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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Mr Almos’ Big Pen Ship – Climb aboard!

The Rag Factory, Brick Lane, London

Written by Jessica Stokes

Monday 6 July

Whose landscape is it anyway?

Nicholas Stern and Ramachandra Guha consider the tensions between environmental concerns and industrial and economic development in South Asia today.

£5 including day pass to Royal Botanic Gardens, order this web Kew.
6.30pm, story British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1.

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Illustration by Joanna Cheung

Tuesday 7th July

Garbage Warrior Film Screening

The epic story of radical Earthship eco architect Michael Reynolds, and his fight to build off-the-grid self-sufficient communities.

7pm (86min), Passing clouds, Dalston (review + directions)

An Alternative Energy Evening?·

Lecture and Panel Discussion?· Professor Vernon Gibson, with Jonathan Leake, ??Chief Chemist of BP, in discussion with key experts in the field of sustainable and renewable energy.
Please join us to hear the latest on this hot topic.

Free to attend. Admission is by guest list only.
??Email events@weizmann.org.uk to reserve your place.
+44 (0)20 7424 6863?  www.weizmann.org.uk

7pm
Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AR

Wednesday 8th July

Renewable Energy, All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group meeting with WWF

Dr Keith Allott leads the discussion.

4-6pm, House of Commons, Westminster SW1

Thursday 9th July

Conflicting Environmental Goods and the Future of the Countryside

Caroline Lucas MEP talking on possible futures.

Contact – judithr@cpre.org.uk
5-7pm, The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, EC1

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

A Climate Mission for Europe: Leadership & Opportunity

Lord Browne, Roger Carr, Lord Giddens, John Gummer MP and Roland Rudd

8–9.30am
Royal Academy of Engineering,
3 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y

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Illustration by Michaela

Wise Women Speaker Event: John D Liu

John D Liu speaks on integrated poverty eradication and large-scale ecosystem rehabilitation. Since the mid-1990′s he has concentrated on ecological film making and has written, produced and directed films on many aspects of the ecology. In 2003, Liu wrote, produced and directed “Jane Goodall – China Diary” for National Geographic. Hailed as a visionary for the future, Lui is director of the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) and will discuss his groundbreaking work.

RSVP: polly@wisewomen.me.uk

7pm, ?£10 on the door
The Hub,Islington,
Candid Arts Trust,
5 Torrens Street, London,
EC1V 1NQ

Friday 10th July

The End of the Line

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Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act. The End of the Line is the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Rupert Murray.

7pm, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2.
Contact – events@frontlineclub.com

Saturday 11th July

The Artic And Us

Lemn Sissay discusses the making of the poem “What If”, inspired by his recent trip to the Arctic to highlight climate change.

£7, 3.30pm, South Bank Centre

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Illustration by Lea Jaffey
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Two Door Cinema Club are three Northern Irish lads from Co. Down, order who, approved armed with a trusty Macintosh, there are intent on providing our dance floors with some bona fide, hooky and melodic electro pop. Along their journey so far, they have been compared to The Postal Service, Death Cab For Cutie and Broken Social Scene, booked – to support Mancunian indie-ravers Delphic – and signed by Parisian cool cats, Kitsune and have been produced by Lexx who previously has done a mixing turn for Little Boots and Bjork.

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An impressive CV so far, so we got them locked into a quick fire question and answer session and they hit us back with tit bits of sounds, chick flicks and most importantly, girls.

You recently signed with Kitsune. Is there an album coming up?

There sure is! We just finished the mixes with Eliot James and Philipe Zdar (of French duo Cassius) recently so we’re all set for a early 2010 release. We did the recording in West London with Eliot over July and August. He mixed the album tracks as well. Then we went to Paris to mix the singles with Philipe.

Should we expect something similar to your singles “Something Good Can Work” (video above) and “I Can Talk” (released via Kitsune on November 16th)?

There are a lot of different sounds across the album and I think those two singles are already pretty different anyway. In the end it’s going to be a fast paced, electro pop album. That’s our aim.

What’s the story of how you met?

Alex and Kev actually met in cub scouts but they weren’t particularly friends. Alex and Sam met early on in high school. Then Kev came back into the frame when he was trying to get with pretty much all our friends… who were girls.

Are you all still living in Ireland?

We came to London in June for the album and have pretty much just stayed ever since. We basically split our time between London, our tour van and travel lodges. When we’re not on tour, Sam still splits his time between London and Ireland.

What music have you been listening to lately?

We’ve been really into Phoenix recently, since we got a chance to cover one of their tracks (Lasso) for their repackage. Other bands we like are The Hold Steady, Mew, Mumford and Sons, The Decemberists, Bon Iver and The National.

What do you think about the synth-pop bands trend currently going on?

I think the genre is a little saturated at the moment. In essence, the style is great but as with every genre, there’s good and bad. Which is why we try to stay away from pigeon holing our sound too much, so we don’t get caught up in the trend.

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What sort of things do you enjoy doing with your free time?

We don’t really get much free time but any time we do get we catch up with friends and girlfriends, who we don’t get to see as much as we’d like. Sam is partial to a wee chick flick as well.

Who would you die for to play with?

Wouldn’t die to play with anyone… but The Beatles??

What is the last gig you went to?

Golden Silvers on the NME Radar Tour and Idlewild recently.

What are your aspirations as a band?

To have fun, play music and hopefully for people to like it. Ideally, we’d like to be able to survive just from playing in a band.

The culmination of their Kitsune support slot with Delphic is an East London Warehouse Party this Halloween (Saturday 31st). We think it’ll be worth visitting and no doubt, you’ll be hooked to Two Door Cinema Club too.
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Last night I was delighted to be invited to the ICA for an emphatic catwalk show with a difference. The event was organised by former designer Elaine Foster-Gandey; director of Designer Sales UK.

Elaine developed Real People do the Catwalk after hosting a fashion show which included both dancers and models on stage. “I asked my customers about it and they said they related to the dancers and not the models”.

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Spurred by this Elaine set about putting together a pioneering show to further the arguement that replacing super-thin models with people who reflect society could lead to increased sales for the fashion industry.

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The show opened in silence with the models resembling extras from Scream in their attire of long black robes and white masks. Each model first vocalised how they felt the fashion industry related to them, pharmacy followed by revealing their beautifully styled outfits and their real identities.

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The driving force behind the model casting to show the fashion industry that different body shapes can be celebrated in fashion shows and advertising campaigns.

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“It is about not creating an elite world where no one else can join in, about it ” Explained Elaine. “So many people want a chance, but know that because they are five foot tall, or a size 14-16, they never will have.” The models featured within the show ranged from a 6’1” Drag Artiste to a 5’4” male; dress sizes 8 to 20 and ages between 25 to 60+.

What I enjoyed most about the show was the diversity and celebration of the models differences. It was fresh and modern with all the models having poise, confidence and importantly a great sense of humour. Their
good spirits and sense of fun gave the show an electric atmosphere.

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The models’ charismatic personalities brought out something unique in the clothes that might not have been projected if worn by a ‘normal’ model. Whether this is because they were real people displaying how the clothes would fit on our own bodies or down to their insurmountable energy and passion for highlighting an issue intricately linked to the size zero debate.

Afterwards there was a riveting post-show debate featuring: Elaine Foster-Gandey; Real People do the Catwalk organiser, writer Dariush Alavi; Eleni Renton, founder of Leni’s Model Management; Hilary Alexander, esteemed fashion director at The Daily Telegraph and was chaired by writer and broadcaster Bidisha.

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The debate began by Dariush Alavi somewhat controversially enquiring as to why Real People do the Catwalk
was produced to “enact a traditional fashion show.” Suggesting that by keeping the traditional format, could anything change by replacing the models with real people as it is not the models who are at fault but the stage on which they stand. Alavi suggested doing away with the catwalk altogether.

This prompted both Hilary Alexander and a member of the audience to defend the catwalk as “fashion’s world stage” and looked back to a John Galliano show where the entire collection was presented on an overhead track of basic clothes hangers. Dariush’s response suggested making models obsolete and displaying clothes on a fashion conveyer belt went down like a lead balloon. The audience and the rest of the panel remained sceptical of high fashion designers considering a presentation that in a format is more commonly associated with The Generation Game.

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Questions were raised about the morality of the fashion industry and the spotlight on the size zero debate intensified. Hilary spoke about the Telegraph not facing the same constraints from advertisers as glossy fashion titles and said that the newspaper’s “aim to strike a balance between real people and models and actively try to include both types of woman in spreads… the oldest woman we’ve ever featured was 94.”

Panellist Eleni Renton mentioned that the Editor of UK Vogue Alexandra Shulman spoke out against size zero in June accusing designers of making magazines hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” by supplying them with “minuscule” garments for their photo shoots. She claimed that Vogue frequently “retouched” photographs to make models look larger. In response Hilary questioned whether things had begun to change at UK Vogue as they still fail to represent body diversity within their pages, suggesting it would become apparent what their real stance on size zero is over the coming months.

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Elaine added that whilst magazine images are not healthy for women, they have a considerable impact on impressionable teenagers who start to believe they need to emulate perfect bodies in order to be considered beautiful and successful.

“Look around, everything we see is airbrushed… these aren’t real images.”

To emphasise her point Elaine spoke of teenagers being more body conscious than any generation before citing her own children as an example: “I have a six-year-old daughter and 11 and 15-year-old stepdaughters who are constantly looking in the mirror. My stepdaughters are so skinny and so conscious about what they eat and what they see in the media. They are constantly aware of body image issues. It is a big issue for adolescent girls and boys.”

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The panel and audience agreed that the media are responsible for putting different demographics into the mainstream and popularising diversity, and that they have a moral responsibility to society to not glamorise super skinny body shapes. Elaine believes that there has “been a spike in our body consciousness” in recent years and we have turned into a society “afraid of flesh, hair and wrinkles”.

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Eleni, director of Leni’s Model Management only works with girls “who are sizes 8 to 12… They are the type of girls you see in the street and think, ‘I would like a body like hers.”

As the debate drew to a close the supermodel era was discussed, with Hilary citing that the greats in the industry: Linda, Kate and Naomi all had personality, and that was what made them famous, rather than their figures. On the flip side other great supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Sophie Dahl were celebrated for having curves.

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Through the conversations it became apparent that the only modern day equivalent of a curvaceous celebrity pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in mainstream is Beth Ditto, who won LOVE magazine a prestigious industry award for her iconic nude cover

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The overall outcome was for women to take responsibility for themselves and their bodies and actively promote positive body attitudes to their daughters, friends and grandchildren. Everyone agreed that while it is easy to blame the media for the size zero trend, consumers need to use our buying power to actively challenge the fashion industry into reconsidering their design practices and elitism.

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I left the ICA feeling very empowered, wanting to help revolutionise the fashion industry from the outside in.

RAG FACTORY

Down a little road off the ever vivacious Brick Lane, what is ed a strange calm ensues; a few old men prop up the bar of a faded pub, decease a waste disposal vehicle reverses into a space and I come to the hidden entrance of the Rag Factory, home to Mr Almos’ Big Pen Ship. This exhibition is dedicated to illustration, in particular graduates from Kingston University ’06. Curated and organised by Richard Fairhead, I feel I have an immediate affinity with this show because of my own illustration background before I even enter. The room is long, narrow and white-washed and the windowed ceiling illuminates the space, making it feel bright and airy. I am told by Jenny Bell, who helped Richard in creating the show, that it was important that the illustrations submitted were colourful – this was to be the only remit. I ask where the name for the exhibition came from – it is, after all quite curious as to who this Mr Almos is. They wanted something more unusual and ambiguous for the title and the legend of Mr Almos, a prince that once took a travelling tribe around Russia, seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.

CHARLOTTE PRICE

I am first attracted to the work of Charlotte Price. At once I feel that the art is charismatic and warm and has a strange familiarity to it – like looking through an old family photo album. The tone of voice is naïve but sincere. The use of paint, collage and printing techniques are apparent and applied in a measured way. Portraits of people and animals are both here but my favourite are those of the former. All are placed in indeterminable places/times/locations, like cutting out a section from someone’s memory. A particularly sweet piece is ‘Sea People’. An old aged couple stand together, presumably at the beach, both with hands furtively on their hips, perhaps contemplating entering the sea. Charmingly, they are both a bit tubby round the middle and squeezed into their swimming costumes. The slightly distorted and awkward proportions enhance the subject in the illustration, playing off one another. Price‘s palette is limited, muted and selective.

MATTHEW HAMS

One of the more outstanding and strong illustrations are by a Mr. Matthew Hams. There are currently two of his screen prints displayed on the wall and both are solid pieces. In the first I see a man smoking a pipe and holding an umbrella, with the words ‘Mr A Beyond Flora Dora’. I am hit by the beautiful symphony of colours – turquoise, buttercup yellow and tomato red, all complimentary and therefore very pleasing to the eye. Hams uses very simple outlines and shapes, which his printmaking technique lends itself to very well. The typeface is quite fun and plays with more cursive,fluid lowercase in ‘beyond’ and blocked out, chunky capitals in ‘FLORA DORA’. I am brought to mind of some sort of American influence, like ‘varsity’ graphics or football pendants. This is the sort of work that I could imagine in my own home. The second reads ‘ Mr Almos’ Big bottle of juice’ in a composition of mint green, bottle green and a darker red. There is occasional use of slightly offsetting certain elements of the print, in this instance the word ‘BIG’ is done so in red and white. The nature of Ham‘s work is light-hearted, with a spirited disposition.

WELLNICE

The central wall is where the curator Richard Fairhead‘s work has taken up residence. Very distinctive, I immediately recognise it from the posters and flyers that were promoting this exhibition. Fairhead also works in screen prints with a very particular, quite graphic approach. Much of his work is symmetrical and is reminiscent of tattoo art – a prevalent use of skulls, pin-up girls and sailor themes. I mentally select my favourite’s – ‘Well Nice’ and ‘Pink Skull’. As with all of his work on show today, ‘Well Nice’ is made up of thin, linear outlines, integrated with blocked out areas and interlocking patterns. This balance of different elements works well. The text ‘well nice’ is built into the structure of the illustration, so well in fact that it is quite difficult to distinguish at first. The pyramid shaped amalgamation of images is like a throne that seats a skull at the very top. Different objects seem to immerge from the mass, coming into focus and then disappearing again. Some require a second glance – is that really Spongebob Squarepants I can see? Childlike motifs such as this and a head of a bunny rabbit sit next to the likes of the head of an aggressive looking wolf and the skull of an unknown animal, an unsettling contradiction of themes.

GONE FISHING

Richard‘s brother Chris Fairhead displays work that certainly fulfils the requirement of ‘colourful’. ‘Gone Fishing’ is a perfect case in point, with three little fishing huts lined up next to each other. It may be a typical scene used in contemporary illustration, but his use of a highly dense kaleidoscope of colours sets it apart from ones that have gone before. The wooden panels of the huts almost look like colouring pencils stacked up against each other.

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The exhibition has proved to be an eclectic and cohesive collection of work that spans the whole spectrum of illustration. It is an impressive feat for these artists, considering they are very recent or a least fairly graduates. Richard Fairhead works as a freelance illustrator and has had many of his own books published including his more recent educational books on China. It’s worth checking his website out :http://richfairhead.co.uk/.

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