Saturday, 24 January 2009

Sat 24th Jan: Portrait Profile Weekender Part 2

Stu Stu Studio.

When I ask people to contribute pictures for my entries I always ask for a snap of their working studio as I am fascinated in discovering different interpretations of space and accumulation of paraphernalia. (It was this theme in my work that Tara and I once collaborated. For the Kickers X Project I collected belongings from each designer to use within the prop styling.) Most people selectively ignore this request which i presume is down to a self conscious fear of sharing the reality of their tidiness!
Refreshingly, Tara responded and here is a photograph of her studio which even she had to mention is "a bit messy"! Woops, if that's messy, mine is Armageddon in comparison!
The other 2 pictures are of Roger Hiorns' studio which are unpublished out takes from when she took his portrait for GQ magazine. I have to confess that I am not familiar with his work so in a "Through The Key Hole" manner I had to think "Who could possibly live in a house like thiiiias?" from decoding his collectables. As it transpires he is actually an artist known for his "exceptional use of unlikely materials: detergent, disinfectant, perfume, fire and copper sulphate crystals. Transforming steel poles, car engines and cardboard architectural models into crystalline forms, Hiorns effects surprising, physical and aesthetic transformations on found objects".

Sat 24th Jan: Portrait Profile Weekender

I am going to dedicate this weekend solely to photographer Tara Darby and her portraiture which I am a massive fan of. I recently saw a front cover on the magazine rack, and thought to myself, Christ that is the best picture Ive seen of that musician to date. As no surprise I turned to the credits and saw that it was by Tara.
There is an ease and peace in her portraits which allows the subject to show a side more personal than regular press shots you grow accustomed to. She has an ability to unearth an interaction that gives the images a magical integrity. Tara's body of work includes legendary creatives such as Karl Largerfeld, Vidall Sassoon and Robin Day through to new interests such as Katy Perry, Bat For Lashes and Alexa Chung. The extensive archive is divided across commissions in music, fashion, political news and then onto personal subjects and books.
It is a personal project that I have picked up on here because it is one of my faves trawling her website and one that has popped up on her blog. I got in touch with Tara to contribute some pictures for this feature and she explained "I have several muses that have become friends who I photograph over and over- the first few images are of artist Delaine Le Bas". This artist really appeals to me as it seems that she unconsciously matches her clothes to her artwork and the aesthetic is totally unconcious and unique. Her wardrobe is a real mix of heavily embroidered and appliqued dense coloured garments of varying genres. The other thing I like in this series is the indications of their time spent together with tea, biscuits and Easter bunny napkins caught in still-life shots.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Friday 23 Jan: Shiny Happy People

Whilst the menswear shows are galloping along across the pond, there were new collections previewed in London on Wednesday night from the LCF MA Fashion Design and Technology graduates. Unfortunately I couldn't go and these jpegs jumped straight out of the press release folder to make me even more remorseful for missing the showcase. If I were a man this would be my dream tailoring and it seems I'm not alone as Rohan Kale won the On|Off Reinvents prize . What luxurious use of pattern, colour and fabric. On second thoughts, when has gender ever swade my sartorial decisions?! I would definitely rock one of these suits given the chance!

Friday 23 Jan: LOOK BOOK

My S/S 09 look book designed by "No Days Off".
As photographed by Amy Gwatkin on the wall of the "Mishkin" studio who shot the images.

Friday 23 Jan: Studio Space Available

The criminally stunning studio of "No Days Off" currently have a transition of tenants and a desk space available to rent. I tend to get the fear at the prospect of having to leave my own studio to travel anywhere for a meeting and abandon my sewing machine. But the exception to the rule is any invitation to visit Teo and Pat at their new HQ in Aldgate. The space is a hive of busy bee creative spaces, situated in a converted block of shipping containers. It is so snazy, as I sit and drink tea from a Pantone mug, looking out the port hole window at the view of Canary Wharf and London's crazy skyline, I romanticize about working there myself. The fact they wouldn't let me within 5 yards of the place due to my intolerable messy antics of hand-dyeing and deluge of giggly work experience entourage is another matter!
If you are looking for a new year switch of residency and an enticing destination to have reason to jump out of bed in the morning, check the stats:

• Available immediately
• £260 per month inclusive of all bills
• High speed broadband
• Sharing with three friendly designers
• Spacious studio with loads of natural light (and great sunsets). Room to store books on our shelves if needed.
• Pinchin Street Studios is a five storey environmentally friendly building made from recycled shipping containers. Our studio is on the third floor. There is access via a central staircase and a lift. There is a plant nursery on the roof, surrounding a small open area that can be used to sit and have lunch at, for drinks, or just to look out over the fantastic views of the city. It's only 5 mins walk from Aldgate East, Aldgate, Whitechapel, Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or Shadwell, so there's lots of choices for nearest tube. It's also close to Brick Lane and all the shops and bars and curries you could ever need. Here's a map:,+London,+Greater+London,+E1+1SA&sll=51.511437,-0.064644&sspn=0.011298,0.028582&ie=UTF8&ll=51.51793,-0.060425&spn=0.011297,0.028582&z=14&iwloc=addr&source=embed

Patrick Duffy
No Days Off

+44 (0)20 7488 9008

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Thurs 22nd Jan: Incoming post from illustrator/animator Morgan Lloyd who travelled from NYC to Washington for the inauguration.

Does anyone remember Uncle Travelling Mack from Fraggles Rock? I used to love it when they read out his postcards from world adventures so in a similar vein I asked Morgan to cover the happenings for my blog. He has written a detailed description of his day as a Londoner transplanted into this historical event. Instead of trying to interpret his 1st hand account, I have used his original version but edited it down (sorry Mo!).

Everyone LOVES Obama... Bush and Cheney were seriously boo'ed when they appeared on the Jumbo-tron (the big screens), that was very funny. When Obama was sworn in everyone went ape-shit, people hugging and kissing. His speech went down very well, people were crying.

We got there at 9:00am and it was rammed then and we were a mile away from the preceedings! Everyone was in a very good mood. Some people had tickets to watch the inauguration seated up-close (see photo of ticket). But the people in the purple section (25000 of them) were refused entry because somebody jumped over the barriers and security became paranoid.

I loved the crap that was being sold on the streets, (see pic of glasses). So many stalls selling the usual flags, t-shirts, posters, plastic wallets with Obamas portrait. Tyler bought a $20 watch with a face the size of a jam lid with fake diamonds encrusted all over it with Obamas face looking proud. It's very cool. Flags, american ties, socks, underwear, sportswear anything you want... all Obama!! Apparently, this was unique, Bush and Clinton never had such tacky crap in tribute to them.

Everyone went on partying afterwards. The mood was great, everyone was so chuffed to be free from Bush and doubley chuffed to have gained an inspirational leader. When we were in the restaurant getting some food after our 8hr standing in the cold, the parade was being shown on the TV's around the bar, whenever Obama was on the screen everyone would scream with pride. People who didn't know you would grab you and hug you and hold your hand while they stare you in the eyes smiling, holding back their tears. Just when he appeared on TV. When he and Michelle got out of their Limo to wave at the crowd the bar was deafening.


Thurs 22nd Jan: Handsome Prints

This morning I came across the most impressive topiary Ive witnessed outside of a stately home. The beautifully carved beast reminded me of a scary pop-up Edward Gorey book I had when I was a kid. Funnily enough I was visiting the home of another illustrator and it has brought about some exciting news to share. If you have any pennies stashed in a piggy bank, the best thing to do is follow my advice and smash the cochon open. Jim Stoten who is the next generation's answer to Alan Aldridge is currently doing a special sale of his limited edition prints. When I saw his last exhibition I had to shed a tear at the idea of buying one of his artworks was as much fantasy as the content of his surreal sketches. But no! There is a chance! This selection were originally priced at £85 each but now reduced to £30. ..........
...just go to the shop section .. This picture is for you to see what they look like framed and how you need one on your wall! Invest now, laugh later!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Weds 21st Jan: Kentish Town, Kentish Town yes, Kentish Town, Kentish Town, No!

Upcoming show at my local gallery Spring Projects:

The Good, The Bad, The Belle
Alice Hawkins and Barnaby Barford

Spring House, 10 Spring Place, London NW5 3BH

The exhibition runs from the 27th February to 5th April 2009
Gallery open: Tuesday – Wednesday 10am – 5pm
Thursday – Friday 12pm – 7pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm
Damaged Goods will be screened in Spring’s cinema on Saturdays throughout the exhibition.

The obvious bonus of living round the corner is being able to get to early-bird call times for shoots in the studios.
The other bonus is a guilty confession. It came about at the particular event of the infamous LFW POP magazine party 2 years ago when the cloakroom was raided. Every fashion editor, photographer and model who attended lost their coats. All apart from me and my guest because we walked through the February frosty night in our frocks. Not good karma to gloat I know, but we were grateful for fate in our favour on that cursed night!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tues 20th Jan: Mission Impossible

My studio mate Andy Macgregor spent a few days collecting colourful objects to comprise the following colour wheel advert for a new Guardian career campaign. I had to forcibly restrain myself from peaking into the shopping bags to check our the goodies that kept arriving with teasing snippets poking out the top. I am nosy by nature and colour obsessed so the combination was too much to handle. So thank God I can finally see the fruits of his labours in this picture that is produced by 100% prop styling with no post production other than minor colour manipulation. How on earth did he arrange it in such detail without knocking bits over. Did he hang over the floor via suspension cable in a Tom Cruise style or glue each piece to an upright? Im not sure but the centre-fold broadsheet advert has gone straight up on the studio wall to join our collection of cosmic curios.
Photography by Jasper White

Monday, 19 January 2009

Mon 19th Jan: Do not adjust your set

Alex Cunningham became my fairy godmother in answering my wishes for a Peter Jensen Top Shop scallop dress and secured me one of the last treasures in the sale. I was so excited trying on my new present, it occurred to me what has Peter been up to since? To reaffirm my opinion of Peter as a genuine, considerate soul behind the stitching............the house of Jensen replied and sent these images of their new houses. In a collaboration with set designer Shona Heath the 3rd floor of Dover Street Market has been transformed with a mini exhibition space. The upside-down town has been built/hung to launch a special collection of 6 dresses designed for DSM.
What I love about Peter, is that he has strategically amassed a cult following and successful business in squirrel silence. Every inch of his ascendancy has been down to the top-notch craftsmanship and concept, consistently presented season after season. The work has spoken for itself and never needed any smokescreen "all singing,-all dancing" Pr and marketing. However, in saying that, there was a catwalk show literally choreographed with ice- skaters for S/S 2005. Just one of Peter's inventive ideas carried out subtlety and naturally for those with a discerning eye at the time. His talent is developing a high calibre of ingenuity in all aspects of the label, mixed with ridiculous hard graft. When I worked next door, I could never understand why he worked "ompa lumpa" style, seemingly never entering or leaving but just always being there. Now I not only see why but appreciate why. To single handedly turn out an intelligently idiosyncratic wearable line with equally meticulous shows takes DEDICATION. Massive respect due. You are the master. With a sense of humour to boot! Hooray!