UNKN

Alper Dostal & Sylvia Moritz, a dynamic Austrian duo working under the pen name ‘UNKN‘ have teamed up again after previously collaborating on projects with the release of a short film discussing the idea of abstraction, focusing on the movement of ink on the human body. Having been featured for their previous work ‘Disappear’ on online art communities, which involved large scale psychedelic black and white pen drawings that filled an entire white room. Receiving praise from arts writer Sally O’Reilly, the pair are ‘sticking’ together with this messy but engaging performance art. 

“follow the track. step back. wear black. turn white by light. go dark if you like. transform by night. we pour. you take. you move. we pace. what once was black has now come back. you fear while hear. we shape we rape. we rinse we spin. you lose you win. you can’t deny. we identify.”

The ‘slick’ editing and contemporary production skill is immediately clear from Alper, incorporating a dramatised soundtrack that does the interesting footage justice – black and white ink, trickling over a professional model, performing under the watchful eye of Creative Director Sylvia Moritz. “Making a video like this it is important to have outgoing and like-minded collaborators to make it a reality”.

Kyle Platts

Kyle Platts is a freelance illustrator and comic book artist from Sheffield, who now lives and works in London.

Since graduating from University of the Arts London, Kyle has produced work for a number of publications, including Nobrow, Vice, The New York Times and Anorak Magazine. He has also been involved with several art and design shows. Most recently, Kyle exhibited and sold work at Pick Me Up Graphic Fair, in Somerset House, and at East London Comics and Art Festival, in Bethnal Green’s York Hall.

Kyle’s work is often provocative and makes light of sinister scenarios. His designs are playful and humorous, sometimes crude, and definitely not to be taken seriously!

He uses bright, bold, sometimes florescent, colour and strong line, combined with repetitive pattern to produce complex scenes and fictional characters.

Kyle’s latest comic book ‘Megaskull’, for Nobrow, is the first of a series where you can be introduced to some of these characters and delve into the world in which they live in.

To see more of Kyle’s work, you can visit his website – www.kyleplatts.com

Or visit his blog – kyleplatts.tumblr.com

 

Posted in Art

Josef Salvat

Josef Salvat is a singer-songwriter born in Australia but currently living in London. His music is often classed as  pop, but don’t think boy bands and Taylor Swift because you would be way off. Think more along the lines of James Blake.

Josef isn’t really a complete unknown on the music scene. After his first demo, This Life, was put on soundcloud earlier this year there was a fair bit of hype surrounding him.

Hype after one track is a dangerous thing but Josef has just released Hustler and I think if anything it shows he can live up to the initial buzz.

So what does he sound like? Well the two songs on Josef’s soundcloud are really quite different but I’d say both songs are quite dark. Josef’s most recent track, Hustler, has simple piano parts and vocals but the use of layering makes the song sound complex, building up and dropping back to a simple piano part and vocals.

In reality though, the only way you’re going to know what his music is like is if you have a listen, so if you haven’t gone to his soundcloud yet then sort that out now. Check out his tracks and some of the great remixes on there too.

If you want to know more, find Josef on Facebook and Twitter.

Marcus Butt

Marcus Butt is an illustrator.

Since graduating in Illustration from the University West of England, he moved to London where he is now based.

He makes colourful, texture-rich 2d images for a range of clients and has had his work printed in publications including; ‘Wired’, ‘Radio Times’ and ‘Creative Review’.

Marcus responds to creative briefs with a thoughtful and conceptual approach. He combines bold shape and line with visual metaphor to translate a strong message. Marcus plays with silhouette and shadow, which help to form his graphic images.

He also makes clever use of space. His imagery is always well executed, displaying an ability to work from different views and angles.

Marcus’ work is attractive and accessible to a wide audience.

You can see more of Marcus’ work on his website  www.marcusbutt.com

He is represented by Rare Bird London and is also on twitter @marcusbutt01

Posted in Art

Zoon van Snook

Zoon van Snook is the moniker of Bristol based Alec Snook. He recently released his second full length album, with the title The Bridge Between Life and Death, on Lo Recordings. The album sees him collaborate with Amiina, Sin Fang, Benni Hemm Hemm and Múm. Not surprising, then, that the album is built around field recordings taken in Iceland in 2009.

His previous records are the LP (Falling from) The Nutty Tree, and the single The Verge of Winter. If you are a fan of the collaborators on the newest record, you are guaranteed to be a fan of Zoon van Snook. A beautifully composed, cohesive and thoughtful album speckled with sound bytes and gloriously epic moments shrouded in twinkling piano and sweeping violins. In the background, muttering voices and the humming of life passing by create an intimately secluded experience. It is elegant, musing; tittering and tottering through a musical soundscape that seems so clearly inspired by the environment it was sampled from.

There’s a naturalness to the whole experience, especially on track Tjörnin Side, speckled with ”flaws” so to speak, which humanizes the music making process and discards the overproduction that is so common these days, in favour of a polished variability. It’s no surprise he’s mates with legendary Boards of Canada; he easily stands shoulder to shoulder in their category of beautifully experimental and enticing electronic music. The Bridge Between Life and Death has already garnered massive amounts of respect and recognition by the “powers that be” in the music world, and rightfully so. It reminds me of a tinkering box, all grown up and advanced for adults. Like a magical world contained within a case, and when you open it, a figurehead spins, creating a private narrative and landscape within your mind that only the holder can explore.

The Bridge Between Life and Death is out now on Lo Recordings, available for purchase and free to stream here.

Jonnie Common

I met Jonnie Common at the gig he played at Broadcast in Glasgow, in the beginning of May, after an electrifying set played in the basement. Normally I’ll skirt the opening acts of a gig, but thankfully I didn’t this time. With a name like Jonnie Common (yes, that’s his real name), you kind of have to be doing something original and inspiring. He’s been making music under this “alias” since around about 2009, and is currently signed to Red Deer Club records in Manchester, though he hails from, and is based in, Glasgow. The lyrics are off-kilter; subtly humorous, which becomes even more endearing with the Scottish dialect being so well pronounced. Not being afraid to show where he’s from, the songs are home grown and hark clear about his roots, something so refreshing in a world of homogenous song writing aimed at being universal. It’s clear on tongue-in-cheek song So-called Summer with the lyrics, The summer’s so cold/ I don’t know what to do when its warm and later on My brain is running down the back of my neck. If you’ve ever been to Scotland, you know the coma Scots are thrown in to when the thermometer passes 15 degrees. Always apt in his lyrics, the musical aspect is well orchestrated with a veritable children’s toy extravaganza of instruments used to create lots of layers and upbeat fantasies. There’s something vaguely familiar in his style, though it’s always easy to begin citing influences and sound-alike bands, but he easily falls into the category of originality as a great lyricist and musician. Currently working on a new album, with a working release date set for October, his new single Figurehead is out now. On Figurehead, Common sings: Though I can’t finish everything I start/I have the best intentions. Well, let’s hope he finishes the new album, as I, for one, can’t wait to hear what else Common has under wraps. Have a listen here.

Have a browse through his website, and keep an eye out for a final release date.

 

Hannah Colson Patterns

A graduate from my own university Hannah produces gorgeous patterns fit for any purpose.

A short intro from Hannah

I am a graduate from the University of Huddersfield, with a BA in Surface design. The main focus of my work has been creating eccentric patterns for a variety of markets, including interiors. My designs draw attention to items we often take for granted, such as cables and mix tapes, which I use to create bold designs that unravel before the eyes and transfix the viewer. One of the highlights so far has been exhibiting at the Surface Design Show with my University.

Tell us about your final major project at university?

 My final project focused on creating a collection of designs that could be developed into an eccentric feature wall or personalised upholstery. The main goal was to produce a series of patterns that were creative but still suitable for domestic interiors, which is why some of my designs use subtle colours.

 Your patterns come from items taken for granted? Used items, where did this theme come from?

 This theme came from my experiences as a designer. At the start of university, I felt I was always using the same sort of imagery to create my designs. I really enjoyed sketching flowers but there were only so many times that I could keep drawing the same roses over again and over again. In the end, I decided to look at incorporating more unusual imagery into my work, an idea which came to me after sketching old headphones and cable wires. These were items which I had taken for granted in the past, keeping them in storage and ignoring their aesthetic qualities. As a result, I decided that I would try to include them in my surface designs to see how this would enhance them.

 Is their a brand or location you think your patterns could apply themselves to?

 If anything I would love to see my designs applied to quirky location like Hotel Fox in Copenhagen.

 Tell us about the process of design, from drawing to digital?

 A lot of my designs start off as quick sketches based on photos or objects I’ve liberated from the attic. I either ink my line art by hand or use a graphics tablet, before experimenting with a variety of compositions. I’ve found from experience that some of the simplest layouts are often the most effective.

 Who is your favourite designer?

 Karen Combs. I love her gallery of vibrant and fun-loving Nama Rococo wallpaper designs; they’re a real treat for the eyes.

 What are you plans for the future?

 At the moment I’m considering a range of possibilities, including freelancing part time.

I think Hannah’s patterns are very usable in a home or business but still add interest and a decorative aspect. Hannah still has a long way to go to build up a collection of patterns worthy of a top notch designers portfolio but  she is well worth watching to see what she comes up with next.

Check out her portfolio at

http://hcoulsondesigns.wix.com/portfolio

Posted in Art

Louise Blakeway

Introducing Louise Blakeway, a spectacular Midlands based Fine Artist.

Louise recently completed her degree, a BA in Fine Art, from Birmingham City University School of Art. She has been nominated for several awards and was most recently shortlisted for the 2013 Sketch Drawing Prize at Rabley Drawing Centre. Her work was also recently pre-selected for the Royal of Painters in Watercolours Open 2013, at the Mall Galleries in London.

To date, Louise has exhibited all around the Midlands, including at The Public Gallery in West Bromwich and at The Open Project, mac, Birmingham. She has shown work in both solo and group exhibitions.

Louise produces thought-provoking art works primarily by drawing, painting and printmaking.

She is interested with the human psyche and explores this through portraiture.

Technique and process is important to Louise. She considers these elements when produced her thoughtful work, which is made with meaning. Past collections of work have been based on themes of identity and neglect.
Despite creating work which is sometimes ideas led, Louise’s incredible paintings and portraits are open for interpretation. The real story is made individually and is unique between every viewer and the piece of art.
You can buy pieces of Louise’s beautiful work through her website, where you can also view more collections  www.loubeeart.co.uk

 

 

 

Posted in Art

Alistair Macdonald

I was lucky enough to speak to the new and upcoming film maker Alistair Macdonald and ask him some questions on what inspires his unique films. His films not only stand out from the conventional “artistry” films but take your senses on a journey and creates you to pay attention to every enjoyable detail.

What inspired you become a film maker?

For twelve years I was a lawyer but I didn’t really like my job and I felt trapped by it.  I spent a long time thinking about what else I could do. I wanted to do something creative. I write music and I wanted to carry on doing that but in the context of something bigger.

I decided to become a film maker when I was staying in a log cabin in Norway, in winter a year ago. Once the idea came to me, I realised it was obvious because I love film, all sorts of film. I decided there and then I was going to do it. I didn’t really know how, though, so when I got home, I made a couple of really short films using a simple stills camera, some tangerines, a table top and iMovie. They made people laugh and then I knew I could do it.

For me, freedom is important and that is one reason I was unhappy as a lawyer. Film making, at the moment anyway, enables me to do pretty much what I want, when I want and how I want. It’s great to just let my imagination go and then follow it. It’s important, though, that what I do entertains other people – I don’t just want to make films for my own sake.

Do you have anyone or anything that inspires your films?

There’s no one answer to this. Before I was a lawyer I studied European philosophy for seven years. That has been a massive influence on how I think about things and is behind everything I do, even if it’s not obvious in the final result.

In film, sound is just as important as image and so certain types of music have been important inspirations, especially music that makes me smile by subverting rules, like Neu or Can, or stuff by the Beta Band.

I have been directly inspired by specific filmmakers though, and in some cases their influence is probably more or less obvious. Visually, the obvious ones would be Jan Svankmajer, Andrew Kötting, Chris Marker, Ben Rivers, Patrick Keiller and Gideon Koppel.

The biggest inspiration, though, has been the French director, Eric Rohmer. He started making films, seriously, in his forties. He worked on a shoestring and yet made the most wonderful films that nobody else has managed to match.

How did it feel to have your work shown at Holmfirth Film Festival?

It was great. I was really lucky because it got shown twice. Some friends of mine run the Ginger Bread House film and food nights in Marsden and they showed it before their main feature. I hid at the back. People laughed in all the right places and I got some lovely feedback afterwards. It’s impossible to look at something you’ve made objectively or afresh so seeing how a film is received is vital if you want to know whether it has succeeded.

How long did it take you to make “Island Going?”

Not long at all. I spent four days filming in the Western Isles and Outer Hebrides but had to learn how to use the camera whilst I was doing it. I worked on the script in my head as I drove back to Yorkshire then wrote it in a week. The guy I asked to do the voiceover for me is an academic in Nuremberg and he recorded it in his brother’s studio in two days. It took another couple of weeks to edit and produce a final version. I had to teach myself a lot during that month!

What inspired “Island Going”?

Well, the film is a response to the landscape of the Outer Hebrides. I went out there to research another film with a friend and spent a few days driving around filming whatever I could with the idea of making a quite different film. The islands are remarkable and barren and you’re surrounded by the ruins from the Bronze age right through to the 21st Century. In some places it looked like there’d been a civil war and once I got that idea it wormed away at me and became the basis for the film.

We went to the Outer Hebrides because of a book called “Island Going” by the naturalist Robert Atkinson but the only point of contact with the book is the title of the film. There are no real similarities. I wanted to use the title because the book had been important in getting me there. More of an influence was Louis MacNeice’s book, “I Crossed the Minch”, about his travels around the Hebrides. We deliberately walked a few of the routes that MacNeice had taken.

When we were in the Hebrides we kept bumping into this German tourist who’d hired a camper van and was just traveling round aimlessly, in winter. He’s the direct inspiration for the narrator of the film.

I was also influenced by something Guy Debord wrote about a friend who deliberately used a map of London to navigate around part of Germany. That kind of displacement really appealed to me and clearly pops up in Island Going.

Do you have a current project on the go? and can you give us any clues as to what its about? 🙂

Right now I’m finishing a short film about a kid who keeps trying to watch TV but isn’t allowed. He goes to greater and greater lengths to get away with it. It’s deliberately completely different to Island Going and has enabled me to learn a lot more.

When that’s done I want to start work on a film that will be a lot more like Island Going. I want to go back to the same kind of landscape shots that I used there but the story will be very different. It’s based around a spoof philosophy article I wrote a long time ago and is about a man who has an intense phobia of waiting so who spends his life trying to overcome it. Think about how many hours are taken up with waiting for things in your life. I bet it’s a lot, but nobody really thinks very much about waiting. That’s what I do in my next film, but in a way that hopefully will also make people laugh.

 

For a further look at Alistairs’ inspiring work on his facebook page and youtube channel.

Phoebe Cheong. Fashion Photographer.

Leibovitz is 63, Testino 58 and Terry Richardson is simply just old enough to know better. All these fashion photographers have become household names and icons in their own right through their extraordinary journeys and beautiful works of art, but who’s next? I spot a Phoebe Cheong on the horizon.

I was fortunate enough to meet the talented Miss Phoebe Cheong back in 2010, after we had both been bribed with tickets to Underage Festival by We Are Photogirls to snap up shots of style-tastic festival goers. I was a little shy and reserved at first, holding my Nikon close and muttering under my breath; “I don’t suppose.. I could have a photo?”, whilst Phoebe on the other hand, had vast dip-dye-denim-donned crowds diving in front of her lens. Practically from the first 5 minutes I had spent with the girl it was clear what she was put on this planet to do.

Since that day, I have followed Phoebe’s work religiously, being fed tidbits of behind the scenes, videos and props from each shoot via her official Facebook page and falling in awe for her carefully edited delicious outcomes.

After recently graduating from Arts University Bournemouth, it was more than a pleasure to catch up with the Malaysian-born missy and grill her that bit further..

Let’s start with inspiration, which photographers inspire you most and why?

– I am currently very fond of the works of James Meakin and Chen Man. My recent work has been inspired by Meakin’s use of light and locations in his images. Chen Man’s work excites me as it embraces the strength and individuality as a young generation of China.

What excites you about fashion photography?

– The creative team. It always amazes me how innovative when a group of creatives get together to produce a fashion piece. 
That said, it excites me when I am finally able to share my images to world once they are edited and published in an online/printed magazine, after keeping it a secret for months after the shoot!

How would you describe your signature style? 

– I would describe my work to be colourful, cultural and bold. I have started to be very much inspired by the Chinese culture, and I hope to infuse my experiences in both the East and West into my future work. 

What’s been your most enjoyable/rewarding shoot?

– I really enjoyed the shoot when I went to Beijing to photograph an editorial piece. Working with an amazing team, beautiful Chinese model and breath taking traditional location, I was able to bring these images back to the West and share the beauty of the modern and traditional in China. Not only has the images been published in an online magazine, I also had the opportunity to display these images in an exhibition in London, and the responses to these images have been extremely rewarding.

(Phoebe with her photographs shot in Beijing for Noctis Magazine showcased in ‘Thrive’ photo exhibition at the Candid Arts Trust, London.)

Funny anecdotes from shoots?

– There are always funny moments from all my shoots, but my favourite one had to be when I photographed in Beijing for Noctis Magazine. Whilst photographing in a very traditional residential part of Beijing, we came across some local men playing Chinese chess on the street side. I suggested our Chinese model Hui Hui, to pose amongst them without disrupting the game and five minutes into the shoot, one of the men screamed out loud and almost fell off his stool! Apparently he was frightened from not being aware of her presence and how tall she was!

Biggest obstacle along the way? 


– The biggest obstacle would be finding your unique style that makes you stand out from the crowd. Be patient, it does take time and hard work to find your unique style. Experiment as much as you can and challenge yourself on every shoot you do. It will definitely pay off at the end! 
Furthermore, before a shoot, I usually have a good idea of what I would like the outcome to be. However sometimes, I believe that some things fall apart so that better things can fall together.

Who would be your celebrity of choice to snap?

– It has got to be Miss Sasha Fierce, Beyonce!

Proudest fashion moment so far?

– When I was shortlisted for the ‘Fashion Photography Award’ at Graduate Fashion Week!

Tim Walker or Rankin?


– Tricky one! But Tim Walker wins it.

(Myself, Mia Gorgis and Phoebe at Underage Festival, London)

Ever been starstuck?

– Yes! When I saw Donatella Versace flying on the same plane as I was to Beijing!

Talk me through your favourite sandwich. 

– My mum’s tuna sandwiches: diced celery, carrots, red onions mixed in with tuna and mayonnaise spread on toasted bread, yum!

What is your treat at the end of a good shoot?

– Pancakes!

Phoebe’s portfolio stretches beyond just a few photographs on a page or in a magazine, it is a constant conveyor belt of beauty which is so hard to keep up with just as a follower, it’s difficult to imagine where she even finds the time to create these wonders. To get a real understanding of her work, why not head over to her official site here.

See you queuing up around the corner of Somerset House for one of her exhibitions. I give it a couple of years.

 

Sausage Dog

I discovered Sausage Dog in The Manchester Craft and Design Centre just a few weeks ago, and from the moment I walked through the door I was absolutely in love.

Sausage Dog is a craft shop in Manchester that sells the most wonderful and creative toys. Each one of them has a unique story and is made from recycled clothes. Pointedly, the toys are not for children, and being allowed to buy toys as an adult is incredibly liberating.

After discovering the shop I was lucky enough to have a chat with Harriet, the owner, who told me all about her journey and how she came to creating her toys.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today!

I’ve been making toys for about 5 years. I studied illustration and then did a few little things to test what i wanted to do after uni: including more illustration, jewellery type stuff and things with fabrics. I sold them at markets along with handbags, brooches and paintings. But it was all a bit of a mish mash. After about two years I started making toys.

My friends loved the toys, so i tested them out on my stalls and my customers liked them too. It was a lot more related to my illustration. I’ve always drawn characters so to bring them to life seemed like an obvious step

I saved up money and got a shop in Afflex (an alternative shopping centre in Manchester). I did that for the christmas season and then I took a break to go travelling. Then after going travelling for a year and a half I had my eye on the Manchester craft and design centre. Something came up a month after i came back, which was lucky and i applied and got in so that’s how I started my shop here!

Where do you get your inspiration?

It’s hard to say – I guess i’m always on the look out for stuff but i don’t necessarily realise that i’m doing it. Sometimes I’ll just regurgitate ideas and someone will be like ‘that looks like something’ and I will think, oh yeah it does look like that!

I think that’s a lot to do with having a creative and inventive mind. You take on a lot of imagery. I don’t just get inspired by other toymakers…it’s by things I see. I like people watching. I love to stare out my window and draw funny people i see on the street.

What inspired using old clothes to make your toys?

When I would make handbags, I used material I had bought because i loved fabric- my mum was a dressmaker and taught me to sew. When it came to making the toys it was originally about money. I didnt have enough for loads of fabric and I wanted to make a lot of toys so i could open my shop. So i was cutting stuff up out of my wardrobe, old jumpers and so on. I actually enjoyed that process of recycling. I told all my friends and they gave me a load of old clothes and that’s how that started.

Working from old fabrics is more exciting. You can use the nice fabrics and they’ll all worn and knobbly- it’s like an old toy.It makes things unique as well, I can only get a few things out of a piece of clothing. So then I have to find a new jumper and each one has it’s own personality.

Sometimes the  fabric will inspire a completely new design, which is something that I didn’t realise when i first started!

What’s your ultimate dream?

What I want to do next year, and it’s already on the cards, is to make a massive puppet. It’s been in my head for ages and I want to start doing bigger scale stuff- as well as smaller scale stuff. I want to make little dolls that have sculpted heads- I have a whole idea for that.

My dreams develop and change as I go along. 5 years ago my dream was to open my own shop and I’ve done it. Now I’m setting up interesting projects so I can make large scale stuff maybe for theatre, maybe for festivals. and i think that also in terms of painting and toys I want to bridge that gap more.

I’m working on a big post-apocolpictic scene with lots of greedy people devouring each other. i want to finish the painting and have an exhibiton, but then I want to create it in 3d, so sculpt it either as puppets or out of clay. I think I’m interested in the whole idea of across multi-media platforms, so I’d do the painting, crafts and performing.

I think that Sausage Dog offers something entirely unique that coincides with the point of Gola Born in Britain. Harriet is a new and exciting talented that expresses something that cannot be found anywhere else. I can’t wait to see what happens next for her!

Have a look at the Sausage Dog Etsy Shop, or check out the Facebook!

TRAAMS

The legend has it that TRAAMS, a grungey three-piece hailing from Chichester, consumed thirty-three pizzas during the recording session which produced their last batch of songs. The culinery dilatoriness may have been caused by the lengthy krautrock jam sessions the band was working through whilst recording (one of their singles ‘Klaus’ clocks in at an intimidating seven minutes and the length varies from live set to set!).

TRAAMS’ bass and drums lock in well together allowing for the lead vocals to roam which ever way they please. Standout single ‘Mexico’ sees lead guitarist and vocalist Stu Hopkins synchronise his licks with the vocal melody like B.B King, though that is where the similarity ends (I don’t see B.B. being featured on a German skate video).

Having recently signed to Fat Cat records, TRAAMS are looking to release their first record ‘Grin’ in the near future. TRAAMS will be playing at the Tramlines Festival next month (uncanny billing eh?). Not one to miss!

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