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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

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Written by Violette Nlandu Ngoy


Dan Stanley is a London-based illustrator and designer who will soon be launching his new range of greeting cards, buy this web Fluffy Thoughts. He graduated from the London Metropolitan University in 2007 and began setting up Fluffy Thoughts. His fanciful daydreams inspire his designs that are filled with mischievous animals and fuzzy creatures! They mix together a childlike innocence with colourful wit, website like this drawing you deeper into the mysterious world of his characters. Dan has plans to develop his character range further to include soft toys, sildenafil vinyl toys, books and clothing – he invites you now to step into his shiny, cloud-filled universe.

Tell me more about Fluffy Thoughts? ??

Fluffy Thoughts is my range of greeting cards that I designed and are soon to be launched! My initial design ideas were based around a set of creature characters that I put together while completing an Art Foundation course. The range will be available through my online shop and I am currently working towards having them stocked in shops too.

You design many surreal, fun characters. What are the biggest influences on your designs?
I love Japanese design and animation. I’m a huge fan of anything with cute or crazy characters! So I decided to create my own too and had lots of fun doing so! I had designed and produced a number of soft toy monsters and it’s great to see more of my characters come to life through Fluffy Thoughts. I love illustrators such as Alex Pardee, Bubi Au Yeung, and also illustrated brands such as Ugly Dolls and Tokidoki.?


What are your thoughts on our homegrown artists at the moment? ? 

?There is a growing interest in hand drawn art and illustration, rather than computer generated art, which is fantastic. It’s shifting away from the accurate images created on computers and has moved onto more irregular and rough styles which I feel gives the artwork more of a personal identity. ? ?There is a great interest in Vinyl toys at the moment which has increased the popularity of characters within a larger age group. This is great news, I’ve always been a huge fan of character based designs which spurred me onto design my creatures. I’m a big follower of illustrated brands such as TADO, NOODOLL and LAZY OAF who are all based in London too.


?What are your other plans for the future???

Greeting cards are only the beginning. I hope to expand on Fluffy Thoughts with a clothing range and various other products. I would love to expand on some of my characters stories with illustrated books also!
I have been a Madonna fan for years and years. When I was younger it bordered on obssessional, buy information pills but has lessened now due to her ill-advised recent collaboration with super producer, page Timbaland, where she just sounded like a guest vocalist on her own album. To say I’m disappointed doesn’t even come close to an understatement. But let’s not dwell on this, as luckily, this collection does not focus on this period – but on the good old glory days, well decades actually.

Described as a collection of memorabilia, there definitely is a lot of Madonna paraphernalia on show here in the Truman Brewery. In the huge concrete car park of the brewery evidently.
The biggest draw being costumes she wore on stage and in films. However, when looking at them, something wasn’t feeling right. Look at the picture below:


At first glance you would not think this was part of an exhibition about Madonna. Yes, this collection of outfits come mainly from her conservatively dressed role in Evita, but it’s not just that. The clothes don’t fit properly on the many cheap looking identical mannequins:




I guess for an exhibition about the notorious perfectionist Madonna, you would expect the same high level of professionalism from a show dedicated to her, and that just was not evident here.
Also, considering there is a disclaimer saying that Madonna had nothing to do with it, they have copies of her record and divorce contracts, her old credit card from the 1980′s and pages from her personal diary. I know you can acquire these through auctions but you are left wondering how they have these items, you are also left wondering if, in fact Madonna is gagged and bound in one of the dark corners of the car park, as the ultimate piece of memorabilia…



Although fascinating to see on a voyeuristic fan level, there was an unsettling atmosphere to the whole experience. Perhaps it was the sparse venue, or perhaps it was because Madonna is such an icon with so much history, an exhibition dedicated to her could have and should have been spectacular. This sadly, was not.
Between January and April 1996 approximately 360 acres of land including 120 acres of woodland were cleared to make way for the building of a new road, drug the Newbury bypass. The demolition was met by one of the largest anti-road protests in history with over 7000 people directly demonstrating on the site. From July 1995 protesters began to occupy the land, pill living in tree houses and tents. It was a long hard fight and a momentous period of social history that is all the more relevant today with the increasing disparity between environmental legislation and climate deterioration, and the growth of environmental activism. Jim Hindle was in the thick of things and has written a book about his experience, Nine Miles.



What are your intentions for the book and what do you think it’s
relevance is in our present state of climactic urgency?

On the most basic level I wanted to tell the story of what happened; for history’s sake but also due to the relevance that story has now, in terms of the amount of roads being built today and also for the wider
climatic situation. Road transport in the UK accounts for more than 21% of our total CO2 emmision and is set to rise pretty fiercely without efforts to reign it in. But also, I wanted to convey something of the feeling of those times, of the sense of inspiration that was so strong in the campaigns I’ve described;
there’s a sense that that spirit can inform us now however we choose to act or the environment, or changing the world in general, or even simply how we live our lives.


How does your life now relate to your life in the 90′s? Are you still involved in activism?

I’ve had to knock activism on the head these days, for reasons that are clearer when you read the book. I did go to the first climate camp and while it was amazingly inspiring it was also pretty stressful, the kind of situation that I’m meant to be avoiding. So I limit myself to talking and writing as a way to influence the world now. I don’t live outdoors but camp and walk as much as I can in the summer. Right now I live on the edge of a small town in a converted outhouse with a firepit outdoors but can see myself back in a house or a flat before too long. Living outdoors isn’t made easy in this country but I am at least gravitating away from the middle of cities as places to be in full time.

I‘m quite interested to find out what everyone is doing now-are you still in touch?

Sarah is in the mountains in Wales with a young child. Badger is living in the West Country working as a carpenter with his wife and three kids. Tami studied maths, got a scholarship to Oxford and is now working as a website designer. Many folks are still activists in one way or another but I think everyone holds precious the memory of what happened. There’s kind of an unspoken bond.



What are your thoughts on the current wave of climate action?

I think it’s really inspiring. I’ve always felt that to be most effective direct action needs to be as intelligent and discriminating as possible and all the signs are that those involved with Plane Stupid, for instance, share this approach. It carries a big responsibility too. Certainly to see direct action as some kind of cure-all or the way to go about things in the first instance doesn’t seem like the way forward. Martin Luther King said it should only be undertaken as a last resort and it takes it’s place within a bigger picture. There’s many ways to campaign for things but I do think direct action has a vital place.

newbury6.jpg Jonathan Olley

I think the climate camps have maybe been a bit gung-ho in declaring intentions to shut down power stations and the like; it kind of guarantees a full on police response but I think to be fair there are many folks involved who would agree. And they’re amazing testimonies to how far everything has come, the organization that goes into the camps is truly something else. And it carries the torch of DIY culture, to be involved; people realizing that it’s not enough to wait for someone else to do something, that we all carry responsibilty for our actions and the actions of our culture.

I do sometimes feel too that it shouldn’t be neccessary, that people shouldn’t have to put themselves through it but it raises the stakes and shakes people out of their apathy and there’s as much need for that as ever; steering society to something more sustainable is like steering some massive tanker and when
change is not apparent there’s the danger of inertia creeping in. So it’s important, if nothing else, to raise our voices on the issue, to remind the politicians that there’s everything to fight for, to help give them license perhaps to act for the climate and certainly to hold them to their responsibilities. And there’s a new generation now getting involved, which is amazing, the whole thing has evolved and there’s a freshness and an urgency, which is what we need in copious amounts…

Jim will be reading extracts from his book on 17th March at 7.30pm at The Hornbeam Centre in London and on 28th March for the Climate Camp benefit at Westhill Music Club in Brighton.
Basso and Brooke was, find without a doubt, THE worst organised show of the week. We arrived a bit late, and squeezing our way into the surging throng, rougher than any mosh pit despite the far greater average of lipstick and high heels, it transpired that they’d reached capacity in the Bloomsbury Ballroom where the show was being held and the 200-strong throng of ticket-holders outside weren’t getting in. All that practice at gigs must’ve come in handy as I proved to be a far more effective pusher and shover than our in-house fashion bitch Jenny. I managed to be the last person admitted to the show and was rushed down the stairs by the totally harassed PR going “I told him to get a bigger venue”. Forget about freebies at this one, I didn’t even get a chair.


That said, I ended up with a pretty good view of the catwalk meaning I could fully take in the Rococo ambience of the show with its sumptuous, brocaded Jackie O suits and dress and distressed hairdos, somewhere between seventeenth century wigs and sixties helmet heads. This was all sound-tracked by string versions of heavy metal songs, a tongue-in-cheek touch that raised a smile on many a frazzled fashion face. The opening notes of Sweet Child O’ Mine had an appropriately frantic urgency to it when played on a violin.

However, the music at Basso and Brooke was as nothing compared with the brilliant horror soundtrack of Ann-Sofie Back that we went to that evening. Her collection was heavily inspired by horror movies such as Carrie, and models wafted down the catwalk wearing white contact lenses, pale face makeup and wild frizz-bomb hair. Ripped denim, dream-catcher feathers and slogan sweatshirts were the order of the day although my most coveted item was a pair of red tinted aviators that turned into little blood drops at the bottom.


She was in a double bill with Peter Jensen at the Topshop showspace although I only have vague memories of his show, overshadowed as it was by the gothic offering it preceded. I’ve got a general memory of folksy, ethnic embroidery on over-the-knee white boots and boys in puffy waistcoats. Topshop also laid on a good spread of sausage rolls and champagne, although as my Topshop employee cohort pointed out, perhaps Philip Green could have directed some of those funds towards not firing some of his floor staff. Just an idea. Still, I enjoyed the posh pub spread and the ensuing shows and one thing I am definitely going to try and get hold of for this summer is a reduced-rate pair of bloody sunnies.

I have been left so in awe by the sheer quantity of auspicious talent at the Esthethica stand at London Fashion Week this month that I felt just one article would not suffice in covering this fundamental event in the fashion calender. I felt it all to hard to digest all in one sitting so I embarked on another tour of the stands having already covered Beyond Skin, malady Izzy lane and Ada Zandition.I set out to prowl for more talent. The first to lure me into his stand was sustainable fashion designer Mark Lius, doctor a man that whole heartedly deserves the title of forerunner in ethical production. His collection draws influence from the philosophy entitled ” Singularity Point”. The thesis is that a system after time becomes self aware of its own limitations and eventually devises a structure to rewrite its own rules and push itself further. Mark has miraculously achieved to produce his entire collection without the use of a sewing machine!. Astounding I know!!!


The collection oozes romance featuring a subtle palette which graduates from muted creams through to pinks and charcoals giving the collection a real sense of fluidity .Each of the dresses is beautifully crafted with such intricacy, delicate and understated prints are complimented perfectly by the elegant cut of the dresses .

The next designer to ensnare me was the pioneering label Good One. Having already worked with I-D magazine and juice magazine, and been finalists for the new designer of the year award, this brand are already making waves in the fashion sphere. Made from locally sourced recycled fabrics, Good One proves using old fabrics in your designs certainly doesn’t have to look like a sack of rags from Oxfam!.The collection exudes colour with block shapes and print to create stylish yet individual dresses.


The brand offers an online shop, which supplies the entire charity range and with prices starting from £30 it wont leave a significant dent in your pockets. To top it all off all the profits go straight back to charity, double bonus!!.


With the rise of disposable fashion Good One provides a legitimate solution to waste reduction.The brand are also expanding their knowledge to the rest of the fashion industry and have established their own consultancy to educate existing brands to tackle their own waste issues.


To summarise, Esthetica this month has been a real tour de force of talent that has left me with an overwhelming feeling of amour for our British ethical talent. Watch this space because I have an excitation that this is just the beginning of a outstanding era of success for this talented bunch………………….


Climate Rush like to do what it says on the tin, dosage so when the Landmark Hotel closed all entrances apart from one heavily guarded by police, it was obvious that a rush was needed in order to make sure that the UK NO NEW COAL AWARDS went ahead as planned. How inconsiderate of them to lock us out when we had a schedule to keep!

So, at 6.30pm on the dot we stormed through the fire exit and elegantly rushed into the Winter Garden area of the atrium, where we planned to hold our counter awards to the UK Coal industry’s annual pat on the back.

To the total bemusement of men and women in black tie stood by, not to mention the hotel staff, we sat down and began to chant “No New Coal.” Tamsin Omond and Marina Pepper, our favourite ex-page three girl, appeared at the balcony above the hall and started to hand out awards, but this being Tamsin the police were on her like a shot; whisking her off and out of the hotel even as she read out the awards. How undeserved!



As a huge banner was unfurled, bearing James Hansen’s immortal words: “COAL FIRED POWER STATIONS ARE FACTORIES OF DEATH. CLOSE THEM” by two intrepid climbers on the lintel above, Marina instead gave a rousing speech to the hundred or so present, some munching on beautifully sliced cucumber sandwiches that the crusts had been lovingly cut off.





Marina was informed that the awards had in fact been cancelled, and that the dodgy emails that Climate Rush had received, one signed by Mark Land (hoho) and one from the silly sounding Buster Gonads, were indeed bona fide missives from the hotel’s staff.


Thereafter followed some dilema, which was solved in style by consensus, when we collectively decided to politely vacate the building. This led to some milling around outside with a bunch of people in black tie who were trying to get inside, as we tried to decide if the claims were in fact true.




One guest claimed to be from BP, which led to the conclusion that we had been lied to, and so we rushed around to the back of the building where rumours of another entrance spread like wildfire. Hanging onto the gates with sheer force of will, Climate Rushers attempted to stop the police from closing us out.



Clearly perturbed by the turn of events, Landmark manager Mr. Green then invited two of our kind in on a tour of the hotel to prove that UK Coal had indeed cancelled the event – believed to have taken place during the day instead.


Marina then returned to tell us the fantastic news that the Landmark hotel have undertaken a pledge never again to entertain Climate Changing industries, and not only this, but they will attempt to push this policy out across the other 25 hotels in this luxury hotel chain. We fully expect Mr. Green to keep to his word!



With our bike sound system now powered up it was time to complete our rollcall of awards, handing out our fantastic (some might say faintly ridiculous) coalmine canaries (at least, those that hadn’t yet been confiscated by the police – paper mache can be very dangerous) So here, in no particular order, are the UK No New Coal Awards

Science Fiction award 
goes to the most unbelievable technology not yet available to stop CO2 emissions, Carbon Capture and Storage.

Financial Fool award 
goes to the Royal Bank of Scotland, for helping to raise $16 billion in loans to finance the worldwide coal industry over the past two years.

LIfetime Achievement award 
goes to Drax coal fired power station, for the Greatest Emissions in the UK, equivalent to that of the 54 poorest countries in the world.

Best Supporting Role 
goes to the biggest Climate Coward, Gordon Brown, for putting business interests before Climate Change.

Best Newcomer 
goes to the next likely “factory of death”, Kingsnorth coal fired power station in Kent.

and finally…

UK Coal Personality of the Year  
goes to Paul Golby, CEO of energy company E.ON, for outstanding services to Greenwash (whilst plotting to build Kingsnorth)



We then danced on down the road to a local Wetherspoons (yuk) as recommended by the police, where all celebrated in red sashes, to the amusement of the other punters.


Remembering that we still had a room available in the hotel, some of us returned to continue celebrating in five star luxury, whilst we crafted a press release and uploaded our pictures. Well, it would be a shame to waste such style!


Today I woke with my heart singing, for what Climate Rush did yesterday was really rather wonderful. The power of many makes us strong – long may our adventures in stopping Climate Change continue.
Not a Feminists Art Show!
Sixteen artists will exhibit a collection of multi media art work that focuses on women without using the word Female, drug the main focus being how to create modern works of art without it being labeled as feminist especially when its regarding one genre.

Private Viewing will take place on Wednesday 4 March 19:30 – 22:30 and the Exhibition is on from 5 till the 10th of March 11:00am – 18:00pm, viagra dosage Taking place at the electrician’s shop Trinity Buoy Wharf Orchard Pl, Tower Hamlets, London E14, UK


Picasso: Challenging the Past
The National Gallery has put together an exhibition exploring Picasso’s artistic interpretation and investigation of past masters of art and their subjects, from the female nude to portraits and the female sitter.

Visitors to Trafalgar Square will be treated to spectacular illuminations covering the front of the National Gallery from 25th of February till the 4th of March. The exhibition takes place from the 25th February – 7 June 2009, room 1, admission free


First Thursdays
On the first Thursday of every month over 100 galleries and museums in east London open until 9pm, giving visitors a chance to see some amazing art work.

Laura Oldfield Ford: Drifting through the ruins
Hales Gallery, London 2013,
30 Jan – 14 Mar 2009

Barbara Steinberg: Panoply
Signal Gallery
96a Curtain Road, Hoxton, London, EC2A

Rufus Miller: Sex N’ Death
An exhibition based around the London based artist’s reflections of life.
The Sassoon gallery, 213 Blenheim Grove Peckham
6th- 11th March

Featured Illustrator

Cristina Petrucci

After a degree in Costume Design for the Performing Arts at The London College of Fashion Cristina began to explore costume design and illustration, she retrained as an illustrator at Camberwell College of Art and Design and as since showed and taken part in various exhibitions.
Her works are dreamy fairy tale like scenes with sharp echoes of surrealism, Art Nouveau and a touch of feminism as seen in the Illustration bellow.


Where are you based?
I’m based in North London

What inspires you in your work and why?
I got into art at college. I didn’t do a GCSE in art at school which I always regretted I chose to do a GCSE in Drama instead. I’ve always been torn between the theatre and art. When I came to choosing my A levels at college I thought that there was no way I could choose Art. So I chose psychology. I walked out of the first lesson and went straight to the art department and asked for a place. I got it, but had to prove my ability throughout the first year, before I was put forward for A level examination. It was worth the hard work, as I came out with an A and I guess the rest is history. I went on to do a foundation in art and design at Central Saint Martins, continuing by following the normal route of progression…degree to MA.

Who do you aspire to be like and who inspires you at present?
I aspire to be a great technical draughts person. I’ve always been inspired by illustrators such as Arthur Rackham, Aubrey Beardsley and slightly more obscure illustrators such as Kay Nielsen and Jan Toorop. All influential artists at the turn of the 20th century, their art tied into the arts and crafts and art nouveau movements, perhaps my favourite era in art.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
In five years from now, I see myself teaching art. I’ve been lucky to have great art teachers and feel like in the future I want to be able to inspire and encourage young people to take up art.


What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the Art?
Above all my advise to people wishing to take up art is to work hard on your basic art skills, such as colour theory, life drawing and observational drawing.

Do you have a muse and if so why?
My work is strongly emotionally focused. Sometimes my work can be literally depictive of my life events. However most of the time I use theatrical narratives to inspire me in conjunction with my emotional state of mind. I guess that life is my muse.

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4 Responses to “Art Listings”

  1. Sam says:

    Great listings Violette,
    Gives me a lot to check out this week and also thanks for introducing me to such a talented illustrator.


  2. Maya says:

    Great to know, especially about the First Thursdays. Thanks!

  3. Micheal T says:

    I checked out the illumination on the National Gallery building last night when I was out with Friends, It was great, I’m going back to check out the actual exhibition some time this week.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Hello, I’d just like to say, what a interesting post! i am just doing a bit of research for my blog but i had a problem reading this post due to the text sticking out in to the menu…. Edit: apologies, the problems my end, its my ancient version of internet explorer causing the bug. Could be worthwhile telling people to update. Keep up the good work.

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