Ruth Bewsey

Ruth Bewsey is possibly my favourite ever festival discovery. In the sunny summer of 2010, hanging around the eco-powered Greenhouse stage at 2000 Trees Festival near Cheltenham, I happened to catch her short but beautifully constructed set, the sweetness of which took my breath away. Since then, I’ve played her frequently on my specialist student folk show on Forge Radio, and have become quite the dedicated fan (although her southern base has kept me from seeing her live since).

On her Facebook page, Ruth describes her sound as “summerfolk”. If this isn’t already an official genre then I will certainly be starting a petition to make it into one, because it is the perfect way to describe Ruth’s music; her songs have a gentle and uplifting quality that wafts over you like a soothing August breeze, transporting you instantly to a tranquil summer evening or an afternoon’s lazy sunbathing in the park. Her voice is powerful yet soft, allowing her to captivate her audience with no more support than plucked riffs on an acoustic guitar.

Ruth has only been playing solo for a short time but has succeeded in building up a dedicated following, playing a verity of festivals and more intimate gigs. As well as this, she also has a burgeoning career as a vocalist for electro and dubstep producers, demonstrating her cross-genre vocal talents. She is signed to istartedthefire records and word on the street is that she’ll be releasing a solo studio album sometime in the near future, as well as joining some of her label mates on tour.

To find out more about Ruth Bewsey, visit her Facebook page, or check her out on Soundcloud.

– Georgie

H&H Nails

H&H Nails is a London-based collective between makeup artist Holly Silius and jewelry designer Hannah Warner. The friendly pair came up with the idea together, through Hannah’s knowledge of metals and how to work with making jewelry, to Holly’s knowledge of bold, theatrical makeup and how to size products for the body. After combining their skills and expertise in their industries, respectively, H&H Nails was born.

They’ve created quite the innovative product – Creating a re-usable manicure that also doubles as jewelry for your fingernails. Their bold designs, ranging from spikes to spiders, skulls to snakes, leaves to roses – Come in a variety of colours (gold, rose gold, silver, bronze) as well. If you’re willing to pay, they’ll even customise a pair with multi-coloured stones for you.

Their bold innovation has brought on a huge buzz within the fashion industry, from debuting on the catwalk for AW ’12/13 for Thierry Mugler, to catching the attention of high-profiles such as Rihanna and Beth Ditto, who wear the accessories.

This pair have gotten a lot of press lately, so be on the lookout for them! If you’re interested in their products, visit their website – http://www.holly-hannah.com  – for designs, sizes, and pricing.

 

– Killian

 

(Images courtesy of holly-hannah.com)

He is a Pegasus: David Butler

David Butler, or ‘He is a Pegasus’ comprises solely of a twenty-one year old man, his guitar and a laptop. He is often found at open mic nights in Manchester, playing atmospheric music that impressively captures the audience.

David started out playing drums when he was nine years old, influenced by Travis Barker from Blink 182. The more that he listened to music, the more he got into it, playing guitar and learning to sing.

David believes that it was his dad that first got him well and truly into music, as he is a huge Pink Floyd fan and their music introduced David to the kind of over the top sound that he now creates himself. David started off playing the drums after listening to Travis Barker playing in Blink 182 and went on to play guitar, sing and write his own music.

It was when David got into Jeff Buckley that he realised how much potential there is in performing alone and so grew from that. He lists his influences as Muse, Queen, Pink Floyd but then counters them with bands such as Radiohead, understanding that size, spectacle and musical freedom can make a huge difference to what he can achieve. He wants to create music that would would effect an audience whether it is in a huge festival or a tiny cafe.

So far, David’s biggest achievement has been headlining with his band in a tent at one of the biggest free festivals in the UK. After that, David decided to go solo, describing that he has ‘just tried to go bigger, and better, every time’. He now produces and mixes everything he records on his laptop,using the technology to help him recreate his songs live. His music has a fantastic atmosphere to it, reminiscent of Bon Iver . Although he is alone, he can successfully capture the attention of everyone in the room – an impressive feat when playing at open mic nights with critiquing audiences.

In the future David wants to be making waves and to define a generation of music – being average is not part of his plan of action. Considering his musical ability and talent, this dream does not seem at all off the mark.

To listen to David’s music, check out his soundcloud here!

Gaggle

Gaggle comprises of 20 women, in a choir that makes you aware they’re something special within moments of walking on the stage. They wear robes and strange hats, they care about feminism and create a kind of music that is incredibly unusual.

In terms of presentation, it could be considered that Gaggle are creating a kind of theatrical music. The way they present themselves on stage is almost like a west-end musical- a bright array of colours, robes, hats and an atmosphere that is entirely odd. I personally believe after listening to them that recording Gaggle doesn’t do the band justice. Seeing them live, where their sound has space to reverberate around a room, they sound far more impressive.

You see, Gaggle don’t ‘sing’ in the usual sense of the word. Instead they use sound in an almost medieval way, chanting and incarnating in a way that creates a huge mass of sound. They are strident feminists and their passion shows very much in the content of their music.

Therefore maybe the best thing to do when listening to Gaggle is to go in with an open mind – for in terms of the sounds they make and the design of the costumes, they are something entirely different. Their performance is enjoyable and artistically they offer something that has not been explored before now.

Emma Donnelly – Illustrator Extraordinaire

This week I had the pleasure of speaking to the lovely Emma Donnelly, a Huddersfield based Illustrator who has turned her hand at business with her designs now available for purchase. With a quirky, and charmingly honest style of illustration, it’s a guarantee you’ll find a little piece of yourself somewhere in her work. I caught up with Emma to find out more…

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Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work

I’m a fat lady, in love with comics, illustration, dogs and feminism. Currently completing my penultimate year studying Illustration at The University of Huddersfield while trying to navigate my way through the big bad world of freelance.

What are your goals for the next few years?

I’m looking forward to pushing my work to contain more of a political theme. I want to get heavily involved in promoting the feminist ideals of loving yourself, challenging what the media portrays on how to be a person and helping those in dire situations to get educated and get out there. Other than that, I’d just like to keep on making people smile with my illustrations, to get comics published and just to keep doing what I love doing best.

The Gola campaign is called Born in Britain. Who or what inspires you in Britain today?

If I’m being entirely honest, I really just love being British. After everything that’s gone on during 2012 I cant help feel a sense of national pride. There is so much going on in this country and I feel privileged to be a part of something so great. I guess that’s what inspires me really. It pushes me to work creatively to eventually be part of something this great.

Do you have any advice for illustrators just starting out?

Aha I feel like I’m just starting out myself really, but all I can really suggest is just make art, meet people of a like mind and make more art. Your style will develop, you’ll find out how to make something you’re happy with and more than likely find people that like what you do too. Make sure you illustrate for yourself, because at the end of the day its personal to you and its what will define you from others.

Do you have any projects coming up that our readers can look out for?

Well it may be cutting it fine a little, but I’m exhibiting at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds (New Dock Hall) on the 17th and 18th of November with two other fabulous artists. We’re selling a whole range of things, including the first 25 copies of my (first ever!!!) comic Shibutaro and the Frog.

Finally, anything else you’re dying to tell us?

That you, Katie House, are a fabulous person and that you’re doing a great job!

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Well as a self confessed fan of Emma’s work, and an owner of her beautiful designs I hope you guys like her just as much as I do. Check her out now via tumblr or twitter to be the first to know of her new designs and where you can get your hands on them. You’d be mad to miss out!

Twitter: @EmmaInky

Tumblr: emmainky.tumblr.com

Web: emmainkyillustration.net 

Just because I like to spoil you guys, you can also find Emma at the Gola Creative Takeover THIS FRIDAY (23rd November) So head over if you’re in the area.

Until next time

Katie

Posted in Art

Emma Sywyj

Having just recently been acquainted with Emma Sywyj – and having only a short amount of time to view her pieces – I have been taken by the level of emotional response that her pieces have evoked in me. The worlds Emma distils in her photographs are so replete with colour, capture the focal point with such an apt sense of perspective, that you can feel the iris inhabit the lens and locate you in the scene at that very moment.

In her landscape photographs, the edge of the frame doesn’t seem to be the limit of the scene. The panorama extends in the imagination as the mind seems to draw inspiration from the surface textures and the terrain pictured in the bounds of the frame. However brief the you spend with her pieces may be, you get a larger sense of their scope through the ways it incites the mind to really see.

Being so focused on the themes of travel and identity, this quality of observation in Emma’s work is conducive to a grounding sense of place. Emma’s dual heritage informs her focus and her glances towards her two genealogical homes has led her to consider how the self is constituted in art.

This pursuit has also extended to an exploration the identities of DJs, writers, artists and musicians. Some of her other work looks at the relevance of print literature in the face of new publication technologies such as Kindles. These critical artistic experiments, her reviews and installation art pieces can be viewed on her website:

Emma Sywyj

Gallery on the Modern Contemporary Art Facebook page

Introducing Jeramiah Ferrari

I headed home again this week to catch up with the fantastic 4 piece that I first wrote about two months ago. You can check it out here.

From the unassuming town of Leigh in Lancashire, JF are bringing a fresh and original brand of reggae to the UK with a unique and funky mix of rock, calypso, ska, and punk. They’ve gigged accross the country, supported the likes of ‘The Skints’ and appeared in the recent documentary, Manchester: Beyond Oasis.

Both laid back and assiduous in their writing, the band are continuously producing and pushing brand new material, manifest in the two exclusive new tracks in today’s video.  I was fortunate enough to also film the single ‘Shine‘ from their recent EP release ‘The Dubby Rock EP‘ which hit number 4 on the iTunes reggae chart.  Watch it here.

With a growing Facebook fan base of already over 5000, and over 70000 views on their YouTube channel, their sound is spreading, fast, and Jeramiah Ferrari are showing no signs of slowing down.

Natasha Russell

Natasha Russell is another of the winners from the recent Born in Britain competition. We all agreed that her painting ‘Run to Water’ was beautiful and had a unique format. She is also exhibiting some of her work at Doubtfire Gallery until Saturday, so if you’re in Edinburgh and haven’t already gone to have a look, I urge you to go and see it. There are some truly stunning pieces.

Natasha is doing her final year of painting at Edinburgh College of Art, but she is not always in Edinburgh. At the moment she is living in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Cumbria, working away in a leaky caravan. She says it is nice to be living right in the middle of lots of source material like forests and lakes, away from distractions. What a lovely place to be!

I asked her a few questions about her work and her entry to the competition, and this is what she had to say:

What inspired your entry to the creative competition?

This painting is based on the myths and histories attached to the Goblin ha’. Its this strange underground ruin just outside of Edinburgh- a stone arched cavern under a hill with a tiny tiny staircase that winds further down into the cliff face and abrubtly ends. Its worth a visit! There are loads of stories attached to the place, some quite plainly historical and others more fantastical. This mixing of fact and fiction is something I keep working with.

The work follows my continued focus on the use of myths and folklore in society; the way that their elements repeat over time and their connection to the local landscape. I’m really interested in the surreal and bizarre images that many of the tales create and through jumbling together all of these elements hope to create strange that don’t directly tell a story but just present something completely subjective to the onlooker.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What is inspiring in your life?

To be honest…making pictures is my favourite way to spend free time at the moment. I love going on little adventures to find new places to make work about and if I had a more time I’d like to go a bit further! Lots of chatting, cooking, music, people watching and silliness keeps me working too.

How are things taking shape for you in the future?

 I’d love to work in somewhere like a print studio, or somewhere that I can keep seeing things be made as well as make my own.  A couple of friends and I are working on a project creating pop-up installations in derelict buildings using scrap material workshops. I’d like to keep going with this, inviting in other artists to design and create installations too. We’re always looking for new spaces to use. I enjoy being involved in immersive arts events and painting murals and so as well as continuing with smaller stuff I’d love to spend more time working on projects that apply the work to a bigger outdoor scale and involve more people. Oh and once I’m done with my degree I’d also really like to build up more of a design portfolio. So much to do!

Congratulations to Natasha, I hope to see plenty more of her work in the future!

 
See some more of Natasha’s work here!

 

Posted in Art

Colour The Atlas

What do you get when you mix a clash of cinematic folk, chilled trip beats and swaths of sensuous with late night atmospherics… you get Swindon sensations, Colour The Atlas. Emotionally rich, musically economical and wonderfully balanced this British four piece (Jess Hall :vocals, keyboards, Alex Stone: guitar, vocals, Andy Vincent: bass, Stef Pysanczyn :drums) have been garnering praise and publicity from the likes of ‘BBC Introducing’ with Fearne Cotton a keen supporter and fan of the group.

The band have stated they are influenced by the likes Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Iron & Wine, however they sound more English than these, with more of a UK than US folk influence. Combine this use of electronics we see many of the overt folk traces covered with in computer sheen. Their recent self-titled debut EP is an accomplished piece of work in its own right, and it’s Hall’s understated but distinctive and functional voice that immediately stands out and impresses. Furthermore, without the commercial polish that often eradicates records of their personality and place of concept (Hall writes and produces the tracks from her garage) we get a more gritty down to Earth record that really is all about capturing the essence of the music and allowing for Halls voice to not be over swamped by needless high end production tricks.

We hear with the leading track of the EP , Snow, the incorporation of a Trip Hop inspired beat, direct influence form their neighbouring town of Bristol. Another track on the EP named Satellites we receive a slower song with sampled hiss and strings providing effective musical background and soundscape for Hall’s soulful voice to sing over. Another highlight of a highly impressive musical debut.

Check out Colour The Atlas at the following venues:

Nov 27 King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Glasgow, United Kingdom
Nov 28 Oporto Leeds, United Kingdom
Nov 30 Trof, Fallowfiel, Manchester, United Kingdom

Josephine

Straight out of Manchester, Josephine Oniyama and her soul-rich voice are taking the music press by storm – with Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Paul Lester (The Guardian) all raving about her, she looks set to be the next big thing. A singer-songwriter, she mixes the genres of indie, soul, folk and indie, taking inspiration for her lyrics from the world around her. According to Josephine, anything, be it love, technology or the weather, can be turned into a song.

Josephine has been playing live since her teens, performing her fist gig at the age of 15. Since then, she’s supported the likes of Paolo Nutini and Michael Kiwanuka, and last month she released her debut album, ‘Portrait’. She lists her influences as the Smiths, Joanna Newsom and Joan Armatrading (among others), and you can hear hints of all them in her music.

Josephine has the aptitude to create songs that are simultaneously contemporary and nostalgic, her powerful voice delightfully compatible with the quirks and charming strangeness of the music. She’s not simply another soul artist trying to replicate Dusty Springfield or Mahalia Jackson either; she brings a post-modern element to the genre, with her music a surprising sequence of twists and turns, a unique artist in every way.

If you’d like to see Josephine live, she’ll be touring with the Noisettes, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Paloma Faith at various points in 2013. To find out more information, visit her website.

– Georgie

Charles Young

Charles Young is one of the winner’s from the Gola: Born in Britain creative competition hosted in Edinburgh a few weeks earlier. His winning photograph of sheep skulls was created using hand made techniques, and Charles’ interest in photography has led him to make some other extraordinary things.

Creative by nature, Charles is studying his masters in architecture at the University of Edinburgh, however alongside this, he also has a passion for photography. He tries to combine the two interests whenever he can.

He first developed an interest in film photography a few years back, when he acquired his Dad’s Praktica 35mm, and a Franka Solida Jr. medium format camera that belonged to his great aunt. With these two cameras, he started to experiment and develop his skill and techniques, adding bits and pieces to his photographic collection on the way. Charles obviously has great knowledge and skill of film photography, and has put this to good use!

He recently decided he would try out large format photography, however, in light of the fact that the required equipment is rare and expensive, he decided, that by pooling his resources and gathering some materials, he would simply make his own. Charles succeeded in his endeavors and has made a fully functioning medium format camera. He says it is not very sleek, but I had a look at it myself, and considering he that he built ever part of it except for the lens and film holders, it looks very finely made in my opinion!

With this camera, he has gone on to make contact prints, using the processes of cyanotype and salted paper. His skull photograph is the result of his experimentation with these techniques.

Since then, he has inherited a 1900′s era half plate camera, to take photographs on glass plates. Charles tells me, ‘Glass plates for this kind of camera haven’t been made commercially for a long time so the only option was to make my own. Making the emulsion is a weeklong process but the ingredients are quite simple. I was actually quite amazed that I was able to get any kind of image and seeing the negative image appear when you develop a plate is a magical thing.’

Certainly creative and talented, as well as hard working and knowledgeable Charles definitely deserves recognition. Also in his ‘free time’, he has made a scale model of our tenement building, as well as all of the buildings in the immediate surrounding area. Architectural models can be found all over the flat, including a truly fantastic design for a fish market, inspired by an overturned boat.

Have a look at more of Charles’ work here.

Posted in Art

CCKT

CCKT is a fashion line that was born in Newry and is now based in London. They are inspired by contributing artists from around the world, who provide them with unique artwork that is displayed through their collections.

Creators Cecilia and Katie began CCKT when they were around fifteen years old and it has been growing successfully ever since. The name is a clever combination of their nicknames pushed together.

They are known for attending events such as Bread and Butter, the Berlin Fashion Tradeshow that is known for displaying original up and coming fashion – particularly fashion that has a strong brand culture and philosophy.

What makes CCKT exciting is the fact that they are so open to artist involvement, inviting artists from around the world to print their work on CCKT’s range of t-shirts, vests and jumpers. At the moment they have artists from France, U.S.A and Australia designing work for them, whilst other artists are closer to home in London.

CCKT are beginning to grow bigger – one of their jumpers was spotted being sported by none other than Fearne Cotton last year on the cover of Star TV and they have also been featured in GQ.

With such a unique company mission and collaboration with artists, it will certainly be interesting to see where CCKT end up in the next few years!