British Sea Power

“ALERT! ALERT! ACTUALLY DECENT BAND PLAYING IN YORK ALERT!”

Now, upon reading the above on my Facebook news feed, my naturally inquisitive mind wants instantly to investigate. And, the (slightly over-egged) announcement is quite right, these guys are a decent band!

British Sea Power are a six-piece band variously originating from Cumbria, Yorkshire, Ealing and Shropshire who are currently based in East Sussex and on the Isle of Skye. Their multi-instrumental style (guitars, bass, keys, drums, a viola and a cornet) gives them a wonderfully rich and unique sound that seems to have thrilled their fans and reviewers alike. The Sunday Times have called them “the best band in Britain” while a Rolling Stone review dismissed the entire line up of the Reading Festival as “puerile drivel” and adding “we’re off to see British Sea Power”.

Far from starting out, British Sea Power are ten years more mature than their debut album (released 2003), but their new album Machineries of Joy sees them really hitting their stride. Their hard work and perseverance really shows: a recent poll of BBC 6 Music listeners on the most important tracks of the stations lifetime but British Sea Power’s track, ‘Remember Me’ at number 9. Putting this into context, that’s just above Radiohead and just behind Johnny Cash.

If you want to check out this band properly, visit their website – http://www.britishseapower.co.uk/ – where you can find links to all of their social media, videos of their performances as well as tour dates, so you can appreciate them live.

Yoshika Colwell

Known to everyone as Yoshi, Yoshika Colwell is an undergraduate at the University of York and everyone who knows her know about her voice.

Singing live gigs across the city at various cabaret and jazz nights, Yoshi wows audiences wherever she sings with her beautiful smooth tone and alternative covers. She has a range of covers on Youtube under the title ‘Live in the Living Room’ where she re-discovers well known songs in a simple, yet beautiful style. Listening to them, you wouldn’t know she hadn’t written them herself. My personal favourite is her cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Soul Rebel’ – believe me, it’s nothing like you’ve heard that song before!

As well as her beautiful covers, Yoshi also provides the vocal track for the radio drama Trimble, produced by URY (University Radio York) and written by Edward Greenwood. The show is currently nominated in the Best Online or Non-Broadcast Audio drama catagory in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2014.

I thoroughly recommend listening to Yoshi and checking out her music. Not just because she’s a lovely person, but also because she’s an incredibly talented musician. Her soundcloud has a lot of good examples of her music – https://soundcloud.com/yoshikacolwell – but check out that aforementioned Bob Marley cover – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqzxYuV_Pwc

George Ezra

Hailing from Bristol, this singer-songwriter has just hit number 5 on the BBCs ‘Sound of 2014’ list. And he’s only 19.

According to his page on the BBC, he was first spotted in 2012 by BBC Bristol who were “championing his bluesy, acoustic ballads”. Since then, he’s had a slot on the Glastonbury Introducing Stage as well as recording sessions at Maida Vale (the BBC recording studios in London for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term).

Zane Lowe recently described him as “One of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around”, and I would have to agree. George’s vocals are far beyond his years, and his bluesy style is reminiscent of the greats like Bob Dylan and his hero Woody Guthrie. He fits very nicely into the emerging style in the industry, creating a beautiful vintage sound and merging it beautifully with modern accoustic tracks.

In spite of his recognition from London, George stays true to his roots, playing a lot of gigs in Bristol and sticking around his hometown. According to him, the town is exciting and “things are happening”.

To hear more of George’s songs or to see where you can see him live, visit his website: www.georgeezra.com

Ailene Gray

I found Ailene Gray on the internet. She appears to be an undergraduate student, just like me. But unlike me, she can draw some very pretty pictures.

There is a site online which I’d never heard of called the ‘just us’ collective. It showcases student illustrators and artists and gives them the chance to appear in exhibitions and publications in the coming year. Hundreds of people submit their work and you can vote online for your favourites. The top fifty get accepted into the collective. This voting page is where I discovered Ailene Gray.

On the site, the artists are given the opportunity to describe themselves alongside examples of their work. Ailene’s says:

Escaped from Bedford to somewhere with more sea and less Bedford to study Illustration. If ink was a person, me and ink would be in love. The first inspiration I can remember was seeing the concept art for ‘The Ocarina of Time’ instruction manual when I was 6. I’m a mother to two rats, I’m obsessive and my insides are made out of bread.

I liked her description.

As well as the evident quirkiness of character which this artist displays both in her work and her words, I think Ailene’s illustrations are marvellous. The three pieces shown offer a fantastic range – one shows intense intricacy where another appears haphazard and amusing. In spite of this, they all exude a style that shows true artistry – you can tell they all came from the same artist. Her whole page exudes personality – her succinct use of language only supports the fantastic artwork she submits to be judged.

If you too like the pictures on this article, please vote for Ailene Gray at http://www.justusdesigncollective.com/lumpygraybles

 

Phoebe Baines

In an artworld that has never had more money, it is unsurprising that it is being drowned by art work being bought, sold and shipped worldwide for the masses to admire and pay homage to.  The costs are exponential; the impact to the public, very little. In true reverence to the ideology of the dematerialisation of art [with an environmental and humble twist] Phoebe Baines is doing something different.

Having recently been funded by UAL’s Mead Scholarship, Baines has been able to take her temporary artworks on a tour of some of the UK’s remote rural landscapes far from the commercial grasps of the artworld hub.

Her works is simple but with high impact and only existing for a short amount of time. Overcoming the practical issues of being a working artist and incorporating it into her practice Baines has created some stunning and exciting work.

Sat down with some jerk chicken and corn on the cob [not your typical interview setting] we talked life, art and the issues facing young artists today.

What made you decide to make temporary work?

The idea for making temporary works came from a placement with a practicing artist. I had a first hand experience in the difficulties of storing old work, transporting pieces to be exhibited and the prices of shipping. I felt as though temporary work that were easy and fast to install and take down would side step these issues as well as speeding up my turnover of ideas. I found that this change also allowed me to expand the scale of work a lot more simply.

Who/What inspires you?

I’m inspired by all kinds of things mostly visual materials I see on the street, buildings and natural places. Artists who inspire me to push forward with my ideas and to be ambitious with my work are Ernesto Neto and Tomas Saraceno who both create the most immersive ethereal installations. Richard Serra has been an important influence for me in his approach to space and the way we occupy and engage with the spaces in our lives.

Do you see yourself as a land artist?

I find the best work comes from an interesting space and the outside world is a far better site for me than a clean white square. Because of my materials I wouldn’t classify myself as a land artist but in terms of the importance of the landscape / site in the work, there is an element of land art there; especially in recent works where the pieces have been made in natural surroundings. Whether it’s natural or urban it’s the ‘site’ that comes first and often defines the form.

What environmental concerns are expressed in your work?

I wouldn’t say my work has and overtly environmental message but i aim to bring up questions about humans in space. Although the materials are mostly man made and synthetic the setting is often natural and organic. The tension between the two is particularly interesting to me and I suppose that hints and mans relationship with nature.

Are you rebelling against the art world?

Rather than rebelling I would say I’m challenging the art world and it’s boundaries. I hope to integrate everyday life into the art world through using domestic / real life spaces rather than spaces created and cornered off for art. I see art and my work as a part of life not a separate entity.

What do you love about being an artist?

I love the feeling of satisfaction from growing an idea from the first thought right up until it’s physically in front of you. Having the freedom to test your imagination and challenge yourself to keep moving forward. The innate emotional connection with my work is what keeps me going when it’s all going a bit wrong!

Phoebe Baines’ lives and works in London, to keep up to date with her exhibitions and new works follow phoebebaines.tumblr.com

 

 

 

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”.

Steph Carr

Steph Carr is a contemporary fine artist, who has just finished her degree at Sheffield Hallam University. Her work is both wonderfully conceptual and thought provoking, whilst still being beautifully executed. Her latest work is intricate and visually stunning, adding depth to the ideas behind each piece. In a time where contemporary artists are common, it’s rare to fine one with so much thought behind each piece, whilst still maintaining quality and visual effect. This is something that makes Steph special, and I urge you to see more of her. Here’s what she had to say:

Tell me about yourself as an artist

I’ve just graduated from BA Hons Contemporary Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University. I work with everyday domestic materials, commonly found and used in the home currently to create objects that change themselves from waste material to objects of desire that you want to return to the home. I have a fascination for that transformation stage, the moment something changes from rubbish to some form of spectacle, offering a new way of looking. Being hands on is really important for me, in everything I do I aim for the materials to remain honest and for there to be signs of the objects being handmade. Taking inspiration from the in between moments in our everyday lives, materials show themselves be it a pile of used teabags or discarded material the textures and colours found in these objects is what I take away to make something new. My work has a deep routed focus on perception of beauty and I aim to create things that we actively want in our homes and lives.

What are the influences and inspirations behind your latest works?

My latest work seen in my degree show ‘The Discarded Made Tangible (Sweepings)’ was a creation of wallpaper. We drink hundreds of cups of tea within the home each month and the overriding waste was impossible to ignore. I began collecting the used teabags and in the drying out process placed them onto paper, the pattern and colour left on the paper by the bag was so beautiful I took this and created a wallpaper design. After a battle trying to reproduce the pattern by hand on the paper it became clear a digital aid was needed so I used a combination of Photoshop help to create the design and hands on approach by screen-printing the design by hand on to lining paper. For the purpose of the degree show it was important for me to offer clues to the viewer as to what materials had been used, so I matched the pigments as closely as possible to a tea staining. There are many references that flood into this work; the main points are the amount we use and waste in our homes and also the possibilities of those waste materials. I feel that the use of tea offers many links dependant on the viewer; some have referenced the similarities to Victorian wallpapers and the importance of the tea trade in that period, some have noticed similarities to the Rorschach inkblot test that uses pareidolia (seeing things in abstract inkblot images) in an attempt to gain insight into a person’s mental state. For me, I want the viewer to feel they want to remove the piece from the gallery space and return it to the home, where the material was collected and used.

As a young artist, have you found it difficult to establish your own style?

I think for any artist the pressure to find ‘a style’ is always the black sheep in the room. For me, going through the motions of university has been the best way to find out what I am interested in and how I want to progress with my work. It seems to have come from nowhere really, but when you think about the amount of information you soak up being surrounded by other artists in the form of tutors, outside professionals and peers it all contributes to your way of working and thinking. In my final year something seemed to change, a focusing of ideas (maybe the pressure of the degree show contributed!) and putting a piece of work in to the gallery space as your final university piece spurs you on to push yourself. There are some amazing opportunities for creative in this country and I find inspiration in all media’s and areas, the main thing I would say to any young artist is to just keep going! Wherever you go and whatever you see you take something with you and all of these aspects come together to form your ‘style’. I am still learning and growing as I think every artist does and with every piece I make there is more that I would like to do to it and new ideas that arise from putting a realised work in to a space.

What are your thoughts on the British Art scene of today?

Some of my greatest inspirations have been from British artists; I find the work of artists like Deborah Bowness (www.deborahbowness.com) so beautiful and they push me in my own mind and practice to keep going with an idea and to keep perfecting it. Bowness takes everyday objects such as lamps or chairs and uses photographs of them to create wallpaper, this can completely transform a space and offers solutions for those with little space in the home. She has also got a very interesting project on the go ‘The Paper Trail’ that takes disused spaces on our streets and papers them, drawing attention not only to her work but to the tragedy of our British high street where shops are closing down every day and spaces are being wasted. There are so many inspirational artists around and they keep emerging as more and more creative arise from schools, universities and colleges. Another huge inspiration for me is Timorous Beasties, their mainly hand-printed wallpapers and designs are so grand and beautiful, they are well known for their contemporary take on the traditional ‘Toile De Jouy’ pattern of Napoleonic France however they recreate scenes in a similar style of modern cities.

What can we expect to see from you in future?

I’m not too sure what the future holds! I am interested in many mediums including illustration photography and craft so I hope to always be involved in something creative. In an ideal world I would love to continue working on designs for wallpapers, fabrics and other aspects of the home however I am not sure how this would be possible currently! I will always be a creative person and in one way or another I know this passion will filter through to all aspects of my life. If nothing else, I just hope to offer some form of inspiration to those who see my work. In a society where we have no focus on what we use or waste, as it is so readily available to us, I hope to elevate the potential of what is in front of us to a position of significance.

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To find out more about this young artist and her work, contact her via her email:  carr_stephanie91@live.co.uk

 

Camila Sadler

Camila Sadler has previously been chosen for the highly esteemed Threadneedle Prize 2012, showcased her work at various locations in Bath and held exhibitions at the British Inspiration Awards. Which is a set of industry awards celebrating achievement in the creative industries.

It is all around us, it fills all those empty spaces, it’s pure yet lacking at the same time. For Camilla this is what preoccupies her, the effect of white on white. It’s when you really have to look to see. Her intentions are to awaken an interest into the lives of one another, not through malice or surveillance but by opening our thoughts to the variation of life around us. Working in primary education, as a special need support, life and its variations must be all around her. Children are the ones who are less damaged and consequently more open. Does her approach to art employ the innocence of the young?

Existing materials, found object and locations all act as a stimulus for Camila’s practise. Her walls of feathers are ethereal and delicate. Although the translucent creation interrupts the eye, the way the light flows and is blocked, seems natural and soft. There is a definite feeling of intimacy, which explores the boundaries of personal space. In nature feathers are a skin to the elements and combined with a house like frame, “Notions of Home” provides a symbolic protection. Yet in physical terms the shell would provide little salvation from the real world. It is the conflict between the symbolic and physicality of Camila’s work that creates a tension between our instincts and our mind.

 

Sylvia Moritz

Sylvia Moritz has never strayed from artistic disciplines, having studied Graphic Communication from an early age at Die Graphische in Vienna. Encouraged by her college tutors to cross borders, the multi-media artist and designer flew the nest at 19 en route to America. Here she discovered a lot about herself and her discipline, studying Illustration in Boston, and partaking in a six-month printmaking course in San Francisco.

On the back of a range of practical and industrial skills acquired from her travels, Sylvia enrolled at the University of the Arts London. In 2012, she found herself back in America on an erasmus exchange programme, this time showing The Big Apple what she was made of, in a six-month intensive at The Parsons New School for Design. She made the most of state of the art facilities, gaining advanced knowledge in branding and packaging design from peers such as Lance Wyman (Mexico ’68) as well as honing her illustrative expertise, mentored by reportage fanatic Veronica Lawlor.

The Austrian is an advocate of both the use of traditional and digital techniques that work hand-in-hand with one another, and such an ideal is conveyed in a lot of her work. Observations of Moritz’s surroundings play a vital role in shaping the direction of her practice. Usually with underlying environmentalist attitudes, her stunning mark-making qualities display a meticulous attention to detail and an enviable dedication to the creative arts. She continues to develop her style and relentlessly pushes herself to improve with every project she participates in. And the hard work has paid off, recently winning a Best of Year award with the D&AD for a project with the V&A.

Sylvia must be congratulated on her immaculate level of craft, her delicately balanced tone and liberating colour combinations. In the main image we capture an insight into her exotic amalgamation of geometric elements that satisfy the eye hypnotically – a feat of technical excellence comparable to that of the late and respected Escher. One can only hope that Sylvia continues to lead us on inspiring journeys through her labyrinthian creations. I have full confidence that she will.

 

 

 

Jo Peel

Jo Peel’s ‘Pipe Dreams’ is the largest mural completed by an individual artist.

Urban decay and construction are the main subjects of London artist Jo Peel’s drawing and animation. Her vibrant and creatively dynamic canvases suggest an attunement between the individual and the cityscape; despite the decay of the environment, her art makes it clear that it is very much the place where the heart is situated.

There is no denying the “inviting warmth” and “nostalgic feel” attributed to her work but in taking in the broad vistas she illustrates, what becomes most visible is the presence of a strong socio-cultural critique. Her site profile states that Jo “creates a dialogue by accurately recording the urban landscape in front her”. She does so “by leaving in the elements of construction and decay”; a stylistic gesture which embeds a “rawness and reality that pin-points a moment in time”. This dialogue is also the tension between the creative vibrancy of the artist and the dullness of the city.

Jo is a significant force in the urban contemporary art scene and a member of the internationally Scrawl Collective. Her most recent work is the animated short ‘Pipe Dreams’, a visual record of the process of decay as represented by a simple scrap of paper. Painted on a five-story building, ‘Pipe Dreams’ is the largest mural completed by an individual artist. It was created over the course of three months and uses a shipping container and a decommissioned double-decker bus as part of its mixed media.

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Mila K

“I’d rather not sound cliché, but I feel that drawing is a means of escape. I can create things that don’t exist, I can portray how I feel at a particular time, or give a creative spin on events happening around me and the effect they’ve had.” Mila K, [Now Then]

Mila K is a longtime horror film fanatic; an understanding of his taste for the monochromatic and the unearthly is necessary in order to appreciate his vogue graphic and street art. The Sheffield based artist started out tracing and imitating the designs on horror film cases. Since then he has developed his own signature style, most notably in the form of his signature female character.

A full time illustrator, Mila has recently completely work for Michael Glawogger’s documentary film ‘Whore’s Glory’. His artwork captures the sinister artificiality of the underground world of prostitution.

The Knife and Folk gallery also recently played host to Mila’s first solo exhibition. The show was an interactive retrospective charting the development of his signature character and the diverse forms Mila has worked with.

With his masterful skill set Mila has made an impact in the worlds of street art, photgraphy, digtal art, photgraphy and, most recently fashion. Mila has designed t-shirts for local metal band Dead Harts, DEAD REIT Clothing, images for the startup watch brand LEAD and record labels.

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Joss Ryan

“I enjoyed listening to the music that made me want to run upstairs and lay some ideas down.” Joss Ryan explains to me how a wide variety of musical influences at a young age have helped him grow into a self-taught musician. But for the East London DJ and Producer, there was always more on the musical horizon, and his explorations through sound have given him a more refined set of influences. Jazz, Grime, and Soul have played integral roles in shaping Ryan, and it shows in his latest E.P. entitled ‘Blaze Blu’ (Relseased on DVA music).

It’s difficult to categorise the music into a genre, and for good reason. Ryan’s studies of Audio Engineering at the London School of Sound, combined with his five years of production experience have allowed him to conjure a natural ability to intertwine contrasting genres and triumph where others fail in making it sound balanced and effective. In ‘Modesty’ thick Jazz brass introduces a progressive instrumental that evolves into a melodic synth-fest, complete with shuffling piano a soaring string crescendo. Undertones of modern oriental vibe are also apparent, perhaps a throwback to Ryan’s passion for orchestral music in video games such as the Final Fantasy series.

Ryan makes no secret of his desire to develop a sound he “can call his own”, he is constantly reinventing himself to stay fresh. Noting the limitations of playing at clubs, Ryan treads through the dense wilderness of the world of music to discover instruments that he carries with him through all of his productions, gradually scultping a DNA pattern that formulates his sound. ‘Blaze Blu’s’ title track, with it’s anticipatory bellow and pulsating brass, boldly embodies Joss Ryan’s intention to not just push the boundaries, but to attempt to draw new boundaries of his own. “I think to play at a festival like outlook or dimensions is the dream right now, and to develop a ‘live show’ to perform.” Having played at Cable and clubs in the Dalston/Shoreditch area, fans of experimental electronica would be wise to listen out for this highly ambitious artist. 

Listen to his music on soundcloud here

Photography by Jamie Kendrick