Archives for category: Colour

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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SL8

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Advertisements

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.

Fideli Sundqvist 1Fideli Sundqvist 2Fideli Sundqvist 3Fideli Sundqvist 4Fideli Sundqvist 5

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

http://fidelisundqvist.com/

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

I have just completed a term of evening classes to learn traditional upholstery techniques – and here are the results! I have found the whole process incredibly satisfying. I picked up this nursing chair at an auction and consequently knew nothing of it’s history, except for it’s Edwardian date. It was amazing to see some of it’s past through stripping it all the way back to a wooden frame. And it is equally amazing to think that, due to my own handiwork, it could now last another 100 years. But what made the process really special for me was being able to cover something with my own design. I love the idea of a very traditional piece being juxtaposed by a completely unexpected and modern print.

The kitsch prawn fabric was hand printed by myself (although with some crucial assistance from a wonderfully reliable friend). It was interesting trying to visualise how my print would look applied to a chair during the design process – putting my illustration into a traditional repeat grid helped. And I think the playful print works really well on a smaller nursing chair – although it may now be more suitable for a children’s room!

I am hoping to continue classes to learn other techniques in the Autumn. I love the idea of being able to create something completely bespoke and individual. I am trying to take on as many commissions as possible – so as not to forget everything that I have learnt. So watch this space.

The ‘Afronauts’ is an ongoing project from Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel. I really love the mood of these images – they feel like a sci-fi scenario that has got completely misplaced whilst travelling through time and space. They are humorous but also slightly eery at the same time.

However, in a statement about the ‘Afronauts’ project, Middel suggests that her actual inspiration for this project was just as obscure as you would imagine it to be.

In 1964, still living the dream of their recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first African person on the moon catching up the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race.

Only a few optimists supported the project by Edward Makuka, the school teacher in charge of presenting the ambitious program and getting its necessary funding. But the financial aid never came, as the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts, a 16 year old girl, got pregnant and had to quit. That is how the heroic initiative turned into an exotic episode of the African history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.

“Afronauts” is based on the documentation of an impossible dream that only lives in the pictures. I start from a real fact that took place 50 years ago and rebuild the documents adapting them to my personal imagery.

Middel creates the perfect realisation of a truly bizarre story. There are so many other beautiful, witty and imaginative projects on Middel’s website. Make sure you check it out.

http://www.lademiddel.com/
http://www.heyhotshot.com/blog/2012/01/23/second-edition-2011-hot-shot-cristina-de-middel/

I came across the work of French Artists Pierre et Gilles a very long time ago – and yet it still fascinates me. Every time I look at them, I find something new about them that I love. And although many current artists and photographer may cite Pierre et Gilles as an inspiration – no one has done it quite like them yet.

Their work can only be described as multi-disiciplinary. The actual photography is only the end result. Pierre et Gilles were experts at creating incredible mini-worlds in which to photograph their (often famous) subjects within, building their own flamboyant sets and costumes. However, I believe it is the retouching that really brings their pictures to life – helping to reinforce the narrative created within them. Although kitsch and devotional, I really don’t know what it is about them that makes them still seem so new and appropriate for today.

I first came across the work of artist Stephen Wright in a small boutique in Brixton Village called Brixi. A mixture of tapestry and mosaic techniques, Wright’s work is immediately eye-catching and engaging, if not a little on the wild side. As a fan of all things kitsch, the way that Wright combines materials, objects and imagery seemed wonderful to me. Large scale embroidered tapestries have been photographed and interpreted into beautiful prints that have not lost any of their texture and the abstract qualities that make them interesting.

Stephen is currently exhibiting some of his work on the first floor of the legendary patisserie and art gallery Maison Bertaux on Greek Street in Soho until mid June.

Having seen Stephen’s work for the first time, I immediately found out about his current project, the ‘House of Dreams’, from his website. An ongoing project, Stephen is gradually turning the ground floor of his house in East Dulwich into what feels like a living, breathing piece of art. The house has now been bequeathed to the National Trust, and consequently will be open to visitors long after it is completed. Before visiting, and having seen the aesthetic of Stephen’s work and a few images of the house online, I had a fairly good idea of the sort of sensory assault I was expecting. It certainly lived up to those expectations. Instantly visible upon the terraced street, every surface is covered in literally everything – objects from all over the world, ranging from the utterly mundane to the outright bizarre. You could walk around the house for days on end and each time you would still spot a detail that you had overlooked before. However, I also experienced something more, which I hadn’t expected. The house isn’t just an artwork, but more of a museum of Stephen’s life. It is incredibly personal – full of stories and moments from all stages of his life – as well as all of the objects, themes, and issues that are currently consuming him. The combination of this provides an all-encompassing and truly unique story, straight from the artist himself. One might have thought that the house would seem claustrophobic and chaotic, but in a strange way it almost feels like everything is in it’s correct place, which is a true feat. Unfortunately, I was not able to take any photos as work is currently in progress towards a book documenting the House of Dreams and the journey that Stephen has been on, which is a very exciting prospect. But these images taken from an interview with Stephen in ‘Dulwich On View’ should give you a taster.

The House of Dreams is having an open day this Saturday (the 2nd of June) between 11am and 4pm. Booking is required. I felt I had such a personal experience from going there – and strongly recommend it to anyone with an erring towards to kitsch. There will also be another open day on the 7th of July.

http://www.stephenwrightartist.co.uk/house-of-dreams.html
http://www.maisonbertaux.com/maisonbertaux.com/Maison_Bertaux.html
http://dulwichonview.org.uk/2011/01/28/welcome-to-the-house-of-dreams/

Shine Shine has been created by graphic designer Heidi Chisholm. South African born and Brooklyn based, this clash of cultures really comes across in her eye catching repeat patterns. The graphic style is very slick and clean – and there are none of the characterful mistakes that I aesthetically associate with African textiles. However, the bold and often unexpected use of colour seems very typical. And the overall layout of the prints seems to take a lot of influence from traditional ‘commemorative cloths’ of this region. Some how, the two cultural references blend seamlessly to create something quite unique to me.

http://www.shineshine.co.za/
http://www.heidichisholm.com/