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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Bebe and Paolo: An Interview

"Jazz Punk Erotica"

Written by Briony Warren

The Christmas festive season is now upon us and many artists are selling festive products. However few are initiated to help the poor, what is ed the downtrodden and the destitute. All I Want For Christmas Cards 2009 is one such group of creatives whose latest project is in support of the Bristol based charity ‘Young Bristol’. 20 local artists’ and illustrators’ specific works for the project are being used to create a limited edition run of Christmas cards that will be sold as packs containing each of the 20 cards.A competition, price with the brief to create a piece of work based on the phrase ‘All I want for Christmas’ took place and after receiving an overwhelming response, shop the final 20 artworks were chosen, each on their individual merits and included in the final 20 cards. Initially created with the idea of promoting the charity Young Bristol, All I Want For Christmas Cards has also brought together artists and illustrators local to Bristol for this exciting illustrative project. Here is an opportunity to support those who need! We are today interviewing a few of those illustrators who very kindly lent their creativity to a good cause.

Valerie Pezeron: Hello all. I would like to know who came up with the idea for such a wonderful project and could they tell our readers a little bit about themselves?

Creator/Organiser Ben Steers: The idea for a project like this had been rolling around in my head for a while but I just didn’t know how to best implement the concept. After moving to Bristol to kick start my illustration career and spending some time building contacts with local artists and illustrators I realised the huge concentration of talent that Bristol had to offer and after doing some voluntary work for Young Bristol I saw the opportunity to launch the idea and bring established and aspiring artists together and at the same time help benefit a really worthwhile cause. We have been really blown away by the response from everyone involved and have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and having the pleasure of meeting so many positive and friendly people.

VP: There are many charities out there? Why pick “Young Bristol” charity for this project? What is the aim of the charity?

Ben Steers: I have recently helped Young Bristol put together a quarterly magazine on volunteer work and events in the area. There are so many great charities out there doing outstanding work every day but I think in the case of Young Bristol I felt that I could offer my creative services in some way and they also focus on helping disadvantaged individuals of my sort of age through media and arts courses. They aim to give those who didn’t have the opportunities that a lot of us take for granted, the chance to further themselves in creative fields and I think that is really something.

VP: The competition was very popular. Was there a jury and how did you select the final 20?

B S: It was a really difficult selective process as we didn’t want to turn any of the designs away simply because people had made a real effort and in the end we had over 40 design submissions to choose from. We both sat down and went through all the designs trying to select 20 on their individual merits and on how well they would sit against the other 19 as a collection. We were very aware of how all 20 cards would look if we sat them all next to each other. In the end we were very lucky in the response we got and selected 20 great designs which are varied in both style and content.

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VP: What motivated you to apply for the competition?

Ben Steers: Ben’s enthusiasm made it very difficult to say no and it’s always fun to take part in Bristol projects especially when it’s for a good cause.

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

Illustrator Ben Newman: I’ve been involved in a few charity projects raising money for hospitals and endangered animals but my involvement always depends on whether my other projects allow me enough time. I’m really pleased that sometimes I can use a skill to help raise money.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

BN: My card was inspired by some of the designs on Record company advertising banners from the 1950’s.

VP: I know what I want for Christmas and it is to welcome lovely kittens into my home. What about you, lovely people?

BN: Booze, food, friends and lot’s of sleeping.

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BjornLie

Illustration by Bjorn Lie

Name of Illustrator: Bjorn Lie

VP: What motivated you to apply for the competition?

BL:  The fact that it was for a local charity. I normally do work for clients in other countries, which is nice, but makes me feel a bit detached from where I actually am, Bristol. This was a chance to be a part of something positive, by just doing my own thing.

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

BL: Not actively, no. I would like to do more of it in the future though.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

BL:  I’ve been doing a lot of wintry scenes recently for a picture book, so I was already in that frame of mind! My card features a guy on a “spark støtting’, which is an old school means of transportation back in Norway where I’m from.

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Name of Illustrator: Rich T

VP: What motivated you to apply for the competition?

Rich T: I thought it was a great idea for a project, a good brief and most importantly fun. If you want people to do stuff for free you have to make it fun, you can’t rely on good will. Kids today….

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

Rich T: I have donated artwork for charity auctions in the past.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

Rich T: I didn’t want to draw anything to do with Christmas so for me the opposite of Christmas is probably Pepsi, always forgotten in the festive period along with Jesus, job done.

VP: I know what I want for Christmas and it is to welcome lovely kittens into my home. What about you, lovely people?

Rich T: All I want for Christmas is loads of expensive gifts, preferably ones I can sell on E bay, and a dog but I don’t want it forever, just Christmas.

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Name of Illustrator: Chris Dickason

CD: More than anything else the brief sounded like a fun way to spend some time away from commercial work and a chance to get a little Christmas over nostalgic whilst I looked for inspiration. There’s a fantastic wealth of talent in Bristol and consistently the artists and designs here produce work that’s as innovative as it is clever, funny and engaging. I’m really interested in being involved with projects that help promote the city as a creative hub. And obviously it’s great to be involved with a local charity as well.

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

CD: I’ve worked commercially for charities and raised a bit of money from sponsorship for just about plodding myself around some marathons but I’d been looking for a project that consolidated my own discourse and a worthy cause. The ‘All I Want for Christmas’ project ticked a lot of boxes in my head when I received the email. It’s very much a win-win situation for the artists. Projects like this offer creative freedom are chance to see work viewed along side your contemporaries as well as providing a healthy dose of the ‘feel good factor’ as you get to support a charity to boot.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

CD: Christmas is a great time of year because it provides some very personal memories but these experiences are similar to that shared by most other people. I was motivated to create an image that was based on occurrences that are typical of my Christmas experiences (over indulgence, goodnatured gluttony, sharing & caring) and hoped that these ideas would resonate with the audience.

VP: I know what I want for Christmas and it is to welcome lovely kittens into my home. What about you, lovely people?

CD: The main thing I want for Christmas is in fact free and that is a nice chunk of uninterrupted sleep. If I had my may I’d turn into a big grizzly bear and snooze all winter long and wake back up when the temperature is back in double figures. Alas I’m yet to master this skill.

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So now you know what these chaps all want for Christmas. How about you? You might just want to escape the usual uninspiring, tacky and overdone festive art on display this season and treat yourself to fun, cheeky and sustainable charity cards. The Christmas card packs are a limited edition of 500, each containing 20 cards individually designed by 20 of Bristol’s finest illustrators, litho printed on 100% recycled card, 20 envelopes and an A2 poster. They cam be purchased on www.alliwantforchristmascards.com. Price per pack: £15 + £2.99 p&p

PB1

Bebe and Paolo are a rockabilly and jazz inspired duo from Weymouth. Just 5 months into starting out they played Camp Bestival, ed after winning a local Battle of the Bands contest. I ventured down to the Flowerpot, see Kentish Town, to see the dynamic duo play…what a gig! I got chatting to front woman, Bebe Black afterward…

How did you two meet and decide to start making music together?
We met about seven or eight years ago in Weymouth, and used to hang around the place drinking and smoking and generally being a nuisance like teenagers are. Eventually Bebe moved away to Bournemouth and then London and Paolo went to study at the ACM. We didn’t meet again until Christmas 2008 at an Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster gig back home. We started chatting about our love of jazz and 50’s rockabilly, and within a week Paolo had written a piece for Bebe to sing over. We finally got it together in February 2009, and have been gigging and writing non-stop since then.

What type of music would you say you make?
We’ve named it “Jazz Punk Erotica”

PB4

Which bands have influenced your music?
Kate Bush, Edith Piaf, Robert Johnson, Eddie Lang, Ruth Etting, Billie Holiday.

Who would you love to cover one of your songs?
I would like to hear Phoebe Legere covering “Good Boys” live with an accordion.

What has been your best live experience so far?
Playing at Camp Bestival was wild, the running order went something along the lines of: “Spongebob SquarePants, Bebe and Paolo, PJ Harvey.” You can’t beat that!
We also played on Sark, in the Channel Islands. It’s a little island with no cars, no streetlamps – only horse and carts and torches! We had a great time, but we were banned from singing some of our more risqué songs!

PB3

If you could play live, at any venue in the world, where would you choose and why?
We want to play Ronnie Scott’s, and we want to wear Nike air max whilst we’re doing it! Also the Luminaire would be amazing and of course the Jools Holland Show for reasons that do not need to be explained…

Bebe, Your outfits are always very cool and you express a very distinct style. Are your outfits always well thought out? or do you just chuck anything on that looks good?
I think it’s a bit of both! I studied and worked in fashion, so the way I put things together is probably fairly programmed by now in the way that I like wearing one striking piece of clothing and keeping the rest simple. I only buy items that I think will stand the test of time, and usually those kind of clothes stand out on-stage. I’m about to start collaborating with up-and-coming designer, Sam Membury, who’s pieces are simple but beautiful. My mum says “Look rich, Live Poor” so that’s my motto when it comes to how I dress!

What is your favourite item of clothing/ accessory at the moment?
A vintage studded belt that I forgot I owned until I found it hiding out in the back of my wardrobe last week and a Butler and Wilson skeleton brooch that I paid too much money for, but love endlessly.

Images by Briony Warren

See Bebe and Paolo play this Friday 27th, at the ‘Swinging Sixties Night’ at the Fashion and Textiles Museum.

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