Emily worked with us as an editorial intern during her summer break from the Royal College of Art and wrote for the site between August and September 2013.


54 articles
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    Back in January we reflected on the absolute marvel that is Jack Cunningham whose hilarious animations and bloody brilliant illustrations melted the coldness of that bitter, bitter month. So we kept him close; his animations of punching ducks, robotic space men and smoothly boiling kettles reassuring us with all their wonderful weirdness on those darker days. So obviously we were ridiculously excited when we saw his blog updates announcing his new website covered in new work. And it’s all changed, his style refined but stronger than ever. Stripping back to finer lines and some brilliant black and white animations, this simplifying somehow just adds to their hilarity, articulating the giant conks and their flared nostril sneezing, the chair that walks to catch its owner at the end of the day or the businessman dreaming of water skiing. Peruse at your leisure.

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    Those polaroid moments have come to mean something else now. Holding on to a sense of the snapshot, they are nostalgic by the nature of their production, catching a moment just as it passes but in their aging are now a film type imbued with a sense of history, transforming contemporary scenes into memories. And the transitional landscapes of seaside towns are perfectly suited for its film, already coated with that seaside holiday romanticism. Recognising the wonder of this relationship, photographer Rhiannon Adam’s located the ideal seafront, travelling to Margate, “the gateway to the sea”, a place stained with the memories of countless British summer holiday; of fish and chips and rock and ice cream and plastic buckets and a lot of concrete and arcades and created Dreamlands Wastelands.

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    Argh Play-Doh was so much fun, smelt so good, tasted grim but made everything look brilliant and you could even bake it so your multicoloured figurines could be set in stone forever, until a limb dropped off and was eaten by the dog. Everything was a masterpiece pretty much, but I bet you never did this. The brain child of artist Eleanor Macnair, Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh sees famous photos remade in the more-fun-than-clay material and then photographed, capturing Grace Jones’s uber flexibleness in fluorescence whilst ensuring Bill Brandt’s Nude with Elbow remains just as alluring. It puts all of those miniature animals to shame really.

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    It is always a treat when we re-visit a previously mentioned creative’s website to discover some delicious updates to get our teeth into but let’s just say that a banquet wouldn’t describe well enough the copious amount of work graphic designer Ghazaal Vojdani has produced over the last three years. And it would have to be the fanciest of feasts, the finest of dining, because despite the voracity with which she has worked, the quality has not slipped once. Her work is smart, bold, with a sensitive eye to good typography and colour. Strength comes from her attention to layers, allowing text to both sit confidently apart from its effective background which continues to exist as an independent work in itself. Her oeuvre is vast and with so much already behind her with are excited to see the undoubtedly fantastic projects she launches herself into next!

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    So we seem to have the hots for swimming pools this month from Franck Bohbot’s dramatically shot photographs of pools with perfectly still water to Malika Favre’s snazzy illustrations of sun-bleached bodies lounging around the pool. But here is something other; our favoured delights abandoned, decaying and stained with a nostalgia for a lost past.

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    You might remember Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich from his spectacular installation Dalston House earlier in the year, where visitors hung from windows, skated window sills and scaled the facade of a house that laid horizontally in front of the foundations of a Victorian house destroyed by bombing in the Second World War. Or perhaps you know him for his illusory corridors, lift shafts or his swimming pool galleries where art-goers are permanently submerged beneath the surface.

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    In 2011, investigating the possibility of authenticity in the staged moment photographer Dominic Hawgood set out on a six month long residency deep within the Texan desert with the hope of meeting people believed to be experiencing the biblical phenomenon of speaking in tongues. And after posting an advert in the local newspaper, a group of women responded, inviting Dominic to stay with them to observe and capture them in prayer as they experienced the mysterious phenomena. Sharing such intimate moments with the women, Dominic’s position was sensitive. But his attention to the privacy of the moment he was within and his wish to avoid being simply an onlooker allowed him to focus on performance. And he captures this perfectly; the lighting, set-like staging and framing of the photographs juxtapose with the intensity of experience expressed upon the women’s faces. So we are left somewhere between the cinematic and the authentic experience captured.

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    Prepare yourself for some serious desk-time dancing, unless you are the sort of person who doesn’t like dancing in which case look away now because this will happen to you when watching Basement Jaxx’s new video What a Difference Your Love Makes and it is so great my face is hurts from smiling.

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    “Childhood is a place I long to return – a place of safety and comfort, where I exist happy; careless; fearless; unencumbered by adult experience.” Through her explorations of fear, loss and the unknown, shown through her wistful sculptures, artist Alex Simpson leaves us in limbo, uncertain whether we are taken by her works’ complete beauty or haunted by the ominous air that cloaks it. Yet it is hard not to be drawn in by their delicacy, the sculpture’s sunken eyes and curious features luring us into a menacing world where creatures of nightmares exist.

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    Just when we were getting used to editorial fashion shoots being filled with the refined bodies of models clad in expensive materials moodily shot, Brighton based photographer Joseph Ford appeared, throwing aerial landscape shots into the mix. And it is here that we see great talent meet a great idea and witness just how brilliant it can become.

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    Here’s a little bit of a confession; until last week my copy of Don Quixote was sitting quite nicely on my bookshelf, sandwiched between the other classics, unread, waiting. And then Visual Editions’ new Kickstarter campaign happened, and, let’s just say Don Quixote suddenly got a lot more appealing.

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    “When I draw people in profile, it’s like sitting down to a favourite meal” writer and illustrator Leanne Shapton says. Her drawings, paintings and prints are infused with so much happiness and affection, leafing through them is like eating the meal and then sitting back with a hot chocolate, shortbread on the side, smiling to yourself. Her new book Sunday Night Movies is filled with beautifully painted profiles, two-shot, capturing those romantic eye-gazing moments between couples in films – a collection of so much beauty.

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    Photographer Jason Nocito is just one of those people who sees things other people move away from too quickly; the apples resting perfectly as eyes in a shadow, the carpets in old hotels that look like undergrowth beneath potted plants, the writing scrawled over the back of a denim jacket. His photographs are snatched moments that could only be captured by someone not searching for but simply seeing them as they happen – they are the photographs of a patient voyager. And it is a skill that has clearly crept into his still life photography too; the model shoots and posed objects inflected with a peculiarity that sets them far apart from the norm.

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    Finally it has arrived! Manga camouflage! Don’t know what it is? Well you definitely will before the month is out as descending on the European fashion market are these spectacularly designed outfits lined with quite possibly the brightest prints you will have seen in a long while. Working in collaboration with the Japanese government to promote Japanese creatives, internationally acclaimed textile compant Komatsu Seiren and leading art director/illustrator Fantasia Utamaro are setting up pop-up shops across Europe to display and sell their collaborative textile garments, products limited edition goods. Launched on Tuesday at the Premier Vision textile fair in Paris, the project is already off to a strong start and we cannot wait for them to arrive at 39.39 shop, London at the end of the month!

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    Reminiscent of those dreams that leave you feeling discombobulated Swedish artist Camilla Engman’s paintings are eery, slightly haunting yet so beautiful that you can’t help but want to spend time in front of them. Perhaps it is her neutral pastille palette or the greys and mustard yellows; or maybe it is the animals or the curious situations she creates where people walk through empty swimming pools or humans walk as animals, masked on all fours, they are fascinating.

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    “Public murals often serve to reinforce a sense of unity amongst groups of people by celebrating the heritage of a place and the diversity of its residents” artist Ruth Angel Edwards explained as she presented her vast painting Life in a Peaceful New World where seven people stand, squat, hold buckets and work staple guns, saws and cement. They are strong and colourful, their faces animated by emotion woven into the canvas by a mastered palette. They are a collective.

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    Independent design company meets independent art prize and it is a thing of beauty. Recently commissioned to create the 2013 Berlin Art Prize, the brilliant Berlin based designers HelloMe mastered an identity, creating flyers, posters, stickers and two websites for an award encouraging and celebrating independent creativity. Combining an iconic logo set in sharp typography a visual language has been created; it’s message, that independent creativity is experimental, can be considered from an upside down approach but whichever way you look at it, it’s something pretty spectacular.

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    It’s only been a few months since we last talked about the work of the wonderful Oliver Jeffers. And, well, we couldn’t resist it. He’s back again. This time with an exhibition at Lazarides Rathbone art gallery, London showing off his fantastic collecting of surreal paintings. Slipping reality they play with dreamscapes, matching traditionally painted 18th century landscapes with sinking skyscrapers and aeroplanes as great boats tip over cascading waterfalls; or portraits dipped, frame included, losing half of the image as other paintings appear to have been played with, faces blotted out by recklessly applied paint. Teasing the delicate balance that is the everyday, Jeffers paintings hold onto their mystery and we cannot wait to see where else they might take us.

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    So evolution is a fascinating thing, linking us to monkeys and fish, making our ears get smaller, our bodies taller and somehow causing us to have nearly identical DNA to bananas. For illustrator Benjamin Phillips however it has allowed him to think about the uniqueness of humans; how though we might all see through eyes, smell through small holes in our face and hear through two holes in our heads, our experiences amount to different memories, stories and people as a whole. Through our individual experiences we evolve into different people.

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    A = everything. This is the simple equation and motto set out by Parisien graphic designers A is a name. As the only capital in their name the ‘A’ stands for typographic form. It represents their attention given to typography, believing that everything in graphic design comes back to this. A is an icon.

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    For one day only I would like to see what life looks like through illustrator Keith Warren Greiman’s eyes. It would undoubtedly be a colourful experience, filled with people and maybe some animals, both doing supernatural things that seem everyday because everything is, well, animated. His explanation? Humans are “conduits of the gritty, vibrant energy that propels our day to day living.” So it is no wonder really that his illustrations, prints, drawing and paintings are as toxically hued as they are, seeing surfaces split into mazes of manic encounters between people, boldly coloured with bright lips and fluorescent hair. It is everyday life but Keith presents it with that giddy feeling you get sometimes, often passed off as déjà vu,; that feeling that you are seeing the experience as you are living it.

  22. Southbank-list

    This week Emily Beber looks at the fierce debate around plans to move the Southbank skaters from the Undercroft and calls for a greater respect for both the skaters and the sport as whole. As ever you can add your thoughts using the thread below…

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    Early morning, prising your eyes open, you reach into your clothes drawers and pull out those cycling shorts. No, it is not sleep deprived eyes tricking you, they really are that small and you really will have to squeeze your resistant limbs into them. Some can pull it off; those fully covered lycra bodies speeding on their bicycles, but let’s face it, under a dress or fitted jeans, that extra padding ain’t so svelte.

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    A year and a month ago almost to the day we featured the artist Morgan Blair whose paintings ran circles around us in the post-Olympic slump that was August 2012. Her work saw bold pastel shaded brickwork vibrate on the page followed by manic cascades of technicolour shapes tumbling over themselves. It was noisy, kaleidoscopic, trapping us in a background reminiscent of a 1990s, 16-bit era computer game.

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    The nature of the sea is wild, beguiling, unpredictable but riddled with mystery. So it is no surprise that London based Illustrator Alice Pattullo was so taken by it when creating her magnificent collaborative work Whitby Whaling . We see ancient boats glide across crazed waters, above the vast bodies of whales as corseted women sing to their loves who, aboard ship, strike out at the gentle beasts, applauded for their slaughter. It sounds horrific but there is no gore here, just exquisitely drawn folklore. And we want to know more. Like what happens to the whale?

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    The solidity of liquid jelly. Have you ever considered it? Try and you will find that jelly in all its slippery, gelatinous ways, is the ideal state of matter. Just think you would have “gelatinous morality, gelatinous value systems, gelatinous rhetoric.” Sound good? We thought so, and this is only one of the fantastic insights of the Hungarian based publication Zug magazine.

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    You know that feeling you get when walking near a watery patch (the beach, a river, that flooded bit of land) snacking on something and you can feel a presence hanging somewhere above and, looking up, see a big old seagull tracking you, ready to dive-bomb your chips. So you walk a little faster, uncomfortable. Well that is the feeling photographer Rafael Halin’s images induce; that sense of knowing something is there or is about to happen but he has seen it first and has captured it moments before.

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    It’s fair to say that we love Oscar Bolton Green and all of his workings. He’s sent us numerous wonderful goods for Things, inspired us with his Bookshelf , amazed us with his wicked 2012 Olympics poster and even collaborated with us for our Company of Parrots t-shirts. And he’s back again but this time with something slightly different.

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    Oh that inescapable, inexplicable fear of sharks when swimming, even if it is in the local lido; illustrator Madison Sy knows it well – “It is the fear of the unknown or that which I cannot see” she says. Yet somehow she makes these irrational anxieties become beautiful, delicious even, that elusive water beckoning at us to dive in.

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    Do you remember how hard it was to keep girl/boyfriends a secret from the family; how many elusive trips to the cinema with your best friend had to be made or those two long hours spent walking the dog? Imagine how much harder it would then be if they were girlfriends not of the living, breathing type, but hand crafted and made from papier maché, balloons and string. Might be a bit awkward. But this is the case for Richard, the main character in Illustrator Gareth Brookes’ award-winning graphic novel The Black Project which sees us stumbling down a trail of obsession right into the heart of 1990s British suburbia. Reality slips and friendships and family relationships are brushed aside for his all-consuming passion for girl-creating.

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    We have been a fan of the publications produced by Café Royal Books for a while now, following the initiative with intrigue since it first appeared in the studio as a Thing in 2009. Set up seven years ago by publisher Craig Atkinson from his UK based studio, he works with photographers documenting everything notoriously British from pigeon racing to the Underground to that age-old craft of coconut-dancing.

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    They’re sneaky little devils, rocks; lodging under toes, hiding in the soil for unsuspecting spades or jamming between the ruts in your shoes making you tap dance as you walk. But we seem to love them at the It’s Nice That studio, as the last year confirms, we have seen rocks balanced on scanners, rocks with faces, rocks being laid on and even hand made, hand painted rocks. But this new publication from Your Mind Bookshop, Kyoungtae Kim’s On The Rocks takes it back to the basics, back to the metaphorical earth or sand, if you will, appreciating these pebbly beauties for just that, for being rocks.

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    Ah the drag of sorting the recycling out! We know it all too well. But persist, you are doing the right thing because even if rinsing your yogurt pots out for those weekly green bin empties doesn’t stop the polar ice caps melting straight away, you are one of millions of people agreeing that climate change is happening.

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    We don’t really need to say very much about the brilliant new collection of artist Amy Woodside’s because they speak for themselves – literally. Silkscreened on paper or painted, words geometrically arranged, stack into themselves, overlapping or slipping away from form. Playing with colour, the letters move between warm pastel shades breaking occasionally into sky or splitting completely as though slicked with oil.

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    Grant Harder’s life sounds, well, enviable. After sending in his unbelievably beautiful photography publication that saw dramatic landscape shots of Chinese mountains run across double page spreads, followed by crisply photographed people going about their everyday lives – driving huge hangings of garlic on the back of motorbikes, walking across spectacularly coloured bridges or just sitting in markets– all of which was then printed upon newsprint and surrounded by delicate Chinese type, we did some research. And it turns out that his practice is, very simply “a process of placing himself in situations that allow for interesting things to happen.”

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    Think of those dreams you have after watching too much Twin Peaks where you find yourself walking across delirious landscape shots that just keep on repeating and you will come somewhere close to the Royal College of Art graduate Neil Raitt’s painting. It is a pretty extraordinary experience, from canvases cratered by mountains to multiplying forests barely broken by their trunks; perspective slips your grip, abandoning you somewhere between the cinematic and an untrustworthy reality.

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    Lizzy Stewart last featured on the website all the way back in 2009 as one of our graduate selections of that year. Back then we were bowled over by her mysterious illustrations that enmeshed tales of Eastern European folklore within those beautiful, dreamlike drawings of hers.

  38. Bs4

    Woah cyclists! Pull on the breaks now because this might just rock your two-wheeled world. Think of a cycling magazine minus the pedal power protein shake fixy/non-fixy adverts you normally get and you will be peddling closer to what might just be one of the best publications we have seen.

  39. Print1

    Given up trying to wrench paper from the clenched jowls of a printer that has greedily hoovered up too many pages at once and then choked, coughed a bit and paused, flashing a big lit-up-in-red NO at you? Well worry not as recent design graduate from Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne Mugi Yamamoto is here to take all of our printer foibles away with his incredible new design Stack.

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    “My tongue is not for rusting and so my words must be harsh” – from this a huge steel tongue spills rusted in place. London-based artist Sara Nunes Fernandes’ sculpture Rusty Tongue Sticking Out exists as a powerful reconstruction of a Portuguese folkloric tale told to her by her grandfather. The story tells of a farmer who while herding his master’s sheep, shoeless, is met by two policemen. The farmer’s naked feet causes the policemen to believe he is actually a thief who has stolen the sheep and take them away despite the farmer’s reasoning. Sara’s sculpture morphs the two types of tongues – the flexible, wet tongue that flies from the mouth in retort and the rusted tongue forced into compliancy.