Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Emma Farrarons: Featured Artist from That Which We Do Not Understand

Amelias_Magazine_ TWWDNU_Emma_Farrarons
Emma Farrarons is a children’s book designer who recently returned to illustration when she began contributing to Amelia’s Magazine. Since then she has hosted a solo exhibition called Hidden Folk in Shoreditch, contributed to Okido kids’ magazine, been part of the 100 Cats exhibition and completed illustrations for her first book. Her contribution to my 10th anniversary limited edition book (and also available as a limited edition gold print) is called Moon Rabbit and features the Chinese legend of Chang’e. ‘By overdosing on a magic pill that grants immortality, poor Chang’e floated all the way to the moon only to reside there for eternity with her companion the Jade Rabbit. That is why you can see the silhouette of a rabbit on the moon.’ The colour way was inspired by Klimt’s bold use of gold and ochre and the dress pattern (featuring a few hidden rabbits) reflects a love of printed textiles.

How did you research your idea and come up with a way to illustrate the Moon Rabbit and how did you create the artwork?
When reading your brief I was instantly drawn to the words moon and folklore. I remembered hearing that the Chinese saw a rabbit on the moon. This is how I came to learn about Chang’e, the moon goddess. In a few words, Chang’e overdoses on a pill of immortality and drifts into the sky. She floats into darkness until she lands on the moon only to live there forever with her companion the Jade Rabbit. That is how the Chinese came to explain that there is a rabbit on the moon. I found this tale beautiful and wanted to share it through illustration.

What was the most enjoyable part about creating this piece?
Working on the colour, texture, detail and composition have been enjoyable parts. The element of gold influenced my choice of colour. I searched for a palette that would compliment gold in a subtle yet impactful way. I remembered being fascinated by Gustav Klimt in my school years. His father was a gold engraver which is perhaps a reason for Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’, when he applied actual gold leaf on his paintings. This encouraged me to use warm ochres, yellows and midnight blues.

One could say that the illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès was another source of inspiration for his film A Trip to the Moon. In my mind, I have a vivid image from his film. It is of a beautiful woman perched on the moon as as though she’s sitting on a swing. Working into the textures and the detail of Chang’e’s dress was great fun. It was a great excuse to buy gold paint! I love textile design and pattern. If you look closely, can you notice the constellation and hidden rabbits on her dress? A printed pattern can also tell a story.

Who do you think would most enjoy this artwork, and why?
I’d say someone who likes the moon, folklore, when an illustration tells a story, the female form in art, textile, fashion illustration…and rabbits!

How did you end up living in London, and what route did you take into the publishing industry?
I’m originally from Paris. I studied illustration at the Edinburgh College of Art and l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. After Scotland I moved back to Paris to start life as an illustrator. These were very early days, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do just yet. One day, I took the Eurostar to London, loved it and stayed. After an internship in a publishing house, I’ve since worked as a picture book designer and freelance illustrator.

What was the spark that reignited a love affair with drawing?
There had been a time when I had lost a bit of my confidence as an illustrator. With social media, I started to connect with other like minded creatives, including Amelia’s Magazine. You were doing illustration call-outs via Twitter and one particular call-out was the spark that reignited my curiosity to draw and to get out of my comfort zone by using more colour.


Since then, it’s been a busy year of drawing. I’ve collaborated with producer and director Joanna Arong to design a canvas bag for Eskwela Haiyan, a non-profit organisation which raises to help children victims of typhoon Haiyan finish school. I have worked with Fika to create Hidden Folk: A Scandinavian Folklore collaboration around art and food. I’ve completed a textile printmaking course in Sweden and joined the illustration collective Bat Country Collective with illustrators Åsa Wikman, Dani’s Drawings and Karin Söderquist. The last two are also Amelia’s Magazine contributors.

I believe you currently have a book in the pipeline, can you tell us a bit more about that?
I certainly can. In fact, it’s very exciting to tell you more about it. It’s called The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress art therapy for busy people. It is published by Boxtree and comes out in January. It’s a 100 page colouring book filled with black and white floral, geometric, wavy, animal patterns designed to calm and de-stress a busy mind with mindful colouring-in. The book is at this moment at the printers, but I can show you a sneaky peak of some of the pages.

What can we expect from you in the coming year?
Bat Country Collective are planning to exhibit at Fika in the coming year. We are currently brainstorming interesting themes. In the coming year, I’d like to give a bit more time and broaden the content of my blog Un Petit Blog. I’m enjoying connecting with other bloggers and learning more about blogging. It’s an empowering feeling to be ‘all-in-one’ the publisher, editor, curator and illustrator of your own online platform. The latest is that Un Petit Blog has just launched Un Petit Newsletter which will be packed with interesting news including: Exclusive doodles, Favourite finds and tips when out and about, The very latest news on my illustration projects, And much more… The 1st newsletter my subscribers will receive will feature TWWDNU!

You can read more about Emma’s process here and sign up to her newsletter on Un Petit Blog. Click on over to my Kickstarter campaign to grab one of her stunning Moon Rabbit artworks featuring faux gold leaf. There are only 10 available, so snap yours up fast. Only £45!

Categories ,#TWWDNU, ,100 Cats, ,Asa Wikman, ,Bat Country Collective, ,Boxtree, ,change, ,Chinese, ,Dani’s Drawings, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Emma Farrarons, ,Eskwela Haiyan, ,Fika, ,Georges Melies, ,Golden Phase, ,Gustav Klimt, ,Hidden Folk, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Jade Rabbit, ,Joanna Arong, ,Karin Söderquist, ,Kickstarter, ,l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, ,Moon Rabbit. Moon Goddess, ,Okido, ,paris, ,That Which We Do Not Understand, ,The Mindfulness Colouring Book, ,Un Petit Blog, ,Un Petit Newsletter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Karin Soderquist: Featured Artist from That Which We Do Not Understand

K Soderquist - The Magicians Assistant
Karin Soderquist studied at Camberwell College of Art and first captured my attention at her 2011 graduate show. She is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden, has contributed to numerous exhibitions and publications, and is a member of Bat Country Collective with Emma Farrarons. The Magician’s Assistant was guided by a subconscious instinct to make an image with a little bit of magic. ‘As I started working on the image the woman turned into a cyclops. I added more details such as the pigeon, the gloves and the apple, but the final question remains: who’s the magician and who’s the assistant?

K Soderquist - Mermaid
Your artwork is the result of a conversation with your subconscious… is this a common way for you to work and if not why were you inspired to work in this way?
When working on illustration commissions there are usually a lot of planning before sitting down and actually making the illustration. You have to send sketches and roughs to the client to show them your idea so that they can say if they like it or not. Therefore, when working on personal projects, I sometimes like to take a different approach where I don’t plan ahead as much. I usually start out with just a rough idea of what I want to do and start drawing. I find it a very relaxing way of working. That’s how I created my submission for That Which We Do Not Understand. And I felt like letting my subconscious guide me was very much in keeping with the theme of the brief.

K Soderquist - Dancing Cats
How do you put your illustrations together?
Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a way of working that I really enjoy. I start off by drawing the image out in pencil. Then I cut out all the pieces of the image in coloured paper, scan them and reassemble them in Photoshop where I add the colours. I like the hand made feel that working with paper and scissors gives the illustrations and finishing the work digitally gives me a lot of freedom to play around with colours and composition.

K Soderquist - Akademikern
You have done a lot of work for Akademikern, what kind of magazine is this?
It’s a magazine for the members of the union SSR. It’s for people who’s studied HR, economics and behavioral sciences etc. It’s always a lot fun getting commissioned by them, the art director and the editor are great to work with and the articles are always interesting to read. I love the challenges that doing editorial illustration can bring!

K Soderquist - sexy pastries
I adore your Lets Fika pastry images… can you tell us more about the deserts featured? what is your favourite?
They’re all traditional Swedish pastries, I did them for an exhibition at the swedish cafe Fika on Brick Lane about two years ago. It’s a chocolate ball, a princess cake, a semla and a cinnamon bun. I made them into pin-ups to add a bit of swedish sin. My favourite Swedish pastry is actually not included. It’s called a Dammsugare (which means vacuum cleaner) or Punchrulle. It’s flavoured with arrack and covered in bright green marzipan, yummy!

K Soderquist -Atomic Love
Why did you decide to study in the UK?
I wanted an adventure and I’d been daydreaming of living in a big city for a while, so studying was a good excuse to move there! It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. After about four years I got home sick and moved back to Sweden but now I feel home sick for London!

K Soderquist - Marie
I first came across your work at your graduate show, what is the most important thing you have learnt about working in illustration since leaving uni?
Everything, haha! In hindsight I think there are a lot of really important things you don’t learn at art school (at least not on the course I did). I’m still figuring a lot of stuff out. But I think the most important thing I’ve learnt is how to work quickly and how to make an illustration I’m happy with in a couple of days or sometimes a couple of hours!

K Soderquist - Freak Fruits
You can read more about Karin’s work here and buy her fabulous gold leaf art print on my Kickstarter campaign page here.

Categories ,#TWWDNU, ,Akademikern, ,Bat Country Collective, ,Camberwell College of Art, ,Dammsugare, ,Emma Farrarons, ,Fika, ,illustration, ,illustrator, ,interview, ,Karin Söderquist, ,Kickstarter, ,Punchrulle, ,stockholm, ,Swedish, ,That Which We Do Not Understand

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Amelia’s Magazine | Camberwell College of Arts: Ovo Show Illustration Graduate Show 2011 Review – Downstairs 1

Illustration by Alice Stanley.

Now, dosage finally, it’s time for my second round of blog posts featuring the best of Ovo Show from Camberwell College of Arts illustration graduates (read the first review of Ovo Show here). This time let’s head downstairs at the Red Gallery. I’m going to have to split this into two because it’s such a beast…

Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Sam TaylorCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-sam taylorCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-sam taylorCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-sam taylor
Turning into the cavernous downstairs space it was the work of Sam Taylor that grabbed my attention – nutty vignettes of a splodgyily painted bird on a skateboard, floating boobs (not sure what that means!) and portraits of gnarled and wrinkled characters against primary coloured backgrounds. His is a land where beards hold the same intellect as brains.

Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Tom Dorkin Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Tom Dorkin
Across the way Tom Dorkin had created some beautiful fine line drawings of some equally idiosynrcratic characters: a sailor checked his binoculars as his woollen jumper unraveled. He had also dissected a plane and a ship in fine detail. Follow Tom Dorkin on Twitter.

Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Iriini Kalliomaki Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Iriini Kalliomaki Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Iriini Kalliomaki Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Iriini Kalliomaki
Iriini Kalliomaki specialised in oddball characters, created in tiny perfection from what looked like paper mache – twins, a big haired granny, pouchy cheeked man with an apron – all placed in photographic situations for her book The Racing Granny. Also on display was the flying car in which Granny races.

Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Gemma Whittaker Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Gemma Whittaker
Gemma Whittaker produced some pretty ceramic bowls featuring daubed drawings of cats and elephants.

Megan Sinclair Georgy Porgy cards
Megan Sinclair Georgy Porgy rats
Megan Sinclair Georgy Porgy
Megan Sinclair‘s 3D paper cutouts featured rat racing, a card game and a boy in a garage being yelled at by his mum. The vignettes were taken from Roald Dahl‘s Georgy Porgy, a short story for adults. Follow Megan Sinclair on Twitter.

Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Bea WilsonCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Bea Wilson

Bea Wilson had produced an enigmatic fill, Arkham, which was inspired by fictional landscapes.

Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Hollie Limer Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Hollie Limer
Hollie Limer also played with paper cutouts, which she had placed inside a darkened room to create an eery monotone landscape… I think they were supposed to be seen by moody candlelight but the set was pitch black when I visited.

Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Karin Söderquist Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Karin Söderquist Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Karin Söderquist Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Karin Söderquist
Also on the paper front Karin Söderquist showed a large pipe smoking man and a traditional Scandinavian scene. Very clean and cool.

alice_stanley_Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-alice_stanley_Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-alice_stanley_
Alice Stanley‘s narrative pencil drawings were very different from her wonderful knitted animals, much more moody and evocative than a cute little mouse, but then I imagine that knitting was a bit of a relaxing respite from school work.

Rosie Eveleigh wavesRosie Eveleigh Satre NauseaRosie EveleighCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Rosie EveleighCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Rosie EveleighCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Rosie EveleighCamberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Camberwell College of Art illustration graduate show 2011-Rosie Eveleigh
Rosie Eveleigh did some awesome abstract work on paper, ceramics and on mini hanging woven carpets. I think the textile design seen in the last photo is also hers. Someone tell me if it isn’t!

UPDATE: The final picture shows work by Hannah Whitfield (she really needs to get that website going on!)

Still one more blog to go…

Categories ,3D, ,Alice Stanley, ,Arkham, ,Bea Wilson, ,Camberwell College of Arts, ,ceramics, ,film, ,Gemma Whittaker, ,Georgy Porgy, ,Hannah Whitfield, ,Hollie Limer, ,Iriini Kalliomaki, ,Karin Söderquist, ,knit, ,Ovo Show, ,Papercut, ,Red Gallery, ,Roald Dahl, ,Rosie Eveleigh, ,Sam Taylor, ,Scandinavian, ,textiles, ,Tom Dorkin

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Raincoats as 1981 album Odyshape is rereleased on We ThRee

The Raincoats by James Shedden
The Raincoats by James Shedden.

The Raincoats are an all girl band who formed during the late 1970s and split up in the mid 1980s. I was very little at the time of their original releases so unfortunately I did not discover The Raincoats until much more recently, online well into my adult years. The band had an exciting can do attitude that melded punk, see classical and reggae influences into spiky arrhythmic folk punk tunes that even today sound way more exciting than many current bands. They reformed in the mid 90s after a resurgence in interest thanks to gushing plaudits from Kurt Cobain and are now widely hailed as one of the seminal post punk bands. I catch up with founders Ana da Silva and Gina Birch as they gear up to rerelease their second album on its 30th anniversary.

Raincoats in Poland

Why did you decide to reissue Odyshape now?
ANA:  This year is the 30th anniversary of this album. So, as we like anniversaries, we decided to release The Raincoats and Odyshape on their 30th… We remastered the albums for Japan and re-did the art work so it would sound and look the best possible. We now own the rights to them and, as they should be available, we thought we’d release them on our own label We ThRee. Both on CD and vinyl. They look and sound the best ever! Theyl also have a booklet and A4 sheet respectively with liner notes, lyrics, photos and a piece of writing from me on the 1st album and from Gina on Odyshape.

The raincoats odyshape
What does Odyshape mean?
GINA: The title was a pun on the odyssey of a body. The idea that a body could have an ideal shape and it if did, what happens when a body doesn’t live up to that ideal. It was at a time, when (as probably now) there seemed to be a body fascism. It was important for women to be this shape or that shape. Thanks to people like Beth Ditto, and hopefully The Raincoats, things have been broken down a little. Hair can be crazy, messy, outfits can be baggy or tight, inside out or upside down, we can be fat or thin, creative, playful, stylish and beautiful without having to subscribe to some fashion mag ideal.

The Raincoats1981
You formed the original band whilst still at art college… how did your studies in art influence how you made music?
ANA: Besides the obvious side of art work, I think we’re trying to do what art should do: create works that inspire other people, that question the status quo, that express ideas which come from our own minds and hearts and also works that look at the human condition and provide some comfort to the listener.

The Raincoats by Karin Soderquist
The Raincoats by Karin Soderquist.

Odyshape seems to owe as much to contemporary classical music as it does punk – was this something that inspired you?    
ANA: We listen to all sorts of music so, intentionally or unintentionally, different  things appear. I do like some classical music very much, like the Bach‘s cello suites, Erik Satie, some opera, etc.  but I don’t think my playing sounds very classical…maybe you mean the violin which was played by Vicky Aspinall who is classically trained.

The Raincoats by Janette Beckman1981
The Raincoats in 1981.

You haven’t produced a new album since the mid 90s – what have you been up to since then?
ANA: I’ve been doing my own solo music and released an album called The Lighthouse on Chicks On Speed records. I’ve also been doing some drawings and paintings some of which I’ll be showing at the Pop Montreal festival, together with Gina’s videos and Shirley’s photographs. It’s really a great opportunity to show our art, visual and musical. It’s the first time we do this and are very happy and excited about it.
GINA: I have been collaborating with various musicians and artists and very involved in a project called The Gluts, (with two women artists) Also I have been playing solo, writing songs, making films, painting and, raising two children.

The Raincoats by Rukmunal Hakim
The Raincoats by Rukmunal Hakim.

Gina – you were an early fan of the craft revival – knitting on tour. Do you still craft and if so what?
GINA: I did knit on the first Raincoats tour, when I wore the jumper at the final gig… and then didn’t do any knittingfor quite a few years but have always liked to paint, draw, knit, mosaic, make films whatever. I have been knitting a lot in the last year or two and have made Raincoats inspired bags, and I have also been sewing banners with lyrics and messages on them.  

The Raincoats by Kassie Berry
The Raincoats by Kassie Berry.

Has Gina Birch’s film, The Raincoats, Fairytales, been completed? 
GINA: The film is still a work in progress. It is an organic process it seems and hopefully will be concluded in the coming six months.

YouTube Preview ImageBaby Song performed live in the 80s

You will be playing your debut album live again at ATP this December – anything special in store and what are you looking forward to most about the Holiday Camp experience?
ANA: Just playing is a special thing, but we’ve played twice at ATP and really enjoyed it: swimming, meeting people, being able to choose amongst so much different music and the relaxed atmosphere. We will be playing the first album at Jeff Mangum‘s request but will play other songs too, not sure which yet.

YouTube Preview ImageThe Raincoats perform live at ATP in 2010

Which other current bands do you enjoy listening to or watching?
ANA: I think P.J. Harvey‘s latest album is so good, so I enjoyed listening to it at seeing them live a couple of times. Also saw Portishead whose music I like but had never seen live and that was very good too. I was listening yesterday to Ponytail, Colleen, Electrelane, Neutral Milk HotelLouis and Bebe BarronJenny O in the car coming back from Portugal.

The Raincoats by Barb Royal.

What next for The Raincoats?
ANA: We’re doing a tour in the U.S.A. and Canada (New York, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto and Montreal) in September and ATP in December. And because of the re-release of Odyshape and those dates some interviews too… thanks for your part. Otherwise nothing concrete, but I’m sure other things will happen.

YouTube Preview ImageOnly Loved at Night, performed live in 2009

Odyshape is rereleased in heavyweight vinyl and as a special edition CD on We ThRee records on September 12th 2011. The band will tour the east coast of the USA from 16 – 26 September 2011 and play Jeff Mangum’s ATP, Minehead on 3 December 2011.

Categories ,1980s, ,2011, ,album, ,Ana da Silva, ,Arrhythmic, ,atp, ,Baby Song, ,Bach, ,Barb Royal, ,Bebe Barron, ,Beth Ditto, ,Body Fascism, ,Chicks on Speed, ,classical, ,Colleen, ,December, ,Electrelane, ,Erik Satie, ,folk, ,Gina Birch, ,James Shedden, ,Jeff Mangum, ,Jenny O, ,Karin Söderquist, ,Kassie Berry, ,Kurt Cobain, ,Louis, ,Neutral Milk Hotel, ,Odyshape, ,Only Loved at Night, ,PJ Harvey, ,Ponytail, ,Pop Montreal, ,Portishead, ,punk, ,Rerelease, ,review, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,The LIghthouse, ,The Raincoats, ,tour, ,Vicky Aspinall, ,Violin, ,We ThRee, ,WETHREE

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