Educate Elevate

When getting in contact with Educate Elevate’s team, (the founders: Suzan, Faith & Nic) I soon started to realise how much the film ‘Do the Right Thing’ had influenced the style and ethos of the brand. So I felt in order to really understand their message, I better watch this Spike Lee film.

After watching it, I got it. I get the positive message they are trying to create and the same message that the fashion market seem to have forgotten. The brand is all about creating something unique and bringing a new twist to the industry.We love the late 80′s, early 90′s era and the positivity that surrounds it. It’s this positive mindset that influenced us to create this brand”. 

They even show these positive vibes through their motto ‘EDUCATE THE MIND, ELEVATE THE GRIND’, meaning the more you educate yourself about the world and your surroundings, the more chance you have in becoming successful and moving up in the world. “We’re not just preaching about world issues and politics, (though it’s cool if you care about that!) We’re talking CULTURE. Learning about other cultures & embracing our differences will influence and inspire you. You can’t educate the majority with the mind of the minority!!!”.

Launching in only August 2012, Educate Elevate has created quite the buzz, especially in the blogging world. The great thing about EE is that the brand is really trying to speak and represent the current youth market. We wanted to be informing young people about other cultures and how to better themselves whilst spreading our ethos – we want to make them feel like they are a part of a positive movement when they wear our clothes”.

As a 90’s kid and fan myself, Educate Elevate speaks to me a lot more than other similar brands. I have been a huge fan and been blogging about them for a while. I thought they would be a great talent to share through the ‘Born in Britain’ project because they are influenced by music, film and art and make sure that they encompass that within Educate Elevate.

The team are currently working on their top secret A/W collection, where they will be manufacturing their own garments for the first time, not just t-shirts and sweaters. They have lots of plans to keep the business growing through the great blogger support and supporting young people and charities close to their hearts. To everyone who has supported us, especially the people who have backed us from the start, we’re doing this for you!”. 

So check out their site www.educateelevate.com and remember EDUCATE THE MIND, ELEVATE THE GRIND.

Brock Davis

“Make work that people want to talk about and have fun doing it.” Take a moment and question how many of us would eat a banana, and instead of throwing away the skin, think that it could be turned into a piece of art? And how many of us picture a muscle car, a toy muscle car, ramping into the air, over a piece of cake? Well ‘Tumblr’ sensation Brock Davis is doing an impressive job of finding creativity in uncreative places; and in doing so, has aquired a whole host of followers and built an impressive client list. All from simply making a few clever observations, and realising his sometimes weird & wonderful ideas.

Based in Minneapolis, the photographer / designer / modelmaker / everything-else’s twists on the everyday, ranging from a ‘Cucumber Killer Whale’ to a ‘Cauliflower Treehouse’ have caught the eye of hundreds of thousands and set a trend for a generation of low-fi artists. It’s the kind of craft that makes you sit back and think ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’

The lack of text in his work and pure dependance on image allows the work to be appreciated by any age group; and without language barriers, the work has a universal appeal, which could contribute to his world wide web success. The intuition and craft of Brock Davis really must be applauded. His specialty lies in making the small big and the missable unmissable, but simultaneously the work is comical. Something so realistic and accessible as is the medium of food allows us to relate to the work and understand it instantaneously. It’s good clean fun at it’s best.

 

 

Theo Vass

Vibrant line drawings, bold installations, architectural observations and spatial transformations challenge surrounding environment in Theo Vass’s practice. Theo graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with BA in Fine Art. His portfolio displays a wide range of works, including videos, projections, sculptures, prints and exquisite drawings. He makes site specific installations and works on collaborative projects, constructing new environments and new spaces.

Theo is a great example of contemporary all-round artists, collaborating across disciplines and successfully delivering his ideas in any medium. He investigates surrounding space, translating his observations into balanced geometrical compositions, demonstrating beautiful drawing technique. Space becomes a part of his work, he displays drawings and layers projections on top of surrounding objects. Artworks and objects blend together, forming an altered reality.

His recent projects include a site specific collaborative response to Cairns Street in Liverpool, where he and another 10 artists created artworks in response to the street, transforming the area and abandoned buildings, working with residents and setting up a drawing workshop.

To see more of his works, visit his website www.theovass.com

Iossie Ng Lei

Based at the heart of the sunny city, Iossie Ng le is a young and promising graphic designer. Studying at the University of Brighton, she is surrounded by a buzz of creativity and culture. As a visual communicator, Iossie has a pivotal role to play in the world of graphic design, a market where art meets functionality. Iossie not only has flair for editorial design and branding but an affection for illustration and painting. Her dedication to her craft takes her from a foundation at the UCA to an exchange in America this September. This goes some way to achieving her goal of reading reality, being able to represent and actually complete it.

Iossie’s catalogue of work is full of sleek designs and beautiful fonts. Elevating what you might consider informative graphics into clean and imaginative visuals. They are clever as they are witty, with a take on minimalism that has a lot to say for itself. Slick and hardy Iossie’s images radiate the vogue of today’s media. She exploits the language of the public service and information for the purposes of irony. The combination of random dolls and animals create a part fantasy feel, which is diluted by matter-of-fact information. It is this overlapping, building up of images that leads to a slightly off center destination. Keeping a strong emphasis on hierarchy of text, cool layouts, and use of her own tailored imagery. The act of analyzing a daily subject and making it a focus of her study is something that fascinates this young graphic designer. Iossie relies on a subject’s history, texture and symbolism to compose and process new ways of reasoning.

For Iossie’s Links – http://ingleiwork.tumblr.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/76396544@N08/sets/

Saint Raymond

Nottingham seems to be turning out artists by the dozen at the moment. A year ago we were introduced to the phenomenal Jake Bugg and in 2013, there appears to be a new contender for the most exciting up and coming act in Nottingham: Saint Raymond.

Saint Raymond creates the kind of music that you have probably been waiting for this summer. Music that makes you want to relax in your garden with a BBQ and some friends. Personally, I’ve been waiting to find music like this since early spring…it’s chilled out, and it’s also really, really good.

Saint Raymond’s musical taste ranges from House music, to Oasis, to Folk and those genres have encouraged him to create his own music. He started playing guitar at the age of seven, only taking it seriously a few years ago. Since then, Saint Raymond has started to write his own music and has gained the attention of many listeners. Fall At Your Feet, a summery and enjoyable track is a song that Saint Ramondis particularly proud of. He felt as though it ‘just clicked and felt right’. As a listener, it can be agreed that the song is certainly an excellent one and has earned him over 30,000 views on YouTube!

So far Saint Raymond’s biggest achievement has been releasing his EP Escapade and selling out a Nottingham show. It appears as though his work is finally gaining the recognition it deserves, and the release of his first album will be a dream come true to him.
So for now enjoy Saint Raymond’s EP and hopefully one day we will see him achieving his dream of playing the main stage at Glastonbury!

If you fancy giving Saint Raymond a watch, his tour dates are here, or why not check out his Youtube or Twitter?

Archie Smith

Beethoven started playing the piano aged four, Mozart at three. Even Chris Martin, frontman of legendary pop/rock band Coldplay, dipped his toe in the acoustic pool pre-puberty. So when Archie Smith tells me he was hitting the piano before he could speak, I know we are onto a winner.

Aged 20, from a rurality outside of Bath, Archie had somewhat of a classical beginning to his musical education. At school, he sung in choirs and in musical theatre most of the way through. Pop and rock soon followed, and he started his first band, ‘The Aviators’, aged 12. A slew of other groups, in different incarnations, came and went throughout school, until a year ago when Archie decided to go solo.

As is the case with most of the artists showcased as part of the ‘Born in Britain’ programme, Archie does all of his creative work alongside his studies. In just the past months, he has performed with the likes of Gabrielle Aplin (also on the Born in Britain site here), Lewis Watson, Luke Concannon, Josh Record, and many other talented, young musicians. He was also a part of the late BBC Introducing programme in Wiltshire, and has subsequently moved to BBC Introducing South. It’s amazing then, to weight these accomplishments along with all of the other commitments he has, but it’s done through hard graft and a natural flair.

His first CD, entitled ‘Out of the Ashes’, was recorded and released in 2012. After the physical editions sold out, Archie turned to his next project, which was to be the ‘I Will Love You’ EP. A magical and touching ballad (which I feel the music industry is hard pressed to come by nowadays) explores themes of love and loss. Taken as a piece on it’s own, it’s extremely easy listening, and receptive to the ideas of the writer. Accompanied by a short film, that Archie tells me really came about by a chance encounter whilst busking, the result is a deeply moving piece of musical cinema. Elrose Media have successfully conveyed the core meaning of the song through a plot that ebbs to an overwhelming conclusion.

What is clear is the artistry is at the core of Archie’s sound. Never one to rush his work, the writing process is always organic, and his inspiration comes from the heart of artistic endeavour. In true New-Romantic fashion, galleries and theatres hold much to be enjoyed, especially dance, for as Archie says ‘there isn’t much that is more captivating than watching people move to music’. Musically speaking, Coldplay is a tangible influence: mellow chords and robust lyrics melt together to create something of an echo. The protegee isn’t hollow though, bolstered by other contemporary classical notes to the tune of Eric Whitacre, The Beatles, Cat Stevens, and Andy Williams. The list is endless: but the sights are high.

In relying on classical tones, his contemporary sound is given a starting point from which age old concerns meld with those that are perhaps more modern. From his first CD ‘The First Days of Love’ is a standout track. Subtle and creative, it’s a gentle tune with a heartfelt message that most of us can associate with. Stripping back the angst of young adulthood, Archie gives us a refreshing taste of honest upset and, in turn, elation. A young Chris Martin? Perhaps – but Archie Smith will no doubt soon be a household name of it’s own.

www.archiesmithuk.com

Jing Jing Cao

Jing Jing Cao is a London based jeweller, who caught my attention with her BA collection. Jing Jing attended the famous arts and design college Central Saint Martins, and this artistic background and degree has clearly served her well. In every collection and piece of Jing Jing’s jewellery you can clearly see the artist craftsmanship and talent that has gone into every piece. Jing Jing’s romantic jewellery is delicately designed, and the balance of light and shadows highlights the beautiful detailing.

Jing Jing’s BA collection draws inspiration from death, burial plots and monuments that we build to commemorate loved ones lost. Although her inspiration is a little bit morbid, Jing Jing’s collection has elements of spectacle, modernity and deathliness, which creates a unique and regal jewellery line. The statement pieces are reminiscent of something that you would imagine Anne Boleyn wearing, with the extravagant and feminine headpieces and gems.

Jing Jing’s jewellery caught critical attention in 2009 with the release of her collection, MiCHELE. The MiCHELE collection won the Harold Hobbs Memorial Process Award and in 2010 the Cultural Activities Committee of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) chose the collection for their exhibition, “The Real and the Virtual”. I caught up with Jing Jing to ask her about her jewellery and what its like to be an independent jewellery designer working in the creative industry.

 

How would you describe your style to someone who has never seen your jewellery collection before?

For my overall style I would say its coquettish jewellery that contains esoteric concepts, and carries out romantic prowess. For my BA collection, I would say it is a sculptural jewellery with an obsession with Victoriana, which steer well clear of any vintage aesthetic.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

I am inspired by the huge collection of Victorian masterpieces in the V&A, and how Victorian art bring in the effect of light and shadow. I have created my BA jewellery collection to interpret Memento Mori in a different way through reflecting the interdependent relation between life and death. As the life and the death reunite, the two main pieces of the collection can be worn together as one piece.

 Do you think your artistic background has helped you career?

All the artistic experiences and knowledge gained from my past has all contributed to my current fashion and jewellery career, especially during my days in Central Saint Martins. At Central Saint Martins I got to understood different directions and backgrounds of Jewellery and Accessories through research, and I got to establish my individual style and the ability to visualise images three-dimensionally.

 What would your advice be for someone who is looking to break into the fashion world? 

Be prepared to develop and explore new methods of production and to create fashion that challenges and pushes boundaries in fashion and lifestyle products. And also try to open up the mind of design into a new level to the fullest, and to attain as many zestful experiences as possible.

For more information about Jing Jing’s collections visit www.jingjing.co.uk or contact michelle_caojingjing@hotmail.com.

Parklife

Parklife is one of the most exciting up and coming festivals in the North West. Not only does it showcase a wide variety of talent, it also has a tendency to scout out acts just before they break into the big time.

Parklife has been running for four years and started off as a festival catered for students that would coincide with the end of exams.  After outgrowing its original venue, Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield, this year generated even more excitement as the festival moved location to Manchester’s Heaton Park and promised to be bigger and better than ever.

What is special about Parklife is that it seems to have tremendous luck when it comes to finding exciting, up and coming acts. A year ago Parklife included bands such as Alt-J and solo artist Jessie Ware, both of whom became two of the UK’s fastest growing acts in 2012, achieving success both here and in America.

This year the festival really felt like it was uncovering exciting talent, especially with the introduction of AlunaGeorge, who have certainly come forwards leaps and bounds since being mentioned in this article at the beginning of the Born in Britain campaign! The festival may have grown bigger, but it doesn’t seem to have forgotten its roots in introducing new acts!

It’s always exciting to be able to uncover new music, and there’s nothing quite as great as being introduced to a festival that appears to have an eye on the artists that have the potential to break out in 2013. With a bit of luck, even more of Gola’s Born in Britain artists may pop up at Parklife in the years to come!

Lisan Ly

“It could be autumn leaves in a park, reflections in a lake or walking past a skyscraper. I believe beauty can exist anywhere, when you look.” The unmissable Lisan Ly and her global explorations are the foundation for similarly global ambitions. Flying the flag – or should I say flying her scarf designs – proudly in the air for all to see. One would perhaps need an atlas to explain the sources of inspiration behind the beauteous creations of the British born designer. Malaysia and Thailand are a few of the many pins in her map.

Lisan painted a picture for me, describing how ‘temple tiles, vibrant florals and beautiful insects’ played a role in shaping her explosive colour pallete. Chinese and Vietnamese heritage are another ingredient confidently stitched into the surfaces designs of the London College of Communication graduate, who makes reference to England’s Kew Gardens and Japanese kimonos as research points for the delicately balanced designs of her impressive debut October 2012 collection. “I absolutely love travelling and try to see as much of the world as I can. It’s an amazing source of creative inspiration.”

Lisan’s work displays a considerable level of technical excellence, perhaps stemming from previous studies at Kingston University; not in design, but computing. To this day innovative techniques and quality craftsmanship such as (deep breath) hand illustration, computer aided design, screen printing, pattern cutting, laser cutting and embroidery, all contribute to the elegance. Much labour and attention to detail has been woven into the fibres of this ‘wearable art.’ There is certainly much more than meets the eye.

Making reference to two of my favorite words – ‘organized chaos’, Lisan explains how her creations “aim to reflect beauty in the world and embody the simple pleasures in life” and I think she is successful in her intentions. Her luxurious but playful designs breath a level of sophistication that would make a perfect gift for the perfect woman. Lisan has great admiration for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Yohji yamamoto, Elie Saab and the prints of Basso & Brooke, Erdem and Peter Pilotto – but keep your eye on the catwalks, and listen out for the alliterate brand name – ‘Lisan Ly’ that will hopefully one day stand alongside the work of such well-known designers.

Ralph Masri

Ralph Masri is a Beirut born, but London based jeweller, who specialises in rich and bold statement pieces. Ralph has had one heck of an international upbringing, having lived between Lebanon, Canada, France and Britain. At the age of 18 Ralph moved to London to study a BA in Jewellery design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Ralph tells me, “I had always been drawn to art and design since childhood, and it was actually during my foundation year at college (Central Saint Martins in London) that I discovered my passion for jewellery, so that’s what I specialised in, and it’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

After graduating from Saint Martins Ralph established his own jewellery line, which has been hugely successful. Ralph’s debut collection, A Trace of Lace, is inspired by beauty, intricacy and the sensuality of lace. Ralph comments, “my first collection was inspired by, as the name suggests, lace and floral patterns. My next collection, launching this summer, is inspired by Arabesque and Islamic architecture. So my inspiration really comes from anything.” Ralph’s collection uses vibrant colours and shapes, and clearly shows Ralph’s love for lace. Ralph’s necklaces and rings really caught my attention, with being bright and eye-catching because of their delicate, handcrafted design. The majority of Ralph’s pieces are centred with a beautiful colourful stone, such as amethyst or garnet, which really makes his jewellery stand out from the crowd.

Ralph clearly knows the intrinsic craftsmanship behind jewellery, creating regal, daring and simply gorgeous pieces. Although Ralph’s jewels are extremely rich and expensive, Ralph’s pieces can be worn both day and night. Ralph’s tip for all budding jewelers is, “you have something to have something that stands out. The competition is insane in this field and you really need to be able to have a unique identity that grabs people’s attention.” This is something that Ralph’s work clearly embodies. Ralph’s bold jewellery collection has not gone unnoticed, and he’s only 24-years-old! Ralph’s jewellery has been exhibited during London Jewellery Week, and whilst Ralph was only 20-years-old (and during his second year at Saint Martins), Ralph’s jewels were nominated for the UK Jewellery Award, making Ralph one of the youngest nominated! Although Ralph is the young new-boy on the jewellery block, he is clearly not one to be messed with. I am excited to see what Ralph’s career has installed for the future. Ralph is one to watch.

Go and check out Ralph’s beautiful jewellery at http://www.ralphmasri.com/ or head to his Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ralphmasri. And to buy some of Ralph’s beautiful jewellery, head to Wolf & Badger in Notting Hill, and on their website wolfandbadger.com.

 

Emily May

Emily May’s illustrations are simply lovely and adorable in every way, with a sweet style that suits any kind of commercial brief. Having done work for ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Cath Kidston among many others whilst even helping redesign an entire PDSA shop in Leeds, she’s got an impressively full portfolio for someone who only graduated in 2010 (that’s from Leeds Met with first in Graphic Design).

My favourite pieces of her work have got to be her cat and dog print designs (the dog one you can see on the left here), which are intricate and cute in equal amounts. Her style is mainly based on her detailed line penwork, but she also uses a fair bit of digital colour to add variety and tone, which works very well.

She was also lovely enough to answer some quick questions for me, so here’s a little interview for you:

What part of your career or portfolio so far are you most proud of?
Supporting myself as a Freelance Illustrator for nearly 2 and a half years has been a massive achievement for me. Its a terrifying prospect for any young creative to come out of University and try to make it on their own in the real world. I’m proud of myself for having the guts and determination to stick it through and get to where I am now. In regards to my portfolio, though its pretty awesome seeing my illustrations printed in magazines or on peoples sweatshirts, I think I get more of an overwhelming sense of gratitude when I sell a print in my shop; knowing that a person wants to hang my drawing in their home is the loveliest feeling.


Do you have a dream commission, or do you simply enjoy the act of creating in general?
I don’t know if I have a dream commission really, I just love any work that comes my way where I can put my own creative twist on things. For anybody that has seen my work, its probably quite clear that I’m somewhat obsessed with animals and working for the PDSA was probably the most rewarding project I’ve ever done; so getting commissioned by the RSPCA or WWF would be beyond amazing. I could easily spend all hours of the day drawing kittens, so to avoid this I prefer working to a brief, that way I keep myself challenged.


All your animal drawings, but the cats in particular, have such a great sense of character- but are you a cat or a dog person?
I have 100% belief that my dogs love me more than anybody ever will in the whole entire world, and I also believe that the only reason my cat is rubbing up against my ankles right now is because he wants to be fed. But at the end of the day, I couldn’t live without either and I find them equally as hilarious with buckets of personality – and that’s what makes for a great drawing.


What  does the immediate future hold for you and your work?
I’ve got a few things on my plate right now. I’m currently working on an illustration for Cath Kidston and I’m very excited for when that goes to print, and I’m also working on an animation project which is scary new territory for me but something I’m really enjoying. 


And lastly: what or who is the biggest influence on your life and work?
If I had to choose one person it would be my granddad. I remember from a very young age sitting on his lap whilst he looked at my drawings and showed me how to improve them, I believe I have inherited his perfectionist ways. He worked at Gaumont British Animation as an animator and created the more than beautiful series ‘Animaland’. He is such a skilled illustrator and painter and he’ll forever be my biggest inspiration.

 

LINKS

Website

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Ahoy! Animation

Dynamic lines,  atmospheric imagery, humour and imaginative narrative are all at the heart of good animation, and new collective of artists ticks every box. I’d like to introduce to you, Ahoy!, a collective on animators set up by Oana Nechifor and Peter Shaw of Edinburgh College of Art (ECA).

Ahoy! is the ECA winner of the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprises, a very competitive award for a £10,000 business grant focusing specifically on creative industries in design. The founders of the collective, Oana Nechifor and Peter Shaw have worked hard to make their idea become a reality, and now have given themselves the opportunity to continue working within the field of animation, as well as supporting other up and coming animators who share their passion and talent.

Although Ahoy! is a newly founded business, both Oana and Peter have had very successful films and projects during their time as ECA students.

Notably, Peter and Oana among other students Farah Ahmad, Amy Shields, Miryam Lacey, and Gavin Robinson were given the opportunity to animate short 5 minute films that were broadcast last November on BBC Scotland, as part of a series titled ‘Addicted to Pleasure’ hosted by Brian Cox, which investigated how the brain and body are affected by different substances such as sugar, alcohol and tobacco.

Alongside this, Peter and Oana both produced beautiful short films for their final year show at ECA.

Peter made Lagan, a film about a fisherman and his son full of magical realism and apocalyptic atmosphere. This will be shown at the Edinburgh Filmhouse as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 26th, alongside other films eligible for the McLaren Award in New British Animation.

Oana Nechifor also made a stunning film called The House with No Doors, exploring the life of the character Jon who lives his life as a hermit and whose only escape is through imagination and the arrival of a little bird. The film, which is also eligible for the McLaren Award, will be shown at the Filmhouse on the 21st of June.

Please take a look at the Ahoy! show-reel and stay tuned with them to find out what will be happening next.