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!

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.

HOLLY FULTON DESIGNER

Eccentric songstress, Noosha Fox is my muse for this season” says Holly Fulton about her Spring/Summer collection 2014. And as the models walk down the catwalk  to “Only You Can”, it is pretty obvious that she was successful in recreating the summer vibe from the 70s that she was looking for. If her show was to be described in a few words, it would probably be energy and fun, two words that also seem to match her personality. Her quick but smiling appearance at the end, in a gorgeous kimono dress, finally convinces – me, at least – that Holly Fulton has a bright fashion future ahead of her.

Born in Edinburgh, she studied at first at the Edinburgh College of Art before entering the Royal College of Art in London. Despite her young age, she is considered one of the most promising designers in Britain, and has already won the 2009 Swarovski Emerging Talent for Accessories, the Young Designer of the Year Award at the Scottish Fashion Awards and the Elle Style Award for new designer in 2010. Today, after creating six shows with the same enthusiasm, Fulton has successfully imposed her very unique style among the London fashion scene. Her incomparable designs have even led some to describe her as the “Scottish Roberto Cavalli”!

Watching her Spring/ Summer 2014 collection, you will be caught by reminiscing thoughts of 70s disco nights overloaded with color and dubious prints. But Fulton, unlike my twenty year-old Dad, avoids fashion faux-pas, and successfully combines the modernity and vibrancy of New York silhouettes with vintage styles. That choker necklace that our Mum hasn’t worn in public in thirty years? Looks great when stylized with great taste and a well cut bustier dress! She has managed to impose geometrical prints as her trademark and the tribal feel that she has given to her work for this season falls in with what she has done in the past. Her unusual use of accessories, from XXL jewellery to unexpected fan-bags, never fails to surprise and is certainly worth the look.

Find out more about Holly Fulton on her official website or on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter!

Louise Bourgeois Takes Over Edinburgh

She was the first female artist to get her own retrospective in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, her career covers seven decades, and her psychologically poignant works span a huge variety of media and subjects. French art matriarch Louise Bourgeois has taken over Edinburgh’s art galleries with two simultaneous exhibits at the National Gallery of Modern art and the Fruitmarket Gallery.

The exhibit at Modern One, A Woman Without Secrets, takes Bourgeois’s later mixed media sculptural works as its centerpiece. Cast bronze, fabric, mirrors, and more form dramatic psychological tableaux that reveal the artist’s inner anxieties and neuroses. This dynamic and varied show is accompanied by a smaller, more focused, but equally worthwhile accompanying exhibition in the Fruitmarket Gallery. I Give Everything Away focuses on drawing suites Bourgeois completed late in her life. Taking up the entire ground floor is a haunting set of the 220 Insomnia Drawings, created during an eight month struggle the artist had with insomnia. The upper gallery features two highly emotional and expressionistic sets of drawings, When Did This Happen? and the titular I Give Everything Away, which are large scale and tremendously evocative. Both exhibitions work together to present a comprehensive view of the vast range of techniques and subjects Bourgeois worked with.

Despite her passing in 2010, Louise Bourgeois’s work still feels fresh, and has inspired younger generations of artists to delve into the world of their lived experience, anxieties, and longings for the subject matter of their work. Any artist, or fan of Bourgeois’s work, should make a point of visiting this perfect storm of exhibitions, at two great galleries that are within walking distance of each other. A Woman Without Secrets runs at Modern One now to May 18th, and I Give Everything Away will be up at the Fruitmarket Gallery until the 23rd of February.

Katy Anderson

Katy Anderson graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with BA Drawing and Painting, receiving Andrew Grant Bequest for First Year Studies in 2009. Her recent exhibitions include solo show at The Blackbird and RSA Contemporaries 2013.

Katy’s inspiration lies in fashion and visual aesthetics. She looks at designers as artists, combining fashion research with the observations of processes found in nature. Her practice revolves around the latest designer collections and cellular forms of nature, proving that anything can be used as a material for inspiration and food for thought. The parallel between fashion and patterns of disease cells offers ambiguous interpretations of her artworks, which makes it even more challenging and interesting for the viewer. Katy demonstrates a successful approach of exploiting every form of nature as a source for contemporary art.

Her portfolio is an engaging exploration of Individuality vs Conformity. She works with the body silhouette, using different colors and patterns, emphasizing the importance of being different and unique. Katy expresses her perspective on the world of fashion. Transforming recognizable shapes and fashion forms into unfamiliar abstract combinations, she creates almost hypnotizing works.

To find out more, visit her website www.katy-anderson.com

Edinburgh College of Art Textile Design Graduates Part One

The Textile Design department at Edinburgh College of Art is always full of hardworking students amongst a vivid display of patterns, drawings, colour, fabric samples and an array of colour. Inspiration behind this years graduates work ranges from growing up in the 90s to a tiny Eastern European village called Koniakow famous for its crochet. As well as exhibiting at Edinburgh College of Art’s degree show the inspiring graduates have also just returned from exhibiting at New Designers in London showcasing their designs to various designers and those in the industry.

Katrina Bell‘s collection (main image) ‘a nod to nostalgia’ is a bright and quirky interior collection aimed at new parents who want to recall their childhood in the 1970s/80s. Stamps, shapes and colour is really important to her collection which involved traditional screen printing, heat press techniques and embroidery on woolen blankets, drawer liners, cushions and fabric samples. Alongside her youthful approach to design, Katrina has an array of skills and with plenty of experience during work placements in industry (and a few in the pipeline!) the future is very bright (and colourful). See for yourself on her  website

Kirsty McCann‘s collection (left image) is a definite must see for anyone who grew up in the 90s. ‘Acceptable in the 90s’ celebrates the 90s cliches, inflatable bubble bags, trolls and incredibly recreates the ‘scratch and sniff’craze through screenprinted scents on to fabrics. Bold, bright and unexpected Kirsty’s collection shows her skills in embroidery, screen printing, digital printing and hand embellishment. Relive your childhood on her website

Graduate designer Olivia May O’Connor’s collection is inspired by the act of collecting, birds, bones and historic, iconic textiles. Her atmospheric colour palette and great use of scale is really shown off in the eye catching curtains while her fabric samples combine leather, interior fabrics with digital printing, laser etching and traditional techniques. Olivia has amazing hand drawing skills (right image) and designs for both the Fashion and Interior market. She is a very versatile designer and won the Duchamp Luxury Menswear Digital Print competition while at university. Delve more into her collection on her website

 

 

Graduate Textile Designers and their unique projects

Camilla Wordie and Emily Martin are two Textile Design graduates from Edinburgh College of Art with distinctive degree projects showing an interesting take on Textiles. Both graduates spent their final year producing personal projects which show an innovative approach to the norm of textile design.

Camilla Wordie‘s degree project blurs the boundary between food and textiles. She started with ‘Edible Textiles’ in which she transformed food into wearable surfaces by changing the form of the food and its common structure. Every week when I was in the studio Camilla would have a desk full of food – pasta, chocolate, noodles, oats- and would be experimenting with transforming its texture, composition or form into a surface unrecognisable from its ordinary state.

Her degree work took an unusual approach: ‘wearing rice is nice’ is a collection of rice inspired fabrics made from manipulating various types of rice to add textures to your dining experience, all with a subtleness to the design and white colour palette; ‘please add me to your dish’ (main image) encourages diners to add an ingredient to their dish making a physical interaction with the ingredients and your food including a herb flooring. The ingredients are manipulated food products cleverly done with a variety of textile processes playing with textures, scale and composition.

Camilla’s exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art’s degree show definitely drew attention for its individual concept, perfect branding and immaculate presentation. Have a look for yourself at Camilla’s website

Emily Martin‘s ‘Collective Recollections’ degree project aims to help those with dementia. Her collection of wall hangings for Edinburgh’s care homes are a talking point for the residents and visitors with scenes of Edinburgh referencing the 1950s encouraging viewers to reminisce the city and their past – they are great conversation starters! She worked with the ‘Oasis dementia cafe’ in Edinburgh, which supports those with dementia, to share her ideas, get some feedback and get creative! With Portobello Beach, Blackford Pond and Princes St Gardens as her chosen scenes Emily combined a wealth of textile processes – digital print, traditional screenprinting, hand embroidery – to produce large detailed wall hangings that are both visually and texturally stimulating – a key feature for those with dementia. Emily has used the wall hangings as starting points for craft and art activities with the ‘Oasis dementia cafe’ group. See her wall hangings in full detail on her website .

Both Camilla and Emily have had successful textile careers so far with various award nominations and wins! The future is definitely bright and innovative…

Julie Marie Fleming

Unusual canvas formats draw immediate attention to the vibrant and colorful compositions in Julia’s paintings. Adopting peculiar circle and semi-circle canvas as part of her artworks, she steps out of the traditionally used form.

This noteworthy attempt of replacing the ordinary square shape with less common forms, opens new perspectives in artistic practice. Canvas is the foundation, the basics, that’s where you start. Change the foundation, and the artist’s thinking will change.

Originally from Glasgow, Julia Marie Fleming is Edinburgh based artist, who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2012. She has participated in various exhibitions including Black Cube Collective at The Old Ambulance Depot and Bold. Colour. Progress. at The Congregational Gallery. She is inspired by the colors and forms that are seen in nature. From microscopic photographs to macro telescopic images, she explores nature that cannot be perceived with the naked eye.

Julia’s works change what we traditionally know about painting. Her highly contemporary artworks stand out, catching the attention by unfamiliar forms and bold, vibrant imagery. There is emotion and passion. Color contrasts create the mood and the atmosphere. Each painting is a unique observation of surrounding space.

 

Julia’s artworks are not about the concept, but about the image. Her art is not overloading the viewer with ideas and theories, which is so popular in today’s art world, but projects the purity of aesthetic qualities. She lets the viewer to decide, interpret and appreciate the artwork in his own way.

To see more of her works, visit this website www.juliemarieart.co.uk

Claire Simpson

Abstract paintings and collages, portraying delicate tonal variations and harmonic geometrical compositions form central part of Claire Simpson’s portfolio of urban observations. Claire is a recent graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, where she received her BA in Drawing and Painting.

She investigates the built environment and transforms her observations into fundamental shapes and geometry.  She picks existing places or architectural details and creates a geometrical response, which results in an appealing graphic image with recognizable elements that guide you through the artwork. Her works represent a  sensitive combination of spatial qualities and flattened surface. I like looking at her well-executed artworks, perceiving this abstract imagery as a key to person’s unique world view.

“Inspired by the phenomenon of the urban experience, I experiment in bringing what we see from outside into a context where its existence is appreciated more. Attracted by the basic shapes of buildings I break down forms to their simplest state and juxtapose them. Pure geometry has a presence and I choose to play with this possibility, experimenting with the understanding of aesthetics through color and shape.”

Her recent exhibitions include 74² in Whitespace gallery and RSA New Conteporaries 2013.

To find out more check out her website www.claire-simpson.co.uk

 

Mat Hay Photography

Recent graduate from Edinburgh Napier University Mat Hay had his work on display at the recent Graduate Show. His photographs were eye catching, powerful and I just wanted to know more…

His website showcases his vast photography experience in different settings including portraiture, stunning landscape shots (my fav is the San Diego one) and great ‘movement’ shots of skaters. Mat has been shortlisted for the graduate Futureproof exhibition held in Glasgow and Aberdeen (fingers crossed).

Mat’s graduate project ‘The Messenger’ questions the power of storytelling, persuasion and the workings of religion. His work is so intriguing and held a deeper meaning than the other works on display. He was kind enough to answer some of my questions…

What was your inspiration behind your graduate project (left)?

‘It started with a visual anthropology project I was doing on Varanasi on the Ganges, and the Hindu rituals and beliefs which dominate the lives of the people in that area. While researching different religions, including Hinduism, and reading Van Gennep’s book ‘The Rights of Passage’, I became fascinated with the countless religious stories and beliefs around the world today. This led me to consider how as humans we seem to rely on science and logic to exist but we still have an instinct to believe in some pretty unbelievable stuff. It is a very interesting situation to be in’.

What were the challenges of this project?

‘The big challenge was dealing with such large groups of people and working without a budget. The cast and crew all volunteered their time for free so I tried to get each shot done quickly, particularly in the freezing mid-winter Scottish weather. Everyone was really committed though which was fantastic. The biggest positive was the people and the locations – they made the project!’

How about a bit about your yourself?

‘I’ve been exploring lots of different types of photographic work during my degree studies which has been great. I’ve met some really interesting and accomplished individuals which has really helped to develop my thinking and practice. I think the highlights recently have been working for Nadav Kander then, through that, getting to interview Broomberg and Chanarin who were a large part of my discussion in my dissertation’.

And what are your plans now that you’ve graduated?

‘My plans are to expand this project over the summer. Then I’ll hopefully move back to London to carry on assisting others while starting some new projects of my own’.

Check out Mat’s work on his website and look out for future exhibitions displaying his work. Good luck Mat, with such skills I’m sure we’ll be hearing about your work in the future.

Sarah Kilkenny Design

It’s often the case that creative types draw a lot from their childhood, after all we are each one of us products of our upbringing. It was natural then for Sarah Kilkenny to make the move from embroidering with her grandmother in Manchester to studying fashion design full time at the Edinburgh College of Art. Following a slew of fashion opportunities in sixth form, including the Fashion Awareness Directive and the Vauxhall Fashion Scout programme, the latter of which granted Sarah the research award, the young designer gathered enough confidence and experience to continue her passion into higher education. She is now entering her fourth and final year of study.

Often cited as the fashion capital of the North, Manchester plays host to a number of creatives, many of whom have been featured as part of the ‘Born in Britain’ project. Between the experience her home town has leant her, and those which she has learnt in Edinburgh, Sarah’s style is one that is comfortable and cool. Growing up around many artistic influences has allowed her to broaden her own repertoire and she cites illustration and writing as areas of interest to be explored, as well as photography, film, and design and the impact and relationship they share with fashion design. As well as this, the designer talks about the merging of fashion and academia as a growing trend, alluding to Anja Aronowsky Cronberg and her work at Vestoj, and with such a multifaceted nature to her work, Sarah imbues creation with meaning, drive, and interest.

Currently, her work is largely fashion design with a focus on surfaces. Studying at the ECA has lead to an endless number of awesome opportunities, including the chance to work with high-end designers Duchamp and Michael Kors, both of whom selected Sarah as a finalist in their design competitions. The accolades don’t stop there, either, she also made it to the finals of the British Alpaca Society Student Knitwear Designer of the Year Competition and the Mackintosh Competition, narrowly missing out on the top spots. The latter two competitions were of great importance to Sarah because of their positions as forerunners in a long line of British heritage brands, which, alongside Gola, support and sustain the tradition and economy of Great Britain. That’s why, when a young Scottish brand announced her as winner of their design competition, she was so enthusiastic to see her designs realised. That’s all under wraps for now, but watch this space.

Inspiration comes from many areas, but Sarah stresses that they are mainly visual ones. Feelings and characters play into her ‘imaginary muse’, but the main theme is a focus on perception through vision. Work with other creatives is also impactive, and she describes working on a collaborative sketchbook project that involved sharing visual illustration ideas and building upon them as a group of artists.

This summer, Sarah has embarked on an internship with another heritage brand, Pringle of Scotland. Living and working in London, Sarah tells me that she will be ‘assisting with all areas within the design team, knitwear and wovens but predominantly knitwear as this is where I have been specialising this year. Also research, colour palettes, fittings and working with the lookbook shoot’. The formal part of her training begins here, but she is no stranger to the hard-faced world of the fashion industry, and has previously worked with clients such as Chanel on their 2013 Metier D’Arts show in Edinburgh.

Sarah admits that the future is anyone’s guess. She’d like to do an MA in Womenswear, but with such an extensive and impressive CV already, the sky really is the limit for this impressive young designer.

Top Photo: Coat, Sarah Kilkenny; Hat, Emma Lawrie; Top, Catrina Murphy; Trousers, Birgit Saviauk. Model: Marju Kaps.

Sarah may be contacted at: sarahkilkenny91@gmail.com

sarah-kilkenny.tumblr.com

Creative Graduates from Edinburgh Napier University

Last sunny weekend I visited Edinburgh Napier’s University Creative Degree Show 2013. I hadn’t been before but as the underdog of creative university’s in Edinburgh there was a certain number of graduates that caught my eye. Main image – Product Designer Aimi Robertson, Bottom Images – Graphic Designer Sam Dexter.

Aimi Roberston is a graduate in Product Design with a love for furniture design and restoration. Lucky enough to have been on exchange in China for 5 months last year she has great experience and has a fun approach to her work as a designer. Her degree project shows a love for Scottish Industry using Harris Tweed in an interior context. It’s quirky use of Harris Tweed shows the traditional fabric in a new light.

Originally from Inverness Aimi has shown her Scottish roots by using the iconic Scottish Harris Tweed jacket in a bespoke piece of furniture taking direct influence from the jacket with the 2 pocket detailing on the sofa with a modern twist. The bespoke piece has a strong historic narrative showcasing Harris Tweed’s history yet comments on Harris Tweed’s recent resurgence. The sofa uses high class materials yet is designed to be extremely flexible and I can see it fitting nicely within people’s homes. It is a great take on the traditional and ties in nicely with the current handmade market with consumers seeking out hand made, quality items rather than mass made. Aimi’s branded her idea really well even down to the traditional bottle of whisky in the sofa’s pocket!

Sam Dexter‘s ‘Red Letter Day Project’ motion graphic piece informs the public about a particular event that is important to the history of Edinburgh. With an interest in philosophy and ethics, Sam chose the birth of the philosopher David Hume and his theory called the ‘Induction Fallacy’. As Sam explained to me ‘Induction Fallacy’ theory implies that nothing in our world can be predicted. In the stop frame animation she communicates this theory-which would usually be quite hard to understand- in a humorous way using dominoes, similarly tumbling but with one rogue domino breaking the rules in an extraordinary way! As her first stop-frame animation and using 112 dominoes Sam’s made this animation with perfect detail and you can watch it here. Sam said that what she likes about graphic design is that ‘you can communicate with the audience on so many different levels and make a subject like The Induction Fallacy something quite light hearted and easy to grasp. I like to think my work is light hearted and uplifting. Since this project a lot of my work has been motion graphic based, I really enjoy film and projects that involve interaction and involvement with the public…’. Her attention to detail is incredible! Make sure you have a look at her ‘Red Herring Route’ intervention project which made people in Edinburgh look, and see, the city differently from usual.

Good luck to both Aimi and Sam!