• Main

    Von x Non-Format: Elsewhere Poster (detail)

Art

Art: An interview with Von about his new exhibition Elsewhere

Posted by Rob Alderson,

As May begins and we start to edge towards some semblance of summer, galleries across London start to wheel out a host of exciting and engaging exhibitions. Today sees the opening of one such show, with artist Von’s new work on display at KK Outlet. To truly appreciate the skill that goes into Von’s painstaking pencil drawings you really need to get up close and personal with them and Elsewhere shows off his skills at their finest.

The drawings are based on a series of photographs taken by Dan Sully and Von has also collaborated with four graphic designers – Hort, Non-Format, David Pearson and Darren Firth – to produce bespoke posters for the show.

We caught up with Von to find out a bit more about the exhibition…

  • Vonxhort

    Von x HORT: Elsewhere Poster

  • Vonxdarrenfirth

    Von x Darren Firth: Elsewhere Poster

What would you say is the overarching theme of Elsewhere?

The concept of the show stems from walks into central London and increasingly catching sight of someone in a cafe or through an office window, totally enveloped in their own world. It was such a rare, momentary and, on some level, personal thing to witness; it really stuck in my mind.

Moments to ourselves seem to be becoming rarer, particularly living in a city as we are advertised at practically everywhere. We reach for our smartphones whenever there’s a few seconds to kill and sharing our day-to-day lives online is almost a pressure. All this made witnessing those people’s lost moments such a fantastic and fragile thing. The 22 original works created for the exhibition explore that involuntary process of slipping away from our surroundings, appearing to others to be completely elsewhere

How did the collaboration with Dan Sully come about? What is it about Dan’s photography that appeals to you?

I’ve known Dan for a few years now through a mutual friend. He is primarily a director and I’ve long been a fan of his moving image work but it was at some point last year I happened across a personal photography project of his of people on night buses that really caught my attention.

It seemed to focus on similar interests, really striking a chord with the ideas I had begun playing around with – not least a slightly voyeuristic fascination with people when they’re totally zoned-out. I knew I wanted to work with a photographer on this and he seemed like the perfect guy for the job.

“At points it does feel like a self-imposed endurance test but now it’s over it’s all quickly forgotten.”

Von

You sometimes work with very big clients, how do you find balancing the commercial and personal sides of your practice?

The last few years have been so busy with commercial work that I’ve not really had time to concentrate on doing a show for a long time. That’s one of the main reasons that I set up ShopVon as it provides me with an output for personal work in the form of seasonally released, limited edition prints, originals and collector’s box-sets.

I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of great clients but taking a bit of time away from that at the beginning of this year to focus on Elsewhere has been really satisfying – a much relished opportunity to really push myself again.

We hear a lot about the emotional challenges of the creative process but can you tell us about the physical effort that goes into creating your work?

It is long hours both creating the work and from an organisational point of view. I’m up at 6am and working till 11pm pretty much every day. For the large originals I’m on my feet solidly for days on end and inevitably there’s a bit of hand-ache involved. At points it does feel like a self-imposed endurance test but now it’s over it’s all quickly forgotten.

Your partner (Emily Forgot) is also a creative, do you bounce ideas off each other or work in splendid isolation?

I’d like to say yes but I’m sure she’d say it’s more a case of her having to listen to me thinking out loud.

  • Vonxdavidpearson

    Von x David Pearson: Elsewhere Poster

  • Vonxnonformat

    Von x Non-Format: Elsewhere Poster

  • Elsewhere_skye_01

    Von: Skye

  • Elsewhere_lucinda_02

    Von: Lucinda II

  • Elsewhere_lucinda_01

    Von: Lucinda I

  • Elsewhere_emma_01

    Von: Emma

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    Have you ever wondered what the world might have looked like after the great Old Testament flood? What bizarre events might have followed such a freak occurrence in weather? Me neither. It’s honestly never crossed my mind. But illustrator Samuel Branton has been fixating on the idea, imagining the strange fusion of land and sea that a tumultuous rise in water levels might effect. He’s gone one step further and illustrated these fictional scenarios in miniature, taking this Regency medium and making it weird. Witness crabs beating up a wild boar, monkeys tossing an elephant in the air and a sad old sperm whale incapacitated in a tree. And Deluge is available in book form too!

  2. Aakash-itsnicethat-list

    When we last wrote about Aakash Nihalani we described his practice as a series of interventions, and now that he has graduated from playful street art compositions to full blown technological mind-blowers, that vaguery seems even more apt. His newest piece sees him create a series of interactive installations which respond to the movements of the subject stood in front of them. The video demonstrates it better than I could ever hope to, so wrap your eyes around it and try to keep your jaw off the floor. Aakash is entering a new age, people; just imagine the possibilities!

  3. Ines-longevial-itsnicethat-list

    Inès Longevial is an art director and illustrator based in Paris, whose beautiful paintings of intertwined bodies are likely to have you looking twice. She breaks up the human figure into segments in a fashion Picasso himself would admire, rendering different parts in contrasting but muted colour palettes to disguise the physicality of her subjects. The effect is quite beguiling; hands play across hips and colour distinctions hint at the seams of clothes, but nothing is clear cut. It’s a geometric play on anatomy, and it has clients including fashion brand Amélie Pichard and sportswear giants Nike coming back for more.

  4. Hannahwaldron-itsnicethat-list

    “I wish I knew how to weave,” I found myself sighing longingly while clicking through Hannah Waldron’s portfolio. The UK-based multi-disciplinary artist and designer has transitioned seamlessly from grid-based image-making to create works in textile form since completing an MFA in Textiles at Konstfack, Sweden, and it looks like she’s well at home in the medium. Map Tapestries is a series of woven works inspired by various city scenes – Kreuzberg, NYC and Venice, for example – in bright colours, evocative shapes and simple geometric forms, and it’s wonderful.

  5. Jen-stark-whirl-side-int-10

    If it isn’t broke then there’s absolutely no need to even think about fixing it, as artist Jen Stark is fully aware, and there’s nothing broken about her geometric papercut sculptures. The LA-based artist has been making such work for literally as long as It’s Nice That has been running – here’s the first time we ever posted about her, back in 2007 – and although her work continues to grow in intricacy, she’s stayed true to her roots. These days her sculptures are made more and more often inside huge, unassuming black and white boxes, recreating the feeling that you’re a child about to unbundle a giant parcel of joy on Christmas morning, and they’re still as impressive as they were eight years ago.

  6. Everybody-razzle-dazzle-1-photo-mark-mcnulty-int-list

    Sir Peter Blake has designed this fabulous dazzle ship, a Mersey Ferry that will carry commuter passengers for the next two years. Named Everybody Razzle Dazzle, Sir Peter says it’s his “largest artwork to date,” and that he was “honoured and excited to have been asked to design a dazzle image for the iconic Mersey Ferry.”

  7. Boyocollage-int-list

    Some budding young design talents fresh out of university might harbour resentment about being thrust into a new job at a design studio as a “photocopier boy” (his words), but Patrick Waugh is not one of them. Instead he took full advantage of the rich archive at his disposal in his earliest and most junior jobs to make copies. Lots of them. And then took a scalpel and some masking tape to them, and transformed them into something altogether more exciting.

  8. Stephenabela-int-main

    At first, Stephen Abela’s images are all glorious bronzed bodies, sun-drenched beaches and hazy holiday reveries. But beneath the heat, there’s something else at play too, which feels a little more disquieting. In that oft-cited Edward Hopper thing: even in the densely populated scenes there feels like there’s a loneliness. Even the speech bubbles are lonely – in fact, they’re vacant – suggesting that for all the beautiful scenery, the folk that populate it aren’t quite sure what to say or what to do. There’s a joy there, for sure, but the great thing about Stephen’s work is this complexity, and the sense that all isn’t necessarily as it seems.

  9. Int-list-carsten-holler-pic

    Merging the fun of the playground with the beauty and cerebral qualities of art, a slide will transport visitors to the Hayward Gallery entrance this summer thanks to the forthcoming Carsten Höller show, Decision.

  10. Traceyemin-mybed-int-

    Sometimes I don’t really “get” modern art, but I get Tracey Emin’s My Bed. She displayed it as a piece of art in 1998 after practically living in it for about a month following a bad breakup. Back then she was rake-thin and impish with an appetite for booze and fags, in that odd age where you’re left to fend for yourself but are not perhaps quite ready.

  11. Serenmorganjones-int-list

    With the centenary of British women receiving the partial vote coming up shortly, artist Seren Morgan Jones decided it was time to focus on the Welsh suffragists who helped to make it happen. “I think it is important to show that there is more to Wales and its history than coal mining, rugby and men,” she explains, “and to draw people’s attention to the fact Welsh women were so involved in the fight for women’s rights.”

  12. List-welcome_to_neu_friedenwald_by-laura-jung

    To say that the announcement from David Lynch that Twin Peaks was returning was met with excitement is something of an understatement. It was, as is to be expected, met with rabid levels of hysteria – or at least as rabid as those cool enough to adore the show would willingly articulate – and we’re still a good year away from seeing it on screen. This year is the show’s 25-year anniversary, and to mark the occasion, something very special is afoot in Berlin.

  13. Samchirnside-int-list

    I don’t know what it is about seeing colours up close that’s so mesmerising, but Sam Chirnside is all over it. The Melbourne and New York-based artist works predominantly with oil paints to create strangely beautiful distortions, which work best when overlaid with a band logo to create album artwork, or cut out in geometric shapes. His works resemble planetary compositions straight out of a senior school physics textbook or a happy spillage in an art classroom, and we can’t get enough of them.