Joe Cruz
4th September 2012

Talking to the very talented and unusual artist, illustrator & textile designer, Joe Cruz was certainly a pleasure.

Since graduating from Norwich University in 2010, Joe’s work has been featured in It’s Nice That and BMI voyager magazine. If that was’nt enough, Joe has also dabbled within the world of freelance, where he has created work for a number of respected clients such as  Mary Portas.

He has exhibited his work widely, most recently with Debut Contemporary at LA’s OCCCA gallery.

At the moment, Joe is currently in the process of working together with creative giants, YCN - on a series of pocket squares and he has also created his first collection ‘JCRUZ’ which consists of a set of silk editions.

Look out for the name!!

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Jenny Saville at Modern Art Oxford - Nick Reading
3rd September 2012

Things were thrown upside down this month when, out of nowhere, I somehow landed an internship at The Independent. Within a fortnight I was clearing out the desk at my incumbent admin position (pocketing the odd packet of paperclips in the process, but sshhh, after what I’ve been through there over the past 18 months I deserve it), and then preparing, with a sudden unexpected feeling of sentimentality, to cycle out through its gates for the final time. The next thing I knew I was sitting nervously in the air-conditioned atrium of a swish building in Kensington: all glass and fountains and well dressed people eating paninis. I waited for the arrival of my contact, all the while kicking myself over my decision to not wear a tie.

The frightfully sophisticated marble and double-espresso ambience of Derry Street was in stark contrast to the noisy, greasy clamour of the exhaust factory in East Oxford which I had just left, and the whole situation (not to mention the speed at which it had come about), felt more than a tad surreal: I’ve read The Independent for years and have always hopelessly fantasised about one day working for them; their arts coverage is one of the best in the mainstream media. An exhibition that has consistently topped the “Visual Arts Highlights” of the Saturday supplement in recent weeks is YBA painter Jenny Saville’s current retrospective at Modern Art Oxford: incredibly her first UK solo show in a public gallery. Pulling together examples of her work from the early 1990s (when Charles Saatchi bought her entire MA portfolio), right up to the present, it is by far the best exhibition I’ve seen at the gallery in all the time I’ve lived in the area. (Parenthetically, in a coincidental turn of events four weeks ago myself and the band I drum for were interviewed by the BBC inside Modern Art Oxford against the eerie backdrop of Saville’s towering 2004 masterpiece “Torso 2”, but that’s another story).

Anyway, the paintings: For those who aren’t familiar with her work, Saville is famed for her contemporary take on traditional figurative oil painting: she proves that this most established and orthodox of mediums can still push boundaries and be relevant in the context of the digital revolution’s inexorable technicolour advance. Here we can trace her development from the (relatively) conventional Lucian Freud-influenced self-portraits and female nudes of the Saatchi days, to her later works depicting strung-up animal carcasses, pre-op transsexuals and lurid plastic surgery disasters. I’d been familiar with many of the images on display since first chancing upon a book of her work in my art foundation days, but no photograph can quite prepare you for the sheer confrontational scale of something like “Passage”. Furthermore, the painterly technique evidenced in her later style, well established by the mid 2000s in “Stare” and the already mentioned “Torso 2”, is simply gobsmacking. It’s impossible to do it justice in words: sort of like rampant chaos, but controlled with a masterly perfection. As a painter myself I was reduced to simply staring upwards and gawping. The works here are canvasses that you can stand in front of endlessly, trying unsuccessfully to deconstruct how the images were put together. In the end though, my ruminations were cut short as the gallery was past closing time and I was harried out by an increasingly flustered looking assistant.

Refreshingly, there’s no grand concept or agenda behind Jenny Saville’s work; as far as I can see her paintings are simply there to be enjoyed. Furthermore, from a personal point of view, it’s good to see that there are shows outside London that can easily compete with what’s on offer in the capital. London-centricity and bias is something that perennially irks me. But needs must, and in light of my new situation the necessity to move back there looms - my wilderness days in Oxford are numbered. The success of the Saville exhibition lies with it’s simplicity; for two years I’d craved an unpretentious, straightforward show in the gallery but always been disappointed. This one, however, turned out to be an eleventh hour tour de force. Next month: A five hundred page report detailing the seedy inner workings of the newspaper industry from an insider’s perspective. Or something. Maybe I’ll leave that to Lord Justice Leveson instead.

Jenny Saville runs at Modern Art Oxford on Pembroke Street until September 16th!

Posted by Nick Reading - An artist and musician currently based in Oxford. He is a contributor to CATSHOP, a disjointed rabble of former students from Winchester School of Art.

Katrine Leontyeva
1st September 2012

Katrine Leontyeva is a 25 years old graphic designer and illustrator, born in Russia. She studied graphic design and arts until 2010. After receiving bachelor degree, she moved to Paris to do master in communication in ECV school ( Ecole de communication visuelle). Now she currently lives in Paris and looking for an interesting job.

Katrine takes her inspiration from daily life, cinema, music, other cultures and especially people. Having different cultural experiences in her life allowed her to be more open to the world, to see the difference in little details and richness in people. Inspiring people that you meet in life and at work open the doors that you have never seen before. Sometimes they could even change the perseption of things for you and give motivation to do the best of yourself.

She believes that the most important thing - whenever it is the branding identity, packaging or illustration - is self perfection. Until you care enough to do a good design you always go forward. Every project is like a baby, and you want to do it great, to open the new side of yourself, to learn something new. Her projects are always personal expression, even if it’s commercial and far from her universe.

"I think you could always find something interesting in every project, the way to tell an interesting story", as quoted by the woman herself.

DAG magazine was a project that Katrine did whilst at school with her friend. It’s bilingual magazine for students who are not sure yet what kind of design they want to choose - graphic, illustration, photography, media, architecture etc. In it they could read articles about people who changed their professions, why they did it and what happened after. We believed that it could help students to have better understanding of the specifics in every domain, make their own choice.

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Neta Cohen
28th August 2012

Neta Cohen is a 25 year old designer, born and raised in Jerusalem, and currently residing in Tel Aviv, Israel.

She recently graduated with honors from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, where she studied for four years in the Department of Visual Communication.

During this time Neta had her go at the various fields of graphic design, illustration, and animation, eventually realizing that her main interests are design for motion and art direction.

Neta is enthusiastic about all aspects of design work, but actually it’s cutting, pasting, coloring and drawing that really make her day!

She draws inspiration mostly from watching movies, looking at books with pictures, and collecting all sorts of stuff…Apart from all that, she loves listening to music (mostly hip hop and electronic), and likes playing it to the regulars in the local pub - lovely stuff!

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TAP TO RETRY from Neta Cohen on Vimeo.

Kendrick Daye
24th August 2012

For the past few weeks, I have been in conversation with a very eccentric & talented designer from sunny Miami who goes by the name of, Kendrick Daye!!

When I first discovered Kendrick, I realized a sense of originality with his work. Some daring, out there, not to mention pushing the boundaries when it comes to the experimentaion of colour.

As an artist: GREATeclectic blends the most abstractly familiar elements of life – love, envy, wealth, wrath, perception, desire, greed, necessity, lust, identity, indulgence, ideals, ego, morals, said bankruptcy, and fears – with the rawest veneer of famous faces. His pieces are pastiches – whole in-and-of themselves but even more so in context of one another.

Pop & Politics are alive and well-contented bedfellows in this world. The personal space stands as the preeminent public place of judgment. Shadows dance in rigid rhythmic formation with neon strobes. The entire world coalesces into a kaleidoscopic cultural landscape…where we are presented with our own selves from before the mass-mediated mirror of Pop life.

Look out for Kendrick Exhibition!! - RUN, RIOT  / see link for more info.

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Rebecca Cox
21st August 2012

Midlands based illustrator and artist, Rebecca Cox graduated from Birmingham City University in 2011 with an illustration degree specialising in children’s book illustration.

She creates her images using watercolour and fine liner pens to create depth and detail. This combined with her cute characters and pastel colour palette lends her work to children’s imagery.

Narrative is key to her work; creating artwork that is part of a bigger story with a recurring theme of exploration, wonder and fantasy.

Inspirations are drawn mostly from a passion for the natural world, interpreting the everyday and turning it into a unique image, finding interesting natural landscapes and applying a storybook twist, and also a vast collection of children’s picture books.

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The Rosetta Stone - Vittoria Kiddane
19th August 2012

How many times have you been caught making weird faces in reaction to thoughts, visions and so on?Personally, having a too expressive face is one of my biggest ‘problems’, so as soon as I saw the Rosetta Stone project by Toby Andrew, I couldn’t help but loving it! The total unconsciousness of the subjects and their individual reaction make the whole work original and different.

Click here to see the Images (above) 

‘I think these candid images capture the magnetic effect of the Rosetta Stone, and perhaps go some way to understand its significance’, says the photographer.

The Rosetta Stone has always intrigued me, it’s significance to language and the understanding of ancient civilizations, along with its controversy, and disputes among international countries, make it an object that has transcended history. The stone itself is stunning and in my view has a magnetic attraction.

Doing some researches to understand a little more about the stone, the aspiring archaeologist in me got awaken, again. The way it became a British possession it’s an exciting story : Rosetta Stone’s history is related to Napoleon Bonaparte, and to the Egyptian Campaign (1798), made to strike British predominance on the Mediterranean Sea, and to clear the way to the Indies. The plan worked until the French fleet suffered from a hard naval defeat by the admiral Horatio Nelson at Abukir (1801), who destroyed the enemy fleet and marked the decline of the expedition.

However, the disputes were not finished, as the French people wanted to keep the archaeological finds, while the British considered them as their own war chest, in the name of the king George III. Ignoring the agreements, the French army tried to hide the Rosetta Stone on a ship, but they got caught and they had to give it back to the victorious. On the return to England, the stone got exposed at the British Museum, where it’s guarded since 1802.

Posted by the lovely, Vittoria Kidane

Hugo Evans
17th August 2012

As a recent graduate of the Graphic Design course at Brighton University, Hugo has a fresh portfolio bursting with exciting projects that explore a variety of disciplines, including typography and abstract image making. The majority of his work focuses around print and editorial design, fuelled by his passion for screen-printing, a process and technical skill he adopted and developed during his final year at Brighton. His work demonstrates a unique, experimental and expressive approach to Design. 

The majority of Hugo’s portfolio has a very strong reference to the fundamentals of Graphic Design, however he has more recently found himself experimenting with a combination of hand-drawn lettering and abstract image making, producing work that is engaging and visually challenging. 

One of Hugo’s more recent projects, Not Very Good featured below, focuses on the idea of mistakes.

The work, inspired by the quote ‘A mistake is simply another way of doing things’ by Katharine Graham focuses on mistakes made within creative processes.

During the project, Hugo visited a handful of studios collecting and archiving artists and designers discarded mistakes, alongside the collected works Hugo spoke to the authors about the work and asked them why they felt it was a mistake. 

‘I had collected such a wonderful and rich archive of mistakes, I decided the best way to communicate Graham’s ideology was to simply juxtapose the most interesting imagery with the comments made about that work’.

 Hugo created a set of five screen-printed posters, supported by a book featuring a larger selection of mistakes alongside a few of Hugo’s own mistakes he made during the project. 

Hugo is looking forward to an exciting future within the Design industry and is already getting involved in some exciting and challenging new projects.

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Project 01 - Not Very Good

Project 02 - Colour, Crop, Scale & Format

Oliver Cartwright
15th August 2012

Oliver Cartwright (b. 1984) is a British illustrator, animator and type designer based in Seoul, Korea. He has been professionally designing since May 2009 specializing in high concept, hand drawn illustration and animation using Bic ballpoint pens. After living and working in Tokyo, Japan he relocated to Seoul in 2011, where he works on projects across the globe.

His artistic influences include Umberto Boccioni, Geof Darrow, Delta (Boris Tellegen) and Shinji Hashimoto (Animator).

Oliver has animated music videos for platinum musician Robert Miles, re-branded and designed a clothing line for Korean-based snowboarding company STL and art directed music design for Warner Bros. Cinemas in Japan. Right now Oliver is collaborating with a Canada-based projection mapping company planning to combine projection techniques with Bic pen illustrations.

Above all, Oliver is a very passionate artist and designer who will go to great lengths to work on projects that are more about sustaining a timeless aesthetic over short term commercialism. Oliver believes that having an un-compromised vision and getting paid for it is the key to success in the visual arts.

Click here to see a video, by the man himself - Keep up the fantastic work pal!

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Sarah Hamilton
9th August 2012

London based Artist and Designer , Sarah Hamilton is a little creative gem when it comes to making mirrors, prints, cards and woodblocks. Central to her work is her striking use of colour, texture and deceptively simple contemporary designs, symbols and repeated motifs. She has taken part in numerous exhibitions, sold designs through stores including The Conran Shop, Heals and Habitat, and made many diverse commissions. Her work is often featured in magazines and books.

Combining delicately cut or torn paper stencils and painted screens to create her visual language, Sarah contrasts flat colour washes with opaque colours, to intensify the depth of colour.  The use of quality materials is integral to the overall look and feel of her work and is why she usually prefers to make everything in her studio.

Inspirations include Mexican papercuts and tinwork and also Scandinavian design, both furniture and ceramics. Painters such as Georges Braque or Milton Avery, Folk Art viewed in North America, travels to Mexico, Egypt, Scandinavia; drawings and collections from nature and the sea, are just some of her passions and reflected in all she makes.

Sarah will be exhibiting at The East London Design Fair in Shoreditch in December - So mark it down on the calendar guys & girls!

Her studio and unusual 1950’s house are being featured in Good Homes Magazine –September Edition (out in August)

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