Wednesday, 31 August 2011

London Art Box at FLAGSTOP art fair in LA!

On Friday 2nd September FLAGSTOP opens, an alternative contemporary art fair in 
Los Angeles.

Alongside 13 other artists from Debut Contemporary, my work was selected for LAB - ' The London Art Box'.  A pod at the art fair purely dedicated to the art of London based artists.

Its been a busy couple of weeks getting everything ready for the fair! but finally all of our works have arrived safely in LA, set up is already happening, VIP opening Friday and the fair is open to the public Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th.

Here is a little info about the fair, you can also read more about FLAGSTOP on the website:

'FLAG STOP’s mission is to present new and emerging contemporary art to a larger audience outside the mainstream art venues. FLAG STOP is searching for alternative venues in which to present the best curated examples of what, why, and how art is becoming relevant today. Each “STOP” will feature art which has been curated with some of the best examples of contemporary art, brought to you by some of the top professional, emerging curators and artists from Southern California.'

The Art Fair will be hosted by South Bay Lexus, a MASSIVE Lexus showroom!  There are also some really high profile LA based curators involved in the fair such as Howard Fox of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Lily Siegel of MOCA.  Following the FLAGSTOP art fair, in December all of our works will be moving on to a second exhibition at OCCCA, Orange County Centre for Contemporary Art.

Its so exciting to have been selected for the show!  Although I can't be at the opening it is fantastic to have some work going over to the fair to make its US Debut.  I'm really interested to see what kind of feedback our works will get.  Afew of the Debut artists have gone over to represent us all and chat to visitors about our work.

I am showing my 'Shoebox' painting, 'Paint Stuff' and an older piece, 'I hope this does win the Turner Prize'.

Other artists selected for the exhibition include (in no particular order!): Twinkle Troughton, Chantal Powell, Nicola Anthony, Darren Macpherson, Katrina James, Robert West, Carlos Martyn Burgos, Abigail Box, Azadeh Fatehrad, Vikram Kushwah, Kimi Wylde, Sylvia Morgado.

Also I just wanted to say a big thankyou to Ryan Noble for helping to organise the event, and to everyone at Debut Contemporary.  

If you are in LA this weekend please visit the fair if you can! and anyone not in LA, I'll be posting some pics from the event as soon as I get any xxx

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Is Capitalism a Dictatorship or a Democracy: Working on a new piece!

I used to feel that I couldn't make political work because I didn't know enough about 'Politics'.  Over the past couple of years I've changed how I feel about that, I still don't know much about politics, but I do know how I feel about the observations that I make about society and life today.  These personal responses to what I see are what is expressed in my work, and now sometimes the work does end up being abit political....!

IS CAPITALISM A DICTATORSHIP OR A DEMOCRACY?  My paintings often start with a question or a slogan, and a while back I started thinking about the above question.  Capitalism is supposedly a democracy, but are we really all free to decide what we want to do?  Certain things have to happen in order for Capitalism to continue working as a model for society, mostly buying stuff...all the time.  There is a hierarchy and a growing wealth divide, everyone has their function within the big wheel of society and amongst other things we all have to keep buying to make it all keep ticking.

Aswell as pondering on this thought...I never forget how lucky we are to not live under a real 'dictatorship', I can't even begin to imagine the reality of living under a regime.  I sometimes wonder whether I really can make a painting to explore the issue I'm thinking about in Western countries - which also shows sensitivity and respect toward people living under dictatorships.

Anyhow, I thought I would attempt to tackle it, as to me its a very real issue.  I'm just at the very beginning of this process, and I think alot more research, reading and thought needs to go into the piece.

I attempted to come up with something which had just subtle visual reference to the theme I am looking at, thinking that the text would really do the work, and the title too.  Its a bold question, and simply asking it in the painting will encourage thought on the issue.  I also like the idea of making pieces where the text is a little bit removed from the image, as a way of leaving more space for thought and interpretation.

I've just been experimenting so far, and after a few days working on the painting I decided to abandon it and go back to the drawing board...

I'm still feeling that it is really important to make a piece of work to explore this issue, so hopefully I will be posting again soon with a finished piece!


Sunday, 14 August 2011

A review of Opinionated Objects at Debut Contemporary

It’s a while ago now, but I’ve finally found the time to write a little bit about Opinionated Objects!

On Saturday July 30th me and Twinkle braved the intense sunshine and sat in the window of Debut Contemporary Gallery, painting onto people’s unwanted objects in aid of the Ubuntu Education Fund.  The project took weeks and weeks of planning, so it was brilliant to finally see it happen and to have such a good response.

The idea was that people donated an unwanted object and a hope or wish for the future. We then painted the text onto the object, transforming the unwanted object into a piece of art. In exchange we asked for a donation to The Ubuntu Education Fund.

We wanted to raise awareness about Ubuntu and the amazing work that they do for children in South Africa who’s lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS, and also raise some cash for the charity.  From an artistic point of view we wanted to do an interactive project to create a visual display of people’s thoughts, hopes and opinions, ‘upcycling’ their unwanted goods along the way!

The response was really positive, we were given some really interesting objects to paint on, including a fishbowl, a breadbin, a guitar, an old record player, a wooden sword, a toy horse, some speedos….and lots more.  People were very thoughtful with the opinions and hopes they gave us to paint onto the objects too, we were given a diverse range of really heartfelt statements such as:

‘I wish I cared enough to cry’
'Good ideas are the heartstrings of the soul'
‘May we always find nourishment in the simplest of things’
‘I hope that our relationship with technology doesn’t take over our relationship with each other’
‘I wish for all of us to work harder to protect our beautiful but threatened marine and sea life before it is lost forever’

We combined our different painting styles to collaborate on most of the objects, some lent themselves more to Twinkle’s style, some to mine, each piece was signed by both of us.

Thankyou to everyone who donated objects and opinions!  Thankyou so much for donating to Ubuntu, and thankyou to Debut Contemporary Gallery for hosting the event.

(thankyou to Sophia for being so helpful on the day!  Me and Twinkle were just about delirious from being in the direct sunlight of the gallery window on the hottest day of the year – and having to wear sunglasses to paint!)

We would love to continue this project somehow and do it on a larger scale with more time to paint more objects.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The blog to review Opinionated Objects will have to wait....

This evening I was planning to sit down and finally write a blog to review mine and Twinkle's recent project: 'Opinionated Objects', as usual I'm abit late to upload the news after the event!  But after seeing the footage of the riots on the streets of Hackney I feel shocked and horrified, stunned, and worried about how things will pan out tonight.

Weirdly I am not in London this week, but so many people close to me live near to the area where the riots are going on, and I can't stop thinking about how terrifying it must be for them right now.  I lived just off Mare street for a couple of years, its awful to see what happened in Tottenham and I really feel for all of those affected, but on a personal note, seeing such familiar places being trashed to pieces feels really sad.

What is it that inspires people to cause such damage to other people's lives?

I will write about Opinionated Objects another time...All I can say about it at the moment is that it was wonderful to have had such a positive response, people were so forthcoming with honest and heartfelt hopes and opinions.

I hope that the response that me and Twinkle had to Opinionated Objects reflects how Londoners will now all pull together.