Amelia’s Magazine | London Art Fair 2012 Review: Part Two

elisabeth lecourt map dress
You’ve read the first part of my London Art Fair 2012 round up, now catch up with the rest… starting with Elisabeth Lecourt of Byard Art in Cambridge who creates gorgeous dresses from maps. (I told you maps were big news.)

London Art Fair 2012 -chris wood
I’m always a bit of a sucker for pearlescent materials: Chris Wood (also with Byard) favours the medium of Dichroic glass for angular abstract patterns.

Claire Moynihan byard London Art Fair 2012 -Claire Moynihan
London Art Fair 2012 -Claire Moynihan
Claire Moynihan byard dragonfly
It’s great to see an upsurge of interest in textile art. Claire Moynihan works in detailed felt and embroidery, and is best admired up close – her ‘moth balls’ are beautiful.

London Art Fair 2012 - Justin Hammond
London Art Fair 2012 - Justin Hammond
On the second floor of the exhibition I was able to pop in on Justin Hammond, hosting a display of great new Catlin Guide commissioned art pieces.

London Art Fair 2012 -hannah harkes
London Art Fair 2012 -tom howse
My favourites have to be Hannah Harkes (with a cowboy snogging an Indian) and the naif folk art of Tom Howse.

London Art Fair 2012 -Chris Pensa
Next door Chris Pensa of Love Art London talked me through some of his upcoming tours – check out their website for ideas, I fancy me a tour with the fossil hunter! Read my review of an earlier tour here.

Run riot run laura jordan
A strong theme of disaffection unsurprisingly runs through many artworks, including Laura Jordan‘s Run Riot Run, an intricate map of the riots, shown with Galleryone.

UK Uncut oona hassim trafalgar_square
Oona Hassim took as the starting point for her oil painting a photo of the Anti Cuts Demo in March 2011 in Piccadilly Circus. If I’m not much mistaken this is the UK Uncut parade that led to Fortnum & Mason – despite the blurry feel I recognise it, because I was there – those flags are a dead giveaway. The pieces are oddly energetic and beautiful but how odd to see direct action flogged as fine art!

YouTube Preview Image
You can watch a short film showing her making the initial sketches here. She has an exhibition opening this week at Woolff Gallery.

London Art Fair 2012 -Joanne Tinker
London Art Fair 2012 -Joanne Tinker
At Woolff there was lots of upcycling going on. Special mention goes to Joanne Tinker who created rows of goblets out of sweet wrappers.

London Art Fair 2012 -Susila Bailey-Bond
Susila Bailey-Bond is another butterfly papercut artist, concentrating on their decorative qualities.

Jess littlewood contemporary
Jess Littlewood at The Contemporary London collages together monochrome otherworldly scenes that are very ‘now’. Like a lot.

London Art Fair 2012 -Juz Kitson
Porcelain, ink and wool are the preferred medium of artist Juz Kitson, who created wall installations of skulls, pulsating hearts and corals.

London Art Fair 2012 -Cynthia Corbett Gallery Ghost of a Dream
For the Cynthia Corbett Gallery Ghost of a Dream have produced an amazing collaboration that I first spotted at the graduate art fairs that I visited in abundance last year. The installation uses lottery tickets and the covers of romance novels, which are glued in patterns onto panels, mirrors and chandeliers.

Zak Ove
Irish/Carribean artist and film director Zak Ove at Vigo Gallery cobbles together found objects to create religiously inspired ensembles.

Reginald S Aloysius
At Bearspace I recognised Reginald S Aloysius from the 2011 Jerwood Drawing Prize. His overgrown temples are intersected by the paths of cross atlantic planes.

London Art Fair 2012  jane ward
Jane Ward imagined a disturbed dystopian future of exploding buildings. I hope we don’t end up there!

London Art Fair 2012 -Nomad
Lastly I can’t go without mentioning the huge Nomad light sculpture by Beau McClellan in the entrance to the design centre: yours for just 250,000 euros. One for those Russian oligarchs me thinks.

Categories ,2012, ,Bearspace, ,Beau McClellan, ,Byard Art, ,Chris Pensa, ,Chris Wood, ,Claire Moynihan, ,craft, ,Cynthia Corbett Gallery, ,Dichroic Glass, ,Elisabeth Lecourt, ,Fortnum & Mason, ,Galleryone, ,Ghost of a Dream, ,Hannah Harkes, ,Islington Business Design Centre, ,Jane Ward, ,Jerwood Drawing Prize, ,Jess Littlewood, ,Joanne Tinker, ,Justin Hammond, ,Juz Kitson, ,Laura Jordan, ,Light Sculpture, ,London Art Fair, ,Love Art London, ,Moth Balls, ,Nomad, ,Oligarch, ,Oona Hassim, ,Papercutting, ,Porcelain, ,Reginald Aloysius, ,review, ,Riots, ,Run Riot Run, ,susila bailey-bond, ,textile, ,The Catlin Guide, ,The Contemporary London, ,Tom Howse, ,UK Uncut, ,Upcycling, ,Vigo Gallery, ,wool, ,Woolff, ,Zak Ove

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Amelia’s Magazine | Catlin Guide 2013 Preview: An Interview with Steven Allan

Steven Allan Catlin Guide - We're All In This Together 2012
Steven Allan – We’re All In This Together.

The Catlin Guide returns once more with a selection of 40 recent graduates to watch: an intriguing selection that includes a bevy of painters. I caught up with New Sensations shortlisted RCA graduate Steven Allan, a Scottish painter who specialises in anthropomorphic depictions of everyday objects.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide -There's Always Time for Tea
Steven Allan – There’s Always Time for Tea.

Has being Scottish and your subsequent move to london informed your work? and if so in what way?
I wouldn’t say that being Scottish has had an overriding influence on my paintings, but my roots have certainly influenced the black humor that is evident in most of my work.

Why do you think you focus on a confusing and tragic landscape? Any particularly sad stories in your past that have made you this way?!
I don’t think my paintings are necessarily just tragic or confusing – but they can often be interpreted that way. I think there are many less obvious things at play as well. Like Hogarth, I am interested in the tragicomedy aspect of humanity. I want to depict real life situations but obscure and twist them around to both bend and underline their meanings.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide One-Off-The-Bunch
Steven Allan – One Off The Bunch.

Objects such as bananas and snails are a feature of your art – what draws you to these most curious and disparate of subjects?
I don’t tend to dwell on why I paint this, or why I paint that but If pushed for an answer I guess I Identify in some way with these kind of ridiculous objects. I look at a banana in the fruit bowl, browning, overripe. It’s such a sad image to me – the last banana that no one has gotten round to eating – destined for the bin. It can say a lot about where your heads at to be painting a version of yourself into such an object. The snail I don’t paint so much anymore. Most images are a passing phase. They completely captivate me at the time but at some point I’ll move onto the next image that captures my imagination. With the snail paintings I was just interested by this slimy little creature that carried its house on its back. How I choose an object is pretty much that simple –its really just about my desire to visualize that subject in my paintings.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide- Stains Of A Decade
Steven Allan – Stains Of A Decade.

Subversion is a key element of your artworks – any future subversive ideas that you would like to work on?
Currently I am working on a hybrid painting, which involves two very disparate images that visually seem to fit together. I came across this really odd photograph of a gimp in a pvc balloon suit and then thought about coupling it with something else I’ve been looking at a lot lately – Bertie Basset of the famous liquorish allsorts. As a child I always though there was something quite scary about Bertie Basset. He’s supposed to be approachable and sweet but he’s his strange anthropomorphic figure with a liquorish black hole for a face. Taking Bertie’s head and putting it on an inflatable gimp suit just seemed to be more in spirit with what he was all about in the first place so I decided to make a painting about it.

Steven Allan Catlin Guide - The Faithful Companion
Steven Allan – The Faithful Companion.

What is your work process? (using materials and in the studio)
Well for me it’s a really intuitive, complex process and it can take a long time. I use alot of unconventional tools I find in diy shops and of course an array of paint brushes and palette knives. I’m always on the look out for different objects that I can manipulate paint with. I also use allot of paint mediums, depending on what effect I’m after. Some give the paint a matt finish, some a gloss, some thicken paint and other speed up drying time. It all really depends on each individual painting.

How has being part of the Catlin Guide aided your career and what do you hope for in the future?
Being part of the Catlin Guide so far has been a great experience. I was surprised to see an image of my painting in the Guardian and also get a quick review. I am also going to be putting work in the London Art Fair which will be featured in the Catlin Guide’s stand so I’m looking forward to that. All in all it’s been a great experience so far and I am extremely thankful to Justin Hammond who had the belief in my work to give me this great opportunity to get my work out to a wider audience.

He that’s born to be hanged will never be drowned.

Geoff Litherland catlin guide
Geoff Litherland – I Knew it Would Come to This (The Old Horizon).

Also check out the work of Geoff Litherland, who creates abstract landscape collages that tap into our current obsession with other worlds. To find out more about the selection process read my interview with Art Catlin founder and curator Justin Hammond.

The Catlin Guide 2013 NEW Press Shot
The Catlin Guide 2013: New Artists in the UK is launched at the London Art Fair 2013, 16 – 20 January, listing here. It will also be available from Amazon, Culture Label and selected book sellers (£12.99).

Categories ,2013, ,Amazon, ,anthropomorphic, ,Art Catlin, ,Banana, ,Bertie Basset, ,Catlin Guide, ,Culture Label, ,Geoff Litherland, ,hogarth, ,I Knew it Would Come to This (The Old Horizon), ,Justin Hammond, ,London Art Fair, ,New Sensations, ,Oils, ,One Off The Bunch, ,painter, ,painting, ,rca, ,saatchi, ,Scottish, ,Snail, ,Stains Of A Decade, ,Steven Allan, ,Teapot, ,The Faithful Companion, ,There’s Always Time for Tea, ,Three Legged Haggis, ,We’re All In This Together

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with artist Tom Howse, as featured in The Catlin Guide


A few months ago we interviewed Justin Hammond, the creator of the The Catlin Guide and Catlin Art Prize for the best new up and coming artists – currently represented at an exhibition being held at the Londonewcastle Project Space in Redchurch Street in East London. Amongst many interesting artists (I like the work of Adeline de Monseignat, who is also promoted by Art Grab) the mystical paintings of Tom Howse stand out as particularly unique. I decided to find out what makes him tick.


You say that you attempt to create a sense of mystery and unknowing in your paintings – often with a monolith like appearance to a possibly everyday object – why do you think you are drawn to this kind of seeing?
I think that there is something poignant about solitary objects, they give a sense of unity and completion. Where other things may need to be combined and joined together to create a meaning, the impact is sometimes diluted with each component. Mono-imagery has the responsibility to represent all the themes which multiple images would otherwise share. I like the idea that a solitary object can attempt to convey multiple themes, to a point where it becomes implausible to transmit so many ideas through a direct representation, therefore the image resorts to a higher level of omnipotent representation. Which is ludicrous, they can’t do that, but I like the thought that they can, because it feels more exciting.

Where do the original ideas and objects come from? For instance what is the Spherical Manoeuvres? It calls to mind both a snowglobe and one of those things from the 80s with electrical currents zipping around a sphere.
I like that these things can be interpreted in a variety of ways, that they don’t have to remain fixed in one state of being. An example of what I was saying before is that the object is attempting to be a snowglobe and an 80’s plasma ball thing at the same time, its impossible for it to do both things, so it attempts to become both things at the same time and results in becoming something else altogether. In an alchemical manner it has become a new element, existing between states. I want it to appear to be trying to do this act seriously, but I also want it to fail to do so, and just make itself look ridiculous. There is an absurdity in my work, like trying to express really deep, meaningful pearls of enlightenment, but through the eyes of a buffoon.
THE TOWER by Tom Howse
THE TOWER by Tom Howse.

There is something deceptively simple about your final artworks, but I imagine they take some time to create – what is the process of putting an artwork together? 
I can end up painting dozens of images on each canvas. Sometimes I’ll be really excited about something I’ve painted, but after an hour I may have completely lost interest in it, other times I may see something I like in a painting I’ve not touched in months. I think it takes a long time to really understand what you’ve painted. Also, to achieve that simplicity, the image will often have started off being far more complex, I then tend to get annoyed with the busyness of it, I begin to try and single out the most vital aspects of the image, and go about turning the volume down on the peripheral irrelevancies.
LANTERN by Tom Howse
LANTERN by Tom Howse.

How do you choose what medium to work in and why is it your preferred medium?
I almost solely use oil paints and pastels, I think that I’ve developed my approach to painting not through what I want to paint, but through how I want to paint. I don’t tend to wash my brushes out between colours and I don’t tend to wait for wet layers to dry, this results in loads of unexpected effects, really dirty colours but with brilliant streaks of virgin paint running through. I usually draw figures in with pastels as apposed to with a brush because it feels more like working with pencil on paper, makes it feel more relaxed and natural. I also hate to waste paint, so you can leave the oil paints on your palette for weeks then still pick them open like scabs filled with beautiful gems.

The colours you use are very vibrant – so much so they seem to take on a 3D life of their own, almost as if the paintings are lit from within. What other artists or movements have inspired your work?
I really like colourful work, but I also quite grimy, dirty paintings too, and best of all when their combined together. There is a list of painters who have inspired my work in different ways, such as Henri Rousseau’s portraits and jungles, Phoebe Unwin had a show at Wilkinson Gallery a year or two ago, that’s still in my mind. I saw a painting by Daniel Richter at Frieze last year that has stuck with me called London Is The Place For Me. Recently I’ve been looking at the patterns in Gustav Klimt’s work.
RAINBOW WAND by Tom Howse.

Your sense of magic is very prevalent in Rainbow Wand – what do you hope viewers will feel when they look at this image?
I hope they feel magic. If viewers felt magic in all my work I’d be pretty chuffed. I hope that it can attract people to look at it, and look at it long enough to try and think what the image may mean for them. Chances of anyone feeling anything profound when they look at my paintings is pretty far-fetched, but I think it’s a pretty good aim to have in mind when I’m painting.
LEMURIA by Tom Howse.

If Lemuria is inspired by a cat is it inspired by a real live one? Can you tell us more about this character… real or imaginary.
Well there is a real live cat in my life, and he’s a nasty piece of work! Not all the time though, he can be a real darling too. He goes out most nights and gets into trouble. He doesn’t really have a name, it doesn’t mean anything to him what he’s called, and he never listens. Sometimes I call him Teacake, sometimes Susan. Recently I’ve been calling him Fun House. I like that he’s not got a proper name, makes him seem more elusive.

What next after Art Catlin?
I’m going to enjoy some good studio time, main thing I want to do is get on with some more painting. I’m meeting with a couple of different people to discuss doing some shows later in the year and I’ve been asked to put in a piece of work for a group show at The China Shop Gallery in Oxford, the show’s titled Apophenia and it opens 7th July.

Check in with Tom Howse here. The Catlin Art Prize exhibition runs from 4th – 25th May at Londonewcastle Project Space. Read my full listing here.

Categories ,Apophenia, ,Catlin Art Prize, ,Daniel Richter, ,Henri Rousseau, ,Justin Hammond, ,Londonewcastle Project Space, ,Phoebe Unwin, ,The Catlin Guide, ,The China Shop Gallery, ,Tom Howse, ,Wilkinson Gallery

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Justin Hammond, Curator of the The Catlin Guide and Catlin Art Prize

A highly collectible work of art in itself, The Catlin Guide for 2012 is the premiere place to discover the best new graduate artists from across the UK. We decided to quiz curator Justin Hammond on the history of The Catlin Guide. Read on to find out more!

You are about to launch the 2012 edition of The Catlin Guide at the London Art Fair, between the 18th – 22nd of January at the Business Design Centre in Islington. What can people expect?
Due to the financial implications of most art fairs, galleries tend to pack out their stands with large and expensive statement pieces. So I’m going to do the opposite and curate a show of small scale drawings, photography and works on paper. I’ve asked artists like Gabriella BoydTom Howse to make very small paintings. I’m showing eleven artists from the Guide – a real mixture – and for most of them it’s the first time they’ve shown in that kind of environment. We’ll also be giving away copies of The Catlin Guide, of course.

Dark Green Fritillery on Wildlife Attracting Mix, installation by Alison Stolwood

You’ve picked 40 graduates for inclusion in the guide: what criteria determines who you pick, and what are you looking for?
Potential is the key criteria. I’m looking for artists with the ability and desire to progress and really make their mark in the art world over a prolonged period. Ultimately, I choose the final 40 artists but a big part of the initial long-list is made up of recommendations from course tutors, curators, collectors, gallerists, artists, critics and bloggers.

Rowena Hughes, twofold interleaf
Twofold Interleaf by Rowena Hughes.

What is your background?
I studied Art History in Manchester in the early 90′s, but didn’t open my first space in Hackney until 2005. Along with my brother, I ran MLIA in Broadway Market for a couple of years showing new grads and generally making it up as we went along. That was when I decided to start the prize and Catlin came on board as the sponsors almost immediately. The first year was held at the now defunct Ada Street Gallery with a first prize of £1000.

Portrait of the artist on vacation and the door opening for a Byronic Hero by Hannah Harkes.

How do you support the up and coming artists that you choose, so that their career gets off to the best start it can?
The Catlin Guide functions as an index; a bang-up-to-date ‘who’s who’ of the new wave in contemporary art, and that’s a great platform. If the Guide can help to facilitate exhibition opportunities or encourage interest from galleries and collectors, then I see it as a success. Last year, the winner of the Catlin Art Prize was awarded £5,000, whileCatlin bought work by participating artists and commissioned two new pieces for their collection, so there’s financial support too.

Catlin Art Prize 2008 at LSO St. Luke’s

How is The Catlin Guide related to the Catlin Art Prize, and how do they work alongside each other?
In a way, they’re quite separate. The Catlin Art Prize came first and The Catlin Guidewas initially a supplement to that and a way of documenting the shortlisting process. Now, I think The Catlin Guide has taken on its own identity and individual worth. All artists for the Prize are selected from the book, but there’s a gap of four months between publication and exhibition, so The Guide has its own lifespan.

Victoria Matkin‘s ‘Ladies in Waiting’ – Catlin Art Prize 2010 at Village Underground Victoria Matkin’s © Justin Green Photography.

What are your particular hot tips from the current batch of featured artists in the guide?
All 40 artists are in with a shout, but some are already streets ahead in terms of attention and publicity. The press will always focus on new grads from the Royal College of Art or other major schools, so I’m going to pick out Mandy Barker from De Montfort University and Hannah Harkes from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. I like the way that both artists are forging their own paths. Neither is primarily concerned with producing commercial work, but what they make is very desirable. Hannah is on a residency in Tallinn and has just sent me through a fantastic new piece called Desert Picnic Imposter. I’ll be showing it at the launch.

David Malone.

What has happened with previous artists that were featured? Have they gone onto great things, if so what?
The Catlin Guide is only three years old, but lots of artists have gone on to feature in high-profile exhibitions in the UK and abroad. Leah Capaldi and Joshua Bilton from the 2011 Guide have just finished showing as part of Bloomberg New Contemporariesand Noemie Goudal has been selected for Out of Focus: Photography, at the Saatchi Gallery in May. But I’m taking a long-term view; it’s all about what happens over the next decade or more.

Untitled byAli Kazim.

How is the guide itself produced and how do you ensure that it is a desirable object destined for collectibility?
The slipcase makes The Catlin Guide very expensive to produce but we’re not looking to make a profit or even recoup the production costs. We print a limited number so that all adds to its collectibility. The first edition has sold out and there are just a few of the 2011 edition remaining. OK, here’s the technical stuff: For the slipcase we’ve used Lockwood Green 135gsm from the GF Smith Colorplan range. The Guide itself is printed onto 170gsm Munken Polar. All the paper products are FSC certified. There are 128 pages.

Mossy Lichens by Tom Howse.

Why did you decide to print your guide with Principal Colour? Was it important to use a printer based in the UK and if so why?
Catlin came across Principal Colour and we were impressed with their green credentials. Printing abroad was not an option due to the tight deadlines. It’s imperative that the information in the Guide is as relevant as possible, so we sign off in the week leading up to Christmas and publish in mid January. Principal Colour were prepared to go in and work on The Catlin Guide over the Christmas break.

Tom Howse at work.

For information on the design of the guide and tips for how future graduates can best make an impression on curator Justin Hammond make sure you visit the rest of this blog at the Principal Colour Tumblr feed. You can check out The Catlin Guide for 2012 at the London Art Fair between the 18th – 22nd of January at the Business Design Centre.

Categories ,Ada Street Gallery, ,Alex Ball, ,Ali Kazim, ,Alison Stolwood, ,Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ,Broadway Market, ,Business Design Centre, ,Catlin Art Prize, ,David Malone, ,De Montfort University, ,Desert Picnic Imposter, ,FSC certified, ,Gabriella Boyd, ,GF Smith Colorplan, ,Gray’s School of Art, ,Hannah Harkes, ,Joshua Bilton, ,Justin Hammond, ,Leah Capaldi, ,Lockwood Green, ,London Art Fair, ,Mandy Barker, ,MLIA, ,Moje Sabz, ,Mossy Lichens, ,Munken Polar, ,Noemie Goudal, ,Out of Focus: Photography, ,Peter Saville, ,principal colour

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