Across the globe the celebration of Chinese New Year 2012 has begun. The most celebrated festivity of the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year lasts for fifteen days with a different focus on each day. Despite the name, Chinese New Year is celebrated across all Asian populations including Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. Communities come together to embrace the themes of family, wealth and good fortune. 2012 is the year of the Dragon, a poignant and symbolic sign of power, strength and good luck. The legendary character of the dragon originates from stories dating back to the Ancient Chinese dynasties but continues to represent an admired and worshipped symbol in modern Asian societies.
To celebrate Chinese New Year locally, on Thursday 2nd February the University of Southampton Confucius Institute, along with Winchester School of Art, have organised the production of a celebratory presentation by performers of the Weinan University in Western China. The performance will take place at the Theatre Royal in Winchester and is a fantastic opportunity to join in with the spirit of Chinese New Year as well as witness some award-winning talent. Performances will include the traditional alongside the modern in an array of acts including dance, music, song and martial arts. A few less ordinary performances including calligraphy and Peking Opera will also be a highlight of the evening not to be missed out on. The aim of the evening along with general celebration is to promote the understanding of Chinese language learners in Hampshire. The event is free and doors open from 7pm.
This year Chinese New Year runs until February 6th. Families and friends celebrate with presents, decorations and highly embellished clothing. Food is also a vital part to the New Year and each dish has a special meaning behind it. Noodles are representative of longevity, mandarin oranges symbolise abundance, and if you’re a fan of spring rolls then lucky you as these represent good fortune. Wondering what to do at the weekend? Then head into the city centre on Sunday 29th January for some more celebrations held in West Quay shopping centre. Crowds will be drawn in by the performances including the Dragon Dance, martial arts performances and some traditional folk dancing. Chinese delicacies can be bought from the Chinese Market in the city centre.
During the celebrations fireworks will be set off; a modern alternative to the bamboo stems filled with gunpowder used in Ancient times to create small explosions. On the fifteenth day of the festivities - on the day of the full moon, communities will once again come together in a lantern procession through the streets. This part of the festival, known traditionally as Yuan Xiao, takes its name from ‘Yuan’ – the first month of the year, and ‘xiao’ – the term Ancient Chinese people referred to as night. As a symbol of hope and good luck for the year ahead, the lantern procession is a vibrant and significant part of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Mottisfont Abbey, located just outside Romsey, is layered with an interesting history. Now owned by the National Trust, the thirteenth century gothic remains of the priory are open to the public. The abbey was owned in the mid twentieth century by society hostess and patron of the arts, Maud Russel as ‘the base for her racy and intriguing life’. Since 2011, the top floor of the house has been opened to the public, converted to an art gallery with frequently changing exhibitions.
Until 29 January 2012, the work of six contemporary artists who all incorporate the medium of paper into their work will be displayed at the gallery in an exhibition entitled ‘Cutting Edge: Contemporary Paper Art’. The brief for these artists was to draw inspiration from the natural forms and shapes of the Mottisfont winter garden, and each has done so in their own intriguing, beautiful and sometimes humorous way.
A brief synopsis of the artists at the exhibition…
The delicate and intricate paper cut-outs of Rob Ryan, who is increasingly developing a loyal fan base, reveal romantic silhouettes and stories. His work has an emotional and dreamy element to it which connects with the viewer, reciting tales through intricately cut words and shapes. His work clearly demonstrates his status as one of the most popular paper artists in Britain.
Incorporating her inspiration of flowers and leaves, Eileen White’s beautiful paper cut mobile, entitled ‘Come, Heavy Sleep’, spans across the ceiling of the Long Gallery creating an elaborate and atmospheric spectacle. White is based in Winchester and her previous work has been displayed in Winchester Cathedral and the surrounding areas.
John Dilnot incorporates papers he has found or made, often using interesting layers such as maps. He combines this with natural forms including birds and branches to create an intriguing effect. Dilnot studied Graphic Design at Canterbury College of Art before obtaining a degree in Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art, where he predominantly specialised in screen printing.
Miniature, mythical houses painstakingly constructed from paper by artist Ed Kluz, are protected in the bubble of Victorian glass domes. Kluz draws on his fascination of the past and gains inspiration from our architectural heritage by using old and ‘vanished’ buildings as a starting point for his paintings. His work incorporates the themes of reinvention and the awareness of passing time.
Sally Sheinman’s commission ‘Being Human’ is an interesting exploration of what makes us individual and unique, and is represented by two long paper sculptures made up of 25,000 pieces of hand painted gold Japanese rice paper. These signify the number of genes in the human genome. Spectators are invited to add to the sculpture at the end of their visit, making the exhibition a more interactive experience in which they are encouraged to consider the deeper meaning behind the work.
Finally, freelance illustrator Jonny Hannah has created dominating and bright illustrations and screen prints for the exhibition that combine paper with other materials including wood. His other work involves printmaking for books, posters and T-shirts.
This is a fantastic exhibition which explores the many uses of paper to create beautiful and intriguing art forms. Despite the origins of paper craft in ancient times, the talent and refreshing ideas of this selection of contemporary artists adds a modern spin to this art form. This exhibition is definitely worth visiting to gain inspiration and view some of the best current talent of today.
Happy New Year! As we begin 2012, FUSSED take a look at the stuff we’ve got to look forward to from some of 2011’s featured illustrators, artists and film-makers.
FUSSED featured Sophie’s ethereal illustrations back in October. Sophie tells us a little bit about her print above ‘(It) was for European Parkinson's Disease Association (EPDA). (It is) An editorial piece (A4 full page, colour) which highlights the role of older traditional doctors who administer prescriptions to their patients from their ivory towers, remaining quite distant from the personal and intimate help the patients should receive. I really loved coming up with a solution to get the ideas in the article across without losing my personal touch on the print and the processes I use’
As part of The Paper Jukebox, Sophie is currently working on portraiture. ‘(The Paper Jukebox is) a collective of 12 unique and talented Illustrators all graduated from Bournemouth. We decided as a little New Years project to each do a portrait of a fellow member of the collective in our own individual styles.
It’s really great to test our skills and have some fun accentuating people’s personality traits within the portraits’.
Next in the pipeline for the talented film-maker is another feature film, this time, an adaptation of the novel, ‘School’s Out’. ‘I thought it'd make a brilliant film but never really considered chasing it up. After we made The Harsh Light of Day the producer asked me what I was thinking of doing next, so I handed her the book’.
‘It's about a group of teenagers trying to survive in their old boarding school after a virus wipes out most of the Earth's population. It's not a 28 Days Later kind of thing, (as) the virus is long gone when the film starts. It’s more about these children trying to survive in a savage new world and the choices they have to make. I loved it because it works as a hyperbole for trying to survive in the real world too, especially today - do you give in to the way things are (the dog eat dog of modern capitalism), or try to maintain some kind of morality? The question is especially relevant when your subjects are coming of age’.
Ollie is currently on the 2nd draft of the screenplay for this incredibly exciting adaption, and also hopes to bring out another film in 2012 entitled ‘Blue War’. ‘It’s an original screenplay I wrote which I'm very excited about. I thought of the story during the long months (years) of trying to get The Harsh Light of Day finished, living in a half-built house on my own... so its a loner story and pretty grim!’
Ollie also hopes to bring out some new short films this year, after the success of Speechless.
Last year FUSSED featured Mehtap’s interpretation of the video game, Okami. However, there is a lot more to Mehtap than fan art. ‘I'm currently working on a Synesthesia project, where I'm painting music - it's all about trying to explore the emotional and visual representation of the music we listen to. I'm a composer so I compose pieces of music and then paint my inner visual responses to them, kind of like a hybrid visual/listening experience. The paintings are like snapshots, because when I listen to a piece, I'm inundated with so much information, that my brain becomes overload. So I try to culminate everything into like, a mood or a certain colour scheme or shapes, and try to represent that in the painting as a whole’.
The piece above is called Amoni. You can listen to the music Mehtap made this painting to here.
At the moment, Mehtap is doing her second painting for the Synesthesia project, entitled ‘Ghost’. She is also working on her very own website and a blog for all her progress, which will be up ‘very, very soon’.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Mehtap Omer here.
You may recognise Max from yesterday’s FUSSED’s Favourites From 2011. He has been up to a lot since then, and has much to look forward to this year. He is currently in pre-production for his next short film, ‘Thyme’. Max tells us a bit about it: ‘Thyme is about Shaun whose grey, bland job dominates his time and overshadows his friends, family and his main passion, cooking. Shaun is forced to reconsider how he spends his time after discovering a mysterious Kitchen Emporium full of unusual ingredients’.
‘When I first read the script I immediately envisioned the film in the Coen Brothers fairytale 50’s world of The Hudsucker Proxy, which became our starting block for devising the world where Thyme is set. Since then taking references from films such as Brazil, The Trial and Magical Realism style of Kaufman. We have started to create a world that was frozen in 1950s Britain both artistically and architecturally, but everything thing else in life continued. Much time has been spent creating A.I.R. Industries the company where Shaun works. Currently we are in the process of finding an old factory in Dorset to set the HQ for A.I.R. We are also in the process of designing a set for the 1900’s inspired Kitchen Emporium we intend to build in the film studio at the Arts University College at Bournemouth. Filming will commence at the end of February 2012’.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Max Lincoln here.
Faye has much to look forward to for 2012. ‘One of the projects for 2012 is 'Edit’ which I have put together featuring near 30 artists, who like me, contribute Editorial illustrations regularly. We hope to exhibit the best from our portfolios from the past year in London. I also hope this will turn into an annual event which will grow and grow’.
2011 has been an amazing year for creative talent. Before we embark on 2012, FUSSED take a look back at some of our favourite designers, illustrators, artists, film-makers, and photographers from this year.
Fashion Design: Emma Lundgren
FUSSED featured Emma’s designs back in November. Her use of bright colours, exaggerated lines and innovative design mark her out as an accomplished and original designer with many prospects in front of her.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Emma Lungren here.
Photographer: Rudi Geyser
Rudi’s exploration of what it means to be human is photography at its most daring. He captures man at his most vulnerable: stripped back and naked, surrounded by nature. Rudi’s photography is the perfect concoction of innovative concept and stunning execution.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Rudi Geyser here.
Illustrator: Darren Cranmer
Since Darren’s feature in FUSSED in October, he has been commissioned two double page spreads in new publication, Gallery Magazine. His work enjoys a surrealist edge while delivering an aesthetic colourful and distinguished.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Darren Cranmer here.
Artist: Su Blackwell
Su Blackwell creates art out of books, quite literally. Her work is beautifully intricate and imaginative. She was recently commissioned to create the set-design for ‘The Snow Queen’ at The Rose Theatre in Kingston. If you’d like to see her work in real life, you can still catch the play, which is running until 8th January 2012.
You can read FUSSED’s blog post on Su Blackwell here.
Film-Maker: Max Lincoln
Back in October, FUSSED featured Max’s short entitled ‘The Chair’. It is a comedic tale about a chair with a life of its own, and a painter with artistic-block. If you’d like to find out what Max is up to now, check out the blog tomorrow for ‘Stuff to look forward to’.
‘Tis the season to be jolly… and explore the array of Christmas themed art projects going on this festive season.
Until the 11th January you can enjoy the fine selection of festive shows and events that the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival has to offer. For a true Christmas experience the award-winning Slava’s Snowshow brings the audience into a ‘dream-like world that will touch both your heart and funny bone, culminating in a breathtaking blizzard leaving you literally knee-deep in snow!’. This seems like the next best thing if we don’t have a white Christmas this year.
The performance Murmers takes you on a journey of illusion, theatre and dance, with ‘city confusion, undersea encounters and dining-room debacles’. Directed by Victoria Thierreé Chaplin with a cast including Aurélia Thierreé, this intriguing and beautiful tale is definitely one to go along to. For more information and tickets see southbankcentre.co.uk.
Heading up North this Christmas?
Then head to the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. In its own way this exhibition is quite Christmassy. What is the last thing right at the bottom of your stocking? An orange. Either that or coal. I think we’d all prefer the first option. Everyone who attends the United Enemies exhibition is invited to take a piece of the art home with them by picking an orange from the sculpture formed of 6,000 oranges. Edible art, yes please. The sculpture known as ‘Soul City’, designed by South African artist, Roelof Louw, will gradually disintegrate as the exhibition continues. The exhibition looks at the sculpture produced by a range of artists in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s, a period when the very notion of sculpture was strongly contested.
United Enemies runs until March 11, 2012…whether there’ll be any oranges left is another question.
For those of you doing your last minute shopping in Bristol on Christmas Eve…
Check out The Pop-up Department Store at Cabot Circus. Amongst the great selection of local artists selling their work you’re bound to find the perfect presents. Freelance Illustrator Emma Garner’s designs incorporate surface pattern design and typography to produce individual prints and greetings cards.Another interesting stall, ‘Built in Bristol’ brings together beautifully detailed drawings by Lisa Malyon that explore the interesting architecture of Bristol, both the traditional and the modern. The exhibition runs until the 24th December so this literally is the perfect last minute present stop!
Need to pick up a few last minute Christmas gifts or stocking fillers? Then the Boutique Market at Portsmouth Guildhall is a must on your Christmas ‘to do’ list.
Described as ‘a vintage feel indoor market to showcase local sellers – like a glamorous car boot, but without the early morning start and awful weather…’ the Portsmouth Guildhall Boutique Market is one to be fussed about this week.The next market will be held on the 18th December, 11am-3pm. You will be sure to find the perfect gifts and even pick up a few bargains, whilst at the same time supporting the work of local artists and sellers.
Just a few of the things on offer include vintage clothing, handmade jewellery and home-ware. If you are a lover of all things vintage then pop along to Juliette’s Threads, a stall which sells unique women’s vintage clothing, each piece individually selected and revamped with a modern twist.
Vintage and Very Nice is another stall worth taking a look at. Selling vintage home items and crafts, you’re bound to pick up an unusual present for someone here! For any budding seamstresses - Seeded, a stall selling vintage buttons and haberdashery is perfect to pick up the materials for those finishing touches.
Another highlight is a group of local photography students who will be showcasing their work and selling prints. The group of fourteen students from Portsmouth University are currently exhibiting their work at Bonzo Studios on Albert Road, Portsmouth, until the 17th December. The second year photography students were given the task to organise and set up an exhibition to showcase their current work. The group, known as 14m² have centred their work on the theme ‘Territories’. They have been given the freedom to create new and unique photography as part of their course, so their current exhibition fair is definitely worth going along to. Take a look at their Boutique market stall, 14m² for some fresh and innovative work from local emerging photographers.
All this trooping around is bound to leave you a little hungry so handmade cakes and other foods stalls will also be interspersed amongst the vintage and arty delights. Even better admission is free. Take a peek at the following links for more information.
'She stepped out onto the shop floor, oblivious to the dark, emaciated figure reflected in the bright metal of the dishwasher behind her, and strode quickly towards the staffroom. Her little black plimsolls, chosen for their comfortable fit against her aching feet, squeaked quietly across the shop floor.'
Self-published Horror novelist, Thomas James Brown has just released his third novel Revive. The Art House Cafe, one of my favourite Southampton spots, was the location for the launch of his new book - which was very appropriate given that the setting for Brown’s latest horror is a coffee shop. I went along to have a chat with Thomas about his latest novel and what he’s got in store for the future.
Originally from Oxfordshire, Thomas studied English at the University of Southampton. Writing has always been significant for him and he told us that ‘horror as a genre has always fascinated me’. His niche is the adoption of contemporary themes that people can identify with, but re-imagining them in a creative way. His latest novel Revive aims to explore commercialisation and focuses upon the ‘cappuccino culture’ of today’s society. The notion of increasing commercialisation is particularly relevant as we approach Christmas, and this novel aims to highlight some of these aspects.
Thomas told us that the main challenge he comes across when writing is the ability to detach yourself from your own writing - ‘as an independent writer it is often hard to re-evaluate your own work’. When asked what advice he would give to the aspiring writer, he believes ‘plug away at it, keep writing to improve and get read wherever possible’. Perhaps this is one of the hardest areas as an emerging writer, drawing in the fans. Thomas approached local publications and has since been featured in the likes of Hampshire View magazine. He also recommends displaying your writing online, on blogs and forums.
Always inspired to write, Thomas has been accepted onto a MA course in Creative Writing next year at the University of Southampton where he hopes to explore and improve his style and abilities. He has some short stories in the pipeline but, for the moment, he is enjoying the release of his latest book, and is looking forward to starting his studies next year.
On 29th November 2011, the University of Southampton’ Health and Beauty Society, and Shine Hairdressing presented The Hair Show. Based on the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, it was a night of big hair, wacky make-up and fetish fashion (the theme of the FUSSED December Issue). Models adorned a mix of up-dos, crimping and massive quiffs! All expertly executed you couldn’t help but be inspired by the hairstyles on display.
The atmosphere was electric as the models strutted, the bass pounded and the cameras snapped. After the first half of the runway show, we were treated to a dance performance by the Jazz Society, who had specially choreographed the set to the Mad Hatter theme. The second half commenced with equal gusto and left the fully-packed audience with tons of ideas to jazz up their Barnet with.
If you would like to join the Health and Beauty Society, you can contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Monday, at our Graphic Arts brief launch, we were greeted by a couple of guys, one of which had an amazing moustache. They were Rob Peart and Gordon Armstrong, founders of the non-profit and quite frankly, awesome organisation for people to swap their zines (small-scale magazines) with one another.
‘Zineswap’ began in 2008 and the way it works is that the contributors send in three copies of their self-published zine or magazine. One is for the archive which keeps it as a record of contemporary self-publishing. The second copy is for the exhibitions that take place in many various locations, and the third is the copy they send to another contributor in which you would get another zine in return.
Your zines can be about absolutely anything and they are also added to an online catalogue so that everyone can see it, not just the person who opens the parcel.
You can join in wherever you are and there are four swaps a year so you never have to miss out!
All the information can be found on their website zineswap.com and they also have a Facebook page and Twitter where you can see a lot of the artwork that people have produced.
It’s an excellent network where designers and artists can share their talent with others and it was an honour and an inspiration for Rob and Gordon to launch our Self-Publishing project in which we have to design and create our own zines! I can’t wait to send in mine!