30 September 2012

Art Martha. Arch 402.

Providing a warm chuckle, Dearly Departed at Arch 402 Gallery in Hoxton was well worth the walk-in. Molly Russell's intriguing, I wanted to say naive (it is and isn't) exhibition is entertaining, educational and thoughtful. Made in collaboration with master coffin makers JC Atkinson of Tyne & Wear, Molly has created life-sized coffins for animals including one for a giraffe. A giraffe! While the show is laugh out-loud funny, it is underpinned by the sadness associated with the death of a pet. Though less successful, the charming video installation Frite featuring Molly's beloved disco-dancing rabbit is poignant. It's sweet. It's funny. I laughed, but in comparison to the coffins, it felt somewhat unresolved. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this show and look forward to seeing more from Molly in the future. Picture by Vivian Russell.

29 September 2012

Doodler. Nicole's Fangs.

Nicole makes a repeat performance on Doodler, this time with fangs and mono-brow. Again, the source is Woman's Day or New Idea — they're indistinguishable.

28 September 2012

Art Martha. Grayson Perry.

Grayson Perry has been doing the rounds in London following his The Vanity of Small Differences exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery. Juxtaposing traditional crafts with wryly observed contemporary life, I found the tapestries (above) far more engaging than the pots Grayson's more well known for. Grayson was recently on The Rob Brydon Show wearing a frock that would do Dame Edna proud. He chatted openly about transvestism and art, and for artists speaking about their art, he was refreshingly engaging.

27 September 2012

First 13. Mason's Yard.

Shootin' Gallery: Green. London. Thirteen.

25 September 2012

Glossy. Where To Go.

Dating from 14 May 1981, this smashing Where to go cover is fun in all its wrong glory. As with Time Out, Where To Go lists all there is to do in London but with a focus on adult entertainment. Inside there is a pull-out escort guide while at the back a listing of nightspots ensured you were in the know about where to go, while the Love in 3-D cover line promises an experience "so realistic you feel you can join in".

24 September 2012

Roaming. Light Up.

Shootin' Gallery: London. Mona Lisa. Street Art.

Good Art #5. Vera.

Vera was found in a second hand shop near Newington Green. This painting is on the cusp of Good Art, and at a fiver was hard to pass by. Vera's presence is undeniable, at least in the flesh, with the painting displaying a masterful use of pearl paint. It's a fine, fine line.

23 September 2012

Pie Report. Cherry Chomp.

Who can resist cherry pie? My mouth waters at the thought of juicy cherries encased in a lightly sugared golden pastry. Alas, that was not to be, and to be fair — the English love this phrase — at 85p I shouldn't be expecting miracles from a Hoxton bakery. The main problem was cinnamon; it can be overpowering. The cherries didn't stand a chance against cinnamon and sugar here. Shame really, it looked more delicious than the picture paints.

Cherry Pie
3.25 Pastry
2.50 Filling
2.50 Tastiness
2.00 Structure
2.50 Value


22 September 2012

First 13. Shoredtich.

Shootin' Gallery: London. Numbers. Red. Thirteen.

Found. Pretty Young Thing.

It's been so long since I found this drawing that I really can't say for sure where it came from. At a guess I would say Canberra, but it could well have been Sydney.

21 September 2012

Art Martha. Brainwashed.

Lurking behind a mohawked Mona Lisa was an exhibition by Mr Brainwash; either a Banksy creation or Paris born, Los Angeles based, documentary film maker Thierry Guetta, depending on what you believe. Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop illuminated Mr Brainwash's talent as an artist, which is further proven with sell-out shows; apparently. Security was tight with entry into the show not unlike the procedure for boarding an international flight. Bouncers watched on as punters ogled works that can best be described as repetitive, paint-spluttered copies of master works. That's not to say they don't have charm, they do. Part Warhol, part sampled old master, part advertising all spun through a Koons production line spat out for the masses is one way to sum-up these works. They seem made for a multi-tasking, celebrity obsessed, rock-star generation, who in turn create their own smart phone snaps to post on Facebook. Although I have reservations and questions — are they appropriations or brash copies? Fine art or poster art? — I have to confess that, good art or bad art, I was oddly mesmerised by the show not to mention happy to stumble on it.

20 September 2012

Pinboard. Tammisaari Lurker.

I wrote about beautiful Tammisaari in southern Finland a little while back. Since that visit I've been working on new ideas for Lurker and thought I'd share this upcoming cover from the new Finland series currently in production.

18 September 2012

Roaming. Are You Being Served?

Shootin' Gallery: Celebrities. London. Women.

Glossy. Dutch Vogels.

I love birds, and I love this cover. I was in Haarlem a month or so ago, where I picked up a more current issue with an equally striking cover complete with stunning photography inside. See more birds here.

17 September 2012

Roaming. Shrek Attack.

Shootin' Gallery: Faces. Green. London. Murals.

First 13. Stoke Newington.

Shootin' Gallery: Ladders. London. Snakes. Thirteen.

Good Art #4. I Can Not Help The Way I Feel.

John Isaac's I Can Not Help The Way I Feel is a compelling piece. It's like the car accident you can't avoid looking at as you pass. This overstuffed sausage casing made me consider how, in many western nations, obesity rates are spiralling while in poorer countries the number of people starving is on the rise. The person above is invisible, their identity is lost to lard, uncooked chicken and chewed bubble gum. While I love this unfathomable work, it disturbs me and makes my brain go into overdrive. If you're in London, you can see it in the permanent Medicine Now exhibition at the Wellcome Collection.

16 September 2012

Pie Report. Steak & Guinness.

As a non Guinness drinker, I decided to try a steak and Guinness pie on a jaunt through Shoreditch. Given the £5 price tag, I was expecting big things. Despite a peely mashed potato winning points, this pricey bland offering disappointed.

Steak & Guinness
4.00 Pastry
3.00 Filling
2.75 Tastiness
3.00 Structure
1.00 Value


15 September 2012

Doodler. Bindi's Beard.

New Idea and Woman's Day readers are fond of Doodling, perhaps as a way to combat the boredom of repeated celebrity gossip week in week out. I've noted that beards are popular, and here's Bindi sporting one. I'm not sure what this person had against Bindi, maybe her millions.

14 September 2012

Found. Sense Of Humour.

I was flipping my way through hundreds of magazines earlier in the year as research for a major archive project I'm working on, which I hope to show in 2013.  I was tackling a stash of 1960s and 1970s magazines and was on the lookout for human interaction, for example doodles, when I stumbled on this self-explanatory coupon.

13 September 2012

Pinboard. Natural Characters.

The full set from the Natural Characters collaboration with Peter McLean is now up on Four Feet. My Chiné Collé work is also on Turnstile. Let me know what you think.

11 September 2012

Glossy. Vogue Italia.

Of the Vogue editions, Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia stand out for outlandish fashion photography and eye-catching covers. Steven Meisel's latest cover for Vogue Italia creepily references The Stepford Wives, and while the cover line highlights the diverse roles of women everywhere, I can't help but see a flock of glamorous clones pushed up against a glass ceiling.

First 13. Hoxton.

Shootin' Gallery: Bins. Hoxton. London. Thirteen.

Roaming. Local Shop.

Outside, the Yours Food Centre in Shoreditch looks like your typical off-licence, but inside it's spotless, organised and stocks the best baked goods I've had in London so far. Their buttery, moist croissants are just 79p whereas the dry, tasteless ones in a cool café near Aldgate East down the road from The Whitechapel Gallery are £1.60. I'm predicting a daily visit to the local shop so I can sample all the varieties.

10 September 2012

Good Art #3. Bridge Party.

The characters in Beryl Cook's paintings celebrate daily life. Her sharply observed and highly amusing paintings represent scenes from her day-to-day life experiences in England, and to a lesser degree her travels abroad. Dance clubs and pubs, hen nights, gay bars, street life and restaurants are the focus, many visited with her fun-loving husband, are all endearingly portrayed. Influenced by the work of Stanley Spencer and Edward Burra, Beryl taught herself how to paint using oil and bits of board. With over 500 paintings made over a forty year career, I found it hard to choose one to show here. I've gone with Bridge Party from 1997, perhaps because it reminds me of the smoke-filled dining room my parents hosted poker parties in throughout the 1970s. Beryl's work hasn't been shown widely, though cutting edge Baltic in Newcastle showed her work in 2007. If you want to see Beryl's wry sense of humour at play, then Beryl Cook Prints is a good place to start.

08 September 2012

Roaming. Busker In A Tunnel.

Tunnels all over London play host to buskers, some pleasurable to listen to, others less so. In a Hyde Park underpass, an Asian busker strummed his guitar softly as he sung; beautifully. People swept quickly past, seemingly unaware of the aural treat bestowed upon them freely. He deserved every pound dropped his way.

06 September 2012

Pie Report. Spinach Roti.

Strictly speaking a roti is not a pie, but in this case I'm making an exception, no doubt the first of many. The friendly woman pictured on the side of the van above looked uncannily like the woman whipping up amazing roti inside. With her tales of late nights out, long days working and the lack of sleep she was suffering from, she relayed funny tales of life in Brixton. Delicious, and a bargain at just three pounds, I've got a craving. Another trip to Brixton is on the cards.

Spinach Roti
4.50 Pastry
4.75 Filling
4.75 Tastiness
3.25 Structure
5.00 Value


05 September 2012

Roaming. Risky.

Shootin' Gallery: Brixton. London.

03 September 2012

Good Art #2. Teaching A Plant The Alphabet.

I saw John Baldessari's Teaching A Plant the Alphabet at the Centre Pompidou in 2006, and I was transfixed by it from the get go. I watched for a second time before I laughed out loud in the rather serious gallery surrounds. A few people looked on disapprovingly, and I moved on before tears started flowing. I came back to the work three times before leaving the gallery that day, each time watching it to the end and laughing. Even now just thinking about this work makes me smile. I love its absurdity and simplicity, its tactility and its message of futility. I later learned this work was a response to Joseph Beuys’s How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, a contender for a future Good Art post.

02 September 2012

Pie Report. Lamb Squab.

The Wellcome Museum deserves a post all to itself, which it'll get soon. In the meantime, the Lamb Squab pie I had for lunch was delicious and well worth every penny. The runny filling was delicious and generously full of scrumptious lamb chunks, perfectly offset by a roasted vegetable salad and another with tomato and mozzarella. Structure was the only misgiving, though any pastry would have struggled to keep this pie's juicy goodness in.

Lamb Squab
4.25 Pastry
4.00 Filling
4.00 Tastiness
3.00 Structure
3.00 Value


Roaming. South London.

Shootin' Gallery: Girls. London. Street Art.

01 September 2012

Roaming. Brixton Markets.

Shootin' Gallery: London. Signs.