All posts tagged: Culture

On The Bookshelf: Made For Skate

Rowley XLT, Koston 4, TNT, Chief, Reynolds 3, DVS CT, the list goes on and on. Well, what probably sounds like a lot of gibberish to some is only a small fraction of the compadres that kept my feet safe day in day out on my trips down the city streets and to the local park, joined me jumping down stairs and handrails or enduring pool and miniramp sessions since I started skateboarding back in ‘01. It’s hard to describe why I still remember this so vividly, but let’s put it this way: My weapons of choice – the piles of broken wood and the mass of shredded footwear – had as much of a story to tell as it might’ve been this soft toy from your early childhood, the first football jersey that made its way under the Christmas tree or even the first band shirt you bought ages ago. There is an emotional value, a form of identification and dissociation that so often goes without saying. ‘The worn down soles, the frazzled laces. You made …

Spot On | The Pixel Trade

A warm bed, a hearty dish and a flight ticket to Marrakech for a stack of beautiful food photography. Sounds almost too good to be true? Well, that’s pretty much how it works if your name is Shantanu Starick. Dreaming of traveling to the world’s 7 continents, dissatisfied and constantly questioning how the creative industries worked, the Australian photographer dared to brush aside old principles and fight his constant struggle between work exposure, financial income and creative fulfilment. So by June 2012 he set up Pixel Trade and started offering his professional work in exchange for life’s simplest necessities – a place to stay, something to eat & the means to get to the next place without spending a single dime. And it seems to have been quite a smooth ride: From photographing weddings in California, artisan knife makers in Ireland, adventurers in the Ecuadorian jungle right up to ice cream makers in South Australia, Shantanu has been up to the task, experienced much and paid nil. Now in his 41st month and 222 trades later, he has now …

Spot On | Colourful illustrations by Alex Tait

You know there’s these giveaways and you think ‘Yeah, alright. Wouldn’t mind winning that thing. And if not, whatever.’ When I quite randomly bumped into one of these twitter raffles & saw the art print he was giving away for just a retweet & a follow, it was more of a ‘I want that. I really want that. But how high’s the chance of actually winning that?’ Pretty slim, exactly. Despite the numbers, it did happen in the end. This one now has a special place in my flat! But first things first, this is the guy we’re talking about here: Alex Tait is a Berkhamstead-based artist, who fits just perfectly into the exciting pool of design talent at art agency Jelly London. His cheery & colourful vector illustrations play around with a mixed bag of motifs: sea creatures, jungle dwellers, spiritual beings and all sorts of other strange characters. Check them out below, folks. alexjohntait.net @Twitter @Instagram

Age 33: The End of Music Discovery?

This might sound strange, but are you tired of browsing new music yet? No? Well maybe you’re still young enough to keep the ball rolling. As this new study suggests, people around 33 kinda lose interest and stop listening to new music. And even though the survey’s based on a rather tight framework – only featuring US-Spotify users in 2014 – it’s still interesting to apply that assumption to your own habits. First off: I’m not 33. But I can’t really see why I shouldn’t go on trying to find new music to keep things fresh and interesting. Sometimes I’m so so fed up with my digital playlists and the small but mighty bunch of records, my ears are simply itching for new stuff to float in. And to be honest, with streaming services popping up here and there, it has never been easier to get your hands on yet undiscovered tunes, given the algorithms deliver it straight to the doormats of us lazy people out there. So what’s the reason for people to stop listening …

Spot On: Justin Welch @ Brick Lane Gallery

For just a brief period of time – from 1st to 11th August 2013 – Brick Lane Gallery hosts a wonderful group exhibition called ‘Photography NOW’ including works of David Neve, Hersilia Alvarez, James Burns, Justin Welch, Nazanin Moradi, Sylvie Varnier, Sue O’Meara, Sian Hallam-Davis, Tatjana Glomm and Milly Coley. The small art space on Sclater Street showcases a great selection of vibrant ideas, styles and techniques of contemporary photography, but there’s one artist I’d like to highlight in particular: Spot on for Justin Welch and his ‘abandoned’-series. Essentially, the title says it all. For his project, the London/Paris-based artist went on a road trip to the US to capture the many decaying faces of abandoned buildings in the margins of 21st century American civilization. The photographic output is indeed intriguing, both individually and as a whole. It’s not only the hidden message that fascinates me about Welch’s works – it’s the way he evokes a cinematic déjà-vu that draws the observer into a neo-Western setting: The time seems to stand still in this long forgotten …

‘Stranger – An exhibition of self portraits’ @ Flowers Gallery

The word ‘stranger’ always implies a somehow dark, shady and yet mystifying connotation. In this regard, I caught myself wondering about the underlying conception of artist and œuvre in ‘Stranger – An exhibition of self-portraits’, which is currently on display at Flowers Gallery on Kingsland Road. Well, the key here is not to bother with the effect of the art piece on the audience, but to behold the intimate conversation between artist and canvas. Ever since, the art of self-portraiture has been perceived both as a medium of artistic self-exploration as well as a method to unveil and grasp the “true” persona of the yet anonymous artist. Regardless of educational, provocative or illusionary approaches to the subject, the self-portrayal can only capture a limited segment of a person’s life with all its emotions, experiences and mysteries. Thus, the artist’s observation of his “painted doppelgänger” might feel like the daily look into the mirror or scrutinizing an old photograph: Sometimes you discover a part of yourself that has been long forgotten or you are not able …

The Art of Curiosity @ Curious Duke Gallery

By nature, I’m a curious person. Especially when it comes to art. That’s essentially how Eleni Duke caught my attention with her ‘Curious Duke Gallery’. Located in a lovely 300-year-old Victorian building on Whitecross Street, it provides a home for the work of rising surrealist and urban artists from the UK. Indeed, the tiny art space, which opened almost two years ago, stands out as a fresh, tangible and – above all – non-elitist part of London’s art scene. An ‘anti-gallery gallery’, so to speak. Last weekend, I abandoned the wonderful sunshiny weather for a short while and set out to discover ‘The Art of Curiosity’, the gallery’s beautiful new exhibition. The show’s spectrum is broad in scope and ranges from oil and water colour paintings to etchings and sculptures, encompassed by the overall concept of human curiosity for art. At first glance, it might seem difficult to curate an exhibition that includes the work of eighteen different artists in such a relatively small space. After wandering about the gallery for quite a while, the …