Category Archives: Art

A Graffiti Artists Dream Sketchpad

I spotted this little beauty on Recraft, a great website full of quirky products. The Walls Notebook available on amazon features 80 pages of blank New York City walls, just ready to be covered in graffiti.

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I love this idea and although I am not a graffiti artist myself the chance to play at being the next Banksy would be brilliant. With the scale and complexity of modern graffiti art I can imagine that a huge amount of planning goes in to their production, making this notebook ideal. Purists on the other hand may hate this element of planning, seeing graffiti as spontaneous and random. Personally I love it and as the notebook is only $11.39 it made it on to my mental shopping wishlist instantly!

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Filed under Art, Graffiti, Just For Fun, Sketchpads

The UCLAN Creative Festival–Great Presentation Ideas You Could Reproduce

New to UCLAN studying my Masters I had not yet seen a degree show at the university so it was great to pop down to the Creative Festival on Friday and see what was on offer. A number of different departments had work on display, each department varying its presentation technique, below are some of the best bits.

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I first came across the Architecture degree show. Having studied Architecture for my undergrad at a different university it was interesting to look at how the styles differed from course to course. One piece stood out in particular for me. Bruce Johnson managed to take a, lets face it dull wall section and turn it into a piece of art (below). Unfortunately the full affect doesn’t come across on camera but Johnson had had layers of plastic laser cut, each plastic sheet depicting a different layer of the structural build up. The layers were then framed and then fixed perpendicular to the wall to give the greatest effect. I have found that the presentation of structural diagrams is something that is often ignored. This is understandable as legibility is a key factor but it was refreshing to see someone really pushing the presentation of this type of drawing.

Arch Drawing

Next up the Illustration Degree Show. A great collection of work with many unique styles on display and some beautiful display techniques. I particularly liked the use of picture frames and the way sketchpads and associated materials were displayed alongside large prints. My favourite work was by that of Naomi Jones (bottom left of the picture below), a full post about her work should be right below this one, or click here to read more.

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Finally the Interior Design Degree Show! I may be biased but this was my favourite of the shows. The collective standard of the work was excellent and some great display techniques had been incorporated into the show.

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The course managed to combine technology and more simple materials together throughout the exhibition extremely effectively, managing to present the students work clearly and professionally.

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I particularly liked the cardboard display tables that had been produced to show models and the students portfolios. So clever, with a simple design that was produced in house, the result is neat and gives uniformity to the display. That combined with a bulb hung over the display table gives each student their own defined exhibition area.

Cardboard and hanging bare bulbs are both items that are extremely on trend in the world of interior design at the moment. To incorporate such objects into the exhibition is a great idea, it really shows that the students know what is happening in interior design, outside the confines of the studio.

Interior Design Display

UCLAN students are lucky enough to have access to a laser cutter. The intricate models below by Paula Ambler and Charlotte King show the high standard that can be produced at this level using such equipment.

Laser Cut Models

As in all departments the abilities of students varies. Many were able to produce high quality computer renders to give a real understanding of a space. This is something I aspire to be able to achieve myself but have not as yet learnt how to do. At this point I have been looking at the methods of producing visuals that don’t rely on complex visualisation packages. That is why the image below by Emma Brady really stood out. Bright, colourful and fun I was instantly drawn to it. It certainly gives an impression of the space in a more artistic way than just computer renders. I may give this kind of style a go myself!

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Many of the students had also provided business cards with some great illustrations reflecting the individual style of the student. Something that really caught my eye was this fold out portfolio disc case by Emma Cairns. Simple to produce but with bold graphics, the object reflected the students personal style well and gave a glimpse of her creativity before you even got to view her full portfolio. With employment at a low nationally, I do hope little tricks like this help give the students an advantage when it comes to finding a job in the future.

Portfolio Idea

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Filed under Architecture, Art, Exhibitions, Interiors, Models

Beautiful Children’s Book Illustrations At The UCLAN Creative Festival

Yesterday I popped in to university (UCLAN) to have a quick look around this years Creative Festival. On show was the degree work of the universities art and design courses. There was a lot of fantastic work that stood out but ignoring my natural tendency to lean towards the design of the built environment I have to say my favourite work was that of an Illustrator Naomi Jones.

Naomi’s final degree work included a book that she had written and illustrated herself. Below are a series of images from the book that I got off the artists website.

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The illustrations are absolutely charming! Clean, quirky and with almost a 3D feel this is a children’s book any kid would love in their collection (or at least their parents would!)

As a UCLAN student myself any chance to promote another student is great! Simply click on any of the images above to view the artists further work and contact details.

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Leeds Met Creative Arts Festival. A Creative Event In Itself.

On the 9th of June the Leeds Metropolitan University Creative Arts Festival 2011 opened. It was a chance for all the art and design courses within the university to exhibit their Degree work to the public.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I arrived at the exhibition (having skipped my own degree show at Newcastle) but what I found was an extremely well organised and creatively thought through exhibition that encouraged you to take your time and view all the work on display.

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Walking across the entrance to the courtyard the first signs of the exhibit begin to appear. A sculpture made up of different colour and material cubes, representative of the departments building design displays the name of the exhibition. The piece is brilliant, eye catching and bold. Its concept fits well, reflecting the building as well as the exhibition.

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The exhibition ticket (top image) featured a series of symbols, white patterns on a colour background. Each symbol represents a different exhibition and the symbols are used throughout the building to guide visitors to each of the exhibitions.

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Floor guides feature the symbols alongside cubes mirroring the design of the outdoor sculpture. If you know which exhibition you want to go to you simply find your symbol and follow the prompts. This could be the coloured cubes dotted around outside, the stacked white cubes inside and then you know you are on the right floor as your symbol is featured on the stairwell. Excellent!

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For the more spontaneous guests just there to have a nosy there was another option to pick where you wanted to go. The wooden object below is like a game. You drop a ball in at the top and it can land in a number of slots, each representing an exhibition, where it lands is where you go.

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Each of the exhibitions featured their own little quirky additions. I hate to admit it but the architecture department looked like it hadn’t really made that much of an effort in comparison to some of the other courses displaying work.

The interior design exhibition had balloons in the entrance. Each with a tag tied to the string at the bottom of the balloon. They made you want to interact and pull down a balloon to find out what it was all about. Each tag had a persons name and details on one side and a very apt, considered quote on the other. A fabulous first impression that wasn’t let down by the quality of the work on display. The interior design room was the one that really got me excited. Some of the display ideas were fantastic.

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The graphic design room had the best ideas for getting the designers details out to the public and for getting feedback to the students direct from the public (typical clever clogs!).

A notice board at the entrance of the exhibition featured a tear off block of plans. The plan was a floor plan of the exhibition space, numbered to show the different display areas of the artists. On the back of the sheet was a key, a list of the designers and their contact details, blogs and websites. I really like this idea! A concise way of getting a huge amount of information across and a memorable addition to the exhibition.

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Alongside the plans was a series of hooks, on each of the hooks was a little tag with phrases such as ‘this got us chatting’, ‘this touched me’, ‘this required skill’ and ‘this got on my tits!’ Visitors could take a tag or two and hang it on a hook next to each designers work. This was my favourite part of the exhibition. The students who created the work were around the exhibition and the look of delight on their faces when they walked in and saw that people had liked their work was fantastic. After all the hard work that had gone into the production this simple feedback technique was fun for visitors and exciting for the students.

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I visited the exhibition to see my sisters degree work and finding a ‘this got us chatting’ tag on her work made mine and her day!

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Filed under Art, Branding, Exhibitions, Interiors, My Travels

Preston Graffiti 2

Walking in to university today (well to the pub to be more precise) I noticed that the graffiti on the side of the Ship Inn had changed once again.

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The geometric patterns in this piece show a big change in style compared to the previous graffiti work I showed you last month. I wonder if the piece is by the same artist. UCLAN has a great creative community, I would love to know more about this particular artist!

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Filed under Art, Cities, Graffiti, My Travels

Not Just A Floor! Take a Closer Look.

This installation, simply titled Floor is by the artist Do-Ho Suh. the piece is made up of glass plates that look as if they are being supported by little people. Standing on the platform visitors can only really see little dots of colour below them, It takes some closer inspection to really discover what the piece is about.

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The piece created specifically for the Indianapolis Museum Of Art is extremely subtle in the space, unusual considering the complexity of the piece. The idea is that the piece discusses how people explore places, particularly communal spaces.

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The idea of standing on people may evoke other thoughts within the exhibitions users but I have to say I think this is extremely clever. A simple idea that has been executed very effectively, producing an exhibition that is a real experience for its users. Fantastic!

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Filed under Art, Interiors, Just For Fun

110m Tweets a Day But It Just Takes One To Make A Difference–Exposing The Dark Side Of Urban Outfitters

In January this year there were over 200 million users on twitter and the average number of tweets per day hit 110 million (stats from Forbes). Twitter gives anyone a voice some louder than others, most will go ignored but then occasionally the odd tweet really sparks something big. Just say the term super injunction and your conversation will reach twitter very quickly but it isn’t the frivolous lives of footballers I am here to talk about.

Just 4 days ago Amber Karnes tweeted “I think it’s time to boycott Urban Outfitters. They have done this to so many independent artists. NOT OK. http://bit.ly/kvbMdt” 

Amber’s link sent her readers to a tumblr page, the images on the site showed a piece from the Urban Outfitters Jewellery collection (Top) and the uncanny similarity it has to the work of an independent artist(Bottom). URBAN-OUTFITTERS-THEIVERYI-HEART-NY

The artist in question Stevie Koerner was clearly far from happy. “My heart sank a little bit. The World/United States of Love line that I created is one of the reasons that I was able to quit my full-time job. They even stole the item name as well as some of my copy.”

I am amazed that this is allowed to happen! To have the cheek to not only replicate the design but to go as far as copying the name and artists words is a beyond belief. It is like asking to be caught!

The twitter backlash was justifiably immense. Within 20 minutes Amber had had over 170 new updates about this one post, her name was even showing up in trending data and the post became one of the Top Tweets of the day. Urban Outfitters were facing serious questions from the public and Stevie Koerner was receiving continuous messages of support. I am unsure how this tweet has directly affected Urban Outfitters. I hope it has shamed them into withdrawing the item from sale. There may not have been a direct result now but I hope this has seriously shocked the company, making them think twice about copying the work of independent artists in the future.

The fact that one tweet can create such a wave of interest is incredible. The twitter generation has certainly arrived, there will be much press about the networking sites negatives but if more stories like this keep emerging I will certainly be staying on board.

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Filed under Art, Fashion, Jewellery, Retail, Twitter