Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Menswear Day Catwalk Review: KTZ (by Matt)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gabby Young at Selfridges, physician illustrated by Sam Parr

The ‘Supermarket Sarah’ pop-up shop opened last month in Selfridges stationery department, viagra 60mg I attended Friday’s opening night to check it out. Press, pharmacy designers and shoppers celebrated the opening with Campari cocktails whilst enjoying an energetic acoustic set from Gabby Young.

Back in December 2009 I visited Poke Design Studios at The Biscuit Factory for Supermarket Sarah’s Christmas Extravaganza, on behalf of Amelia’s. A year on and Sarah has had wide press coverage, and has celebrity followers such as; Lily Allen, Lindsay Lohan, Tinie Tempah and La Roux. ‘Supermarket’ Sarah Bagner seems, however, unphased by all the attention and continues to do what she does best; sourcing an eclectic mix of quirky vintage finds and indie crafts, and displaying her discoveries in an inspiring and creative way. Starting out in her home in Portobello, Sarah would beautifully arrange her own walls with items to buy and serve customers tea and cakes. The launch of her website expanded her work outside of her living room and has allowed her to exhibit in a variety of locations. Using the website, customers can browse through the items displayed on real walls as part of styled stories.


Illustration by Madi Illustrates

The retro-inspired Selfridges store layout holds shelves of vintage china trinkets, playful plastic jewellery and quirky gifts and accessories, all organized into the walls four sections; Super Stuff, New Designers, Vintage and Gallery where Sarah presents a designer she admires. Currently the Gallery space presents the work of Eley Kishimoto. The collection of printed accessories include; iPhone covers, textiles, limited edition screen printed books, and even a skateboard.

Sarah’s hand-picked selection of designers are given the opportunity to have items displayed in the Supermarket-style ‘gallery’. Carefully thought out curation and styling mean each piece compliments each other, contributing to the personal nature of the ‘Supermarket Sarah’ shopping experience. It was great to see the interactivity at play between customer and product; this interactivity is also achieved on the Supermarket Sarah online platform.


Illustration by Danni Bradford

My favourite pieces included; cross stitch badges from Ma Magasin, Mell Elliot’s Lady Gaga paper doll and Strawberry Creme Nouveau‘s rubber moulded biscuit brooches. John Booth’s eccentric bag charms, Nick White fake tattoos, Katy Leigh‘s painted egg cups, and YCN‘s ‘Light up your mood’ light switch stickers, all also deserve a mention. And other great designers involved include Tatty Devine, Patternity, Donna Wilson, Lynn Hatzius, Swedish Blonde Design and Rina Donnersmarck.

Bringing a sense of Portobello Market to London’s central shopping location. ‘Supermarket Sarah’ at Selfridges gives tourists a sense of what the London vintage and craft scene is all about. Congratulations to all involved!


Gabby Young at Selfridges, approved illustrated by Sam Parr

The ‘Supermarket Sarah’ pop-up shop opened last month in Selfridges stationery department, information pills I attended Friday’s opening night to check it out. Press, designers and shoppers celebrated the opening with Campari cocktails whilst enjoying an energetic acoustic set from Gabby Young.

Back in December 2009 I visited Poke Design Studios at The Biscuit Factory for Supermarket Sarah’s Christmas Extravaganza, on behalf of Amelia’s. A year on and Sarah has had wide press coverage, and has celebrity followers such as; Lily Allen, Lindsay Lohan, Tinie Tempah and La Roux. ‘Supermarket’ Sarah Bagner seems, however, unphased by all the attention and continues to do what she does best; sourcing an eclectic mix of quirky vintage finds and indie crafts, and displaying her discoveries in an inspiring and creative way. Starting out in her home in Portobello, Sarah would beautifully arrange her own walls with items to buy and serve customers tea and cakes. The launch of her website expanded her work outside of her living room and has allowed her to exhibit in a variety of locations. Using the website, customers can browse through the items displayed on real walls as part of styled stories.


Illustration by Madi Illustrates

The retro-inspired Selfridges store layout holds shelves of vintage china trinkets, playful plastic jewellery and quirky gifts and accessories, all organized into the walls four sections; Super Stuff, New Designers, Vintage and Gallery where Sarah presents a designer she admires. Currently the Gallery space presents the work of Eley Kishimoto. The collection of printed accessories include; iPhone covers, textiles, limited edition screen printed books, and even a skateboard.

Sarah’s hand-picked selection of designers are given the opportunity to have items displayed in the Supermarket-style ‘gallery’. Carefully thought out curation and styling mean each piece compliments each other, contributing to the personal nature of the ‘Supermarket Sarah’ shopping experience. It was great to see the interactivity at play between customer and product; this interactivity is also achieved on the Supermarket Sarah online platform.


Illustration by Danni Bradford

My favourite pieces included; cross stitch badges from Ma Magasin, Mell Elliot’s Lady Gaga paper doll and Strawberry Creme Nouveau‘s rubber moulded biscuit brooches. John Booth’s eccentric bag charms, Nick White fake tattoos, Katy Leigh‘s painted egg cups, and YCN‘s ‘Light up your mood’ light switch stickers, all also deserve a mention. And other great designers involved include Tatty Devine, Patternity, Donna Wilson, Lynn Hatzius, Swedish Blonde Design and Rina Donnersmarck.


All photographs by Ester Kneen

Bringing a sense of Portobello Market to London’s central shopping location. ‘Supermarket Sarah’ at Selfridges gives tourists a sense of what the London vintage and craft scene is all about. Congratulations to all involved!


Illustration by Jo Cheung

So after a rollercoaster six days, clinic Menswear Day and London Fashion Week drew to a close with hip-store Kokon To Zai’s label, KTZ, and what would be my final show of this season. I absolutely loved what they did last season, and I couldn’t wait to see what they’d come up with next.


All photography by Matt Bramford

A heavily policed front row meant me and illustrator Gareth took seats on the second, but I managed to get on the end so that my pictures would make it look like I was Frowing all along. I was bloody exhausted and feeling very sorry for myself, and I couldn’t help but wish that they’d just get on with it and stop papping people wearing pig masks. My legs wobbled and I struggled to keep my eyes open, but when the music started and the first look appeared, I quickly forgot my woes.


Illustration by June Chanpoomidole


Illustration by Thomas Leadbetter

Memphis-inspired fashion? I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. A pumpin’ soundtrack blasted from the PA system as gorgeous models (more women than men, but who cares?) sashayed up and down the length of the BFC tent. Stripes were a plenty on figure-hugging dresses with sweetheart necklines that feature extra flaps in that Pop Art/Memphis splatter pattern. Vibrant primary colours made black dresses playful: such a sophisticated, considered collection expertly styled by wonder-styilst Anna Trevelyan.

A whole load of other influences filtered into this power collection – the womenswear referenced power dressing from the 1980s (think Dynasty) and Mondrian’s prints; the menswear also digging up the eighties with (faux!) fur lapels and broad shoulders.


Illustration by Abby Wright

I have to admit, I did prefer the womenswear – it was far more wearable for fashion-forward ladies and it oozed sex appeal with dresses cut above the knee and details in all the right places to emphasise the curves. The menswear featured striped balaclavas topped with pom-poms, acrylic brooches which referenced the womenswear, over-sized imposing puffa jackets and graphic-print trousers. But it’ll be the womenswear that cements Kokontozai’s place as one of London’s hottest design duos.


Illustration by Lesley Barnes

Huge orb-like creations were worn on wrists, picking out patterns from lapels. And, oh, the cuts! Dynamic pieces of fabric were layered onto classic tailored pieces to give them a seriously sexy aesthetic. This was a collection that was playful but sophisticated at the same – a really difficult challenge to pull off.


Illustration by Valerie Pezeron

I loved EVERYTHING about it. I can’t put it into words, so just have a look at the pictures. Oh, and read Amelia’s more comprehensive and articulate review here!

You can see more from Jo Cheung, June Chanpoomidole, Abby Wright and Lesley Barnes in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration!

Categories ,Abby Wright, ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Anna Trevelyan, ,BFC, ,Dynasty, ,Faux Fur, ,Jo Cheung, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Kokon To Zai, ,KTZ, ,Lesley Barnes, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Memphis, ,menswear, ,Mondrian, ,Pop Art, ,Primary, ,Somerset House, ,Thomas Leadbetter, ,Valerie Pezeron

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fashion on Film: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

thumbnailthe_books_jpeg

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, approved or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an ever changing source of material as their inspiration, so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t deal with the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with the both of them on the phone; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut; because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, pharmacy or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an ever changing source of material as their inspiration, case so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t deal with the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with the both of them on the phone; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut; because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, treat or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an everchanging source of material as their inspiration, so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t appreciate the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with the both of them on the phone; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, dosage or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an everchanging source of material as their inspiration, information pills so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t appreciate the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with both of them on the phone recently; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, web or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an everchanging source of material as their inspiration, adiposity so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t appreciate the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with both of them on the phone recently; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, online illustrated by Naomi Law

Plans to large it in East End boozers or at Green Kite Midnight‘s Ceilidh on Saturday night turned sour when my other half broke his arm in a freak gymnasium accident. So, unwilling to sit in sulking, we took a trip to the Rich Mix Cinema.

Mainstream fashion films don’t come around that frequently. Okay, so we had Tom Ford‘s plotless but beautiful adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, but it’s rare for those who control film production company’s purse strings to invest their cash in fashion biopics. Things might be changing though – we had Coco avant Chanel recently – an exceptional film starring Audrey Tatou (who, I’d like to add, should stick to acting en Francais). Next up, it’s the release this week of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

Viewers will be forgiven for thinking that this is the sequel to Coco avant Chanel – the bulk of the movie focusses on Gabrielle Chanel’s life post lover Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel’s death. There are many similarities – the fashion, the smouldering actress, the references, the consultants (Monsieur Lagerfeld lent his services and granted full access to the couturier’s archives). The films, in fact, have nothing professionally to do with each other. 

This film actually kicks off in 1913. We join the male protagonist (played by devilishly handsome Mads Mikkelsen – well, until you Google him and see what he really looks like) as he is about to present his first major opera, at which Coco (devilishly beautiful Anna Mouglalis) is in the audience. The Rite of Spring is a disaster; the audience descends into chaos. It’s here though that fashion fans first get a feast for the eyes. Row after row sit bourgeois women dressed decadently in the early indications of the prosperous fashion of the 1920s, with stunning millinery galore.  


Illustration by Stacie Swift

The film then jumps to 1920, and we see the chic Chanel meet Stravinsky properly for the first time at a party. Coco Chanel was nothing short of a tart. Dressed in a risque (for the era) shoestring-strap floor-length dress and hair in a 1920s twist, Coco oozes appeal and ‘even makes grief seem chic’ according to one bystander. She has, after all, just lost Boy Capel in a car accident – but you’d never know.


Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

The pair arrange to meet at Paris’ Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, where Gabrielle invites Igor (and his wife and children) to stay at her glorious villa outside Paris. He accepts, and the rest of the film takes place here. Here we’re treated to Coco’s impeccable interior design taste – room after room decorated with stunning art-deco style, and rooms themed on exotic locations from around the world. Chanel dazzles in outfit after outfit, and after a few scene/outfit changes, it’s easy to see where Lagerfeld gets his ideas from.  

I won’t spoil it for you, but the frivolous pair get it on at the villa while poor Stravinsky’s wife is laid up in bed upstairs with a bad cough. Cue gratuitous sex scenes on various carpets. Chanel is always impeccably dressed in floor-length silk numbers, while tormented Stravinsky, dressed in simple sartorial style, tinkles the ivories and stomps around the villa’s gardens like a bear with a sore head. You can’t carry on like this without somebody finding out…


Chanel No.5, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

1920 is also the year that Chanel devised and launched what is probably the world’s most iconic scent – the Chanel No.5 perfume. Cut to Gunther-Von-Hagens-slash-Willy-Wonka-esque perfumer Ernest Beaux, who appears with a twirl of his chemist lab coat like a zany magician; here the film goes a little pantomime, and while committing this crucial piece of fashion history to film is inspiring, it’s difficult not to cringe at the ‘ooo! numero cinq’ revelation at the end of this scene…

This is certainly a film for fashion fans and documents a fascinating piece of history – rumour has it that the makers of Coco Avant Chanel plan to pick up where this film leaves us, so that’s something we can look forward to. We do get a glimpse of glamour-granny Chanel at the end, too; perhaps to whet our appetite – Anna Mouglalis makes a fantastic mature Coco decked in prosthetic make-up.


31 Rue Cambon, illustrated by Thomas Leadbetter

What this film occasionally lacks in empathy for the characters – it’s a marriage of egos and there’s little to make you feel anything for this homewreckin’ harlot – it certainly makes up for in sophistication. Most exciting for me were scenes at 31 Rue Cambon, fashion’s most famous address, both inside and out. With a soundtrack of Stravinsky’s effortless symphonies and Coco Chanel’s visionary and groundbreaking fashion, this film celebrates two massive twentieth-century figures in style.

Cinemas nationwide.

Categories ,1920s, ,A Single Man, ,Anna Mouglalis, ,Arthur Boy Capel, ,Audrey Tatou, ,Borgeois, ,Chanel No.5, ,Christopher Isherwood, ,Coco Avant Chanel, ,Coco Chanel, ,Ernest Beaux, ,fashion, ,film, ,Gabrielle, ,Google, ,Gunther Von Hagens, ,Igor Stravinsky, ,Karl Lagerfeld, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Mads Mikkelsen, ,millinery, ,Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, ,Naomi Law, ,Natasha Thompson, ,paris, ,Rich Mix Cinema, ,Stacie Swift, ,The Rite of Spring, ,Thomas Leadbetter, ,Tom Ford, ,Willy Wonka

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Amelia’s Magazine | Graduate Show 2010: Westminster Illustration

peru-ana-ana-peru-public-ad-campaign
Public Ad Campaign by Peru Ana Ana Peru.

The bizarre, information pills colourful creations of Peru Ana Ana Peru can be found all over the streets of New York, information pills brightening up the city’s darkest corners and entertaining passers by. In their own words, pilule they leave ‘keepsakes around the city for others to find.’ They produce fine art, which can be seen as an extension of their street work, and they also make films. Peru Ana Ana Peru are bursting with creativity and their artistic output tends to be eye-catching, witty and brilliant. I caught up with them last month to reminisce about their visit to the UK, and find out what they had been up to since then.

peru-ana-ana-peru_dogs
Dogs.

Peru Ana Ana Peru came to London late last year to take part in a LAVA Collective group show. They have fond memories of the trip: ‘London was great. There was a nice energy about the place, at least that’s what we gathered from the small time that we stayed. Definitely would like to spend more time out there if and when we can. LAVA was amazing, and working with them was a pleasure. They brought together a massive show that was very special and that people seemed to like’.

Earlier this year, Peru Ana Ana Peru were invited to take part in the Eames Re-imagined project, in which artists were invited to upholster and decorate a classic Eames chair design. This was a prestigious invitation and the finished result looks great, but as they reveal, it was not the most harmonious project they have ever worked on; ‘The process for the Eames Chair was an interesting one, and involved a long, final night of arguing and painting, arguing and cutting, arguing and gluing, etc. When we finished it we couldn’t tell if we liked it or not. So we went to bed, mad at the chair. Then we woke up and saw it again, and we started liking it’.

peru-ana-ana-peru-eames-chair
Eames chair design.

Having appeared in books like Street Art New York (Prestel), Peru Ana Ana Peru are perhaps best known as street artists, but in fact they see themselves primarily as film makers. In an interview with Brooklynstreetart.com they describe video as ‘the medium we feel the most comfortable in, and in which we feel we have the most to offer.’ They shoot most of their own material, but occasionally use found footage in their work. One film featured clips of 1950′s porn, shot on Super 8mm. I asked them where they found the source material; ‘We found this footage at a flea market in Chelsea ages ago, but we got it without bothering to look at what the footage was of. Then later when we got home, we decided to check it out, and we found that it was all porn, all of it. Like, 12 rolls of film. Some in color, some in black and white. We were floored. We had always wanted to use it for something, so one day we did. At the moment is no longer online because youtube took it off for violation of terms or whatever—We’ll have to get that video back online soon’.

peru-ana-ana-peru-sculpture

Their last solo show at the Brooklynite Gallery featured small TV screens imbedded into canvases, a format which unified their film making and illustration work. The show also featured some fantastic piñatas, which I couldn’t resist asking about: ‘The idea simply sprang from a long held fascination and nostalgia for piñatas, and the fact that we knew we wanted some 3D objects in our show. So, piñatas seemed natural. They were fun to make, and coincidentally a friend of ours, Meg Keys, happened to make piñatas pretty much for a living. So we hooked up with her and popped them out’. Are the any plans to make any more pinatas? ‘Perhaps one day’. It seems that revisiting old ideas is not high on the agenda for Peru Ana Ana Peru: ‘We tend to get extremely bored with things if we dwell on them too long.’

peru-ana-ana-peru-street-art-book

Last year, Peru Ana Ana Peru joined dozens of artists to take part in Public Ad Camapin’s NYSAT project (New York Street Advertisting Takeover). Public Ad Campaign is the brainchild of Jordan Seiler, who has been waging war against street-side advertising hoardings for many years now. Much of the advertisements that appear in American cities are placed there illegally with the tacit consent of the authorities. Seiler and collaborators whitewash these adverts, then invite artists to come and decorate the blank spaces they have created. I asked Peru Ana Ana Peru how they came to be involved with the project: ‘We got involved after we were contacted by Jordan, and we naturally agreed to be a part of it. We thought the concept of the project was amazing, and it is what has always drawn us to take part in anything he is involved with. Jordan is a very smart guy and his projects are always reflective of that’.

Finally, I asked Peru Ana Ana Peru if any New York artists had caught their eye recently. (I haven’t there for a while and I’m feeling out of the loop.) They mentioned a street artist I hadn’t heard of called Nohjcoley, I’ve been checking out his work and I think it is lovely, you can visit his photo stream here.

nohjcoley-mural-art
Mural Art by Nohjcoley.

I’d like to thank Peru Ana Ana Peru for taking the time to talk to me. You can check out their films on Vimeo, including my personal favorite, ‘On the Roof’: which you can watch here

Lucy Wragg bear
Illustration by Lucy Wragg.

What the illustration students of Westminster lack in terms of proximity to town (did you know they are actually based way out in Harrow, stomach despite the name of the college?) is made up with access to a huge space in the central London wing of the college, opposite Madame Tussauds in Marylebone. The hangar-like P3 is hidden down a long grimy outside passage that wends past broken bits of furniture and it’s a huge space, big enough for a massive rave. I entered at the top gallery, which gives the most brilliant view of the whole exhibition. Unfortunately it also somewhat swallows the work of smaller artists such as illustrators…. to see them I had to venture down into the bowels and investigate further.

Westminster Graduate Show 2010

This graduating year is a small one because it lost nearly two thirds of its students after a fire forced them to miss large parts of their first year. Presumably a lot of them just simply got fed up with the lack of facilities and ventured off to pastures new. The current students are lucky enough to be tutored by two of my former Brighton University contemporaries, Simone Lia and David Foldvari, and last year’s crop have done sterling service on my blog, regularly contributing illustrations for my website and working collaboratively on interesting projects since their graduation.

The layout of this exhibition did not make it easy to look around – I was unable to pick up a business card next to the walls where the students’ best work was displayed – instead visitors were encouraged to go to the tables and peruse their portfolios to pick up any more than the most basic of information. I think this was a mistake. Bear this in mind, students who have yet to display your final work! Professionals have only the smallest amount of time to look at graduate work, and if they can’t find the information they want to hand then they are likely to simply move on, much like those first year Westminster students who flew the coop.

Tim McDonagh rabbit
Illustration by Tim McDonagh.

Some of the best work on show was that of Tim McDonagh, who produced large prints of densely detailed animals in a limited colour palette. Multiple owls peer through an oak tree with devilish yellow eyes and a dead rabbit lies prostrate in the entangled undergrowth. This is the kind of work which can only be made by someone who feels a really close affinity with the natural world, so it came as no surprise to learn that Tim was homeschooled in an intentional community in Virginia, in the east of the US. I hope we’ll see more of his work on this blog soon.

Tim McDonagh hippo
Tim McDonagh seamonsters
Illustrations by Tim McDonagh.

Animals are a perennial favourite of illustrators everywhere, and two other stand out illustrators in the show chose to render their animal imagery in fine line. Tom Baxter showed the conflation of nature and man in a finely rendered drawing where the outline of guns can be seen in an oil spill.

Tom Baxter nature of the beast
Tom Baxter
Tom Baxter
Illustrations by Tom Baxter.

We are at the same level as Sarah Bonner’s animals, which appear to eye the viewer with intent. She uses perspective to great effect in her drawing of a girl crouched, panther like on the floor.

Westminster Graduate Show 2010 Sarah Bonner
Westminster Graduate Show 2010 Sarah Bonner
Illustrations by Sarah Bonner.

Lucy Wragg makes great use of white space to show anthropomorphised animals – a bear reads the newspaper, peacocks look down on scummy Big Issue selling pigeons and a disgusted cat turns his nose up at another cat’s ablutions. She has produced a lovely set of cards from the series which she was selling in the pop-up student shop.

Lucy Wragg Class Division
Lucy Wragg cats
Lucy Wragg rats
Illustrations by Lucy Wragg.

Alexander Wells showed very adept Manga/Anime style illustrations. Although his work is not the kind of style that I generally gravitate towards I could see that he’s technically very good.

Alexander Wells girl
Illustration by Alexander Wells.

Also worthy of mention is Tom Leadbetter. His work is more abstract than the kind of work I gravitate towards – I like my illustration more literal I’m afraid – but he’s very good at something else that is an absolute imperative for illustrators. He reminded me to attend this exhibition, by yes, that most wonderful of networking mediums, twitter. He also thanked me for coming. It’s these little things that count when you’re making your way into the big bad world of work. He should go far.

Thomas Leadbetter
Illustration by Thomas Leadbetter.

At the front of the newspaper handed out with the exhibition is a long and rather rambling discussion on the purpose of illustration today. I found it not at all surprising that all of the illustrators mentioned above (bar one) participated in this conversation, which featured only 9 out of 25 graduating students. Willing to engage in thoughtful commentary, and producing excellent work. These are the students from Westminster to watch.

Categories ,Alexander Wells, ,Anime, ,Big Issue, ,David Foldvari, ,exhibition, ,Graduate Show, ,Lucy Wragg, ,Madame Tussauds, ,Manga, ,Sarah Bonner, ,Simone Lia, ,Thomas Leadbetter, ,Tim McDonagh, ,Tom Baxter, ,Westminster Illustration

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Amelia’s Magazine | Graduate Show 2010: Westminster Illustration

peru-ana-ana-peru-public-ad-campaign
Public Ad Campaign by Peru Ana Ana Peru.

The bizarre, information pills colourful creations of Peru Ana Ana Peru can be found all over the streets of New York, information pills brightening up the city’s darkest corners and entertaining passers by. In their own words, pilule they leave ‘keepsakes around the city for others to find.’ They produce fine art, which can be seen as an extension of their street work, and they also make films. Peru Ana Ana Peru are bursting with creativity and their artistic output tends to be eye-catching, witty and brilliant. I caught up with them last month to reminisce about their visit to the UK, and find out what they had been up to since then.

peru-ana-ana-peru_dogs
Dogs.

Peru Ana Ana Peru came to London late last year to take part in a LAVA Collective group show. They have fond memories of the trip: ‘London was great. There was a nice energy about the place, at least that’s what we gathered from the small time that we stayed. Definitely would like to spend more time out there if and when we can. LAVA was amazing, and working with them was a pleasure. They brought together a massive show that was very special and that people seemed to like’.

Earlier this year, Peru Ana Ana Peru were invited to take part in the Eames Re-imagined project, in which artists were invited to upholster and decorate a classic Eames chair design. This was a prestigious invitation and the finished result looks great, but as they reveal, it was not the most harmonious project they have ever worked on; ‘The process for the Eames Chair was an interesting one, and involved a long, final night of arguing and painting, arguing and cutting, arguing and gluing, etc. When we finished it we couldn’t tell if we liked it or not. So we went to bed, mad at the chair. Then we woke up and saw it again, and we started liking it’.

peru-ana-ana-peru-eames-chair
Eames chair design.

Having appeared in books like Street Art New York (Prestel), Peru Ana Ana Peru are perhaps best known as street artists, but in fact they see themselves primarily as film makers. In an interview with Brooklynstreetart.com they describe video as ‘the medium we feel the most comfortable in, and in which we feel we have the most to offer.’ They shoot most of their own material, but occasionally use found footage in their work. One film featured clips of 1950′s porn, shot on Super 8mm. I asked them where they found the source material; ‘We found this footage at a flea market in Chelsea ages ago, but we got it without bothering to look at what the footage was of. Then later when we got home, we decided to check it out, and we found that it was all porn, all of it. Like, 12 rolls of film. Some in color, some in black and white. We were floored. We had always wanted to use it for something, so one day we did. At the moment is no longer online because youtube took it off for violation of terms or whatever—We’ll have to get that video back online soon’.

peru-ana-ana-peru-sculpture

Their last solo show at the Brooklynite Gallery featured small TV screens imbedded into canvases, a format which unified their film making and illustration work. The show also featured some fantastic piñatas, which I couldn’t resist asking about: ‘The idea simply sprang from a long held fascination and nostalgia for piñatas, and the fact that we knew we wanted some 3D objects in our show. So, piñatas seemed natural. They were fun to make, and coincidentally a friend of ours, Meg Keys, happened to make piñatas pretty much for a living. So we hooked up with her and popped them out’. Are the any plans to make any more pinatas? ‘Perhaps one day’. It seems that revisiting old ideas is not high on the agenda for Peru Ana Ana Peru: ‘We tend to get extremely bored with things if we dwell on them too long.’

peru-ana-ana-peru-street-art-book

Last year, Peru Ana Ana Peru joined dozens of artists to take part in Public Ad Camapin’s NYSAT project (New York Street Advertisting Takeover). Public Ad Campaign is the brainchild of Jordan Seiler, who has been waging war against street-side advertising hoardings for many years now. Much of the advertisements that appear in American cities are placed there illegally with the tacit consent of the authorities. Seiler and collaborators whitewash these adverts, then invite artists to come and decorate the blank spaces they have created. I asked Peru Ana Ana Peru how they came to be involved with the project: ‘We got involved after we were contacted by Jordan, and we naturally agreed to be a part of it. We thought the concept of the project was amazing, and it is what has always drawn us to take part in anything he is involved with. Jordan is a very smart guy and his projects are always reflective of that’.

Finally, I asked Peru Ana Ana Peru if any New York artists had caught their eye recently. (I haven’t there for a while and I’m feeling out of the loop.) They mentioned a street artist I hadn’t heard of called Nohjcoley, I’ve been checking out his work and I think it is lovely, you can visit his photo stream here.

nohjcoley-mural-art
Mural Art by Nohjcoley.

I’d like to thank Peru Ana Ana Peru for taking the time to talk to me. You can check out their films on Vimeo, including my personal favorite, ‘On the Roof’: which you can watch here

Lucy Wragg bear
Illustration by Lucy Wragg.

What the illustration students of Westminster lack in terms of proximity to town (did you know they are actually based way out in Harrow, stomach despite the name of the college?) is made up with access to a huge space in the central London wing of the college, opposite Madame Tussauds in Marylebone. The hangar-like P3 is hidden down a long grimy outside passage that wends past broken bits of furniture and it’s a huge space, big enough for a massive rave. I entered at the top gallery, which gives the most brilliant view of the whole exhibition. Unfortunately it also somewhat swallows the work of smaller artists such as illustrators…. to see them I had to venture down into the bowels and investigate further.

Westminster Graduate Show 2010

This graduating year is a small one because it lost nearly two thirds of its students after a fire forced them to miss large parts of their first year. Presumably a lot of them just simply got fed up with the lack of facilities and ventured off to pastures new. The current students are lucky enough to be tutored by two of my former Brighton University contemporaries, Simone Lia and David Foldvari, and last year’s crop have done sterling service on my blog, regularly contributing illustrations for my website and working collaboratively on interesting projects since their graduation.

The layout of this exhibition did not make it easy to look around – I was unable to pick up a business card next to the walls where the students’ best work was displayed – instead visitors were encouraged to go to the tables and peruse their portfolios to pick up any more than the most basic of information. I think this was a mistake. Bear this in mind, students who have yet to display your final work! Professionals have only the smallest amount of time to look at graduate work, and if they can’t find the information they want to hand then they are likely to simply move on, much like those first year Westminster students who flew the coop.

Tim McDonagh rabbit
Illustration by Tim McDonagh.

Some of the best work on show was that of Tim McDonagh, who produced large prints of densely detailed animals in a limited colour palette. Multiple owls peer through an oak tree with devilish yellow eyes and a dead rabbit lies prostrate in the entangled undergrowth. This is the kind of work which can only be made by someone who feels a really close affinity with the natural world, so it came as no surprise to learn that Tim was homeschooled in an intentional community in Virginia, in the east of the US. I hope we’ll see more of his work on this blog soon.

Tim McDonagh hippo
Tim McDonagh seamonsters
Illustrations by Tim McDonagh.

Animals are a perennial favourite of illustrators everywhere, and two other stand out illustrators in the show chose to render their animal imagery in fine line. Tom Baxter showed the conflation of nature and man in a finely rendered drawing where the outline of guns can be seen in an oil spill.

Tom Baxter nature of the beast
Tom Baxter
Tom Baxter
Illustrations by Tom Baxter.

We are at the same level as Sarah Bonner’s animals, which appear to eye the viewer with intent. She uses perspective to great effect in her drawing of a girl crouched, panther like on the floor.

Westminster Graduate Show 2010 Sarah Bonner
Westminster Graduate Show 2010 Sarah Bonner
Illustrations by Sarah Bonner.

Lucy Wragg makes great use of white space to show anthropomorphised animals – a bear reads the newspaper, peacocks look down on scummy Big Issue selling pigeons and a disgusted cat turns his nose up at another cat’s ablutions. She has produced a lovely set of cards from the series which she was selling in the pop-up student shop.

Lucy Wragg Class Division
Lucy Wragg cats
Lucy Wragg rats
Illustrations by Lucy Wragg.

Alexander Wells showed very adept Manga/Anime style illustrations. Although his work is not the kind of style that I generally gravitate towards I could see that he’s technically very good.

Alexander Wells girl
Illustration by Alexander Wells.

Also worthy of mention is Tom Leadbetter. His work is more abstract than the kind of work I gravitate towards – I like my illustration more literal I’m afraid – but he’s very good at something else that is an absolute imperative for illustrators. He reminded me to attend this exhibition, by yes, that most wonderful of networking mediums, twitter. He also thanked me for coming. It’s these little things that count when you’re making your way into the big bad world of work. He should go far.

Thomas Leadbetter
Illustration by Thomas Leadbetter.

At the front of the newspaper handed out with the exhibition is a long and rather rambling discussion on the purpose of illustration today. I found it not at all surprising that all of the illustrators mentioned above (bar one) participated in this conversation, which featured only 9 out of 25 graduating students. Willing to engage in thoughtful commentary, and producing excellent work. These are the students from Westminster to watch.

Categories ,Alexander Wells, ,Anime, ,Big Issue, ,David Foldvari, ,exhibition, ,Graduate Show, ,Lucy Wragg, ,Madame Tussauds, ,Manga, ,Sarah Bonner, ,Simone Lia, ,Thomas Leadbetter, ,Tim McDonagh, ,Tom Baxter, ,Westminster Illustration

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