OPENING CEREMONY

Opening Ceremony was founded in 2002 by two friends from UC Berkeley, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, as a place to share their passions for travel, art, and fashion. Inspired by a trip to Hong Kong, the two decided to leave their jobs in corporate fashion to realize their unique dream. What began as a single store on a quiet street in downtown New York is now a global community with outposts in New York, London, and Los Angeles, a department store in Tokyo, a wholesale showroom, an in-house clothing line, a blog, an e-commerce site, a TV channel, and an annual magazine.

Taking its name and mission statement from the modern Olympic Games, founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Opening Ceremony adopts a multinational approach to retail. In addition to stocking both iconic and emerging homegrown designers, every year Opening Ceremony showcases the spirit and merchandise of a visiting country, transforming each store into a marketplace for exotic souvenirs and international talent.

 

Posted in Art

DJ Sharp

Young DJs seem to be all the range; take Bondax, Karma Kid and XXYYXX, who are proof that you don’t need to be legal to take a club by storm. 16 year old Brisbane-based DJ Sharp is our newest catch.

At the age of 10, most boys are content with video games and football. By this age, Daniel Sharp was already starting to DJ professionally. Initially a ‘bedroom DJ’, Sharp taught himself to mix in his room for two years, just as some of the most prolific DJs have done. As his equipment grew –a DJ’s addiction – he began to play out for his job: driving the dancefloor and yet too young to buy a beer at the bar.

DJ Sharp’s sound is all about fat basslines and hard grooving dance music. Influenced by key players Skrillex, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki and Knife Party, Sharp mixes the punch of trance with the swag of trap in his sailing style of electronic dance music.

‘Jump!’ epitomises the bassy tang with its cavernous drops and sky high builds. The beating kicks and euphoric keyboard are made to unite a dancefloor: “One, two, three: Jump!” ‘Club Life Version 2’ takes this recipe further with its frantic rising melody, digital splurts and sturdy house beat. Ibiza calls.

For those who like more downtempo electronica, an interesting experiment is Sharp’s ‘Chillstep idea’, a piece he has previewed on his Soundcloud. Using the deep weight of dubstep, Sharp trickles on a delicate piano riff, showing us he is not a one-trick pony of a producer. If he’s achieved this by age 16, we can only but guess where he’ll be in ten years time.

 

Santal 36

There is no bigger luxury than a beautiful accessory created from the finest materials with the greatest attention to detail. Well maintained, it can serve you many years and become your best style friend, no matter of changing trends and seasons. That’s why I am always on a hunt for new accessories designers and I have to admit it, my heart skipped a beat when I came across Santal 36’s and their beautiful bags.

Santal 36 is a brand started by Miryam Lozano, Spanish-born but  London-based accessories designer who graduated from London College of Fashion earlier this year. The philosophy behind her brand is a big focus on quality and original designs made using sustainable materials such as veg tan leather, laminated pony skin and wood-look laminated leather sourced from Italy. Bags designed by Miryam are also versatile and have parts that can be removed or adjusted, depending on the will of their wearers.

Amongst her biggest inspirations Myriam mentions furniture designers such as Charlotte Periand and Jean Prouve and clearly states she’s opposite the visible, vulgar branding of her products. As a result, the pieces designed by her are simple, classic, timeless and fresh and remind me a little bit of a good rawness of high-quality Scandinavian design. With their beautiful, wood-like pattern they are also in the running to become iconic items sought after by every fashionista.

Miryam still works on making her collection available to buy and plans to launch Santal 36’s online store in March 2014. I can’t wait!

Bryony Fripp

Bryony Fripp is a 26 year old emerging illustrator and artist who graduated from Bournemouth Arts Institute in illustration and is now based in London. She has already amassed an extensive and diverse list of important clients, including the likes of Sainsburys, Dorling Kindersley and Kate Spade, providing quirky and imaginative drawings that have appeal for food producers and vendors, educational projects and fashion designers. In addition to this, Fripp has produced her own greeting card collection commissioned by Camden Graphics entitled ‘Dream Little Dreams’.

Simplicity is a clear feature of Fripp’s illustrations, which see her using unfussy bold line drawings to create images of kitsch bicycles, fairy people, trinkets and animals. Her work sees an infusion of dream worlds with the everyday, and she has a unique ability to channel her creative and imaginative visions in a defined and original manner. Whilst on paper it may seem that her work is in danger of verging on nauseating, her trademark style ensures that her illustrations retain a unique charm; delicate yet forthright. There’s little wonder she’s caught the attention of some serious power players in the retail arena.

Fripp is also involved with In Your Dreams, a body painting company fronted by herself and Madeline Griffiths that has been prolific at various festivals throughout the summer. The basic premise is that the artists use paints, prints and embellishments on the face and body to create a fun and imaginative look, truly taking the tradition ‘face painting’ to a whole new and exciting level. After being met with such success, the team have created a Festival Collection that can be seen on their website and on Tumblr.

Find out more about Bryony Fripp’s work and clientele on Facebook, Twitter and on her website. She truly is a novel and interesting illustrator whose work, I am sure, we will come to be extremely familiar with in the future.

Rosemary Kirton

An artist and writer well known for her work which explores culture and trends in our following of celebrity and online communities, Rosemary Kirton writes in an effortless and critical manner via her blog Grossmary!

Titles of Rosemary’s texts include such gems as ‘Follow for More: Screenshots of Soft Culture.’ and ‘BRAND STINKIN NU’ creating her own musings on pop culture such as the character of the ‘Uncanny Valley Girl‘ a combination of the theory of the Uncanny Valley and the stereotype of the Valley Girl to create a figure who she defines as ‘girls who have developed their image/identity/personal brand to extremes of perfection at the cost of much anything else’ describing the point at which people manage to make themselves so unreally wonderful that they become vapid and distant.

Pictured are stills from Rosemary’s film ‘Follow for more soft Grunge’ which is captioned ‘Formal files and styles of performance being softened and corrupted.’ as if to talk about a sense of performativity that pervades every part of our life on an almost molecular level, as if soft grunge and other similar viral-feeling online trends compute some kind of physical take over.

Be sure to keep up with Rosemary’s work online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ayesha Tan-Jones

Ayesha Tan-Jones is a student at Central Saint Martins and an installation and video artist who makes music as Brownie Promise. I have only ever been a spectator online but to me, her work (and whole online presence) acts like an invitation into her distinct own brand of the psychedelic, it is a wonderland and functions like a treasure trove. Ayesha seems to drift effortlessly through mediums in her music, gently reflecting the tenor of her cystaline and pretty bodily installation. The video work feels like it threads everything together into a totally multi-sensory experience which becomes almost other worldly!

Of course the best person to collaborate with is another version of yourself!

Ayesha uses her alter-ego Una X Jynx like another voice through which to make work, we see them video chatting and interacting online where they plan to make collaborative hypnosis videos and collaborations like software upd8 // version 2.∞ // STEP 1. For me their work function feels like two girls coming together over the web to voyage through it as a mystical entity, as if together they can begin to understand it.

 

Ayesha can be found onilne via her visual journal and website and specific art blog and Una at her very own website here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kagoule

I’ve had a definite soft spot for Kagoule’s swirly churning since seeing them a few times a couple of years ago in Nottingham and more recently in London with Drenge. These guys are seriously exciting, sickeningly young and overwhelmingly talented.

Cai’s gloomy-cool and Lucy’s urgent throbbing on bass makes me want to wear my clumpiest school shoes again. Sometimes calm… often brooding…and all round achingly nostalgic, I can’t do them justice by cobbling adjectives together.

Maybe a mood-board demonstration, consisting of tattered velcro-fastened coin purses, after-rain walks home, braces and biro battered lined papers would be more apt but it would only go some of the way. Listen, Kagoule are anything but clumsy!

Kagoule just released a single called ‘Adjust the Way’ on Hate Hate Hate Records along with their first (suitably dark and fuzzing) video. Watch it online here, maybe make an afternoon of it.

Of course you can find Kagoule on Facebook and they are setting out on their first tour in December, playing all over the UK with Cold Crows Dead so you must keep a look (or ear) out!

Suitably dreamy photos by  Angela Chan.

Adam Black

Adam Black is a happy-go-lucky 18-year-old, just starting art school but already reaching notoriety for his enlivening bold and poppy work which as featured on t-shirts he has designed, gig posters and much more! Definitely reminiscent of the Cape Town sunshine he grew up in and now Nottingham based, his work touches upon the clear political and socio-economic undercurrents in both the South African and the UK landscapes.

Think: ‘Whut!?’ ‘Arms’, ‘Life’ to name a few slogan-like texts which lie sprawled, in funky letters across drawings, paintings and increasingly digital and collage work. It is hard not to like. Like, it is hard not to like this scanned piece of ham. Adam works very quickly and points out various family members painted in his recognisable but perhaps unflattering style, seemingly always armed with drawing materials! Paintings are light hearted and slightly satyrical and the film photographs very sincere and documentary-like, collage work perhaps playing lightly between the two.

Check out Adam’s website at www.adamtblack.com, tumblr – letsadamblack.tumblr.com and follow him on Facebook at for new work and updates,

(All images copyright to Adam Black)

Intimates Index

I was sort of surprised to be messaged online by a girl asking me to send her my knickers but i’d seen Charlotte Cullen’s work online and it transpired she was creating an exciting exhibition and  index of artists via their pants. The catalogue would be a direct reference to the conventions of documenting and selling art and a comment on the exchange value of objects and labour involved, the provenance of the artwork (the artist) drastically increasing the selling value of otherwise indistinguishable objects. A Banksy becomes almost unrecognizable from a reproduction yet the value skyrockets when it holds his name creating a similarly ‘capitalist commodity’. Charlotte looks at other artifacts that the ‘artist’ produces and questions their value like an artwork and fluctuating status from bi-product to commodity.

The net sets this economy on an accessible stage and Charlotte asks how our virtual culture relates physical and online interactions and how this ‘material construct’ functions as a ‘material becoming’.

As Gal wrote in the press release ‘A pair of used panties in need of a wash is in its material sense useless. With the same perspective you could argue that when the painting is dry, the plaster is rock hard or the film exposed, it is no longer usable and should therefore have the purchase value less than its raw materials put together.’

I saw the show come into its own physical being at Arvida Bystrom and Hanna Antonsson’s aptly named and pink-floored gallery- ‘Gal’ in East London. I hung around (on top of a ladder) to help set up the show which opened in the evening…in pink light, vacuum-packed underwear hanging delicately from the ceiling, anchored down by rocks from outside. A large print by Hannah Regel was included along with small, intimate photographs by Arvida herself (pictures), and others like Vanessa Omoregie as well as two film pieces by Maija Elizabeth Ekey.
See more of the Intimates Index and check out Charlotte Cullen’s practice online here.
Photographs copyright to Arvida Bystrom of Gal.

Caitlin Hazell

Caitlin Hazell is a wonderful illustrator who regularly contributes work to the well known teen magazine, Rookie. This perhaps sets the tone for her illustrations which employ pop culture and personal narratives to create a sensitive voyage through teenage life.

Caitlin’s own journey is documented though her blog which runs much like one of her moleskins, filled to the brim with scrawling snippets and scenes. As her Rookie biography states, she ‘enjoys looking out for the small things in life people usually miss’ and I think this goes a long way to describe her work which acts like a very sincere spectatorship on the big bad world.

dumb stuff is the name of Caitlin’s bigcartel site where she sells sticker sets and her past 6 Zines which appear like diaries or journals – completely covered in text and felt-tip. One of my favourite illustrations of Caitlin’s reads ‘Don’t worry Mr Sheep – i’ll come back later and get you out (child talking to Damien Hirst’s ‘Away from the flock’)’ and for me her work goes some way to create a breathing space or at least something lighthearted and fun. It is really easy to fall in love with!

You can see Caitlin’s work online at Rookie, as part of Bunny Collective and here.

She is fiercely productive so definitely one to follow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANNAH FOLEY: WRITER AND ILLUSTRATOR

I am completely aware of the fact that, as a mature second-year student, I should probably not be writing about children-book illustrator Hannah Foley. But whether it is because of my regressive attitudes – which involve brunching every Sunday watching the Totally Spies or spending an entire afternoon blowing up balloons for my birthday – or because of her incontestable ability to make everything really, really cute, I was altogether captivated by her work. And by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Even Solly the Spider made my heart melt a little bit. I mean, the poor thing wants to find a spot to build his web, but it never seems to go as well as he hoped!

Hannah Foley is originally from Devon but she now lives with her husband and her daughter in a sheep farm on the Scottish borders. She focuses mostly on writing and illustrating children’s books, both fictional and educational, but she has also participated in the 2013 Degree Show for the Edinburgh College of Art and is currently designing a children’s website and online magazine called Firefly. The influence of the natural world surrounding her is very strong in her work and she is also inspired by her own everyday life, especially by her daughter, nicknamed Little Owl, who is omnipresent in her projects. For example, she came up with the idea for Baby’s First Book of Trees after watching her little girl in her crib under the shade of a tree, and wondering how the sky must have looked like from her perspective.

Browsing her blog , this proximity between her work and her life is evident as she describes everyday “owling about” with Little Owl and Big Dreamer, her husband. Every post is accompanied by an illustration that never fails to remind me of an old school Disney movie. An orangutan on a roof, a baby bear struggling to cool his porridge down, penguins coming out of a fridge; Foley gives life a whole new world of adorable stories and charming creatures  to catch the imagination of children and boost their creativity. Definitely worked for me too.

Gunsmoke and Lavender

Unfortunately for men when it comes to fashion, there seems to be a lot less choice out there compared to their female counterparts.  However, one male fashion brand pushing the boundaries is Gunsmoke and Lavender set up in 2010 by fashion stylist Jo Hawtree.

The basics are clear; classic tailoring, whether that be graphic tees, sparkly vests or a faux fur waistcoat.  The brand itself was built on extensive research into human emotion, resulting in controversial one-off pieces and small collections in associated colours.  Gunsmoke and Lavender’s AW 13/14 collection ‘Walking in our Shoes’ was influenced by the dark history of psychiatric facilities and with that, the intensity of a fractured human mind; showing that fashion is anything but shallow.

As mysterious as the brand itself, the Gunsmoke and Lavender man is a “dark passenger… he is beautifully sinister and gracefully insane.  Fractured and abandoned, he carves his own path; his dreams as vivacious as the contents of former patients forgotten suitcases… their possessions, once meaningful, soon to belong to an anonymous name”.

Gunsmoke and Lavender is anything but anonymous and in my opinion, it’s definitely a brand to watch.

To have a look at these intriguing creations, head to the website; or Gunsmoke and Lavender’s facebook and twitter.