So it’s a controversial time of year, you either love it or hate it. Shop windows cascaded in reds and pinks, with plump cuddly teddy bears and countless love hearts, yes it’s that soppy time of year known as Valentine’s day. But rather than fuss over who’s doing what, who’s seeing who we figured we would take a look at the best Valentine's-esque art to get us into the spirit regardless.
One creative that I would like to highlight goes under the name of MonsterKookie, the ‘Mad Scientist of Polymer Clay’’. This self-taught artist creates off the wall, sometimes slightly crazy designs. These seemingly delicate, intricate and beautiful designs don’t only come in heart shapes, you can even spot tentacle infested cupcakes or mechanical jellyfish. But if you want to keep with the valentines theme and take a darker more unsettling approach then I recommend the zombie heart or the heart of coal.
The images above are notmade by an artist but instead by a global community. ‘PostSecret’ is an on-going art project where people are invited to anonymously send in a handmade postcardrevealing their true secrets. It is no doubt a fascinating read with some nicevisuals, some postcards are humorous, some tragic, some adorable and somerather questionable, it’s an interesting mix of people’s lives. They have abest-of valentines selection currently running. Take a look for yourselves, andwhy not send them a postcard? Website: Postsecret.com
Photographer: Pakayla Rae Biehn
Hope there's someone. Well we have explored thebizarre, we have delved into peoples darkest secrets, now it’s time for visualsadorned with luscious pinks and beautiful blossoms.Pakayla Rae Biehn hasadapted the popular double exposure camera technique and used it as a tool forpainting. The beautiful brush strokes add a new layer and depth to the images,the soft romantic tones combined with delicate blossoms and subtle portraits creates a charmingly idyllic scene. Even the titles of the work are dreamlikeand romantic as though they are scenes in a fairytale. One thing is certain, itwill no doubt make you feel soft and warm inside regardless of your feelingstowards Valentine’s Day.
People in love.
Ten Thousand Times If was difficult to narrowher work down to a few pictures so please explore her work some more at: Youshouldtakecare.com
Film-Maker: Arev Manoukian
Now I would like to leaveyou with this short film Nuit Blancedirected by Arev Manoukian. Manoukian visuallyexplores the fleeting moment of two people when their eyes meet from across thestreet. This visually epic, hyper-real fantasy is truly astounding, you canfeel the sheer intensity between the two characters, the world is at theirfeet, this moment is unstoppable. The director often does promotion, brandedwork that is certainly eye catching and noteworthy but you can feel thecreative freedom being let loose on Nuit Blance, take 5 minutes to watch thisbeautiful spectacle. Website: Arev.ca Happy Valentine's!
2012 has proven a fantastic year for creative talent everywhere, and we know 2013 is going to be even better. Before we embark on 2013 however, we at FUSSED take a look back at some of our favourite designers, illustrators, artists, film-makers, and photographers from this year.
Fashion Design: LEVER COUTURE
FUSSED featured this innovative brand back in July. The woman behind the brand is Ukrainian born designer Lesya Verlingieri. Her beautiful cuts, gorgeous styling and blend of luxury and sensuality mark her out as one exciting designer to look out for next year.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on LEVER COUTURE here.
Photography: Jan Eric Euler
Euler’s images above were created by a fascinating process called wet-plate collodion. It was a nineteenth century photographic technique invented by Frederic Scott Archer which requires the photographic material be coated, sensitised, exposed and developed in just fifteen minutes. This short space of time means that the photographer needs a portable darkroom in order for the technique to be successful. Euler’s use of this century-old technique proves both fascinating and historically deceptive.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Jan Eric Euler here.
Illustration: Abby Diamond
Abby Diamond’s creature illustrations proved a hit among FUSSED bloggers and readers alike. Her stunning use of colour and extraordinary detailing lift the animals off the page, instilling them with a sense of vitality and energy.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Abby Diamond here.
Art: Helen Musselwhite
Helen was featured in one of Industry Expert posts in whichwe asked her all about her work and industry. Having worked for the likes ofNokia, Cadbury’s and Stella McCartney, Helen’s beautiful paper sculptures are acommercial success. Not only this, the strong craftsmanship and exceptionaldetailing of these sculptures make for artworks visually and conceptuallystunning.
New Yorker Ashley Ray Pearsall’s beautiful film short Embrace captures the expressiveperformance of professional dancer Megan E. Martinez. Two works of art in one,we loved the interplay of reality and motion graphics in the short: a 2Dexperimental masterpiece.
See more of Pearsall’s work at: Vimeo.com You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Ashley Ray Pearsall here.
The search for an unusual gift can sometimes be a hard one, with the high streets seemingly offering the same products to us desperate last minute shoppers every year. Many are turning to hunting down gifts online where there is a whole new world of offerings. In celebration of this and all things festive, FUSSED has hand-picked the Top 5 gifts you should be buying this Christmas for anyone who favours something a little bit unique.
FUSSED covered designer Reid Peppard and her intriguing taxidermy work this year, and if you loved the piece, you can buy her beautiful, unusual designs online at Rpencore.comwhere she has a whole range of taxidermy jewellery pieces from canary skull casted necklaces to crow tongue bracelets. Amy Lawrence:
Still on the jewellery front but if you are one forsomething still beautifully crafted but a little less edgy, Amy Lawrencedesigns creates stunning knitted jewellery that is contemporary but still witha handmade feel. It is also very reasonably priced and available at Etsy.com. Lazy Oaf:
Described as notoriously colourful, cartoon-focussed andalways with an element of weirdness, brand Lazy Oaf is a London based companywith a great website that you can browse for hours. There are so many greatgift products but one of FUSSED's picks was this 'Arty Animal' t-shirt, sure tobe a hit with all art-lovers and indeed all FUSSED followers. Check out thet-shirt and everything else on offer at Lazyoaf.co.uk.
After a wonderful year for London and indeed Britain, whynot celebrate with one of Maria Holmer Dahlgren's quirky designs. Her apronshighlight some of London's biggest landmarks in a beautifully quirky andillustrative way and are perfect for those who plan to be in the kitchen this Christmas.Her designs are available on Scandiliving.com
Lastly, for something that can provide hours of fun foranyone and the opportunity to get back to basics and away from the computer orTV screen this Christmas, designer John Burgerman gives us 'Burger Mash'colour-in wallpaper. You can make any room truly unique and have a good timedoing it. This and his many other products through brand Burgerplex areavailable at Burgerplex.com. It's getting quite last minute now so get shopping forsomething that will get people talking over their Christmas dinners this year.
In terms of inspiration, the concept of time is a biggie for any artist to take on. Whether it is literal or symbolically suggested, the passage of time offers a never-ending stream of creative possibilities. Here are a few creative minds that have placed time at the centre of their work.
Sculptor: Tim Hawkinson
California-born Tim Hawkinson creates sculptures with unconventional and at times controversial materials. In 1997 his re-creation of his own body as well as the use of his own hair to create life-like eggs exhibits both a fascination with the physical, and the passage of time through physical, organic processes.
His Secret Sync series is a collection of clocks that seemingly hide their function as time-tellers. Take a closer look at these photos; a metal clasp on an envelope, the cap of a toothpaste bottle and the twist tag around a measuring tape all rotate or slide to tell the time. A particular favourite of mine is the “corner clock”, wherein Hawkinson has distorted a clock face to make the telling of time subversive. In this world, time is not readily and easily available but an ambiguous and hidden entity. For more of his work visit: Acegallery.net Photographer: Megan Pinch Whilst Megan Pinch works as an Assistant Professor of Photography in Virginia, her husband is away for long periods of time as an officer aboard a cargo ship. The long periods of absence and difficulty in keeping in contact with him inspired Megan to use photography as a way of maintaining their relationship. Pinch and her husband would share a photograph with one another daily that expressed a small part of that specific day. The project she named 80 Days (after the length of time he worked onboard the ship) is an exhibition of the photographs they shared each day. Sometimes similar, sometimes strikingly distinct, these visual juxtapositions of life on the sea and life on land mark their passage of time apart as well as representing their connection despite this; a visually intriguing and altogether heart-warming creative project! For more of Pinch’s photography visit: or to read on about the 80 Days project, take a look at: Vic.edu Filmmaker: Alex Bohs Director and writer Alex Bohs’ creation Half is an exquisite short film that explores the lives of two unnervingly alike young women living in the same city. Unbeknown to each other, the two characters go about their day in the same way, even creating charming doodles of one another that meet in a brilliant moment of fantasy in the story. Boh’s beautifully framed split screen technique is a strike of genius that not only creates a pleasing visual balance in every shot, but also enables the audience to view an uncanny similarities between the two characters who remain unaware that their soul mate is living a simultaneous life. This is an imaginative film that uses the passage of time as an unspoken unifier of the two lonely souls that wander its narrative. To view more of Boh’s brilliant films and photography, visit: Alexbohs.com Header Image: Fastcompany.com
The first step on the career ladder is often the hardest, and in our current economic climate, it’s no wonder that many talented graduates are falling by the wayside of the business world. When your dreams lie in industries without rigid internship and graduate schemes, but rely instead on networking and somehow building a strong working portfolio to get your foot in the door, things can seem hopeless.
Fashion is certainly one such industry.
However this challenge also represents one of the industry’s most redeeming qualities- it is an intimate community of talent. Once your foot is in that door, you’ll find opportunities can come thick and fast.
Many fashion hopefuls are now exploring the wonderful world of blogs- an incredible tool to develop your own ideas and get your work on the computer screens of the right people. It would be unwise for graduates or the fashion community to underestimate the influence blogging can have on consumer buying habits and even future collections, as some fashion bloggers such as Susanna Lau can recommend items which will sell out within hours. Tavi Gevinson is fast becoming a 13-year old fashion goliath, whose blog thestylerookie.comhas spawned her own online fashion publication rookiemag.com, not to mention getting her on the front row of countless shows during New York fashion week.
Tavi’s success is not a product of her taste or talent alone, but her appreciation that appreciation of talent comes from sharing it appreciation of talent comes from sharing it. Hanging around outside shows and bombarding any contacts with (polite!) emails asking for unpaid work may seem pointless and often gruelling at first, but there is something to be said for the ‘anything I want I have to go and find for myself’ mindset.
Another avenue to explore is to employ a little professional intervention to kick start your career, such as the new London based venture Shootingbeauty; the brainchild of industry veteran Nina Malone. Her appreciation of the challenges young creative talent face when trying to break into the fashion and beauty industry has prompted her to establish a venture which helps bridge the gap between inexperienced graduates and professionals.
Based in three London studios; MUA’s, hair and fashion stylists can develop a professional level portfolio surrounded by industry professionals. They also offer career consultations and incredible networking opportunities.
Ventures such as this are a refreshing take on the traditional route into this close-knit community, and should be considered a viable option for graduates looking for that initial shot of adrenaline into their fashion careers. The difference between the fashion icons you know and the talent you will never hear of is that the former find ways to put theirwork into the world, whatever it takes.
From the 1st to the 31st March a festival with the aim of engaging audiences with current ideas across art, society and technology will take over the North East of England. Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough will host exhibitions and special events including a range of concerts, film screenings and talks. The AV Festival runs in collaboration with a network of supporters and interesting venues across the North East including Mima- the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.
Now in its fifth year the festival is becoming increasingly popular as an outlet for all types of artistic expression. This year’s festival theme is ‘As Slow As Possible’, conflicting with the London 2012 Olympics motto ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’. The theme explores how artists have marked and measured the passage of time, and how we as viewers should take time to stop and take in what is going on around us, despite our busy lives. Across the different outlets of film, music, art and technology, a range of artists will interpret the notion of working and experiencing life at different speeds. The festival kicked off fast and furious with 24 hours of continuous free exhibition openings and events across the region. The past weekend went by at a slower pace with a ‘slow cinema weekend’, but the work was nonetheless exciting. Filmmakers represented some of the best cinema across Europe, Latin America, South-East Asia and the UK.
Film is a big element of the AV festival. The film programme which runs until 29 March will introduce cinema from across the world with a mix of regional previews and some rarely seen and undistributed films. Alongside these unseen films there will be some special guest appearances by the likes of accomplished Argentinian artist Lisandro Alonso (see image above). Alonso combines fiction and documentary techniques to create atmospheric films revolving around the idea of location. The work of celebrated political and literary filmmaker Lav Diaz (see image below) will also be screened during the festival. Diaz has attracted attention for his filmography due to its incredible length – his last five films made up forty hours in total.
During the festival there are some interesting free art exhibitions to go along to. One Million Years (see image below) is what can only be described as an epic work envisaged by the artist On Kawara in 1969. The exhibition consists of a 20-volume written work, recording one million years of past and future. Visitors are invited to get involved in the exhibition by reading from the volumes in 90 minute slots until all the years are read. This exhibition takes an innovative perspective on the idea of passing time, demonstrating an ambitious and ongoing work that ironically reduces an average life history to just a few pages.
One Million Years, On Kawara
This is just a small selection of what is on offer during the exhibition, yet there is plenty more to see and get involved in, including radio broadcasts, music events and a series of talks by some of the leading figures in the world of art, technology, music and film. To find out more about the programme and event dates go to avfestival.co.uk where you can book events and buy tickets for certain screenings.
An annual occasion dedicated to the international celebration of women will take place on the 8th March 2012. Followed from the early 1900s, International Women’s Day continues to bring women together each year to celebrate achievements, and to inspire women from all corners of the globe to take part in a wide range of events. It also acts as a base from which to consider the challenges and difficulties faced by many women in different parts of the world today.
A local event taking place this year includes The Women’s Art Show at the Fairfields Arts Centre in Basingstoke. The exhibition will run from Saturday 3rd March to Saturday 31st March 2012 and admission is free. The show presents the work of seventeen female artists who work in various different forms of media.Fairfields has been running The Women’s Art Show since March 1933 and each year the centre encourages national submission of work from female artists. During the 2006 show, debate arose as to the purpose and reasons for the show, with some questions being raised regarding sexism due to the fact that the exhibition just focuses on the work of women. Fundamentally, the centre claims that they run the exhibition to celebrate International Women’s Day, bringing together the work of a selection of international women artists. Each year women are given the chance to submit work that they feel expresses the essence of women’s day. Certain pieces have a strong political current whilst other work is less overtly gender based. Fairfields Art Centre is the main public art gallery in North Hampshire and hosts regular exhibitions and events, as well as offering a range of classes and workshops in dance and the digital arts. For more information on the exhibition and opening times, head to fairfields.org.
For something even closer to home why not head to one of the events organised in connection with the University of Southampton. An annual programme of events surrounding Women’s Day has been announced including the event ‘Celebrating Women’, which is taking place on Thursday 8th March. This free evening event is aimed at students and staff of the University along with an open invitation to local people. On the night speakers will be discussing the creative and innovative work of women, followed by a performance by Jazzmanix, Southampton University’s pop and gospel choir. A DJ and light refreshments will also be available during the evening event.
Women’s involvement and contribution to theatre will be expressed through ‘Women in theatre: An evening of women’s bits’. This theatrical showcase involving women from the University, is an evening dedicated to female monologues from around the world. To find out more about these events, and to book your place go to - southampton.ac.uk/womensday.
Artists featured above: Maggie Kitching, Kate Watkins, and Sheree Murphy
Lee is the Editor-in-chief of FLUX, an independent fashion, music and arts magazine. Set up by Lee, his partner Claire Lomax, and Martin Craddock in 1997, FLUX started off life as a fanzine. Since then, it has quickly evolved into a nationally distributed publication and website (Fluxmagazine.com). As somewhat of an aspiring editor myself, the first question I wanted to ask was how Lee might describe his average day as editor-in-chief of FLUX Magazine. He replied ‘Well as an editor & father of 2 young kids I have to say I'm spinning plates. Flux is an independent magazine so we tend to wear many hats too so we're dealing with editorial, writers, PR people, galleries and such plus any advertising enquiries that might come about’. He describes his job as ‘exciting mixed in with periods of tedious tasks. So you have to try and stay calm and focussed as it is very up and down. As we're a small indie we wear many hats as I said previously which can be a pain but in another way it keeps you levelled more as a person I think. Plus I have kids too so it all goes to make a busy, hectic mix’.
Asked to describe the aims and style of FLUX Magazine, Lee responded ‘What I love personally are those things, little cultural nuggets that make you go wow or simply make you think. I want some kind of reaction in myself and then we want to show other people. It's very much a cultural journal but we don't want it all dry and cold. Want it to be engaging, enjoyable experience. Flux is a current culture magazine so we're always in search of mad, bad, strange or thoughtful cultural nuggets we can unearth. Officially we say on the website "FLUX is a spirited, independent fashion, music and arts magazine featuring the best, living, breathing culture from the UK & across the globe."’
What are the best aspects of the job?
‘Discovering a great new artist, designer, song. Having a great writer come up with an original idea for an article’.
And the worst?
‘The harsh cold world of advertising. This makes or breaks lots of well intentioned, brilliant magazines’.
Finally, I asked Lee if he had any advice for aspiring editors. ‘You don't have to wait for someone to hand you a job. Make your own magazine. It's much easier nowadays, get a group of you together as we did. See it almost like a band. You can be the lead singer but you need to your team firing on all cylinders (or at least most) and you'll get somewhere. Or join in on another indie mag. You'll learn tons because they are small enough to give you an insight and get you fully involved’.
Whether you fancy yourself as an entrepreneur, or employee of another magazine, website or publication, I think it’s safe to say the world of media is a tough business but one that is well worth entering if you have the drive to succeed.
‘Future: Unknown’ may sound a bit dubious and slightly confusing but I’m referring to Oxfam Gallery’s final exhibition in Salisbury. The exhibition is sadly the last for the art venue which will be closing in March 2012. Young artists from The Unit, an independent, non-political social enterprise which aims to encourage a sense of agency in young people, will demonstrate in this last exhibition the future of art in Salisbury. Since its opening in 2008, volunteers of the gallery have worked with local artists to highlight emerging talent from the surrounding areas. Unfortunately Oxfam only makes a small amount of commission from the work sold by artists and this alone is not enough to keep the gallery running.
This final exhibition celebrates young talent which is explored in a wide range of media, from photography and large scale painting to graffiti art and giant origami sculpture. The fifteen young artists taking part in the exhibition range in age from thirteen to nineteen.They had to successfully pass a selection panel before their work was displayed in the exhibition, highlighting the strong competition and quality of the work that was put forward.Alongside the work of the young artists, two local graphic artists, Nich Angell and Stew Taylor, will be exhibiting their work. Angell and Taylor have worked with The Unit before, notably in their organisation of a 24-hour comic book challenge, where they each had to complete a graphic comic book- a page every hour, all in the name of charity.
This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved in the local art scene, as Heather Minto, Project Manager at The Unit has stated: ‘We work with some extremely talented young people and this will be an excellent platform for them to showcase their work. At the same time however, it is tinged with sadness that such a community spirited gallery is to close.’ Despite the fact that this is the last exhibition, it is enlightening to see the opportunity has been provided for young people to showcase their work within the local opportunity, and to get recognition for their talent. The exhibition will be running until the 25th February and is one not to miss. Go along to support local artists presenting their work for a worthy cause, and you may even be tempted to purchase something from this young yet talented group. The gallery is located at the Oxfam Art Gallery, Catherine Street, Salisbury. The gallery is open 10am-4pm Monday-Saturday and entry is free. For more information take a look at salisburyoxfam.org.uk.