Jessica Ng

Jessica Ng, a recent graduate from London College of Fashion’s BA Design Technology: Womenswear course, should be a one to watch for every keen fashionista wanting to keep hand on pulse of London’s fashion scene.

With her graduate collection “So Wrong It’s Right”, Jessica explores the concept of twisted innocence by combining familiarity of personal experiences with a touch of the forbidden. The outcome is a highly wearable and beautiful collection full of contrasts. The designer chose a candy-coloured pink Harris Tweed as the primary fabric used in the collection and confronted it with oversized masculine silhouettes and rough textures. Keeping a great attention for tailoring while not forgetting about the originality and individuality of finishing, Jessica created modern and interesting garments that make a bold fashion statement.

Jessica’s not scared of admitting that her collection was partly inspired by works of controversial artists such as Sally Mann or Irina Ionesco. Contrasting them with the designer’s own childhood memories and Egon Schiele’s paintings created the core of “So Wrong It’s Right” designs.

What I particularly like in Jessica’s clothes is that they are not one-dimensional. Many of young designers often make a mistake of either focusing on their message and forgetting about the clothes or wanting to make just a pretty dress that will look good on a model. “So Wrong It’s Right” does not only aim to create a discussion, juxtaposing corrupted and purity but also consists of beautifully-tailored, original designs with a strong sense of the designer’s individual style. They can be worn by a stylish lady in her 70s and a young, hip student from East London. Versatile clothing with a meaning – what else could you want from a recent graduate?

 Images: http://showtime.arts.ac.uk/

Joe Cole

In Matt Smith’s haunting directorial debut, Cargese, the perpetual grin of Joe Cole provides a portrait of skewed morality that most actors take a lifetime to successfully evoke. That it came so early in his career is testament to the talent of an actor whose recent run of performances have established him as “One to Watch”

That particular tagline doesn’t really do him justice though, especially as his recent activity includes work on the Emmy-winning The Hour and the elegant and gruesome Peaky Blinders.

Cole isn’t just “One to Watch”, he’s one to admire, one about to explode.

Despite piercing eyes and cheekbones that cut could glass, Cole’s propensity to opt for uncomfortable and uncompromising roles render him as anything but a typical star. His sited admiration for fellow Brit Tom Hardy might give an indication of the potential trajectory of the young actor.

That is to say that there is a ruthless streak evident in his current dramatic output that sees Cole consistently involved in innovative or original projects.

One of those projects is Peaky Blinders.

On Peaky Blinders, Cole, 24, plays John, the youngest member of Birmingham’s foremost feared family, The Shelbys, with a wild blend of sharp-suited bluster and dangerous doe-eyes. Widowed and weary but still laced with the cold malice that the Peaky Blinders built their reputation on, it’s an enormously mature performance that holds up against Hollywood heavyweights Sam Neil and Cilian Murphy and comes to represent a crucial part of the narrative arc.

Working alongside the likes of Smith, Neil and Murphy will only enhance the credibility afforded to Joe with the next co-megastar on the horizon Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, in a film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. As well as this Cole has just completed filming Pressure, a film about a group of divers who get stuck under water in their diving bell when a storm on the ocean surface sinks their mother ship. Another genre, and a genuine thriller for Cole to sink his teeth into then, but for Cole pressure is only the title, not an overriding concern.

The time to print out pictures of him, declaring the rising star as your new favourite actor, is probably now.

Peter Drew

Walking around Glasgow over the past few weeks, I noticed scraps of colorful figures with cube-shaped heads pasted to the sides of a few buildings. I didn’t know it at the time, but these scraps were the remains of Peter Drew’s graffiti rendition of one of the most famous scenes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The series consisted of 16 wheatpaste figures accompanied by speech bubbles in different locations, a project which he began in April and finished in September, just before returning to his home in Adelaide, Australia a few weeks ago.

These graffiti pieces make you wonder how Shakespearean tragedies like Hamlet would have played out if they were set in our world of technologically-mediated communication. Would Hamlet’s ruminations have the same impact if he posted them on Twitter or texted them to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, complete with a few appropriate Emojis? How Drew divides the soliloquy up into tweet-friendly chunks and gives his Hamlet a pixelated, emoticon-like face brings these questions to the forefront.

However, these weren’t the only issues raised by the emoticon soliloquy. While Drew was putting the wheatpastes up around town, he was also completing his Masters degree at the Glasgow School of Art. Putting up these works, despite their temporary medium, without the city’s permission was seen as a potential cause for expulsion from the program. The controversy was even featured on the New York-Based art blog Hyperallergic. Drew held off on completing the series to avoid expulsion, and was finally able to finish his vision last month.

While this project, and the controversy surrounding it, is particularly exciting and brings up the opportunity for heated debate about graffiti’s legality and to what extent a student in art school should be allowed to practice it, Drew’s other works are equally interesting. The monumental portraits of family and friends from his hometown seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from the generic emoticons of Drew’s interpretation of Hamlet, and give a completely different impression, adding an impressive breadth of variety to his projects.

If you would like to see more of Peter Drew’s graffiti art, check out his website. He also has a blog where he writes about the ideas behind his projects as well as issues facing graffiti artists today.

The King’s Parade

Sometimes all you need to find talent is to take a hike – or a walk in Camden Locke. Whilst wandering to the nearby station and grabbing some Pakistani-style chicken masala wrap (with cheese), I followed the catchy strains of guitar drifting past the bridge and came across The King’s Parade – to be precise, their four talented members, Olivier Corpe (vocals/guitar), Sam Rooney (piano/vocals), Tom English (bass and sax), and Chris ‘The King” Brent, wielding his drumsticks with savvy.

In this age of Internet-based advertising, it’s refreshing to find a band that so relentlessly and successfully pursues a musical career through direct interaction with their listeners: live street performances. Scrolling through the music video of their hit single “Vagabond” on Youtube, the enthusiastic comments are largely from fans exclaiming that they found the R&B band through performances in places ranging from Trafalgar Square, Camden, the British Museum and even Leeds.

Their music is catchy and melodic, upbeat notes and rich, deep voices tinged with melancholia. The Parade’s Motown influences lend soul to their professional compositions and contemporary lyrics, perhaps best seen in “Vagabond”, which has now over 18,000 plays on Soundcloud and has amassed them a slowly growing fanbase – one whose strength rests in the fact that that many of those fans have already had the privilege of listening to them live, and know they prove to be just as good in reality as through a computer screen or filtered through a pair of headphones.

The King’s Parade’s first album will be officially released this October, and their next gig is coming up on the 16th of October at Paper Dress in London. If you’re seeking a quietly enchanting something to go with that chilled drink in the dusk of evening or some bluesy tunes to keep you company in the silence of the night, have a listen to the band by perusing their website and Facebook, or following their sounds via Soundcloud and Youtube.

Mister Phil

Mister Phil grew up in Portsmouth and currently resides in Brighton, where he has lived since attending Brighton University and gaining a degree in Illustration.

He uses cartoon illustration and a compelling blend of block colour to create eye catching and unique images whose psychedelic nature demands attention, giving one the feeling that there is a story to be told behind each one of them. “There’s a sense of surrealism in the work which mainly comes from not thinking too much about what I’m trying to achieve” he says, “allowing the work to create itself based on what comes before. I react to what I’ve put down on the paper, try not to stop too long and think about it, but act in an intuitive way.”

Mister Phil’s main platform and focus at the moment online, he explains “as long as something goes up every day then it’s OK. I enjoy the immediate feedback from twitter and internet – it keeps the momentum going…  I’m on a mission with this daily doodle project, looking forward to seeing where it takes me as ideas evolve very quickly when you force yourself to work under a strict deadline.”

Describing himself as an all round “creative person”, Mister Phil works with photography and web design alongside his illustration and animation work. “If I make something I really like when I see it again, then I’m content.” He says, when asked what his own work means to him. “I like the idea that within the space of a couple of hours you can create something that didn’t exist before, that hopefully no-one else would have created.”

 

Bronwen Sleigh

I got to see the 40/40 show, which was held in celebration of the 40 year anniversary of Glasgow Print Studio, just before it ended. For a print geek like myself, it offered the opportunity to be wowed by 40 Scottish artists, and their many styles and techniques. The 40 pieces commissioned by the Glasgow Print Studio for the show were also for sale. I couldn’t afford most of them on my student’s budget, but if I had to pick one to splurge on, it would probably have been a print by Bronwen Sleigh.

Sleigh received her MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art in 2008. Her current work consists mostly of elegant geometrical abstracts that are striking at a distance. Up close is where they truly shine, due to the detail and precision Sleigh’s chosen process of etching allows for. Etching is a complex and labor intensive printing process that involves using chemicals to dissolve the lines forming a desired image into a metal plate. Historically, it has been used for centuries to create some of the most famous works in printmaking. The difficulty of etching is a fair tradeoff for the sharpness and detail the metal plate allows, however, and Sleigh makes full use of this quality.

Sleigh uses architecture as a starting point for her compositions, and titles like Pacific Quay, Westfield Road and Exhibition Way II reveal the inspiration for the prints, but they are still essentially abstract. To me, they feel like exploded blueprints, or a representation of what it is like to move around and through these architectural spaces. Sleigh’s work is already beginning to gain international appreciation, as she is featured in shows from Canada to Japan, and her work is in major collections such as the V&A. If you’d like to see more of her work, check out her website!

Markus Lupfer

When attending London Fashion Week recently one of the shows that stood out to me was the Markus Lupfer presentation! If you haven’t heard of him, you may recognise his infamous sequined printed jumpers selling on sites like Net A Porter and ASOS.

Instead of having an actual catwalk show he opted for a presentation where the SS14 collection was shown through a select group of models surrounded by a teenage girls bedroom backdrop. The whole vibe of this collection was trying to encapture that 90s MTV generation and with that created a luxury looking collection appealing to the packed room!

There were rich silks, printed floral graphics and lots of sequined motifs!

The press release made it clear that he was trying to channel this quirky girly theme, think Daria crossed with cult chick flick Mean Girls! In my opinion everything about the collection was perfect and the embellished ‘Loser’ t-shirt is now a must have and would look great with a pair of Gola x Liberty sneaks!

Mimi Winsor

Mimi Winsor graduated from Chelsea after what was a marathon show of twice-daily performances of her piece ‘Squeeze, pinch, stretch, roll, dollop and extrude’. The work consisted of large welded-iron structures which made up a sort of playdough sausage factory. White-clad and hatted factory workers kneaded, slapped and heaved 1 tonne of dough through Mimi’s contraptions over the course of the show. It twirled, plopped and mashed through machines in an often hilarious manner before the workers rushed it to the ‘extruder’ where it was finally processed, forming long pink sausages.

It looks like hard work and results in an ambitious, sensory and playful performance-piece which, rather than being simply sculptural, actually churns out art itself! Sculptures/sausages were for sale per lb.- a tickling nod towards the tricky conventions of selling degree show work. This constant, haphazard growth ended in a sea of extruded dough, the workers struggling, everything pink and mushy.

After completing various exciting builds such as a gigantic sea anemone for the Discovery Channel HQ, Mimi’s degree show also won her a commission on the giant Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea. In similarly dramatic style, she is creating a prison complete with prisoners to function in the open square. The piece called ‘Grinding the Wind’ references the history of the site which used to house MiIlbank Prison and involves Mimi’s own ‘correctional labour device’, inspired by the victorian Treadwheel Fan. The prisoners will operate the contraption in performances that nod to not only the ideas of process in art but also often absurd and pointless labour.

Catch a performance outside Chelsea (next to Tate Britain) from Thursday 17th October to Sunday 3rd November with performances on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am and 2pm. Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Art and Design, SW1P 4JU.

 

All images copyright Mimi Winsor, www.mimiwinsor.com

Waitress–The Film

Waitress, the film, is Stephen Sheriffs directorial debut. Originally studying Law, and then moving to New York to look into acting, Sheriff has now returned to Glasgow, armed to the teeth and hell-bent on creating something magical.

This film has been causing a lot of talk throughout Glasgow’s creative environment, and is much anticipated. What is impressive, is not only the fact that this is Sheriffs first-ever film and it is generating so much attention, but that it is doing so because he is aiming to show a different side of cinematic Scotland. He states in an interview with Mel Bestel, that so much of Scottish cinema has a history as being bleak, dark, and tackling a heavy reality. Though he does not dismiss this, he simply wishes to shed a little light on gloomy Scotland, and has therefore set out to make a film speckled with magical realism and elegance.

He is inspired by the likes of David Lynch and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whom are masters at the craft of distorting a story into a slightly askew reality, however always maintaining a polish and elegance. This bit of elegance, as shared by Sheriff in his filmmaking, has seen him collaborate with much of Glasgow’s underground creative lot; incorporating local actors, artists, costume designers, venues, and the like. Waitress has been crowd-funded and sponsored all across Scotland, involving the community and opening up for collaboration.

This makes the film such an honest inspiration for anyone with drive and a DIY mentality; it is testament to the positive abilities of incorporating and accepting that social networking is a massive part of our daily life. Sheriff has utilised this very effectively in his filmmaking, by being active on these platforms to facilitate his filmmaking process. Currently halfway through the filming process, Sheriff hopes to finalise the project by next year. Set to be thirty minutes long, many are already waiting with bated breath for the release of what will most likely be a little bit of sparkle in Scotland’s cinema history.

 

Keep an eye on their facebook and website for further information and tasty preview morsels.