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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Little Fish at the Old Blue Last: Live Review

We check out Little Fish, a three piece rock and roll band supported by Awolnation at the newly refurbished Old Blue Last on Tuesday 2nd November 2010.

Written by Willemÿn Barker-Benfield

Rob Ryan, <a target=physician All It Took” title=”Rob Ryan, salve All It Took” width=”480″ height=”612″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-29087″ />
Rob Ryan, decease All It Took.

There is something heartbreaking about Rob Ryan’s art. His work shows us a world full of beauty, where people love and long for each other so all-consumingly that everything else pales in comparison. The surrounding scenery, intricately carved out in the tiniest details, cushions the people in Ryan’s world, creating a protective bubble where they can speak the most beautiful words in order to tell each other how they feel. While the characters in Ryan’s images seem to be in this intense state all the time, in the real world these special moments come and go. But most of us will at some point have experienced them, and so you’ll find yourself standing in front of one of Ryan’s large-scale cut-outs, craning your neck as you follow the winding text incorporated in the image, and think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

Rob Ryan by Holly Trill
Rob Ryan by Holly Trill.

The private view of Rob Ryan’s new exhibition, The Stars Shine All Day Too, drew a crowd last Tuesday night at Mayfair’s Air Gallery. Large papercuts and screenprints, mostly monochrome in black on white, lined the walls of the small space, buzzing from the heat of the crowd enjoying vodka-champagne drinks. The artist himself was surrounded by guests eager for a chat, and a signature in their copy of the book, which pairs Ryan’s papercuts with a story by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Also on display was a collaboration between Ryan and the designer Lulu Guinness. The limited edition fan-shaped clutch bags, embellished in Swarovski crystals, go on sale Monday.

While the partnerships demonstrate the broad appeal of Ryan’s work, the act of viewing his art feels distinctively private. Especially studying the originals, where the slight paper-buckling causes delicate shadows, provokes an image of the artist hunched over a massive desk, knuckles white around a scalpel as he carves out leaves, birds, words and people. Undoubtedly a very time-consuming and fiddly process, you wonder how romantic Ryan feels if his knife slips and he cuts off the delicate paper strip connecting a shooting star, or even the heroine’s head. But the resulting work is romantic to the extreme, sincere and generous without a shred of irony. ‘Stars and galaxies rotate eternally, and you and I circle each other. For you are my universe entirely, and I will always be yours,’ reads the piece entitled Countless Moons, where the couple bathes in a pool under the stars.

Rob Ryan, Countless Moons
Rob Ryan, Countless Moons.

A few of the works lack text, such as Starry Night, showing a couple on a bench under a densely-starred sky. ‘Maybe it’s better that way, as you can interpret it how you like,’ my friend pointed out: ‘Like here, maybe she’s telling him to get his hands off her.’ I laughed, as this caption would get more giggles, for sure. But I can’t help but think we get our fill of sarcasm elsewhere, and we can always tune in to a re-run of ‘Mock the Week’ later if all this loveliness is getting too saccharine sweet to bear. In fact, there’s something very refreshing about the unapologetic tenderness of Ryan’s work. ‘If you believe in love but find it difficult to explain, this is for you,’ Ryan once chiseled out – that sounds about right. Not that everything Ryan does is about romantic love, mind, as demonstrated by one of my favourite pieces at the show: ‘Look closer and closer and look further and further and listen harder and harder to the noise of our earth and the silence of the stars, and what you will hear is a small voice that whispers – don’t try to get, try to give …’

Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes
Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes.

It took me all night, but I finally managed to steal a minute or Ryan’s time in the end. I asked him, where does it all come from, the inspiration for all this? ‘Oh no, it’s an interview!’ he laughed, before he shrugged: ‘I don’t know anymore, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I get to go to my studio and do something I love. It just comes to me.’ Or at least he said something to this effect – by this point it was very loud and hot in the gallery, and having skipped dinner I should have declined that last vodka-champagne. Either way, Ryan’s disarming manner made me feel confident enough to tell him how I’d discovered his work, several years ago as I came across a picture in a magazine. It was a very simple papercut with large text over a row of houses: ‘Maybe in this very city or in a field a thousand miles away, but you must be patient and never despair, for one day we shall truly find each other.’ I’d just been dumped and was feeling something akin to despair at the time, but Ryan’s little print made me feel better. I don’t know what I expected Ryan to say to this, but his response was moving – his eyes lit up and he thanked thanked me for sharing it with him. Maybe that’s the sort of reaction he’s hoping for with his work, I wondered, but I didn’t get the chance to ask as autograph-hunters were circling closer and my moment with the star of the night was up.

Rob Ryan, Your Job
Rob Ryan, Your Job.

As the title of the show suggests, stars are a feature of most of the works displayed at the Air Gallery, but one piece stands out from this pattern. It’s a smaller cut-out in red, featuring not a couple but a boy and a bird. It reads: ‘Your job is to take this world apart and then put it back together again … but even better!’ And you read it and you think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

See Rob Ryan’s The Stars Shine All Day Too at the Air Gallery, Dover Street, London W1, until 20th November 2010. For more details check out our listing.

Rob Ryan, <a target=order All It Took” title=”Rob Ryan, buy All It Took” width=”480″ height=”612″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-29087″ />
Rob Ryan, web All It Took.

There is something heartbreaking about Rob Ryan’s art. His work shows us a world full of beauty, where people love and long for each other so all-consumingly that everything else pales in comparison. The surrounding scenery, intricately carved out in the tiniest details, cushions the people in Ryan’s world, creating a protective bubble where they can speak the most beautiful words in order to tell each other how they feel. While the characters in Ryan’s images seem to be in this intense state all the time, in the real world these special moments come and go. But most of us will at some point have experienced them, and so you’ll find yourself standing in front of one of Ryan’s large-scale cut-outs, craning your neck as you follow the winding text incorporated in the image, and think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

Rob Ryan by Holly Trill
Rob Ryan by Holly Trill.

The private view of Rob Ryan’s new exhibition, The Stars Shine All Day Too, drew a crowd last Tuesday night at Mayfair’s Air Gallery. Large papercuts and screenprints, mostly monochrome in black on white, lined the walls of the small space, buzzing from the heat of the crowd enjoying vodka-champagne drinks. The artist himself was surrounded by guests eager for a chat, and a signature in their copy of the book, which pairs Ryan’s papercuts with a story by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Also on display was a collaboration between Ryan and the designer Lulu Guinness. The limited edition fan-shaped clutch bags, embellished in Swarovski crystals, go on sale Monday.

While the partnerships demonstrate the broad appeal of Ryan’s work, the act of viewing his art feels distinctively private. Especially studying the originals, where the slight paper-buckling causes delicate shadows, provokes an image of the artist hunched over a massive desk, knuckles white around a scalpel as he carves out leaves, birds, words and people. Undoubtedly a very time-consuming and fiddly process, you wonder how romantic Ryan feels if his knife slips and he cuts off the delicate paper strip connecting a shooting star, or even the heroine’s head. But the resulting work is romantic to the extreme, sincere and generous without a shred of irony. ‘Stars and galaxies rotate eternally, and you and I circle each other. For you are my universe entirely, and I will always be yours,’ reads the piece entitled Countless Moons, where the couple bathes in a pool under the stars.

Rob Ryan, Countless Moons
Rob Ryan, Countless Moons.

A few of the works lack text, such as Starry Night, showing a couple on a bench under a densely-starred sky. ‘Maybe it’s better that way, as you can interpret it how you like,’ my friend pointed out: ‘Like here, maybe she’s telling him to get his hands off her.’ I laughed, as this caption would get more giggles, for sure. But I can’t help but think we get our fill of sarcasm elsewhere, and we can always tune in to a re-run of ‘Mock the Week’ later if all this loveliness is getting too saccharine sweet to bear. In fact, there’s something very refreshing about the unapologetic tenderness of Ryan’s work. ‘If you believe in love but find it difficult to explain, this is for you,’ Ryan once chiseled out – that sounds about right. Not that everything Ryan does is about romantic love, mind, as demonstrated by one of my favourite pieces at the show: ‘Look closer and closer and look further and further and listen harder and harder to the noise of our earth and the silence of the stars, and what you will hear is a small voice that whispers – don’t try to get, try to give …’

Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes
Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes.

It took me all night, but I finally managed to steal a minute or Ryan’s time in the end. I asked him, where does it all come from, the inspiration for all this? ‘Oh no, it’s an interview!’ he laughed, before he shrugged: ‘I don’t know anymore, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I get to go to my studio and do something I love. It just comes to me.’ Or at least he said something to this effect – by this point it was very loud and hot in the gallery, and having skipped dinner I should have declined that last vodka-champagne. Either way, Ryan’s disarming manner made me feel confident enough to tell him how I’d discovered his work, several years ago as I came across a picture in a magazine. It was a very simple papercut with large text over a row of houses: ‘Maybe in this very city or in a field a thousand miles away, but you must be patient and never despair, for one day we shall truly find each other.’ I’d just been dumped and was feeling something akin to despair at the time, but Ryan’s little print made me feel better. I don’t know what I expected Ryan to say to this, but his response was moving – his eyes lit up and he thanked thanked me for sharing it with him. Maybe that’s the sort of reaction he’s hoping for with his work, I wondered, but I didn’t get the chance to ask as autograph-hunters were circling closer and my moment with the star of the night was up.

Rob Ryan, Your Job
Rob Ryan, Your Job.

As the title of the show suggests, stars are a feature of most of the works displayed at the Air Gallery, but one piece stands out from this pattern. It’s a smaller cut-out in red, featuring not a couple but a boy and a bird. It reads: ‘Your job is to take this world apart and then put it back together again … but even better!’ And you read it and you think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

See Rob Ryan’s The Stars Shine All Day Too at the Air Gallery, Dover Street, London W1, until 20th November 2010. For more details check out our listing.

Rob Ryan, <a target=pills All It Took” title=”Rob Ryan, patient All It Took” width=”480″ height=”612″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-29087″ />
Rob Ryan, order All It Took.

There is something heartbreaking about Rob Ryan’s art. His work shows us a world full of beauty, where people love and long for each other so all-consumingly that everything else pales in comparison. The surrounding scenery, intricately carved out in the tiniest details, cushions the people in Ryan’s world, creating a protective bubble where they can speak the most beautiful words in order to tell each other how they feel. While the characters in Ryan’s images seem to be in this intense state all the time, in the real world these special moments come and go. But most of us will at some point have experienced them, and so you’ll find yourself standing in front of one of Ryan’s large-scale cut-outs, craning your neck as you follow the winding text incorporated in the image, and think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

Rob Ryan by Holly Trill
Rob Ryan by Holly Trill.

The private view of Rob Ryan’s new exhibition, The Stars Shine All Day Too, drew a crowd last Tuesday night at Mayfair’s Air Gallery. Large papercuts and screenprints, mostly monochrome in black on white, lined the walls of the small space, buzzing from the heat of the crowd enjoying vodka-champagne drinks. The artist himself was surrounded by guests eager for a chat, and a signature in their copy of the book, which pairs Ryan’s papercuts with a story by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Also on display was a collaboration between Ryan and the designer Lulu Guinness. The limited edition fan-shaped clutch bags, embellished in Swarovski crystals, go on sale Monday.

While the partnerships demonstrate the broad appeal of Ryan’s work, the act of viewing his art feels distinctively private. Especially studying the originals, where the slight paper-buckling causes delicate shadows, provokes an image of the artist hunched over a massive desk, knuckles white around a scalpel as he carves out leaves, birds, words and people. Undoubtedly a very time-consuming and fiddly process, you wonder how romantic Ryan feels if his knife slips and he cuts off the delicate paper strip connecting a shooting star, or even the heroine’s head. But the resulting work is romantic to the extreme, sincere and generous without a shred of irony. ‘Stars and galaxies rotate eternally, and you and I circle each other. For you are my universe entirely, and I will always be yours,’ reads the piece entitled Countless Moons, where the couple bathes in a pool under the stars.

Rob Ryan, Countless Moons
Rob Ryan, Countless Moons.

A few of the works lack text, such as Starry Night, showing a couple on a bench under a densely-starred sky. ‘Maybe it’s better that way, as you can interpret it how you like,’ my friend pointed out: ‘Like here, maybe she’s telling him to get his hands off her.’ I laughed, as this caption would get more giggles, for sure. But I can’t help but think we get our fill of sarcasm elsewhere, and we can always tune in to a re-run of ‘Mock the Week’ later if all this loveliness is getting too saccharine sweet to bear. In fact, there’s something very refreshing about the unapologetic tenderness of Ryan’s work. ‘If you believe in love but find it difficult to explain, this is for you,’ Ryan once chiseled out – that sounds about right. Not that everything Ryan does is about romantic love, mind, as demonstrated by one of my favourite pieces at the show: ‘Look closer and closer and look further and further and listen harder and harder to the noise of our earth and the silence of the stars, and what you will hear is a small voice that whispers – don’t try to get, try to give …’

Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes
Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes.

It took me all night, but I finally managed to steal a minute or Ryan’s time in the end. I asked him, where does it all come from, the inspiration for all this? ‘Oh no, it’s an interview!’ he laughed, before he shrugged: ‘I don’t know anymore, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I get to go to my studio and do something I love. It just comes to me.’ Or at least he said something to this effect – by this point it was very loud and hot in the gallery, and having skipped dinner I should have declined that last vodka-champagne. Either way, Ryan’s disarming manner made me feel confident enough to tell him how I’d discovered his work, several years ago as I came across a picture in a magazine. It was a very simple papercut with large text over a row of houses: ‘Maybe in this very city or in a field a thousand miles away, but you must be patient and never despair, for one day we shall truly find each other.’ I’d just been dumped and was feeling something akin to despair at the time, but Ryan’s little print made me feel better. I don’t know what I expected Ryan to say to this, but his response was moving – his eyes lit up and he thanked thanked me for sharing it with him. Maybe that’s the sort of reaction he’s hoping for with his work, I wondered, but I didn’t get the chance to ask as autograph-hunters were circling closer and my moment with the star of the night was up.

Rob Ryan, Your Job
Rob Ryan, Your Job.

As the title of the show suggests, stars are a feature of most of the works displayed at the Air Gallery, but one piece stands out from this pattern. It’s a smaller cut-out in red, featuring not a couple but a boy and a bird. It reads: ‘Your job is to take this world apart and then put it back together again … but even better!’ And you read it and you think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

See Rob Ryan’s The Stars Shine All Day Too at the Air Gallery, Dover Street, London W1, until 20th November 2010. For more details check out our listing.

Rob Ryan, <a target=symptoms All It Took” title=”Rob Ryan, drug All It Took” width=”480″ height=”612″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-29087″ />
Rob Ryan, check All It Took.

There is something heartbreaking about Rob Ryan’s art. His work shows us a world full of beauty, where people love and long for each other so all-consumingly that everything else pales in comparison. The surrounding scenery, intricately carved out in the tiniest details, cushions the people in Ryan’s world, creating a protective bubble where they can speak the most beautiful words in order to tell each other how they feel. While the characters in Ryan’s images seem to be in this intense state all the time, in the real world these special moments come and go. But most of us will at some point have experienced them, and so you’ll find yourself standing in front of one of Ryan’s large-scale cut-outs, craning your neck as you follow the winding text incorporated in the image, and think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

Rob Ryan by Holly Trill
Rob Ryan by Holly Trill.

The private view of Rob Ryan’s new exhibition, The Stars Shine All Day Too, drew a crowd last Tuesday night at Mayfair’s Air Gallery. Large papercuts and screenprints, mostly monochrome in black on white, lined the walls of the small space, buzzing from the heat of the crowd enjoying vodka-champagne drinks. The artist himself was surrounded by guests eager for a chat, and a signature in their copy of the book, which pairs Ryan’s papercuts with a story by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Also on display was a collaboration between Ryan and the designer Lulu Guinness. The limited edition fan-shaped clutch bags, embellished in Swarovski crystals, go on sale Monday.

While the partnerships demonstrate the broad appeal of Ryan’s work, the act of viewing his art feels distinctively private. Especially studying the originals, where the slight paper-buckling causes delicate shadows, provokes an image of the artist hunched over a massive desk, knuckles white around a scalpel as he carves out leaves, birds, words and people. Undoubtedly a very time-consuming and fiddly process, you wonder how romantic Ryan feels if his knife slips and he cuts off the delicate paper strip connecting a shooting star, or even the heroine’s head. But the resulting work is romantic to the extreme, sincere and generous without a shred of irony. ‘Stars and galaxies rotate eternally, and you and I circle each other. For you are my universe entirely, and I will always be yours,’ reads the piece entitled Countless Moons, where the couple bathes in a pool under the stars.

Rob Ryan, Countless Moons
Rob Ryan, Countless Moons.

A few of the works lack text, such as Starry Night, showing a couple on a bench under a densely-starred sky. ‘Maybe it’s better that way, as you can interpret it how you like,’ my friend pointed out: ‘Like here, maybe she’s telling him to get his hands off her.’ I laughed, as this caption would get more giggles, for sure. But I can’t help but think we get our fill of sarcasm elsewhere, and we can always tune in to a re-run of Mock the Week later if all this loveliness is getting too saccharine sweet to bear. In fact, there’s something very refreshing about the unapologetic tenderness of Ryan’s work. ‘If you believe in love but find it difficult to explain, this is for you,’ Ryan once chiseled out – that sounds about right. Not that everything Ryan does is about romantic love, mind, as demonstrated by one of my favourite pieces at the show: ‘Look closer and closer and look further and further and listen harder and harder to the noise of our earth and the silence of the stars, and what you will hear is a small voice that whispers – don’t try to get, try to give …’

Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes
Rob Ryan by Jessica Stokes.

It took me all night, but I finally managed to steal a minute or Ryan’s time in the end. I asked him, where does it all come from, the inspiration for all this? ‘Oh no, it’s an interview!’ he laughed, before he shrugged: ‘I don’t know anymore, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I get to go to my studio and do something I love. It just comes to me.’ Or at least he said something to this effect – by this point it was very loud and hot in the gallery, and having skipped dinner I should have declined that last vodka-champagne. Either way, Ryan’s disarming manner made me feel confident enough to tell him how I’d discovered his work, several years ago as I came across a picture in a magazine. It was a very simple papercut with large text over a row of houses: ‘Maybe in this very city or in a field a thousand miles away, but you must be patient and never despair, for one day we shall truly find each other.’ I’d just been dumped and was feeling something akin to despair at the time, but Ryan’s little print made me feel better. I don’t know what I expected Ryan to say to this, but his response was moving – his eyes lit up and he thanked thanked me for sharing it with him. Maybe that’s the sort of reaction he’s hoping for with his work, I wondered, but I didn’t get the chance to ask as autograph-hunters were circling closer and my moment with the star of the night was up.

Rob Ryan, Your Job
Rob Ryan, Your Job.

As the title of the show suggests, stars are a feature of most of the works displayed at the Air Gallery, but one piece stands out from this pattern. It’s a smaller cut-out in red, featuring not a couple but a boy and a bird. It reads: ‘Your job is to take this world apart and then put it back together again … but even better!’ And you read it and you think, ‘Yes, exactly. That’s what it’s like.’

See Rob Ryan’s The Stars Shine All Day Too at the Air Gallery, Dover Street, London W1, until 20th November 2010. For more details check out our listing.

little fish by aniela murphy
The Old Blue Last by Aniela Murphy.

The Old Blue Last pub, nurse just off Old Street is a 120 capacity pub and live music venue owned by Vice Magazine that has recently undergone a refurb. Sure the stage area is small and the dressing rooms a little neglected, patient but the atmosphere is warm, the toilets work and there’s something about the place that reminds me just why live music is so great.

littlefishinterview_anielamurphy
Willemÿn with Little Fish singer Julia, by Aniela Murphy.

The main reason I’m here is to see Little Fish, an Oxford based duo who have recently confirmed they’re a three piece with the permanent addition of their Hammond player, Ben Walker. Before they hit the stage, support band AWOLNATION threw an unexpected blistering thirty minute set. Hailing from America to promote their debut EP Back from Earth, and in good spirits, the band got a relatively meek crowd’s heads bopping and hips shaking. Opening with their fan pleaser Guilty Filthy Soul, their set merged dance beats, killer hooks and catchy rhythms, it’s clear this band have got energy, bags of charisma, and a hot lead singer. Off to a good start then, and one to keep an eye on.

On to Little Fish, who took to the stage after a swift set change, bringing out the bigger drums and bigger guns it would seem. Opening with the title track to their debut album Baffled and Beat, it didn’t take long for the room to fully get into the swing of the night. A couple of tracks in, and the floor was literally jumping with the crowd lapping up every ounce of sweat pouring from the stage. Lead singer and guitarist Julia ‘Juju’ Sophie never once showed sings of waning. Her vocals spilling over with raw emotion, it’s clear she absolutely loves what she does. The drums, courtesy of Nez Greenaway, thunder throughout the set, only letting up during the momentary softer close to a few tracks. Hammond in tow surges from back of stage through Little Fish’s explosive ferocity, bringing extra solidity to their sound, and allows them to sit comfortably above many other garage bands out there today.

 Little Fish Live Shot
Little Fish live. Photographed by Willemÿn Barker-Benfield

Stand out tracks of the night include the vastly popular Darling Dear, Whiplash, and the sonically awesome Die Young, which confirms how far the trio have come, whilst retaining their classic stripped roots that scream a passion for conviction, since their debut EP Darling Dear last year. It’s tough not to compare Juju’s vocal ability and physical prowess to other women in rock, like Juliette Lewis and Courtney Love, both of which Little Fish have toured with, and why not? There aren’t enough women out there packing a rock and roll punch these days, and Little Fish aren’t scared to get their fisty cuffs out. If you like your rock hitting the garage mark hard, then head on down to their next gig and bring your dancing shoes. Brilliant.

Their debut album Baffled and Beat is out now and released on Island.

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