I went to a life drawing class this week and it is still one of my favourite things to do. I love just drawing, there is no concern as to who it is for or why you are doing it, much like the feeling of drawing as a child when you just scrawled things all the time. My dad taught me to draw, we used to sketch together and the first real drawing I did was from a Walker Evans photograph of Allie Mae Burroughs, from his series of the American depression. I studied her face so hard and learnt how to readjust my brain from seeing a preprogrammed nose and mouth and to just draw what I saw. I finally got it and have always loved drawing faces since. At art college the life room was my favourite place and I was always wary of those that couldn’t draw but were really good at talking loudly and confidently about their conceptual work. Wasn’t this like writing your life story at twenty? Shouldn’t you learn the basics first before developing other work..? I was ‘taught’ to draw and I would love art courses to be structured with the same values as a plumbing or computer course.. You learn step by step the basics. Maybe then schools would give art the time it deserves. To draw is also a quiet and reflective time and helps to formulate ideas and teaches discipline and structure but then I’ve always preferred the quiet person with a book who can be on their own than the loud mouth.
Hastings and St Leonards..
I went to Hastings and St Leonards with some friends last week.. We found a shop that sold frozen dinners out of chest freezers as well as jewellery and a coffee shop that was also an opticians.
We purchased some nice nicknacks and saw some good signs..
There is a street market in our town every Saturday and recently I have been going there most weekends. The stalls are a variety of second hand books, bric a brac and fabric. This weekend I found these fabrics on rolls.. They are fairly narrow so could have been used to edge things or as samples so are a bit tricky to use but they are have a lovely hand made quality to them. The stall holder found them in a town where Sonia Delauney worked and they are similar in style to her work. I have pinned them up on our studio wall so I can look at them lots..
New Year and New Work..
My new collages and screen prints are now available from our website.
We have new products launching this year as well as being busy with lots of interesting interior projects.
Please join our mailing list on our website to receive updates on all our work.
People of Print Xmas Print Fayre at KK Outlet..
I am pleased to be taking part in the People of Print Xmas Print Fayre at KK Outlet- Hoxton Square for the whole of December. As well as a selection of prints available to purchase there will also be talks and workshops to get involved in.
More details here.. http://www.peopleofprint.com/workshop/christmas-print-fayre-at-kk-outlet/
Stationary Collaboration by StanleyFricker..
Stanley & Fricker is a collaborative project between Emily of Stanley James Press and Eliza of Baines&Fricker
After years of working together on various projects these are the first products we have designed together. These notebooks were inspired by a love of stationary, drawing and travelling and cover 5 of our favourite cities.
The illustrations cover the following buildings found in each city..
Berlin – Interbau
Iceland – Medalfellsvegur
London – National Theatre
New York – Standard Hotel
Vancouver – Museum of Anthropology
Each book also contains a tear out postcard hidden at the back of the book.
Please visit our website and click the link Stanley Fricker for more details..
We had a nights stay in Ramsgate last week and went to Margate to see the Risk Exhibition at the Turner Contemporary.
The exhibition contained lots of long drawn out video art that left left me feeling a bit cold. Most of the work in the show seemed to reflect an era of creating pieces that are aesthetically unrewarding and conceptual leaving the viewer feeling isolated and flat. An array of self indulgent art that seems very outdated.
We did a mini pub crawl round the town after which was really good and visited Dreamland. Everything was empty and quiet in Margate on a Wednesday evening in October.
Local People.. Andy Pandy
Our home sat on a busy A road where the pavements outside the semi detached houses were wide and smooth. Gardens had been replaced by concrete driveways which caused the pavements to dip where cars were repeatedly drove over the tarmac to their garages and off street parking. Most of the remaining garden walls were low and used as temporary rests for the people who waited at the bus stop opposite. The road was extremely long and most of the houses were in keeping with one another- built in the 1930s as the suburbs crept further and further out of the city expanse, they had originally had a semi rural feel. Now the flight path to a major London airport, the area had become a place you passed on your way to somewhere else.
Most of the inhabitants were aware of the noise and air pollution from the continual overhead traffic and had removed the wood framed windows and replaced them with plastic ones. When driving along the houses almost seemed to wink at the driver as the uPVC glazing reflected the chrome of the vehicles. Cars were a necessity for most of the residents as out of town supermarkets had turned most of the local shops into taxi ranks and kebab shops.
My parents had bought the house after seeing a classified advert in a London newspaper. They had never been this far West, but seeing a house that may be affordable and still on the tube line seemed too good to be true. The first time they viewed the property they had peered through the letterbox and knew they would buy it. It was one half of a large Victorian house, it still had a front garden with trees and shrubs and original sash windows. The move to the suburbs was decided.
We still walked a lot and here are some of the other local walkers we would see..
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.