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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

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Written by Charles Drakeford

Serenading past swanky shops like Chanel, remedy buy information pills Prada et al, help information pills in the heart of the west end in order to get to John Martin Gallery, I was unsure of what to expect from this exhibition. Surrounding me were brigades of pashmina cladded women with bouffoned hair and sharp fitted chappies in business suits, making me feel…well a tad trampy in comparison (I’m not exactly a pearl wearing gal). I couldn’t help but note ‘this certainly ain’t no East London’. Expecting a traditional style of art, I entered the gallery slightly dubious but was pleasantly surprised.

The whitewashed space showcased Benjamin Jones, Chris Hipkiss and Farina Alam. What unites their work is an attention to detail as all artists’ works are intricate labours of love.

Flicking through Jones’ portfolio made up of child-like scrappy doodles, I noticed that there was a tension between a naïve perspective of distorted proportions in contrast to carefully drawn details. His pieces on the wall also display an awkwardness played out by a limbless baby mannequin who features in many of his works. His intricate pieces made from fine markings, words, and varying patterns gives his works the appearance of being collages. Your eye is instantly drawn in, wanting to soak up every feature whilst reading the text and simultaneously engaging with the processes of mark making. The playful sketches marry a creative mind with a bored figure who pops up repeatedly in his sketches. This brings about a feeling of inner frustration.

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Chris Hipkiss‘ sketches all feature rows of identical, multi-limbed androgynes, populating industrialised utopias. Within these, crops often spread their dark tentacles to the recesses of each corner of the page. Everything is synchronised and sprawling. Buildings and crops are neatly arranged suggesting a mechanical and artificial future where the central objective is to grow and produce. An eerie depiction of the future indeed!

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Farina Alam‘s captivating designs makes references to elaborate wedding dresses of a Pakistani bride. By distorting the shape she forces you to consider the societal position of the bride. However I only got this by reading the leaflet that came with the exhibition. What struck me most was the impressive patience she must have displayed to produce such carefully controlled prints.

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My favourite artist out of the three was Jones. The child-like style together with the delicate observations showcased an interesting tension between the innocent and experienced perspectives; which was unsettling rather than gratuitously dark or heavy handed. For an arty encounter that doesn’t necessarily involve pearls or pashminas why not take a trip down John Martin Gallery. The exhibition is sure to confirm that drawing is definitely diverting!

Creative collective ‘Plats’ have an exciting new project that they want you to get involved in. All you have to do is submit a description of how you would interpret the word ‘Plats’, prostate along with some examples of your work, discount and you could be part of the upcoming Plats exhibition in London and also find yourself in the next Plats printed publication. I spoke to Emily Robertson, drugs one of the founders of the collective, in the hopes of getting some helpful hints from her… What is ‘Plats’ anyway?

“Plats is a Swedish word that translates as space or place. We believe that the creative space where we make/draw/think is important to our practice. When (other founding member of Plats) Sophia and I graduated from Glasgow School of Art we really wanted to keep the idea of the studio going, even if we didn’t have one, and so Plats was born.”

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Also within this talented community is Laurie Innes (graduate LCC, also a founder), Graham Kelly (Artist), Nadja Bournonville (Photographer), Katherine Rose (photographer) and Shielagh Tacey (artist). So, with quite a few members in their merry band already, are Plats looking to recruit even more talent through this new project? Or are they just looking to lend a helping hand to other creatives? Or maybe even shoulder to cry on?

“We are opening up Plats to other creatives because we thought it would be fun to collaborate and work with some of the very talented people we have met since graduating and get them involved in our group. We want to keep a feeling of community and dialogue between ourselves and other creatives. And, also, we just thought it would be a lot of fun!”

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Plats have been having lot’s of fun recently, if Robertson’s recollection of their last show in East Germany is anything to go by…

“The show in Leipzig was brilliant. We were invited over there by Anna Louise from LIA, who has a space in the Spinnerei cultural community and were told we could do anything we liked with the space as long as we also made a mural. I was worried for a bit because we had not seen the space until we got there but it all turned out swimmingly and the show looked great. We had people popping in all day to see the work and to eat cake with us. In the evening we had a showing of Laurie’s film and he did a little performance thing with it, then it became a little party. We really had lots of fun and hope we can do lots more events like it.”

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So what are Plats hoping to get out of their next exhibition?

“I guess what we hope to gain from this is a showcase of work that we believe is exciting, thoughtful and should be seen by everyone, along with a publication that backs that up. Oh, and world domination but, shush, don’t tell anybody that…”

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Find out more about the open submission brief at the Plats site. Don’t be slow about it though, because the deadline is August the 15th!

Monday 28th July

Vane, price ‘A Feast of Folly‘: Jock Mooney: 24th July-2nd August
Kings House, unhealthy ForthBanks, this Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3PA
To celebrate the launch of Mooney’s book, the exhibition will include his prints and recent drawings. Music fans will recognise his work from his covers of Dan le Sac VS Scroobius Pip and the ‘next big thing’ Isoceles.

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Tenderpixel Gallery, ‘Protoplastic=Accumulation’: Nicko Staniero: 26th July-5th August
10 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4HE
The installation employs recycled objects such as stamps and embossing tools to produce organic shapes and colours. The visual becomes a language and code full of ornamental motifs and movement.

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Tuesday 29th July

HOST gallery, ‘The Foto8 Awards & Summer Show’: 23rd July-31st August
1 Honduras Street, London EC1Y OTH
The first annual Foto8 Awards & Summer Show 08: a photography award, exhibition and print fair; will showcase and celebrate modern photographers whilst encouraging independent photojournalism. Purchases start from as little as £50.

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Inverleith House, ‘What is life’: Christine Borland, Graham Fagen, Simon Starling: 12 July-31st August
Royal Botanic Garden, 20a Inverieth Row, Edinburgh, EH6 6RA
Sculpture examining the uses and symbolism of plants by past and present cultures.

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Wednesday 30th July
Hornsey Original Gallery, ‘Michael Hammond & Mayuko Matsunami’: 22nd July-9th August
Hornsey Library, Haringey Park, London N8 9JA
Michael Hammond attempts to capture the fast moving, skyscraper filled Japan with images taken from his mobile phone. Mayuk Matsunami explores the technological country by observing the pseudo-humanistic quality of dogs. His paintings are full of life and often carefully observed.

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Chelsea Future Space, ‘Layla Curtis: Traceurs-to trace, to draw, to go fast’: 4th June-21st September
Hepworth Ct, Gatliff Rd, London SW1W 8QP
Curtis documents traceurs or parkour practitioners making their alternative routes through the city landscape. By using a thermal imaging camera she investigates the hidden traces such as footprints and hand marks that go unnoticed. The result is a grainy grey image of urban landscapes shot with white figures who leap between obstacles.

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Thurday 31st July
Ferreira Projects, ‘Irregular pulse’: Russell Herron, Ayling&Conroy, Bedwyr Williams, James R Ford, Sarah Doyle, Stewart Gough: July 31st-August 16
23 charlotte rd, London EC2A
James R Ford’s first curatorial project, Irregular Pulse presents a group of contemporary artists whose work is fun whilst witty at the same time. Spanning installation, sculpture, painting and video.

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Barbican Art Gallery, ‘Paul Haworth & Alex Brenchley, Silk Handkerchiefs’: performances at The House of Vicktor & Rolf: 7:30pm
Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Paul Haworth at ‘Performance-fashion’ an evening performances that reference fashion and costume, curated by Vanessa Carlos, that complement the current exhibition ‘The House of Viktor & Rolf’ at the Barbican Art Gallery.Paul Haworth and Alex Brenchley bring their unique strand of awkwardness and humour to this performance about fashion.

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Friday 1st August
Haunch of Venison, ‘Mat Collishaw‘: 11th July-30th August
6 Haunch of Venison Yard, London W1K 5ES
Blurring the distinction between representation and reality, Collishaw displays projections on phosphorescent paint. The exhibition involves historical photographs of Victorian child prostitutes in sexual poses. The images are fired onto phosphorescent paint and flare before fading from view. The ghostly effect highlights the short-lived existences of many of the children in Victorian times.

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William Morris Gallery, ‘Park Lives’: Udall Evans & Matt Scandrett
Lloyd park, Forest Rd, Walthamstow, London E17 4RP
A photography project that celebrates the lives of East London people who use Lloyd and Avenling Park.

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Tate Britain, ‘Late at Tate Britain’: 1st August
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
Why not join the tate team on the front lawn for a summer barbeque? In the galleries there will be live music, including a live art rock installation and performance from Chris Coco’s new band venture City Reverb with visuals from the artist She One with a supporting line up of laid back folk from Kaparte Promotions. Plus expect art interventions from the MA Chelsea Curating course and poetry and films from Coco Rosie’s Bianca Cassidy. See the Lure of the East exhibition for half price, and enjoy the summer sun!

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Prick your finger, ‘Pompom making party’: Amy Lame
260 Globe rd, E2 OJD
Pompom fun and dj’s make this event a must! See you there.

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Saturday 2nd August

V&A, ‘Collaborators: UK Design for performance 2003-2007′: now-until 18th November
Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
Displaying the work of over 100 British theatre designers recognised worldwide for their innovation and creativity. Highlights include the work of internationally acclaimed set designers: Paul Brown, Richard Hudson and Ralph Koltai.

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Sunday 3rd August
SPRING PROJECTS, ‘Lip-gloss and lacquer’: Julie Masterton, Lawrence Weiner, Michael Anastassiades and others:12th July-14th August
Spring House, 10 Spring Place London, NW5 3BH
Investigating the pursuit of commodity, celebrity and fashion, the works critique and embrace glamour and the image of the woman in the fashion industry. The exhibition comprises of artists, designers and fashion photographers allowing for a varied media platform including pop culture imagery, painting, installation and sculpture.

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Tate Britain, ‘Art Now: Juneau Projects’: Phil Duckworth & Ben Sadler: 2nd June-26th October
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
Using video, sound and performance installations, they explore a retreat to nature from the digital age. Mixing traditional crafts with new technologies, they synthesize the old and new, countryside and city.

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Perhaps it has something to do with the same-ness of all our high streets. Perhaps the all-pervading and all seeing eye of Topshop has permeated our minds to previously unimagined proportions. A few days ago a friend and I spotted two girls, more about arm in arm, enjoying a jaunty walk down a street in Nottingham. Both were slim, pretty and clearly enjoyed a bit of a creative licence with their clothes-management. Atop each lovely, eighteen-year-old head was a barnett of cropped, pink hair. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing at all wrong with a cropped, pink head of hair, but, at some point, one of the two must have thought ‘I like her hair, I think I’ll get it done myself‘ and, judging by the body language I observed, the original pinky hadn’t minded at all. Now, Nottingham has never been hyped as the be-all and end-all of sartorial greatness, but it is not only here that I notice it. Dressing in packs.

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There is nothing new about this. One has only to look to the tribes of early man to note that dress codes spelled inclusion, popularity and power. Gangs today will share one painted nail, a particular coloured scarf – that sort of thing. But now so-called non-conformists find themselves a strict set of rules to conform to. Goths, in rejecting mainstream style shifts and trend patterns, claimed black as theirs. But surely this is a more stringent fashion dictate than seen on any runway, or hailed by any trend setter?

In today’s climate of vintage finds, style icons and stylist madness it seems as though we all want to be individual. But only if everybody else is too. The gaggles of girls we see decked out oh-so-stylishly in their latest high street finds, all of them wearing the full skirts, the waist-belts, the Winehouse eye-liner. Somewhere along the line, being different became being the same and it is now scary to deviate from the different same-ness for fear of looking a loon. If you get what I mean.

I applaud people who have the courage to wear what other people – including myself – daren’t. So there’s the man with his straw trousers, the guy with the orange face, and the girl with a traffic cone on her head (in retrospect that might have been illegal and something to do with a hen party) – I salute you. Because among the bevy of Moss and Deyn-alikes and boys in amusing t-shirts, you stand out, you give us something to look at and be inspired by. And most of all you are different…on your own.

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Monday 28th July

The Wave Pictures – The Windmill, malady London
Blondie – ExCel Centre, there London
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Pure Groove Records, troche London

Pete Doherty, Martha Wainwright, Baby Gramps, David Thomas and more – Barbican Centre, London

Tuesday 29th July

Heartbreak, The Oscillation and Ezra Bang and the Hot Machine – Cargo, London
The Coral – The Coliseum Theatre, London
Wild Beasts, Post War Years and Voluntary Butler Scheme – 100 Club, London

Wednesday 30th July

Mirror! Mirror! and Dananananaykroyd at Edinburgh – Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
Lets Wrestle, Artefacts For Space Travel and Wet Paint – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Everyone loves a bit of mid week grunge, and could you possibly find a more suitable gig. I’ve not seen Artefacts for Space Travel, but if they’re good enough to be sandwiched between Let’s Wrestle and Wet Paint they must be pretty damn good.

Thursday 31st July

Bonde Do Role – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London

Baile Funk had it’s 15 minutes of fame and (wrongly) drifted away again without any major lasting impression on our shores. Quite effortlessly bounding through these dark times though is Bonde Do Role, who I’m very keen to see after they recruited a new member of their band through a reality TV show on MTV Brazil. Why can’t or TV be that cool?

Gold Teeth, Ageseat and Manifolds – Watershed, London
Ipso Facto – Pure Groove Records, London
Micachu, Collapsing Cities and O Children – The Macbeth, London
So So Modern, Pre, Lakes and Across The Atlantic – Bardens Boudoir, London
The Hot 8 Brass Band – Cargo, London

Friday 1st August

Prinzhorn Dance School, A.Human, Holy Ghost Revival and Dash Delete – Proud Galleries, London

Saturday 2nd August

The Bug, Flying Lotus and Kode9/The Spaceape – 3rd Base, St Matthews Church, London
Ratatat – The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow
South Central and Tomb Crew – 93 Feet East, London

Sunday 3rd August

Gig of the week

Cornelius and Fuck Buttons – Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Fuck Buttons may be ever so slightly over hyped, but they certainly fit the bill supporting Cornelius.

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