Copy Cats Pepaloves.
Here you can see my Cat wallpaper in green on the right and a yellow rip off version by the clothing Pepaloves on the left. They have made a range of clothing out of my design. When I emailed them about it they apologised and offered me a couple of hundred euros as compensation. They have made lots of items out of my design each between 40-70 euros each. When I said that this was unsatisfactory as I hadn’t agreed to the use of my design they said it would have to go through solicitors. The initial costs for a solicitor are between £200-£300 which we cannot afford to do. We have found out that they have copied other designers in the past and I think they know that most small designers cannot afford the legal costs. I have no other option but to name and shame them on social media and to their suppliers. It is truly heartbreaking to see something I drew myself ripped off for someone elses profit. I could waffle on about how hard it is to make ends meet and the sacrifices my family has made to have our own business but most of you know that. Please help us by contacting them and telling them they are greedy pig dogs at email@example.com
I have talked before about my work being influenced by childhood growing up in suburbia. For me this is a huge catalyst for my ideas. It represents a place of aspirational living while being suppressed by the conformities of normality. We moved there as many families do to be able to afford a house and garden and were then stuck living in a place with terrible pubs and a few local shops consisting of takeaways and newsagents. Likeminded people were few and far between and my brother and I spent years battling between dreaming of fitted carpets to hating the stifling and small mindedness of our peers. Luckily I moved away and have since retaliated against this unquestioning existence by living in a small home in a noisy busy central neighbourhood.
Here are some short stories and collages(click on images to enlarge) I recently completed..
School was a long way from my house. I didn’t live within playing distance to the other children. It was just my brother and I in our own world. Sometimes I wanted to be part of the after school games and adventures with my friends from class but most of the time I didn’t mind.
Our walk to school was one of the longest- taking around half an hour each way. It involved waking past the church and its grounds and then over the railway tracks. These were overgrown with weeds and buzzing with flies in the summer. Lastly we crossed the main road- the dividing line between the cul-de-sacs, and our house.
Every day I walked to and from school with my dad and every walk we would have a regular set of games to play. Most of the time they were repeats of yesterdays game, varying slightly between the morning and the afternoon. One of our favourites was the afternoon gardening competition where we judged and gave out verbal commendations to the worst and best front gardens. In our suburbs cars took precedent, many homes owning two or more vehicles per household. Gardens became driveways, which took on various forms. There was the nihilistic concreted over flat land then there was the slightly more subtle one strip of grass or flowerpot. Some wanted grandeur and this was conceived with plaster cast lions and gold gates. The winner if not for the bleakest entry was for the most botched. These would be a simple construction of bricks stacked as tall as possible with corrugated plastic balanced on top to produce a shelter for a flashy car. Some even continued the themes to the front of the houses with multi satellite dishes and Tudor style double glazing.
The pub was a cheap pub chain and appealed to its ageing clientele with its very modestly priced pints of bitter and its no music policy. These two combinations created an atmosphere that only the very desperate could endure. Alcoholic shoplifters, middle aged Asian men who weren’t meant to be there and underage teenagers.
We used to get served there when we were seventeen. We made friends with some boys who wore hair gel and aerosol body spray. Their clothes were bought from jean shops because they had a recognisable logo on them.
They thought we were weird because we didn’t have jobs and went to Art College.
Our conversations were spiky and horrible. We didn’t like each other, though most us of ended up pairing off. One of the boys lived quite far from the pub but we would make the mini cab journey to his house because his mum was always out and his gay lodger rarely made an appearance. I did see him once when I had stayed over and he was leaving for work. He didn’t fit in to the 1930s semi and I felt that feeling I always did when I saw someone else who belonged in a different place too- ‘help me’.
The house was always cold and the décor was unchanged since the early 1980s. There was never any food in the kitchen just lots of dated Tupperware kept in the chest freezer in the garage. The boys bedroom had a fitted unit that meant that one half of the room appeared to be taken over with melamine cupboards. He didn’t really have any belongings.
Sometimes I used to go round without my friends and he used to try and get me to look at the clothing catalogues underwear section with him and kiss me. We were usually interrupted by his scrawny neighbour who would be standing on the flat roof outside the bedroom and banging on the window to be let in for a spliff.
We will be at West Elm, Tottenham Court Road for London Design Festival. From 21st September until 28th September. You will be able to see lots of our designs including a new collaboration with Thorody and a new version of their SB05 ‘String Chair’.
Join us at West Elm for their London Design Festival party. Thursday 24th September from 6-8pm.
See you there!
London Design Festival..
London Design Festival begins 21st September and we excited to be collaborating with the Futon Company- they will be exhibiting their Design Masters at Tent London 24th-27th September in the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. They have used our Cactus print design to upholster their Twingle sofa.
We will also be hosting a pop up shop in the window of West Elm on Tottenham Court Road from 21st September for a week. You will be able to see a range of our furniture and wallpapers as well as a new version of our String Chair and Screen made in collaboration with Thorody.
New York in the summertime is really hot. Not just sunny and warm but hot and humid. Everyday we woke and the weather was the same.. It was a real summer in the city.
We spent many hours sitting in different parks eating pizza slices.. We took the subway lots to Brooklyn and discovered new neighbourhoods.. We went to bookshops and drank iced coffee. The best bit of all these activities was people watching. New York is full of contradictions and extremes and the people reflect this. Here are some of my drawings of people that stuck in my brain.
We went to Coney Island yesterday.. The beach is the noisiest and craziest beach I have ever been to. There are stereos blaring, tiny swimsuits on big ladies and tons of street hawkers peddling every refreshment you could imagine- including cotton candy and carved mangoes.
We played Skeeball, ate fried food and rode the Wonder Wheel.
There were good hand painted signs(including Steve Powers) everywhere..
We go to Rye at least once a year to stay on the nature reserve in Rye Harbour. Its a beautiful bleak landscape- flat and windswept and home to many different bird species. We spend our weekends here birdwatching and walking. We eat fish and chips and spend the evenings watching junk on tv in our static caravan.
One of the speakers at our talk was a tutor at the Art and Design school. The school is aimed at students after school and before university. It is a vast old hospital building with a large beautiful courtyard and cafe. The college itself has over 35 crafts that it teaches its students. We were overwhelmed by the workshops for enamelling and stained glass.
The photos here are all taken at the college.
A few weeks later we attended the degree show at Brighton. We visited the fine art painting show, illustration and 3D art amongst others.. What was apparent as with every year we visit is that it seems that these young graduates are seeming to run before they can walk. There is a very apparent lack of technical and academic training to these degrees. Students are seeming to attempt to conceptualise and stylise before they have honed their skills. It is like trying to write your autobiography when you are 21. I didn’t do a degree but if I had gone I would have liked to have learnt many new skills and it to have been treated as a trade. I would have liked to have been taught how to etch, weld, fire clay, spent hours drawing life models.
I went to art college and did a BTEC when I was 18 and I was being encouraged to apply for a degree in art at one of the notorious London colleges. I didn’t go as I didn’t feel ready and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I spent many years doing minimum wage jobs while writing, drawing and reading- either while doing my shifts or in my free time. I never lost my creativity during this time or my mindset and I ended up doing what I am doing now.
I was also very fortunate to have my dad who is a traditional draftsman. He worked as a political cartoonist/illustrator and had studied fine art painting. He taught me how to draw and see and helped me enormously with the technical elements.
We have a sceptical approach to contemporary art in this country but maybe as well as its elitism and alienating of the average person it also is exempt of skill. With art being cut more and more from school syllabus’s wouldn’t it be good to teach it like other subjects.. Learning how to mix colours and draw figuratively? Show its true and real value to the cynics.
I suppose there is a seeming indulgence to the final work at degree shows- which is nothing unusual in the mind sight of a 20 year old however I do believe if it was more skill based the student would then have a grounding to develop with a stronger beginning.. Because surely a degree is just the start not the end?
Roomservice Design Talk..
We recently started working with a new stockist in Barcelona- Roomservice Design. Its a beautifully curated shop with a likeminded ethos to design. We were very happy when they asked us to visit them and take part in a talk. The panel included the Spanish design press and a lecturer from the Art and Design School. The panel spoke about our work and the thoughts behind what we do- they explained the duality and playfulness to our designs. They also discussed our modest approach to working, how this is the future of design as we all reconsider treating furniture as trend/throwaway and begin to invest in buying pieces to keep forever in our homes like our parents did. It was an inspiring trip with interesting and generous people who understand what we do..
I like paintings of faces, cakes and mundane items. I also like precise and badly painted/drawn pictures. So this trio I found in a gallery in Italy tick all the boxes..
Rome and its stuff..
There is so much history in Rome you almost become desensitised after seeing another view/ruin/church.. There are the key places the tourists go- such as the Vatican and the Colosseum but in these places I saw more tourists than I had ever seen in my life(and selfie sticks). What was confirmed for me was is its always the path less trodden that becomes the most inspiring and memorable.. The hidden gems where you have time to think and process are always the best. I liked the little squares with churches, restaurants, bars and bookshops the best.. getting lost is where when you find the empty botanical garden and the cafe with the best cheese..
To celebrate my mums recovery from a brain tumour and a thank you present from her to my brother and I we booked a trip for the three of us to Rome. My mother is half Italian and catholic, so it seemed the perfect place to go. However she was not well enough to go on the trip in the end as her medication was still being altered and a hot and busy trip would not have been good for her. However she still wanted my brother and I to go.. Living at different ends of the country and with families, pets and work we rarely get time together on our own anymore. It was so good to have some time together to walk, drink, eat and put the world to rights..
Polly Morgan/Horniman Museum..
We made a day trip to the Horniman Museum to see the Polly Morgan exhibits. It was a small selection but it was a joy- as ever to see the mass of cabinets of stuffed creatures that makes up the museums permanent collection. In many ways a equally macabre and beautiful as Polly Morgans work.. A perfect combination..
Thank you for attending..
Last week we stood on our legs from 10am-9pm for three days in a disused building for Clerkenwell Design Week. Each evening we had a mini beer festival with the other exhibitors from our floor. It was really good fun and extremely tiring. We saw lots of faces we knew and met lots of new ones.
Thank you for coming and saying hello and showing your support.
Clerkenwell Design Week 2015.. Register Now.
We will be making our debut Clerkenwell Design Week debut in May. They will be exhibiting at the Design Factory in The Farmiloe Building, a hub of CDW, known for its leading showcase of furniture, lighting and product design from around the world.
Register now .. http://www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com/
The Walpole, Margate.
Not wanting our weekend to end we decided to finish our stay with an afternoon tea in the Walpole Hotel. It is very established in Margate and visited by new visitors as well as the older residents of the town. It has maintained all its quirks and seems fairly unchanged from its original decor. We arrived at the end of lunch service where large tables were still uncleared and the debris of cheese boards could be seen. We had to place our order for scones and biscuits at the reception. We waited a long time but this gave us time to go and explore the rest of the hotel..
We went to Margate with some friends for the weekend last week.. We visited the Shell Grotto, the Turner Contemporary, the beach, ate seafood, drank in proper pubs and looked in junk shops. We also bought a penguin from a funfair amusement.
We had a sunny Sunday at the Barbican to visit the Magnificent Obsessions exhibition the other weekend.
I love the space of 1960s architecture.. There are plenty of areas left unaccounted for which gives you space to move and allows for emptiness, something that is becoming a rarer idea in public spaces.
My childhood weekends were spent on my nan’s estate- The Worlds End in Chelsea which is a housing complex made up of high and low rise flats. There was a nursery and primary school, playgrounds and an arcade of shops including the first delicatessen I had ever seen and whose cured pungent meats hanging up used to terrify me. We had endless corridors to run around and lifts to race each other to various floors. As a teenager we spent all our time at the Southbank where we had a similar feeling of space as we wasted hours around this neglected concrete structure. This was when the Southbank was fairly disregarded so you could climb the stairwells to all sorts of unused and forgotten areas. When the weather was too cold and we had run out of money for cider we would hang around in the National Theatres nooks and were never found by grown ups.
Now that every public space has to include areas to buy coffee and residential buildings have small windows and fake balconies the buildings of the 1960s seem almost decadent.
We were really chuffed to see our new Rocker featured in the Sunday Times Home section this weekend.
SB03-4 Rocker in Kvadrat fabric and London Plane wood. Price £1,950.