Graham Carter’s joyful prints reference many of the most loved images in modern culture: the characters from Star Wars or the eerie but manageable magic of Spirited Away. The artistic sensibilities stop these nostalgic influences from turning into twee: the gorgeously rendered digital art glows with vibrant colours and many of the works are made 3-dimensional with painstakingly applied wood veneers, find sale or cut-out perspex shapes that lend shadows to a noir city scene.
This is the kind of art you’d love to have in your own house (I made enquiries! Prices average at around £150). The small details show wit and add a lovely personal feeling to the prints: a towerblock soars above a city landscape but is made friendly by a pair of eyes and a winning smile. When you spot a tiny figure peeping out of the digital grass you fall in love with the world in the picture. Each picture tells a story that you can imagine going on far beyond the edges of the frame, like that of the little girl and her huge Samurai friend, pictured below.
Amelia’s Magazine interviewed the artist to find out more.
AM: Tell me a bit more about the title of the exhibition, “East Meets West”.
GC: It was an intentionally open title really, to try and represent my current fascination with Eastern culture whilst also allowing me to continue experimenting with elements of early American design, which have been creeping into my work of late. I should point out that my work is never extensively researched (as you can probably tell) as I prefer to make things up – or put my own spin on things. The world as I would like it to be and not really how it is…
Towards the end of its development I wanted the show to almost be a kind of travel diary/scrapbook; a couple of recurring characters making their way from one city to the next (New York to Tokyo, via New Yokyo, a hybrid of the two). And in some pictures in the distance you can spot elements of previous images (something I always tend to do).
AM: You are obviously inspired by screen culture (especially Sci Fi!) Could you tell me about why these influences appeal to you? The original influences are quite tech-y and macho but your works are really whimsical and beautiful, they remind me more of Hayao Miyazaki than Michael Bay.
GC: I’ve always loved sci-fi films so I guess it was only a matter of time before elements crept into my work. It’s largely the machines that fascinate me rather than the action. My favourite parts of the film are usually when the protagonists are just sitting around/hiding/waiting inside their pods/spaceships without the stress of battle!
I have been watching a lot of Miyazaki of late. He and Wes Anderson are my favourite film makers as they have created their own little worlds that seem to make perfect sense despite all the unusual happenings on screen.
I’m also a sucker for a robot.
AM: Some of your works are printed on wood or made of inlaid wood. What is it about wood as a material that appeals to you? Is it very hard work getting the solid wood pieces manufactured? How are they made?
GC: A phase I am going through largely, but one I am constantly fascinated with. From getting one thing laser cut, it has opened me up into a whole new way of seeing my work and the possibilities are pretty huge.
The texture of wood appeals to me and also the ‘natural’ connotations. I love the idea that someone may have constructed a working robot from found wood for example. Wood also has that old-fashioned appeal. I’m more enamoured with the look of bygone toys and their clock-work components than anything sleek and soulless.
I worked with a company called Heritage Inlay on the laser cut images and the inlaid pieces. Usually I design them and they construct them. But in some cases I like to order the separate components and put them together myself as in the case of the 3 images composed of laser-cut perspex, silkscreen backing and screen-printed glass [see image below].
AM: I loved the perspex “landscape” pieces. Is it very different creating something 3D to making a print?
GC: I treat the process the same way as a 2D piece really. They all start out life as a digital layered file on my computer so I can see roughly how they will work. I’m never entirely sure how the 3D piece will work until I have a finished one, due to unforeseen elements such as shadows running over parts of the background print etc. That’s why I find it an exciting way to work.
Graham Carter@The Coningsby Gallery
August 31 – September 12
30 Tottenham Street , London, W1T 4RJ
If you’d like to see an online array of Carter’s works, investigate e-gallery Boxbird.
When scouring the latest releases for something worthy of talking about, unhealthy an album opener of the primary school rhyme to remember Henry VIII’s wives, is going to catch your attention. Recently signed to Andy Turner‘s ATIC Records, The Witch and the Robot are a treasure trove of oddities waiting to assault and bemuse your senses with their first release ‘On Safari.’
Aforementioned opener, ‘Giant’s Graves’, introduces a theme that runs throughout the album of pagan chanting, psychotic percussion and bizarre lyrics. With a name check to philosopher, St. Thomas Aquinas, in the following track, lead singer Andrew Tomlinson screams: “God is mackerel” against an array of fowl (as in bird) noises.
Standout track, and title for that matter, ‘No Flies On Me (Jam Head)’ is an example of the alluring world that the band create, rich in competing layers of sonic beauty. If you were wondering, it’s about wealthy golfers who employ a man to take the bait of flies by covering his bonce in the sticky stuff.
Live performances are known to emulate some kind of terrifying children’s party with helium balloons, cream pies, fighting and bunting all playing a part. In addition to putting out the most unique blend of folk, psychedelia and prose heard this year, the band run a night where each punter is entered into a compulsory meat raffle. They explain: “We sometimes play surrounded by raw meat on stage. It’s referencing our own mortality, the fragility of life, it’s visceral, sexual even, but also it is nicely weird.”
At this stage, you’re probably wondering where a band of such peculiar entities are from… That picturesque, romantic stretch of idyll, the Lake District of course… That same region of the UK that has inspired the poems of Keats, Collingwood and Wordsworth to name but a few. This could perhaps explain the spoken word entry on ‘Sex Music(Beef on Music)’, which does narrate a meeting of the sexes but in a less romantic context than our nineteenth century forefathers. Their eccentric yet catchy sounds have caught the attentions of fellow Cumbrians and Amelia’s Magazine faves, British Sea Power and they were asked to open their festival in north Yorkshire.
If you can’t make your mind up whether they are performance art with access to a recording studio or actually have the intention of being a band at all, De-Nihilism should answer this for you; a sprawling rock track that transports you to the Arizona Desert, but there you’d most probably be wearing a silly outfit and singing a shanty.
This album is humorously fun yet dark and mysterious all delivered with a conviction and musicianship that compels another listen… “Divorced, beheaded, died/Divorced, beheaded, survived.” Just in case you’d forgotten.
Less of a protest than a gentle nudge, physician the aim of the 10:10 campaign is to sign members of the public up to a pledge to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010. A star-spangled event at Tate Modern encouraged thousands to sign up to make this change. It was a very different approach from the grassroots events at the Climate Camp last weekend and had an entirely different goal: to get ordinary people to make small changes to save the world.
But hasn’t this message been preached for years with little result? I always refuse carrier bags at the supermarket but this does not appear to have yet halted global warming. Support in reducing my consumption of resources in all parts of my life is very welcome and, patient having signed up, cheap I’m going to take up some of the tips on offer such as going vegan three days a week. I’m a lazy environmentalist: I care and I know what needs to be done, but I find it hard not to fly, as many people do with relatives who live abroad. I get confused as to whether this cancels out all of my efforts on the recycling and public transport front. There are many of us out there, and still more who find it hard to get motivated when the problem seems so big.
Campaigns like 10:10 often draw mixed responses from the green movement. Many of those who have informed themselves about climate change and have made meaningful changes to their lifestyle will be puzzled by the half-measure of asking people to take one less flight a year. It’s frustrating to see 10% held up as a magic figure when in reality we need to be drastically reducing our use of resources to avoid being the most reviled generation in the history of mankind. We don’t need to switch off a light every now and then; we need to stop using freezers and eating meat. These aren’t sacrifices that the majority of people are willing to have prized from their cold, dead hands, so instead they do nothing. That’s why it is necessary to have well-promoted and unintimidating ventures like 10:10, because otherwise instead of 10% it will be 0%.
However, with all the best intentions, it’s not realistic to rely on individual decision-making and a small change in some lives won’t make enough of a difference. International politics and the Western economic model, which views increased consumption and growth as the only positive outcome, make it very hard for governments to lead the way. And if they did try to radically change the way the average Briton lives it would be hard for us to stomach. But we can’t have our cake and eat it. There are very difficult decisions to be made and at the moment they are being taken by a vanishingly small minority. It can’t be one lightbulb: it must be everyone’s lightbulb, every night, forever.
Both Climate Camp and 10:10 show that green campaigning can be given a high profile in the media through well-designed websites and using new modes of communication such as Facebook and Twitter. The mainstreaming of climate change awareness can only be a good thing, and it’s important to normalise making big changes in lifestyle. Living a “green” life needs to be seen as less expensive and we need to cultivate a better array of things to do in Britain that don’t require a car or a credit card. What is required is a paradigm shift in the way the majority of the population lives and going green needs to be seen as “just something you do”. Soon enough, owning more than one car will become embarrassing rather than a status symbol, but by the time the sea is lapping at everyone’s front door, it will be a little late to argue about who was the best environmentalist in 2009.
It can be done. It just needs to be done at a slightly quicker rate. Going green needs to be cheap and cheerful and to be made easier psychologically. Efforts like 10:10 help with this, but at the end of 2010, the bar needs to be set a little higher. We need to knock off another 10% in 2011, and then another. Asking for more all in one go won’t work but perhaps turning up the heat a little at a time will.
It’s all about looking forwards, website loads of opportunities to learn about the current climate chaos and our government-led impending doom and chances to get involved in taking action and planning what on earth we can do.
Green Jobs and the Green Energy Revolution: is the government doing enough?
Date: Monday 07 Sep 2009 ?
An opportunity for people to get together to discuss the UK’s future direction in the ‘green sector.’ There are talks from Green party and Labour candidates as well as Union directors and workers from the Vestas factory who lost their jobs when the government closed down a wind turbine factory.
This meeting also comes as part of the build up to the next “Save Vestas” National Day of Action on Thursday 17th September.
Illustration by Katy Gromball
Venue: Conway Hall, site Red Lion Square, Holborn
No New Coal Stopping Kingsnorth
Date: Wednesday 09 Sep 2009
A post Climate Camp meeting to keep the ball rolling on the planned actions and campaigns throughout the Autumn. Greenpeace will be outlining their forthcoming campaign ‘The Big If’ which asks supporters to make pledges as to what they will do if Ed Miliband gives the go-ahead for a new dirty coal power station at the Kingsnorth site in Kent. Climate activist Jonathan Stevenson will be looking back at last week’s Climate Camp and other actions that have raised awareness of the government’s lack of initiatives in reducing the UK’s carbon footprint.
There will also be film screening and a chance to discuss future strategies in combating the expansion of other coal power stations as well as Kingsnorth.
?Time: 7pm till 8.30pm
Venue: Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX
Contacts: Nik Gorecki, 020 7837 4473
Making rustic furniture
Date: Friday 11 Sep 2009 to Sunday 13 Sep 2009
A workshop held over next weekend in Sussex where people can learn how to make their own furniture and craft their own objects from wood. It is run by people from the Low-Impact Living Initiative (LILI) which is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to help people reduce their impact on the environment, improve their quality of life, gain new skills, live in a healthier and more satisfying way, have fun and save money.
The course will also teach people to understand the different characteristics and uses of wood and hopefully come back with an elegant and unique piece of furniture for the house.
Venue: Wholewoods, Sussex
Contacts: 01296 714184
Spitalfields Show & Green Fair
Date: Sunday 13 Sep 2009
This weekend sees the start of the Green Fair which includes home-made produce and handicrafts plus a whole range of stalls run by groups and organisations with Fairtrade goods, healthy food, healing therapies and projects raising environmental awareness. Make sure to check out the Mobile Allotment designed by artist Lisa Cheung. The fair is run by Alternative Arts, which is an innovatory arts organisation based in Spitalfields, East London. They invest in new artists and new ideas and aim to make the arts highly accessible to the public.
Illustration by Suzy Phillips
Venue: Allen Gardens & Spitalfields City Farm, Buxton St. E1
Time: 12 noon – 5pm
Contacts: 020 7375 0441
Disarm DSEi 2009
Date: 8 September
The worlds largest Arms fair is due to take place in the next couple of days, at DSEi 2007, there were 1352 exhibitors from 40 different countries with a total of 26,5000 visitors. The trade fuels conflict, undermines development and creates poverty around the world.
DISARM DSEi are calling for people to join together to unstick these institutions, expose the devastation they cause, and hold them to account for their actions.
Disarm DSEi call on people to come with love and rage; music and militancy; desire and determination and hope to show the government that we should no longer tolerate the death and destruction the arms trade causes.
Disarm DSEi will be meeting at 12 noon on Tuesday 8th September outside the Royal Bank of Scotland on Whitechapel High Street, near Aldgate East Tube, before going on to visit several companies in the City of London that invest in the arms trade and care little about the consequences for the victims of war.
A flash mob at the Fourth plinth today got things going with people people handing out leaflets and raising awareness by lying ‘dead’ on the ground along side a banned unfurled on the plinth, part of Antony Gormley’s One and Other project.
Meet 12 Noon Near Aldgate East Tube
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair
Date: 12 September
Much more than a bookfair, the event hosts a range of debates, discussion meetings, film showings and gives a chance for people to meet and learn from each other. There is even a cheap vegan cafe to get stuck into. 35 stalls will be set up with an extensive range of radical and alternative books, pamphlets, zines, music, badges, dvd’s, t-shirts, merchandise and free information on a range of different topics.
The Island, Bridewell Street, BS1 2PZ
10.30-6.00 Free entry
From next Monday Amelia’s Magazine will be running between various fashion related events before the opening of London Fashion Week 2009 on Friday 18th September at Somerset House. Below are some of the events occurring as the capital turns its attention towards the Strand.
Tuesday 8th September
Earlier this month Amelia’s Magazine visited the When You’re a Boy exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery and recommends you take the chance to visit before the 4th October. The show refreshingly celebrates men in fashion and focuses on menswear stylist Simon Foxton, order who will be talking at The Photographers Gallery on Tuesday 8th September at 7pm. See the previous article here.
Prick your Finger appear at Howies shop in Carnaby Street tomorrow night to discuss the increase in hand knitting through the story ‘Cast Off Knitting Club For Boys and Girls’ and the rise of knitting in public back. Prick your Finger will move onto discuss how they established their shop and the promotion of craft as a constructive past-time alongside promoting an awareness of the textile industry.
Doors open at 7.15 and it is a free event.
Thursday 10th September
Pop up shops are spreading like a rash across the London landscape in the run up to Fashion Week. Most are money-spinners disguised as concepts taking their cue from Dover St Market and the idea that investing in a limited edition is a more acceptable version of consumerism. It is not, order please think before you buy how many times you will wear garment and how you will dispose of it, hospital once you are bored and fashion has ‘moved’ on.
Garance Dore Photography
Carnaby Street appears to be the hotspot destination for the pop up shop, starting with Beyond the Valley’s pop up store, continuing with Gap’s 40th Denim anniversary shop opening this Thursday to the music of VV Brown and a collaboration with fashion blogger extraordinaire Garance Dore, to the forth coming ‘Wish you were here’ London and New York Boutique swap
Sunday 13th September
Dazed and Confused Magazine pre-empts the opening of SHOWstudio’s Fashion Revolution with their Fashion In Film showcase as part of the onedotzero season at the BFI. Hand picked by the editorial team this showing promises to be an interesting example of documenting fashion in film.
Thursday 17th September
However, the one pop up store to watch out for is On|Off’s boutique which opens on the 16th September and runs until the 22nd. Apart from featuring the wide range of designers who have shown at On|Off during the past twelve season, the boutique will provide visitors to the shop the opportunity to watch live catwalk feed and backstage interviews with designers.
8 Newburgh Street, W1
Friday 18th September
To coincide with London Fashion Week’s move to Somerset House, SHOWstudio (the online fashion site established by Nick Knight) have organised the Fashion Revolution exhibition which will open to the public on the 17th September. The exhibition will showcase the methods used by the website in collaboration with stylists, photographers, fashion designers and cultural figures to develop the methods through which fashion is communicated. Mainly concentrating on capturing fashion on film, these explorations of interaction between clothing, body and audience will be documented in the show under the titles: ‘Process’, ‘Performance’ and ‘Participation’.
If Fashion on Film is a particular interest do not forget Rich Mix’s Fashion on Film Season starting on Sunday 20th September. To find out more about the Rich Mix Season you can visit previous posts here and here.
This week’s arts happenings, cheapest as recommended by Amelia’s Magazine.
Tonight until Thursday
This “graduate show” has a difference as, salve rather than graduating from a school, salve these are new artists who have already been featured in the pages of the learned Creative Review. There are six contributors:
The exhibition is on at Mother London until Thursday September 10.
$9.99 @ the onedotzero festival
Onedotzerois known for bringing an eclectic but well-edited mix of cinema from film-makers of many nationalities, dealing in shorts, animation, documentary and music video. New filmmakers and established artists show alongside one another, but all work is brand new and there is an almost overwhelming amount and variety to see. Amelia’s is intrigued to see the animated film “$9.99”, based on the short stories of Etgar Keret. Based on what one has read in his books “Kneller’s Happy Campers” and others, it promises to be full of sex (as you can see from the screenshot, above), slightly bleak but also very funny and clever, and sometimes even poignant when it comes to family and the failings of one’s parents.
Friday 11 September, 7.30pm, free
Salon Closing Night ft. Ross Sutherland & The Sunday Defensive
The closing night party for the pop-up arts project Salon London features writer Ross Sutherland, whose collection of poems “Things To Do Before You Leave Town” got him onto the Times’ list of Top Ten Literary Stars of 2008. His star is still rising, so hear him read at Salon, and while you’re listening to his wordplay, think up some clever heckles to throw at The Sunday Defensive, a comedy duo just back from the Edinburgh Fringe and therefore no doubt ready with a witty comeback.
All week 9-30 September
Mother Courage and Her Children
Fiona Shaw takes the title role in this influential play by Bertholt Brecht. It’s the story of a woman wheeling and dealing her way to profit while her children fall sacrifice to the war machine. Recent world history has shone a light on the toll in young lives that war takes while the older generation look on and, in some cases, profit. The show also features new music from The Duke Special. The magnificent Shaw starts her run as Mother Courage from Wednesday September 9.
Tuesday 8th September
The Social, London
Brooklyn via San Francisco trio, Lemonade, have a passion for cowbells and Balearic house are making party waves across the pond and play their only UK gig (apart from Bestival) right here.
Thursday 10th September
Bush Hall, London
Classically trained Broderick, has delighted festival crowds this summer with his multi-layered, lush tracks. There will also be a screening of short film ‘The White Door’, the directorial debut by Jason ‘My Name Is Earl’ Lee.
Friday 11th September
The Waterson Family and The Eliza Carthy Band
Southbank Centre, London
Saturday 12th September
Tune-Yards, Jeremy Jay and more
Old Blue Last, London
Sunday 13th September
Dirty Projectors and Tune-Yards
Challenging and beguiling art-poppers, Dirty Projectors, play their mix of post punk, avant pop, nu-jazz and Afro pop in this one-off London show. If you didn’t catch her at the Old Blue, Tune-Yards opens.
Climate Camp was held over last week on Blackheath Common at a site with a history of English protest, view notably during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. This time there was a more middle-class revolt, link although in aid of an equally good cause.
With the aim of raising awareness about the corporations and governments who are intent on destroying the world with irreversible climate change through their capitalist greed, tadalafil the Camp was also to train and mobilise people for the climate swoop in October and the impending Copenhagen talks in December. The camp was a form of direct action in itself, where we aimed to live differently to the world of Canary Wharf and the city we could see in the distance. The camp was consensus- and volunteer-led, where everybody chipped in and could offer their opinions at the regular if not hourly meetings. Given the four hour meeting on the opening day it was a wonder to me we managed to achieve so much in the week.
The first morning began by anticipating the camp location, and, after the initial rush and stress of setting up, with the perimeter fences and tripods in place we were ready for the influx of the swoopers.
Putting up the first fences
Looming clouds welcomed the first stream of cyclists who were closely followed by different groups from various locations across London, specifically chosen to highlight ecological or social issues; from the oil corporations BP and Shell to the sites of the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson.
On defense it soon became apparent that the police weren’t taking too much interest and so I was left to direct my attention towards setting up the neighborhoods; with a combination of efforts the marquees were soon up. After only a few hours the camp was taking shape with a few compost toilets in place and hay-bales in the hundreds.
Throughout the camp the police mainly kept their distance which meant that everybody was able to keep their focus away from the police and towards the issue at hand. This differed pleasantly from certain protests in the past taking place in Heathrow, Kingsnorth, and Drax, not to mention the recent G20.
Each day there were plenty of workshops to observe, be active in, or have a siesta to. The sheer amount of subjects and speakers was overwhelming, which made it difficult to stay in one place for too long without considering all the other things you were missing out on. Certainly a highlight was the the direct action training, which consisted of daily games in which people could get trained up in different tactics such as using lock-ons and tripods as well as advice on how to cope with stressful environments. Amongst the numerous talks by a range of inspiring speakers, Bicycology held workshops about pedal power and there was an opportunity to learn about wind turbines from the V3 collective.
By Sunday the camp was in full swing with up to five thousand people passing through the gates, but despite the obvious benefits it was somehow just a bit too nice. It was meant to be a camp wholly to promote climate action but many attendees appeared to see it largely as a means for personal enjoyment as opposed to wide and active social change. Don’t get me wrong, the community giving their support was totally a positive element, but to bring down the capitalist state something more was definitely needed.
Monday saw the first day of actions take place with a flash mob at the city airport. Again the police were on their best behaviour, which just felt a bit too calculating for my liking.
Flash mob at City Airport
On Tuesday a large proportion of the camp headed into the city, where with banners, flyers and animal masks we boarded the tube and headed to the bank of England.
Spiky fluff or fluffy spike, I’m not quite sure how to describe the day of action, the temporary shutting down of RBS and the naked invasion of the E-on PR offices but the day had some prominence and there was even some limited media coverage. I’m sure we managed to turn at least a few heads.
For a camp that was billed as not looking to provoke too many disagreements with the police it definitely kept to its word with only one arrest during the whole week. However, with climate catastrophe around the corner I feel it’s time to up the ante and I look forward to some more spiky stuff at the Climate Swoop in October.
For information about the Climate Swoop, keep checking the Amelia’s Magazine Earth section, we will be blogging about it soon!
The School of Life describes itself as dealing with the grand problem of “how to live wisely and well.” All the little itches that modern life brings can lead to feeling depressed, mind demotivated, order or just not doing any of the things you hoped. It’s easy to be so exhausted by your job that you go home, microwave something and slump over, essentially staring at the wall until you fall asleep. But at some point it will get better, right?
The School is designed to help us stop thinking this way and start living, but without the cheesy self-help mantras. Far from being scary like a course of therapy, they come up with lighter, more fun ways to explore yourself and to improve your day-to-day living. I had been meaning to go for ages but couldn’t quite get over the hurdle of thinking it was going to be either intimidating or some kind of twee Brownie-pack for New Agers. At their open day last weekend, however, I sampled a few mini-versions of what they have to offer and ended up staying for hours.
I signed up for the “bibliotherapy” sessions and was soon seated next to a lovely and very knowledgeable man whose job was to help me find the authors and books I could be reading, based on what I already like. He listened to me reel off the none-too-exciting books I had been reading, and what I liked to read as a kid and what I feel like I’m missing. I left with a little list of unexpected writers, plus one I’d been meaning to start reading for a while. All his recommendations got bumped to the top of my mental list of Books To Read In My Life. After all, these were chosen just for me. Please note, these sessions are intended for everyone from those who have read Ulysses and feel like there is nothing left in life to conquer to someone who read one book five years ago and that was Jordan’s autobiography.
Second up was the “conversation café”. I saw at least one nervous gentleman bolt for the door when he heard what it was about: you’re given a card printed with a conversation topic, a free cup of tea and a plate of cake and matched with a stranger with whom you are to discuss subjects like “advice you would give your past self” or “when did you stop being a child?” As I don’t suffer from pathological shyness, I found it interesting. As I went with a friend there was also some hysterical laughter over what advice we would give ourselves and each other as sixteen-year-olds. “Don’t go out with him!” was a theme.
I had such a good time and it wasn’t just the free cake. I packed a few unusual experiences into the afternoon and I felt really comfortable in the cosy carpeted and mural-painted surroundings. Having someone listen to what you have to say was pleasantly indulgent, but I also felt like I was challenging myself to think a little harder about myself and what really makes me feel good in life. It seems to be rooted in the idea of spending time and money on experiences instead of things. I’m booking myself in for one of their lectures this autumn – perhaps on “How to spend time alone” – and maybe a longer session with my kindly book advisor.
- Tea and Cake, illustrated by Emma Block: Book Review
- Yuko Michishita: A New Tradition
- Jessica Simmons’ Vintage Cake Diet!
- An interview with Jo Taylor: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.
- Zine Fest