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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Nine Miles

A first hand account of the Newbury Bypass Protests, Photography by Jonathan Olley

Written by Lucy Jones


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.


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