Die Hard

I’ve recently heard of an amazing, mysterious and intriguing band that has emerged from under the radar this year, with all the stealth of a ninja, and caught the eyes, or rather ears, of a few music aficionados.

Die Hard are a down to earth trio from Glasgow, who have certainly avoided being thrown into a sudden limelight and getting corrupted by any music industry personal, and from what I gather, they’d like to keep it that way.  The band will make absolutely no compromise to their music just for more publicity, fame or fans.

Earlier this year, they released an LP with the Halleluwah Hits label. A kaleidoscopic, electronica mix of ambient sounds with very traditional sounding soulful instrumentals to ground it. As they have said in recent interviews, they have been living and making music together for a while so hopefully there will be more excellent music to hear from them in the near future. Have a listen and tell us what you think!

This Fashion Is Mine

The world of fashion, particularly in blogging, is one that’s difficult to access. If you’re looking for a new style or want to understand this season’s trends then it’s often hard to know where to start without feeling as though you’re about to be plunged into an ocean full of choices.

Gwen Mcmullin, a photography student from Greater Manchester, has been running her blog ‘This Fashion Is Mine’ for two years, creating a blog that’s accessible to everyone –  regardless of how fashion savvy they are. After being featured in Altered Couture magazine, as well as being acclaimed for her DIY fashion posts, it has become apparent that Gwen’s blog has something new to offer to the fashion blogsphere, and after interviewing her it was interesting to get an insight as to her ideas on fashion:

Tell us about you!

I’m a 20 year old Photography student from Greater Manchester who writes a fashion and lifestyle blog over at thisfashionismine.blogspot.com. I’ve just reached my two year blog birthday and over the years have become enveloped in the world of blogging and now feel like a true part of the society. My interests lie with personal style and affordable fashion. I’m influenced by the people I see on the street and the work I undertake as an art student.

The creative industry is so vast and inspirational I sometimes wonder what part my blog plays – if any at all! Mainly I just write about what I’ve bought from Topshop and which brand of biscuit I’m craving.

What inspired you to get started writing a fashion blog?

I wanted to keep a diary of my time as a first year fashion student. When that failed I realised I cared more about wearing clothes and writing about style than I did about pattern cutting. I continued to blog and I’m so glad I did.

How do you think your blog makes fashion accessible?

There are two types of fashion bloggers in my eyes. Those who have the money for designer and those who are on a budget. My blog caters for the latter in that I only every buy my clothes on the high street or in charity shops, even eBay. The high street is now ten million times better than it has ever been and I want to let my readers know where to find the best items for the best price.

Explain your D.I.Y posts

My DIY posts are mini tutorials on how to create your own on-trend fashion items. I show you how to make anything from dip dyed denim to wrap around bracelets. I get a lot of inspiration from what’s popular on the catwalks and on the high street. For example my leather sleeved parka was based on one Zara were selling and my Tie Dye Jeans were inspired by a pair from Isabel Marant.

What’s your favourite piece you’ve made?

Probably my basic jersey skirt made from a XL Men’s t-shirt. They are so easy to make I now own five of them. You can wear them with almost anything too! I’m always on the lookout for cool t-shirts in the Men’s department that I can turn into skirts!

What opportunities have you been presented with since starting your blog?

I’ve had so many doors opened for me in terms of contacts. My work has been featured in magazines and online. It’s great that people appreciate what I’m doing, when all along I thought of blogging as just a hobby. I’ve also learnt a lot about how companies work and that forming a solid relationship with customers is so important.

What’s your dream for the future?

I hope to still be blogging on thisfashionismine of course! I’ve caught a glimpse of the inner workings of magazine publication too and it’s really intrigued me. Perhaps it’s something to consider in the future.

How do you think this year has been important for Britain? 

The world’s eyes have been drawn to Britain this year because of the Olympics. The games have really pulled us all together and although I’m not a sports writer I can appreciate the creative side. I thought the opening and closing ceremonies were amazing and reminded everyone of what modern Britain is about; music, fashion and social networking!

Who are 3 people who inspire your fashion and why?

I don’t think I could pick individuals! But my three main inspirations are other fashion blogs, street style and photo sharing sites such as weheartit or Tumblr. Sometimes a photograph that sticks in my mind will influence what I next shop for.

As fashion blogging is so difficult to become a part of, it seems as though Gwen and her blog are definitely something to watch for people who want to become more involved in fashion!

David Gibb & Elly Lucas

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I am enormous fan of folk music. I love everything about it, from the range of instruments, to the haunting lyrics, to the talent of the musicians that make it. However, what I especially love about it, and what makes it particularly relevant to the concept of Born In Britain is that England (and subsequently Britain, though both Wales and Scotland have their own unique folk traditions) has its own distinctive brand of folk that began here hundreds of years ago, that was nurtured here, that evolved here and that has been constantly re-imagined by musicians here ever since.

David Gibb & Elly Lucas belong to the latest generation of folk musicians who are taking these ancient songs and reworking them to create something that, whilst still based strongly in folk tradition, is simultaneously innovative, new and simply beautiful.

Hailing from Derbyshire, David and Elly have been working and performing as a duo for several years. David plays guitar and mandolin and Elly wields both fiddle and viola, and they share the vocal load between them. The distinctive vocal qualities they both possess when taking the lead also complement each other perfectly in exquisite (and often haunting) harmonies. Their musical talent is undisputable, and in 2011 they were chosen as finalists for the highly regarded BBC Young Folk Award. They released their first studio album ‘Old Chairs to Mend’ on Hairpin in March 2012.

With musical qualities that is all at once melodious, soothing, joyous and yet with a hint of the ethereal, David and Elly bring their own brand of gentle simplicity to stories ages old. They are young British musicians adapting old British music for a contemporary British audience. How much more ‘Born in Britain’ can you get?

– Georgie

Method in the Madness – Octane & DLR

With 10 years of experience, Octane & DLR’s new album has been a long time coming.

In 2011 this genius duo from Leeds took the drum & bass world by storm with a distinctive and superior sound, the menacing ‘Red Mist’ one of the most known. They excelled immediately and concluded the year with sets at Outlook, Star Warz and even a tour inAustralia and New Zealand.

The newly released album ‘Method in the Madness’ has been hugely anticipated by drum & bass fanatics, producers and followers of most electronic music genres combined. Their incredibly high quality technical production and sample releases, as well as boundary pushing style and mixing of genres, has set them two steps ahead of everyone.

In the new album, the utter filth that is ‘Murmur’ and ‘Gravity’ meets the high standard expected of the two. Look across the album however, and you’ll see that medals need be awarded for going well beyond the call of duty. With an array of hip hop verses from the likes of Kemo, MC Fonts and Gusto, jazz fusion, scatting and vocals from Marion (did I mention live piano and though it need not be said, bass?), the Erlenmeyer and graphics on the album artwork begin to appear more than suitable.

Drum & bass/Electronic albums of this caliber are few and far between. An important release for fans of all electronic music, it needs picking up today.

Nina Fini

Whilst the debate rages on as to what position street art and graphics hold in the history of the fine arts, many young artists are putting pen to paper to create exceptional and moving images of this ilk. A fine example of which is young artist Nina Fini: her startling grasp of anatomy, light, and how the written word merges with the visual makes for truly outstanding artwork.

Nina is now living and working in Bristol, working on honing her talents in mixed media. She advises me to ‘never underestimate what you can do with a biro’, to which her work clearly testifies. Largely working in acrylic, graphite, and ink, Nina’s portraits tread the line between the word, written and spoken, lyricism, and line.

Her inspiration is as intangible as her final product, incorporating the realm of the spiritual: illusions, the universe, the supernatural, with the human form. Most recently, her focus has been on ‘the fundamental changes that are happening all around us on a conscious level’. Such a philosophical heart to her craft imbibes Nina’s work with a moral value that is so often lacking in contemporary art.

Although she works primarily on paper and canvas, her style is obviously transmutable. She has recently been working on album covers, for the likes of Will and the People, and other music-based projects. This kind of interdisciplinary media work is natural, given the basis of her work, but creation is key to her future plans, whether it be in tattooing, illustrating, painting, or other commissions.

A truly excellent artist, and a marvelous person, Nina Fini is one to watch out for. Her website, ninafini.com shows her wider portfolio, she is now taking commissions and may be contacted at nina.fini@hotmail.co.uk.


Sometime earlier in the year, I was lucky to catch Elephant in Sheffield’s Green Room having strode in on the off-chance that the melodious hum I could hear from outside would be more pleasing if it was somewhat audible.

Unheed by Elephant

Inside, the five-piece had just ingratiated themselves into the audiences favour with the tasty bass-line which introduces their smooth track ‘Unheed’. The stark interplay between the bass and drums in the track gives way to reverberating synths and lush guitars which, as the song grows into its vibe, bleed into a euphonious shimmer of chorused chords and lilting lead guitar lines, all held together by a heavy droning bass note. Variations in pace, timbre and atmosphere illustrate an experimental bent to the band which gives depth to the immediately gratifying pop sensibility which the start of the song suggests. The offbeat groove of the drums contains the varied experiments of the instruments with a funky and playful rhythm. Beneath all this complexity, the forceful yet collected vocal line is never lost as the band retains a strong sense of balance.

Describing themselves as “somewhere between Radiohead, Portishead, Wild Beasts, Can and Four Tet”, Elephant establishes their sound as deep and well-considered without losing any of the vibrancy of pop song craft. There is wooziness to the shimmering sound and laidback edge which puts them in the stead of Tame Impala, particularly on the track ‘Lucky Ones’. Either way, Elephant have a massive sound.

With new material being recorded as of late September, it’ll be interesting to see how ‘deep’ the band goes as their song craft, and their sound in particular, has the potential to really surprise. Their Spinning Heads EP released last year is available through their Bandcamp page.

We Live Here

If I were to choose anybody or anything to encapsulate the very essence of Born in Britain, it would be Sheffield-based artist Jonathan Wilkinson’s “We Live Here” project. Not only was both the artist and the project forged and nurtured within the UK (Sheffield, Nottingham and Leeds to be precise) but the focus of “We Live Here” is on the iconic buildings and urban landscapes that shape the British cities in which we all reside.

Sitting comfortably somewhere between illustration and photography, the prints and products that make up “We Live Here” aim to connect local culture with art, and explore what it is that makes people love where they live. Wilkinson usually uses just two or three colours in his prints, thus playing with the conventional day-to-day imagery that people associate with their town and transforming it into something unusual and striking. According to his website, he enjoys manipulating the visual aesthetic of these ‘unconventionally beautiful’ buildings in his own individual artistic style and hopes he encourages people to think a little differently about the buildings that make up their daily surroundings.

All Wilkinson’s work is created from scratch – nothing is copied or traced, and he builds every unique image from nothing to the finished article. Though “We Live Here” has a predominately-northern flavour, Wilkinson has also occasionally strayed south of the boarder, such as in his rendering of London’s Trellick Tower. His work does not stop at simply prints, either; there are a number of unusual gifts on his website featuring his images, notably a pair of Cooling Tower earrings (the Sheffield Cooling Towers, also known as “the salt and pepper pots” were the focus of the first ever “We Live Here” print in 2007, but were demolished in the August of 2008).

Recently, Wilkinson has embarked on a new project entitled “Britarama”. Still focusing on the modern British landscape but this time celebrating the unassuming as well as the iconic, the images all capture places that hold a special significance for the artist. All the works in “Britarama” are produced using traditional landscape-painting techniques, to which Wilkinson applies his own distinctive twist, and examine the commonplace details and little tranquilities that make up our everyday lives.

To read more about “We Live Here” or “Britarama”, visit Jonathan Wilkinson’s websites. Perhaps you’ll spot something you recognise.

– Georgie

Kate McLelland

Kate Mclelland grew up in North East of England, completed BA degree in Theatre Design in London and moved to Edinburgh to gain her MA in Illustration. She is an excellent fit for the Born in Britain concept, as she has nurtured her talent by taking learning experiences and creative opportunities across all Britain.

Kate McLelland’s achievements include nomination for a D&AD Illustration Award and a Penguin Design Award. She has worked on prints, commissions and for her degree show in Edinburgh College of Art she designed a charming range of children’s books called “Soot” and “Follow That Sparrow”.

Her outstanding contemporary designs are bold, original and vibrant. Each illustration has its own unique atmosphere and personality. Her ideas are embodied into illustrations in a beautiful manner, maintaining her signature style throughout the portfolio.

Kate Mclelland’s design was first runner up in a competition “New London Skyline” held by London Transport in 2010 to design the skyline that reflects London today. Every year since entering this competition she was creating a new skyline, at first Edinburgh, then Paris.

Elegant prints impress with appealing colour combinations, clean lines and precision in capturing the character of each city.

To see more of her inspiring designs and to find out which skyline she is working on this year, take a look at her website www.katemclelland.co.uk


Juno Calypso

When first looking at Juno Calypso’s work, there is something oddly disturbing and critical about her take on femininity, portrayed through her imagined persona of a woman called ‘Joyce’. Despite how grotesque and elaborate it is, you cannot seem to take your eyes away from any of it – It stares back at you; inside of you.

Juno Calypso is a London-born artist, recently graduating from University of the Arts London with a BA Hons in Photography. She works mainly with large-format photography and moving image/video installation, usually pairing the two side-by-side in an exhibition space. This past year alone, Calypso has been the winner of both the Hotshoe Award and the Michael Wilson Photographic Prize and in 2009 she was short-listed for AOP Student Photographer of the Year. In December 2011, she held her first solo show in London, showcasing selected works. Currently, she lives in East London and is the co-founder of photography collective, Artificial Kingdom.

‘Joyce’ is a character that Calypso has been portraying and capturing for some time now. There’s a Cindy Sherman-esque aspect to her work, the idea of creating another persona and becoming that persona believable enough for your audience – In essence, living out that persona through the lens. In looking at her photographs/moving image, it seems as if there’s this un-dying and never-ending dissatisfaction with moving on from the subject – She has become (the character) Joyce. Her depictions of Joyce are somewhat ‘typical’ of femininity, but that’s what makes her subject matter so intriguing – It’s something that an average woman can relate to. The monotonous, lifeless gaze that Joyce depicts, along with her actions, makes the viewer connect with her on a basis of empathy and (quite possibly) pity. But apart from all of that – The underlying meaning of the images, the way the artist connects with the viewer – If you pay attention enough directly at the imagery, the meticulous and attentive detail to all of Calypso’s imagery is despicable. That’s definitely something to be respected for.

– Killian

 Images courtesy of Juno Calypso   – www.junocalypso.com

Will Knox

These days, it’s easy to find yourself cynically switching off when someone mentions the words ‘singer-songwriter’. I know I’ve been guilty on occasion. The term seems to have slowly become synonymous with every young-pretender who has a decent voice, knows a few open-chords, and has built-up a YouTube channel full of covers.

Don’t get me wrong, there is undoubtedly some great young talent out there – some even gaining exposure in the ways I just dismissively mentioned – but with all these acoustic guitars being brandished about the place, and with the media quick to try and make a story of each and every fleeting internet sensation, I can’t help but feel that it’s getting harder and harder to hear the best above the din.

But then, every so often, you find an artist whose music manages to strike a chord somewhere deep inside you; an artist who owns the mantle ‘singer-songwriter’, and restores your faith in what it can mean. Will Knox is one such artist.

Splitting his time between his hometown of Londonand New York, and having honed his craft studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Knox cuts his audiences to the quick with his striking voice and lyrical prowess. One of the founding members of Handsome Lady Records (a label he started with his friends and fellow musicians Alec Gross and Jake Hill) Knox released his gently-beautiful debut ‘The Matador And The Acrobat’, featuring standout tracks such as ‘Buckled Knees’ and ‘Never Letting Go’.

Latest release ‘Lexicon’, which takes it’s inspiration from a forgotten asylum on New York’s Blackwell Island, is presented in the rather novel form of a digital comic book and five-track EP. In addition, considering it’s available as a free app for all your iPhones and iPads, it would just be daft to pass it up. What a generous guy, right?

Will Knox is on the cusp. Long may real talent endure.

THE ARTIST OF THE WEEK 17/09/2012 : Joachim Fleinert


WEEK 17/09/2012



Joachim Fleinert (1984) is a Danish artist based in London. In 2011 he graduated from his Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts at the School of Photography at Gothenburg University in Sweden. Last summer he attended the annual and traditional exhibition New Nordic Photography at the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, where he received the winning scholarship ‘The Victor Fellowship’ consisting of £20,000 stipend and funding for a Masters program in the United Kingdom.


Photograph from: Cecilia Sandblom



Besides receiving The Victor Fellowship in 2011, Joachim Fleinert has also recently received a 3rd prize award in the 2012 Bar-Tur Award. He is now studying his Masters Degree in Photography at the London College of Communication at the University of Arts London where he is having his final graduation show in November 2012. Joachim’s 2012 exhibitions also consist of his present exhibition in Arles Photography Open Salon in France, The Malmo Festival 2012 in Sweden and Paradise Row Gallery in London. Joachim Fleinert has also exhibited several places in his homeland Denmark and in Sweden where he has lived since 2008.


Big In Japan . Where there is a desire for a dream your own self-reflection is unavoidable.

Having an interest or having the highest goals all starts with the inspiration of others that was before you. The project ‘Big In Japan’ is an attempt to construct an imaginary dream that in a strange way all starts with a memory of an unachievable reality. This, like many others can only feel real from distance, however when you are in the middle of it will feel it as an unreal experience.


The photographs were displayed in London between the 21st and 25thAugust, but there is still an opportunity to see his work at the London College of Communication Final Exhibition which will open on the 19th November 2012.





http://map12.info/ (November exhibition)


Mina Braun

Art can be expressed through enormous complexity and mental quality, it requires time, concentration and understanding of the original idea in order to grasp the artist’s message. Mina Braun’s works reveal the opposite approach and way of thinking- her illustrations capture the essence in simple and straightforward imagery. She prefers clarity over complexity and substitutes intricate forms with symbolic meanings.

Mina Braun is a former graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, originally from Germany, now living and working in Edinburgh. Her commissioned works include album covers for the Scottish musicians James Yorkston and Orkestra Del Sol as well as illustrations for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She was featured artist of the month in Marchmont Gallery, Edinburgh in August 2012.

Mina Braun’s inspiration in mythology and nature is evident in her imaginative narratives and symbolic characters. Skillfully created prints deliver straight forward and clear images that evoke positive emotions. Harmonic colours, attention to detail and use of repetitive forms create balanced and beautiful compositions. The narratives are based in a dream like environment, where a merger between human and nature becomes possible, resulting in admirable characters. Her illustrations celebrate artlessness and positivity; they bring back the atmosphere of childhood naivety and playfulness. It’s a good mood injection that will not leave anyone ignorant.

Nowadays, when information, communication and lifestyle are gathering speed, Mina Braun’s illustrations create a space, where you can rest, escape from the busy digitalized culture and remember the original values. To see more of her works visit this website www.minabraun.com

Posted in Art