Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Colour Lover | Marylou Faure

Marylou Faure creates images full of wanderlust and summer spirit - the perfect accompanying artwork to those sunny songs that tend to make it onto our playlists around May time. She's a French artist who moved to London after graduating and has been busy moving on up in the illustration world ever since.  For once in my life I love the fact that there are no black lines in the pieces and instead Marylou uses vivd, contrasting colours to create her bold imagery. There seems to be a calling for her in the article world where she has illustrated for the likes of The Debrief and one of her recent projects illustrates Tinder dates which actually come across as rather adorable. Urban Outfitters have even just featured her as their artist of the week so don't I feel lucky to have had a chance to chat with her for the blog! Read on to find out more and check out her recently launched shop for some goodies.

You studied a Masters Degree in Art Direction and Digital Design which sounds a little more specific than the normal Illustration or Graphic Design degrees we have in England, what did the course consist of?
Well, I think the aim of the school is to teach as many different types of courses as possible. After a first year of foundation, you choose between Architecture and Graphic Design and after that you try out loads of different types of classes (from photography, typography, art direction to live drawing, calligraphy, illustration, web design, etc). It’s very broad which I think is a good thing as it makes you clearly see what you like and dislike.

I personally think this sounds like a much better way of doing things and I wish more universities here would take note! You moved to London after graduating, what was it that made you do so?
I used to live in London when I was younger and I missed it so very much. I always wanted to come back, so when I graduated, I packed my stuff and came here. Also, part of my family lives here and my boyfriend is English, so it made sense!

Did you take any internships or unpaid work after university? How useful did you find them?
Yes, a few internships! I had zero contacts when I first arrived and was very keen to try out a few different agencies and see how it went. All of them were great experiences and it gave me the opportunity to meet new people in the industry.

Your work reminds me of summer (quite obviously) and I adore the block prints. What inspires your style?
It took me a lot of time for me to be happy with my style. I was inspired by loads of things! I love the work of Hattie Stewart and Kate Moross as well as painter Matisse. But I’m also inspired by daily life events and I like to bring a bit of colour to anything I can think of.

Lovely! You're also part of the Puck Collective (which consists or a very talented bunch). How did this come about?
Yes - a very talented bunch! I was recommended by someone to apply, so I sent out my portfolio alongside a little text explaining why I’d love to be a part of Puck. I was very happy to hear I had been taken on board.

Any other illustrators we should be looking out for?
Well, I think they are all talented to be honest but I particularly love the work of Ruby Taylor, Alec Doherty, Michael Driver, Baby Crow and Elliot Kruszynski.

Do you have any upcoming shows / what's next on the agenda for you?
No shows, but I’ve just opened my online shop and I’m about to work on a few really exciting projects as well!

Thank you to Marylou for taking the time to chat and for providing all of the above beautiful images. Show Marylou some love over on Instagram here and Twitter here. Don't forget to visit her shop - that panther patch is already making its way onto my February High Five list. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Instagram Addict | Henning Wagenbreth

I first came across Henning Wagenbreth when he popped up on my explore feed and I have to say Instagram did well when picking this one for me. Bold, bright and black lines - that's my motto when it comes to illustrating too.

I then discovered he was actually a professor of illustration at the University of Arts in Berlin and was rather pleasantly surprised. It's great to see a lecturer using Instagram to show off current pieces (a lesson in social media to all his students) and Wagenbreth does not disappoint. His work is current but with some old school German influences in colour and shape. The yellow and green block combinations are a personal favourite. He uses a variety of techniques such as linocut, vector drawings, pen and ink, geometric shapes and distorted perspectives to make slightly more abstract imagery. I also came across this quirky little video which I rather enjoyed so I hope you do too!

Got an Instagram account that inspires you? Let me know!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Graphic Boys | New Desert Blues

Here's a little cheeky one but what is a blog for if it's not for plugging your nearest and dearest. Especially when they are bloody great. For those of you that don't know the boy (Joshua) is part of the wonderful New Desert Blues and they are due to launch their debut album titled To Be My Own THIS Friday via iTunes. Just look at that artwork!


The album cover has been designed by NDB keyboard player Dave Ralph with the imagery taken from a still the boys' latest single Rag & Bone which was lovingly produced and directed by Samuel Taylor and Daniel Wilkinson. I love those saturated hues of pink and blue. Simple yet so effective and perfectly definitive of the cool, calm and collected band. Put your hands up if you want a vinyl - I'm taking one for the wall and one for the player. If you're interested check out the video below, pre-order the album here, stream it on Spotify right now and come see them play in March. I'll be there with bells on so just look out for the massive groupie at the front.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

The High Five | January

1 // Pochette Lazy Girl by Felicity Marshall  //  Cool Machine
2 // Free Print by Kitty McCall and Unlimited  //  Unlimited Shop
3 // PpR Journal #1  //  MagCulture
4 // Ziggy iPhone Case by Helen Green  //  Society6
5 // Phi Scissors by HAY  //  SMUG

January is all about feeling free and ready to take on the new year ahead so I'm feeling inspired and getting EVERYTHING in my life organised.  This print by Kitty McCall probably needs to be on my wall to keep the feeling going and I'm pretty sure that Felicity Marshall's empowering female pouch would look lovely as my daily make-up bag. My housemate Matthew Phillips designed the first ever PpR journal and I'm ever so proud to see it reviewed on MagCulture so do pick up a copy. I am sorry though Matt as I'm pretty into collaging this month and it's full of wonderful photography to cut up and stick on my walls (with those lovely HAY scissors of course). On a very sad note, we lost David Bowie this month and what better way to celebrate his life than with this Ziggy phone case courtesy of Helen Green, who also happened to create that  GIF that had the world looking at the icon and his many looks and sharing their sorrow over his loss. 

A massive high five to all the featured products - I want you all!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Geometric Queen | Jenni Allen

During the hustle and bustle of The London Illustration Fair back in December I was finding it rather hard to find people to feature on the blog. It's great that the place was so busy but I also felt slightly overwhelmed and like I couldn't actually see work amongst all the people and all of the prints. Thank goodness for Jenni Allen (part of the East London Printmakers collective) - this ladies prints pulled me in to the wall and had me staring into another world, as sad as that sounds.

All of her pieces are hand-drawn and then manipulated into the intricate geometric forms you see below. I particularly love the more detailed pieces layered with bold colour (the top image had me looking at the lines for ages) but the block pieces also provide a more refined approach. Her inspiration for pieces mainly comes from internal and external structures of religious buildings which gives a nice narrative behind the initial decorative looks. Jenni is fascinated by the Metropolitan Cathedral up in Liverpool and describes it as having a "crazy and overbearing presence". I would say her prints strike the same chord, in an extraordinarily good way of course.

First off, can you tell me a little about how it all started for you?
I graduated from Middlesex University with a BA in Printed Textiles & Surface Decoration. Whilst on the course I fell in love with screen-printing because it's a process that can be used on all sorts of surfaces. After graduating, I worked for a couple of years with designer, Zakee Shariff - a small fashion label that produced really cool, innovative prints for clothing, accessories and homeware. It was an amazing experience. I then went onto work in a number of varied roles, all within the creative industries, which were enjoyable and of course paid the rent. However, they drew me away from printmaking which I always knew I wanted to get back into so that I could start creating my own work.

And boy is that work good, where did the love of geometry come from?
I am inspired by all sorts of stuff but I guess deep down I am really drawn to simple forms, and block colour. The work of Sonia Delaunay and the textile works of Constructivists Liubov Popova and Varvara Stepanova are the kind that make my mouth water. I love the simplicity of their lines & forms as well as the organised composition and use of flat colour.

Most of my artwork starts with hand drawing from my own photograph or found imagery. I then cut up the drawing and collage it to make a new image to draw from. I might do this several times eventually picking out elements that I can manipulate to create a design. Even though the final piece may be quite ordered, behind the scenes there has usually been a degree of organised chaos!

I love that concept! You're now part of the studio group, East London Printmakers, how is that for you? 
I am key holder at the studio, which gives me access to the studio for 4 days a week, which is brilliant. I have the opportunity to take part in open studio days, group exhibitions and other events. East London Printmakers is a not for profit, artist run printmaking studio. It is a professional space with fantastic facilities for all sorts of printmaking and I am surrounded by a great group of artists and designers at all stages of their practice. 

Anyone we should be keeping an eye on? 

- Jairo Zaldua & Nicola Green for their super detailed portraits of their imaginary friends. 
- Fabio Lattanzi Antinori, for his amazing interactive screenprints. They are printed in conductive ink that he links up to soundscapes that he has composed. 
- Yann Brien, for his superbly executed geometric prints.
- Rhed Fawell is a collagist and printmaker, what can I say…I just love her work!

I'm always trying to demonstrate that this industry takes plenty of guts, determination and years of hard work - how has it been for you and what advice can you offer to those thinking of giving up?
My work really started to come together when friends of mine offered me a small solo show in their bookshop. This really helped me focus, get organised and think about my work in a more cohesive manner. To my amazement I sold 8 prints, which really boosted my confidence so, last year in the run up to Christmas I applied to take part in several fairs including The London Illustration Fair. I had amazing feedback and again more sales than I had anticipated. I finally feel legitimate and my low confidence has faded into the distance! 

I do keep myself in check though, it’s not always about selling work, which of course is a bonus. For me it’s also about getting my work out there, being able to talk confidently about it and connecting with people.
I would say that giving up is the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong, I have felt like it once or twice in the past but I know for a fact that if I wasn’t producing work, it would torment me, so I choose to face the challenges instead. I don’t wish to sound like I am spouting out a load of clich├ęs but I think it’s really important to be yourself and don’t concentrate on pleasing others - you’ll never win that game. Give yourself time to play and enjoy making your work but also take some time out every now and again. Speak to other people about your work as it really helps put another perspective on the things and even if you don’t completely agree with what somebody has said you can usually get something positive from a conversation.

What are you up to at the moment and what are your plans for the future?
I'm currently developing some prints that are more complex in regards to the amount of layers and colours that I have previously used. Last summer I visited the Agnes Martin retrospective at the Tate and I was really struck by the almost invisible quality of her colours on the canvas. I am going to challenge myself by trying out some very translucent layers of colour in my work. My prints quite often allude to a repeating pattern, so with this in mind I am also looking into using them as surface decoration for textiles and maybe some ceramics products. Mostly I just want to keep enjoying what I am doing!

Thanks to Jenni for providing such lovely answers and for all of her marvellous imagery. Lets hope we get to see more of Ms Allen soon (crossing my fingers for those ceramics)! Please give Jenni a follow on twitter here and Instagram here. Take a cheeky look at her website here. One thing that I personally took from Jenni is to face all challenges head on, it's surely the only way. How about you?


Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Exhibition | The Office of Neglected Opportunities

The Office of Neglected Opportunities is currently holed up in the Studio 73 gallery, Brixton Village and you're most certainly invited, until the 24th January anyway. Helen Ashton and Jamie Temple (o.n.o representatives) are presenting a new series of works that demonstrate their own alternate ideas for utilising local spaces, buildings and natural resources in and around Brixton. Considering gentrification in these parts are a pretty hot topic right now it's good to see some careful deliberation going into this and they want your opinions too. What do you want to see in Brixton and how can these spaces be of a greater benefit to the local community? Go and hit them up for a chat and feedback on their ideas.

Helen and Jamie are looking at the exhibition as more of a residency so artwork will be growing on a daily basis and there's a chance for you to get involved in the creative process too. The boy and I had a lot of fun on the badge machine and there's likely to be some mini Lino workshops also taking place. You could get your own hung in the window, although I'm not sure if any will match the current Robot Wars piece currently adorning the cork board. Both are also extremely talented artists and you can of course browse their work and perhaps make a cheeky purchase - we did!

The hope is to highlight the mass of neglected opportunities there are out there and hopefully some of the right people will get thinking about new ways to reinvent spaces. Jamie's addition of a windmill to the iconic Brixton Clock Tower is certainly one to mull over. Perhaps it would be nice to work on something beforehand and go and find out their opinions on your own idea...

Anyway, get down there for yourself (see the Bowie mural and tributes on the way) and be part of the process between 11am and 5:30pm. The o.n.o collaborative tends to change it's meaning for each exhibition so keep up to date with their latest ventures and work via their website here, their Twitter here and their Instagram here.


Friday, 15 January 2016

The Instagram Addict | Hattie Stewart

I'm introducing a new bi-weekly feature of an Instagram account I like to lust over and what better way to start than with "Professional Doodler" Hattie Stewart. This isn't exactly the most ground-breaking discovery in the world but I've adored Hattie since she was selected for Pick Me Up back in 2013 and of course I would love to enlighten anyone who has been in hiding / rejecting Instagram for the last two and a half years. It's okay guys, you've found her now.

Her doodles on magazine covers were after my heart from the get go and I've loved seeing her journey as an artist ever since. This gal is now doodling all over One Direction, Grace Jones and plenty of other big names, sometimes commissioned and sometimes not. Her list of clients is pretty damn extraordinary. In December, Hattie even "doodle-bombed" all over Stylist magazine. Alas, I was not around in London at the time and I missed the holy grail of issues. If anyone has one, please send it my way. Every time I wear my Hattie Stewart tee I'm greeted with praise and lust over its doodle qualities - it's still black though, just so you know. Anyway get following Hattie over here @hattiestewart and send her some appreciation. You can thank me later!


Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Mural Maker | Lakwena Maciver

Are you a lover of pattern and colour? Meet Lakwena, the London-based artist brightening up the streets of Shoreditch and communicating with the masses.

You may have already seen her street art work - needless to say it features on my own Instagram feed fairly regularly - and for Lakwena that's what it's all about. In a world where the art scene can be quite elitist, Lakwena speaks to the people, using her bright kaleidoscopic imagery as a tool for communication. Of course we are initially attracted to the vibrant patterns and lavish decoration (heres looking at you gold paint and sequins), then comes the message which ultimately confirms the need to take a picture and share her vision. 

As another artist obviously inspired by popular culture (sorry not sorry, I  adore them) Lakwena uses urban environments to convey her ornamental opinions and that means we're all invited to the party too. Murals such as "The Power of Girl" and "Where did all the beauty come from?" provide striking backdrops for the community and I really hope we're in store for tons more of the same, although please hold back on the graffiti tags people.

We're lucky enough to have the "Be bad until you're good and good until you're great" mural adorned on the walls of the Frame fitness studio in Shoreditch. What a motivational message! This was actually for Nike Women, showing how this gal is even changing the world of advertising for the better. Other previous clients include Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Clinique, Converse, Diesel, Palladium Boots, Red Bull, Tiger Beer and Toms.

Lakwena's approach to creativity is beyond inspiring. "To me, making art really is a life-long process, so I just want to keep experimenting, keep playing." And to me, that's what this kind of profession is all about. You're never likely to be happy with your own work so look at it as a creative journey and don't ever stop making. Hopefully you'll get there in the end and if you don't at least you've been doing something you love all of your life. My only quip so far is that we haven't had a full on exhibition here in the city - I want more of her LA dreamland here. Want to know more? Check out a full interview with the lady herself in the latest issue of Riposte. This girl certainly can.

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