Sunday, 14 November 2010

Surface//Philia Bar Commission: Blue Bunny Cafe

Well Surface//Philia has finally got its first ever interior commission finished and put up at The Blue Bunny Cafe in Newcastle. Elements have been taken from my new 'Native' project and combined with my signature swirl pattern. Also just want to say massive 'big up' to Jamie Fry for all his patience and help with vectoring (bah!) and putting the vinyl up! ;)

Report: Set Or Drawers & their exhibition Northerness.

Report on the illustration group, Set Of Drawers and the exhibition Northerness.  
As part of Design Event, Northern Stage in Newcastle played host to a small and humbling exhibition of illustrated works by Newcastle based collective Set Of Drawers. Set of Drawers is a group of freelance illustrators who love stories, books and all other clever, lovely uses of words and pictures so much that they come together to talk about them, show work and arrange exhibitions. Some artists originating from the region and some as new comers, theme of this exhibition focuses on their love of all things ‘Geordie’, living in and around the city of Newcastle. Visual discussions of their inspired and influenced work of ‘Northernness’.

Report: The Shed & Interviews

Surface//Philia reports on The Shed in Newcastle for Arts Thread.

As part of Design Event 2010, The Shed opened up its doors to its 36 creative businesses, wanting to encourage members of the general public, other fellow designers and organisations to engage and discover the talent based with this incubation project. Presenting ‘Lost In Translation’ a small exhibition by 12 of The Shed’s businesses, looking at the absences and silences of conversation, stories and literal and literary approaches to design across a their range of disciplines including installation, ceramics, film and sculpture.

The Shed is an innovative development by Gateshead Council where workspace has been provided to support businesses in the creative sector across all disciplines. Design guru Wayne Hemmingway helped to direct and launch the scheme a year ago in November 2009, at the time only supporting 11 businesses. Now two open plan floors divided into bays, offers 36 businesses rent and rate free work space, fast becoming a catalyst for creative growth in the Gateshead area.

We catch up with three of its tenants and ask the same questions for different thoughts on creativity in the North-East: For the full interviews go to:

Report: Craww's debut exhibition: Droodlings @ Electrik Sheep Gallery

Surface//Philia reports on Craww for Arts Thread.
Electrik Sheep Gallery is currently playing host to the debut solo exhibition of one of Yorkshire’s finest current artists – Craww. From October 14th until November 12th you can indulge yourself with sixteen darkly romantic creations from the “self taught artist and habitual doodler”.

Craww’s work focuses on ambiguous figurative notions which suggest a surreal darkness and hidden narrative. Craww draws inspiration from “daydreams, music, comics, nature, folklore, gin and an overactive imagination”. For his ‘Droodlings’ exhibition Craww explores his fascination with “things that aren’t quite what they seem, pretty things in dark places, nasty surprises masquerading in beauty, hidden stories and happy accidents”.

The sixteen pieces on show unveil some new never seen before work, using a mixture of techniques to bring together a mix of elegance and controlled chaos, including collage and traditional painting and drawing with pencils, acrylic and inks. Craww not only works onto canvas and paper but adds more unexpected depths to his art by working onto wood and other found materials. We catch up with Craww and get to know more about the intriguing artist himself through some quick fire questions.

1. Five words to describe your current work in exhibition at Electrik Sheep Gallery?
Ambiguity, a dark, beautiful narrative

2. Biggest achievement to date?
I am buzzing from the work I’ve put together for the Electrik Sheep show and an upcoming show in LA. A year ago I’d never have thought I could do it!

3. Most inspiring cities?
Unfortunately, I am nowhere near as well traveled as I’d like to be… Cities I would like to visit for inspiration are Los Angeles, Cuba, Tokyo, Sau Paulo for starters, but I get inspiration from lots of sources – there’s some sweet mountain bike riding to be had in Colorado, and whistler in Canada. Hitting a trail can be plenty inspirational.

4. The main reason you make art?
It’s an itch that needs scratching.

5. Artists you admire:?
James Jean, Jeremy Geddes, Ashley Wood, Herakut. Best Ever and Kid Zoom have got me buzzing of late.

6. Top five favorite albums to work to?
It changes all the time, number one would be a constant – White Pony by Deftones is just a stunning balance of beauty and brutality. Number two to five currently getting a lot of plays while I work; Underworld – Beaucoup Fish, Sleigh Bells – Treats, Prince – Some “Best Of” compilation, Chemical Brothers – Further

7. Favorite period of your life:?
Aside from (dim) misty eyed memories of youth, it would have to be since August 1st this year, the day I quit my career to concentrate on a future as an artist. It’s pretty scary and maybe the timing was all out, but I don’t regret it for an instant.

8. Recommended ‘go to’ galleries?
I dunno man, I’m not very in-touch! It’s all about the artist, not the gallery. But definitely visit CAVE Gallery in LA this December to see what I’ve been working on!

9. Top three most important things to you?
Either: Integrity, passion and creativity. Or tea, vibes and grooves. Depending on the mood.

10. Where will you be in three years time?
Sitting on top of a pile of work I can be proud of, though I’ll probably still be worrying about getting the next one right.

Report: Northern Print

Report on Northern Print's current exhibitions for Arts Thread by Helen Stevens/SurfacePhilia. As part of Design Event Northern Print, Newcastle’s only studio and gallery dedicated entirely to printmaking, is currently holding their second exhibition of Cinderella Stamps. The show brings together the miniature works of artists who explore whole other worlds through their printed ‘postage stamps’ created for alternative and imaginary places. The exhibition includes the works of established artists such as Ian Hamilton Finlay, Alan Brignull and Andy English.

Northern Print are also currently holding two other exhibitions. New Prints from Northern Print sees a show of six artists and designers, who are not normally recognised for printmaking, who have worked and printed throughout the course of the year at Northern Print. This exhibition highlights the versatility and relevancy of printmaking to contemporary artists today. “If you study any artist, historical or contemporary, you’ll find that the majority have used or explored printmaking in its many forms at some point in their career”.

Matt Stokes, winner of the prestigious Beck’s Future Prize in 2006, shows an exclusive screenprint which was specially commissioned by magazine Bon International (with 50 special issues having a print ‘hidden inside’ for the lucky readers). A brand new limited edition print in collaboration with Hole Editions and Northern Print, is also on display and available for sale.

Cullinan Richards – Charlotte Cullinan together with Jeanine Richards have worked together since 1997, producing work in a variety of medium such as sculpture, film and painting. Their work has recently been selected for the British Art Show 2010. Newcastle-based artist James Hutchinson whose work, which has been shown both nationally and internationally, will be presenting a new print Corral, and a new piece by American artist Rachel Gross.

Catherine Bertola’s screenprinted wallpaper adorns the gallery walls – Blue Babylonica was a special commission for the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff; the work has been recreated and is displayed in the gallery.

Al-Mutanabbi Street Letterpress Broadsides: Al-Mutanabbi Street is the historic centre of Baghdad bookselling, of bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery shops, and tea and tobacco shops. It was bombed in 2007 and the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition, based in San Francisco sent out a call for letterpress printers to contribute a personal response. The resulting letterpress printed broadsides by poets and artists is on show at Northern print and will be auctioned to raise funds for the charity Médecins Sans Frontières.

Cinderella Stamps and New Prints from Northern Print runs to November 06 2010 and Al-Mutanabbi Street Letterpress Broadsides until November 04 2010 at Northern Print.
To read report on Arts Thread blog: