Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Give Smile Pussycat!

Original Post: http://www.cassfashion.co.uk/give-us-smile-pussycat/

I recently picked up the latest issue of Very Nearly Almost Magazine, widely known as VNA, it is in my opinion the best London based art and design managine you can buy!

‘Very Nearly Almost is a UK-based independent magazine printed quarterly which features interviews with some of the world’s best urban artists, illustrators and photographers. Launched in 2006, VNA tracks everything from the wheatpastes, paint and stencils out there on the streets through to gallery shows and events that bring together artists from around the world.
Each issue brings you in-depth feature articles and interviews with the biggest names on the scene, as well as up and coming artists. Previous cover artists include Shepard Fairey, Retna, Invader, Eine, Sickboy, ROA, Insa, Anthony Lister, Conor Harrington, The London Police, D*Face & Kid Acne.
VNA gets up close and personal with the artists we cover – we document recent work, visit artists’ studios and provide sneak previews of new work.
Everyone involved in VNA has a shared love of street art and the culture that’s grown up around it and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy putting it together.
Distributed globally, with a print run of 7,000, you can find VNA at a range of stockists.’ www.verynearlyalmost.com

The latest VNA, issue 27, featured the four man graffiti crew Broken Fingaz from Israel, I have been aware of thier graffiti for quite a while after seeing some of thier work around the Brick Lane area. Broken Fingaz create art work which to say the least, ruffles a few feathers; VNA explained in their article that TBFC’s work ‘often appears to tell a story – generally involving naked chicks, skeletons, fat dudes and other outlandish characters’.
As you will see from the examples of thier work, they have come under attack for being sexist and sexually objectifying women. Their work definitely ticks one massive box of what I like art to do, and thats provoke a reaction. It raises and highlights an issue, which like many we face in modern society still plays a massive part in our lives and in my opinion is often overloooked and not taken as seriously as it should be.
But then on the conitary as highlighted in this really awesome post on Vandalog, TBFC’s murals don’t exactly depict men in the best manner either, showing them as skeletons and ultimately ‘brainless’ or as ‘fat dudes’. I’m going to try not and rant too much about my veiws and opinions, but I do urge you to go and take a look at some more of The Broken Fingaz Crew’s work and if you like it, and fancy offending some poeple on the tube, go and grab a super sexy TBFC T-shirt from Ghostown.

Also heres a little snippet of that Vandalog post,
Defacing two walls and writing “Kill all men” over BFC’s work is not a route I would promote, but the dialogue it provoked is important. Much like the commenters on BFC’s Facebook, my knee-jerk reaction was to write this act off as an overly-aggressive reaction from a radical feminist. In all likelihood, “Kill all men” is a derivative of the Twitter hashtag that was turning heads last month, which feminists were using as a space to vent their experiences with misogyny. Yet in closer consideration of this particular incident, this person isn’t saying anything that BFC didn’t say themselves first. Why should we take offense from the statement “Kill all men” when this was written on top of a BFC mural that literally depicted a group of dead men having sex with women?www.blog.vandalog.com

Peace and Love,,,,

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Low Tolerance Level for Bullshit.

Original Post: http://www.cassfashion.co.uk/low-tolerance-level-bullshit/

“Would you say that the unfortunate events that happened in your childhood were one’s that are highly influential, as well as visible in your art nowadays?
I’d say that having both my mother and only brother both pass away before I was 18 definitely gave me a hyper-awareness for the brevity of life, so yeah I’d say that those events were highly influential. My mom had cancer and was sick for most of my childhood (or at least the part I remember) and she passed away when I was 15. My brother died two years later from an asthma attack.  As a result I have a really low tolerance level for bullshit. Life’s short. Do your thing at all costs and never give up. As far as those events being visible in my art I’d say there’s probably some truth to that. The characters in my drawings and paintings definitely look like they’re carrying some heavy weights."

I have began this post with a question from an interveiw I read once on a blog called Nephew Marcus, it was published quite a while back in 2012 and you can read the whole interveiw here. If you haven’t already guessed from this posts cover photo, the amazing talent at the centre of this post is Michael Sieben.  The first time I saw a skateboard deck with Siebens work on I was instantly attracted to it, I love his use of line and the overall incredible, instantly recogniseable style of his work. Then when I read about Sieben’s childhood and learn’t about his work values, my respect for him began to grow further beyond his aesthetic creations. Enjoy!

“Was working in the skate industry a goal of yours from the get-go? 
Yes. It has always been a dream of mine to work within the skateboard industry. As I get older I have dreams of working on projects outside of skateboarding but that probably has to do with the fact that I’m almost 40 and have a love/hate affair with my skateboard at this point. I love to play skateboards, but I just wish my skateboard cooperated with me that way it did when I was younger. I feel like it’s just a battle these days. But a battle that I love.
Thrasher didn’t come along until 2004, which was five years after you graduated.What did you do before you landed a job over there?
Made tons of zines, got a full time job, opened an art gallery, got married, skated tons of ditches, got a tattoo, and cried a few times.”

The examples of Michael Siebens work below have been taken from his website, www.msieben.com

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

It's a Stick UP!

Original Post: http://www.cassfashion.co.uk/stick/

So what exactly is it that makes the sticker so alluring to the creative type? You see an influx of creative’s in a specific area, because of cheap rent and large spaces or whatever it may be, and you will inevitably see the clean street signs alongside pretty much any flat surface, become collaged with a myriad of adhesive backed printed paper and vinyl.
Street stickers have obviously been around for way longer than I have even been alive, so I’m not going to sit here for starters and claim to be some kind of sticker bombing assassin, but more just explore the idea a little and look into how it all started and how it developed. I find it quite interesting and hopefully at least one other person who is remotely interested in street art, skate culture or design will too!
 So I’m going to begin with Shepard Fairey. It seems that almost everybody on the planet is aware of Shepard’s work, even if they don’t know about the whole Andre the Giant revolution they would definitely recognise the Obey logo. Shepard explained in his book ‘Supply & Demand’ that as a youngster with an interest in punk rock and skateboarding he found the occasional sticker sighting as ‘an encouraging sign that there were more dedicated proponents of punk and skate culture lurking in the city. Stickers were a sign that I wasn’t living in a total void. I wanted stickers as badges of my culture.’
 Stickers can give you a feeling of belonging and allow you to share or even force your interests and the type of stuff that you like onto other people, especially in aspects to graphics related to punk rock and skate culture, which is something that is still not completely socially acceptable, even though it is becoming a lot more commercial. Plastering the front of your shiny new nondescript branded laptop or whatever personal effects with an awesome collage of stickers suddenly differentiates your stuff from all the millions of people who have that exact same one, it also looks totally awesome and makes you feel pretty cool, individual and slightly rebellious.
Going back to the Obey stickers here is Shepard fairey’s Obey ‘manifesto’.
Have a read, its really interesting stuff.
A nonsensical visual pleasure or an underground cult? I urge you to go buy Shepard’s book, or do a good bit of research on the internet (theres a number of really interesting documentary’s about Shepards work) because theres so much more interesting stuff in relation to Obey that I can’t even begin to cover in one blog post and then you can make up your own mind!


“The OBEY sticker campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. Heidegger describes Phenomenology as “the process of letting things manifest themselves.” Phenomenology attempts to enable people to see clearly something that is right before their eyes but obscured; things that are so taken for granted that they are muted by abstract observation.
The FIRST AIM OF PHENOMENOLOGY is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment. The OBEY sticker attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the sticker and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the product or motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with the sticker provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer’s perception and attention to detail. The sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker. Because OBEY has no actual meaning, the various reactions and interpretations of those who view it reflect their personality and the nature of their sensibilities.
Many people who are familiar with the sticker find the image itself amusing, recognizing it as nonsensical, and are able to derive straightforward visual pleasure without burdening themselves with an explanation. The PARANOID OR CONSERVATIVE VIEWER however may be confused by the sticker’s persistent presence and condemn it as an underground cult with subversive intentions. Many stickers have been peeled down by people who were annoyed by them, considering them an eye sore and an act of petty vandalism, which is ironic considering the number of commercial graphic images everyone in American society is assaulted with daily.
Another phenomenon the sticker has brought to light is the trendy and CONSPICUOUSLY CONSUMPTIVE nature of many members of society. For those who have been surrounded by the sticker, its familiarity and cultural resonance is comforting and owning a sticker provides a souvenir or keepsake, a memento. People have often demanded the sticker merely because they have seen it everywhere and possessing a sticker provides a sense of belonging. The Giant sticker seems mostly to be embraced by those who are (or at least want to seem to be) rebellious. Even though these people may not know the meaning of the sticker, they enjoy its slightly disruptive underground quality and wish to contribute to the furthering of its humorous and absurd presence which seems to somehow be antiestablishment/societal convention. Giant stickers are both embraced and rejected, the reason behind which, upon examination reflects the psyche of the viewer. Whether the reaction be positive or negative, the stickers existence is worthy as long as it causes people to consider the details and meanings of their surroundings. In the name of fun and observation.”
Shepard Fairey, 1990, WWW.OBEYGIANT.COM (go check it out!)

All images used are Copyright© 1989 - 2014. All Rights Reserved by OBEY GIANT.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Street Sketchbook

Original Post: http://www.cassfashion.co.uk/street-sketchbook/

This post is to introduce you to a selection of my favourite illustrators, artists and designers. All these images are pages from my final major project sketchbook and are my own reproductions of the artists work. I find that it is very important to keep researching, finding and being inspired by new artists as your own work develops. You will probably notice a similarity between the works of those that I will introduce you to below; I am very much a fan of the black line. Reproducing and dissecting the work of some artists I find inspiring helps me think of new ways to work with the black line myself and understand how other artists work with their images and create their own unique style and texture within their art.
The majority of the artists I am going to introduce you to are featured in a book called ‘Street Sketchbook’ my Tristan Manco. I purchased this book during my second year of studies because it featured some sketchbook pages of some artists that I like, many of which are below and others such as Banksy, Blu, Showchicken, and Andy Rementer to name a few. As I mentioned in my last post, Juxtaposing Cessation, I am a diehard lover of the sketchbook. I could spend hours upon hours simply sketching out images, doodling and creating reproductions in my sketchbooks. I think the process of the sketchbook is incredibly important as it gives you as an artist a massive insight into your creative direction, and also works as a really easy way for you to experiment, and create some interesting starting points for something potentially awesome!
Here is a little extract from the introduction of Street Sketchbook and then I shall fire away with my little list of great artists and have inspired me and I think you should know about.
“You are about to enter the secret world of the sketchbook… we are lucky enought to have been granted access to book that usually remain private, were anything and everything goes. Declarations of love, typographic experiments, travel journals, mythological creatures, u-boats and pandas are just some of the visuals gems set loose of the pages ahead.”




Guy McKinley

Hello Monsters

Fumi Nakamura

Tim Burton


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Juxtaposing Cessation.

 Original Post Here: http://www.cassfashion.co.uk/juxtaposing-cessation/

As a continuation from my last post ‘Bam. You’re a Graduate.’ I decided to create a post, soon to be a series of posts, which I hope collectively will give readers an insight into my creative process and how I personally work from turning an idea into a finished product. I want to introduce you all to some of my sketchbook drawings, as in my opinion these small experimental, development pieces are just as interesting as the final outcome. I really enjoy seeing the journey the artist has gone through and I like to try and understand different creative processes and see how they work in relation to myself.
I began the project looking at surrealism and explorations of the unconscious.
“The surrealists aimed to liberate the human imagination, and their vision, expressed in the works of some of the greatest artists and writers of the twentieth century, has had a major influence on modern life.”
Surrealism explores ideas behind and including, objective chance, dreams and eroticism and aimed to depict and visually explore the deeper recesses of the human psyche, especially the sexual aspects.
As I began looking at surrealism I began to notice the careful use of juxtaposing imagery and how it was being used to tell a story. It was at this point that I decided that I wanted to create some imagery that told a story and had another meaning beyond its aesthetic. Therefore I had the idea to take two juxtaposing objects, in this case bones and flowers and see how they could work together to tell a story. The first thing that came to me to explore was that of life and death, so I tried playing around with the imagery in different ways such as within a tarot card or within a circle  (which I will explore further in another post).
It was very important to me from the beginning of this project that all the work was hand drawn, as I wanted to try and create a collection of prints as hand-made as possible.
I created these line drawings from a collection of photographs I took at Kew Gardens. I tried simplifying the structure of the flowers as much as possible without losing too much structural detail, so that I could potentially create some more abstract prints using the line forms and so that it would create a clean and graphic image.

 The following drawings are from photographs of some interesting animal skeletons that I took recently at the National History Museum. As explained above after doing some research into the surrelists I wanted to find some imagery that was juxtaposing in relation to form, colour and meaning to the flowers above.

I began drawing these skulls in a similar manner to the flowers but then developed them by beginning to explore different lines and textures in order to see which I felt represented the texture of the skulls best and worked well alongside the line drawings of the flowers I had created.
I then created some sketches and illustrations placing the images together. I wanted to place them together in a way that represented a process or cycle. After looking at images of Tarot cards I began to notice a repetition of circular imagery, as the circle ‘commonly represents unity, wholeness, and infinity’ and so it emphasises the idea of having a narrative behind my images. I also began to develop some of my own tarot card images, which I can also explore in another post.