The cost of living is higher than ever. But thanks to the combination of good food, great places and wonderful people I have managed to survive another year on this amazing planet. I have gathered a selection a photos to illustrate the past few months. The end of 2008/ the start of 2009 through the eyes of a struggling London artist. A few art shows, a couple of trips, a little food for thought from across the big pond. London says Hello to Fecal Faces, wishing you all a very happy 2009 and thank you for the ever-expanding catalogue of free information and artsy entertainments.
Late 2008 saw the big 'Freeze' art fair in central London, so many galleries in one place, I'm pretty sure its the biggest art show in the world, or at least the biggest temporary art space. A few of my favourite pieces from the show:
Another great show late last year was Jose Parla at Elms Lester. An awesome range of works including a site-specific wall piece.
I felt the show was really well curated, and the work was so well lit. Well-done Elms Lester. This piece stood out, set against this grey wall and boxed in to give the feel of a cave type environment.
Random Street Stuff:
I always carry a camera to collect images while out and about. Of all the random shots of last year this photo still keeps me on my toes. Beautiful crazy natural street art, it seems Mother Nature is the original stencil artist!
Random toilet/corridor in a warehouse show: East London, I forget where, who or what, but still like the decoration.
I was part of a nice group show at the Standpoint gallery and Gallery 1.1 in December. "The Saved and The Damned" saw a whole bunch of very different artists making work around that theme and here are a few shots of my work in progress.
A real showstopper for me this winter was 'Broken Knees' by Herbert Baglione at Lazarides gallery. Amazing painted detail.
So as a Christmas present to each other my lovely girl friend and I took a trip to Amsterdam. Here is Haxie at a tram stop looking all Amsterdam. It was very cold but we wrapped up warm and drank fine wines and beers to keep warm
Hired bikes. The only way to travel through the 'Dam.
Awesome winter sunsets over the city.
Mad street art. This little guy was painted on the wall outside our hotel.
Amsterdam is loaded with street art/public art. Loads of the usual illegal stuff, but its great to see a city giving over its walls to artists. This under-path piece had been commissioned by the local hotel. I don't know the artist.
If you are in Amsterdam, take the free ferry from behind central station to the north island. On the north side there are loads of freaky warehouses and old boat yards, submarines and a few little café/bars. My camera ran out of battery (damn digital cameras) but I did get this pic of the massive abandoned boat yard, completely out of use, very spooky and worth exploring if you find yourself there.
We visited Haxies grandmas in a town a few hours out of Amsterdam and found this classic working windmill. I wana live in a windmill one day.
Back to London for New Year. I took the time out to visit the well publicised 'School of temporary thought'. A group of artist and students who squat in massive Mayfair mansions that are empty. They stay for a few months until the authorities kick them out and while they are there they run free classes and talks and generally have a real bohemian time of it. The house was immense, and had rooms that went on and on, huge stately rooms with high ceilings, but mostly with no electricity so difficult to document. Here is the dining room to give you a taste. Kind of like fight club for art students. Check out more on these crazy law breaking art types at www.temporaryschool.org
A glimpse of London Rush hour.
I heart hazard tape.
Another great trip, this time to Cambridge, something really worth doing for anyone visiting the UK. Just an hour from London, Cambridge is a very beautiful, historical city. My lovely girl friend studies French and Italian there and I often go and visit to escape the big smoke. It's a rad place to go, everybody cycles, and there are canals where people punt like its Venice. There is a big Italian community there so there are loads of great places to eat Italian. The city is loaded with cultural substance, many great people studied there and you see people walking round in gowns holding quills, off to write their new theory of this and that. I love it in Cambridge, just cycle around, kick back with a great coffee, do some drawing and feel very clever surrounded by very clever people.
Cambridge by night. (Being a student town it's never too hard to find very cheap drinks and very loud music)
I loved this graffiti in the basement of a club.
Another good reason to visit Cambridge is the Kettles Yard Gallery. Home to some great modern art, especially a large collection of works by Ben Nicholson, one of my favourite artists of all time.
The piece on the flyer for the recent show is by Julius Bissier from 1962.
Next to the gallery is a tiny house that was owned by the couple that started the gallery, Jim and Helen Ede. Jim Ede was a curator at the Tate gallery, the couple started the gallery and renovated the old house when they retired, its all free to view and the house is amazing, full of treasures and beautiful objects collected from around the world. A labyrinth of tiny corridors and twisted secret passages. You are invited to sit in the house and read books from the shelves, and at weekends the house hosts live jazz and classical music. Here are a few snaps from the house. The photos really don't do the place justice.
So much art hanging on the walls of every room. This piece caught my eye.
Just behind the Kettles yard is an ancient mound that would have supported a medieval castle on top, now there is nothing on top, but an awesome 360-degree view of Cambridge. At the bottom of the mound is very good public house serving the best local beers and home made food.
The journey home was all blue skies and wide-open spaces, but as I approached London the wind was getting seriously cold and I felt a change in the weather.
I woke up this morning with all London transport cancelled due to freak levels of snowfall. I guess nature is still calling the shots.
These snow-covered rooftops are what I can see from my fire escape today on the 2nd of February 2009. It is far to cold to do anything but stay inside and drink lots of tea.
I am lucky enough to work from home and thought id share a photo of the current state of my studio. I am currently preparing for a solo exhibition in Bristol in a few months.
I am also working on the set design for a show with a theatre. If anyone reading this blog lives in London please come along to a show at Chicken Shed Theatre in a few weeks for the show of 'In Watermelon Sugar'. The show is an adaptation of the book by San Francisco writer Richard Brautigan. I will be doing the set design live each night with projections and light engineering. The show will be amazing to watch and very different from anything you have seen before, mixing contemporary dance and physical theatre. You can book tickets at www.chickenshed.org.uk. Hope to see you there.
As well as being excited about my own work I am really interested to see the new work from Boris Hoppek's new exhibition in Brazil. A shame I wont be able to make it, but I thought to give it the heads up for anyone living in South America or anyone who doesn't know his work. Boris is a very amazing street and gallery artist who you should all take a look at, check it out at www.borishoppek.de/bh-blog His show is at the Rojo art space. Check out Rojo at www.rojo-magazine.com/sp/
Also wanted to give a shout to King Ads who recently released 'The Urban Cookbook'. Amazing dishes, so much cool information and incredible graphic design. I've been cooking from it all winter and it rocks. Much more than just a cookbook: http://www.100proof.tv/
Lastly, the London show that is really giving me food for thought is 'Alter Modern' at the Tate Triennial. View information on the show here: www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/altermodern/
Altermodern seems to be a new art movement, with a whole new twist of the kind of art we are used to seeing come out of the UK. Good old Wikipedia describe it: "Altermodern, a compound word defined by Nicolas Bourriaud is an attempt at branding art made in today's global context as a reaction against standardisation and commercialism." Sounds very interesting to me, read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altermodern
All the best from a very cold London.
Peace and Love,
Words & photos: David Shillinglaw
|< Prev||Next >|