Alex Gushurst-Moore

I have the pleasure of personally introducing lovely Alex to you all. She is of course one of Gola’s Student Ambassadors, and for good reason!

The amount of creative projects that Alex is involved in is astounding. I honestly can’t fathom how she manages to find time to sleep! She has founded a massive fashion database website, is writing for several different projects, works with a company doing brand management, is a Gola student ambassador, is part of a radio show called Radio Airheads and on top of everything, she is doing a full time degree. Did I mention she also finds the time to hold down a weekend job? Needless to say, she is also one of the nicest people I’ve met and very easy to talk to, so here is my brief summary of what makes her such an amazing, creative person:

Coming from a half American, half English background, and being raised in both southern England and New England, has given her a lot of experience to draw from. She is very independent and seems to thrive on constantly keeping busy and creating. Her main passion is writing, and at the moment she is studying English Literature and Art History at the University of Edinburgh .

Alex tells me that growing up she was always surrounded by books and writing. Both her parents are academics and teachers, and her father is also a writer.  Reading and writing is the way in which her family communicates, and her entire family seems to have creative flair. Her sister has started their own Family Newspaper, and also wishes to become a writer, and her brother is very musically talented. Alex herself also plays guitar, but claims that her brother is better than her. I think I would have to hear them play to be the judge of that!

Another passion of Alex’s is fashion design. She voices that in her opinion, it is one of the most important and overlooked forms of visual art. It is one with a function and purpose. Alex is highly interested in new, young designers and the work of up and coming talents. From this interest she has developed her brainchild, the Designer Index. Simply put, this is like the IMBD (Internet Movie Database) of fashion design. After getting a small team of people to work with her, she made this dream a reality and the website prototype has been running for about a year now. They are currently in the process of redesigning, and will be relaunching it at the start of next year.

She hopes that in the future, the Designer Index will become a platform for young designers that will allow them to build on and ultimately benefit from. In particular she would love for it to increase awareness of lesser known designers, and give those in 2nd and 3rd world countries the opportunity to compete internationally with renowned labels in the fast paced world of fashion.

Some more fashion related work form Alex, is working with an Argentinian leather company ‘Estados’ doing brand management. If you think that is already a lot of work on top of normal university essays, deadlines, reading, exams, and of course working with Gola, then you clearly have underestimated her!

Along with this mega project, Alex is also working collaboratively with other writers on academic books, to do with the subject of Art. She explains her involvement in a book called simply, ‘On art’ with Hannah Barbhouthi. The book aims to redefine what art means, what it’s purpose is, and question conceptual art. She is also working on another book on a similar subject, with Jack Hillcox.

This young, vibrant student clearly has a strong, intelligent and creative voice, and is especially driven. She loves to be involved in collaborative efforts and building ideas with other people. Alex definitely has the talent and ambition to succeed, so keep a look out for this creative powerhouse!


Star Slinger

Star Slinger, also known as Darren Williams, is a DJ/Producer based out of Manchester.

After studying Music Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, Darren decided to focus in on his own music, primarily remixing. He’s been remixing since 2010, but recently Darren’s talent has been getting a lot of hype – and a lot of notice.

His remixes remind me of what it must be like to be in a trance – To be coherent, but not totally conscious of what’s around you. That, I think, is what makes it so popular – It’s much different to some of the harsher, bass-y – type music that surrounds us in the music industry, especially in regards to electronic music.

When asked what makes his music so mesmerizing, and how he knows when he’s finished a song, Darren claims:

“I subscribe to the notion that less is more. Massive ass drum beats are really all you need to dance.”

Fair play.

Laura J Martin

Liverpool’s Laura J Martin is of one the hottest properties on the upcoming music market. A singer/songwriter who has developed a completely unique and innovative sound incorporating a range of instruments such as lute, mandolin, keyboards and xylophone and not forgetting her preferred instrument the flute.

Her debut album, The Hangman Tree, which came out earlier this year was made on such a tight budget that she had use various household items to create her music. Laura J Martin mentions: “I had to make use of what was around me, which meant using kitchen pans, sugar bowls and cheese graters.” It is Laura’s skill of turning these unusual instrumental into quirky, catchy pop tunes that is garnering such praise and notice. By incorporating the use of unorthodox arrangement and sounds but maintain music that is both catchy and upbeat Laura created something of a little master class in progressive folk/pop music in her debut album. Not to mention a display of her great talent as a flautist.

A heavy summer tour and appearances on Marc Riley’s BBC 6 Music radio show as well as Cerys Matthews and Rob Da Bank’s BBC Radio shows, Laura is steadily building a firm musical following. Although often placed in the folk/pop category Laura’s music also contains Hip Hop elements harking back to her days as flute player for hip-hop producer Kidkanevil. Among her influences, she also mentions pioneering individuals David Bowie, Serge Gainsbourg and Neil Young. Laura states: “I’m inspired by people who have a passion for music. Also my granddad who, in my eyes, was a fantastic piano player”. She is also known to cite books, family, friends and people on the edge of society as key influences for her lyrical writing.

Laura J Martin is currently working on her second album, hoping to take her music onto the global stage with a view to crack Europe as well as Japan where she lived previously for a year.

Joanna Lisowiec

The crunchy lines and bold colours of her work are the antithesis of softly spoken, elven Joanna Lisowiec. But in conversation with the Edinburgh-based illustrator, one gets a sense of her dynamic and definite attitude towards the arts. We both agree not to touch the subject of concept-based art, choosing instead to speak at length about where the art world should be heading (not necessary synonymous with its current direction) and its purpose. Clearly an intellectual, Joanna’s work has profound and extensive meaning beyond the aesthetic.

Born to Polish parents, the artist was brought up between the USA and Switzerland, before moving to Edinburgh to complete a degree at the ECA. She takes great inspiration from the natural world, and tells me that mountains are of especial significance, which, considering her childhood spent in the Colorado Rockies and European Alps, it’s no leap of the imagination to understand why. This translates nicely into her art: natural forms meet boundless emotional shape, playing out in visual harmony to communicate a story.

As an illustrator, Joanna has naturally put emphasis on the relationship between art and literature: hers is a didactic art, imbued with true sentiment. The collision of word and image has always been of intense fascination for me, for the echoes and mimicries that leap between the mediums are extensive and of significant importance to art history.

In terms of the practicalities of working in the contemporary industry, Joanna has a fairly clear idea of where she is heading. In 2011, Joanna beat competition to design the book cover for ‘Viking Gold’ by V. Campbell. She intends for this to be her main stream of revenue in the future, given that designing book covers is something she has an earnest passion and natural flair for. Aside from this, an artist-in-residency position could be on the horizon, but for now, the chance to focus on and hone her craft won’t be passed up.

Introducing Elephant

After reading about these guys on the blog a couple of weeks back, and completely seduced by their sound, I couldn’t resist meeting up with Elephant for an acoustic session.

You can read Adonis’ post on the group, here.

Surprisingly humble and very critical of their work, these guys are in it for their love of making music, and nothing more. I met up with them at the peaceful Sheffield Cemetary to hear how the band came about, and to listen to one of their newest tracks, ‘Pixels‘.


Artificial | Constructs

The creative process is usually one limited to the individual and one without a great sense of ‘community’ lying behind it. Artificial Constructs is a Sheffield based artistic network, which seeks to redress the individualized nature of art and inspire a new collective sense.

Still only in its beginnings, A|C is looking to curate artistic exhibitions, club nights, and collaborations between artists. The group has been ‘taking over’ bars, spaces, and exhibiting pieces of art alongside musical performances in, what looks to be, a new iteration of the Factory days.

The premise behind the group is inclusivity so for those looking to get involved or looking to discover the new creative output in the city then Artificial constructs is the place to look.

“A platform aimed at creating a community of Sheffield artists, providing a place to share and represent the underground culture.”



Artificial Constructs
Photos and imagery by -hush (A|C)

The Dark Jokes

While on the hunt for an ear tonic (that’s music for you), I came across an Edinburgh based band called The Dark Jokes, and they some truly fantastic musicians, as well as really lovely people who deserve your attention. I met up with them this week to find out more about their music and to spread the word.

The band got together about three years ago, and currently consists of four members, two brothers, Paul and Aaron Dennington, Jamie Hogg and Matthew Thornton. Each member has quite different influences, and so in that way they all bring something interesting to the table. They sound absolutely brilliant! I have no idea how to classify their music — I suppose it would fit in the alternative genre — but the unique, chilling and ultimately darkly mysterious sounds are hauntingly brilliant, I promise that it is worth your time.

These guys are full time musicians, and practically breathe music. They operate from their homemade, DIY studio down in Granton. It is really nice to see a homely place where creative minds can let loose and create amazing things. You can tell that a lot of effort has gone into everything they do, and as a band, I would say they are quite in demand up here in Scotland.

As it happens, there has been a lot of success with The Dark Jokes recently. After they released their debut single ‘Low Winter Sun’ in May of this year, they have had notable success and have succeeded in securing a place to perform next year at a festival called Cultura Inglesa in Brazil. Other musicians that will make it to this festival include Franz Ferdinand and The XX, so The Dark Jokes clearly have a high level of talent to be included among these successful musicians.

They have also released an exceptional video for ‘Low Winter Sun’ which was directed by Bradford based Jack King, and featuring Niel Leeper who has also been in the film Angel’s Share directed by Ken Loach.

Other exciting things that are happening with these guys, are the planned release of their new album, due in May of next year, after which they will do a tour of the UK and Europe. I am really looking forward to hearing this. According to Paul and Aaron, their music has become a lot more streamlined recently and they have assimilated their sounds into the unique style that is The Dark Jokes as it is now.

I am looking forward to hearing more of The Dark Jokes. Please take the time to check out their website and listen to some of their tracks from this year!

Yasmina Vulgarity

Her name holds a heavy, dark and aggressive connotation; her canvases are large and demanding of your attention; taking this intensity of feeling and the extensity of her art form together, it’s clear that Yasmina Vulgarity is an artistic wonder in Sheffield.

The size of Yasmina’s pieces allows you to lose yourself in their fluidity and colour. But as you trace the image in its specific detail, from focus to focus, you can see the level craft and artistry in the work.

Yasmina cites her influences as being the enigmatic Tim Burton and the imaginative Heston Blumenthal; the characteristics attributed to her influences are reflected in her own work. On her page, her work is described as:

“Yasmina takes her passion for the dark, macabre, historical, tropical, natural and curious to create colourful drawings, paintings, collages and prints from a miscellany of materials, for your amusement and pleasure… Yasmina currently works from her theatrical studio space in Leeds, where she uses fabrics, paint, found objects and drawing to explore her love for colour, pattern and surface design on a grand scale. Inspired by natural curiosities, food and history, Yasmina creates nostalgic and intriguing images of the world we live in.”

Yasmina Art


Finchittida Finch

Finchittida Finch is the incredible new label by twin sisters Tida and Lisa Finch.

The clever duo recently graduated from University Arts London.

With Tida having studied Textile Design at Chelsea College of Art and Lisa specializing in Graphic Design at London College of Communication, the pair have a wide range of skills which greatly compliment each other.

Finchittida Finch produce intricate and beautiful jewellery, all made and finished by hand.

The geometric shapes are cut out using laser and are ideal for those wanting to make a decorative statement.

Tida and Lisa have already worked with ASOS, Nike, WAH nails, Vice Style, BNTL, It’s Nice That and Underground Shoes.

Their beautiful jewellery has also featured in music videos, including; Ashanti – ‘The Woman You’ Love ft. Busta Rhymes, Lianne La Havas – ‘Forget’ and Mele ft. Kano – ‘Beamer’.

You can buy Finchittida Finch jewellery on ASOS Marketplace -

You can contact the duo by emailing them at;

Look out for the new range of Finchittida Finch Mirrors, for an individual piece to add to your home. Coming soon.

Samuel Sultana

There are few artists you can feel an emotional connection to from the offset, but on the rare occasion that an artist does reach through the canvas, magic ensues. Samuel Sultana is one such creative. Currently working on a collaborative artists commune-type project, he is clearly well liked and respected for the work he is doing.

A painter at heart, Sultana acknowledges that these kind of labels can be restrictive. Looking at his work, one sees few limitations: boundless colors and shapes that morph in front of your eyes, each painting tells a story. The strength of the work lies in the composition of the pieces. Sultana tells me that he now treats ‘art as philosophy’, and one certainly perceives the intellectual in each of his artworks.

I have no doubt that Sultana’s creative process would be of exceptional interest to observe. When your philosophy is that ‘it is essential to use everything. Everything is the arsenal’, the product will inevitably be of celestial proportions.

Relying on ‘chaos, intensities, and extremes’, his work is in league with the likes of Willem de Kooning, Rothko, and more recently, Bryan Lewis Saunders. The environment is paramount to the success of the artwork: hence the idea behind his current project. In a nod to the Romantic, ‘isolation, solitude, and obsession’ also compute.

The diverse range of artists Sultana is currently working with reflect a global spirit, bent on redefining and redesigning the creative landscape in Bristol, where the project is based. He says the creative platform will encompass all media, from ‘fine art to film, music, and theater’, offering a chance for young artists to network and build a support base from which to flourish.

Equipped with the creative holy trinity of vision, faith, and obsession, I have no doubt this is an artist of the future. To view more of Sultana’s work, go to his facebook page here or youtube. He can also be contacted by email at

THE ARTIST OF THE WEEK 22/10/2012: Marcelo Deguchi


WEEK  22/10/2012


Marcelo Deguchi (1986) is a Brazilian photographer based in London. He obtained a BA degree in Graphic Design in 2009 from the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná and is currently about to finish his MA Photography at the London College of Communication (University of the Arts London). He will also take part of the London College of Communication Masters in Photography final Show, A Forming State, this November.


Beside  participating in several group shows in his hometown, Curitiba, his work has been published by the on-line magazine Ideafixa and he is currently co-curator in INTENTO;  An on-line platform showcasing collaborative work and displaying international emerging artists.  


Marcelo’s project entitled ‘Monuments for a Season’ depicts sites in which he has gone and intervened by constructing monuments. Marcelo’s work investigates perceptions on landscape by creating a dialogue between space and time. A game on how meanings are constructed by and linked to our perception. The monuments, which here could be read as simple grids made of strings or the final framed photographic objects – give hints of a passing of time that will subdue and overcome any previous constructed and historical meanings.


You can see his work  at:

The London College of Communication Final Exhibition, A Forming State. Private View: Monday 19 November 2012, 16:00 to 21:00. Opening Times: 14-23 November 2012,10:00 to 18:00 London College of Communication.SE1 6SB



Bianca Salvo

Marika Hackman

I discovered the lovely Marika Hackman quite by accident whilst researching for my student radio show, and was instantly captivated by her sweet, ethereal vocals and the raw, natural quality of her music. Having just released her debut EP, a double A side limited edition run entitled You Come Down/ Mountain Spines (which was produced by Johnny Flynn and Adam Beach of the Sussex Wit and has already been given its first spin by Radio 1’s Huw Stevens), this is lady we’re all going to be hearing much more of in the coming months.

A self-taught guitarist and hailing from Brighton, Marika has been writing and performing her songs since the tender age of sixteen. Now 20, she’s seen considerable success already, as can be seen from her most recent accolades:  she’s just finished run of dates supporting Benjamin Francis Leftwich on his UK tour, has just announced her own very first headline tour this November, and has another EP in the pipeline for early December to be produced by Charlie Andrew (who has also produced for the now almighty Alt J).

Her influences fair on the mellow, down-tempo side of nu-folk; it is possible to discern traits of bands like Sigur Ros, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes within her work, however she possesses her own unique quality that stands her apart in an increasingly solo-female heavy industry. With delicate folk undertones and a maturity of voice that is well beyond her years, Marika Hackman is definitely one to watch.

To get your hands on Marika’s free EP of covers (including stunning reworkings of Dusty Springfield and Nirvana) visit her website.

– Georgie