• 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. Main

    Artist Larry van Pelt wants to spread the word that “Jesus in life makes a difference.” Already a keen artist, Florida-based Larry decided to use his creative skills to spread the message, and began drawing Jesus in a number of different working environments. His collection involves a huge range of work scenarios, including a truck driver, a secretary, a carpet layer, a bodybuilder and a french horn player.

  2. List

    We’ve long admired the work of Californian set designer and art director Adi Goodrich. A veritable mistress of creating the sort of strange, cartoon-like scenes that pop with colour and ideas, she’s worked with big-name clients like Michel Gondry and Wieden+Kennedy, but she recently got in touch about an intriguing solo exhibition at The Standard hotel in Hollywood, entitled Like Thiiiiis. The show takes the form of an installation in a glass box behind the hotel’s reception desk, and features a number of images that look to show what it means to be a young creative at the start of your career.

  3. Main

    In a beautiful profile in The Guardian recently, journalist Tim Lewis travelled out to the Hollywood hills to peek behind the gates of Hockney’s jungle-like home to get a glimpse of what the now 77-year-old artist is up to. As it happened, he had been very busy indeed: making a whole bunch of new paintings that are, in classic Hockney-style, moving in a totally different direction from his previous work.

  4. List

    Remember Kim Keever? Back in the summer of 2013, the New York based artist wowed us with his amazing landscapes created in 200-gallon tanks of water and what’s more, he let us in on his process with some fascinating set-up shots. Now, like many a painter before him, Kim has moved from landscapes to more abstract creations albeit within the context of his sculptural practice.

  5. List

    This project by artist Erica Allen is an oldie but such a goodie. Way back in 2008 California-born, Brooklyn-based Erica decided to merge a collection of faces from found barbershop posters with discarded shots of studio backdrops, creating a series of oddly alluring fictional portraits. Removed from their original context, the freshly-trimmed gents pictured come across as utterly anonymous and strangely distant, connected to one another only by a crisp shape-up and a gaze fixed somewhere in the distance. And if that rainbow backdrop didn’t inspire the album artwork for Drake’s Nothing Was the Same then I don’t know what did.

  6. List

    Edmund Clark is one of the most interesting artists working today, exploring what is arguably the defining issue of the past 13 years. He’s interested in the wars waged by the USA and UK in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the fall-out from this foreign policy and how it impacts on us here at home. His new book The Mountains of Majeed continues this theme, as it’s a reflection on “the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan through photography, found imagery and Taliban poetry.”

  7. List

    The secluded French port of Le Havre is a very particular place. Closed off by barriers, it is staffed solely by men, and jobs there are strictly only passed on from father to son. All of which made it the perfect backdrop for artist JR’s contribution to the Women Are Heroes project, which saw him collaborate with the dockers to create a huge image of a woman’s eyes on a 363-metre long container ship.

  8. List

    The bright, woozy haze of Wojciech Fangor’s psychedelic paintings is mesmerising. It’s even more so having learnt that the Polish artist, who worked during the 1960s, created these Op art masterpieces entirely in isolation, working in Eastern Europe having not seen the similar works being created in America and Europe by the likes of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. As such, while the images feel familiar; there’s also something exotic about them, pulsing with light created using intensely coloured oil paint applied in thin layers. A new show named Colour-Light-Space opens next month at London’s 3 Grafton Street gallery, and will display a number of works by Wojciech from the 1960s and 1970s that demonstrate his mastery of all three words in the title. It’s fascinating to think of the artist working on these beautiful optical illusions and explorations of the power of painting well before similar works were created elsewhere in the world, and it’s great to have his work celebrated in the way it deserves.

  9. List

    Mark Lazenby is the go-to guy for collage that just works. We last featured the artist two years ago and since then his portfolio of pieced together artworks has exploded with even more impressive works and a real exploration of materials and collage techniques.

  10. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  11. List

    I’m known for my sweet tooth and ability to consume an obscene amount of cakes, sweets and biscuits in one sitting, so it’ll come as no surprise that I was instantly drawn to Will Cotton’s sugary scenes of candy-laced lands.

  12. List

    Time and again Amy Woodside gets in touch to let us know about new projects she’s cooked up and time and again we’re powerless to resist them. The New York-based artist is focussed to a fault on her fine art practice where iconic letterforms emerge from meticulously registered screen printing and frantic flourishes of spray paint. Where first she caught our eye with multicoloured wordplay, the constant reduction and refinement of her process has resulted in a new series’ of totemic words like ‘Hero’, ‘Cash’, ‘Hoax’ and ‘Like’, pre-loaded with cultural context and double meaning, writ large on the canvas. What’s the meaning behind them? The interpretation is up to you, but Amy always seems to be critiquing pop culture with its own visual vernacular and playing fast and loose with our ambiguous use of language.

  13. List

    The Dutch/Brazilian artist Rafaël Rozendaal is best known for his digital artworks that often take the form of webpages but as he told us at our 2013 creative symposium Here he is increasingly interested in exploring his fascination with light and colour in real-world scenarios. Most recently this has taken the form of his hyper-colourful abstract lenticular paintings, which are made up of layers of different frames and so appear to move when viewed from different angles.