, Lola Cult, “brooding psychedelic rock” – The Independent, “all motorcycle thrills and fuzzed up guitar lines” – Clash Magazine, Skinny Girl Diet, “putting the grrr into riot girl” – i-D, “evil twin sisters of the Shangri-La’s” – God Is In The TV Zine, and FURS the London-based four piece who play stateside influenced psychedelic pop with a distinct UK sound and are due to release their debut album in 2015.

Skinny Girl Diet

Skinny Girl Diet

Rockaway Beach, which is presented by The Way of Music, an independent music promotions company, in partnership with Butlin’s Live Music Weekends, takes place at Butlin’s Bogner Regis, on England’s south coast, from 9th – 12th October 2015. The Butlin’s resort has a residential capacity of 5000 and so Rockaway Beach will be, as Ian Crowther says, “an intimate festival, allowing audience and artist to get close and share their love of music”. Tickets for the festival include accommodation and access to all the live music venues. Early bird tickets are available now for a limited period from £85.

For full line-up and more information:

From the Plectrum-The Cultural Pick archives. Read a live review of Echo & The Bunnymen here:

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Free Range: A Season of Graduate Art and Design Shows

Free Range Shows  1

Free Range is back with their annual graduate season showcasing the best creative graduates in the UK. Over the next six weeks the art and design shows will showcase talent from different disciplines such as fashion, design, photography, art, architecture and interior design. Held in the heart of East London at the Old Truman Brewery the shows are the perfect way to view the future elite of the art world.

With Free Range’s focus being on graduates the shows are incredible opportunities, for both the public and industry experts to be part of the journey from graduate to renowned artist. Not only is Free Range celebrating the incredible talent but they are also helping the graduates take their first steps into the creative industry and encouraging them to explore their future.

Free Range Shows 2

Throughout the 6 weeks, alongside the exhibitions and shows, British Journal of Photography and Cass Art who are working in partnership with Free Range to support the graduates, will curate talks and workshops. With each week showcasing a different discipline the exhibitors are given the chance to display their work outside of a university situation for the first time and fully submerge themselves into the experience.

Free Range Shows 3

Creative Director and founder, Tamsin O’Hanlon, explains: “The aim of Free Range Shows is to provide career development and opportunities for the incredibly talented artists from leading arts schools. By inviting the public to explore and embrace the cutting edge art that has been created, we hope to inspire the next generation of artists. This year we will be pushing boundaries further than ever with the staggering work on display, such as performance architect Alex Schweder’s collaboration with the Cambridge University Architecture society, an installation called Push Me Pull You”.

Free Range Shows, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
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New Music Preview: Deadcuts – Nina Antonia celebrates the “perilous poetry and haunting riffs, feral mysticism and deadbeat glamour” of one of 2012’s most exciting new bands

Deadcuts' Jerome Alexandre and Mark Keds

Deadcuts' Jerome Alexandre and Mark Keds

by Nina Antonia

At the crux of myth and fact, there is Deadcuts, featuring Mark Keds (guitar/vocals), Jerome Alexandre (guitar/vocals), Joni Belaruski (drums), Mark McCarthy (bass). Formed on the first full moon of 2012, Deadcuts are the new treason; a fresh palette from a weary metropolis. Following sold out shows at London’s Signal Gallery and the Macbeth, Deadcuts’ Mark Keds and Jerome Alexandre are playing as a duet for a one-off appearance at the Plectrum-The Cultural Pick Live Edition: Love in Peril, at The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1 on Thursday, 10th May 2012.

Comprising perilous poetry and haunting riffs, Deadcuts encapsulate a feral mysticism and deadbeat glamour. From the Senseless Things to Jolt, the wraith like Keds has exerted an influence on the English music scene for more than a decade. He is the silent voice on the Libertines eponymously titled second album, having co-written, Can’t Stand Me Now, and can affect the tide of modish change with a lyric and a line-up as the mood takes him. Deadcuts guitarist Jerome Alexandre cut his teeth with The Skuzzies, whose debut, self-titled CD garnered praise in Classic Rock, Art Rocker, and Vive Le Rock. More recently, he appeared in Richard Wolsencroft’s film, The Second Coming, with co-collaborator, Peter Doherty. They are sepia and nightfall, a scalding declaration of intent, the spectres come to take the crown.

Nina Antonia’s first book, Johnny Thunders – In Cold Blood (Cherry Red Books), has now been in print for 24 years, gaining cult status with each decade. During the writing of the book between 1982 and 1987 Nina became good friends with Thunders when he spent time in London. When it was updated in 2000, the NME hailed it as, ‘a gorgeously sordid biography’. The book marked the beginning of an off-kilter journey that has transcended the boundaries of rock journalism culminating in a collection of outsider literature, including her equally acclaimed biographies of The New York Dolls (Omnibus), Peter Perrett (SAF), and her glam memoir, The Prettiest Star (SAF). She is currently working on her new book, Jeunesse Brulee,  which features an introduction by Peter Doherty.

DEADCUTS’ MARK KEDS and JEROME ALEXANDRE are playing a special electro-acoustic set at the P-TCP Live Edition: Love in Peril, which also features literary rock ‘n’ roll with NINA ANTONIA, who will be ‘in conversation’ with the editor of P-TCP, GUY SANGSTER ADAMS, and telling electric guitar accompanied doomed love stories of the jeunesse brulee (burned youth) of the 1960s/1970s. Plus screenings of two short films in which love takes its chances on the streets of London, CROSSFIRE  (Ed Edwards, 2011, 9 mins), which was filmed on location amidst the civil unrest on the streets of central London in 2011, and will be introduced by the film’s producer, SAM EDWARDS, and THE ROCKING HORSE (James Scott, 1962, 25 mins), screening by arrangement with the BFI, filmed on location on the streets of London’s Soho and West End in 1959-1960.

P-TCP Live Edition: Love in Peril, Thursday 10th May, at The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1. Doors open 7.30pm.
Advance tickets: £5/£4 (concs):
On the door: £7/£6 (concs)
Full details:

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W Hotels Fashion Next

Jenne Lombardo

Jenne Lombardo

By Guy Sangster Adams

Fashion Next, W Hotel’s programme in support of rising designers, is now in its third season and as it goes international for the first time, from New York, to London, to Moscow, and Bangkok, W Hotels have appointed Jenne Lombardo to be their global fashion director. For her inaugural Fashion Next in New York launched in early September 2011 Lombardo, whose career includes being director and curator of the MAC & Milk, and the founder of The Terminal Presents, chose designers Juan Carlos Obando, Nomia, Bibhu Mohapatra, Michael Angel, Rochambeau, and Electric Feathers.

Marios Schwab

Marios Schwab

In London she collaborated with designer Marios Schwab to create a documentary short, W Hotels Presents London Fashion Next?, which launched during London Fashion Week in late September. In providing a celebratory snapshot of London creativity, the film poses the question, What is new and next in London fashion? Lombardo, Schwab, and Schwab’s stylist, Katy England, respond to the question, alongside three of London’s emerging talents as picked by Lombardo and Schwab: Craig Lawrence, Fleet Ilya and Jordan Askill.

Katy England and Marios Schwab

Katy England and Marios Schwab

“I have long been a fan of Marios Schwab and am thrilled to be collaborating with him on what’s new and next in London Fashion,” says Lombardo, “Marios has brought his sophisticated style and an international dimension to W Hotels’ Fashion Next programme.” Whilst Schwab says, “I share W Hotels passion for fashion and have enjoyed working with them to support emerging designers in London. W Hotels offer young talent a global platform to showcase their collections to guests and customers alike.”

The documentary may be watched or downloaded for free at:

For the next stage of Fashion Next, which launches in October 2011 during Moscow Fashion Week, Lombardo has worked with the Russian Fashion Insider, Vika Gazinskaya, and their  upcoming Russian Fashion Next talents, Anna Miminoshvili and Alexander Terekhov.

W Hotels:

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Richard Ryan’s London silkscreen print portfolio

Savile Row ©Richard Ryan

Savile Row ©Richard Ryan

By Guy Sangster Adams

In Richard Ryan’s four pop art visions of the streets of London, reality coalesces with the fantastical and romanticised, as emblematic pageantry, the iconic red profusion of buses, telephone boxes, and pillar boxes, youth culture, graffiti art, and a menagerie of animals evoking Britain’s classic children literature from Lewis Carroll, to Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, and Dodie Smith, run wild in a predominant palette of bright reds, blues, and yellows, across halftone urban vistas.

Thus on the corner of Savile Row, the street in London’s Mayfair internationally famous for the finest bespoke tailoring, stands a top-hatted androgynous dandy, in the lea of a trio of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s classic telephone boxes and an unfurled Union Jack umbrella, paid homage to by a proliferation of Peter rabbits and Benjamin bunnies. Whilst across town, in the little known but evocatively named, London Street, close to Paddington Station, a debutante in a voluminous Union Jack ball gown, escorted by two of The Hundred and One Dalmatians, makes stately progress along the down-at-heel street, past the graffiti and stencil art—including a hot pink Winston Churchill with a Tommy Gun—daubed riveted steel of the railway bridge parapet.

London Street ©Richard Ryan

London Street ©Richard Ryan

Outside Victoria Station, a boots and braces Skinhead stalks away from a woman wearing a British policeman’s helmet, reimagined in Houndstooth check, a belted yellow Macintosh, and a parrot on her shoulder. Then, to the fore of the Houses of Parliament, a bullet belted woman on a Mod Union Jack scooter trails three Fantastic Mr Foxes on Punk collars in one hand and three Burberry shopping bags in the other, as a bowler hatted City gent walks away toward Big Ben.

Victoria Station ©Richard Ryan

London Victoria Station ©Richard Ryan

Born in Santiago, Chile, Richard Ryan began working as a photographer in Stockholm, Sweden, where he continues to live and work. With a long held passion for mixed-media prints, he quickly developed a way to combine his photography with graphic and fine art techniques to create images suitable for creating silkscreen prints. He created his first portfolio of prints, Homage á Warhol, in 2005, followed by The Manhattan Art Portfolio (2007), Homage á Klein (2009), Stamp On (2010), Nikki Beach Edition (2011).

Parliament ©Richard Ryan

Parliament ©Richard Ryan

For the London portfolio he utilised not only photographs that he had taken, such as the woman in the Victoria Station print, which originated as a shot he took of a Swedish fashionista on her lunch break, but also archive images and scrapbook items. Whilst, intriguingly, his model for the woman on the scooter in the Houses of Parliament print is French actress, Audrey Tautou; a reference, he explains to the Entente Cordiale. Joie de vivre certainly abounds in the four prints, and in exploring the multiple layers of the London’s culture ‘from afar’, and in collaging and paring down styles, moments, history, and signifiers he gets under the skin of the city in a fun, fascinating, immediate and celebratory way.

The London prints measure 480x624mm and are in a limited edition of 350. Each print is numbered and signed by the artist, and cost £400 each or £1200 for the whole portfolio, and are available from



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Art Now Factory:

Flow Festival, 12th – 14th August 2011, Helsinki, Finland


by Guy Sangster Adams

I may be biased, having lived and studied in Finland, but I would heartily recommend a visit to Helsinki at any time, and this year’s Flow Festival gives an extra reason-or if one looks at the line-up a whole host of extra reasons-if extra reason is needed to visit the city this August.

This year will be the eighth edition of the music and arts festival which since 2007 has been held within the historic and striking environment of Suvilahti, a former power plant, whose nine buildings and two large gasometers were designed by Finland’s foremost proponent of Art Nouveau architecture, Selim A. Lindquist, and were completed just over a hundred years ago.

Flow Festival at photograph ©Jussi Hellsten

Flow Festival ©Jussi Hellsten

Musically, Flow champions a diverse line-up, mixing the up-and-coming with the globally famous, Finnish/pan-Nordic and international acts, from indie-rock, to soul and jazz, from folk to contemporary club sounds. Thus this year the programme includes Kanye West, Iron and Wine, and Janelle Monáe, all from the USA, Australian electronic duo, Empire of the Sun, and British electronic legends, The Human League, plus Jamie Woon, the British singer-songwriter whose critically acclaimed debut album, Mirrorwriting, was released in April this year. The strong Nordic line-up includes the experimental Nowegian duo, Röyksopp, Swedish singer-songwriter, Lykke Li, and a rich mix of Finnish acts, including Finnish/French indie-pop band, The Dø, veteran DJ and producer, Roberto Rodriguez, and newer names to watch out for such as French Films, Jo Stance, and Regina.

The Human League

The Human League

Alongside the music, and inspired not least by its venue, Flow is also about the identity of urban spaces and the transformations, new uses, and the new interpretations that they can go through, the visual and decorative arts, and the best in food and drink. As the festival organisers say, “Flow is both a mental and physical state of being, where feeling flows collectively through music into a larger entity”.

There will be eleven stages and event spaces at this year’s festival, the most to date. These are: Main Stage, Nokia Blue Tent, Black Tent, Voimaila Live/Voimala Club, Cirko, Back Yard, Nokia Lounge, Open Source Stage, Wine & Sapas, Film Garage, and Samppanjabaari.


Lyyke Li ©Daniel Jackson

The Main Stage is, of course, at the centre of the action, in the large courtyard area and features two LED screens. Acts on the main stage can be watched not only from in front of the stage, but also from the two storey bar opposite. The new Nokia Blue tent is a blue Kayam tent which can hold 5500 people, whilst the décor of the Black Tent, which hosts DJs and live performances by club acts, features 62 mirror balls. Voimala is, in effect, two venues in one, providing an early evening seated live concert area, and late night club dance floor. Cirko is devoted to experimental music and visual art, and Back Yard presents both Finnish and international DJs playing sets from a multitude of musical genres including Reggae, Afro, Latin, Disco and house, by top international and domestic DJs. The Nokia Lounge is a new addition this year and provides another club space.


The Dø

Also new for this year’s festival are the Open Source Stage, the line-up for which was voted for by visitors to the Flow website, and the restaurant, Wine and Sapas, located within one of the site’s original buildings, Tiivistämö, hosted by the Helsinki restaurant, Juuri, with a menu featuring their speciality dish, Sapas, which is an authentically Finnish hors d’oeuvre, and other traditional dishes, all of which they have innovatively reinterpreted for modern tastes. The food and wine will also be complemented by live performances of Finnish new folk and jazz.

The Film Garage is hosted by The Future Shorts collective, and this year the space will not only be home to their programme of screenings but also to Flow’s first programme of talks and seminars. Whilst, Samppanjabaari, Flow’s champagne bar, is hosted by Moët et Chandon with a sparking line-up of DJs to encourage the bubbly to keep flowing!


Johanna Försti from Jo Stance ©Kaapo Kamu

All in all, whether one goes for the whole weekend, or just for a day, as part of a wider trip to Helsinki and Finland, or just as a long weekend festival trip, Flow sounds like the perfect destination this August.

Flow Festival runs from 12th to 14th August 2011 (16.30 – 02.30 on Friday 12th, 14.00 – 02.30 on Saturday 13th, and 14.00 – 00.30 on Sunday 14th) at Suvilahti, Kaasutehtaankatu 1, 00540 Helsinki, Finland.

In the UK, 3-day tickets costing £100 plus booking fee are available from See Tickets, ( Alternatively, 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day tickets, costing 70€, 95€, or 115€ respectively, plus service charges, are available from Finnish ticket outlet, Tiketti, either in person or online at, or from the Stupido Shop, Iso Roobertinkatu 23, 00120 Helsinki, Finland.

Ticket purchasers can also support the protection of the Baltic Sea by paying a 2€ supplement, which will be donated in full to the WWF, to support their projects protecting the Baltic Sea. The Flow Festival Baltic Sea Project is supported by Ben & Jerry’s, and those buying the Flow Festival Baltic Sea tickets will also be entitled to receive special surprises at the Ben & Jerry’s kiosk during the festival weekend.

Flow Festival:

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3D, cocktails served by ball boys and girls… watch the Wimbledon finals live W London style

W London Screening Room, W London – Leicester Square Hotel, 10, Wardour Street, Leicester Square, London, W1D 6QF. UK
Saturday 2nd July and Sunday 3rd July 2011


This weekend W London – Leicester Square offers you the opportunity to watch both the Wimbledon Women’s Final and Men’s Final in the utmost comfort and luxury in their 39 seat private screening room. Where guests can enjoy all the excitement of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament in innovative RealD 3D live on the big screen, whilst being served strawberry daiquiris, classic Martinis and plenty of Pimms in their seats by W London’s ball girls and ball boys. Game, set, and match!

A limited number of tickets are available for the screenings costing £15 each. To reserve your seat please email
For more information please visit:

Women’s Final 1.30pm for 2pm start, Saturday 2nd July
Men’s Final 1.30pm for 2pm start, Sunday 3rd July
W London Screening Room, W London – Leicester Square Hotel, 10, Wardour Street, Leicester Square, London, W1D 6QF. UK

W London – Leicester Square

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W Festival Cinema: A summer season of festival inspired documentaries and live screenings from the UK’s top music festivals at W London – Leicester Square Screening Room

10, Wardour Street, Leicester Square, London, W1D 6QF. UK
Friday 24th June – Friday 26th August 2011


This summer, with their W Festival Cinema programme, W London is offering music lovers who would really rather not deal with crowds, mud and Wellies, Portaloos, or a bongo collective in the tent next door, a wonderful way to not only enjoy the best performances from an host of the UK’s top music festivals, but also an opportunity to watch a programme of seminal music documentaries. Add to this the luxurious and intimate surroundings of their 39 seater, 3D, state-of-the-art screening room, where guests will enjoy table service, and a special Woodstock inspired cocktail, the Absinthe Martini, mixing Gin, Cointreau, Absinthe, and lemon juice, and created by W London’s exclusive destination bar, Wyld, (Read more about Wyld in Plectrum – The Cultural Pick here) and the season sounds like a wonderful way to spend Friday nights in London.


The W Festival Cinema dates already announced follow below, but more dates will be added and posted by Mr W on the W London Facebook page ( and also at where you can also find full listings for each screening.

Tickets for the festival screenings start from £5.  To book, email:

So far, the W London summer festival programme is as follows:

Friday 24th June at 8pm
Glastonbury The Movie and Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury The Movie is a 1996 documentary looking at the festival’s many characters, key performances throughout the years and historic events, such as the Pyramid stage fire of 1994.
Film followed by live coverage of Glastonbury Festival 2011

Friday 8th July at 8pm
Gimme Shelter and T in the Park
Gimme Shelter is a 1970 documentary film directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, chronicling the last weeks of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour.
Film followed by live coverage of T in the Park 2011

Friday 19th August at 8pm
Woodstock and V Festival
Woodstock is an American documentary about the Woodstock Festival that took place in August 1969 at Bethel in New York.
Film followed by live coverage of V Festival 2011

Friday 26th August 8.30pm
Beyond Black Rock and Reading Festival
Beyond Black Rock is a documentary about the Burning Man festival, a week-long annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada.
Film followed by live coverage of Reading Festival 2011

W Festival Cinema, from Friday 24th June – Friday 26th August 2011 at
W London – Leicester Square Screening Room, W London – Leicester Square, 10, Wardour Street, Leicester Square, London, W1D 6QF. UK
Tickets from £5.  To book, email:


W London – Leicester Square:
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The Wyld Couple: Natasha Law’s limited edition shot glasses for Wyld

at W London – Leicester Square, 10 Wardour Street, London, W1D 6QF. UK
June – August 2011

By Guy Sangster Adams

Wyld at W London Leicester Square

Almost belying the intimacy of Wyld, and certainly playing beautiful havoc with one’s sense of scale, the fabulous gigantic mirror ball at the heart of W London’s invitation only bar not only evokes Wyld’s Monster Globe, a short-lived Victorian tourist attraction which stood a stone’s throw from the hotel and was created by the venue’s inspiratory namesake, James Wyld, but also dances it’s light upon Soho’s evocative lineage of decadent and louche nightspots and it’s rich pop cultural pedigree, which has inspired Wyld’s aesthetic and playlist, and which it is now very much a part.

Upholstered in diamond quilted black leather, part rock ‘n’ roll biker jacket, part Emma Peel catsuit, semi-circular sofas pay close attendance to circular tables whose tabletops glow ruby-red. In fact, Wyld, is suffused with a ruby-red glow, reflected and refracted by the mirror ball and lead into dark corners by strips along the floor and framing the windows. Reaching its emblazoned climax with the fantastic cylindrical bar, the ruby-red intensifying to flame orange at its core as it rises from the mirror finish black patent floor like a Wurlitzer organ playing out of an inferno, or an intense Gibson Les Paul sunburst.

Natasha Law for Wyld at W London female shot glass

Lined up along the bar from late June will be beautiful, coquettish women which guests may take home in their pockets… then in August handsome men will disport themselves along the bar, similarly only too happy to be spirited away in handbags and pockets. But guests are advised not to be wallflowers and only steal a glance, or to await ‘the right moment’, but to dive right in or the moment will be passed, because the female and male pin-up couple, ‘The Wyld Couple’, created by artist and illustrator, Natasha Law, in collaboration with Wyld, feature on shot glasses which have been produced in a strictly limited edition of 250 pairings available exclusively from the bar.

“I was inspired to create these characters by the fun, sleek, seductive qualities of Wyld at W London – Leicester Square,” Law says, and continues, “my concept was for them to work individually, but also interact as a flirting pair.” The glasses are an highly collectible addition to Law’s portfolio of work which already attracts high profile fans and collectors including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Cattrall, Jemma Kidd, Diane von Furstenburg, and similarly influential clients such as Browns, Mulberry, Vogue, Beatrix Ong, Harrods, Globetrotter, and Mr and Mrs Smith. The London based artist is best known for her paintings and line drawings of women, which combine the aesthetics and approaches of fashion illustration, with a fine art sensibility including elements of traditional portraiture, pop art, and abstraction.

Natasha Law for Wyld at W London male shot glass

Wyld, the fantastic interior of which was created by the Amsterdam based design agency, Concrete, is a collaboration between W London and Ignite Group. The latter founded by Matt Hermer and Paul Deeming is the company behind such London brands as Boujiis, the exclusive private members club, the Bumpkin restaurants in Notting Hill and South Kensington, which offer British home cooked food made with the best fresh and seasonal produce in relaxed and quirky surroundings, and the international boutique cocktail bar group, Eclipse.

For Matt Hermer, Law’s designs wonderfully evoke the Wyld spirit, as they “embody the playful and flirty side of Wyld perfectly.” He explains that they “wanted to create something to help showcase the Wyld shot with the carefully selected tequilas we have to offer and these bespoke glasses are a great fit.” Wyld’s signature shot is made from premium tequila, kaffir lime sugar syrup, lemon and fresh watermelon, and the bar has the most varied selection of small-batch, rare and vintage tequila in Europe. Whilst Wyld also has ten signature cocktails which have been created exclusively for the bar, including Mexican Sunsets and Sunburnt Senoritas, and for the ultimate night out its Bonkers Ball: premium rum punch topped off with either Dom Pérignon or Cristal champagne, and served in a large mirror ball replete with dry ice…

“By allowing guests to steal the glasses, we are hoping they continue the party,” says Hermer, but even with the temptation of running off with a limited edition Natasha Law creation in one’s pocket, when a Wyld night is in full swing it’s not a party that one is in any hurry to leave.

Wyld operates an invitation only door policy
Open Wednesday to Saturday, 9pm – 4am
Wyld at W London – Leicester Square ,10 Wardour Street, London, W1D 6QF. UK
For more information:

Natasha Law:
Ignite Group:
W London – Leicester Square:
W Hotels:

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Global Geo Art: OK Go, Henry Holland, Josh Rubin, Natasha Slater, and Mia Freedman draw on their cities with the Pulse of the City Range Rover Evoque GPS app

OK Go in the streets of Los Angeles

OK Go parading through the streets of Los Angeles

By Guy Sangster Adams

The new Range Rover Evoque, for which pre-orders are now being taken, is inspired by city architecture and is designed to appeal to a younger, urban minded driver. It is the smallest, lightest and most fuel efficient vehicle the company has yet made, and owners can choose from an host of exterior and design features that make each car eminently easy to personalise. Since the car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in October 2010, Range Rover has worked with a great array of influential and cutting-edge artists, designers, and taste-makers on creative projects anticipating the launch of the Evoque, from 40 plus wireframe sculptures exhibited in diverse international locations, to a piece of collaborative living art created using Range Rover’s Pulse of the City GPS iPhone app, the creation of which has been documented in a new short film released by the company.

Launched in October 2010, concurrent with the unveiling of the Evoque, the Pulse of the City app allows the user to create vivid and striking data visualisations of their movements across their city, or any city worldwide. They are then sent a graphical representation of their journey, which can be displayed on their iPhone.

Henry Holland filming on the streets of London

Henry Holland filming on the streets of London

For the creation of the work of global geo art, documented in the film, Range Rover equipped OK Go, Henry Holland, Josh Rubin, Natasha Slater, and Mia Freedman, with the Pulse of the City app and asked them to use it to draw on the streets of their cities. Range Rover also invited submissions from city residents around the world; content was uploaded to and OK Go then selected works to include in the film. Thus, the world’s cities became a giant canvas painted on with the app.

In LA, neon-clad fans and musicians armed with recorders, drums, saxophones, trombones, maracas, a toy piano, horns and a fiddle joined Grammy Award winning rock band, OK Go, dressed in Costume National suits in primary colours, on an 8 mile journey through the city, inspired by the high colour and joyousness of the second line street parades in New Orleans. As the band walked and played around the city their movements spelt out the words ‘OK Go’ in giant letters. The film of their LA parade has been nominated by MTV for an O Music Award for in the Innovative use of technology in a video category.

Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque

For his geo-art journey around London, Henry Holland chose to draw out the House of Holland logo, whilst also along the way stopping at his favourite landmarks to shoot the look book for his AW11 collection. “This project was the perfect fusion of art, fashion and technology,” he says, “who’d have thought three years ago that we’d be making art through GPS tracking and creating chaos across London as we went!”

Josh Rubin, founder and Editor in Chief of Cool Hunting, designer, photographer and entrepreneur, and Mia Freedman, journalist, author, and blogger, took to the streets of New York and Sydney respectively to draw pictures across their cities. Whilst Natasha Slater, the Milan-based editor, broadcaster, DJ and club promoter, took a journey through the Italian city’s nightlife, spelling out the word, ‘party’.

Meanwhile the public submissions include a little boy called Jethro who draws a tractor on London, whilst across the world, a double clef, a star, a flower, and the word ‘peace’ all appear on the streets.


To watch the film:

To download the Pulse of the City app for iPhone for free: =8

Range Rover Evoque:
OK Go:
House of Holland:
Josh Rubin:
Natasha Slater:
Mia Freedman:

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Exhibition: Hare Styling – Original Art Raising Funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital

Heartbreak, 17 Bulstrode Street, London W1U 2JH. UK
16th April – 8th May 2011

By Guy Sangster Adams

Stella McCartney, Untitled, for Hare Styling

Stella McCartney, Untitled, for Hare Styling

Over 200 high profile figures including fashion designers, pop stars, actors, models, hairdressers, broadcasters, chefs, and artists, such as Stella McCartney, Paul Smith, Ronnie Wood, Sunday Girl, Cheryl Cole, Eliza Doolittle, Helena Bonham-Carter, Thandie Newton, Twiggy, Nicky Clarke, Jeremy Paxman, Jamie Oliver, Tracey Emin, and Jack Vettriano, have created unique artworks to raise funds for two new operating theatres at the preeminent London children’s hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Tracy Emin, A Kiss to a Hare, Hare Styling

Tracey Emin, A Kiss to a Hare, Hare Styling

Each canvas features their stylistic interpretation of an hare, many of which using the outline from an hare drawn by 15 year old Angelica Van Clarke, who had a life-saving operation at GOSH when she was just two days old. The Hare Styling event has been created by Angelica’s father, hairdresser Michael Van Clarke and designer Karen Welman, and is one of the initiatives of the HAIRraising appeal, which was launched in 2010 by leading members of the hairdressing community, including Van Clarke, Nicky Clarke, Charles Worthington, Daniel Galvin, Andrew Barton and Trevor Sorbie. HAIRraising’s target is to raise £1 milllion for two new specialist neurosurgical operating theatres which will help treat 20 per cent more children requiring pioneering brain surgery.

Ronnie Wood, Unititled, Hare Styling

Ronnie Wood, Unititled, Hare Styling

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity needs to raise £50 million a year to help rebuild and refurbish Great Ormond Street Hospital, provide vital up-to-date equipment and fund research into better treatments for the children. The hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals with the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists under one roof in the UK. The hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children who are suffering from the rarest, most complex and often life-threatening conditions.

Sunday Girl, Selected Tails from Beatrix Potter, Hare Styling

Sunday Girl, Selected Tails from Beatrix Potter, Hare Styling

All the Hare Styling artworks will be sold by auction and online bidding opens on 14th April 2011 at Giving Lots The sale continues for six weeks, culminating with the Hare Ball a glittering evening of entertainment and fundraising at The Dorchester Hotel, London on 26th May 2011, at which 20 of the top canvases will be sold at a live auction. Both online bidding and ticket applications for the Hare Ball are open to everyone (for more information, please see the links at the foot of this article).

Cheryl Cole, Untitled, Hare Styling

Cheryl Cole, Untitled, Hare Styling

Heartbreak, which is sponsoring and hosting the Hare Styling exhibition, is a new gallery based in a six storey townhouse in the Marylebone area of London. The gallery offers an holistic approach, both representing and publishing the work of their artists, designers, and photographers in-house.

Hare Styling at Heartbreak
runs from 16th April – 8th May 2011
at Heartbreak, 17 Bulstrode Street, London W1U 2JH. UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3219 5170
Opening Times: Mondays to Saturdays 10am – 6pm; Sundays 11am – 4pm

Hare Styling:
Giving Lots:
The Hare Ball:
Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity:

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Exhibition: Going Nowhere Fast – D*FACE

Corey Helford Gallery, 8522 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, California, USA
9th April – 27th April 2011


By Guy Sangster Adams

Defining his work as ‘aPOPcalyptic’ (“a metaphorical backdrop for the corruptive persuasive consumerist folly that has been force fed into society”), London-based, internationally-celebrated, sculptor and street artist, D*Face, is transforming the Corey Helford Gallery into “a multi-media vault of aPOPcalyptic new works” through April 2011. Exploring and satirising society’s celebrity obsession, with paintings, sculptures, and installations Going Nowhere Fast focuses on the deaths of an all-star line of American icons, from Andy Warhol to Michael Jackson. The powerful imagery placing the viewer in the position of having to choose whether to embrace, reject, laugh, or deny, D*Face’s narrative take on popular culture, the American dream, fame, power,  money and mortality. The exhibition also includes, Flutterdies, a series of sculptures created from real butterflies and insects and spray can caps.


Influenced by punk music, graffiti, skateboarding, and citing Lichtenstein, Haring and Warhol as early inspirations, over the last decade D*Face’s work developed from creating stickers which he “adhered to lamp posts and electrical boxes” along his route home from his day job, to posters, posters which “became more ambitious… and somewhere in between I quit my job or maybe that was I got fired, either way the inevitable had happened”, to the multi-media work which has been exhibited worldwide on city streets,  galleries, museums, and sold at auction houses, and made him one of the most prolific contemporary urban artists of his generation. His commissions have included Penguin Books 50th Anniversary covers, a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI for The Vatican, and his most recent collaboration was with pop star Christina Aguilera on the cover art for her number-one selling album Bionic.


Going Nowhere Fast – D*FACE
Runs from 9th April – 27th April 2011
Corey Helford Gallery, 8522 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA  90232. USA
Open: Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm to 6:00pm

Corey Helford Gallery:

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Exhibition: Dorothy Circus Gallery – Private Collection Carnival

Dorothy Circus Gallery, Rome, Italy
12th February – 20th February 2011
(NB: Private Collection Carnival is open to the public from 15th – 20th February; whilst 12th – 14th February (incl.) admission is reserved solely for collectors and accredited representatives of the press, museums and other institutions etc)


By Guy Sangster Adams

Later this year the Dorothy Circus Gallery will celebrate its fifth birthday and it begins its anniversary year in inimitable style with a move to fantastic new premises in via dei Pettinari, deep in the beautiful and historic heart of Rome, and inaugurates the new space with Private Collection Carnival. The exhibition brings more than 50 works from the highly successful Pop Surrealism exhibition which the Dorothy Circus Gallery presented in collaboration with the Jonathan LeVine Gallery at the Museum Carandente, Spoleto, Italy, from June to October last year (to read Plectrum’s coverage of the Pop Surrealism exhibition click here).  Amongst the highly influential and innovative artists featured in Private Collection Carnival are Mark Ryden, Joe Sorren, Marion Peck, Ron English, Ray Caesar, and Colin & Sas Christian (there is a full list of the artists included in the exhibition at the foot of this article).

From the exhibition Private Collection Carnival, Joe Sorren, Portrait of Gelsomina and Romeo, image courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery

From the exhibition Private Collection Carnival, Joe Sorren - Portrait of Gelsomina and Romeo, image courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery

All of the works in the Private Collection Carnival are from the personal collection of Alexandra Mazzanti, the owner and director of Dorothy Circus Gallery. In describing the exhibition, she says, “in perfect harmony with the Surrealist roots of the 1930s, the figurative prophecies of Pop regenerate in a constant movement between the registration of the real and an immediate dreamlike reworking.” On this borderline, as she says, a new world is revealed “somewhere between reality and dream, where girls with large eyes and slender bodies hide arcane secrets and helpless and sad demons play with monsters, where everything looks like the real but transcends it, telling a new and ancient mythology.”


From the exhibition Private Collection Carnival, Leila Ataya - Her Highness, image courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery

“A space on the border between New York and Wonderland,” is how K.N.Wikstrand described the Dorothy Circus Gallery when it opened in 2007, and over the last five years Alexandra Mazzanti has championed Pop Surrealism, Lowbrow art, and new figurative art tendencies, and during that time gallery has been responsible for introducing to the contemporary Italian art scene many key international artists including Joe Sorren, Ron English, Colin & Sas Christian, Jonathan Viner, Camille Rose Garcia, Alex Gross, Tara McPherson, James Jean, and Travis Louie. Mazzanti has also championed influential Italian artists such as Nicoletta Ceccoli, and has equally remained committed to “launching tomorrow’s new stars and talents”.


From the exhibition Private Collection Carnival, Mark Ryden - Bear Girl, image courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery

The second incarnation of the Dorothy Circus Gallery will, as Mazzanti says, “preserve the magic of the ‘First Circus’ style”, but adding to it “a touch of luxury” not least in its white velvet dressed Art Bookshop, and will continue to transport the visitor to Wonderland.

Private Collection Carnival features works by: Mark Ryden, Joe Sorren, Marion Peck, Camille Rose Garcia Alex Gross, Ron English, Sas & Colin Christian, Kris Lewis, Ray Caesar, Jeff Soto, Travis Louie, David Stoupakis, Adam Wallacavage, Tara McPherson, Miss Van, Lola, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Esao Andrews, Scott Musgrove, Jonathan Viner, Kathie Olivas, Natalie Shau, Mijn Schatie, Michael Page, Tim McCormick, Nathan Spoor, Paul Chatem, Ken Keirns, Ahren Hertel, Leila Ataya, Aaron Jasinski, Niba.

Private Collection Carnival
runs from 12th – 20th February 2011  (NB: the exhibition  is open to the public from 15th – 20th February; whilst 12th – 14th February (incl.) admission is reserved solely for collectors and accredited representatives of the press, museums and other institutions etc)at Dorothy Circus Gallery,
via dei Pettinari 76, 00186 Rome, Italy
Telephone: +39 338 9499432

Tuesday – Thursday 11:30 to 19:30
Friday and Saturday 15:30 to 19:30
Closed Monday and Sunday

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Articles in Plectrum – The Cultural Pick with associated content to this article:


Exhibition: Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares – NICOLETTA CECCOLI

Exhibition Preview: Interruption – A Retrospective of Work from 2004 -2010 by JOE SORREN and Collaborative Sculpture by JUD BERGERON and JOE SORREN

Exhibition: ART FROM THE NEW WORLD – A Big Brash Exhibition of the New American Art Scene

Exhibition/new work and interview: AMY GUIDRY

Exhibition: Beautiful Again (Perpetuating the Myth of Paradise) Images by JT BURKE

Exhibition: Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares – Nicoletta Ceccoli

Until 23rd December 2010
Dorothy Circus Gallery, Rome, Italy

Olympia by Nicoletta Ceccoli, from the

Olympia by Nicoletta Ceccoli, from the exhibition Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares

To celebrate their fourth anniversary the Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome, Italy, are presenting a solo show by the artist and illustrator, Nicoletta Ceccoli. Born in the Republic of San Marino, where she is still based, Ceccoli studied animation at the renowned Academy of Fine Arts, Urbino, Italy. Her book illustrations, have won her international acclaim and many awards including an Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, four ‘awards of excellence’ from Communication Arts, and a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators in  2006.

Her paintings are also gaining increasing renown and have equally been exhibited internationally, and she was included in the Pop Surrealism exhibition presented by the Dorothy Circus Gallery in collaboration with the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, which ran from June to October this year at the Museum Carandente, Spoleto, Italy. It was the first exhibition to provide an overview of Pop Surrealism, and the curators,  Alexandra Mazzanti and Gianluca Marziani, presented an impressive and exciting line-up of forty international artists. Amongst them two artists who have particularly influenced Ceccoli, Mark Ryden and Ray Caesar.

Castello di Cuori by Nicoletta Ceccoli from the exhibition Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares

Castello di Cuori by Nicoletta Ceccoli from the exhibition Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares

She also cites as key influences, Paolo Uccello, the 14th/15th century Italian painter and mathematician, Winsor McKay, the American cartoonist and animator, Edward St John Gorey, the American writer and artist, noted for his illustrated books, Domenico Gnoli, the Italian artist, illustrator, and stage designer. Remedios Varo Uranga, the Spanish-Mexican Surrealist, and Stasys Eidrigevicious, the Lithuanian born artist whose work includes painting, graphic design, book illustration and photography.


Incanto by Nicoletta Ceccoli from the exhibition Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares

Ceccoli’s ten new works for Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares, are a tribute to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass. The paintings explore dreams, both the nature of dreams vanishing as one wakes up, but also childhood dreams that vanish as one grows up, and more particularly the rites of passage of a girl to womanhood. There is also a theme of liberation; when one awakes one is liberated from one’s dreams or nightmares, for better or worse, just as when one grows up one is liberated from the dreams and nightmares of childhood, for better or worse.

Incubi Celesti/Heavenly Nightmares –  Nicoletta Ceccoli
Runs until 23rd December 2010 at
Dorothy Circus Gallery
Via Nuoro 17
00182 Rome

Telephone: +39 06 7021179 / +39 06 70161256

Opening Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 8 pm
Admission: Free


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Nicoletta Ceccoli

Dorothy Circus Gallery

Further Reading – articles in Plectrum – The Cultural Pick with associated content to this article:

Exhibition Preview: Pop Surrealism READ ARTICLE

Exhibition Preview: Art From The New World – A Big Brash Exhibition of the New American Art Scene READ ARTICLE

Exhibition Preview: Interruption – A Retrospective of Work from 2004 -2010 by Joe Sorren and Collaborative Sculpture by Jud Bergeron and Joe Sorren READ ARTICLE

Exhibition/new work preview and interview: Amy Guidry READ ARTICLE

Exhibition Preview: Interruption – A Retrospective of Work from 2004 -2010 by Joe Sorren and Collaborative Sculpture by Jud Bergeron and Joe Sorren

California State University Fullerton/Grand Central Art Center, California, USA
6th November 2010 to 8th January 2011

Flagstaff Cultural Partners/Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
22nd January 2011 to 25th February 2011

By Guy Sangster Adams

Interruption exhibition

Interruption - A Retrospective of Work from 2004 -2010 by Joe Sorren and Collaborative Sculpture by Jud Bergeron and Joe Sorren California State University Fullerton/Grand Central Art Center, California, USA ©Joe Sorren

Unveiling ten new paintings and bringing together ten works created throughout the last decade on loan from international collectors of Joe Sorren’s work, who include Courtney Cox/David Arquette, Patricia Arquette, and Nike Brand President, Mark Parker, Interruption is the first museum retrospective of the work of this highly influential conceptual artist. The exhibition also includes eight, new, bronze sculptures that Sorren has created in collaboration with Jud Bergeron. Interruption also marks the publication of the book, Joe Sorren – Paintings 2004 – 2010 (Gingko Press).

Born in a suitcase factory in Chicago, Illinois, USA, though as he is keen to establish, “not inside of a suitcase, mind you.” A surrealistically humorous retort that brings to mind Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Lady Bracknell’s infamous exclamation ,”In a handbag?”, when she discovers that as a baby her prospective son-in-law was found in a handbag at London’s, Victoria Station. Her ladyship would probably be equally aghast at Sorren’s childhood hobbies growing up in Arizona, first in and around Phoenix, and then Flagstaff, where he is still based, which he lists as “running and jumping” and “spit[ting] in the wind.”

Interrruption Joe Sorren

Interrruption Joe Sorren ©Joe Sorren

Early pop cultural inspiration for Sorren came via Dynamite, the children’s magazine that ran from 1974 to 1992 and featured a heady mix of magic tricks, punch out or assemble puzzles, games, postcards, and masks and the like on the back cover, plus fold out posters, sometimes in 3-D, alongside coverage of television shows from The Six Million Dollar Man to Beverly Hills 90210, film stars, and rock and pop stars. He still has, as he puts it, “a half-way decent collection of Dynamite Magazine posters that range from issue #3 (Robin Williams as Mork) to issue #7 (Jessica Lange as Mork’s dentist).” Before wryly adding, “actually that is not true, I don’t have the Jessica Lange poster anymore, not since the 2003 incident at Pay-n’-Take in Flagstaff, Arizona.”

Sorren began  painting in 1991, graduated with a BFA from Northern Arizona University in 1993, and held his first solo exhibition in 1995. Since when, along with contemporaries such as Mark Ryden, Todd Schorr and The Clayton Brothers, he has become a key figure in the new American art scene, playing a major role in the rise of the genres Pop Surrealism and Lowbrow, whilst also producing work that is its own genre, the genre of Sorren, and inspiring a new generation of artists into the bargain. Over the course of the last 15 years he has exhibited in galleries around the world, gaining international acclaim, garnering many awards, and a similarly international roster of collectors and fans. Whilst his work has also featured in an host of publications including Rolling Stone Magazine, Time Magazine, the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic Monthly, on television in NBC’s ER, and the film Penelope (2006) directed by Mark Palansky and starring Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, and Reece Witherspoon.

Headlong by Jud Bergeron and Joe Sorren

Headlong by Jud Bergeron and Joe Sorren ©Jud Bergeron/Joe Sorren

Warner Brothers, Fox and Atlantic Records have also all used Sorren’s work, and he created the cover art for the two Tweaker albums, The Attraction To All Things Uncertain (2001) and 2am Wake Up Call (2004). Tweaker is an alternative rock collaboration founded by the Grammy Award winning producer, musician, songwriter Chris Vrenna, who also played drums with Nine Inch Nails and is the current keyboard player with Marilyn Manson. Tweaker has featured contributions from many famous musicians including Johnny Marr, Will Oldham, Robert Smith, and David Sylvian.

The fashion designer Donna H. Baxter, founder of Elsie Katz Couture and collector of Sorren’s work, says of him, “Joe’s success has always been so much larger than his ambitions.” Certainly, as is borne out from the above paragraphs, Sorren’s rich sense of humour belies any taking himself too seriously. What is serious is his passion and commitment the creation of new work rather than to the trappings of celebrity.

A sense of humour along with “skilful chaotic moments of inertia” are key facets of the sculptures that he has created with Jud Bergeron for Interruption. Bergeron is a New York-based sculptor, who studied classical sculpture with Lacy DeGarenday at the prestigious Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Connecticut, USA from 1988 to 1991. After which for the next ten years he worked as a mould maker and master patina artist at foundries across the USA. All of which has lead to current renown for his “ability to take metals, wood and patinas to a sublimely abstract level.” He has exhibited extensively in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Santa Fe. In 2004 he was selected for The Hearts in San Francisco public art project, for which he fabricated a 6ft x 6ft abstract, steel heart that was installed in front of the War Memorial in San Francisco. He is currently finishing work that will be installed in downtown Sacramento, California, USA, as part of their art in public space programme.

Interruption – A Retrospective of Work from 2004 -2010 by Joe Sorren and Collaborative Sculpture by Jud Bergeron and Joe Sorren
Runs from 6th November 2010 to 8th January 2011 at
California State University Fullerton/Grand Central Art Center,
125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, California 92701, USA

Runs from 22nd January 2011 to 25th February 2011 at
Flagstaff Cultural Partners/Coconino Center for the Arts,
2300 N. Fort Valley Road (Highway 180), Flagstaff, Arizona 86002, USA

Further Reading – articles in Plectrum – The Cultural Pick with associated content to this article:
Exhibition Preview: Pop Surrealism READ ARTICLE
Exhibition Preview: Art From The New World – A Big Brash Exhibition of the New American Art Scene READ ARTICLE

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Joe Sorren

Jud Bergeron

California State University Fullerton/Grand Central Art Center,

Flagstaff Cultural Partners/Coconino Center for the Arts

Christmas Shopping Event: Ethical Just Got Fabulous

20th Century Theatre, Notting Hill, London W11, UK
Saturday 4th December and Sunday 5th December 2010

By Guy Sangster Adams

As Ethical Just Got Fabulous’ Christmas event is certain to put a sparkle in the eye and provide a very welcoming, inspiring and glittering festive  one-stop ethical shopping experience, it is entirely appropriate that at one point in the 150 year history of its venue, Notting Hill’s wonderfully atmospheric 20th Century Theatre, it was called the Bijou.

Following on from the success of their launch event in June 2010, at East London’s The Rag Factory, EJGF’s debut event in West London, will present a unique selection of clothing, accessories, homewares, jewellery, gifts, stocking fillers, and edible treats, from a carefully selected and eclectic mix of the most up and coming, ethical and design focused, fashion and lifestyle brands. The event is supported by Livia Firth, creative director of Eco-Age, the shop, showroom, consultancy, and green hub, that offers “inspiration, ideas, and specific domestic solutions, for all those who want to lead a greener and more energy efficient life.” Eco-Age will also be exhibiting at EJGF. Champagne Lanson and the independent London radio station, Magic 105.4 FM, have also partnered with EJGF for the event, at which shoppers will also be treated to live jazz, mini manicures, mulled wine and a raffle for a chance to win a Fabulous Christmas Hamper worth £1,000. Proceeds from the raffle will go directly to Magic 105.4’s Cash for Kids, a charity dedicated to giving the neediest local children a better and brighter future.

“There is such a lack of presence for quality ethical product on our high streets,” says Naomi Cornelius-Reid, who with Leoni Mani and Katy Pullen, is one of the triumvirate of ethically-minded female entrepreneurs who created Ethical Just Got Fabulous. “The media interest in ethical fashion is huge but for consumers there is often little choice aside from online ethical websites. Too often the system prevents these boutique brands from reaching consumers, with exhibitions and fairs sometimes poorly organised and charging exorbitant prices. We want to show that there is another way, the Fabulous way.”

A facet of the ‘Fabulous way’ is that EJGF is a non-profit company which only charges a fair and honest split of the event’s running costs to the exhibitors, as a key part of its dedication to raise the profile of “the multitude of high quality, beautifully designed, fashion focused, boutique ethical brands out there,” and the shared passion of the founders to bring “feel good fashion to the people,” and to support “the good work of those forward thinking enough to create companies that strive to be both fashionable and ethical in their production. Proving once and for all, that ethical can indeed be fabulous.”

NV London Calcutta Coco with Rob Ryan scarf

NV London Calcutta Coco with Rob Ryan scarf

The ethical business credentials of all three of EJGF’s founders are impressive. Naomi Cornelius-Reid is the founder of NV London Calcutta, an ethical accessories company that is dedicated to bridging the gap between high fashion and traditional ethical offerings. Their products are designed in Britain and produced, entirely by hand, in Calcutta, West Bengal, in so doing the company combines, she says, “the best of UK design talent with the promotion of age-old Indian craftsmanship and artisan skills,” which as a result supports and champions “marginalised producer groups to ensure that those who create our products receive both a fair wage and a healthy, happy working environment.”

Aspara, the company founded by Katy Pullen, began with a simple idea, she says, “to make a difference to the communities of artisans we work with.” Aspara’s unique and exclusively designed evening bags, purses, scarves, and shawls are all hand-crafted from silk and the finest natural materials by Cambodian artisans trying to support their families. “Aspara works directly with these producers to cut out the middleman,” says Pullen, “we pass on our knowledge and help financially so that these small businesses are able to meet Western production standards as well as offering a competitive and beautiful product.”

As project manager for the commemoration events for the 2007 Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, Leona Mani gained a further understanding of the importance of promoting Fair Trade. To facilitate this she created, which is the only web-based directory for Fair Trade products, and through which her aim is, she says, “to raise awareness of the huge range of Fair Trade products available and also to promote smaller businesses.” Mani also has a wealth of experience of trading in the textile industry, gained through her time working in Hong Kong and India following graduation from her degree in International Business.

All three women felt that it was high time that the best in ethical fashion and lifestyle were available under one roof, and so in creating Ethical Just Got Fabulous they also gave birth to the first ethical pop-up department store. “Ethical fashion can, and should, be elegant, chic and desirable,” says Naomi Cornelius-Reid, and this is key to all the luxury boutique ethical brands that will be showcased at  Ethical Just Got Fabulous’ Christmas event, including Izzy Lane, Fifi Bijoux, Enamore, and Bottletop.

Knitwear by Izzy Lane

Izzy Lane knitwear

Izzy Lane knitwear is made with the fleece of Wensleydale sheep, an endangered breed, their dresses, skirts and jackets are made from the fleece of the rare and primitive Shetland breed, and their cashmere garments are made from the fibre of Scottish cashmere goats, thus helping to support the declining Scottish cashmere industry.

Isobel Davies, the founder of Izzy Lane, pays equal and better prices to farmers for her sheep, which are predominantly animals that would otherwise be, as she says, “sent to slaughter for being male, missing a pregnancy, being a little lame, being too small, being too old or having imperfections such as a black spot in a white fleece.” The sheep then live out their lives at the Izzy Lane Sheep Sanctuary, whilst their wool is spun, as part of Izzy Lane’s commitment to support the ailing British textile industry, “using the last of 51 worsted spinners”, and dyed at “one of the last dyers in the Bradford area.” Similarly Izzy Lane’s cloth is “woven at an ancient mill in Selkirk using Victorian machinery that has been operating for over a hundred years.”

By taking their garments from every stage of the process from fleece, through manufacturing, to finished product, Izzy Lane know and can provide the full provenance for every item they sell.

Fifi Bijoux star fish pendant

Fifi Bijoux star fish pendant

Vivien Johnston, the director and designer of Fifi Bijoux, launched the ethical, luxury jewellery brand in 2006, with the precept of applying the principles of Fair Trade to gold, precious ethical gems, and ethical diamonds. “Luxury jewellery has a profound history of romance, intrigue and glamour,” she says, “however, this often concealed a harsher reality of cruelty, corruption and abuse.” To counter this, Fifi Bijoux source all their materials from suppliers who make a positive impact, and who do not exploit their workers or cause environmental damage. As Johnston says, “we believe in luxury as it should be; without the blood, sweat or tears.”

Enamore’s founder and creative director, Jenny Ambrose, launched the luxurious lingerie and accessories brand in Brighton in 2004, with a vision  “to create beautiful, playful and quirky garments from reclaimed and sustainable materials,” in reaction to the damage she felt the fashion industry was doing to the environment. Enamore continue to develop this vision with both their range of eco-friendly lingerie that offers a new twist on the modern day pin-up, and their accessories, all created from eco-friendly fabrics including organic cotton, bamboo, soya, hemp and natural silk.

Enamore Black Lashes bra and knickers

Enamore Black Lashes bra and knickers. Photograph by Jack Willingham

In addition to this not only does the company actively support ethical and fairly paid labour, also making use of manufactures local to them in the UK, but, as they say, “when we have no further use for fabrics, we donate the remnants to local schools and colleges for students to use for their own projects, reducing our own waste in the process!”

The empowerment of young people through grass roots education projects is at the core of Bottletop, which was founded by Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman. The trading arm of the company, Bottletop Trading Ltd, is dedicated to designing and producing ethically sourced and environmentally friendly products. Their focus on quality, sustainability and local craftsmanship enables Bottletop to not only “create beautiful products that people want to own,” but also to generate employment in poverty stricken regions and countries around the world. Profits are invested back into the communities to perpetuate the benefits and reinforce the sustainability.

The Bottletop Campaign, which is Bottletop’s charity, supports their education projects for young people and also funds grass root initiatives that highlight and tackle adolescent health issues, particularly those “taking a longer term holistic approach, tailored for the local needs of young people and addressing simultaneously key issues such as sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse and gender equality.”

Supporting younger generations of talent is also key to EJGF. To this end they have fostered a partnership with London College of Fashion. At the EJGF launch event, LCF graduating students were given free exhibition space, and at the Christmas event students with an ethical fashion focus have been given the opportunity to help with all aspects of the event, thus gaining valuable industry experience.

Also to further “practice what they preach” EJGF created the Future Fabulous competition working with four schools local to Notting Hill. As part of which the EJGF founders have been visiting each school to talk to the pupils about ethical consumerism and the part they can play in that, and also inviting them to design and make their own ethical Christmas cards and decorations to enter into the competition. The entries will be judged by EJGF’s  special guest judges including Livia Firth and Neil Fox, Magic FM DJ, director of Green Rewards, and patron of Trees for Cities. The winners will receive a framed picture of their entry, signed by the guest judges, ethical goodie bags to the value of £100, and their cards and decorations will be displayed over the weekend.



Chistmas Ethical Just Got Fabulous
20th Century Theatre
291 Westbourne Grove
Notting Hill
London W11 2QA
Opening times: Saturday 4th December 2010 10am to 6pm
Sunday 5th December 2010 11am to 5pm

Admission: Free


Ethical Just Got Fabulous


Magic 105.4 FM

NV London Calcutta


Izzy Lane

Fifi Bijoux



Christmas Shopping Event: Homeworks Christmas Sale

20th Century Theatre, Notting Hill, London W11. UK
Thursday 25th November – Friday 26th November 2010

By Guy Sangster Adams

Returning to the 20th Century Theatre for its third year, the Homeworks Christmas Sale, which brings together a wonderfully eclectic range of predominantly handmade or upcycled gifts, has become an inspiring fixture on the festive calendar. Providing, as it does, a fantastic array of unique, original, and innovative products including jewellery, ceramics, cushions, hats, scarves, children’s clothes, and Christmas cards.

The women who make up Homeworks were brought together through a shared passion for “things that are made with thought and care,” and the shared circumstances of “working from home” and “living within a stone’s throw from each other” in London. Now numbering 28 designers, from small start ups to established brands with international stockists, they all support each other, swapping ideas and information, sharing expertise, arranging sales and events, and, as they say, “drinking tea!”

Designers who are part of Homeworks and who are taking part in the sale include Jo Gordon, Thornback and Peel, and Twisted Twee.

Knitwear by Jo Gordon

Knitwear by Jo Gordon

Natalie Portman and Gwen Stefani are both fans of Jo Gordon’s traditional Scottish knitwear with a modern edge, which is handmade in Scotland. Gordon originally studied fine art at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, Scotland, but when she moved to London to attend the Royal College of Art diversified into design. Since she founded her company in 1995, it has grown into an international label selling in 19 different countries, but her office is still on the ground floor of her London home which she shares with her husband and daughter.

Goldfish and coral, jellies and cake, pigeons, rabbits, cabbages, ships, all adorn Thornback and Peel’s intricate and elegant items for the home, which are all hand screen printed in Britain, and include fabric and wallpaper, cushions, table linen, tea towels, aprons, deckchairs, bags, t-shirts, handkerchiefs , baby wear, and cards. Liberty and Paul Smith are amongst the 60 shops across the UK which stock Thornback and Peel’s wares, in addition to shops across Europe and the USA.

Thornback and Peel fish napkin with jelly wallpaper

Thornback and Peel fish napkin with jelly wallpaper

“Some things we make ourselves, others are knitted by Mongolian shepherdesses, hand-printed in Bath or forged by Elves in the mines of Lothren,” say Twisted Twee, “we even have a Chinese grandmother making four foot long Twisted mannequin rag dolls from lilac Tweed!” Amongst their self-proclaimed, “daft and ingenious objects,” Twisted Twee’s creations include Lover’s Gloves, for two people to wear at once, men’s Sock Trios, a ‘pair and a spare’ to counter against the sock that inevitably goes ‘missing’, twinsets for dads and their babies, and knitted Ear Gloves.

Twisted Twee pocket money cloth

Twisted Twee pocket money cloth

Other Homeworks designers include:
Mrs Booth, Handworks, Fiona Bailey Designs, Smith and Coates, Huggermuggers, Homespun & Vintage, Lou Rota, and Petra Boase.

Homeworks Christmas Sale
20th Century Theatre
291 Westbourne Grove
Notting Hill
London W11 2QA

Opening times:

Thursday 25 November: 2 – 9pm
Friday 26 November: 10 – 9pm

Admission: £1 (which will be donated to The Special Yoga Centre)



Jo Gordon

Thornback and Peel

Twisted Twee

Exhibition Preview: Interior: Constellations – Tereza Stehlíková

Kingsgate Gallery, West Hampstead, London NW6. UK
17th September – 3rd October 2010

By Guy Sangster Adams

In Teresa Stehlíková’s The Story of Violet (Go Together Press, 2007), her illustrated book for children and adults, her eponymous young heroine wonders, “How can it be so beautiful here? Why are all the colours more intense than in the world at home? Why can’t it be the other way round? Why does it feel more real here than in the real world?”

Like Violet’s reverie, Interior: Constellations, Stehlíková’s new mixed media installation, allows the viewer to become completely immersed in beautiful, atmospheric, and mysterious, richly coloured interior and exterior images, from spiral staircases to spirals of forest flora and fauna that swirl the familiar and the unexpected, into new realities. Heightening one’s perception of reality in order, as she says, “to offer a fresh and poetic vision of the world” is key to the work of the multi-talented, Czech-born, London-based, Stehlíková, who is an artist, filmmaker, writer, co-editor and founder of the cross-disciplinary biannual magazine, Artesian, and lecturer in animation. Whilst also continuing to work towards a practice-based PhD at the Royal College of Art, in London, “researching ‘tactile memory’ and its relation to the moving image”.

Interior: Constellations develops her work with tactility and memory, as she says, “both thematically and practically, as the means by which time imprints its histories into objects and sites and as the process whereby those stored impressions might subsequently be retrieved.” Made on location in the Czech Republic and Iceland, all of the pieces in the exhibition, “focus on objects and places charged with individual or collective resonance,” says Stehlíková, from her childhood home to “the equally resonant landscapes of the natural world,” and all are “imbued with the textured potential of the un/conscious”.

Stehlíková is influenced by the rich tradition of Czech Surrealism and in particular by the highly influential artist and filmmaker, Jan Švankmajer, whose work has similarly inspired Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, and the Brothers Quay. Švankmajer worked closely with his wife, the equally inspirational Czech surrealist artist, Eva Švankmajerová, and when the Communist Czech regime banned them from making films for seven years in the 1970s, they worked pseudonymously creating other artworks, including three-dimensional ‘tactile art’. “As an art form touch is a sense without any defined convention,” Švankmajer has said, “it has the advantage of not lending itself solely to aesthetical purpose. That is why touch can bring into our consciousness a great amount of authentic material.”

The French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard, is also a primary influence on Interior: Constellations and Stehlíková’s work in general. In particular his book, The Poetics of Space,  which explores how we experience intimate places, and how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories and dreams. The final chapter puts forward Bachelard’s concept of ‘intimate immensity’, which Stehlíková has utilised in the exhibition in the way that her work “plays with notable shifts in scale and point of view”.

Using projection, assemblages, and photography, Interior: Constellations creates an evocative multi-layered experience, that is aesthetically, sensorily, and theoretically inspiring, and both a wonderful trigger to the imagination and an underscore to the importance to allowing one’s imagination freedom. In the words of Švankmajer: “Imagination is subversive, because it puts the possible against the real. That’s why you should always use your wildest imagination. Imagination is the biggest gift the humanity received. Imagination makes people human, not work. Imagination, imagination, imagination…”

Tereza Stehlíková will give an Artist’s Presentation at the Kingsgate Gallery at 2pm on Saturday 2nd  October 2010.

There will be also an off-site screening event during the exhibition (date tbc) of new and recent films by Tereza Stehlíková, alongside work of influence by Jan Švankmajer, Stan Brakhage and others. For more information check the links below.

Interior: Constellations runs from 17th September – 3rd October 2010
at Kingsgate Gallery, 110-116 Kingsgate Road, West Hampstead, London NW6 2JG. UK
Telephone: 020 7328 7878

Open Thursday to Sunday 12 – 6pm
Free admission

Tereza Stehlíková:
Go Together Press and Artesian Magazine:
Kingsgate Gallery:

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Exhibition Preview: Inspired by Soane

Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, UK
10th September to 1st October 2010

By Guy Sangster Adams

Damien Hirst, Vivienne Westwood, Richard Rogers, Tracy Emin, Grayson Perry, Manolo Blahnik, and Daniel Libeskind, are amongst the host of contemporary artists, architects, and designers (a full list follows at the foot of this article) who have been inspired by Sir John Soane’s Museum and have contributed original artworks to an exhibition and ‘blind sale’, Inspired by Soane. They join generations upon generations who have been similarly inspired.

One hundred and seventy-five years ago, Issac D’Israeli, the British writer, scholar, man of letters, and father of the British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, wrote an evocative letter to the architect Sir John Soane about how inspiring the museum  he had created within his home was. “Your Museum is permanently magical, for the enchantments of art are eternal,” he wrote, “some in poems have raised fine architectural edifices, but most rare have been those who have discovered when they had finished their house, if such a house can ever be said to be finished, that they had built a poem. All this you have accomplished…What the nation wanted your hand has bestowed.”

Between 1792 and 1824, Soane demolished and rebuilt three houses, numbers 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, ultimately creating what is now 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Through the success of his architectural practice, Soane was able to build incredible collections of books, paintings, sculpture, antiquities, furniture, timepieces, and architectural models, drawings, and salvage. These collection include Egyptian, Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance  antiquities, such as the sarcophagus of Seti I, and Roman bronzes from Pompeii, Neo-Classical sculpture, paintings by Canaletto, J.M.W. Turner, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Hogarth’s The Rake’s Progress and An Election.

In 1806 when he was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, Soane proposed opening his house for the use of  Royal Academy students the day before and the day after each of his lectures to view his collections, and began to arrange his collections accordingly. In 1833 he negotiated an Act of Parliament to settle and preserve the house and collection for the benefit of ‘amateurs and students’ in architecture, painting and sculpture. The Act came into force on his death in 1837, since when the Museum’s Trustees have continued to uphold Soane’s aims and objectives, and generations of people have continued to be inspired by his collections, and by Soane.

Inspired by Soane brings together the 208 pieces created by artists, architects, and designers in the UK and USA, who this summer were sent blank, framed cards and invited to create an original work celebrating the museum. The works will all be displayed anonymously and visitors to the exhibition will be offered the chance to buy a £200 ticket which enters them into a draw which guarantees ownership of one of the pieces on view. Though no one will know which piece they have ‘bought’ until an official adjudicated draw takes place at a fund-raising gala held at The Banqueting House on 7th October 2010. The monies raised by Inspired by Soane will go towards Opening up the Soane,  a £7M project to restore, refurbish, and improve the Museum.


Inspired by Soane runs from 10th September to 1st October 2010
at the Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields,  London WC2A 3BP, UK
Telephone: 020 7405 2107

Open: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
(Also on the first Tuesday evening of each month, 6-9pm)
Free entry

Sir John Soane’s Museum:

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Exhibition/new work preview and interview: Amy Guidry

By Guy Sangster Adams

Everything's Coming Up Roses, from the Beneath the Surface series of paintings by Amy Guidry  ©Amy Guidry

Everything's Coming Up Roses, from the Beneath the Surface series of paintings by Amy Guidry ©Amy Guidry

Throughout the summer of 2010 Amy Guidry has enjoyed a very busy exhibition schedule in which her paintings have been included in a sequence of shows across the USA: from the multi-media, 2010 Art Melt at the Louisiana State  Museum, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which opened on 15th July, to the Cam Rackham curated, The Black Plague Art Show, which opened the following week at The Congregation Gallery, in Los Angeles, California, to the Wally Workman Gallery’s 30th Anniversary Exhibition in Austin, Texas, which opened on 7th August. That schedule continues from summer into autumn with her work included in two shows which both opened on 27th August in her home state of Louisiana, Where Are They Now? at the Slidell Cultural Center, Slidell, which runs until 25th September, and the 23rd September Competition, at the Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, which runs until 8th October.

For Guidry, who was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but grew up in Slidell, exhibiting at the Slidell Cultural Center carries an added resonance. Because on 29th  August 2005 Hurricane Katrina, which caused so much destruction and loss life along the Gulf coast from Florida to Texas, made its final landfall near the mouth of the Pearl River, with the eye straddling St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana and Hancock County, Mississippi, before sweeping North East, where it caused its most severe devastation in Louisiana’s largest city, New Orleans. St Tammany Parish, as Guidry explains, “consists of several cities and towns such as Slidell, Mandeville, and Covington,” and as a result of the damage caused by the inundation created by the hurricane, the Slidell Cultural Center’s original premises have been in disrepair ever since, and it is now housed within the Slidell City Hall.

All of the artists included in Where Are They Now?, which features fine art, photography, sculpture, culinary arts, animation, graphic design, and performing arts, were former students from St. Tammany Parish who have gone on to pursue careers in the arts.

“Exhibiting in Slidell is important to me for several reasons, Katrina was devastating, but Louisiana has proven to be resilient,” says Guidry, who still lives in the state, in the city of Lafayette, “I really wanted to do something positive for my hometown, for the community, and for the arts.  I would often go to the Slidell Cultural Center to see exhibits while I was in high school and I was always impressed by the gallery.  When they had closed due to Katrina, I was disappointed, but glad to know that they still had the funding to rebuild.  Though they are in a new building, it’s still nice to go back and to be a part of one of their shows.  I grew up in Slidell, I went to school there, and I was actively involved in the arts whether it was through school or local art competitions.  Coming back, I hope to serve as a good example of their arts programs as well as a positive role model for students that are interested in a career in the arts.”

Guidy’s paintings in the exhibition are taken from her series, Beneath the Surface. Working in acrylic on canvas, Guidry’s paintings stem from, as she says, “two loves: psychology and art,” and the themes she explores, “involve the human psyche, who we are and how we interact with each other, including our relationship with other animals and the natural world.” For Beneath the Surface, as she explains, “I took issues of current social as well as personal interest and portrayed them in a sometimes humorous manner.  I felt humor helped soften the political blow a bit in order to reach a broader audience.  I was more direct with the content in hopes of getting the viewer thinking and questioning, and hopefully taking action as a result.”

Adaptation, from the series of paintings New Realm by Amy Guidry  ©Amy Guidry

Adaptation, from the series of paintings New Realm by Amy Guidry ©Amy Guidry

Her entry for the 23rd September Competition is taken from, New Realm, the series of paintings with which she followed Beneath the Surface. The New Realm series is, “essentially a modern fairy tale which re-writes the role of women,” says Guidry, “I wanted to challenge the notion that women are weak and always in need of some prince to save them and whisk them away. New Realm portrays women as strong and independent.  The overall look of the series is more dreamlike: birch trees and white, wintry backgrounds.  I did incorporate a lot of imagery typically considered ‘feminine’, such as high fashion, butterflies, as well as a light color palette.  However, many of these symbols represent freedom, growth, and change.  The haute couture fashion incorporated into the series alludes to royalty, which is typically seen in fairy tales, but with a modern approach to make the series more current and relatable to the viewer.”

The Alexandria Museum of Art is housed within the former Rapides Bank Building which was built c1898 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The September Competition is held annually and is open to any artist aged 18 or over from across the USA. The sole judge and juror of this year’s competition is the artist Kelli Scott Kelley, who is also Professor of Painting and Drawing at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Kelli Scott Kelley’s involvement was an added draw to Guidry, as she says, “I’m a fan of her work, though I’ve never met her, so I was especially interested in entering.”

For me, the six canvases that Guidry has already completed of her new series, In Our Veins, make a more pronounced break from her two previous series, and represent something of a change of direction, and I am keen to find out if she agrees and if so whether this change is in response to specific stimuli. “I have to admit that “In Our Veins” is certainly a more pronounced break from my previous work,” she replies, “I’ve worked in a surrealist vein for quite some time, but I did up the ante on this series. At the time that I started In Our Veins, I felt that I needed to challenge myself technically and conceptually.  I think that once I made that realization, that’s when I stopped censoring my own ideas.”

To do this she has adopted a very different conceptual approach for In Our Veins. “Most of  the imagery has come has come from dreams and free association exercises,” she says, “which is the complete opposite of what I was doing before.  I would brainstorm and write down words or phrases and do numerous thumbnail sketches in order to come up with a concept.  Now I’m letting my subconscious lead me to the concepts.  Any dream or image that comes to mind while half-asleep, I quickly sketch it as soon as I can and make sense of it later.  I’ve never been a risk-taker, which is all the more reason why I think it’s time to take the risk with my work.”

The Wild West, from the series of paintings In Our Veins by Amy Guidry  ©Amy Guidry

The Wild West, from the series of paintings In Our Veins by Amy Guidry ©Amy Guidry

That she is now taking direct inspiration from her dreams, and given the change in direction that In Our Veins represents, leads me to ask Guidry whether her dreams were always so vivid, or has there been a motivating factor that has made them become more so of late. “I don’t think my dreams have changed, I think that it’s my approach that has changed,” counters Guidry, “by not censoring, or maybe I should say editing my creativity, I’ve noticed that images and ideas are much more abundant even if I’m sleeping.  I’ve also learned to tune out noise, whether it’s environmental or mental noise such as thinking of errands or my to-do list.  Tuning out everything else has helped my creativity, or at least I’m more aware of it now.”

In common with her two previous series, In Our Veins continues to showcase Guidry’s latent talent to create acutely detailed, beautifully realised canvases, that cleverly subvert the initial welcome, or the ‘no need to think further’ security of being within familiar territory, that a benign style may provide, such as the pop art of Beneath the Surface, or classic fashion illustration of New Realm, with surreal flourishes, darker symbolism, details that only jar on closer inspection, or a message that percolates and reaches fruition upon reflection.

But taken as a whole, this juxtaposition is more immediate and more pronounced in the canvases of In Our Veins. As across phenomenally dramatic and beautiful land- and desertscapes, the paintings meld The Searchers’ VistaVision vast panoramas with the unsettling vision of Dali’s The Persistence of Memory. Because these iconic wide open spaces are inhabited by the likes of a human skeleton surmounted with the skull of an horse, an hare atop the ravaged corpse of a man, and traversed by the disembodied heads of animals and birds that have roamed free across the lands. Forget mere high definition, the exceptionality of Guidry’s mix of photorealism and surrealism, creates a fantastic heightened definition that presents a hyperreality that forces one to address and, with hope, redress our reality.

Untitled Heads, from the series of paintings In Our Veins by Amy Guidry  ©Amy Guidry

Untitled Heads, from the series of paintings In Our Veins by Amy Guidry ©Amy Guidry

“I have never been particularly impressed by how Westerns portrayed life as good vs. bad,” says Guidry, elaborating on the themes behind In Our Veins, “in reality, the land, environment, people, and animals were all seen as a means to an end.  I wanted to portray this in my own work by using this ‘character’ that I came up with while half-asleep, the skeleton with the horse skull, as well as the desert, as symbols of cowboys and horses, all typical Western imagery. I called the painting, The Wild West, as a reference to how the United States, itself being part of the West (hemisphere), is still taking over land, resources, etc. to this day.”

In addition to the Dali-esque air to In Our Veins, there is also an element of Magritte, as there is in various paintings from her earlier series, particularly Everything’s Coming Up Roses and Complacent from Beneath the Surface. I am interested as to whether the work of these artists was a conscious inspiration on In Our Veins. “I wouldn’t say that I was consciously thinking of Magritte since I try to tune out everything else when I’m working and let my creativity take over, but I’ll gladly take the compliment!” replies Guidry. “Even with a positive influence such as Magritte, I feel that it may inhibit my ideas and lead me to something more contrived. I will say that Magritte and Dali have been two of my favorite artists since a very young age, so their initial influence occurred long ago.”

Six canvases in, In Our Veins is still ongoing, as Guidry says, “I have a ton of ideas that I’m still working out as I go. I’m letting each painting lead me to the next.  Since I was looking to challenge myself technically, these pieces are also taking much more time to complete due to the detail, complexity, and the fact that I’m now adding glazes to make my paintings more like oils.  I’ll be working on these for awhile…” It is a fascinating and exciting prospect to see where Guidry’s journey into the landscape of dreams and a nation’s collective memory will lead next.

Where Are They Now?
runs from 27th August –  25th September 2010
at the Slidell Cultural Center, first floor City Hall,
2055 Second Street,  Slidell, LA 70458-3403, USA
Telephone: +1 985 646-4375

Open: Tues-Fri, 12pm – 4pm; Sat, 9am – 12pm
Free entry

23rd September Competition exhibition
runs from 27th August to 8th October 2010
at the Alexandria Museum of Art
933 Main Street / P.O. Box 1028, Alexandria, LA 71309-1028, USA
Telephone: +1 318 443-3458

Open: Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday 10am-4pm


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