Fair-T

Quite unconsciously, a theme has begun to emerge in my fashion posts for Gola’s Born in Britain campaign: ethical and fair trade fashion initiatives are gaining significant momentum and are becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to high street fast fashion and I can’t seem to get enough of them.  A new fashion company based and set up by Naomi Wilde in 2013 called Fair-T has recently launched, and is seeking to engage not only ethically minded fashion fanatics, but also with the alternative and underground music scene in the UK such as the cult-classic Warehouse Project.

Having recently enjoyed a launch night at Joshua Brooks in the Oxford Road area of Manchester and a selling event at The University of Manchester Students’ Union, this fledgling brand looks to be going big places fast. Their selection of classic white T-shirts made from 100% Fair Trade cotton produced in India, featuring prints of astronauts, gas masks and wolf headdresses amongst others, are wearable and unfussy, perfect for pursuing a minimalist, no-frills look.

Although Fair-T markets itself as a menswear label, I see unisex potential in this brand and would feel quite comfortable sporting one of these ridiculously cool tees myself. With prices starting at £25, Fair-T hardly breaks the coffers, but offers something unique and off the beaten track.

In addition to providing a mail-order option for their collection, Fair-T provides a wholesale service. For more information and to start placing those orders, find them on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Transfer by Kevin Corrado

Kevin Corrado is a fine art photographer from Connecticut. For his latest project ‘Transfer’, he dips his hand in paint and places it in front of a landscape, creating interesting and beautiful visual lines. The project began as a playful idea of the ocean being a giant sea of blue paint rather than water. By subverting our pre-conceived ideas on nature, such as the blue sea, Corrado is making a playful comment on the intense connection between landscapes and colours. Corrado takes simple landscapes and simple ideas that were instilled in us during our elementary days -the sea is blue, yet the water isn’t even blue, it’s transparent…) and makes them complex, layered and textured. By doing so, he also explores his role as an artist and the choices he must make. He argues, for example, that ‘a painter is given the task to paint a tree, but that painter must choose to use green paint’. Corrado must, therefore, choose a colour, which is ironic since it is not something that a photographer (his medium of choice) would normally do.

The unique quality of Corrado’s work lies in its intricate mixture between surrealism and lyricism, embracing nature yet distorting it to make it eerie, beautiful. Corrado’s background is initially one of graphic design, so a lot of his work seems to hold on to qualities of design. He himself states that during his studies, one question that always came up was ‘why’?.  Now that he has completed his design studies, he finds that his work constantly forces him to remain completely conscious over every decision he makes when creating art.

Kevin Corrado

VIRGIL HOWE DJ

With his dark eyes, long hair and thick moustache and goatee, Virgil Howe is unmistakably the son of renowned guitarist Steve Howe (from Yes) and a child of the world of progressive rock. Immersed in his father’s world from a young age, it is only logical that he would start improvising some music notes on his Moog Synth at the age of 4. Today, after successively drumming for The Killer Meters, Little Barrie and Dirty Feel, Howe is based in London and is focusing on producing and releasing singles and mixtapes on Scenario Records – a major label in UK underground hip-hop music.

Browsing his Soundcloud, it is evident that his style has considerably changed in two years.  His latest work is more mature and it seems that he is gradually defining himself in a unique musical style.  His mixes are refreshingly new in a world where electro music essentially consists of adding a repetitive melody to vaguely sophisticated beats. The influence of different styles is very strong in his recent mixes, ranging from disco to electronic, through “bootyshakin” and “spacefunk”. He excels in taking songs that belong to a very specific genre of music and twisting them around to produce an entirely different sound. For example, Snoop Dogg’s, Drop It Like It’s Hot becomes Kiss It Like It’s Hot, as it is tastefully brightened up with lazy lounge beats and slow soul notes.

Virgil Howe has character and his music is reflective of that. His unusual focus on disco-funk and his massive use of unknown vocalists seem like bold moves in the ultra-competitive sphere of London music, but by giving personality to his songs certainly pays off. Ease Back Mama, Stolen Moments, Afroway: Howe is certainly successful in imposing rhythmic afro beats as his trademark and he says himself that he stands as “as spokesperson for the outer worlds”. Certainly his family background encouraged him to find a place in the world of music, but his increasing popularity can only be explained by the fact that his style is one step ahead.

To know more about him, you can check out his Soundcloud, follow him on Twitter or like his Facebook page!

CALLUM BEATTIE

Prepare your lighters: if you’re lucky enough to live in Edinburgh, you cannot miss another one of Callum Beattie’s performances, which are regularly organized in the heart of Old Town, at Malone’s Irish Bar. Be ready to succumb to the irresistible charisma of his Scottish accent as he will carry you away at the sound of his slightly melancholy music. And don’t wait too long before doing this, because one thing is certain; it will not be long before Beattie fills up larger concert halls and you lose the connection you definitely felt with him in the intimacy of a small Scottish pub.

Callum Beattie is an Edinburgh-based, incredibly talented composer and songwriter, who has already been spotted by influential music critics like Jamie Cullum (who described him as “a natural songwriter”), and is just starting to make a name for himself on the European indie music scene. Despite only being 24 years old, he has already made several appearances on British television and participated in hundreds of gigs over the UK and Europe. His collaboration with the Scottish music producer Al James started in 2011 and resulted in a very promising first album, This Time This Place, that was released in September 2012 and is downloadable on Itunes. Beyond any doubt, he is an up-and-coming talent that is clearly worth keeping a sharp eye on.

Strongly inspired by James Morrison, Oasis and David Gray, he excels in his own style, combining tranquil instrumentals with a magnetic voice. There are nostalgic aspects to his songs but they remain the kind of songs you can listen to in any situation, from doing your washing-up to cruising on a road-trip with friends. His music is balanced and harmonious, with sonorities that are at times indie and at times closer to alternative rock. As such he surely is a considerable asset for Scottish music – and the legitimate successor of Paolo Nutini. ‘Salamander Street’ is one of his finest and most impressive tunes, especially given that it was composed and written when he was 17 it will take you on a journey into the streets of Edinburgh through the touching story of a sad young woman; as Al James says himself to disliking Youtubers, “it’ll be a long time before you meet a 17 year old songwriter (…), who writes a song with the maturity of this lyric”. Youtuber: 0; Callum Beattie: 1.

To be informed of his latest gigs, tunes and other events, you can follow Callum Beattie on Twitter or on Facebook, but ideally come and see him live in Edinburgh at Malone’s or Studio 24!

Don’t Feed The Bears

Last season, prints of animals were huge on the catwalks, most prolifically with Givenchy’s Bambi T-shirt that has been one of the most coveted items of the year so far. If you can’t afford the Givenchy price tag (I know I certainly can’t) then there are cheaper but nonetheless brilliantly kitsch alternatives that are in-keeping with this trend, my personal favourite being Don’t Feed The Bears, a company based in Sheffield and established in 2010.

Don’t Feed The Bears make unique hand-printed and finished T-shirts and sweaters depicting hand-drawn pictures of bears, squirrels and wolves doing all sorts of eccentric things like wearing monocles, riding bikes and sporting TV sets on their heads. The designs are refreshingly witty and imaginative, going against the high street imperative of mass produced uniformity clothing.

In addition to the brilliant array of T-Shirts and sweaters available from their website http://dontfeedthebears.co.uk, Don’t Feed The Bears also have a T-Shirt Club where they send you a T-Shirt every month from 3 months to a whole year, the perfect way to keep your wardrobe fresh and exciting. Each brand new item comes with a design you can pick yourself from the collection, or can leave to the team to decide for you. A novelty that won’t wear off anytime soon I’m sure…

Closely related is their ‘Pick a Pocket’ option, where you can literally do just that, select a pocket material from a number of different prints, ranging from flamingos and horses to checks and tartan. Customisation at no extra cost is something that most high street shops do not offer, therefore Don’t Feed The Bears are really onto something with their attention to their customer’s individual likes and interests.

And in these cold, wintry times, those sweaters are looking temptingly warm and cosy…

Find Don’t Feed The Bears on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dontfeedthebearstshirts

Follow Don’t Feed The Bears on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dntfeedthebears

Katie Darlington

Welsh-born, Kingston graduate Katie Darlington is one designer making waves in the fashion industry.  Her debut collection ‘Collecting Sentiment’, incorporating innovative pattern cutting and print design saw her win the Wolf & Badger Graduate Design award for fashion, with her collection now stocked at Wolf & Badger in the fashionable area of Notting Hill.

Katie’s collection features a combination of soft tailoring with gentle fluidity, most noticeable in jumpsuits and dresses.  The inspiration behind ‘Collecting Sentiment’ came from her great grandfather’s journal, documenting his time in North Africa and Italy during World War Two; linking the past with the present.

Another noticeable aspect of Katie’s collection is the heavy use of prints – originally meant to be digital print, following a tutorial with print designer Mark Eley; Katie instead decided to incorporate the look of hand-dyed silk, so whilst the ink print has been digitally printed on her collection, the image is blown up from hand-dyed ink bleedings, giving it a more raw feel.

To have a look at some of the pieces from Katie’s beautiful collection, check out her website

 

 

Dennis Hlynsky’s bird paths

I’ve always looked at birds and marveled at how free they are, and how they can fly wherever they can in the world at any given second. Then I look at myself and think, I can do the same… So when I encountered Dennis Hlynsky’s work ‘small brains on mass’, I was incredibly excited, mesmerized and completely fascinated. Dennis Hlynsky, a US-based artist, designer and professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, has an insatiable desire to re-embed technology into the arts. For his recent project, he filmed various birds as they fly, tracing their deeply complex and intricate pathways in the sky like aero-dance choreographies.

He edits his videos so that each creature leaves a trail behind itself, showing where it has been and where it is going. His video clips show the beautiful and intricate labyrinth flight paths of birds. Hlynsky started filming birds with a small video recorder in 2005, recording ions of footage. The process involved stacking frames in sequences, then adding the darkest pixels together. Large flocks of birds become dense black trails, reminding us of paint brush strokes, making us wonder how much we have really learnt and appropriated from nature and animals.

Hlynsky was among the first students at the Rhodes Island School of Design video program, and has been committed to the digital since 1983. His interest in the celebration of technology as a form of art led him to design fireworks celebration for Providence for five year.

watch the video here

The Half Earth

You could say it’s a cliché to sing about love, loss and relationships – that timeless, often derivative subject matter. The Half Earth gives the topic a whole new, irresistable bitterness.

Sheffied-based Conor Stephenson makes organic folk music, as his Gaia-like artist name might suggest. A recent Chemistry graduate, The Half Earth has swapped chemical equations for guitar chords and the lab for his recording studio bedroom. Listening to his music, it’s a good job he did.

Through his ethereal instrumental and torn lyrics, The Half Earth brings a stripped-back, bleeding dimension to folk music, drawing from Bon Iver and creating something novel altogether.

“Jimi Hendrix made me want to play guitar,” Conor told altblackpool. Growing up on a diet of Nirvana, Bjork, PJ Harvey and Radiohead, The Half Earth was born and bred in a musical household and owned a guitar from the age of eight. He plays his instrument with such raw tenderness, his melancholic vocals seeping between the strings, it is hard not to be touched by the emotive tones and pastel shades his tracks paint.

The Half Earth’s triumphs include ‘Fox’ and ‘Counting’ which, in addition to ‘Pale Water’ and ‘End’, make what is already an impressive repetoire for an artist in such early days.

Find The Half Earth on Facebook.

 

 

Maiko Takeda

London-based artist Maiko Takeda’s work focuses on fashion jewelry, where she explores themes such as logic, geometry and space form eerie, enchanting pieces. Takeda grew up in Tokyo, where her fascination with timeless products emerged. Growing in a post-boom Japan, her inspirations are diverse and she learnt to cultivate her senses outside of fashion and pop culture, finding values in the smallest and most random of things. After moving to London, she studies a BA(hons) in Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

One of her recent projects ‘Atmospheric Reentry’ was completed within the Royal College of Art London, where she is currently studying a Masters in Millinery. The head pieces are gorgeous installations made of clear film, perspex and silver, whereby she arranges them in sharp, colourful accessories. In Takeda’s work, simple things such as headbands and shapes become complex structure that marry the human body perfectly in an open, minimalistic form. The experience of wonder and bewilderment is rendered especially acute with the juxtaposition of various elements such as precision,  and rigid shapes that turn soft and malleable. Takeda’s work heavily focuses on environmental influences such as shadows, wind and gravity, inviting the audience to re-think its expectations when it comes to jewelry design.

The head pieces from ‘Atmospheric Reentry’ are light yet sharp, reminiscent of a protection helmet. Although seemingly malleable by the elements, their embedment within the human body gives them a new life. Her project is a rare piece of art that combines aesthetics and form.

http://www.maikotakeda.com/

 

SAM HOUSTON

WARNING : if feeling blue, do not watch! Sam Houston’s tormented art tends to show us “fear in a handful of dust” and although his style is positively unique, he would have been, without a doubt, good mates with T.S. Eliot and all this lot. With his portrayals of decaying houses and obscure silhouettes that he describes as “our understanding of home”, Houston surely would be a perfect candidate to illustrate any 20th century English literature book. For the moment, though, he has only just graduated in Fine Art at Falmouth University and has already contributed to exhibitions in Manchester, London and more recently in the lovely city of Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Art Fair. He has now returned to Cheshire, where he is preparing for future exhibitions.

Working mostly with earthly, autumnal colors that he skillfully controls to create a vintage feel, his paintings all seem to express his intimate concern with the fragility of roots. A major part of his art consists of depicting human shadows trying to hold on to some kind of connection with their fading backgrounds. Somber houses falling apart, shadows of trees and mountains or desolate roads act as symbols for a past that is difficult to hold on to because unreachable.

His paintings immediately catch the eye as the mysterious protagonists tell a story. Even though they seem awkwardly out of place, they do stir feelings of familiarity – and not necessarily because we are all depressed fools witnessing the falling apart of everything that seemed solid in their lives. Somehow Houston successfully beautifies the sadness of his work and allows the viewer to warm up to it. “Somehow”, or simply because he is incredibly talented.

For more information on his upcoming work, you can visit his official website, Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

Interview: Jane Samuels

I was lucky enough to meet Jane Samuels and her fascinating work at Manchester’s Twestival, a charity networking event bringing together local artists and digital enthusiasts. Her 3D creations captured the attention of many attendees, who were browsing the various artwork and interactive stands.

Tell us a little bit about your background and qualifications…

I’m 35, and from Manchester. I’ve been drawing and making for as long as I can remember: my earliest memories are of drawing with my Granddad. I was lucky enough to go to a small college in the Hills of Pendle that at the time, was massively geared towards the Arts, under the leadership of Peter Hall, an inspirational and driven art tutor and ceramicist. Spurred on from there, I attended university in Manchester and Salford to gain my BA Creative Arts, and MA Contemporary Fine Arts. Aware of the importance of artists who shaped my education, I also gained a teaching qualification, and having previously taught in prisons, I now tutor university students who experience learning difficulties and mental health barriers, as well as continuing my Art practice from my Manchester studio.

Who inspires your work?

My work draws from the work of the Situationists and Psychogeography: the study of the urban/built environment and the people/events/politics/history/geography/geology that shape it. I love the walking theory and writing of Guy Debord, Will Self and Robert Mcfarlane.  I also love the experiential installations of Olafur Eliasson, and the photography and film of Bill Viola. I’ve applied the principles of psychogeography to rural landscape exploration and to Urbex: the name given to the exploration of abandoned buildings. I’m extremely political: I believe in freedom and equality, and use my work to explore those ideals. Much of my practice involves trespass, the reopening of closed footpaths, and an exploration of who holds the power/owns the ground beneath our feet.

What are the explanations behind your work?

The Abandoned Buildings Project is an ongoing exploration of abandoned houses, churches, hospitals and asylums. I visits these buildings to create theatrical, often unsettling photographic images which explore subjective narratives, illegality and dispossession.

I take with me a cast of costumed characters: deer, giant rabbits and horned men, based on the Pooka: shape shifting spirits from Irish folklorewho were said to embody nature and to appear when humans were absent. In these abandoned spaces, overtaken with ferns and inhabited by foxes, the Pooka are given free reign of the buildings. Responding to found objects (writing, photographs and personal artefacts) and the implied narratives of former inhabitants, I create scenes that are often disconcerting, and which allude to the tension between man and nature, and to the stark absence of humanity, in a man-made environment.

Terrain: Anatomical Landscapes is a series of drawings derived from walks around the UK. My most recent line of enquiry, the work draws inspiration from over two years of walking, spanning (to date) over 1,000 miles. Walks are documented in real time using photography, drawings and writing. This research then informs detailed pencil drawings that each represent a single walk in in a single location. This process creates narrative images that explore the relationship between humans and our outdoor environment. By building elements of human anatomy into landscape, I aim to underline the deep connection between us and the land, as well as the fact that we are often restricted from entering vast areas of it. I regularly find ancient rights of way that have been blocked by farmers and land owners, and re-open these routes in the process of the work.

What are your greatest achievements so far?

I continue to exhibit and sell work both in the UK and abroad. Most recently I have exhibited in Perth, Australia, showing work based around my travels in the rain forests of Costa Rica. I’ve developed a good online following that has led to interviews in magazines, book inclusions and work with the BBC and Al Jazeera.

What are your future goals and ambitions?

The aim is to keep working, and to keep exploring. I don’t believe in charging extortionate prices for art, and I like to leave work in the streets, for everyone, where possible. There’ll be a lot more of that in 2014.

To find out even more about Jane, visit her Website, BlogFacebookTwitterInstagram

Posted in Art

Josh Hawkins

Josh Hawkins is an extremely talented 21 year old photographer & dance artist based in Leeds.

So tell me a bit about yourself…

I have spent the past 3 years training professionally at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance where I gained a first class honours degree and a place in VERVE, a postgraduate performance touring company.

Explain the concepts and values of your work…

I am currently dancing with VERVE touring the UK and internationally. Alongside my dancing, I am a keen self-taught photographer. I started photography in my teens and now I work focusing on fusing my passion for movement into my work as a photographer.

Who inspires you?

I am inspired most by people; the way they move and hold themselves as individuals. I take inspiration from my surroundings and the notion of improvisation, not planning and over thinking my art.

What’s your biggest achievement?

In 2013, I undertook a year long project, Project 365, where I took and uploaded an image every day of the year; to challenge myself, to grow, to learn new things and establish a strong aesthetic of my work that represents a part of me in my current stage of life.

If you’re a fan of Josh’s work, keep up to date with his latest photos on his Blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.