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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Coming Soon – New Grids

Written by Charles Drakeford

Two years after releasing his debut album, adiposity side effects Jeremy Warmsley is back with this cheeky taster of what’s yet to come. It’s not as if we need any more of these quirky male singers but this half English, half French philosopher chances his luck with help from his poetical lyrics and sweet melodies.

‘The Boat Song’ sees Warmsley dueting with Emmy the Great on a tale of the love sick and the sea sick. The trouble with this little folksy number is that it sounds old before it’s time. It’s one thing taking a ‘traditional’ approach to song craftsmanship and another sounding like your middle-aged parents around the piano at a family get together.

Much more agreeable is the cover of New Order’s Temptation, turning their synth sound on its head with this heartfelt, paired down piano version. Maybe I’m just biased due to a pretty big crush on Joy Division and, like the lyrics say, I really do have grey eyes, but Warmsley has definitely made this his own without straying too far from the original.
This stopgap single is not to be included on his forthcoming album followers should be clamoring to get hold of this little taster.

Ozard, medical Mr TTT, troche Bubblegrump, look Choco and Naked Malfi are just a few of the adorable little creatures you can find on the recently devised online design boutique Nora Does. Born all over the globe from Japan to America, these limited edition little gems are made by independent designers and artists from Sarah Ray to Friends With You.

Paper toys, quirky USB’s and charming badges are just a few of the potential additions to your humble abode and wardrobe. And, for all you talented arty ones out there, Nora Does welcome submissions of your own work to sell online.

Well worth a gander.

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A space age set greets you upon walking into the exhibition room at LCF, abortion instead of the normal display of graduate’s work, there is a wall of postcards and 7 giant softly lit light boxes. It transpires that the postcard of your choosing should be placed on the light boxes for you to interactively view the portfolio of your chosen graduate. In this way, LCF aims to give as many graduates the chance to be seen. Although a clever idea, we found several postcards that looked promising but revealed less impressive portfolios. Likewise, there were probably postcards we didn’t pick up on the glance of the inviting image and could have missed out on discovering the future of fashion.

Hidden in the mountain of postcards we did find one or two gems. In the Design/Clothing section Jourdan Caroline Hammond’s postcard stood out for its eye-catching structured surrealism and her portfolio revealed more delights. Her fascination lies in the ghoulish rather than the girlish, as pieces used graphic lines and stark, minimal colour whilst models faces were morbidly replaced by deer heads. Junko Masuda’s take on fruit, made 5 a day exceptionally easy to digest, with a juicy cherry bag calling card which when placed on the glass uncovered more fruity offerings.

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A favourite in the Design/Textiles was Samantha Whittle’s tent dress with woodland animal prints topped with chiffon icing. Layered collars and cute buttons added a child-like quality resulting in wearable dresses rather than fantastical creations. Similarly, Shoko Ishikawa’s pleated folds and subtle whale prints, resulted in a killer take on origami. Delicately feminine blouses stayed on the right side of librarian prim and were enticing without flashing any flesh.

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Design/Footwear provided a playground for the designer’s imaginations to run away. Tengiz Chketiani’s macabre marriage of taxidermy and footwear would have Bjork at the top of the waiting list. Admittedly the shoes would be tricky to run for the bus in, with doves in flight and wild roses upon your feet, but they would make an amazing collectors piece. Sae Rom Jun seemed to take inspiration from a night at the pub. Reclaimed materials were used to create shoes topped with curls from Fosters cans and heeled with cone shaped wood, resulting in an extremely wearable design.

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Often playing second fiddle to Womenswear, we pulled out a few new talents in the field of Menswear category. Tae-Hyoung Kim inventively draped and flowed oversized cardigans and vests paired with knee length shorts. These grown-up schoolboys looked remarkably chic in their simple knit shapes and bowler hats. Shouting a little louder than the rest Robin Murray Switzman’s zig-zag prints wouldn’t look out of place within the pages of a comic. The ‘Biff, Bang, Wallop’ clothes translate into fun and fresh pieces in the usually sober world of menswear.

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Image-making presents some of the most visually arresting postcards and had our greedy mitts grabbing for handfuls. Showcasing all the fun of the fair, Jooyoung Lee’s self styled photographs bring colour to the familiar grimy streets of East London. Party hats and paper shapes entice the viewer into a make believe world of colourful escapism. Away from the streets and into an ethereal woodland wonderland, Luke Christopher Castillo turned ballerinas into butterflies. The elusive creatures, with fleshy toned clothes and candy floss hair look like they could easily flutter away. Blink and you’ll miss them.

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The Looking Glass reflects many talented individuals who have unfortunately been stifled by all the fancy technology. Rather than a platform for student’s work, it felt like a trade show, where every designer was just a commodity. Whilst forward thinking, the idea seems detrimental in not seeing the physically finished product.
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I was under the impression that music was supposed to warrant feelings. Be it loathing or loving. In the former, generic making you curse the day you ever heard that loathsome band’s name – and the latter compelling you to get excited and dance around like an escapee of an asylum, or whatever it is you do to express your excitement. I’ll concede that most albums lie in the less extreme, liking or disliking being the general sentiment. With a small space being reserved for ambivalence, which is where Picturebox comes in, playing their self proclaimed blend of lo-fi pop. However lo-fi, surely their debut album ‘Beans & Bones’ was not supposed to feel like a session band playing in the pub. An above average session band, but still, the over-all sense is of inoffensive background music.

There is nothing wrong with this blend of bluesy tinged garage and melodic pop; but it’s music that just doesn’t go anywhere. They play their instruments well – melodies are nicely arranged, lyrics are well written – but none of these elements approach noteworthy significance, as songs seem to just plod along. Occasionally mediocrity gives way to moments of promise. Not quite the warm fuzzy feeling, but close. Songs like ‘Jennifer’s Brother’ and ‘Beans and Bones’ stick in your head a little bit more, with sliding guitars which definatley work well, even if they become ever so slightly repetitive. ‘England has Perverted Me’ is nicely melodic, but in places slips into boring territory, and I could imagine ‘The Accuser’ being used on a BBC 3 drama series.

Inoffensive middle of the road music serves its time and place. For me, badly sung along to while on a car journey, whilst taking breaks from eye spy. Many bands have made successful careers out of peddling inoffensive offerings, but there is usually a certain je ne sais quoi accompanying it, which elevates these sing-a-long bands to something infinitely more appealing.

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Fashion and photography are a match made in creative heaven .Their relationship has delivered a catalogue of iconic images over the years, visit capturing the designer’s masterpieces and voicing the mood and style of the era.

This summer Kingston College are showcasing work from their National Diploma in Fashion and Clothing and HNC Photography courses. The show enables us to see the garments up close and personal next to its photography equivalent.

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Although close in proximity to my home, price this was my first visit to Penny School Gallery. Upon opening the small gate at the entrance I immediately heard the hum of numerous voices in conversation, help alongside the slop of apples falling into glasses. After being greeted by a smiling student with a wonderful choice of Pimms, wine and juices, I started to scour the room. A camera at the far side filmed the large crowd of attendees as if we ourselves were part of a catwalk show of our own. It was amusing to watch people as they bashfully ducked or caught secret sneak peaks at themselves on the screen!

In the main area I was pleased to have the opportunity to look through the student’s sketchbooks. I recall at art school being enthralled by them, often finding them an arena where you see the artist/designer’s imaginations and thought-processes in a beautifully refreshing and honest way. Seeing how the ideas develop and how they are noted down through scribbles, sketches and tear- outs was truly fascinating.

After several minutes spent contemplating in a world of my own, my thoughts were distracted by a beacon of orange to my right, forcing me to whirl around and face Michelle Liu’s New Genre hooded dress coat. Putting my prejudices towards the famously difficult-to-wear colour aside, I have to say I was impressed with how the garment looked on the runway film playing next to it.

Another piece which caught my attention was Anna Melkova’s hooded dress with its luxurious pink quilted lining against an embroidered black outer. Becky Hensman and Sarah Glover’s designs, although muted and predominately monochrome, both captured popular trends. Their use of PVC and silk created a sort of sexy work- wear appeal.

In terms of wear-ability and personal taste if Id had a larger bag I would have whisked Kelly Hyland’s dress away (joking of course!). Its feminine tie straps and hand printed designs soaked in gloriously fresh and summery hues, would team perfectly with a pair of my gladiator sandals at home.

The New Underground section saw Zaina Ahmed, Alex Gibson and Jennifer Withnall take inspiration from the S/S 08 collections with hemlines rising to an alarming height. Like Luella and Mui Mui the dresses combined cute and sexy – a great look for the young fashion savvy.

All the students showed some promise whether it is was through great craftsmanship, their ability to tap into trends or classic styles, innovative ideas, capturing a mood or idea through image or enhancing the appeal of the designs. It will be exciting to see how they progress over the next few important years, and who knows, they may someday be able to hold the flag for British fashion.

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Being in Exeter for a few days, mind I decided to take a slice of Devonian arty goodness in the form of Axel Antas‘ exhibition at Spacex Gallery. Originally from Finland, Axel Antas is the latest artist to be influenced by his natural environment, which is so distinctive of South West art.
On first walking in, there was a room with a delicate pencil sketching of woodlands. The faint markings lead you to believe there may be fog in the way, leaving a ghostly feel.

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Passing into another room, there is a series of photographs taken in the Catalan Pyrenees. Bird boxes placed in natural landscapes apparently ‘represents man’s failed attempt to converge with the landscape.’ There is a bare loneliness to the photos and the bird boxes add a surprising addition to the otherwise untouched landscape. It as if man’s hopes to engage with nature by building bird boxes has failed as it is gaping apparent they are not meant to be there. All the results are oddly discomforting, with the man made boxes looking frail and sad.

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‘Intervention’, a series of photos taken of park landscapes with an added fake mist, enhances the otherworldly melancholy world he is so preoccupied with. He explains the fake mist as his attempt at ‘mimicking nature and momentarily changing the landscape.’ With a film screening of a picturesque park in spring, with hardly anything happening, you feel as if you are sat at a park bench in a private reverie, contemplating the peaceful view in front of you. Similarly around the corner is another larger screening of a foggy area where the screen gradually becomes clear to reveal woodlands.

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I left the Spacex Gallery at odds with what I had just seen. There is a simplicity to his work and a lingering loneliness that hangs like the mists he artificially introduces to his works. Added to this, the deadening lack of noise in the gallery is palpable which only leaves you feeling isolated, which is surprising since the exhibition space is tiny. The pieces work well together and it is as if the mists spread it’s silent tentacles into your consciousness without you knowing it! Not exactly an upbeat way to spend your afternoon, but definitely worth a peek for those wanting to engage with hauntingly romantic and poetically beautiful pieces.

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Infectious as German measles and channelling Orange Juice, medications Wave Machines slice of pop pie is destined to have you running to the shops to buy it.

With a jingle as catchy as ‘Smelly Cat’, Wave Machines walk the tightrope of cheese, but balance it out with a synth-bass heavy and loopy keyboard melody. Twangy guitars, an inane chorus and cowbells also feature to make this as good as ice-cream.

Wave Machines have been called Liverpool’s third best new band, and judging by this piece of rhythmic joy they will be ousting the un-named bands from the top spots. A big claim, some might say, but Wave Machines have set sail and it’s definitely full speed ahead. Plus, if The Zutons are included it shouldn’t be too difficult.

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I was so confused about this band to begin with. First of all by their name, sildenafil but let’s not get into that because who can really say what makes a good or bad band name; and then secondly by the fact they’re from France, but they sound so American. More American in fact than the sound of a severely obese man’s gut rumbling with pangs of hunger because he’s only on his 15th corn dog of the day. Put it this way, they sing about Jack Nicholson, in a style that’s somewhere between The Beach Boys and Johnny Cash and one of them is called Alex Banjo. How much more American can you get?

All this however is best ignored, as there is a lot of substance beyond all this baffling geography. Primarily in the fact that it meets one of the most important criteria for a good album – you can happily listen to it from beginning to end.

Individually tracks like ‘See The Future’, ‘Jack Nicholson style’ and ‘Time Bomb’ stand alone as really great songs, perhaps because they’re more buoyant than the rest of the album. That’s not to say the more sultry songs aren’t any good, they make the album well balanced – like the best of movies you’re taken from the lowest lows to the highest highs with very little time spent in between.

I love the style of this band. They seem to rip off so many people you can’t work out exactly who they’re trying to emulate. So in conclusion, I’ve decided it’s best not to think too hard about it, and just enjoy it for the fact that it gets my feet a tappin’.

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