Culture, Heritage, Art and car boot sales for the wealthy.


Ok ..I’m on a bit of a soapbox here, and I would like to be a hell of a lot more positive..

Not happy on reading about Europe’s crisis (and pretty damn well the whole world’s). Governments and councils are so desperate for cash, whatever they can sell it seems is up for grabs..

The problem is this deep ? – everything that has a price it seems, including public heritage buildings and sites are being sold off all over, if not sold, then kept in a state of moth-balled disrepair until they can. It isn’t just heritage and art, all public concerns have the potential to be – and are being sold, from parking meters to street lights – if it isn’t nailed down etc etc

But… Greece and Italy are extremely visual examples of this because of their massive cultural history, public buildings, and museums…
Rome’s ruins are crumbling (sited because of this disrepair rather than pure age). Pompei is another. Venice has for a while now been staving off massive billboard/advertisement projections onto its buildings as desperately needed public revenue for the city. Art has been burned (in protest). Art has been stolen for lack of protection.

Spain is careering along the same path and it is not just its Government and main banks in trouble but the local Cajas – the ones who borrowed heavily in the development *boom* years that ex-pats and Spaniards bought so heavily into. The local bank’s problems are set to topple the whole crisis in Spain.

There was a piece in The Observer this week about a private investment fund buying up Barceloneta port to render it exclusively for super yachts. Cutting off the locals from their bit of sea and port area, and most likely pricing them out. Law of the jungle, winner takes all.

Culture, and a whole lot more it seems, is being sold car-boot style to a few who obviously made enough out of the boom years to own even more.
Hundreds of years of culture and art are seen as assets and so valued purely in money terms.

It seems the world is no more than a playground for the very wealthy, and is being treated as such with naive? or just plain irresponsible bare faced arrogance.

Lives of Artists Series Four : On The Cusp

4 Cusp Gallery Entrance April 2012 006

CUSP and Vanilla Gallery space is new – literally since March. The cavernous space was opened in a vacated Cash & Carry building at 2 Queens Street in the Cultural Quarter of Leicester. 

With this literally being the 2nd exhibition opening in its history. It will be interesting to see what the artist-led vision of the space will be…a product of a collaboration between CUSP and Vanilla Galleries, housing two gallery spaces and 18 artist studios with the overall space being Two Queens.

This time CUSP playing host to Alex Pain’s sculptural angular curving shapes :

Cut Across the Grain to Give a Richly Textured Surface.

59 Alex Pain Bergers Metal Shammy Leather April 2012 100

But before reaching the sharp and clear lines of Alex Pain’s exhibition.
You had to encounter this:

TEXU a collaboration by two artists: Trans~Europe~Xpress~Urself  who are Jonny Ryall based in Berlin & Gino Attwood in Leicester. In a cross-continent over-the-net use of all mediums on offer, to enable, discuss, view and exchange ideas without the physicality of being in the same room. The end resulted in Attempt #1 Vasari’s Corridor: A look at the myths taken from Georgio Vasari’s ‘Lives’ …transformed into The Gossip Obstacles a series of exaggerated obstacles to be negotiated while travelling the length of the gallery space.
And so the use of this space was interesting on entering as Vasari’s Corridor seemed to be a precursor you had to navigate through first.. a slightly unnerving sensory dissonance of balance with spotlights moving across the space highlighting this sense of eerie surprise.

81 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Scary Shield April 2012 075

I’m really not going to say too much more about this collection of work! as navigation is key to the real journey. George Vasari should be a good starting place though….suffice to say…I hope the photographs will intrigue into a visit!. A pity I haven’t also the two sound tracks, which added to the overall meaning. Especially as the main music, created by Aberdeen musician graduate, Nathan Bissette, stands equally in its own right.

There is a short video on Vanilla Gallery’s website to give a visual feel. The music used here is an excerpt from the much longer and hauntingly atmospheric sound piece.



Alex Pain’s work too, like the gallery is relatively new – graduating from Nottingham Trent last year. Although having exhibited in exhibtions and shows from Hungary to China to Cromford in the Peak District UK. I somehow managed to miss his work last year at the Open Show in Nottingham Castle (plus point his solo show in the same space is coming up later this year!).
So anyway, I was pleased, finally to see some of those pieces that I had missed, along with a complete new body of work.

And I think you do really have to see these up close! although good because photographs do lend themselves to the curving sharp lines and subtle use of textures in his work. The gravity and weight of substance, though, along with aged, patinated, brushed and polished surfaces do far better justice under closer inspection.

However ! here’s the pictorial evidence :

5 Flotsam foam April 2012 007 

Flotsam : Aluminium, Foam, 2011



6 Alex Pain Patinated Copper Poles, Jablite April 2012 008

49 Alex Pain Patinated Copper Poles Jablite April 2012 051

50 Alex Pain Patinated Copper Poles Jablite April 2012 052

14 Alex Pain Patinated Copper Poles, Jablite April 2012 016

Untitled : Patinated Copper Poles, Jablite, 2012


15 Alex Pain Foam Chipboard Aluminium April 2012 018

17 Alex Pain Foam Chipboard Aluminium April 2012 019

Untitled : Foam, Chipboard, Aluminium, 2012


20 Alex Pain Brass and Foam April 2012 022

Flotsam : Brass, Foam 2011

23 Alex Pain Flotsam Copper Foam April 2012 025

24 Alex Pain Flotsam Copper Foam April 2012 026

26 Alex Pain Flotsam Copper Foam April 2012 028

Flotsam : Copper, Foam, 2011

30 Alex Pain Bergers Rusted Metal April 2012 032

33 Alex Pain Bergers Rusted Metal April 2012 035

35 Alex Pain Bergers Rusted Metal April 2012 037

Bergers : Rusted Steel, Aluminium, 2012

37 Alex Pain Bergers Metal Shammy Leather April 2012 039

39 Alex Pain Bergers Metal Shammy Leather April 2012 041

54 Alex Pain Bergers Metal Shammy Leather April 2012 093

55 Alex Pain Bergers Metal Shammy Leather April 2012 094

58 Alex Pain Bergers Metal Shammy Leather April 2012 099

Bergers : Leather, Aluminium, 2012

42 Alex Pain Bergers Wood Aluminium April 2012 044

46 Alex Pain Bergers Wood Aluminium April 2012 048

Bergers : Wood, Aluminium, 2012

9 Alex Pain Patinated Copper Poles, Jablite April 2012 011

21 Alex Pain Instalation View Flotsam Leicester Cusp Gallery April 2012 023

36 Alex Pain Bergers Rusted Metal April 2012 038

51 Alex Pain Installation View Leicester Cusp Gallery April 2012 053

53 Alex Pain Installation View Bergers April 2012 055

43 Alex Pain Installation View Bergers April 2012 045

44 Alex Pain Bergers Wood Aluminium April 2012 046

11 Alex Pain Flotsam Foam April 2012 014

Installation View

My navigation in images : Attempt #1 Vasari’s Corridor

61 TEXU Vasari's Corridor Circle  April 2012 059

Circle (After Giotto)

62 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Beetle & Candle April 2012 062

Circle and Candle backed beetle

71 TEXU Vasaris Corridor The Fish Crown hidden April 2012 065

73 TEXU Vasaris Corridor The Fish Crown April 2012 067

The Fish Crown

75 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Beetle & Circle April 2012 069

Circle and Candle backed beetle

77 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Watch Tower April 2012 071

79 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Watch Tower April 2012 073

The Watchtower

80 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Scary Shield April 2012 074

Leonardo’s Scary Shield

82 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Cloak April 2012 076

83 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Cloak April 2012 077

The Cloak of Truth and Lovingness

84 TEXU Vasaris Corridor The Fish Crown April 2012 079

The Fish Crown

91 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Text  April 2012 086

92 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Text April 2012 089


78 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Beetle & Circle April 2012 072

81 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Scary Shield April 2012 075

89 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Installation View April 2012 083

93 TEXU Vasaris Corridor Installation View April 2012 091

Installation View

Cut Across the Grain to Give a Richly Textured Surface


TEXU  : Attempt #1 Vasari’s Corridor

Are now on at Two Queens Leicester until 21st April 2012

3 Cusp Gallery, Two Queens April 2012 003

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Space, Creativity and Relationships






This Sunday’s report in the NYT Review on creativity, and the current shift toward group thinking has, I think, got some wider social connotations.

Taking the office space “brain storming”  ethic to its logical openplan-inclusive conclusion :

A video gaming company found their game thinkers unhappy…

“..It was one big warehouse space, with just tables, no walls, and everyone could see each other,” recalled Mike Mika, the former creative director. “We switched over to cubicles and were worried about it — you’d think in a creative environment that people would hate that. But it turns out they prefer having nooks and crannies they can hide away in and just be away from everybody.”

And Apple’s other man… 

“…The story of Apple’s origin speaks to the power of collaboration. Mr. Wozniak wouldn’t have been catalyzed by the Altair but for the kindred spirits of Homebrew. And he’d never have started Apple without Mr. Jobs.

But it’s also a story of solo spirit. If you look at how Mr. Wozniak got the work done — the sheer hard work of creating something from nothing — he did it alone. Late at night, all by himself.”

“ ..Mr. Wozniak offers this guidance to aspiring inventors:

Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me … they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone …. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

Artists and their strange bohemian approach to relationships also reached an almost mythical and clichéd status at one point. I don’t believe by any means this was ever the norm, but space needed to create does seem to be just as relevant today.

In this short news clip on changing attitudes within youth in Japan, there also seems a similarity; a move toward a more general acceptance of a desire for personal head space.

And although the emphasis in this piece is about a shift in attitudes with Japanese youth toward forming relationships. Apparently they are not committing to having children and/or being in a permanent relationship by “turning their backs on it”.

The term lack of interest in sex may have also been glibly used here to describe this shift; “….a third of young men are admitting they have no interest in sex – a figure that has doubled in the last two years”, may sound shocking especially from a male perspective. But the topic covered is actually about a decline in birth rates and a disinterest in forming relationships.

Not sure either, about the accentuation on “men not feeling able to catch up with the women”.

But the crux is probably best found in two young people’s replies when asked how they felt about gender and relationships :

Her : “..People tell me I am too bubbly, maybe women are getting too strong, but I think that is a shame as I am only living my life in the way I like.”

Him : “..Building a relationship seems like too much effort, to get her to like me, and me to like her, I’d have to give up everything I do at the weekend for her.”


The idea that women and men don’t necessarily want to “give up” their personal space on a permanent basis, unless they specifically want to have children – that and the fact gender attraction and birth rates are certainly far more complex than this report touches on. The essence of it does seem to be hinting at a similar thing.

And ok, sure, statistics are statistics and reporting is reporting. And the women are coming across as not wanting to sacrifice a career or their hard earned embodiments of freedom, (in sharp contrast to what many of their mothers did). For example by renting/owing their own place. And the men subsequently come across as being apathetic or disinterested.

Whereas, if looked at, from the point of the stereotypical relationships of the last generation, the move toward having a re-think of this kind of commitment seems entirely logical. Especially when looked at in the light of previous generation’s divorce rates and emotional health issues that resulted.

Mutual-space relationships or non at all does seem to be a logical generational progression. Less emphasis on the biological and stereotypical mechanics of relationships and more on general personal emotional growth.

Note, the boy interviewed talked about his idea toward commitment in an a way that seemed almost the antithesis of many unhealthy aspects that can form in relationships, like co-dependence, lack of personal confidence etc etc.,.

So, not so much of an apathetic or selfish disinterest in relationships by the young, but maybe a move toward a collective breathing space with an interest in the future of human relationships in general, including their future offspring.

Sounds like the healthiest pre-approach to forming relationships that I’ve heard in years.

The Price is Right (Art Fairs and Affordable Art)

AAF Entrance

Ok I’ve slept on London’s Frieze and Affordable Art art fairs…

More later, though on Frieze with its satellites of Moving image Contemporary Video and Sluice. And not least the very gripping (albeit mainly London-centric) graduates fair incorporated at AAF……

…So its true, there was an element of me being tired at AAF after looking at Frieze, along with the fairs connected…and it is true I was definitely more absorbed by these.

For me now though, there was also an element of being personally aware, in the light of so much seemingly not-so-obvious commercial art at Frieze, of NOT dismissing the art here, simply because of its more obviously commercial context by becoming an inverted-art-snob.

Price is the key here; the Affordable Art remit for prices are from £400 to £4000. No more, no less.

And I certainly found more than a couple of galleries and artists at AAF who I really liked a lot. And true this style and content of fair did seem more pret-a-porter-high-street than the *high* art of Frieze. Or at least more as a stall geared up ready to sell, with efficient take away wrapping service provided.

But the twist, I think, was some of the art was definitely more interesting than say, some of the more *sure-and-safe* big-bucks work I saw at Frieze.

The obvious conclusion is, that art wise it shows a more high street version of the Frieze style….
For example a current trend was far more obvious at AAF.. in a fashion analogy it could be seen as an complete haute couture, unwearable-in-most-circumstances, fine lace dress, that would be shown during fashion week, instead being represented, by a rash of a hundred or so wearable dresses with equally fine lace adorned collars and cuffs …the detail all maxed out.

That isn’t to say the works were not art in their own right. Just that the art here was more prone to the obvious add-on bells and whistles of content style and technique.

That said, some less obvious and also refreshing work was present by artists of all ages and reputations, for whatever reason, who possibly hadn’t yet been *noticed* or whose works were not represented by the *kudos* of usually exclusive city-centric galleries (….the type who are interested in, and can afford, the off-the-scale space rental of Frieze).

With subtle differences in styles and content at AAF, a lot of the art shown, represented with no less kudos of equally well respected European and London galleries, including the few out lying UK galleries present, was less subtle. Showing art here that is different, certainly seems to stand out from the overall at AAF.

And it is certainly not as simple as lazily categorising it as a reduced version of *haute-art* nor calling it a blatant Zara of the art world:

Stating the obvious I know… but as with larger fairs, I found you certainly had to look, because the nature them, big or small, is to capture, in a non-contemplative environment for a very small window of time, a whole host of businesses to one degree or another bent on spotting a customer sale.

In that way Frieze visitors differ from AAF. Frieze is there to-be-seen-for-business kudos as well as the business it attracts. The larger crowd who venture to Regents Park’s Frieze are in general, people who are perhaps more touristy, even art-savvy, whether voyeuristic-student, in the business or artists themselves, all this aside from the obvious and the not-so-obvious buyers.

AAF definitely has less of these, and I certainly saw no one on their phone conducting a mega buck sale for a client. It seemed to attract Sloane’s London and Surrey’s National Trust crowd, on a family-day-out. Able indeed to spend upwards of £400 on a piece of art not necessarily previously seen… an impulse buy if you like… If it wasn’t such a sunny – but not so warm October day, blankets, picnic baskets and a possible low-key-champers lunch in the park might have been more in evidence..). But maybe that is less Battersea Park and more suited for the first AAF at Hampstead Heath next weekend…

Art for your family mantle piece perhaps, rather than the full-on accepted art for art sake, of pure-investment by the more commercially minded buyers of Frieze.

And from that point of view, the genuine *I like that I’m going to buy it* approach of AAF is spot on. Unfortunately in accepting more adventurous art, there is perhaps a slower pace of enthusiasm and intake. So the price tag can, though certainly not always, come with safe-bet sea or landscapes, or cat, cow, horse or butterfly, kitschy on-trend tickets.

Showroom Dummies : Women’s Bodies, Representation and Conflicting Taboo’s

Oh the irony…… I am taking a few moments to reflect on the recently opened exhibition by Jennifer Dalton “Cool Guys Like You”… exhibition that shows through drawings, graphs and photographic image a startling, and in these troubled times, seemingly irrelevant conclusion that most of the guests invited onto critical cultural and political tv daily’s are in fact male.

In an open letter to the hosts Jennifer askes :

“….I assume you like to see yourselves as critical thinkers. Might it be possible to get a bit more critical about the internal and external forces that encourage all of us to think that men produce the best ideas and cultural products out there? I think it might…..”

“…..In 2010, the most lopsided show among you featured only 17.5% female guests. The most balanced among you still only featured 34% female guests. The rest of you are in between, but mostly huddled around the more lopsided end of that spectrum.

If I may be so bold, WTF?…”


I am in Spain, I am on a roof terrace taking some sun… so far so good you might say.  I am reclining on the roof of an apartment building that is barely occupied, apart from a few ex-pat retiree, saga-ready-sun-bathers.

I ponder Jennifer Daltons letter.

It is peaceful, no noise other than the gurgling of the pool. I have no bikini top on, I notice a few tuts…wondering the cause I look up, and as one lady leaves and walks past, she utters “appropriate clothing”. Given the baking poolside circumstances I then begin to ponder the meaning of the word appropriate. And, while her male friend passes by, who, if I’m not mistaken gives me a sideways leer which leaves me feeling decidedly uncomfortable, I ponder some more.

And, setting aside the fact that I had not suddenly developed a weird case of clothing tourette’s. Nor indeed had donned a pair of hobnail boots for a poolside splash. I assumed the comment to be directed at my shameful inappropriate state of bikini bottoms only…. And hoped that they, and not I, had lost a few marbles in the heat.

I am in Spain, nothing surprises me, least of all an oxymoron of attitudes…so I took both with a huge pinch of salt.


Sign 2


So suitably distracted I began to address… sigh!… this obsession with women’s bodies.

Specifically a cultural thing this was not. I was not on a remote beach in rural Africa or transgressing some obvious cultural opine. Nor out of *the usual context* of beach/poolside, distractingly flashing in the office or on the bus.

The scene was set in a country, for good or bad, who’s beach culture.. ahem …embraces the female form in all its glory. And a media that never fails to pass up a newsworthy moment to show a well formed pair of tits just to liven things up.

But taboo it seemingly still is.


Why is it women and their bodies are deemed justifiably to be co-owned by everyone else?.

Either simultaneously being ignored, objectified, or repulsed.

This goes deep into history. And deep into the female psyche.

And…Ok.. I’m going to leave breasts out of it for now, but, cop a feel of this ….

Not since the likes of the Emily Pankhurst protests, or (whatever yo think of her) Germaine Greer and Susan Sontag, has the female mind and her body been talked about so much in the media and yet is still is not represented. Only misrepresented.

She is either over achieving in school by beating all the boys. Or over achieving in the home by still doing a juggling act with family and career… errrm… job (..was this ever only in the domain of the 80’s ?). Or failing her kids by not sending them 3 times a week to after school Nuclear Physics club.

I think a suitable term was coined way back in the 20’s… “nurse, cook and bottle washer”. Only now you can add a few helpful electrical appliances, offset by stressed out school runs and high achieve low pay day jobs, like teaching for example. And of course a good dollop of societal guilt.


Things have changed; we’ve come a long way from the sentiments of Some Like It Hot and even ‘80’s Tootsie. When a man gets inside the female form and mind by cross-dressing and confiding …..her metaphorically, into bed.



But when we still have Rhianna prancing about in her latest vid offering all the female gumption of a modern day Whitney in Body Guard…..errrm? …here comes that sigh.. again.

It seems the current nature of any general discussion about female value is not about taboo particularly anymore… but a free for all female bully fest. And that, as always, includes women’s opinion on women.


This furore along with the quagmire status quo of media institutions, including film, with its actors, directors and writers. Hides the fact that women’s presence, is seriously worrying ( count em! – Jennifer is right …).


So in this current media scape with its constant image stream. Another skewed projection is feeding the collective female psyche, already bolstered by previous generations and history.


The subject of women is a whole vast and sweeping category. And all gender has a whole host of intricacies’….


Judges and Politicians are at the legislative and policy coal face. But our perception of regularly represented women in media (and therefore society as a whole) is deceptively weak and wrong for such a large populous.

The back room boys and their elders are still, it seems, stultifying efforts of *achieving* women to front of house window dressing.

Apart from a few… people like Kirsty Walk (whatever you think of Newsnight) who battles away weekly with a more often than not, male panel, and Stephanie Flanders wrestling with financial debate. Along with people like the retired Joan Bakewell (who had a run-in with the BBC contesting institutionalised chauvinism in the hiring process….).

This, along with put your feet up main stream film rarities like Julie Delpy’s directorial debut 2 days in Paris which was a pretty neat achievement given the romantic label…rather than a war. 


Informed media, whether online, on paper or big screen is still the main shaper of how we discuss, react and perceive ourselves.

The balance of women included in this area is still thin on the ground. And with this imbalance, are slow to be generally encouraged, hired….or educated.

A catch 22… A riddled endemic state.

A responsible? image-factory with a glass ceiling that could just as well read why bother.  Female presence in a media that shapes us is still usually first and foremost preened, smiley and fit, by default.…

30 something’s, staving off their sell-by-date. A mixed message, voyeuristic projection.


The knock-on political tone and, in effect reality, is that cuts and policy are now also reflected in that disadvantaged imbalance.

What kind of example for a healthy, indeed I stress, a mentally healthy society is that.













Clone Me!…..Again


Original photograph copyright of Glenn E Friedman


Public Relations, Plagiarism, and Self Promotion

This is how the World Assembly of Public Relations defined PR in August 1978 :

“The art and social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences, counselling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest”.

So….. In a world now where it’s OK to use PR to maintain and promote any image and in turn fight for that image when the image is perceived to be threatened or damaged by a plagiarizer.

Is shameless self-promotion …the only way to go ?

I have taken a couple of examples of recent, contested or problematic image/ownership rights in the arts.

Photographer / Artist : Glen E. Friedman’s Run DMC photograph being re-worked by Mr Brainwash, street artist ; with the ruling that the original had been plagiarised and the re-works to be *removed* (possibility of being destroyed)

Photographer / Photographer ; with Janine Gordon contesting Ryan McGinley’s re-works ; thrown out of court as vagaries of specific body imagery could not be *owned*

Art / ownership ; Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty land lease for this site specific land art and its continuing curation.

But first a little backdrop history:

The Music Industry set a precedent years ago having seen a mix of technological opportunity which enabled copying and sampling.

The realisation of the argument; to say that anything not left in its pure state is therefore plagiarised, on the surface, seems to have been rendered un-navigable with the rapid flux of internet connectivity today. Unless, of course (as always) you have enough time, money and clout to throw at it.

And true, knock-off pirated copying is still very much on the no-no agenda in all the arts. Artists need to get paid. End of.

Although I wish I could be more positive about this simplistic sentiment. There are so many middle men and Mr 20% involved in the promotion of artists, designers, photographers and their work, that altruism is probably only half the story in protecting the original work.

With artists also being protective of their intellectual property or brand from commercial sharks. And legislation leaning heavily toward an overall semblance of control in these *share it* times.

Couple this with social diversity; communities being so poor, having no infrastructure with any wider connective say-so. Or those who are so switched–on they find themselves in a democratic minefield of who is allowed to say what and when. Some fall foul of their on-line presence. Others manage to free-up and share information that otherwise would have been inaccessible to most.

No doubt the internet, as a popular tool, has power. And so in the hands of so many, so relatively quickly, also makes it a moral, social and political soup.

This is an art blog so I am not drawing on wider (and deeper) issues like phone hacking or wiki-leaks and all that has churned up.

I have tried to bring together different aspect within the arts here:

A simple concept really; artist/designer/musician/photographer/writer/journalist has/makes an idea of something out of something and so *captures* it, puts some creative value on it, it can be accepted, rejected or copied!

The arts having different nuances ; all having very different histories and with that subtleties in legislation over the years.

Different mediums of expression but I will use the word captured to refer to the finished piece. Whether it is fashion, photography film, art, music or writing.

And, I am using writing here purposely as the idea of the written word is possibly far more readily understood as a standard tool for capturing and furthering expression of an idea.

As with rip-offs, subsequent similar close-to-the-mark expressions can be seen as a blatant regurgitation or expression of a new idea.

PR uses journalism/writing as one medium to further promote an idea or object. Straight word- for– word regurgitation is now being abhorred (whether paid PR or not…)

But still using the same word format and possibly similar words differently to form another view or opinion, is accepted difference.

The difference of the captured expression is what marks it out as different.

So with that in mind….

The Music Industry >>

Considering the longevity of sampling and mixing within the music business (as opposed to art and even fashion with its rip-off culture now coming full circle sometimes throwing things up much more interesting than the original….)

The mix/music industry is now far more accepting of *sampling* as opposed to *stealing*.

>>The music industry initially resolved the copying issue mostly by making it acceptable to copy as long as a reference was given to the originator and so suing was curtailed to out and out rip-offs. In so the music industry became far more hypothetically in favour of unlimited free use as a means to an end.

An example of Music Industry PR in the 80’s- 90’s. The White Label (usually 12 inch dance music) was already put into clubs 3-6 months before the official artist was named with a release date.

An acceptable form of hype or PR which created demand and interest. The Buzz style of which has been embraced in fashion, film and art.

Fashion >>

Fashion has also had a long history of rip-off culture and subsequent suing. I could name not only high end brands (Asian sports shops emulating actual shop brand design is a current problem for original brands). Friends too with smaller outlets having their own designs copied and done differently (damage can be seen to be done to the original design’s worth, if it is copied badly).

I know of at least one person who eventually gave up on this as the court cases began to take over and lasted years and cost too much. I think “sod him” was the ultimate term he used. He went on to make different designs (some of which …ahem… possibly had a similar nod to the rip-off merchants own…).

High end dress designer Roland Mouret, mentioned here before, while during a talk for Fashioning an Ethical Industry at the Fashion and Textile Museum London. Also expressed exasperation at his designs being ripped off literally as they hit his internet PR machine, way back in 2005. Battened-down secrecy was the only option, as he saw it then.

All was fair in love and war it seemed. But then things moved on in fashion….

Style Bubble’s recent article about Prada brogues and their ASOS counterparts points out that maybe the plagiarism issue in this case is much more about the lower end of High Fashion brands being affected by this done-differently and (slightly) cheaper design than any blatant damage to reputation rip-off issue. ASOS having used a different style and mood of colour mix (gold and silver).


Photography >>

Photography has a long history of *intellectual property rights just as in the film industry. The photograph technically belongs to the originator.


The case last week when a judge threw out a copyright infringement lawsuit against the artist Ryan McGinley. The lawsuit, brought by artist Janine Gordon, was about images that allegedly copied Ms. Gordon’s own photographs :

The judges conclusion…

“ The plaintiff’s apparent theory of infringement would assert copyright interests in virtually any figure with outstretched arms, an interracial kiss, or any nude female torso.”



Two practices converging :

Photography and Art >>

One example recently of two creative disciplines having met like this, is the recent photographer- suing- artist debacle over an original piece of photographic art work.

The original art-work-photograph of Glen E. Friedman’s Run DMC was upheld by a US judge as having been plagiarised by Thierry Guetta (Mr Brainwash) street artist.

It was seen as not being different enough from the original piece to warrant its own status as *art* coupled with possible value-damage to the original piece and its original status.

And there was another distracting, but important issue here as to whether this was also a Banksy/Guetta art joke ; * you can’t sue who you don’t know*. The idea being the identity of Theirry Guetta although real, is supposed to be close to Banksy’s own shadow.

Run DMC by Mr Brainwash

Run DMC graffiti print
Run DMC broken cd's

Run DMC done again differently by Mr Brainwash photograph courtesy

and sampling Irony aside! this remake has been mosaicked with broken cd’s


Art >>

Spiral Jetty, just maybe has the crux of what is going on at the moment within the arts :

Greg Allen; a filmmaker, curator, art collector, web entrepreneur and a philanthropist and an artist in his own right is petitioning for the land lease which houses Roberts Smithson’s Spiral Jetty.

The basic story elaborated on by Felix Salmon‘s reuters blog…is that the land lease is up…and so up for grabs. Utah State Council is opening up the lease for bids and so Greg Allen is bidding (alongside other newcomers) and the original lease holders The Dia Foundation, who have looked after the work up until now.

Spiral Jetty

Whatever the nuances of Allens intention the potential problem is clear:

The work is iconic and so attracts attention. The work was made from the land it sits on and the line between where it starts and where it ends cannot be easily drawn. It was made as a site specific piece and so was captured in this state. It is not replicable. It cannot be valued other than in terms of *public* consumption.

So renders it practically and artistically immoveable aside from the elements taking over.

Whichever area of the arts we are looking at, the point here isnt about theft or using anothers property to form the expression on.

The written word shows how it captures expression;

A word is understood in its singular original form and meaning. A building block.

Words can be rearranged to express different meaning and subtly so.

Cloning is cloning, as is regurgitation, however badly or well done. It has its place.

PR is a delicate and fine art these days and with it brand ownership similarly so.

Social media with all the potentials of the social graph being realised has provided a PR’s wet dream.

The captured image/design/ music/art/written word today is no less its own entity.

It is though being (un altruistically) contested more than before as to who actually owns *it*, and therefore owns its right to exist.

Artists, take a collective creative chill pill, its going to get a whole lot rougher…or more interesting.


Lives of Artists Series Three: The DJ: Wot U Talkin’ About Parte Uno


OK…Redlight/referencias de Ms Dynamite aparte ….


Cuán verdadero! podría haber sido mi indicación – la línea para tantas interacciones – con mi falta de espanol de habla + la necesidad desesperada de lecciones! lecciones! lecciones!. (las disculpas en el avance para mis habilidades severamente probadas para idiomas de hablar. ..errrrm… dependencia pesada en on-line servicio de traducción aquí ….)

Afortunado que mi toma DJ Jose Fedez música (aqui en soundcloud… y you tube) fue mucho más Lúcido y mucho menos Perdido En la Traducción !…..

Jose Fedez at the decks

El hallazgo él, como hace, cuándo advierte un acontecimiento de zumbido: desafortunadamente mi falta de en – profundidad – local – el conocimiento y en el aqui de passa de lugar Que? clase de preguntas literalmente me dirige a hacer en las suposiciones de lugar en cuanto a por qué había tantas personas medio mi edad gravitando regularmente hacia una cierta área de playa…y ciertos clubes…y no en un chiflada de hippie de clase vieja de manera. Más su estilo club de innercity-ciudad con los conocimientos elementales impares de reuniones de moda deTokio con Español estilo de vestido… sólo en la playa….

>> Podría haber sido el orden del día anunciando claramente una cuerda de acontecimientos de música? comenzando manera atrás en junio alrededor de Noche de San Juan?. Y bueno… había una cabezada a la cosa del hippie aquí, con todo que saltando por encima de fogatas (no seguro si que sucede realmente! ….). El alba de la caja del crepúsculo que delira y seasonal-longest-day-solstice-pagan-revelry que marca el comienzo del verano. En esencia un partido inmenso.

El tipo de cosas Glastonbury hace con entradas y lluvia, sólo aquí está sin barro y casi – sin – la cerca. Y con un doble –  uso de cliché aquí  …COOL!.



Así que estuvo alrededor de esta vez yo advertí bbme de barra/club de playa …y (ahora) hecho convenientemente enterado de la pronunciación verdadera como *B *B *me. Y también tener para ser dicho ligeramente lejos para no saber realmente que ha estado aquí para …ohhh! siglos y siglos! …. bien… el primer se chill – out – club de música de todos modos… antes que todo el otros en el área aparecieran!.

Y, encuentro, completo con una reputación de jugar más que melodías medio decentes a través de las horas Dios pensaron naturalmente para este tipo de cosas. Aquí en bbme, Jose, Dj de fama local mixing regularmente las decks, al lado de otros espacios en ciudades como Madrid, Granada, Almeria, y cosas por el estilo.

Y ahora, habiendo tenido todos los puntos, se juntaron convenientemente…me doy cuenta de que tengo de hecho fue sudarlo fuera dentro de pesa que columpia distancia de Jose, en el gimnasio local. Pequeño mundo verdaderamente!.

de cualquier modo !…..

>> caminar por la cantidad enorme! de presencia vídeo..encontré un par de gemas (una selección completa de vídeos puede ser encontrada en Jose’s FB y aqui esta mucho mas info de eventos)

2010 Electromar Presentacion : Video-Link cortesía : Bbme Chill-out ; Presentacion Electromar – Edu Imbernon & Albert Live Percussion [HQ] 2010 ….2011 Presentacion/images creo sera on-line pronto!


>> que encontré esto que muestra Jose y bbme back – in – the – day !


Entonces con mis introducciones tropezadas hechas. Cuál, a propósito, no puede ser ayudado por mi alcance pobre de frases inadecuadas y tentativa desesperada a creer de este blog sobre. O me haciendo sueno quiero un Inglés Típico, o en peor (temo) un completo LOCO/NUTTER (mayuscula necessario!) Completo…. de todos modos él comprendía muy y sonrió y pareció verdaderamente interesó que fui agudo en el averiguar cómo, como un Dj, él mantiene su pasión para la música a la vista, no menos, al jugar a audiencias cada vez más más anchas!.

Uno tal acontecimiento golpea el horizonte esta Viernes y Sabado 29-30 Julio como el Oh Lordy! Man – Himself, Moby, toma a la etapa comunal en Electromar encabezar Murcia grande – el grupo – abrazo – festival de Electronica, la Casa y toda la musica de cosas. En comparación con homenaje festival a todas las cosas totalmente comercial.

Ninguna proeza mala, especialmente como es también una cosa BUENA ser pagó origen acontecimientos musicales de pura pasión (…. lectores a este blog ya sabrán que mis pensamientos en artistas para ser esperados hacer cosas para libre en una base casi permanente).




>> Tendrá algunos más respuestas de dj y puntas en cuanto las aflicciones de ser a un Dj en el negocio de música y cómo encuentra seguir su creatividad con su música al jugar a audiencias más anchas….. muy pronto!

Jose está trabajar ocupado las decks localmente también ; por example con Diego Mendez en el de noches de estreno de nuevo espacio ….Mooneys Beach Club…..+++++… mucho mas. Una formación llena del verano ya en construcción!…

Electromar line - up

La línea de apertura de es track….apropriado …Can’t Stop..Won’t Stop ! (Kings of Tomorrow) …pienso resume mas o menos a este DJ!!…

>> Electromar esta Playa De Los Narejos (Los Alcazares) …M*U*R*C*I*A* !!  Viernes y Sabado Julio 29 – 30  2011……GO !!!


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Translation! (mas o menos…)


Wot You Talkin About : Part One


Ok…..Redlight/Ms Dynamite references aside……

How true ! it could have been my cue – line for so many interactions – with my lack of habla espanol + desperate need of lessons! lessons! lessons!. (apologies in advance for any idyosyncrasies I’m also relying heavily on free on-line translation…)

Lucky my take on Dj Jose Fedez music (here on soundcloud …and you tube) was far more Lucid and a lot less Lost In Translation !….

Jose Fedez at the decks

Finding him, as you do, when you notice a buzz happening. Unfortunately my lack of in depth – local – knowledge and on the spot Que passa aqui? kind of questions… literally lead me to make on the spot assumptions as to why there were so many people half my age regularly gravitating toward a certain area of beach…and certain clubs…and not in a hippy-dippy-of-old kind of way. More your inner city club style with the odd smattering of Tokyo-meets-Spanish dress code… only on the beach….

>> could it have been the six – foot high agenda clearly announcing a string of music events? starting around Noche de San Juan?. And ok… there was a nod to the hippy thing here, with all that jumping over bonfires (not sure if that actually happens !….). Dusk till dawn raving and seasonal-longest-day-solstice-pagan-revelry that marks the start of summer. In essence a huge knees up. The kind of thing Glastonbury does with tickets and rain, only here is sans mud and sans fence. And with a double – use of cliche here; COOL.




So it was around this time I noticed beach bar/club bbme …and now being suitably genned up on the actual pronunciation as *b *b *me also having being mildly ticked off for not knowing it has actually been here ohhh! yonks and yonks!…. well the first chill-out music club anyway… before all the others in the area turned up!. And complete with a reputation of more than half decent tunes being played out through the hours god naturally intended for this kind of thing.

Here at bbme, Dj of local repute Jose regularly treads the decks, along with other spaces in cities like Madrid, Granada, Almeria and such like.

And, having had all the dots, suitably joined up… now realize I have in fact been sweating it out within dumb-bell swinging distance of Jose, at the local gym. Small world indeed!.

anyway !…

>> with a huge! on-line video presence I found a couple of gems (a complete selection of videos can be found on Jose’s FB here along with much more info on events etc)

2010 Electromar Presentation : Video Link Courtesy : Bbme Chill-out ; Presentation Electromar – Edu Imbernon & Albert Live Percussion [HQ] 2010 ….2011 Presentation and images I believe are on-line soon!


>> and I found this of Jose and bbme back – in – the – day !

So with my stumbled introductions done and dusted. Which, by the way, can’t have been helped by my poor grasp at inappropriate phrases, in a desperate attempt to get the idea of this blog over. This either making me sound like a Typical Brit, or at worst (I fear) a complete LOCO/NUTTER….Anyway he was very understanding and smiled and seemed genuinely made up that I was interested in finding out how, as a Dj, he keeps his passion for music in sight, not least, while playing to increasingly wider audiences.

One such event is hitting the horizon this Friday and Saturday 29-30 July as the Oh Lordy!  Man Himself, Moby, takes to the communal stage at Electromar to headline Murcia’s big – group – hug – festival of Electronica, House and all things Music. As opposed to festival homage to all things totally commercial.

No mean feat, especially as it is also a GOOD thing to be paid for playing these musical events sourced from pure passion. (…. readers to this blog will already know my thoughts on artists being expected to do things for free on an almost permanent basis).



>> will be following up with part two and how the dj sees the trials and tribulations of the creative side of the music and the business of it….very soon!

Jose is also working the decks locally for example ; with DJ Diego Mendez at the opening nights of new space ….Mooneys Beach Club ….+++++… much more. The line-up of summer already in the making !…

Electromar line - up

The opening line of the track….appropriately…Can’t Stop..Won’t Stop ! (Kings of Tommorow) …I think pretty much sums up this DJ!!….

>> Electromar is at Playa De Los Narejos (Los Alcazares) …M*U*R*C*I*A* !!  Friday and Saturday July 29 – 30.  2011…..GO !!!


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Don’t Make Me Think….Just Raise The Ante

In amongst all the maelstrom of social media : with its tweets… be they purposeful political strategy’s or not. Within all the FB nudges, pokes, likes, inane games, mind numbing time consuming *interactions* much lauded by the nay sayers and  robustly dismissed by the evangelical standard bearers of new media. Lies something vey close to my heart. Art.

And within this context of social media, like in every respected media. Artists make their art with their medium of choice and Critics critique it.FULL CIRCLE.

Art Fag City’s Paddy Johnson wrote an article in The L Magazine this past week on the relevance of Twitter art (a term she coined for convenience of the article). And in particular (as I see it) being very much on – her – patch, by citing local New York artists and raising questions about the relevance of the creative depth involved in their social media art.

Man Bartlett Port Authority

Two artists in particular ; Man Bartlett and An Xiao (both having mentions on this blog before with their internet/twitter and in particular Man’s multi – on – line works). Were examples used in the line of questioning.  I also imagine that being on her relative home turf, her interaction with the physical side of the art and the artists is much more apparent than my one dimensional take on it… on-line-only, miles away in blighty etc. But as I see it this is not about how we interact with the medium more the art involved….So from this perspective….

Paddy Johnsons critique quite rightly, I thought, pointed out that maybe, just maybe in the light of growing bandwagon-esq lauding, commissioning and mucho – typing about the subject… had an air of devils advocate about it >>

That in the light of such possible complacency….Paddy Johnson saw the subject as needing a boot up the jacksy ……and she probably had the crux of it down ; that too much Twitter – art IS focused on it being a new-ish medium and so, as a vehicle, anything done with it automatically = art. Rather than raising questions through art about mediums like this by creating art within it. Her idea that the art should be pushing more boundaries of thought.

Close to my heart indeed! Artists, Art and their choice of how they use the medium :

To give a slightly different alignment. I am addressing local Dj Jose Fedez (while I’m in Spain)  in an up-coming post in lieu of the Electromar festival in Murcia later this month *headlined* by veteran Dj and all round share – it – with – the – people guy Moby.

The simplicity of the type of questions raised by the music industry such as created within mix music within Moby’s creative life time. Was very much about *new* mediums as vehicles and, was at the beginning, also seen as either an abstracted or removed experience of (original) music or a gravitational social experience.

One of Moby’s first majorly accepted pieces was made from an out and out lift from the Twin Peaks Theme Tune entitled Go. The advent of sampling and mixing had been around for a few years. But this blatant success by taking obviously readily suable material (from the film industry) AND making something that was more than aesthetically pleasing to quite a lot of people…subsequently made it a Classic in it own right. Advertising had already been *lifting* stuff for years by repackaging accepted music to endorse a product.

>> the bottom line being yes mixing is a medium, no, not everyone is going to create a Moby classic and yes people did eventually *get It* as a music – art – form. As opposed to renegade bad boys/girls *messing about* with new relatively un regulated media. It found its niches, it grew, changed, embraced. But it had a starting point.

I feel parallels here in the concept. And as far as Twitter art upping its communal ante Hell Yes !

But there is such a thing as subtly within art.

Paddy Johnson raised the question of not pushing the boundary’s or that these artists were relying too heavily on the medium as content; social interactions and comments in that area ( to which she pointed out she already had a take on that, thank you, every time she IM’d a colleague from over her desk)… and did not need to participate in an art piece stating the same.

In spite of *chipping away slowly* or preaching to the converted by being one step removed from banality ie; stating the obvious, or an unchallenging foray into relational aesthetics. I believe there is a subtly in art that doesn’t have to SHOUT the status quo down at every turn. That still moves or transcends though thought engagement. 

So to the medium :

Twitter engagement is personal one to one while being group oriented.This is the nature of it.

From this perspective Twitter art can be more than the sum of its parts.

It is shared in real time or delayed time. It can occupy or interact with a group *audience* much as live media or replay can.

Nothing that couldn’t be done in a gallery space or other medium on a smaller scale in its pure form.

And to the art and artists :

The art exists not because of any lets-challenge-the-system-regulators or question its integrity as medium (unless the art and artist specifically set out to do that).

It exists in spite of the medium; it just allows a different kind of interaction. So the participatory/audience/artist are the only relational aspect. The art still exists in its own space. But experienced differently. Including the artists experience.

Just as with mix music and possibly the advent of electronic music perse, when it was luddite-ly seen only as bona fide if the instrument or engagement was *real* and not a  de-humanised product.

So to with social media as an inclusion – mechanism…even to the point of *fans*

But the art within the use of this mechanism is still its own entity and THEREIN lies the SUBLTY whether you think it banal, unquestioning, or not.

Hrag Vartanians article in Hyperallergic: Missing the Point About Twitter

Art Fag City’s article : Missing the Point About Don’t Follow Twitter

Lives of Artists Series Three: Graphic Artists as Fashion Designers Right Here Right Now



Ok, I was going to call this post Lazy Hazy Days of Summer… or something…it being about Lazy Oafs Spring and Summer 11 collection and all things summery!. And, with it now being well on the way into early June, and also being very aware that winter, nay, spring is totally done and dusted in my current (shhhhh…for this post anyway!) location, which is somewhere deep in Southern Spain….this seemed far more appropriate. 

So it was, a few weeks back, with spring in the offing and ….yes….stranger things have happened here… (but not much!)….that I literally bumped into one of London’s new stellar? dinky? can you be stellar and dinky at the same time?.. HELL! YES!… and very approachable fashion phenomena’s on their fashion shoot…. 

And all this while waiting at the village bus stop. It really was a case of get with it, right here right now, not just because of the absurd timing (half an hour earlier/later I would have missed them). But not least because, of all the days and weeks to arrange a one off shoot here…the usually continuous ever-so-glorious-light of the micro climate had most definitely gone AWOL…..Put it this way all that was really needed to have transplanted the whole thing back to one of blighty’s more gloomier streets was a smattering of fog.


So it was, while perusing my time at said bus stop, that I noticed a girl wearing (it has to be said) a STUNNING print dress in what seemed like a special location-shoot.

Poppy in Lazy Oaf’s Big Pattern Tee Dress



First up I thought, poor girl, stood there on what should be a glorious spring day shivering her (metaphorical) socks off (ok, it was Spain and wasn’t exactly freezing!). Then it occurred to me WOAH !  how totally mega-rubbish for the photographer. Especially with proof… having tried very unsuccessfully to snap a couple of shots of That Dress myself. Finding them even more scuzzy, hazy or whatever than usual (see various mentions in previous posts for more graphic horror stories as to trials and tribs with my camera-phone)


It was then I noticed THE CAMERA…god knows what the name, number, or technical term for it was ( this is someone who describes cars by their colour… ) but I ‘clicked’ with the shape. The photographer had a neat and lens prominent, does-the-job-perfectly, like back when cameras had just evolved from Bolex and Box to David Bailey lens/light astute models that relied more on their user intuitive shape and film, than todays super chip n’ graphic card tech (there, I do know more than just colour codes!) …..And I WON’T be posting any of my attempts here…. suffice to say going by the shots in the look book I was in the presence of nothing short of a Photographic-Wizard-God.


Risking another hour at the bus stop I hopped over the road to one of the team ( it turned out he was one of the models, Marlee…..). And with split second timing and an exchange of my name/card. I discovered Lazy Oaf.


And what a cool Design team they are…with a core influence of illustration transposed into bright pop graphic T shirts, reversible sweats and numerous accessories (and in their words) fuelled by tea, hamburgers and Brian Blessed’s gnarley foot!.

Always being up for projects, exhibitions and events proving they are one of those new breed of totally accessible and thoroughly nice, switched-on-creatives who get involved, making stuff happen.


Lazy Oaf Open

Lazy Oaf Shop Front

Earlier at the SS 11 Party

Lazy Oaf's SS party


Having come about in 2001, started by Gemma Shiel with hand printed tees from a market stall in East London… 3 years later saw them ensconced in their Soho store while adding to their range by sourcing additional oddities from Japan and the US. All their designs are created in house by the Lazy Oaf Team from their HQ in Shoreditch ….. and now…without *Going Global* they occupy cool spaces in boutiques and shops all over the world.


Party time earlier this year at the store

Party SS11

Follow the sign


And That Dress (as it has now become known to me). With its right here right now in-your-face graphic print, that is soooo wearable, the kind of wearable I’d addictively KEEP wearing till its threadbare!.

…more in store!

SS 11 Tee's in Shop

Store SS 11 collection


…and That Dress!



….If I wasn’t out in non-residencia-sticks in Spain so to speak I too would P&P one right now!, and troll around on the local bus or down to the comida-shops, chiringuitos and the like…. forever and a day!.





Which also, in hindsight after receiving a copy of the look book & various photos, did I put two and two together with the nook and cranny vignettes and post card use of spaces by the photographer….. With cries of I’ve been there!





Stripe with pink neckline

Strpe T with Pink neckline 2

Palm Tree T 2

That and the fact the penny finally dropped when I realised the photographer was indeed non other than Viktor Vauthier……who’s style/use of camera and possibly, persona I had absorbed, by internet fashion osmosis of late. Not least with the fact he has also literally just done Urban Outfitters SS11 fashion shoot with his very own distinctive style!.


Lazy Oaf’s SS11 shoot






Quackers top and radical t shirt

Quackers crop t

Water melon skirt

Watermelon crop t-shirt

In store USA stars and stripes

Stars and stripes skirt

Nope, Lazy Oaf, most definitely are up there with that new breed of interesting, creative peeps totally motivated and involved with design and fashion and art.





Poppy and Marlee by the sea

Ziggy T and Black Polo

Black Polo detail


Lazy Oaf Mandala


So, with The Oaf’s… (can I call them that?).. refreshing attitudes to consumer experience, design and direction (I DARE you to be iffy or sad around their creations!). It didn’t surprise me at all to find them recently taking a light hearted stab at unstuffing the stuffiness of art institutions. Collaborating not only with Tate Modern and Tate Britain, but taking their wares waaay up to The Baltic, Gateshead and Nottingham Contemporary (forgive me, but I do get a wee bit exited when art institutions get noticed further north in the UK!)…. With them producing a special fun bag to take all your precious art books and the like around in…. : ) ……


Lazy Oaf Tate Collection bag

Arty Hard for Tate

 Gemma Shiel's Post Card Book


In the mean time I will never be able to look at That Rock again, while waiting for bus-urbano and its trusty driver…. without a smidgen of pinching myself at soooo being in the right place at the right time AND seeing the Right Here, Right Now that is Lazy Oaf!….


And thanks! Jerry of PR fame! for the all the help…+++xxxx! not least after all my internet dodgy emails! ….who made sure that I knew exactly where Lazy Oafs HQ is…..

View Larger Map


Lazy Oaf ltd Studio

Unit 6 New North House

Canonbury Business Centre

190A New North road


N1 7BJ


….And… guess where? ! which beach ! which club ! which bar ! (cant resist!)….cue…very un-subtle links!

Mandala Beach Club

Rio Abajo

…And …… close by That Rock! where I’m sure the Lazy Oaf crew passed a pleasant respite or two ! the ever village-hub-and-omnipresent Bar Pavana !  

Bar Pavana



I promise I WILL get back with BTV’s new designs! (very very long overdue post I know!) , along with Man Bartlett’s recent 140h Berlin installation including a big nod to Franklin the Turkey’s contribution to this 140 hour media streamed New-York-Beuys–Art-Trip-in-Reverse…… errrm complete with very loud turkey hiccups! ( turkeys were harmed in the making of this piece : )…….


140hBerlin live stream


back in a couple!…..

Lives of Artists Series Three: The Designer So Far Soda Good


Its a funny old world…. as I am out here in Spain expecting to post about the nuances of Spanish experience, and away-from-it-all rural niceties. With sporadic internet and therefore a less frenetic absorption of *wider* info.

Only to find East London’s new and cool fashion phenomena Lazy Oaf’s models and photographic team on a photo shoot in the village (look book and details soon!). And after a brief encounter with a number of Spanish plumbers (no that is NOT a euphemism) ; read my unfortunate yet timely connection with an errrrm not-so-rural-nicety and the current exhibition at the Wellcome Foundation London. Which, on similar lines to a number of recent posts here, offers a much closer insight into how we deal with waste from pre Victorian ignorance to our current product rife cleanliness and out of sight out of mind attitudes. To the current reclamation of 50 year old largely unregulated New York Land Fill, Fresh Fields.

So, during my almost internet-monastic few months here ( I did say almost ; ) it didn’t come as too much of a surprise to find, out of the blue, an email from Nottingham designer Sarah Turner, pop into my inbox:

Sarah is an old favourite on this blog, having taken part in the Lives of Artists series with her innovative and sculptural re-use of plastic bottles which form wonderful, colourful and ethereal lighting.


Part of Sarah’s range of lighting, Bluebell and her green Sprite table lamp

BluebellGreen Sprite Table Lamp


Lily table lamp and Daisy ceiling adaptation

Lily table lamp

Daisy ceiling adaptation


With Cola 30 (yup! 30 cola bottles used in the making!)

Sarah with Cola 30


Sarah’s lighting installation at this years London Fashion Week



With her recent exhibition at Maison&Object in Paris AND being enlisted for her special lighting installation at London Fashion Week earlier this year. The following email content seemed a definite par for the course progression;

SodaStream uses eco artist, Sarah Turner’s recycled bottle sculpture in their latest campaign with British super model Erin O’Connor

I can only say this latest venture just totally fits in with the here and now, of what we do about waste and all the wider issues of consumption crisis, the economy and environment.

And, for the uninitiated, when Sodastream was a mere whippersnapper, us youngsters would go round to play at friends houses and sometimes find this latest gizmo of resounding drooling awe. An astute, ever-so-cool acquisition made by various tuned in mums and dads of the day. A glorious array of refillable glass bottles full of fruit syrups with the added bonus of the lava-lampesque design for the water-from-the-tap fizz dispenser The Sodastream!.

Original Sodastream circa 1960

Original 1960's Sodastream

A tap water aerated drinks idea first pioneered in the 1920’s taken to todays wide ranging and healthy options. 


A child’s dream, a dads economical and possibly dental (for the late sixties anyway), fizzy drinks prayer answered. And a mums, how-to-keep-the-kids amused with easy to use 60’s space science all wrapped up in one ever so displayable package. (I know I’m using stereotypes here but it was back in the day!)


And it doesn’t surprise me either that Sodastream should want to collaborate with Sarah and her recycled plastic bottles. As they were very much pioneering the idea of the economical use of product containers from the start. The syrups were the first of the super new concentrate concept and, if memory serves me correctly, refill sachets for the bottles to boot!. A great almost against the grain idea during the advent of mass consumer production.


Hot on the heels of this collaboration Sarah begins her current her exhibitions at Pulse, Earls Court in June from Sunday 5th to Tues 7th and she then moves onto Tent at the Truman Brewery Building during London’s Design Festival this September.


This collaboration has Sarah’s handmade spherical lighting from 562 recycled plastic bottles. And a perfect image to help communicate the message of ‘A World Without Bottles‘ for Sodastream……..


Erin O’Connor with Sarah’s creation

Sodastream Sculpture 1

British supermodel Erin O’Connor holds the sphere symbolically on her shoulders, recreating the iconic pose of Greek God Atlas, highlighting the burden of the world’s plastic bottle waste.


Sodastream Sculpture 2Sodastream Sculpture 3

Sodastream’s campaign aims to reduce the amount of plastic bottles people buy, therefore reducing the amount that end up getting thrown away.

And, Erin O’Connor who wholeheartedly supports the campaign, added that, “We take plastic bottles for granted in our everyday lives but it’s easy to forget that plastic bottle overuse and wastage can clog up our landfill sites”.


Sodastream close up

Fiona Hope, Managing Director of Sodastream UK, also commented: “With so many environmental issues competing for the public’s attention, bottle waste often gets forgotten. Yet reducing the casual use of plastic bottles is one of the easiest, most impactful we can do for the environment.”


And as I said its not the first time Sarah’s bottle creations have caught the eye of the fashion world. Snapped here with her light installation for London Fashion week earlier, in February.



Sarah has a wide range of ‘bottle creations’ as mentioned here before, and all can be found on her website .

Oasis range

Part of the Oasis range


To see her work up close, she will be exhibiting her recycled bottle lighting at these two fantastic exhibitions in London this year.  First up is Pulse at Earls Court in June Sunday thru Tuesday 5-6-7th and then onto her second year at Tent during London’s Design Festival in September held in the Truman Brewery from 22nd to 25th. 



back in a couple !….