A very different type of collage – I first came across Mat Maitland’s work when I saw his film for Kenzo Resort 2013 (see below). Full to the brim with prints and pattern it definitely caught my eye. But until recently I had never seen any of Maitland’s fashion stills – and I think they are great. I always love the sense of set used in product editorials but the digital element of these creates a sense of hyper-real and the slick collage style feels fresh and new.

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You can check out more of his work here: http://matmaitland.com/

I finally had a chance at the weekend to see the Hannah Höch exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. I had seen bits and pieces of Höch’s work before but in this exhibition it was great to see how her style evolved over time, and especially within the context of history. Working alongside other contemporary collage artists like Kurt Schwitters, Höch’s work is playful and poignant, and creates a unique commentary of the social circumstances at that time.

The pieces below are from one of my favourite series – ‘From an Ethnographic Museum’ – completed between 1924 and 1930. I love their humour and sense of iconography. And considering their place in history, I like to imagine them celebrating diversity in a time of ever increasing uniformity.

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The exhibition is on until the 23rd March so check it out if you can.

http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/hannah-hch

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jan/13/hannah-hoch-whitechapel-review

2013 was my first Christmas spent away from home and my family in the sunnier climes of Sri Lanka, which was a surreal but wonderful experience. Despite our best efforts (the Nat King Cole Christmas album on repeat and some slightly haphazard decorating) it was hard to make it feel like Christmas when it was 30 degrees and we were surrounded by palms. Though I think, as a fan of all things kitsch and colourful, the Sri Lankan Christmas aesthetic may appeal to me more anyway. And I’d take curry over a traditional Christmas dinner any day. Here are some Christmas snapshots from our trip:

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This weekend was the first one in a long while that I’ve had time to go out and see something. And fortunately, I was just in time to catch an exhibition I’ve wanted to see since it opened almost 6 months ago. ‘Saints Alive’ is the work created by Michael Landy whilst he was artist in residency at the National Gallery, a combination that some people thought a little unlikely.

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Installation of Saints Alive at the National Gallery, 2013

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mixed media 205 x 185 x 80 cm

The exhibition features a progression of Landy’s work from sketch, to collage, to all singing and dancing kinetic sculptures, which muse upon the stories of the Saints that feature in so many of the paintings in the gallery. It feels like Landy has almost dissected the National Gallery’s collections in order to form his own take on what many deem to be the most worthy of art – classical painting. It is humorous, fun and engaging. But most importantly it does not take itself seriously.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/may/26/michael-landy-saints-alive-national-review

Aside from the subject matter, what I really liked about this exhibition is the questions it posed about the National Gallery, and where this institution sits in the art world, and in particular in London’s cultural scene. To many of the younger generation, the National Gallery is both inaccessible and pretentious. Although no one can ever argue that the National Gallery’s collection will ever become invalid, increasingly, as a static collection, it becomes more and more aloof and high brow.

What Landy does is bring this world back down to earth with a crash. It feels like he has bought the painting and the stories that they contain to life. It is whimsical, and fun. But most importantly it is accessible – and may in fact help a new generation to see the National Gallery’s collection in a new light. 

It closes on the 24th November but is so worthwhile checking out if you get the chance.

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/michael-landy-saints-alive

 

Sorry for the brief hiatus – here is some idea of what I have been doing. There will be more to come soon.

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I love the slightly naive style of these paper illustrations by Swedish Fideli Sundqvist. They create a really playful take on the sombre and thoughtful Old Masters Still Life, and the unusual choice of subject adds another level of humour.

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Check out Fideli’s website to see the various other projects she has turned her hand to.

http://fidelisundqvist.com/

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Istanbul at the start of December, staying with some friends who are currently living there. It was really nice to be staying somewhere completely new, whilst being able to see and experience it from the perspective of a local. And it was really great to explore the more creative districts of the city. Aside from a lot of food photography, here are some of my favourite snaps.

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I have finally finished my most recent upholstery project. As per usual, everything is bespoke. I designed and printed the fabric by hand myself and upholstered the chair from scratch using traditional methods. I am really pleased by the end result, which I think is a very beautiful and quirky little chair.

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The chair is an Edwardian nursing chair that I bought at an auction. It proved to be something of a labour of love when it came to the reupholstering, and provided quite a few challenges. I went through 6 fabric layers on the top panel, from the last layer to what I believe was the original Edwardian upholstery. But I think the end result is striking enough to justify a couple of extra hours of graft. The chair itself is quite unique, and I certainly feel a little emotionally attached to it now after the long process I have been through!

I am really pleased with how the print looks against the dark wood of the chair. I struggled a little when designing this print, as I wanted the imagery to be the right amount of kitsch, and to compliment the gold leaf patterning on the wood. I think the colours have worked especially well to really rejuvenate this chair – and give it a completely new lease of life.

This chair is for sale now in a beautiful and quirky boutique in Dalston called Pelicans and Parrots Black – please go and take a look!

pelicansandparrots.com/

This is probably the first Christmas that I am living somewhere in London that really feels like home. Especially after a long period of constant moving, I feel vaguely settled, or as settled as anyone can do in London. Unfortunately, I am paying an awful lot of rent money for this privilege. So Christmas is taking on a tragically home-made feel this year. With some help from my very devoted Mum, my modest Christmas tree is now decorated with 24 miniature knitted stockings – I am very glad that is it only 3 foot tall now. And the wonderful knitted paper chain was a gift from a family friend. The flat is certainly starting to look a lot brighter, and slightly more festive in an unusual sort of way.

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Just a small preview of a repeat fabric design that I have recently screen-printed ready to be upholstered onto a very beautiful chair. I feel like this design is a step into a slightly more commercial realm for me, and I am really pleased with how the chair is taking shape – there will be more pictures to follow once it is finished!

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