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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

The House of Viktor & Rolf: Illustrating Fashion

Barbican Gallery , 26th June 2008

Written by Lucy Barrett

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This month, physician more about daydreams can be dedicated to Loulou Androlia. At 27, the Camden based designer has tumbled, head first into her own Alice in Wonderland fairytale.
Just last month, Loulou Loves You, was just another great, one-woman DIY design outfit, with Loulou cutting and crafting her way round the indie e-shop block. Her handmade lingerie and giant silk hairbows won her fans and friends aplenty across the usual social networking sites, but it wasn’t until she was contacted by Agent Provocateur, wanting to use her bows in their current window display, that things really started to get curious.

“The June windows were to have an Alice in Wonderland theme,” explains Androlia. “I think a quick Google search revealed my designs and so the lovely lady from display at Agent Provocateur got in touch.”

Testament to the powers of the Internet, Loulou then wasted no time in fashioning up a series of her oversized, surrealist bows fit for the fashion worlds most notorious window display designers.

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Babydoll colourways. Cartoon Proportions. Salacious Silk. These creations were never going to look out of place amidst the forthright, frilly and downright fabulous subtext of Agent Provocateur’s own, renowned, window display drill. And now Agent Provocateur stores from London to Los Angeles will have their windows adorned with Loulou’s playful accessories.

While the Alice in Wonderland theme continues to conjure up contradictory readings around rule breaking and reality, Loulou’s designs symbolise carefree, childlike charm, albeit with a slightly naughty, Lolita edge. Androlia admits her designs being featured in Agent Provocateur’s latest display is her biggest project to date.

“It’s just been really exciting. More people than ever are starting to recognize what I do, and recently stylists have picked up on my work for use in photo shoots” she says.

Loulou’s designs offer a modern mix of fantasy and parody. Her story offers the perfect anecdote to another season of celebrity infested clothing lines and copycat creations. Still she remains indebted to the independent design roots that led Agent Provocateur to find her in the first place.

“I get a real buzz out of discovering a tiny e-shop that might be run from another home thousands of miles away,” she says, clearly excited at the possibility of finding the next Christopher Kane in his bedroom, stitching and sewing his way to fashion superstardom, via an online universe.

Quirky and Curious. Loulou Androlia. She’s just like Alice after all.
Last week I popped into transition gallery in east London to view FAN FAIR. Being somewhat of a disaster with map reading and directions in general, tadalafil I was surprised to find that I found the exhibition space relatively quickly.
On entering the exhibition room, information pills which was relatively small, price I was immediately struck by the frivolity of seaside pleasures. The pastel colours of folded hankies hanging from a wall, a candy walking stick, letters, a shed with a mystic inside, painted skittles, metal scuba-diving head and deviant helter skelter made for a varied showcase. The handkerchiefs, knitted in cutesy pink colours you can only imagine being made by your nan, were pieces with a rather anti-cutesy message! One read, ‘Cum inside/ Candy floss/only £1.00/adults only.’ Fun and fruity messages continued.
The helter skelter was made from stolen road signs, fairie lights, vintage flags, treasure chests, lobster figurines and little toy figures probably picked from charity shops and car boot sales. Crowned with a disco ball; this all made for a cluttered, wonderful assortment of the fantastical and perverted. Barbie dolls in playgirl positions, blowjobs by ken dolls, ‘alcohol restriction zone’ signs, a ship floating in an imagined journey through air; this all reminded me of the drunken pleasures of a 15 year old on alcopops (although probably a bit more risqué)!
Intricately painted ceramic skittles altered the intoxicated landscape of excess with a rather muted addition. The painted flowers had an oldsy feel like those found in 1950s agriculture magazines.
The ‘deep sea diver’ statue painted gold and turquoise felt almost too solid compared to the other fantastical musings. However, the bold colours and rigid reluctance to fade into the background made me think of arbitrary images from dreams that randomly peep into focus.
Next door to this stood a walking stick made of pink rock. I couldn’t help but wonder that maybe these should be a new invention for those that need sugar rushes on journeys (just imagine all those granddads on buses licking their walking sticks- A strange sight indeed)! As part of the piece, there were postcards from two corresponding artists in the transition group. They contained ideas for the collaboration, which were written months ago. One postcard was scrawled with, ‘I’d really like to discuss working with you…Filling the gallery with home made seaside ephemera. Snow domes, sticks of pink rock, postcards. Totally bespoken horse shite’- (nice to see a humble account of their work)!
Last stop was to enter the mystical shed where the virtual Madam Sosostris lay in wait. On entering the small enclosure I realised Madam S was reading cards from a TV set. With a pack of tarot cards in front of me she told me to start dealing. Not one to mess with a virtual mystic on a TV set; I did what I was told. I ended up with a card that said something about being more brave and taking more chances, but I was just relieved I didn’t get the death card!
FAN FAIR took about 15 minutes to view merely because it is such a small space. Yet I’d recommend it for those who want a serving of seaside fantasy with the supernatural; and you even get a session with your very own virtual mystic!

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Last Saturday, cheapest my friend and I ventured to Tate Modern for the raw canvas ‘Tate Takeover: London Calling’ in the café level 2. With a flyer that promised performances from Poeticat and ORIGAMI as well as ‘cellar door sound, magic, charly flynn, illustrations and more..’ we had high expectations.
Arriving to find my friend making friends with a cat near the entrance of the Tate (I was late- he is sane, I promise), we made our way in. Having sauntered in an hour into closing time we were a tad confused to see people on the floor making boats out of newspaper. Most of people were involved in making houses and other creative masterpieces. So, sitting down on beanbags we decided to attempt a hat. But alas our arty skills were thwarted by the fact that neither of us are any good at origami-but we did enjoy looking at others like fascinated kids at the zoo.
The next room had a guy painting a black and white landscape that he was absorbed in. The main café/bar area also had a live performance from Poeticat who we listened to whilst chatting. The ambiance was chilled and the people who sat around were mostly young people who were obviously friends of the raw canvas team. But the event was inclusive and had a mixture of people and age groups involved.
The evening was certainly ‘raw’ with excitement and a blank ‘canvas’ for ideas to be penned, inspiring young people back into art. My friend and I certainly enjoyed the laid back arty evening. Here’s to the next one.

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Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeron, approved aka Viktor & Rolf, ampoule got skills. This summer sees the highly acclaimed fashion designers present their entire time together in an exhibition at the Barbican, and what an exhibition it is.

It’s rare that fashion designers present their collections in galleries – since Vivienne Westwood’s retrospective at the V&A in 2004, there has been little to celebrate the makers of fashion as we know it – especially on this grand scale.

The exhibiton showcases their work from humble beginnings in 1993, when the pair launched their first collection, aptly titled ‘Launch’ – to varying acclaim. Never to follow the norm, the duo presented this collection entirely in minature – with models (of the replica sense) of a catwalk show, the pieces they had designed and even the simultaneous advertising campaigns.

It seems, then, that V&R have come full circle, presenting to us here their collections in their stunning lifesize glory AND in model replica. On Level 3 of the Barbican (the one with rooms spanning from the balcony), you might think that this exhibition space had been purpose built to display fashion collections, but this is not the case. Thanks to exhibition designer Siebe Tettero and the ready state of this 1960s brutalist masterpiece of a building, the space has been transformed to allow viewers to freely move between collections. The centrepiece of the show is a stunning three storey Georgian doll’s house which fills the centre of the room. Each room in the house has no exterior wall, and has a different doll of about 1 or 2 feet tall, wearing an exact replica of dresses from each collection. Incredible. Silver binoculars are provided to view the detail of the pieces from the viewing platforms. The V&R emblem is brandished (no pun intended) at the top of the house, and some of the dolls even look longingly in the direction of their life size counterparts.

On Thursdays, as part of the Lates season of late night art events, the Barbican presents different workshops and talks about matters surrounding the duo and fashion in general. The first featured talks about themes in the collections, and I had the enviable pleasure of meeting Emma Cammack, a body artist who had been commissioned to produce two bodies based on themes from V&R’s collections. Emma has worked for a variety of high profile clients in advertising, fashion and film, and it was a joy to see the models come to life.

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Highlights from the exhibition, in no particular order, include: Flowerbomb (SS05) which tied with the launch of the duo’s first fragrance. Black chiffon dresses with bow details and black bicycle helmets were presented on the catwalk, with the models stalling at the back of the stage. When all models had taken their turn, the stage revolved to reveal an almost identical collection but in baby pink. Following this stunning piece of theatre was never going to be easy, but then came Bedtime Story (AW05-06) where V&R took the bed to the catwalk, with the infamous mix of duvets and sheets. Duvets became extravangant dresses with ‘I love you’ spralled across, mostly in white with red defining features. The collection relies on quilted fabrics and takes on board old bed linen processes such as broderie anglais, a specific type of stitch.

The most stunning aspect of the exhibition is the realisation that Viktor & Rolf are capable of concept after concept, and no two seasons are the same. The ‘One Woman Show’ collection of AW03-04 is the work of geniuses. After a chance meeting with actress Tilda Swinton, the pair were so enthralled by her presence at unique style that they devoted an entire collection to her – with even the models made to have her stark, androgynous appearance. Sharp tailored suits emphasising and advancing the human form were presented to reflect the theme of androgyny. This is the complete opposite of the very feminine ‘Silver’ collection of AW06-07, featuring more feminine shapes like the Dior silhouette popularised by the New Look collection of the fifties (low busts, small waists and large skirts). nude lycra tulle number with oversized embroidered stars shows the designer duo’s ability to challenge fashion norms.

And if that wasn’t enough to make you gush with envy or start saving for the ‘I Love You’ wedding dress, take the ‘The Fashion Show’ collection of AW07-08. V&R make the model a walking fashion entity – they each have their own outfit (featuring traditional Dutch checks and pleats with a contemporary twist), lighting (the models wear scaffolding above their heads, rigged with lights, which presents the silhouette of a ancestral Dutch milk maiden) and music (said rigs were fitted with individual music systems, and speakers). This metal structure not only provides the support for sound and light, but on a more artistic scale enhances the silhoutette and modifies the human form we are accustomed to – a key theme throughout V&R’s luminescent history.

Viktor and Rolf’s first UK exhibition is an inspirational tour of their illustrious history, even for those not overtly interested in fashion. So switly decide between your nude tulle number or your duvet, brush your hair over a pillow, pick out your favourite clogs, and head down to the Barbican for what might be the best fashion exhibition we get in 2008.
This Anglo-NY quartet is hardly breaking any new ground here. After a largely unnoticed but well received first album, adiposity ‘Speak Your Own Language’ sees Five O’Clock Heroes making a second stab at success. Priding themselves on their simplicity, prostate this back to basics affair sees them dusting off their Dad’s old Clash LPs and splicing them with both the UK and New York’s finest musical alumni but not really going anywhere with it. Singer Antony Ellis switches between New York New Wave and Brit bravado, decease hiding his Northampton roots and doing his best impression of an inner-city urchin while the rest of the band try their hardest to recreate their very own piece of 70′s underground London, at times treading clumsily over the fine line between ‘influenced by’ and ‘stolen from’.

Flirting with the media on new single, ‘Who’, model du jour Agyness Deyn sprinkles her sugary vocals over what would otherwise be another non-descript slice of indie pie. This aptly timed marriage of convenience has succeeded in raising both the bands profile and proving Ms. Deyn is more than just a pretty face, but it leaves a slightly cynical after taste and leaves you wondering if without the models presence this one would have just silently slipped away.

They come into their own on the more upbeat songs with creeping tinges of reggae that will have you secretly tapping your toes and not caring who sees you doing so. Top of the guilty pleasures list is ‘New York Chinese Laundry’, a perky crowd pleaser scoring highly for its irresistible use of tambourine and sparkly melodies. I’m also a sucker for a hand clap and ‘Everybody Knows It’ definitely fulfils my quota, bouncing along like Joe Strummer’s well spoken, radio friendly cousin from the country. Maybe they’ve taken this whole Clash thing a bit too far, especially when I just can’t help but sing ‘London’s Calling’ over the top of ‘God And Country’.

Attempts at the heart felt and lovelorn fall rather flat, with their efforts being more reminiscent of an overblown power ballad rather than anything really capable of singling them out from the sheer hoard of similar sound-a-likes. For a band who say it’s their sole intention to create memorable tunes, much of this album merges into mild mannered mediocrity. Not quite catchy enough to be instantly loved, and not subtle enough to be a slow burner, but still agreeable enough to warrant a listen. This clean cut courting of mainstream success leaves me thinking that the trouble with these pretty boys is they just don’t want to get too dirty.

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With Charles our music editor off on a four day break in Glastonbury, help I thought this would be the ideal time to talk about an email I received from a guy called Nigel who was promoting his online eco store and range of ‘eco friendly festival and camping survival products‘. An illustration at the top of the page showed a man waving with an arm which had unintentionally been drawn on back-to-front. I found this so incredibly amusing that I just had to click onto Nigel’s website to see what else he had to offer. Not expecting very much, order I have to admit the range of inventive yet very useful eco-friendly treasures impressed me. Nigel’s store is a like a 30 year old mans idea of paradise – full of interesting little gadgets that you wonder how you ever lived without.

Picture this – you arrive at Glastonbury full of anticipation for the festival ahead of you. The weather has miraculously been holding up well recently, remedy so you ditch the wellies and opt for a pair of Nigel’s fair-trade, 100% cotton Ethletic trainers, which, I must add, are available in plain black, pink, turquoise, green and white. After setting up tent (I’m afraid there’s no clever Nigel alternatives for that), the first thing for any festival goer is to check out the bands on stage. However this time there’s no need to worry about your camera running low on battery as Nigel’ store has the Freeloader portable solar charger, which can power everything from mobile phones to game machines – apparently!

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Eddi Reader not quite up to scratch, fancy a bite to eat, but a little strapped for cash? Why not bring your food along in one of Nigel’s eco mini fridges, which doesn’t use any refrigerant and consumes only a mere 33 watts. While you’re chomping down on your fresh salad and chilled beers, you can make your own fun with the Babylis wind up and solar powered radio. Not only does it include a built in phone charger – random I know – but it doesn’t require one of those annoying external antennas that you have to spend half and hour fussing around with.

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Other eco friendly delights include a brilliant toothpaste free toothbrush and a wind up Mp3 player.

Now – perhaps I’ve exaggerated a wee bit in terms of the usefulness of these little bits and bobs, but I definitely recommend you check out Nigel’s online eco store. I guarantee you, there isn’t one person who reads this bog who wont find something on there that makes them say ‘ooh – that’s good!’.

Last Thursday evening the lovely work experience peeps and myself strolled down to Tatty Devine to view the ‘Jane amongst the birds’ exhibition and then the opening of Rob Ryan’s shop. Trying to explain the concept of the Tatty Devine exhibition, check which was inspired by a 1959 ‘Best Budgerigar & Foreign Bird Competition’ at All Saints’ Hall in Haggerston, visit confused the others. Admittedly, I was unsure of what to expect myself.
On arrival we made a beeline to the free tequila and lemonades on offer (our priorities are really in order)! With drinks in hand we began viewing the budgie exhibition, which amounted to 4 photos on the wall, some cute budgie necklaces and a few posters. However, browsing the shop is enough to intoxicate the senses. Tatty Devine reminds me of being at that teenage stage where accessories are the best thing ever; when experimenting with your mums 1970s shoes, free pink Mizz Magazine lipstick and New Look plastic hair bows makes you feel all unique and individual. Tatty Devine definitely taps into a young market- think of those indie-Betty Boo type girls with printed dresses and ruby red lipsticked, who always manage to look effortlessly on trend.
After another few tequilas and a lot of wandering round the shop ‘oooo-ing’ and ‘ahhh-ing’ at all the bright and fun accessories, we headed down to Ryantown. We were all excited as Rob Ryan designed the cover for Issue 02 of Amelia’s mag, so we felt we had a ‘personal link’ to his work. What I loved about all the printed illustration pieces in the shop were the beautifully optimistic yet sometimes sad sentiments. There is a soft and slightly feminine quality to his pieces, as everything is quaint and muted, like quiet side thoughts scribbled in a notebook. One such design was printed with the words; ‘You were in my head, now you are in my heart.’ There were tiles, t-shirts, dresses, illustrated keys and prints being sold. We even drank wine from glasses illustrated with Rob Ryan designs.
After circulating the shop and getting dizzy with all the wonderful illustrations, we were ready to go (not before taking a pit stop at a near-by pub to use the loos). Both Tatty Devine and Ryantown are shops that you should take a minute to pop into, to wonder at all the cool designs. If you’re looking for something fun and kitsch go to Tatty Devine and if you’re after something you’ll always treasure, go to Rob Ryan’s shop. I promise you’ll not be disappointed in either case.

us at tatty devine:
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us at ryantown:
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MONDAY 30th JUNE:

ICA, more about ‘Nought to Sixty’, ambulance Juliette Blightman, Andrea Buttner, Will Holder & a host of other artists and performers: 5 may-2nd Nov.
ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH.
60 projects by emerging artists based in Britain and Ireland over 5 months exploring a multifaceted portrait of the emerging art scene in both countries. The exhibition consists of: performances, screenings and talks.
Special exhibition viewing every Mon 7-10pm. Monday evening’s performances, screenings and talks at 8pm are free. Included is Blightman’s ‘Please Water the plant and Feed the Fish’ which consists of placing objects in an empty gallery and getting her brother to fulfil the task of the work’s title each day. Hmmm…interesting.

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Royal College of Art, ‘SHOW SCULPTURE‘: 25th June- 5th July.
Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU.
Get your skates on and don’t miss works that ‘push the envelope’. With a giant fish tank to a giant plaster grotto, the 18 up and coming artists will surely be making headlines shortly. Watch this space.

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Folkstone, Kent, ‘Tales of Time and Space’: Batchelor, Boltanski, Chodzko, Coley & others:14th June-14th September.
Three-yearly exhibition of works commissioned for public spaces throughout Folkestone responding to Kent and it’s occupants. Featuring: David Batchelor (whose work is made from thousands of cheap, brightly coloured plastic sunglasses, bought in Sao Paulo, Brazil.), Christian Boltanski (showcases a sound installation sited at four benches on the Leas), Adam Chodzko (whose film is entitled: “the creation of a myth”) and others. Sculpture, photography, film, installations, sound-work & performances inspired by Folkestone’s past, present and future. Presented in public spaces – the beach, the harbour, parks, the marine promenade and historic buildings.

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Pollocks London, ‘Blank Canvas‘: 27 June-5th July.
Carnaby Street, London, W1.
Fashion, art and photography splash onto Carnaby street allowing a creative platform for emerging artists. Selected work will feature alongside sculptor Mark Quinn, singer Annie Lennox, fashion photographer Levi Palmer and photographer Rankin. Get active and make your mark on collaborative blank canvases, where you’ll get to dabble in some arty fun as well as listen to open mic sessions, and daily performances from 6.30pm, from beatboxers, Beat Poetry and DJ sets from Flash Louis. One not to miss!

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TUESDAY 1ST JULY:

Michael Hoppen Gallery, ‘BUNNY‘, photography exhibition by Polly Borland: 25 June-31st July.
3 Jubilee Place??London SW3 3TD.
Borrowing surrealist ideas of Claude Cahun, Hans Bellmer and Man Ray to create haunting femininity avec a bunch of photos of a skinny girl in a bunny costume (think an indi-esque playboy fantasy gone eerie).

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Café Gallery Projects, ‘SILENTIUM‘: Alexander & Susan Maris:25th June-27th July.
Centre of Southwark Park, London SE16 2UA.
Dream like sequences following a river’s journey, which is meditative, lyrical and spiritual; retracing a primal search for silence. Influenced by Benjamin Britten who was profoundly inspired by the Suffolk region. Film clips evoke the temporality of time.

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Photographers’ Gallery, ‘Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed’: Boris Austin, Rebecca Ayre, Philip Ewe & other photography winners:21st June-6th July.
5 & 8 Great Portand Street, London WC2H 7HY.
This show marks the launch of this annual exhibition, presenting dynamic new work by visual arts graduates from BA and MA courses across the UK.? ?

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WEDNESDAY 2nd JULY:

Hales Gallery, ‘Interior’: Beth Campbell, Laura Letinsky, Laura Oldfield Ford, Courtney Smith, Jessica Stockholder, Amy Yoes: 20th June-26th July (weds-sat 11am-6pm).
The Tea Building, 7 Bethnal Green Road London E1 8LA.
6 female artists explore the ‘interior’ use of space as a metaphor and expression of materiality. Unique approaches to mixed media works of; stop motion animation, painting, diagrammatic drawing and sculpture.

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THURSDAY 3rd JULY:

Concrete Hermit Gallery, Brick Lane ‘More Of Less’:Kate McMorrine and Alec Strang:3rd July-3rd August.
5a Club Row
E1 6JX

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The Old Boys Club, ‘KoRo’: Satoshi Date: 3rd-6th July.
68 Boleyn Road, Dalston, London N16 8JG.
‘KoRo’ or ‘Personal Filter’ refers to each individual’s experience of perception, coloured by unique experiences. The mixed media collective of art, fashion, art, music and video ensures a comprehensive study of the arts. And there will even be Japanese organic biscuits (yum yum) and teas to accompany your viewing (perfect)!

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FRIDAY 4th JULY:

Gallery 32, ‘RAW’: Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Brasil Arquitetura, Sérgio Roberto Parada & others: 21st June-18th July.
32 Green Street??London W1K 7AT.
As part of the main programme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, the Embassy of Brazil will host the exhibition RAW – New Brazilian Architecture. The exhibition will focus on buildings and daring spatial experimentations, challenging traditional concepts of space and design; forging a new vision of the future and the way Brazilians live.

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The Aquarium, ‘Stolen Recordings‘:4th July-10th July
L-13 Gallery, 63 Farringdon Rd. EX1
A group show of art, objects, fragments and documents made by musicians including: paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, video, posters, books and flipbooks, fanzines, compact disks and vinyls. A pick ‘n mix bagful of arty fun.

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Utrophia Project Space, ‘Cwmpilation 04 Launch’: Beck Rainford and friends: 4th July, 8pm-late.
136 Tanners Hill, Deptford, London, SE8 4QD.
Come and celebrate Utrophia’s new cd-r compilation release, tipping its hat to Utrophia’s annual CWM festivals. Tracks from Utrophia fav’s such as Yeborobo, Serafina steer, Limn, Now, Tile and many more. All set in a mountainous installation created by set designer Beck Rainford. Food, wine, drink & music-what more could you want from an evening?

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SATURDAY 5th JULY:
Tenderpixel Gallery, ‘IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU NO ONE CAN’: Jenny Pickett &Sunshine Frere: June 27th-July 16th.
10 cecil Court, London, WC2N 4HE.
The exhibition will ‘dabble with the decaying nature of desire that compels us to throw our cash into the degerative black holes of our capitalist machinery.’

The chocolate factory, ‘Open Studios Weekend’: Alexandra Blum,
John Butler, plus rude prints & others: 5th-6th July.
Farleigh Place, Stoke Newington, N16 7SX.
Come and discover new art up for sale (cash and cheques only).

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SUNDAY 6th JULY:
Topshop, ‘Fabricate’: A map of London Style, INK Illustration:1st-15th July.
Topshop, Oxford Circus.
Monday 30th June
Goldfrapp and frYars – Royal Concert Hall, order Glasgow
Erykah Badu – Brixton Academy, viagra sale London
Joan As Police Woman and Peter Greenwood – Borderline, London

Tuesday 1st July
The National – Metropolitan University, London
Black Kids – Thekla Social, Bristol

Bound to be a certified hoot. Black Kids seem to make the catchiest tunes around at the moment.

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Vessels and Maths Class– 229, London
Kid Sister – Hoxton Square Bar & Grill, London

Wednesday 2nd July
Errors – Tyne End Bar, Newcastle

Gig of the week

Beck – Apollo, Manchester

It’s beck. If this is bad then I’ll eat my own hat, with no condiments or dipping sauce or anything.

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Brian Wilson – Royal Albert Hall, London

If you long for some sort of British summer then turn to the warm indoors of the Royal Albert Hall filled with the summery songs of the Beach Boys legend. It’s bound to be full of dancing dads, and that may prove to be very entertaining.

My Bloody Valentine – Barrowlands, Glasgow
Ghostwood, Barringtone and Underground Railroad – Buffalo Bar, London
Metronomy, They Came From The Stars and thecocknbullkid – The Barfly, London

Thursday 3rd July
Scanners, Fangs and The Electric City – Hoxton Square Bar & Grill, London
The Answering Machine and The Golden Silvers – Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London

A couple of months ago I was getting very excited about The Answering Machine, and recently I’ve been getting even more excited about Golden Silvers. So I’ve pretty much spent the last few months getting very excited. If I can calm down for just a minute then I’m sure this would be splendid, especially if you decide to indulge in a bit of bowling as well.

White Denim – Cargo, London

Friday 4th July
Wild Beasts – Cockpit, Leeds
Jeremy Warmsley, Absentee, So So Modern and Esser – Zodiac, Oxford

I saw So So Modern in a very small venue in my homeland of Coventry about a year ago, and they blew me away. They need to be checked out.

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Ox. Eagle. Lion. Man, Maps, Johnny Flynn – Matterley Bowl, Winchester

Saturday 5th July
BjorkWild In The Country, Knebworth House, Hertfordshire
Jaguar Love – Barfly, Brighton
Bad Science, Samsara, Mouthwash, Yes Sir Boss and Abstract Genius – Rhythm Factory, London

Sunday 6th July
Applicants – Westhill Community Centre, Brighton
Neon Neon, Willie Isz and Heartbreak – Hearn Street Car Park, London

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The second in the series of the Barbican Fashion Lates, treatment presented by the Fashion Illustration Gallery (FIG) hosted presentations and an informal discussion with three of the world’s most renowned fashion illustrators.

While I entered the small, illness grey, visit web less than fabulous conference room on the building’s 4th floor the tight corridor outside held an array of individuals holding out all hopes for absent ticket holders in order to gain a much wanted seat at this sold out event. As usual though it was who you know, not what you know as a group of Gladys Perint Palmer’s acquaintances were let in without having splashed out a penny on the £3 tickets.

Gladys Perint Palmer, David Downton and Francois Berthoud were the brilliant fashion illustrators who graced us with their presence. Michael Ling from FIG introduced the artists while first discussing if fashion illustration should be classed as art. Of course he is ridiculously biased, making his living from such work. There were a number of plugs for his website as he encouraged us to buy, buy, buy, “now is the time” he said. At the end his children were stuffing flyer upon flyer for FIG in to my hand. Never the less, an illustrator myself, I do agree with him in that of course, all illustration is art. Desirable, museum worthy and collectable it’s as valid an art form as any other.

David Downton went on to state his belief that fashion magazines are richer for including hand drawn images. Without drawings a magazine is purely a catalogue whilst illustrations make you stop and look, whether you like them or not. His view was we have been all the poorer in recent decades for having lost fashion illustrations in couture magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Downton, close friends with Erin O’Connor and the like, is perhaps most recently famous for his work with Marks and Spencer. Those lovely ink and brush drawings of Erin, Twiggy and Lily Cole adorning many M&S bag’s for life, that’s all the work of Downton. His beautiful brush strokes, selective use of colour and simple lines have made him one of my favourite illustrators, whom I have admired for quite some time. If you’re not so familiar he is definitely worth a Google search at least!

Gladys Perint Palmer works at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Much older than the other two illustrators present, she is still working hard, recently selling successful publications at both the London and New York Book Fairs. She mixes humour, text and image, and her work though perhaps not as beautiful as Downton is far more fun with an air of passion and excitement.

Francois Berthoud began his career in comic strips before he got his big break from Anna Piaggi to combine all his passions within fashion illustration. Not a born presenter, audience enthusiasm began to dwindle at this point as he mumbled his way through a handful of images. Berthoud has done much work for Viktor & Rolf, including Flag Woman 2000 included in V&R’s first ready to wear collection “Stars and Stripes”. His work shows more vector based imagery and is less like the hand drawn work of Downton and Perint Palmer. His illustrations are more graphic and experimental in medium (e.g. the famous x-ray image for V&R where line images of the whole collection are layered on top of one another). Far less of the brush and ink approach.

Afterwards we were all invited to the Level 3 gallery where Tanya Ling was conducting a live fashion illustration performance. Her table was full to the brim with paper, brushes and a rainbow of acrylic paints. She was producing vibrant pieces in minutes, painting from a book of V&R collections. Although the illustrations were not realistic they captured the essence of V&R perfectly each showing energy, flow and life.

As an extremely interesting and thought provoking evening I would definitely recommend any of the Late Night events. I was thoroughly inspired, and began sorting out my paints as soon as I returned home!

The only downside of the evening for me was when I simply enquired how much Tanya Ling would sell her images for “I don’t think they’d be in you budget” replied her husband looking down his nose at me. I may not have been designer clad but I had made quite an effort I thought! He was right though… £1250 a piece.

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