Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival 2013: A Review of Illustration Collectives

Pick Me Up London 2013 review- day job victoria willmott
Bird by Victoria Willmott.

In the upstairs section of the Embankment Galleries at Pick Me Up are housed a plethora of hand-picked collectives, some of which have had a presence in previous years, some of which are new for 2013. The section begins with a superb display by Day Job, a collaboration between ten recent Camberwell graduates who share a studio in Peckham, South London, some of whom I recognised.

Pick Me Up London 2013 review- Charlotte Mei
Charlotte Mei‘s idiosyncratic pottery was a stand out feature at her graduate show: for Pick Me Up she has created a whole fleet of cars, characterful naked ladies in contorted positions, a pizza with strange toppings and a host of other animals. Brilliant stuff!

Pick Me Up London 2013 review-Charlene Man
I loved all of the prints by Charlene Man, and I was also tempted by her pastel painted wooden blocks for Snarfle, but feared he might chew the patterns off.

Pick Me Up London 2013 review - human after all tshirt
Pick Me Up London 2013 review - Human After All
Human After All is the latest brainwave from Danny Miller and friends. As promotion for their newly launched creative agency they are hosting a space where you can construct your own #facestamp, to be applied to a t-shirt, with eye-catching results.

Pick Me Up London 2013 review-zombie collective maggie li
Pick Me Up London 2013 review- frann preston gannon

Zombie Collective is five illustrators: their interactive cog machine is a splendid addition to the gallery, spitting out gifts for lucky punters. Maggie Li‘s beautiful house print really caught my eye, as did this politely sleeping fox by Frann Preston-Gannon. Also for sale, some sweet acrylic treats.

Pick Me Up London 2013 review- print club london
Print Club London are hosting the main room with a chance to help create a ‘living wallpaper’ drawn by the likes of Fred Butler and Margot Bowman. It looks like the just the place to hang out with the kids: give Snarfle a few years and we’ll be there!

Pick Me Up London 2013 review- nelly duff dan hillier
Pick Me Up London 2013 review- nelly duff sweet toof
Pick Me Up London 2013 review- various and gould nellyduff
Columbia Road‘s Nelly Duff gallery have created perhaps the most spectacular room, where artworks and specially commissioned wall decals on a ‘flower show’ theme combine to stunning effect. Of particular note: Dan Hillier‘s foil blocked lady, curlicued skulls courtesy of Sweet Toof, and a skull print by Various and Gould (seen above in situ on a doorway just off Brick Lane).

Pick Me Up London 2013 review- soma gallery peskimo
Back for a second year running Soma Gallery are showcasing a wide selection of prints by long running collaborators such as Peskimo and Tom Frost, as well as newbies such as Telegramme Studio and Hazel Nicholls. I particularly loved these 3D wooden gum ball artworks by Peskimo.

Pick Me Up London 2013 review-el famoso
Unlimited Collective is a print company based in Brighton. Taking pride of place in their busy space is a huge yellow tattooed man, complete with hipster moustache. All over tattoos continue to be the badge of the uber cool, but if you’re too chicken to go the whole hog yourself then artwork by El Famoso might be just the ticket instead.

Jessie Ford black bear on bike
I was so taken by a black bear on a tiny tricycle by Jessie Ford that I bought one on a whim – it will go up in Snarfle‘s room: something more to growl at.

Pick Me Up London 2013 review- helen musselwhite
Pick Me Up London 2013 review-Emily Robertson
Pick Me Up London 2013 review-matt saunders
Pick Me Up London 2013 review- lesley barnes
Handsome Frank is an illustration agency that has done a great job of snapping up brilliant up and coming illustrators, including many that have featured in these pages (Lesley Barnes, Tim McDonagh, Sarah Maycock). Some of my favourite works on display at their interactive stand include a stunning paper gatehouse by Helen Musselwhite, a curious character by Emily Robertson, sleeping log gremlins by Matt Saunders and a wonderful knight on a horse by Lesley Barnes.

Read my review of Pick Me Up Selects here, and if you are unable to check out Pick Me Up in person make sure you check out all the talent above online. Full listing information here.

Categories ,#facestamp, ,2013, ,Camberwell College of Arts, ,Charlene Man, ,Charlotte Mei, ,Collectives, ,Columbia Road, ,Dan Hillier, ,Danny Miller, ,Day Job, ,El Famoso, ,Embankment Galleries, ,Emily Robertson, ,Frann Preston-Gannon, ,Fred Butler, ,Handsome Frank, ,Hazel Nicholls, ,Helen Musselwhite, ,Human After All, ,illustration, ,Jessie Ford, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Maggie Li, ,Margot Bowman, ,Matt Saunders, ,Nelly Duff, ,Peskimo, ,Pick Me Up, ,Pick Me Up Selects, ,Print Club London, ,Sarah Maycock, ,Snarfle, ,Soma Gallery, ,Somerset House, ,Sweet Toof, ,Telegramme, ,Telegramme Studio, ,Tim McDonagh, ,Tom Frost, ,Unlimited Collective, ,Various and Gould, ,Victoria Willmott, ,Zombie Collective

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Amelia’s Magazine | Best Alternative Christmas Songs of 2015

Charlene Man christmas cat
Christmas scene by Charlene Man.

Tis the season for my annual festive tune round up: my favourite alternative Christmas songs and albums laid out all in one place. As has also become ritual I am also very late in the day – this year the excuse being that I had a baby in August and I’ve also just published my fourth book, Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Still, I could not let the opportunity pass me by to dig out the best Christmas tunes for 2015, so here’s what I’ve found on my trawl around the internet.

Brett Beardslee wrote this lovely song about the importance of family for his wife Jesse, Pickin In Pajamas, with a simple but evocative video featuring nostalgic Christmas photos.

American country singer Darryl Gregory is writing a new Christmas song every year, find a whole album here. All proceeds go to Ben’s Lighthouse, supporting youth in his local home town.

Winter_Scene_by Christine Charnock
Winter Scene by Christine Charnock.

The Ragged Flags release an EP called Christmas At My House which features all their Christmas tunes recorded since 2012. The songs are uniformly fab, featuring lyrics such as “the turkey’s too dry but the booze won’t run out”. This year’s offering is a catchy little ditty called Crackers & Maracas, all about the joys of heading abroad for warmer climes during the holiday season.

Nive Nielsen & The Deer Children release a gorgeous Christmas Song, all twinkly bells and soporific vocals.

Yo Sushi releases his seasonal song Happy New Year as a free download here. The Bokeh encrusted video features himself in large fur coat and plenty of tinsel.

Kirsty Almeida takes part in the Christmas album Ska of Wonder by Baked A La Ska, which gives a ska party makeover to many well known songs. Hear album teaser here.

Astrocolor are a Canadian collective who have created an entire album featuring wigged-out prog-rock psych versions of seasonal classics such as We Three Kings and The First Noel. Quite unlike anything you will have heard before. Find Lit Up – Music For Christmas here

Watch a suitably surreal accompanying video below: Love Love.

Becky Becky released Champagne On Christmas Day last year but I sadly missed out then. I absolutely love this! The three songs on this EP are a danceable collection of tunes inspired by the tale of a backstreet abortion in 1920s Paris on Christmas Eve: a typically dark take on the usual festive fayre. You can read my interview about album Good Morning, Midnight (also inspired by the writings of Jean Rhys) here.

Sharon and the Dap Kings can always be relied on to get the party swinging. This year they release It’s a Holiday Soul Party: hear the whole album here.

In the same vein as Dean Martin and Bing Crosby, Benji Hughes agrees that It’s Time to Have a Merry Christmas.

French Finnish duo The Dø sing Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas in this Casiotone-tastic backstage iphone recording.

Part of the album Suicide Songs, Money release A Cocaine Christmas and an Alcoholic’s New Year, which is seen here performed live at the White Hotel in Salford. One for those who feel like wallowing rather than celebrating.

Ette is is the solo project of Carla J Easton from TeenCanteen. She looks forward to Spending Christmas With My Boy. The song is dedicated to her cat Bez who passed away this year, and celebrates the joy of Christmas time with family. Think jingle bells, the smell of cinnamon candles and a brand new party dress.

Honey & the Bear are a husband and wife folk duo, and all profits from their song Close Your Eyes will go to Children in Need.

Lady Low sings about a Lonely Christmas, complete with sleigh bells and yearning violins.

I am still mourning the loss of the awesome For Folk’s Sake annual Christmas compilations which were once my most reliable source of brilliant alternative Christmas songs (please come back!) but this year you can take advantage of their online Advent Calendar to download some fabulous new music including this track from new wonder Ora Cogan, the plaintive End of Nowhere.

NANNA Prieler illustration-happy-holidays
Illustration by Nanna Prieler.

The Oto Christmas Grotto features 12 Bands of Christmas covering a host of familiar songs in festive studio sessions. Watch Pat Dam Smyth sing Silent Night live on a London rooftop here and catch the rest here.

I also really like Natalie McCool on guitar covering I Believe in Father Christmas.

Irish singer songwriter Wendy Jack shares Woolly Jumpers, a whimsical tune for Christmas.

Owen Tromans has just realised Child Winter, a seasonal song that is accompanied with lovely archive footage, and he will also be releasing a new improvised Christmas song on Christmas Eve here.

Finally, I can’t wait to watch Jingle Bell Rocks! an entire documentary about the people who are crazy about collecting obscure Christmas songs… I can totally relate to these people. This is the sixth year in a row that I have done a round up of alternative festive tunes and I absolutely love discovering what springs up each year. It’s become a dream to release my own Christmas album… so do get in touch if you are a record label that would like to work with me or an artist who would like to be considered for inclusion when I eventually get around to doing this.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you all in 2016!

Categories ,12 Bands of Christmas, ,2015, ,A Cocaine Christmas and an Alcoholic’s New Year, ,Advent Calendar, ,Alternative, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Astrocolor, ,Baked A La Ska, ,Becky Becky, ,Benji Hughes, ,Ben’s Lighthouse, ,Brett Beardslee, ,Carla J Easton, ,Champagne On Christmas Day, ,Charlene Man, ,Child Winter, ,Children in Need, ,Christine Charnock, ,Christmas At My House, ,Christmas Song, ,Christmas Songs, ,Christmas tunes, ,Close Your Eyes, ,Crackers & Maracas, ,Darryl Gregory, ,End of Nowhere, ,Ette, ,For Folks Sake, ,Good Morning Midnight, ,Happy New Year, ,Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas, ,Honey & the Bear, ,I Believe in Father Christmas, ,Indie, ,It’s a Holiday Soul Party, ,It’s Time to Have a Merry Christmas, ,Jean Rhys, ,Jingle Bell Rocks!, ,Kirsty Almeida, ,Lady Low, ,Lit Up – Music For Christmas, ,Lonely Christmas, ,Money, ,Music For Christmas, ,Nanna Prieler, ,Natalie McCool, ,Nive Nielsen & The Deer Children, ,Ora Cogan, ,Oto Christmas Grotto, ,Owen Tromans, ,Pat Dam Smyth, ,Pickin In Pajamas, ,review, ,Sharon and the Dap Kings, ,Silent Night, ,Ska of Wonder, ,Suicide Songs, ,TeenCanteen, ,The Dø, ,The First Noel, ,The Ragged Flags, ,We Three Kings, ,Wendy Jack, ,Woolly Jumpers, ,Yo Sushi

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