Adam French

Adam French is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter from the North-West of England. His life as a solo-artist has been relatively short, yet he has already accomplished a lot. He has been featured as a top story on the National BBC ‘introducing’ page, as well as recently completing a tour of Southern Africa.

He’s received wonderful reviews for his music both live and recorded and has now produced a music video (featured) for his new single ‘Shiver’, starring Hollyoaks actress Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove and directed by Dean Straffron.

Adam spins himself as a new, innovative musician and has a genuine love for what he does. He is described by reporters as being incredibly hard-working and seems dedicated to his career. His style has all the workings of indie magic, and his emotive lyrics are thought provoking and well thought out. It’s evident that this is a musician who has worked hard at perfecting his craft and it seems the time has come for that hard work to start paying off.

Adam has also mastered the art of the ‘hook’ – his songs are catchy, almost addictive – and he achieves this with ease (and without the mass irritation caused by most ‘catchy’ tunes). After listening to his single a couple of times you can’t help but find yourself singing a few of his lyrics under your breath throughout the rest of the day. And what’s more, you don’t hate him for it!

If you want to find out more about Adam and his work or listen to more of his music there are several places you can go. Check out his Twitter @AdamFrenchUK or like him on Facebook – www.facebook.com/adamfrenchmusicuk

Alternatively, just visit his website www.adamfrench.co.uk and there are links to all of his social media, bios and much much more!

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

 

 

 

Luke Tristram Malkin

A talking squirrel isn’t what everyone looks for in a friend, but ‘Gary the Party Squirrel’ and his African adventure is what Luke Malkin is currently shooting in Tanzania. Luke; a film-maker originally from Stoke is currently living in Tanzania and working as a teacher. Some people just have all the fun!

The film he’s currently working on is a spin-off from a show that was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 called “Squirrel Party”. It was an extremely successful show parodying Saturday morning children’s television, and Luke’s puppet, Gary, has since taken on a life of his own. Luke is the fictional children’s entertainer and Gary is, well, Gary, and they are struggling through the jungle in a futile search for the non-existent ‘Dark Green Squirrel’. Sounds a riot!

Luke did an MA in Digital Film Production at the University of York, and his final project, “Shed” (see production still far left) was a stunning and very moving piece of cinema. The 30 minute film was an adaptation of a play by his friend Tom Crowley, and followed the lives of a group of friends who had grown up visiting a shed in the woods in a small dead-end town. It was about growing up, getting out and letting go, and was a fantastic production. The whole film was shot inside a wooden shack they built within one of the York production studios and the logistics of the build were incredible.

Since that project, Luke has worked in Spain, making virtual learning films with the Virtual School as well as advertising films for a large independent Seville hotel. His portfolio is building and is set to be a big name in the film industry in a few years time.

If you want to check out more of Luke’s work, including his digital show reels, visit his website: lukemalkin.wordpress.com. There’s links to a lot of his films on youtube as well as an up-to-date blog of what he’s up to at the moment.

Mano’s Daughter

I am a fan of Tim Minchin, and as such, I follow him on Twitter. So, naturally when I read the tweet, “Tim Minchin: Gig Tip: Saw @ManosDaughter live the other night. Huge fan. Unique sound, brilliant lyrics, beautiful vocalist. Next gig Dec 6th @Cargo_LDN.”, I decided to check them out.

Upon doing so, I was amazed that this band hadn’t crossed my path before. They are an extremely talented trio, producing a wonderful collection of alternative electronic music, most of which cannot be described as anything less than hauntingly beautiful.

Hailing from London, the group consists of Sarah Carter (Vocals), Matthias Garrick (Synths, programming) and Dan See (Drums). They have been described as a mixture of Little Dragon, Florence and The Machine, with hints of Portishead. When seen live, (by audiences other than Tim Minchin) they have been described as “an explosive three piece, with their almost anthemic choruses and thought provoking lyrics”. They really do provide a really interesting listen, and go particularly well with essay-writing or coursework (something of a preoccupation of mine at the moment!).

Their influences range from The Invisible, Foals, Everything Everything to Bon Iver and Moloko. Mano’s Daughter make songs and song-writing the heart of their sound. The story and production values both play an equal part in this band’s finished product.

Check them out at http://www.manosdaughter.co.uk/ or just search for them on Youtube. Their own written stuff is incredible, but also I can thoroughly recommend their cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Towers’ which is just stunning.

Will Sweeney

There are fewer greater places to discover illustrative talent then at a celebrated institution like the Design Museum in London: it was there, during Vestige’s technology-based event, that I discovered the eclectic work of artist Will Sweeney. Treading somewhere between the mainstream and the obscure, Sweeney’s work nevertheless captures the popular imagination with elaborate drawings and renderings of fantastical alien landscapes and hybrid creatures – something Japanese, something 60’s inspired, something that entices and arrests your senses.

Some of Will Sweeney’s most commercially successful work includes his music videos for Birdy Nam Nam and his comic Tales from Greenfuzz. Watching Birdy Nam Nam’s music video The Parachute Ending is like taking a short acid trip: the colour positively pops in a psychedelic tableau of Iron Maiden-esque statues, flickering sci-fi screens and symbiotic plants in what Sweeney calls a “meat versus vegetables” kind of story.

Another of his works, Purposemaker, is a stunning pencil work of such detailed precision it likens itself as a futuristic interpretation of famed Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel’s Dulle Griet. A diorama of surreal characters juxtaposed on a flattened landscape, both works seem to reference allegorical interpretations of life and death – in times and places both real and imaginary.

Illustration, prints, comics, videos, toys, clothing and even exhibitions: the prolific artist has extended his incredible style to incorporate all aspects of commercial design and co-runs his London-based outlet Alakazam with Ayako Terashima. For more information or to see more of Sweeney’s portfolio, check out his biography on Big Active.

Dan Ojari

Animators exist and work in a pocket of time quite different from that of other filmmakers – a dimension where time wheezes and slows down to miniscule second by second, frame by frame. Take the words of award-winning animator and director Dan Ojari, who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011:

“What a second is… Brief? Insignificant? Short? Most people don’t really pay too much attention to one.”

Blink, and another second has past that you will likely never miss. It may be argued in reality that sequential time is fabricated, but that’s exactly what an animation is: a sequence of events flickering by, capturing moments in time.

Perhaps Ojari’s keen insight as cinematic keeper of time is why his RCA graduate short film Slow Derek was a tale about the quintessential everyman: an office worker going through the gestures of every banal second of the day even as he begins to suspect that Earth is, slowly, leaving him behind. Slow Derek has garnered numerous awards and critical acclaim, from the Visual Science Award at the UCD Imagine Science Film Satellite Festival to the Grand Prix of Animayo and Animated Encounters.

As Derek rides his scheduled train or sits at his desk, we feel a sense of complacency that is suddenly interjected with uncanny visions of a spinning void. Ojari comments that the film is “very much about relativity and the contrast between the mundane and the colossal. The starting point was after I became particularly fascinated with how fast the earth is travelling, especially because we don’t feel this speed. We are literally hurtling through space at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour and yet don’t feel a thing. I felt this was, aside from being an amazing actual fact, also was an interesting metaphor for modern day life.”

We feel aligned with the protagonist specifically because he is a vessel for our contemporary fears and suspicions that the world is somehow not what it seems. As we lead what philosopher Henry David Thoreau might call “lives of quiet desperation”, we believe there is a “true” reality slinking amongst us, just out of our grasp. Ojari’s character takes his destiny into his own hands by climbing out of the literal and metaphorical train window and plunging fearlessly into the void.

Red pill or blue pill? In a short eight-minute film, Ojari bundles all of these philosophical questions into a cinematic feast of modeling-clay beauty that mirrors our world and our contemporary neuroses.

To see more of Dan Ojari’s work, visit his website or follow him on Vimeo.

Interview: Lily King

In the past few months I have become a right sucker for jewellery and Lily King has really stood out to me as a designer to keep an eye out for. Her jewellery is simple and classic with prices that are barely eye-watering and unlikely to break the coffers and as a result, she has already caught the attention of online giant Asos where she is featured in the Marketplace area of the website (https://marketplace.asos.com/seller/lily-king). Lily also has an active Twitter account @LilyKingLondon and her jewellery can also be bought from www.lily-king.com.

Lily began making and selling jewellery whilst working in a little boutique on Portobello Road. Initially jewellery making started off as a hobby, but with her designs becoming increasingly more popular her shop evolved and grew into a much loved business. She told me that ‘this was great because I could see which of my designs were most popular with the customers and be there to eavesdrop on what they were saying about the designs, which was luckily all complimentary!’ Now, no offence to Lily, but I don’t think she was lucky to be complimented at all: when you demonstrate such talent, commercial awareness and understanding of what women want to wear, there’s no way you could possibly be vilified! I caught up with her on jewellery making, business and her favourite city, London…

What do you love about your job?

My favourite part of the job is the buying of course! I’ll buy loads of supplies and lay them all out on a big table and then pick and choose bits and pieces, seeing which colours work really well together – it’s very satisfying.

What kind of girl do you envisage wearing your jewellery?

The type of girl who would wear Lily King jewellery would be a minimalist with a love of colour and quirk!

What do you think marks you out from other jewellery designers?

I think my designs are unique due to their simplicity and dainty charm. They’re not high fashion pieces, so are more timeless and classic. I try and design all of my pieces to be perfect for everyday wear – the perfect day to night jewellery.

What’s next for you and your business?

At the moment, I’m looking into expanding a little with the online shop. I would like to start working with other independent designers and getting more accessories in the shop – mainly scarves and bags to start with. It’s very exciting!

What do you love about Britain today?

Apart from the fantastic weather of course? Mainly the amazing variety of London, you could never get bored living here! Also the beautiful countryside and great food!

Odinn Orn Hilmarsson

Originally from Iceland and now living in London, Odinn is a graduate of the University of York whom I had the pleasure of meeting in my first year. Evidently a very talented multi-instrumental musician, just listening to him play is a wonderful experience, but it is his composition that sets him apart from the norm.

During his time as a student, Odinn began writing and producing scores for several of the theatre shows and films he became involved in during his spare time and his Masters degree in Digital Film Production. This has only spiralled, with his music now featuring in multiple shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The King’s Head Theatre (London), The Last Refuge Theatre (London) and many more.

Odinn’s acoustic and ethereal style is beautifully unique; his work has that invaluable quality of the greats like Zimmer and Williams – you know when you’re listening to Odinn Hilmarsson. And when you do listen to his music, you get that other-worldly prickling feeling reserved for finding something truly special. That and the chills usually caused by musical genius.

You can find his newest song Tomasina on his Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/gangleri – as well as teasers from his current projects and other experimental work.

Alternatively, you can find more of Odinn’s finished work at http://odinnhilmarsson.bandcamp.com/, or follow him on Twitter @odinnthehole. I can’t recommend highly enough giving this talented emerging artist a listen – you may just get the chance to boast, “I heard it before he was a household name”.

The King’s Parade

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

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

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

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

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”.

Barnaby Sax

Being a descendant of a family of filmmakers, Barnaby Sax grew up on and around films sets all of his life. All that exposure has without a doubt motivated his compositional and observational style. He starts by meticulously arranging and photographing scenes, which are then uploaded and extensively edited. Finally being perfected in several maquette stages of painting and coloration in preparation for the full size oil painted version, in all of its glory. His tendency to use valiant slabs of colour could also be traced back in much the same manner, to a life in Africa as a British kid. Although now, Barnaby is very much rooted in London, citing the city’s calculated and clinical personality as finding expression in quite a bit of his work.

As a collective Barnaby’s work could be considered inconsiderate, but upon further inspection there is an uncomfortable sensation derived from the inability to label or categorise what we see. This is particularly relevant in a current society where we seek to classify everything in order to deduce and comprehend it. A lot of his work has its foundations in the photo-realism of the late 20th century, yet here he deliberately skews the sense of realism to jar the viewer’s perception. Barnaby compares his own work in essence to an artistic elaboration on Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny”. Which for those of you who don’t know, details an instance of where something can be familiar yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of being uncomfortably strange.

His work is almost a wunderkammer (a cabernet of curiosities); you never quite know what’s going to pop up next. The motif of masking something tangible, plays with the idea of creating an additional exterior to something identifiable versus decoration as a craft, all of which Barnaby tests in his explorations of art.

You can also check out Barnaby’s work on-

http://www.emergegallery.co.uk/barnaby-sax.php

 

Leon Eckert

Munich born Photographer Leon Eckert is studying design at Goldsmiths College London, a place where thought and intention is exalted over simple cosmetic. At sea on the east coast of Spain one moment, witnessing riots with fire bombers the next, wherever or whatever Leon always has his trusty camera on hand ready to capture. He has travelled through China, worked in advertising production in Barcelona, flown into Tokyo and strolled the harbour of Hong Kong to name but a few; It’s this awareness, an understanding of the culture he has experienced, that permeates the very purpose of his work. Leon believes that every time he puts his finger down to press the shutter, he is advancing his “eye” for imagery, whilst fulfilling his need to document his endeavours.

For one of his enquiries, Leon explored the notion of public transportation, questioning the experience gained in return for the price of a ticket. In this instance a day ticket was purchased, which enables the purchaser to a full 24 hours of transport, yet rarely is this ever fully exploited. Riding 60 different buses continuously over 1460 minutes, Leon nearing exhaustion managed to capture a couple embracing in front of the bus during the latter of his journey. This couples stolen moment of affection suddenly becomes a public event, much like the transport itself.

Leon’s photographs are determinedly direct; a gritty state that comes from examining the root of a situation. They’re hearty intention is tied with a vastness and stillness that becomes vibrant in its celebration. The focus on the events impact over their visual state is beauteous in design and admirable in content. Leon’s work emphasises the relevance of communal experience in the advent of social media living.

 

You can also check out Leon’s Website, Blog and Facebook page at the links below!

http://www.leoneckert.com/

http://leoneckert.blogspot.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/leoneckertphotographer