Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday 24th March: Trinidad & Tobago

Last month I travelled to Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean to witness the original Carnival as research for my position as patron to CAMF (Carnival Arts & Masquerade Foundation).  I'll be following this up with my photos of all the costumes from the parades but here is a quick intro to the general vibe of the trip.  The place is FULL of colour from the flora & fauna to the way the houses and buildings are painted.  We finished our adventure crossing from Trinidad to Tobago for a beach break after the city for Carnival.  Here were humming birds in the trees and soca being pumped out of beach bar soundsystems and carried over the thermals of the sand.  BLISS

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Tuesday 21st March: CMMNTY

I've discovered a brilliant new platform for finding direct access to international artist's work, like this Mr. Penfold t-shirt.  I've admired his graphic style for a long time and now there's a gallery to purchase limited edition t-shirts and prints like his.  He's part of an online collective community - "CMMNTY".  It's been set up with a socially conscious mission as an active enterprise to support homeless charities.  Artists have come together to join their creative output in order to make a difference.  5% of each sale goes to a network such as Emmaus who offer a stable home and work in the community for those who are suffering homelessness.  I'm not only pleased to discover this kind of revolutionary fundraising e-commerce but also glad to have learnt that this kind of charity exists.  Homelessness is evidently an escalating issue, present as soon as we walk down any street and I wonder how far away we all are from experiencing it.  I personally feel immensely effected with sadness on a daily basis and totally useless to help each individual case in my neighbourhood, especially living in a city as divided as London.  So its heartwarming that the artists of CMMNTY who feel the same way have invested their own time to engineering this scheme.
Head over to the site to see all of the names involved and check out the exclusive merchandise available.  T-shirts are ethical organic cotton and prints are on eco-friendly bamboo paper, produced with green energy.  See more on their Instagram here to find out about upcoming events and news.

(Thanks to Mitchell McGillvary for the photos, taken at The Science Museum in the new Zaha Hadid Mathematics Gallery)    

Monday, 20 March 2017

Monday 20th March: "ROBOTS" at The Science Museum

"Robots:  The 500-year quest to make machines human" is the new nerd-tastic show at The Science Museum.  I collect retro toy robots so this section of the exhibition was my personal highlight!  This Bladerunner era is sandwiched between the origins of automated clocks, astrobes and armillary spheres all the way thru to the latest human social robots.  It's amazing to see the evolution of robotics including amateur enthusiast models made at home from wood, string and chip boards.  The future is also up for question and whether human labour will be replaced by mechanical arms.  This notion is scary in times of unemployment but a positive flipside is represented with robot "carers" who can assist immobile and infirm patients at home on their own.  The collection of machines covers many aspects of research and development in recreating the perfect human ........... go to investigate yourself til 3rd September.   

Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday 17th March: Gemma Cairney's "OPEN" Book Launch

Gemma Cairney loves to throw a party and so her official book launch was the biggest bash to date.  For the book's tour she has bought her very own 1990's double-decker bus painted yellow with the graphics from the title "Open".  This was parked up outside The University Women's Club venue for the night, which apparently caused mayhem in the streets of Mayfair to get there!  This is quite apt for the book's mission to make a big impression and cause waves in inspiring the country's next generation of readers.  It's time to avert eyes from screens and sift thru spectrum pages of self-help for teenagers.

It's a "Toolkit for how magic and messed up life can be".  Essentially its a tome from Gemma's own heart and life experience but with a 360 degree solid representation of insight from experts that she has brought on board.  During her time on the BBC radio programme "The Surgery" she realised the need for information to be readily available for young adults to find and trust.  And here it is!  The book is designed to either be a reference guide to look up particular subjects or a personalised diary to customise and make into a working manual.  It's for all genders and explains issues that effect everyone to either try for yourself or become prepared and equipped to support someone else.  The topics covered range across:  family, bullying, love & heartbreak, grief, anxiety & depression, eating disorders, OCD, self-harm, periods, sex & sexuality, racism & prejudice, politics, feminism, careers and .............. the Internet!  Although it is targeted at young adults I think it can relate to any age as it literally covers everything that the human condition encounters and offers strategies to solve.  The illustrations make it easily legible and light despite the serious issues it extends to feature.

In short, its really an essential read for any family.  Every household has a new generation to support and perhaps an older one to re-educate and re-connect.  And here-in lies one of the main subjects the book is built on = in that no family structure is the same.  Everyone has their own arrangement and this contextualises how each version is manageable.  Ive learnt alot and even alot about Gemma's own background which I didn't know already!  

What else do I need to say, you owe it to your loved ones and yourself to bring this into your life...................... find it here.

(Photos by me & Mitchell McGillvary)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thursday 16th March: Rhys Coren, "Whistle Bump Super Strut" at Seventeen Gallery

Rhys Coren's aesthetic is immediately really pleasing to the eye, especially if you were a child of the 80's and teenager of the 90's with these patterns and tones.  The layout of line and contrasting colours also photograph really well.  But what you need to do to fully appreciate the beauty in the technique is take a close look at the composition.  These playful panels of marbled, sprayed & splash marks are actually painted marquetry.  Not only that, the slithers of each individual colour even have secondary darker inlays of silhouette running alongside for extra optical depth.  (This reminds me of the satisfaction and relief as a kid when you finally figured out how to do shadows on bubble-writing.)  Here it's intricately cut-out and spliced textures in squiggles and swirls.  It's like nothing I've ever seen before - exquisite and fun in equal measure.  These pieces are going to make the walls of their future homes very, very happy. 

 Seventeen Gallery, 270-276 Kingsland RoadLondonE8 4DG