Friday, 11 December 2009

Pop Will Eat Itself.


It's a nice(ish) place to visit, but I wouldn't wanna live there.

So every few months I take the train down to spend time with my beautiful friends Kat (we've been bezzies since we bonded over being the angstiest girls in our class, aged 12), and Flora (my perfect housewife, if I were a man or a lesbian).

A mad Saturday night involved Northern Soul, sweat-drenched dancing, almost coming to blows (you can't take us anywhere!), too much spilt cider, and an early hours fancy-dress-box and Singstar party, at which, by the way, I rule! I thrashed Flo at Gwen Stefani's 'What You Waiting For?'. Very apt, given the Japanese pop-culture theme of this post.

For months I've been banging on about needing to visit 'Pop Life' -the big autumn/winter show at Tate Modern, focussing on art and commerce, and artisits who have become a brand within them selves, be it through opening a shop like Keith Haring or Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas, shameless advertising, or sex, because as they say, it sells.

I am moved by the beautiful honesty of Emin's work, intrigued and slightly grossed out with Damien Hirst's pieces that feature dead butterflies, but was most star struck by Takashi Murakami -touted by some as the Japanese Andy Warhol.

I've been a fan since my uni days, and covetted the Marc Jacobs/Louis Vuitton handbags like you won't believe.

Murakami collaborated with McG (The OC anyone?!) for the short film 'Akihabara Majokko Princess', starring the could-she-get-any-cooler Kirsten Dunst (if you've seen her as Lux Lisbon in 'The Virgin Suicides' you'll know what I mean) -to repackage Japanese subculture for Western consumption.

Flo and I agreed that we now need blue hair. With the sound track of a reworked version of The Vapors 'Turning Japanese' -"because it has long been considered a song about masturbation", we were spellbound.

My recent forays back into the world of painting,

(see sketch book scribbles)

and a 'Japanime' pop aesthetic now seem even more exciting. I simply must get some daylight bulbs so I can paint through this winter gloom.

And on that note of gloom and darkness, if you aren't already rushing down to Bankside, also worth a look is the latest Turbine Hall exhibit -'How It Is' by Polish artisit Miroslaw Balka. A gigantic steel structure like a vast container, beckons you to step inside it's bleak interior, plunging one into darkness. Cautiously we crept along, fearful of what the darkness might conceal, and the ghostly figures of the other visitors inside. It was a really weird experience, and as we reached the end with a gasp of relief, we turned back to look at the entrance, and see it wasn't really as dark as we'd imagined. The installation was described as a metaphor for journeys through life and the different paths we take, never really knowing where we are going or what awaits us.

Kat and I were excited and exhilarated. Flo was terrified! And when I think of life in that way, sometimes I am too.

A stark contrast to the glossy pop-life we so love to surround ourselves with -and will proudly continue to do so! Singstar anyone...?

Monday, 2 November 2009

Handy Andy

I was faffing about last week trying to take some pictures to submit for Artists in Business' fab 'In the Studio' feature, assisted by my good buddy Andy Cook. Admittedly, he usually has better subject matter, of the musical variety, and has been lucky enough to take snaps of Florence and the Machine, The Dead Weather, The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster (who were awesome in Leeds on Hallowe'en btw) and, um, McFly.

Anyway. He always gets my best angles (note I am painting again!)

And the boy Disaster. He is such a poser!

And apparently my biggest fan...

Thanks to Cook and Casper.

I will be bothering Artists in Biz as soon as I have time to compile a write up!!!

Stay Strange x

Sunday, 4 October 2009

All Cried Out.

My mood is lifting. I used up all my reserve stock of tears on Friday night, when I received the devastating news from my Mother that Lucy Log -award winning comedienne, confidant, and beloved family pet, had gone to sleep for one last time, at the ripe old age of 14.

Here's to you Log, in memory of grass fights, seaside trips and marching around the house together. I will always remember that your favourite colour is silver, and that it was never a good idea to leave you unsupervised with a turkey carcass.

I keep meaning to start painting again. My degree was painting, and although my final show was quite diverse, incorporating textile pieces, assemblages, photographs of performance pieces, and even cakes I baked, painting was the central theme that tied everything together.

I think painting scares me a bit these days. It can be labour-intensive, and a lot harder to fix than simply shifting pieces around like I can do with the collaging I've been consumed by over the past couple of years.

I get quite obsessive about things, and often feel that if I can't do something perfectly I shouldn't do it at all. This is difficult when painting! And doubting my technical abilities! It's like when on my art foundation course I was told I had no idea how to use colour. Colours should only be used in a piece if they can be justified and contribute to the overall meaning. My reaction was to avoid colour completely!

I think for now I've gone about as far as I can go with the collaging, and perhaps I'm ready for a new challenge. The joy of creating an image entirely my own, instead of combining things created by others, that already exist.

I've been playing around with sketch books again. Now that is magical! I like the way they can document a progression of ideas. And I like the privacy of a book format, what is hidden between the pages. Like a secret diary. Maybe I'll share some old sketch books with you one day...

Until I finally have the courage to put paintbrush to canvas...or board...or anything (!), here's a few examples of what it might just look like...

Monday, 28 September 2009

no one remembers your name.

Generally I love Autumn. Although I'm feeling a little flat lately. Perhaps it's the post-Bestival comedown. Or maybe it's being abandonned this week in favour of my better half's political ambitions.

But hey! Mother always tells me not to be so negative, especially when meeting folk for the first time!

I'm Emma.

I'm not half as strange as my brain often tells me I am.

I spend a lot of time lending a sympathetic ear to others' problems (both in and out of work!), and I try to keep myself sane with various arty-farty bits 'n' bobs.
I LOVE collage.

I studied painting at university so I'm trying to train myself to get back into that too.
I have a shop over on Folksy, have a click, you know you wanna ;-)

From time to time I'll share with you lovely stuff like this...

I'm always keen to receive feedback, be it compliments, or constructive criticism.
I get upset when colours don't match. I feel better when everything is in it's place. Neatly arranged. Stuck down.
Forgive me if sometimes I confuse my cats with real people.

Stay strange xxx