Manchester’s never been quite the same for me since the first day I ever saw Kid Carpet, side effects buy information pills AKA Ed Patrick, at the Academy some 4, 5 years ago. It was like losing your virginity. After a few sold out gigs more than a year ago, Manchester has been dry, an endless desert waiting for an oasis. The man hasn’t been on the road for some time, having kids and what not so to arrive tonight to a crowd of about 15 was a massive shock to say the least. The supporting bands all had their family contingents, but they’d all scarpered before the real show began. Talk about gratitude. You’d think after being given the opportunity to support one of the most exciting artists of the last five years they’d at least stick around and show their support. Some people!
That said this in no means distracted him from putting on his regular and exuberant performance. In fact he seemed to enjoy the chance to get the few members of the crowd really involved in the set. He also got an opportunity to perform a bunch of stuff I hadn’t heard before. He introduced a ditty for a cosmetic surgery advert and ‘Help Yourself’ a re-working of the Tom Jones classic (for a porno film about the Welsh crooner’s most used appendage).
Plus if I’m not mistaken I also spotted a pastiche to Moondog’s ‘Enough about human rights’ and a Metallica cover re-titled ‘Back to the shops’. All the while the 15 strong crowd kept the energy going the entire way though.
After the encore, he came out to give everyone in the audience free copies of all his 7” singles, signed on request. What a kind man, he’s a very kind man. He told me he’ll be back soon and with a much bigger crowd in tow. We should all look forward to that.
It seems Scandinavian designers have been occupying my thoughts this week, more about what with Peter Jensen yesterday and today I salute print designer Karl Grandin. I just can’t seem to get enough of their effortlessly stylish and innovative approach to design!
Karl Grandin is as prolific as print designers get, visit this the Swedish based artist has such an endless list of clients it made my head spin just attempting to digest it all. Where to start, pharmacy well there are his worldwide exhibitions in far-flung realms from Amsterdam to Tokyo (just imagine the air miles there, I bet he boasts a fine passport) Then In conjunction to his extensive array of shows he works closely with humanitarian charities such as Amnesty International. Then the crème de la crème has to be his endless list of magazine contributions with fashion giants Wallpaper, Vogue, Tokion and Pop Magazine. It’s a boastful array of clients if ever I saw one.
Then as if that wasn’t enough he has been working closely with top designers to create capsule collections for the likes of hip collaborative Cheap Monday and Wknd. My favourite has to be his vivacious hurricane designs. His cut and paste aesthetic is almost reminiscent of a child’s collage book!
The piece that left me completely enamoured however had to be this animal print sweater. Its almost like Noah and his ark has re-formed but this time instead of a boat for refuge they all bundled onto this sweater! Its like an animal where’s Wally! 180 animals run wild in this computerized knit, go on I urge you to count them all!
Inspired to create a piece to politicise the plight of endangered pieces, Grandin pays homage to mother nature emphasising its beauty and fragility. Nature is a topic so often broached by designers; fashion is brimming with animal prints or floral motifs to which we enjoy on merely face value so much so it’s almost become banal. Grandin is attempting in his piece to encourage a more thought provoking approach to nature, he states “ We have cultivated nature for our own convenience. Now it is instead man-made cultural constructions that are becoming increasingly autonomous and slipping out of our control. Wild systems like brands, stock markets and traffic is the wilderness of today. Nature has become culture and culture is turning into our new nature”.
Grandin is a designer that doesn’t merely create aesthetically pleasing pieces; you get a real sense of his devotion to change within the design sphere to create ethical yet energetic pieces. He gets a big Amelia’s Magazine thumbs up, hoorah!
Artist AJ Fosik’s sculpted characters look like your high school mascot that went AWOL and ended up at a full moon party in Thailand. Or perhaps the stuffed and mounted head of some big game he vanquished in a spirit dream and was able to sneak back under the border patrol of consciousness (quite a feat really I hear they’re rather tight). His technicolor wooden sculptures certainly carry the sense of having seen the otherside and with their hypnotic fluorescent eyes they seem all too than eager to take you there as well.
According to his myspace page AJ Fossik is 66 years old. Sure, stomach maybe on his second time round on the carousel of life. perhaps wise beyond his years, cost what is for certain is that this Philadelphia born artist is onto something. Currently exhibiting printed works at Giant Robot Gallery in NY, it is his psychedelic sculptures which have really roared onto the scene. Made of hundreds of small, individually cut and hand painted wood, his animal effigies and their symbolism strike a chord with the collective consciousness, especially in the US. Aside from being the California state animal, a campsite mischief, cartoon character and omnipresent sports team icon, the bear is one of the largest and most regal North American animals, a reminder of the vastness and awesome natural beauty experienced by the earliest pioneers.
A country whose experience at the moment consists of what is referred to as a “bear market”, one in which stockholders, all in the same blind panicked, decide to sell! sell! sell!, driving the value of stocks deep into the ground (sounds familiar). Not that far off really from the wooly winter hibernator’s image of reclusion and introspection. To Native American shamans the bear represents qualities of steadfastness and patience making excellent teachers. In dreams, bears represent a healing cycle, where the dreamer has retreated into himself in order to regenerate and to create something new and valuable in his life.
For this particular breed of artist the road out was not a conventional one. After years as a teenage urban nomad on the streets of Philadelphia, a city often at odds with itself, Fosick eventually drifted to NY where he obtained a degree in illustration from New York’s Parson’s and a 2007 solo show in the city’s Jonathan Levine Gallery. The name he goes by he adopted from an Australian “verb to describe the act of people sifting through mine washings or waste piles to look for any gold that might have been missed; sorting through the garbage to find gold.” However, like many things in our global soup it apparently seeped into another language where it means something different altogether. “From what I can gather,” he says with a good natured appreciation of irony, “the spelling I use means ‘to shit oneself’ in Hungarian.”
A peek into the global origins of this furry ursine idol is just as intriguing. In Hindu mythology the bear’s name “riksha”
(also in Sanskrit, Celtic, Greek and Latin believe it or not) derive from the word for star, which in turn comes from the word light, shine, illuminate. Ahhhha.
The term for Great Bear, “sapta riksha”, is also the symbolic dwelling of the Seven Rishis, whose name is related to “vision” and are called the Seven Luminaries. It was through them that the wisdom of the past was transmitted to the present. A rich past for the unassuming bear.
AJ Fosick is an artist who, one could argue, has an abnormal fixation with carving his own path through the great unknown. No wonder then that he refers to his pieces as “existential fetishes”. And hey, who couldn’t use one of those? And perhaps the missing little league mascots and unemployed stockbrokers of the world have joined Albert Camus on a beach somewhere in South East Asia and are doing some soul searching. In my dreams.
This Sunday we’re off to The Rag Factory , see for 2009′s London Zine Symposium to celebrate DIY and radical culture in all its handmade glory.
(2007 London ZIne Symposium)
There will be readings from several zine favourites and veterans including Chris from Lipgloss and Chella Quint from the fantastically named Adventures in Menstruating. Plus talks and Q&A sessions about the politics and future of zine publishing- very interesting stuff indeed!
(detail from Shebang Zine)
For those who want to get involved, ambulance there will plenty of workshops including a collective zine which will be compiled and published on the day in collaboration with the Footprint Workers Co-op then given to contributors for free- so bring a page of wrting, viagra approved illustration, ancient Sanskrit or whatever else you fancy, along.
As if all this isn’t enough, there will be stalls selling all sorts of goodies alongside all shapes and sizes of zines such as Fever Zine, Brighton-based, blue-covered favourite Shebang Zine and Meow Magazine– a student run treasure trove of illustrations.
(Meow Magazine’s Christmas cover)
Cakes will be provided of both the edible and knitted variety- the latter being provided by Amelia’s very own Melodie Ash, so get there quick before these gems are gobbled up!
Hope to see you there.
London Zine Symposium at The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ free entry, 12- 6pm on Sunday 3rd May 2009
Today to pay homage to our faithful companion the sun gracing us with rays the past few days. I thought what better time to usurp the weatherman and bring you some extra rays of warmth myself in the form of the vibrant and jovial new collection from Peter Jensen.
He is no newcomer to the big smokes eccentric fashion sphere. Jensen came to our shores from Denmark in 2005 to study Fashion at Central St Martins. After propelling through his degree with flying colours he went on to form a cult following with his menswear designs, viagra causing waves in the fashion circuit in Paris. Eventually Jensen succumb to the allure of Womenswear, much to us ladies relief!
Peter is a designer with a whole array of strings to his bow, not only is he accomplished in print, but both embroidery and graphic design. His garments play host to a myriad of different fabrics and techniques which create a cut and paste aesthetic to his pieces. It’s a slap dash blaze of conflicting colours and prints. To me the collection evokes all the nostalgia and whim of a childhood rummage through a fancy dress box.
The collection packs a whole load of gusto! Playfully throwing all conventions of colour coordination out the window. Your vision is almost impaired as it tries to digest the layers of colour and print. We see florals juxtaposed against vivid checks finished off with beautifully delicate beaded capes, and adorable knitted socks to boot!
The prints are a salute to kitsch design, exuding a decidedly twee “butter couldn’t melt “ feel, its hard to imagine anyone in one of Jensen’s polar bear clad jumpers inciting trouble. Other then catching the eyes of a few infamous celebrities, most notoriously the eccentric artist Cindy Sherman.
Jensen’s work has been taking the high streets by storm with collaborations with retail titans Topshop, Topman, Fred Perry and B store and stock supplied in Ebonyivory, Falbe, and Buddahood. Jensen boasts an impressive list of followers!
So keep your eyes open for any polar bear jumpers on the shopping rails near you!
Categories ,Central St Martins, ,Embroidery, ,Fashion Designer, ,Graphic Design, ,Peter Jensen, ,Twee