Friday, 29 October 2010

Feature on Design Event : NIGHTSHADE : THE ART OF STORYTELLING with Amy Dover

Helen Stevens/SurfacePhilia reports on Nightshade : The Art Of Storytelling @ Design Event, for Arts Thread.

Design Event is Newcastle and Gateshead’s' largest yearly creative festival, which runs over the course of eleven days every October. The festival delivers an annual programme of design based exhibitions, talks and events, helping to support and celebrate creative talent across the North-East of England.

We visit one exhibition ‘Nightshade’ which see’s the collaborative introduction of three talented artists; Emily Forgot, Amy Dover and Alaric Hammond. The small exhibition individually explores each artist and the coherent theme of storytelling between the illustrations. The work on show suggests “violence and animalism, masked by childish playfulness, mysticism and beauty” Each piece is presented entirely in black and white, collectively rejecting the use of colour making the pieces “immediately timeless in context, simultaneously suggestive of past, present and future”.

Artist Amy Dover gives us more insight into the exhibition and her work.

Is it the first time the three artists have exhibited together? Yes it is.

Living in different parts of the country, what was it that brought you together initially? Alaric brought us together to produce this show; he felt a link between our work, as well as the black and white theme.

Having visited the show, there seems to be an intensity which sits amongst the art. Are there other key elements which you feel link the three different styles of work? I think all the pieces have a narrative and a mystery, which links them together.

Do you have any plans for future collaborations as a trio? Not sure to be honest. It would be nice to take the exhibition to another audience somewhere, as it was only on for a short time.

Have you benefitted from working together? Its always interesting to find out how other people work and approach their practice. And its always nice to be associated with such interesting and talented artists.

Now isolating you now as an artist, what is the most important aspect of your work? And do you try to portray anything through your art? I like to tell a story, as well as express relationships with the characters in the pieces. I like people to be intrigued, and to make up their own mind about what is going on. I also take a long time on each piece and put everything I have got in to it.

How long have you been a practising artist for? About two years. Since a gallery approached me, not long after graduation, which offered me a contract to sell my work.

Based in Newcastle, how strong is the creative community there? Do you feel there is a lot of opportunity to develop creatively and become a recognised artist? Yeah, I think there is a big community up here. There are always events and exhibitions going on. There are a lot of galleries, both national and privately owned. The city changes constantly. As well as the Internet being a valuable tool to get work notices. It’s always interesting to get fan mail from the States or Germany. I also spend a lot of time in London, and of course there is always lots going on down in the big smoke.

What has been your most exciting project or achievement so far?
Oh I’m not sure? I suppose each new project is exciting, I love what I do.

Read the feature on Arts Thread:

Interview with CURATE40 at LDW

Helen Stevens/SurfacePhilia - Reports on Curate 40 at LDW for Arts Thread. 

Curate 40 was created by designer and creative director Pacharapong Suntanaphan in December 2009, and was set up in order to help support and promote skilled designers and their products. The organisation identifies and uses key emerging trends to inspire and curate the direction of show. At this year’s London Design Festival the theme was Print and Illustration, over 40 designers were represented through a ‘Minimart’ held in a pop-up space on Redchurch Street, London. We caught up with Creative director Pacharapong, through a quick Q&A he tells us a little more about his vision for the business:

How long have you been running Curate40 for?
Curate40 is still very fresh. I started Curate40 in December 2009.

What was your initial reasoning for setting up Curate40?
I have always felt that most creative’s (graduates or professionals) are not very good at turning their passion into a business and there isn't enough support out there to make them understand their potential. As a result, I've decided that someone should take the initiative to show them that there are so many more opportunities out there if you know how to find them. Hence, the birth of Curate40.

For your showcasing collective, do you hand pick the designers yourself or is it open submission?
I do a combination of inviting designers to take part as well as open submission. This allows for a bigger variety of work beyond my research as well as opening up new opportunities for quality designers and their products from all over the world.

We are always open to suggestions. Our main goal is to curate a strong coherent show, so if the work fits then we will be happy to take up otherwise we will keep their contacts for any future projects.

The Curate40 show is based on future trends within design, what was this year’s theme and how different is your event to other shows going on throughout London Design Festival?
For 2010, Curate40 focuses on the ever growing trend of 'Print and Illustrations'. The show concentrates on bringing a range of work from affordable objects to conceptual designs that visitors can really connect with. Our event is different to most shows in a sense that it is much more intimate and very approachable. We encourage visitors to interact with the work and the best bit is you can purchase the show pieces and take them home with you!

Did you have any previous experience of curating before LDF this year?
I have personally been taking part in the London Design Festival the past 5 years through other events. It's only been the past 2 years that I have taken on an active role in curating shows and promoting the hidden gems of design.

What has been the response to this year’s show? Has it attracted a certain type of customer?
We have had such an amazing response. We had over 2000 visitors through our little rugged door in just 7 days from designers, buyers, retailers, press, to international visitors. You just cannot tell who is going to visit.

Due to the current climate, have you noticed tightened spending at this year’s event?
Not at all, we had amazing sales throughout the week, but as it is design week you can never really judge it properly.

Do you run events at any other time of the year?
We focus on running satellite projects and can vary massively from one to the other to keep everything dynamic. For instance, we worked with Clarion Events to launch 12 designers at ‘Pulse London’ trade show in June. We are also currently in the process of setting up a project with Urban Outfitters, Original Metalbox Company and many more.

Are you a designer yourself?
Yes I am. My background is in ceramics, but I also design a varied of things and also work as freelance designer in a variety of fields from design, trends to art direction.

So as a designer and creative director, do you have any words of advice for new talent who are wishing to set up in businesses?
One of the most important things I've learnt is that you make your own luck. There are lots of opportunities around you, but it's just a matter of whether you choose to invest in it or not. A creative path is not a straight forward path, but more like a spider web. You will most likely be doing a variety of things before you end up where you want to be, so do not feel discouraged by any obstacle as it provides you with experiences and confidence to reach your goal.