Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Liberty of London for Target

Liberty of London, opened in 1875 and founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, is an iconic shopping destination in London, selling carpets, furniture, and most importantly to me, fabrics. The brand, having been a household name for over one hundred years, displays new and old fabrics, with new reproductions of the original Liberty for London fabrics been made available. The Liberty for London fabrics have a very distinct look, I especially like the floral fabrics designed in the sixties; they are very reminiscent of a past period of time and, like Mary Blair’s work, provoke a sense of nostalgia. The fabrics look vintage but vintage in a modern way; it would be hard to distinguish whether some of them had been designed in 1969 or 2009.

This year, Liberty of London embarked on a collaboration with a major American retailer, Target, to create ‘Liberty of London for Target’. This entails floral teapots, floral piggy banks, floral soft furnishings and most impressively, floral bicycles!

The floral bicycles caught my eye, not only because I want to own one, but because I saw a direct link with my current work – making floral fabric aircrafts. Like me, Liberty of London for Target is circumventing the gender of something typically ‘male’; making a mundane and ‘boyish’ object into something beautiful and decorative.

Image from: www.liberty.co.uk

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Is This Your Luggage?


Whilst researching for statistics regarding lost airline luggage, for my studio practice (as well as an odd personal interest), I came across this website. It’s the sort of thing a lot of people say but nobody actually goes to the effort of doing – and I love that she’s bothered to make a website!!

Personally, I collect vintage fabrics, old buttons, gig tickets and the usual crap, but a collection of suitcases??? That’s a collection that I am truly envious of. What you pack in a suitcase gives a snapshot about your life at a specific time and can give a viewer a lot of private information about you; where you are travelling and why, what kind of lifestyle you have and whether you have any disturbing secret habits.

This website has encouraged me to continue collecting... stuff! Because ‘stuff’ can prove to be a good source for generating and developing ideas for work, such as the ‘Thirty things I like/Dislike’ list I completed in September which is endlessly useful. Also, I like that she has made ‘work’ by very simply photographing her collection.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

David Shrigley

David Shrigley, born in 1968, is an artist based in Glasgow. He attended City of Leicester Polytechnic’s Art and Design course and studied Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art. He directed Blur’s video for ‘Good Song’, and in 2005, designed a London Underground leaflet cover. Shrigley is best known for his sardonically humorous drawings which are released in books and postcard packs, amongst other media.

I think the fact that I now love the work of David Shrigley, is a true testament to how much my understanding and appreciation of drawing has developed and evolved since September. I’ve been familiar with the work of Shrigley for quite a long time, but only in the past few months have I really started to consider him as one of my influences. Aesthetically, Shrigley’s work is much different to mine; he uses a deliberately limited technique in his black linear drawings juxtaposed with hand written text, often with crossing outs. He occasionally uses ruled lines with his text and image which jars oddly.

But what I really like about Shrigley’s work is his humour in his flat depictions about life, often written from the most obscure viewpoints. I like his style of composition with regards to how he puts together text and image and how each drawing looks as though he has isolated a single thought from his stream of consciousness and captured it on paper. His drawings look spontaneous, clearly not over-thought, which is an aspect of Shrigley’s work I would really like to replicate; his uncensored playfulness.

Image from: http://cache.gawker.com/assets/resources/2008/04/shrigley.png

Mary Blair

Mary Blair (1911-1978) was an American artist who is widely known for her work for the Walt Disney Company. She created concept art for Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Song of the South and Cinderella, as well as a mosaic designed for display at a Disney World resort. Her illustrated children’s books from the 1950s are still in print, such as ‘I can Fly’ by Ruth Krauss. As requested by Walt Disney himself, Blair worked on the infamous ‘It’s a Small World’ attraction at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Although I have only recently begun to cite Blair as a major ‘Art Hero’ of mine, I have been familiar with her work since very early in my childhood. I grew up with Blair’s illustrations in children’s books and even on old packaging ( http://farm1.static.flickr.com/142/375166965_96599780a6.jpg ), but it was only from completing a two week drawing project that I was finally able to put a name to the artwork! Having been set two weeks to work in the style of Dan Taylor, illustrator of ‘Dogfish’, I decided to research Taylor’s influences; he cited his main visual influence to be Mary Blair’s work and this prompted me to research her.

Having looked at Blair’s work, it is easy to see what a direct influence she has had on Taylor’s work. Taylor uses the same bright but slightly dulled colour palette in his work, which I think really provokes a vintage aesthetic. He also draws the human figure very similar to Blair, with an oversized head, teamed with very tiny feet. Like Blair, Taylor uses heavily textured backgrounds in his illustrations; although while hers are achieved by a paint brush and gouache, his are achieved by scanning in and manipulating images on a Mac. I think it’s really intriguing how even new technology can created such a vintage, hand produced-look.

What I love about Blair’s work, primarily, is her colour palette. Looking at her work has forced me to re-evaluate what colours I use in my work, which has never previously been a priority for me. What I like about the colours Blair uses are that they are bright, yet slightly dulled: they, along with the actual images, provoke a feeling of nostalgia for me – as though they were once bright, bold colours but have gradually faded over time. This time-weathered aesthetic is a look I would like to try incorporate into my work – I’ve already begun developing an unhealthy obsession for tea-staining paper at present.

Images from: