Amelia’s Magazine | The Phantasmagorical World of Gackland


All illustrations by Gackland.
I first encountered the prolific Gackland two years ago when we shared a desk at Amelia’s Magazine. At the time he was operating under the guise of journalist, clinic writing exhaustive opuses (under the pseudonym of Gareth David) such as Cheesy Rider, more about where he dove nose first into the smelly underworld of the cheese night/pub quiz hybrid. Investigative reporting aside, prescription this polymath is also an accomplished musician and an artist. (He studied Fine Art at Coventry after doing a Foundation at Chelsea). And it is this art that will get an airing in the next few weeks at the Brick Lane Gallery. Entitled BOOM! (opening night June 8th), the exhibition has kept the artist extremely busy for the past few months, creating a prodigious body of work that I was able to take a sneak peek at when I went round to Gareth’s house a few weeks ago. The plan had been to interview him and see the man in action, although as befits a multi-tasker and all-around good guy, he spent most of the interview giving me a guitar lesson. But we managed to talk a bit about his art, I’m pleased to say.

Could you define your art and its message? Or would that be over-simplifying it?

I’m really just responding to the call of an addiction with my art. I’m addicted to conventional wordy, chatty communication, too, but I often find that there are notions that can’t really be expressed that way. Really beautiful, subtle possibilities that words fail need to be painted. I once had a massive stab at communicating my Ronald Reagan portrait in words to a complete stranger and got maybe 40% of the way there, but only because there was a really tasteful live bongo electronica band on and we were standing in front of the painting anyway with brains full of beer. To get the full 100% with that magic stuff, person A needs to paint it and person B needs to look at it.

You and I have spoken about recurrent themes in your work; could you expound on these themes to our readers?

My previous arty phase was very laborious. I would have complex one-issue monoliths of canvas. I’d give myself one go at saying what I needed to say about x subject, plan for weeks, do a reading list, weave my subject into a heavy, heavy compositional labyrinth. They were my Sistine Chapels. The new stuff really just feels its way around vaguer notions of experience. Like what is happening when I listen to music? How should I feel about the fact the Universe doesn’t care for me? And most obviously, aren’t patterned blobby organic forms lovely?


Turning to the work that you will be showing in the gallery; what can visitors expect to see in your exhibition? And please enlighten us about the Gack-Pack.

The bulk of the Brick Lane show will be the new style Gackland thing. Oil paintings and drawings that explore that unwordable how-it-feels-being-a-unit-of-life comic beauty. There will also be my recent labour of love, the Rolf Harris portrait – done from life. And I’ll even have a couple of giclee canvas prints of my old epic work. That stuff looks really good in miniaturised form, and it’s so right to democratise – I suppose I mean cheapen – political and philosophical Art.
As for the Gack-Pack, it’s yet a further democratisation of Art. If you’ve got £18, you get a unique, original, ten-centimetre square signed drawing, six stickers, and a ticket to Gack-Lottery, which is a chance to win and direct my next painting. I’m selling hope. Cheap.

You are also an (very talented) musician and writer. If your house was on fire and you could only save one thing, would it be a paintbrush, guitar, or pen?

Everything’s economic, as Groucho Marx once said. These things are all replaceable. Between them things there, it’s the guitar, but really, I’d try and grab as many paintings as I could. And my signed Rolf Harris book, of course.

I know that Rolf Harris holds an esteemable place in your heart. Why is that exactly? (Although no explanation is needed when we look back to his Cartoon Club days).

These are tricky days for Art. I just feel that Rolf, though he wouldn’t claim to be a Van Gogh or Rembrandt or whatever, shows more of the spirit of creating things than anything that the establishment is willing to go near. Most of the Art that came out from under the shadow of Saatchi was obsessed with being perfect and slick on one hand or throwaway and careless on the other. Everyone wanted to be a completely unassailable fortress, risk-free. But Rolf… Rolf is the answer. Rolf lets you see him creating, he talks you through it, panting rhythmically and most importantly, every Art tutor, gallerist and wannabe hates him. Also, I saw him spilling his guts to Mark Lawson on BBC4 and his disappointment with his time at Art School brought highly personal tears to my eyes. It wasn’t just the vodka-fumes.

Gackland in his natural setting, multi-tasking as per usual.

Apart from the Brick Lane exhibition, where can we find (and buy) your work?

Well obviously, there’s no better place than the Brick Lane Gallery for your needy citizen’s Gack-demands. But there’s also the web. Just visit Gackland and you can see loads of work. Not much of the new stuff just yet, but that will be going up sometime after the Opening Night’s happened, which is June the 8th. And the website leads you to the rest of my fledgling online presence, enabling you to pester, complain, haggle and abuse through facebook and even twitter, if you’re into that. I’ll quite likely be in a beer garden with my sketchbook at the time, but I’ll probably get back to you before Winter if you’re funny.

BOOM at the Brick Lane Gallery (free)
Opening Night: Wed 8 Jun, 6-8.30pm
Open daily until Sun 19 June, 1-6pm.
Brick Lane Gallery 196 Brick Lane, E1 6SA

Categories ,art, ,Brick Lane, ,Brick Lane Gallery, ,exhibition, ,Fine Art, ,Gackland, ,Gareth David, ,interview, ,nature, ,Rolf Harris, ,Ronald Reagan, ,surreal

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Scruffy does it: Suzie Winsor presents ‘Beard and Wonderful’

London by Avril kelly2
Bright city lights of London and 123 Bethnal Green Road by Avril Kelly

Vrooosh and we’re in. After a National Express journey from Bristol at 4.10pm we arrived immersed in the mighty traffic of London. From twit updates, information pills I was aware that the Amelia’s Magazine London team had spent the morning working hard whilst I’d been sat at my rectangular Apple.

 Gareth A Hopkins Mattt Bramford

The lovely Matt Bramford, viagra approved Amelia’s Fashion Editor working hard with a smile. Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Getting off the beloved bus, we tubed to Bethnal Green Road, missing our bikes with all our hearts after we discovered we had got off at the wrong tube stop and had to walk the length of the road. When we got to 110 -ish I put on my heels and immediately inflicted a new set speed of slow on us. Then after apparently vacantly walking past the venue, we about turned and eventually arrived at 123 Bethnal Green Road at 8pm. And there we are- in.

6dayriot-ACOFI-by-Mina-Bach
Illustration of 6 Day Riot by Mina Bach

It’s buzzing and I can see the feathered headdress and hear the sound of glorious music coming from the stage. 6 Day Riot are on stage and everyone is loving it. “Drink!” Vodka O flowing, blue bottled Adnams beers in hand – mutter to Charlie, he can’t hear me, the walls are bright and the buzz is loud. But we are smirking at each other, as the swirl of this internal world is clearly alleviating our hours of bus lethargy. There are beautiful outfits from where I want to find out, and make up perfection. I’m loving the wedges, flowing skirts, vintage fabrics and beautiful piled up and flowing hair. Breathing art of their own kind, everyone I want to know and only until midnight to do it. Um, let’s CHAT. Ze atmosphere is perfect for le chat… Bonjoir…

helboyf3

Charlie and I by Abby Wright – This illustration was a present for our families (I know) – but now you can see us both. In art form!

I meet Jess Furseth because we are looking at each other like we know each other, but don’t. It’s like online friend dating. How could this all go minus the screen? It’s fine of course. We natter about the world then pop downstairs with my curly haired man. There we meet Hannah Bullivant and her husband. Chat, chat, banter, banter – her husband is from Jersey too. Cue lots of Jersey yabbering then Jess, Hannah and I discuss the power of the word etc. There are tea cups about the place from earlier’s tea, cake and illustration session, and a comfy Chesterfield sofa for a second of sitting. This is when I briefly meet Amelia’s Dad. It’s all in the eyes! Lovely man.

Akeela pic of me

Picture of moi by Akeela

Boosh and we’re chatting outside. Banter, banter. Then downstairs and the Lily Vanilli cake is being cut. I have a bite of Charlie’s and the white chocolate and sweet cake melts like pink heaven in my mouth. He swipes it away from my chops. Chat, chat. “Hello Amelia!” She’s wearing an amazing cape and gorgeous shoes. So nice to see her. “Fabulous PARTYY!”

ACOFI cake illustration by Danielle Shepherd

CAKE! by Danielle Shepherd. Made by Lily Vanilli.

Abby_Wright_Amelia_Gregory_ACOFI
Illustration of Amelia, lady of the night, by Abby Wright

Chat to a couple of bloggers and see some of the splendid illustrators I speak to everyday. Everywhere I turn is enthusiasm and love for ART! Whilst Charlie is talking about his hair (apparently) to a table of chaps, I had a peek inside a goodie bag. With the purchase of ACOFI, one could have a fabulous tote bag with a Tatty Devine necklace, Dr Hauschka products, Pukka tea, a Moleskine notebook and other goodies inside. I bestowed on the goodies the necessary “ooohs” and “ahhhs” as I pulled out product after postcard after teabag. It was literally a combination of all my favourite things. Splendid!

Gareth A Hopkins Sallly Mumby Croft copy

Contributor Sally Mumby- Croft snapping away. Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Squeal at Matt Bramford before spending the rest of the evening throwing shapes with Chazaroo, Hannah, her husband and the lovely Jess. C.L.A.S.S.I.C. tunes are spun out from The Pipettes and the Mystery Jets DJ. We take breaks outside and before long it all becomes a spinny blur of joy.

MattBramford_ACOFI_280111_430
Stylish people dancing, picture by Matt Bramford

The Pipettes by Avril Kelly

The Pipettes by Avril Kelly

dancing

Hannah Bullivant in the thrust of a move.

It would have been super to have chatted to EVERYONE, but to be honest I adored spending the evening with three fantastic new (now real-life – that’s right writers and Jersey 2) friends. That’s what it was about for me, relaxed fun and an appreciation for the creative and beautiful. I’m proud to be a part of Amelia’s Magazine and all who sail in her.

tube
Photo by Annie Mole, flickr

Excitable, energised, excellently enjoyable. Ends.


Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin, case Alec Guinness, case Byker Grove’s Geoff Keegan and Rolf Harris are among the great and bearded in Suzie Winsor’s collection. Even Edmund Blackadder has a spot in the lineup now hanging in Shoreditch’s KK Outlet gallery. This all seems right, I’m thinking as I admire the quirky ink drawings; I will be the first to admit to having something of a soft spot for a good beard. But what’s the attraction for Suzie?

‘Oh it’s hard to say, but beards seem to add a lot of character to a face,’ Suzie says, as I manage to steal five minutes of her time during the packed opening night last Thursday. ‘It can make a guy seem friendlier, or sometimes more intellectual.’ It started when Suzie was listing people she wanted to draw, and realised lots of them had beards. ‘So I thought, why not make that a theme for an exhibition.’ Proper beards though, none of those sculptured ones, she adds: ‘Bushy and manly, you know!’


Geoff Keegan

While a great beard became a requisite to be part in her show, Suzie points out that all the candidates are also inspirational. ‘I’m a huge Pulp fan’, she says, pointing to the picture of Jarvis Cocker, then to Charles Dickens: ‘I love Oliver Twist.’ As we’re talking, one of Suzie’s other beardy heroes, Rob Ryan, shows up to congratulate his former colleague. Suzie has also worked alongside Tatty Devine and Paul Smith, but has now embarked on the freelance route.


Bearded Suzie

So now, which inspirational characters do you think should seriously consider having a beard, I ask Suzie? She thinks about it for a moment. ‘Well, maybe Larry David, Stuart Murdoch and David Suchet…’ I suggest Robert Downey Jr, to which Suzie nods, and Cate Blanchett, to which she laughs, but I do think it’s a good idea, you know. Then the next day, she emails me: ‘I’ve just realised I haven’t drawn Mick Fleetwood! I’m genuinely gutted! Aaah. I’m going to have to continue the series!’


Beards

Running alongside Suzie Winsor’s art at KK Outlet is a second show, entitled ‘In almost every picture #9’ by Erik Kessels. It’s a series of old, faded Polaroid photos of one family’s very black dog – the animal is clearly loved as it’s present in so many of their pictures, but because of the inadequate camera the dog is practically invisible.

The result is fascinating. Part of Erik Kessels’ found photography series, the dog-shape appears in photo after photo after photo. It’s sort of like the pet isn’t really there, giving it a ghost-like feel. But still, the family has persevered in the hope that one day, their furry friend will be accurately captured on film.



In almost every picture #9

‘Beard and Wonderful’ runs until 28th February at KK Outlet, 24 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB. For more information see our listing.

Categories ,Alec Guinness, ,Beard and Wonderful, ,Byker Grove, ,Cate Blanchett, ,Charles Darwin, ,Charles Dickens, ,David Suchet, ,Edmund Blackadder, ,Erik Kessels, ,Geoff Keegan, ,illustration, ,In almost every picture #9, ,Jarvis Cocker, ,KK Outlet, ,Larry David, ,london, ,Mick Fleetwood, ,Paul Smith, ,photography, ,rob ryan, ,Robert Downey Jr, ,Rolf Harris, ,shoreditch, ,Stuart Murdoch, ,Suzie Winsor, ,Tatty Devine

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Preview: Bestival & Camp Bestival

twoofhearts_sheltercardquilt_lesleybarnes
seven little houses

When Lesley Barnes found out about the 4th Annual Animboom Awards animation competition in conjunction with Sesame Street (Blimey, ampoule try saying that fast!), viagra 60mg she just knew she had to work with fellow illustrator Thereza Rowe. The results of their collaboration is this wonderful piece: Seven Little Houses. You can watch the video here.

Seven Little Houses clouds
Seven Little Houses bottles

Lesley Barnes describes how they approached the Aniboom competition:

One of the competition categories was to design an animation that would help children learn about either colours, viagra 60mg shapes, numbers or letters. We chose the number seven as it seemed to give us scope to do a bit of counting without it being a huge number for kids to deal with and for some reason we both agreed that there was something special about an odd number.
We gave the animation a circular feel by creating it around the idea of a day, with the sun at the beginning and the moon at the end. Repetition was key so the narrative turns around lots of groups of seven; the idea being that children will get used to counting 124567 and begin to repeat it. As well as having the numbers on screen we included groups of seven objects; seven houses, seven bottles, seven clouds, etc. because it’s easier to visualise the numbers as objects.
The animation was mostly done in after effects and took about a month to finish. My friend Al Paxton, who is a musician in Brooklyn, provided the sound. It was his idea to have the voices (him and his girlfriend) shouting out 1234567 and I think it’s really important because it encourages children to shout out along with the animation.

twoofhearts_sheltercardquilt_lesleybarnes
Lesley Barnes’ illustration for the Shelter Card Quilt.

Thereza Rowe Shelter Card Quilt
Thereza Rowe’s illustration for the Shelter Card Quilt.

Lesley first got in touch with Thereza after admiring the playing card that she designed for my Shelter House of Cards Quilt in 2009, and since then they’ve kept in constant contact via email and twitter. I asked them to write down a few words about each other.
 
Lesley Barnes on Thereza Rowe:
 
We both had cards included on Amelia’s final Shelter Card Quilt and Thereza‘s goats – although she now tells me they are deer – were my favourite! Amelia’s Magazine has given us such a great platform for our work: we have been in touch ever since and knew that we wanted to do a collaboration at some point… When I saw the Aniboom Sesame Street competition I thought that Thereza’s textures, colours, shapes, illustration style and personality (including her love of pink milk and bendy straws) would be perfect for it. We started work with Thereza‘s house illustrations and from that we both designed a selection of characters. There were far too many in the end, so the final seven characters were a bit of an amalgamation of our work.
Working with Thereza was ace and the best thing was all the colour that she brought into the animation – my animation can sometimes get a bit monochromatic so it was such a pleasure to work with such a great selection of colours and textures. I also think that Thereza‘s lovely upbeat personality comes through in Seven Little Houses.

Seven Little Houses umbrellas

Thereza Rowe on Lesley Barnes:

When Lesley contacted me for the first time with some nice words about my work and a suggestion that we should collaborate in a future project I was so excited because as soon I set eyes on her stunning animation and illustration work I knew that we would eventually produce something really good together. Since then we have kept in touch whilst keeping an eye out for interesting briefs which would suit our ideas of a collaboration… and so the Aniboom competition came about!
Working with Lesley has been an ongoing joy as she’s creative, diligent, determined and hands on. We both share a similar sense of humour which is very important because it makes the working process a pleasant experience. As the project developed I was amazed to see how the aesthetics of our work just gelled together effortlessly, almost like magic. Surprisingly we have not met in person yet, although it feels like we have….
I am really proud of how she made our illustrations move in such a graceful manner and we’ve been receiving some lovely responses from people who have seen the animation. I’d also like to echo Lesley’s thoughts on the constant support and appreciation of the work we produce that we get from Amelia’s Magazine.

seven little houses people

I also wanted the girls to talk about the importance of Twitter to their collaboration, as I often see conversations between Lesley and Thereza passing through my own Twitter feed: it’s how I found out they were collaborating on the project for Aniboom, and it’s a medium I feel strongly that all illustrators should engage with.

Lesley on Twitter:
Twitter is an easy way of staying in touch and see what each other is up to. When you are a freelancer it’s great for reminding you that you are not completely alone in the world and means you can check out what’s inspiring other people, collaborate with them, get feedback and generally just have a bit of a chat.

Thereza on Twitter:
Using Twitter helped make the collaboration go more smoothly because Lesley and I were always tweeting bits of work in progress to each other and teasing other about what was coming next. I used to be very resistant to using Twitter but now I’m a self proclaimed addict because it’s enabled me to engage with some ace collaborations that otherwise might not have happened.
Twitter is probably the best current social tool for illustrators in terms of networking and establishing links with both the industry and peers as it provides an open channel for direct communication and it’s fab for promoting your own work and the work of others. I love the fact that Twitter is free of advertising and has a nice layout which allows you to customize your page background nicely. I’m really fussy about such factors…
Also, the job of an illustrator can often be a lonely one as we spend a great deal of time confined in our workspaces, well, working… so I tend to have my twitter page open through the day, so it almost feels like having lots of nice people around 🙂 

Both Thereza Rowe and Lesley Barnes appear in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration.

Photo: Ben Gold

It’s the day before the general election and the concluding part of Amelia’s Magazine interview with Think Act Vote’s Amisha Ghadiali. Tomorrow you have a chance to vote. Use it.

Why do you think if “politics were a brand, ed no one would wear it!”?

This statement is about Westminster politics, in many ways the system we have is out of date for the world we are living in now. I don’t see people wanting to “wear” it as it is. This is why I really support the work of campaigns like Vote for a Change that focus their around how we can make the system work better for us.

How can fashion be used to engage people in Politics?

I think that fashion plays a key role in how we express ourselves and we use it to communicate things about ourselves or messages that we care about. The campaign t-shirt has become iconic as a phenomenon. At the beginning of the campaign, we ran a competition to design the perfect campaign t-shirt, which was a great opportunity for up and coming illustrators to showcase their work. The winning design by Jesson Yip was selected by a judging panel that included Katharine Hamnett and Daisy de Villeneuve. The symbols represent each word, with different fonts to represent different people’s voices. The design was then printed onto Earth Positive Eco T-shirts and is now on sale.

Through working in the ethical fashion industry I see fashion as a key way to think about sustainability. We all wear clothes, and the fashion industry affects so many people across the world as well as the environment. I work closely with Ethical Fashion designers at EFF and am one myself with my jewellery label. As an ethical designer, you don’t just have to make sure that your collection looks and fits great, but you spend a huge amount of time researching new fabrics, new technologies and finding out who is telling the truth about their labour standards or production methods. You need to be pioneering and inquisitive as you think through your entire collection and its impact on the environment and people at every stage.

Ethical Fashion designers are always pushing boundaries and are extremely passionate about what they do. I wanted to include this talent in the campaign and asked leading ethical fashion designers to create a show piece or an easy DIY customisation using a Think Act Vote t-shirt and off cuts from their collections. The designers that took part included Ada Zanditon, Junky Styling, Traid Remade, Tara Starlet and Beautiful Soul. The pieces that they created in just a week are stunning.


Photo: Dominic Clarke

Think Act Vote discusses the negativity imbedded in modern politics – Were there any particular examples that spurred you into action?

There are loads of examples, just try and think when the last time you heard something positive about politicians or about changes in our communities. We are always focusing on people’s failings and the ‘fear’ out there. Just last week the country spent two days focusing on the story about Gordon Brown saying a woman was a bigot.

Is this negativity the reason, do you think, for the decline in the number of votes?

Not the only reason. Things have changed a lot over the last few decades. I think two features of the neo-liberal British political landscape are related: the rise of consumerism and the demise of traditional participation. I think that the way we express who we are is different now, not that many people are lifetime members of political parties. Political identity is no longer inherited.

As mentioned before I don’t think the political system reflects who we are, which makes us lose interest.

Have you been watching the Leader’s Debate?

I have seen bit of them, but not all the way through as have been doing talks and events most evenings in the past few weeks. I think it is great to have the leaders on TV, as it has really helped getting people talking about the election. I am not sure how much of their personalities and policies we are really seeing as the whole things does feel a little over polished. I think it would mean more if we had a vote on who was PM as well as on our local MP. I would also like to see some of the smaller parties be given this platform too.

Will you be voting this election?

Yes I will be voting, I think this is vital. I haven’t decided who for yet. I will decide on election day. I am deciding between three parties but then I went on Voter Power and saw that my voter power in my constituency is only 0.039. It is an ultra safe seat. So I am thinking about voting through Give Your Vote. It is a fantastic campaign about Global Democracy which allows you to give your vote to somebody in Afghanistan, Ghana or Bangladesh. It is an act of solidarity with those who do not have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Join Amisha tonight at: The Future I Choose with Live Music, Poetry, Fashion, Photography ??
The City and Arts Music Project, 70-74 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ?
5.30pm til 9pm


Photo: Dominic Clarke

It’s the day before the general election and the concluding part of Amelia’s Magazine interview with Think Act Vote’s Amisha Ghadiali. Tomorrow you have a chance to vote. Use it.

Why do you think if “politics were a brand, online no one would wear it!”?

This statement is about Westminster politics, there in many ways the system we have is out of date for the world we are living in now. I don’t see people wanting to “wear” it as it is. This is why I really support the work of campaigns like Vote for a Change that focus their around how we can make the system work better for us.

How can fashion be used to engage people in Politics?

I think that fashion plays a key role in how we express ourselves and we use it to communicate things about ourselves or messages that we care about. The campaign t-shirt has become iconic as a phenomenon. At the beginning of the campaign, patient we ran a competition to design the perfect campaign t-shirt, which was a great opportunity for up and coming illustrators to showcase their work. The winning design by Jesson Yip was selected by a judging panel that included Katharine Hamnett and Daisy de Villeneuve. The symbols represent each word, with different fonts to represent different people’s voices. The design was then printed onto Earth Positive Eco T-shirts and is now on sale.

Through working in the ethical fashion industry I see fashion as a key way to think about sustainability. We all wear clothes, and the fashion industry affects so many people across the world as well as the environment. I work closely with Ethical Fashion designers at EFF and am one myself with my jewellery label. As an ethical designer, you don’t just have to make sure that your collection looks and fits great, but you spend a huge amount of time researching new fabrics, new technologies and finding out who is telling the truth about their labour standards or production methods. You need to be pioneering and inquisitive as you think through your entire collection and its impact on the environment and people at every stage.

Ethical Fashion designers are always pushing boundaries and are extremely passionate about what they do. I wanted to include this talent in the campaign and asked leading ethical fashion designers to create a show piece or an easy DIY customisation using a Think Act Vote t-shirt and off cuts from their collections. The designers that took part included Ada Zanditon, Junky Styling, Traid Remade, Tara Starlet and Beautiful Soul. The pieces that they created in just a week are stunning.


Photo: Ben Gold

Think Act Vote discusses the negativity imbedded in modern politics – Were there any particular examples that spurred you into action?

There are loads of examples, just try and think when the last time you heard something positive about politicians or about changes in our communities. We are always focusing on people’s failings and the ‘fear’ out there. Just last week the country spent two days focusing on the story about Gordon Brown saying a woman was a bigot.

Is this negativity the reason, do you think, for the decline in the number of votes?

Not the only reason. Things have changed a lot over the last few decades. I think two features of the neo-liberal British political landscape are related: the rise of consumerism and the demise of traditional participation. I think that the way we express who we are is different now, not that many people are lifetime members of political parties. Political identity is no longer inherited.

As mentioned before I don’t think the political system reflects who we are, which makes us lose interest.

Have you been watching the Leader’s Debate?

I have seen bit of them, but not all the way through as have been doing talks and events most evenings in the past few weeks. I think it is great to have the leaders on TV, as it has really helped getting people talking about the election. I am not sure how much of their personalities and policies we are really seeing as the whole things does feel a little over polished. I think it would mean more if we had a vote on who was PM as well as on our local MP. I would also like to see some of the smaller parties be given this platform too.

Will you be voting this election?

Yes I will be voting, I think this is vital. I haven’t decided who for yet. I will decide on election day. I am deciding between three parties but then I went on Voter Power and saw that my voter power in my constituency is only 0.039. It is an ultra safe seat. So I am thinking about voting through Give Your Vote. It is a fantastic campaign about Global Democracy which allows you to give your vote to somebody in Afghanistan, Ghana or Bangladesh. It is an act of solidarity with those who do not have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Join Amisha tonight at: The Future I Choose with Live Music, Poetry, Fashion, Photography ??
The City and Arts Music Project, 70-74 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ?
5.30pm til 9pm

seven little houses

When Lesley Barnes found out about the 4th Annual Animboom Awards animation competition in conjunction with Sesame Street (Blimey, link try saying that fast!), treatment she just knew she had to work with fellow illustrator Thereza Rowe. The results of their collaboration is this wonderful piece: Seven Little Houses. You can watch the video here.

Seven Little Houses clouds
Seven Little Houses bottles

Lesley Barnes describes how they approached the Aniboom competition:

One of the competition categories was to design an animation that would help children learn about either colours, approved shapes, numbers or letters. We chose the number seven as it seemed to give us scope to do a bit of counting without it being a huge number for kids to deal with and for some reason we both agreed that there was something special about an odd number.
We gave the animation a circular feel by creating it around the idea of a day, with the sun at the beginning and the moon at the end. Repetition was key so the narrative turns around lots of groups of seven; the idea being that children will get used to counting 124567 and begin to repeat it. As well as having the numbers on screen we included groups of seven objects; seven houses, seven bottles, seven clouds, etc. because it’s easier to visualise the numbers as objects.
The animation was mostly done in after effects and took about a month to finish. My friend Al Paxton, who is a musician in Brooklyn, provided the sound. It was his idea to have the voices (him and his girlfriend) shouting out 1234567 and I think it’s really important because it encourages children to shout out along with the animation.

twoofhearts_sheltercardquilt_lesleybarnes
Lesley Barnes’ illustration for the sShelter Card Quilt.

Thereza Rowe Shelter Card Quilt
Thereza Rowe’s illustration for the Shelter Card Quilt.

Lesley first got in touch with Thereza after admiring the playing card that she designed for my Shelter House of Cards Quilt in 2009, and since then they’ve kept in constant contact via email and twitter. I asked them to write down a few words about each other.
 
Lesley Barnes on Thereza Rowe:
 
We both had cards included on Amelia’s final Shelter Card Quilt and Thereza‘s goats – although she now tells me they are deer – were my favourite! Amelia’s Magazine has given us such a great platform for our work: we have been in touch ever since and knew that we wanted to do a collaboration at some point… When I saw the Aniboom Sesame Street competition I thought that Thereza’s textures, colours, shapes, illustration style and personality (including her love of pink milk and bendy straws) would be perfect for it. We started work with Thereza‘s house illustrations and from that we both designed a selection of characters. There were far too many in the end, so the final seven characters were a bit of an amalgamation of our work.
Working with Thereza was ace and the best thing was all the colour that she brought into the animation – my animation can sometimes get a bit monochromatic so it was such a pleasure to work with such a great selection of colours and textures. I also think that Thereza‘s lovely upbeat personality comes through in Seven Little Houses.

Seven Little Houses umbrellas

Thereza Rowe on Lesley Barnes:

When Lesley contacted me for the first time with some nice words about my work and a suggestion that we should collaborate in a future project I was so excited because as soon I set eyes on her stunning animation and illustration work I knew that we would eventually produce something really good together. Since then we have kept in touch whilst keeping an eye out for interesting briefs which would suit our ideas of a collaboration… and so the Aniboom competition came about!
Working with Lesley has been an ongoing joy as she’s creative, diligent, determined and hands on. We both share a similar sense of humour which is very important because it makes the working process a pleasant experience. As the project developed I was amazed to see how the aesthetics of our work just gelled together effortlessly, almost like magic. Surprisingly we have not met in person yet, although it feels like we have….
I am really proud of how she made our illustrations move in such a graceful manner and we’ve been receiving some lovely responses from people who have seen the animation. I’d also like to echo Lesley’s thoughts on the constant support and appreciation of the work we produce that we get from Amelia’s Magazine.

seven little houses people

I also wanted the girls to talk about the importance of Twitter to their collaboration, as I often see conversations between Lesley and Thereza passing through my own Twitter feed: it’s how I found out they were collaborating on the project for Aniboom, and it’s a medium I feel strongly that all illustrators should engage with.

Lesley on Twitter:
Twitter is an easy way of staying in touch and see what each other is up to. When you are a freelancer it’s great for reminding you that you are not completely alone in the world and means you can check out what’s inspiring other people, collaborate with them, get feedback and generally just have a bit of a chat.

Thereza on Twitter:
Using Twitter helped make the collaboration go more smoothly because Lesley and I were always tweeting bits of work in progress to each other and teasing other about what was coming next. I used to be very resistant to using Twitter but now I’m a self proclaimed addict because it’s enabled me to engage with some ace collaborations that otherwise might not have happened.
Twitter is probably the best current social tool for illustrators in terms of networking and establishing links with both the industry and peers as it provides an open channel for direct communication and it’s fab for promoting your own work and the work of others. I love the fact that Twitter is free of advertising and has a nice layout which allows you to customize your page background nicely. I’m really fussy about such factors…
Also, the job of an illustrator can often be a lonely one as we spend a great deal of time confined in our workspaces, well, working… so I tend to have my twitter page open through the day, so it almost feels like having lots of nice people around 🙂 

Both Thereza Rowe and Lesley Barnes appear in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration.

Another weekend on the festival calendar that has readily established itself as one of the more well-regarded events around is Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank‘s Bestival, more about which takes place every year in the late summer on Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight. This year’s event takes place from the 9th to the 12th of September, pill and having such a late date every year marks it out as being perhaps the last significant camping festival to take place on these fair isles before autumn’s cold, unhealthy clammy hands take a grip of the countryside.

It’s been running since 2002, but in 2008 its ‘little sister’ spinoff, Camp Bestival, was launched. Based at Lulworth Castle in Dorset, Camp Bestival is a much smaller, and more intimate, affair (10,000 capacity versus the 43,000 of Bestival), specifically designed as a more child-friendly event, and taking place much earlier in the year (in mid-July). It conjures up much of the same ethos and atmosphere as its older brother, but there’s more of an emphasis on making it a happy environment for the kids – which is a splendid idea, really. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to reach middle age only to find that the annual road trip mashup bangin’ weekender at Reading becoming less practical with a newborn baby on the backseat.

Like a lot of smaller, more ’boutique’ festivals, Bestival offers more than just a music lineup. The Saturday of the festival is usually designated the day for dressing up in costume (in 2005 they attempted to break the Guinness World Record for most people in fancy dress at one time), and there’s a heavy focus on political and environmental causes. It’s not uncommon to find artists interrupting their sets to declare their opposition to some military action in some far off country, or to promote vegetarianism (there’s a lot of vegetarian food on offer at Bestival), or merely to lead a chant for peace.

The organisers also try to make the festival carbon neutral, which includes offsetting those things that they can’t control (like the petrol burnt to get everything to the site) but also by promoting recycling and sustainability on site.

Camp Bestival is similarly-focused, but the main difference between the two (apart from the size) is that the focus is much less on the music. A large number of comedians perform at the festival, and there are also tents for poetry readings and theatrical performances. This makes sense, when you consider that up to 5,000 kids can attend on top of the 10,000 adults, and parents will no doubt love a chance to sit and relax, not having to chase small bundles of energy around.

Bestival’s musical lineup this year includes the Prodigy, Flaming Lips, Dizzee Rascal, Roxy Music, the xx, Fever Ray, a solo set from Jonsi of Sigur Ros fame, and a rare festival appearance from LCD Soundsystem (who will most likely disband at the end of this current tour, so catch them while you can). You’ve also got Gil-Scott Heron, Echo & the Bunnymen, Chase & Status, Simian Mobile Disco, and even Rolf Harris will be putting in an appearance.

Campe Bestival’s lineup is less prestigious, but still worth a shout – headlined by Madness, Friendly Fires, and the Human League, with appearances also from the legendary George Clinton & Parliament, as well as the slightly-less legendary Lee Scratch Perry, and also Calvin Harris, Marc Almond, Billy Bragg, and a host more.

So, taken, together, you’ve got a couple of pretty decent ways to bookend your summer on the south coast. Just make sure that, if you go, you do recycle – a new study out today has shown that festivals are emitting over 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Every little helps, eh?

Categories ,bestival, ,Billy Bragg, ,Calvin Harris, ,Camp Bestival, ,Chase & Status, ,dizzee rascal, ,Echo & the Bunnymen, ,Fever Ray, ,flaming lips, ,Friendly Fires, ,George Clinton, ,Gil-Scott Heron, ,isle of wight, ,Jonsi, ,lcd soundsystem, ,Madness, ,Marc Almond, ,parliament, ,rob da bank, ,Rolf Harris, ,Roxy Music, ,sigur ros, ,Simian Mobile Disco, ,The Human League, ,the Prodigy, ,The XX

Similar Posts: