Archive for the ‘University of the Arts London’ category

Steptoe and Son explored through fine art: new exhibition at UAL CSM

University of Arts London PhD Fine Art graduate, Dean Kelland, explores masculinity in post-war British sitcom in a new free public exhibition at UAL Central Saint Martins this week. Flawed Masculinities: “Rupturing” 1950s/60s/70s British TV Sitcom is on display in The Crossing, UAL Central Saint Martins Granary Square from 24-29 May 2016.

The Englishman’s Panacea (Performance Film Still) – Dean Kelland

Much like Grayson Perry, UAL’s Chancellor, in his recent show All Man, Dean Kelland, UAL graduate and Birmingham based artist, explores concepts of masculine identity. In this latest exhibition, his sketchbooks show how he explores failure as a central quality of male cultural icons from post-war British sitcoms using multi-media in his artwork. His work The Englishman’s Panacea which features himself in character as Harold Steptoe from the comedy classic sitcom Steptoe and Son will be screened as part of the exhibition.

Dean Kelland commented: “Steptoe was one the many male figures that were part of a cyclical pattern of failure, where the root of the comedy came from. I wanted to explore this notion and what it means for masculinity.”

In this work, Kelland stands before a mirror in what is seemingly his morning ritual. Referencing Samuel Beckett’s plays Waiting for Godot and Film, the action is repeated with each new manifestation taking us further into the identity of Steptoe whilst simultaneously investigating the mechanics of performance and portraits of masculinity.

The Englishman’s Panacea (Performance Film Still) by Dean Kelland. Image courtesy of the artist.

Born in Great Barr in Birmingham in the 1970’s, Dean Kelland reflects on his experiences growing up in the midst of changing social mobility, politics and identity which inform his artwork:

“Television was always there for me when I was growing up.  I now see these shows like a mirror that reflected the cultural shifts exquisitely back to its audiences. Sitcoms and comedians may be overlooked academically, although that is changing, but for me they say it better than anyone did and I wanted to highlight that through my artwork.”

From Birmingham to London via Fine Art and Comedy – An interview with Dean Kelland:

 

Sitcoms aren’t often the subject of Fine Art – what influenced you to explore sitcoms?

I get quite defensive about comedy and in particular sitcom because it is often regarded as a lesser or perhaps more superficial area of popular culture. The writer Andy Medhurst once said that if you want to know what is hurting society at any given point in history then look at what people are laughing at – that sums it up for me – sitcoms are as good as any other art form when it comes to measuring temperature of the times.

When did you’re interest in Sitcoms begin? 

My interest in situation comedy started in my childhood when at the age of six I was given an old black and white portable television by my older sister. Sunday afternoons on BBC2 were a rich source of ‘repeat’ episodes of sitcoms featuring the programmes selected for this research project as well as The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Butterflies, Rising Damp, Open All Hours, and Porridge. The world that opened up to me through that small screen provided something that at an early age I couldn’t fully identify or articulate.

How did this develop over your career?

Fast-forwarding to adult life, my journey through arts education saw me trained in Fine Art before moving on to specialise in photography. I showed work at a range of national venues before developing a career as a lecturer in art and design, and I’ve enjoyed developing the skills I would later use for this PhD. My broad experiences took in everything from sculpture, painting and graphic design to interior design, textiles and fashion. I returned once more to Fine Art to study for my Masters degree, and utilised these multiple disciplines to develop a cross-disciplinary practice approach to conceptual representations of – of all things – the British landscape.

Upon completion of my MA I decided to throw this approach away…I asked myself why, as someone who had grown up in a working class suburb of Birmingham, I was spending time interrogating rural spaces and the conceptual minutiae of British landscape traditions. Why had I spent so long developing a practice that was on the fringes of my own personal experiences and a subject area that was alien to my own sense of identity? This crisis sowed the seeds of my PhD project: Write what you know, that oft-quoted adage was the starting point; and what I knew was the British sitcom.

This exhibition highlights masculine gender stereotypes in post-war British Sitcoms – what motivated you to focus on this area?

I was able to combine my knowledge of sitcoms with methodologies associated to writing and performing but crucially the question that developed related to why I felt drawn to these figures – soon the idea that these characters were trapped in a cycle of failure developed and what that meant in terms of how British masculinity was laid bare in these comedies started to inform the work. I started to see comedy like a skin with a familiar surface (humour) and a more challenging bloody, visceral underside, (the cycle of failure) I like the idea that the performance films I make attempt to reveal both sides simultaneously.

I was lucky enough to spend time talking to Susannah Corbett (Harry H. Corbett’s daughter) about Steptoe and Son and her father’s working methods. Remarkably I was then offered the opportunity to spend a day with Galton and Simpson talking about their work and my work – the practice definitely went up a level at that point. I was able to combine my knowledge of sitcoms with methodologies associated to writing and performing but crucially the question that developed related to why I felt drawn to these figures – soon the idea that these characters were trapped in a cycle of failure developed and what that meant in terms of how British masculinity was laid bare in these comedies started to inform the work. I started to see comedy like a skin with a familiar surface (humour) and a more challenging bloody, visceral underside, (the cycle of failure) I like the idea that the performance films I make attempt to reveal both sides simultaneously.

Why did you choose UAL Central Saint Martins to do your PhD research?

Central St Martins has provided me with the most incredible experience. The working environment is vibrant and exciting and the level of support from the amazing staff and fellow PhD students settled me in and gave me the confidence to take risks with my work and really drive ideas on. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive team and I count myself very lucky to have found them and to have had this experience at Central St Martins. The pride I have in being able to say that I have studied at CSM is immeasurable but most importantly my practice is stronger and my ideas are sharper as a result of studying here.

When I applied to study here I genuinely didn’t expect to be offered a place to study my PhD, in truth I was excited to be given an interview because I thought it would be great to have a walk around and see what the inside of St Martins was like! I grew up in a part of Birmingham where art was not really considered as a serious option for a career, I persevered and studied at a regional college and university but the thought of Central St Martins was always so far away from where I was and who I was – it definitely felt like it was something that happened to other people. When I got here I was welcomed so positively and my work respected and taken seriously and that helped me shed that baggage.

What advice would you give to budding art students and anyone thinking of doing a PhD?

I can only talk from my own experiences and I worked harder than I’ve ever worked before and I tried to be the best I could be. I trusted my supervisors and they repaid that trust with a commitment to support my practice and guide my progress. PhDs test you in ways that you may not have expected and there are times when you will question whether you can keep going – be the best you can be and keep on keepin’ on!

 

Pulse selects trend-setting products from UAL’s rising stars of design

UAL Now chosen by Pulse for exclusive display of the best new work by emerging designers

 

Akiko Ban Mystic Forms UAL Now at Pulse 2016

 

Described by Pulse as “undiscovered design talent that will give you the must-have products of the future from the industry’s freshest emerging design talent, handpicked for their innovative and cutting-edge products” UAL returns for the 10th year to the Pulse tradeshow in May with UAL Now. The hot new designs on display have already featured in Metro this month.

Eloise Bricka at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

Heralded as “trend-setting products from the rising stars of design” Pulse notes that “University of Arts London has a firm reputation of introducing the greats to the world of fashion and design. The featured stand will be presented in Launchpad, the creative hub of fresh design businesses. The showcase presents 14 handpicked new brands chosen for their innovative and cutting-edge and commercially-ready products.

Eduardo Hirschfield my first quilt kit at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

The stand features a diverse range of products including award-winning woven cushions and hand-made ceramics, innovative furniture, and on trend greetings cards.

Flor de Chile at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

The chosen design business for 2015 are: Beatrice Larkin, Beyond Fabrics, Cox & Bruach, dotdotdot, Elose Bricka, Fawn and Thistle, Flor de Chile, Josefin Landalv, Miriam Bridson, Mystic Forms, Rowenna Mason, Sevek Zagarian, Sophia Ogonda, Temple London. The chosen graduates are:

Akiko Ban, BA (Hons) Drawing, 2006, Camberwell College of Art

Leonid Davydov, BA (Hons) Product Design, 2017, Central Saint Martins

Josefin Landalv, BA (Hons) Textile Design, 2011 Chelsea College of Arts

Eduardo Hirschfeld, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, 2002, Camberwell College of Art

Miriam Bridson, BA (Hons) Surface Design, 2015, London College of Communication

Isabel Infante Krebs, MA Textiles, 2016, Chelsea College of Arts

Beatrice Larkin, BA (Hons) Textile Design, 2010, Chelsea College of Arts

Eloise Bricka, BA (Hons) Textile Design, 2014, Central Saint Martins

Kirsten McNee, MA Illustration, 2014, Camberwell College of Art

Rowenna Mason, MA Textile Design, 2015, Chelsea College of Arts

Caroline Cox, BA (Hons) Textile Design, 2013, Chelsea College of Arts

Louise Graham, FdA Cordwainers Accessories, 2012 London College of Fashion

Sophia Ogonda, BA (Hons) Ceramic Design, 2015, Central Saint Martins

Sevak Zargarian, BA (Hons) Ceramic Design, 2013, Central Saint Martins

dotdotdot.frames on UAL Now's stand at Pulse 2016

The UAL Now designers are part of UAL’s prestigious network of alumni, fellow graduates of their alma mater include Terence Conran, James Dyson, Margaret Calvert, Neville Brody, Susan Williams-Ellis, Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, Tom Karen, Georgina Von Etzdorf and Wright and Teague. As well as past UAL Pulse exhibitors that have gone on to have successful businesses in the design sector including: Cléo Ferin Mercury, Emma Calvert, Jim Rokos, RALLI Design, Studio Lav, Crispin Finn, Stumped Studio,Charlotte Day, Kangan Arora, Maya Magal, Louise Tucker, Robbie Porter, MercerMercer, and Purpose & Worth.

Sophia Ogonda at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

Led by Careers and Employability at UAL and supported by Clarion events, the UAL Now stand is a unique opportunity for emerging design businesses from UAL to have a discounted and supported way into trade show environments. Exhibitors are offered a full professional development programme in the lead up to the show to prepare them for the experience, as well as PR and marketing support through the university.

Josefin Landalv Broken Point at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

UAL Now is a showcasing and exhibition programme that highlights the most exciting emerging talent from University of the Arts London, and has presented exhibitions at shows such as Design Junction and Art15.

Cox and Bruach Pobble at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

“UAL Now is a great opportunity for those just launching their businesses to find an affordable way to reach trade audiences and get their work in the shops, and Launchpad at Pulse is the perfect place for this. We make sure exhibitors are ready to make sales, and past exhibitors have made thousands of pounds worth of orders, and many have gone on to take their own stand at the show after.” Vicky Fabbri, Events & Showcasing Manager, Careers and Employability.

Temple London at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

UAL Now showcases graduates’ work at fairs and industry exhibitions across art, design and communication; in order to launch their work, products, ideas, services and companies. It enables and prepares them to connect to curators, buyers, collectors, manufacturers, agencies and specialist audiences, so that they can sell work, network and advance their practice and careers in the creative and cultural sector.

Rowenna Mason at UAL Now at Pulse 2016

Pulse runs 15 – 17 May 2016 at Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London W14 8UX

Visitors to Pulse 2016 will get an exclusive preview of the next generation of emerging design talent at University of the Arts London (UAL)’s UAL Now stand.

Read about the UAL Now stand at Pulse 2016 in the property section of Metro

Discover more about UAL Now at www.ual-now.arts.ac.uk

Read more at www.pulse-london.com

PHOTO SCRATCH

Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz, studied MA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, graduating in 2013. After graduating, many of her year group stayed in touch and continued to evaluate and support each other’s work. This led the way for Photo Scratch, a bi-monthly event which allows photographers to show work-in-progress projects and understand how their work is perceived and gain valuable insight into how to take their work further with the benefit of other people’s outside eye.

The next edition of Photo Scratch is on Monday 23 May at Hotel Elephant. Photo Scratch is free to exhibit work-in-progress at, and free to attend.

Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz by Carl Bigmore

“The MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at LCC has this amazing community; everyone really keeps in touch afterwards. Because each year group has a full time cohort and a part time online cohort, there’s this massive potential – between the two versions of the course everyone starts talking. And learning online like I did, you have to make yourself be heard. When it came to the summer show there were loads of graduates from the year before passing on tips to us, which was amazing. The course itself has such a strong presence in the industry, graduates from the course go on to win awards and find success.  Nine times out of ten, when I go to a photography exhibition, there will be a presence of graduates from my course, or professionals who taught on the course.

After graduating, photographers from my year group and the year group after us and before, would all meet up about once every six weeks at my studio or at the pub to catch up, but also often to show our work and get feedback about it.

Photo Scratch

The artistic director of my studio (Hotel Elephant in Elephant & Castle) offered studio users the opportunity to run events in the gallery space free of charge.  So I had this idea that I could use the space for something involving photographers I know.

My background is in theatre and acting which I still do in a freelance way as well as photography. In the theatre world there’s a thing called a scratch night where theatre companies show a ten minute excerpt of a work in progress and the audience is invited to give feedback. That’s a format that’s been developed over fifteen years at the Battersea Arts Centre, and I participated in one a few years ago. It was really interesting and genuinely rewarding to understand as practitioners how your work is perceived.

So the two ideas came together.  My community were already looking at each other’s work and sharing ideas, but I wanted to extend this and get feedback from people we didn’t already know, and create a safe space where documentary photographers could continue to develop their practice. So I decided to formalise it at Hotel Elephant along with a fellow graduate from MA Photojournalism Phil Le Gal, and Photo Scratch was born.

A recent Photo Scratch event by PhotoArchiveNewscom

A recent Photo Scratch event by PhotoArchiveNewscom

The aim of Photo Scratch is for photographers to gain a deeper understanding about their work and how it’s perceived. Whatever sort of photography you do can easily become a solitary practice. Something that we maintained during the MA is that the conversations are very important and part of the process.

Photo Scratch is an opportunity to safely experiment with the form. Participants are encouraged to (if they want to) play with moving image and installations, print in a different way, or experiment with performance. It’s a safe context where photojournalists and documentarians can gain insight into what they’re doing and try to push the boundaries.

We have had a number of picture editors from major publications come to Photo Scratch as well as other photographers, picture researchers, bloggers, and people from a wide range of industries who are all interested in photographs.  The hope is that Photo Scratch will continue to grow and attract people who are interested in seeing what work is up and coming from documentary photographers in London.”

Half the House by Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz

Half the House by Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz

#PhotoScratch

www.photoscratch.org

@hanna_katrina

www.hannakatrina.co.uk

 

Meet: Steve Watts

Steve Watts

Steve and Angela Watts

Steve Watts graduated from BA (Hons) Product Design at Central Saint Martins in 2007. Originally from South Africa, after spending time in London and travelling the world, he moved to California to pursue his childhood dream of setting up Slyde Handboards with his wife Angela. The idea (a small handboard used to improve your body surfing experience) took off, and they recently received a high profile investment after appearing on the USA TV show The Shark Tank. Find out more about Steve’s journey from studying at CSM to riding the waves of self-employment, and keeping afloat in the competitive surfing industry!

What were you doing before you came to London to study at Central Saint Martins? 

I was doing all sorts of odd jobs and travelled around the world before studying. However, I knew all I ever wanted to become was a designer and the only place I ever wanted to study design was at CSM. The college has an incredible reputation and an awesome tradition of producing the best graduates.  The old campus in Holborn was on the route to a job I had on the Embankment, and I would walk past it every day, dreaming of studying there. I eventually got my opportunity and took it with both hands. There was never any doubt in where I wanted to end up.

I loved my time there, it was a fantastic experience. I was probably the third or fourth oldest in my class, so I’d had some time to travel and realise this is what I wanted to do with my life.  I also had a sharper awareness than when I was in my early 20s of how lucky I was; to be attending not only university, but the school I had always wanted to attend. Like any university, you get out what you put in, and there is no difference with Central Saint Martins.

I think the biggest high was my third year final project pitch, in which I got a first. Believe it or not, that pitch gave me the confidence to stand and deliver for other pitches to come. In fact it was easily the most intense pitch I have ever given.

The lowest point was making the rookie mistake of thinking, “Well I got a first in the last project…”  and then taking my foot off the pedal, by not pouring everything into my second project, which I got a second in. It taught me one very valuable lesson; don’t ever sit back and think, “Well I did well before, so that will just follow on over.”  You are only as good as your current project and always, always put your absolute best foot forward in everything you hand over.

Steve with his Handboard on The Shark Tank

Steve and Angela on The Shark Tank

What were your favourite things to do in London?

There is so much to do In London. From concerts, pubs and clubs, to all the short trips you can take and amazing galleries on offer.  The Tate Modern was one of my favourite places to go and take in.  As they say – “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

A couple of places that really stood out to me were Hampstead Heath and the hill overlooking London for sundown – it’s a semi-secret spot that just allows you to get out of the hustle and bustle and really take in London from a distance. It’s almost meditative being up there. Also Gordon’s Wine Bar on the Embankment was my favourite bar to just go and chill – the history round there is phenomenal.

How did you make the decision to move to California?

I loved living in London, and took full advantage of it while I was there. However, I grew up near the beach, and had visited California and loved the beach lifestyle there, so I always knew that was where I wanted to start Slyde Handboards.

The support structure in California for new up-and-coming business is also phenomenal, especially within the surf industry. Our offices are in San Clemente, which is about 90 minutes south of Los Angeles on the coast. It’s known as the surf centre of California, which pretty much makes it the surf centre of the world. Our neighbours are huge iconic brands like Stance Socks, Dragon Sunglasses and Rainbow Sandals, which makes our growth that much easier.

Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher

Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher

Where did the inspiration for Slyde Handboards come from? And how did you turn the idea into a reality?

The inspiration for the Handboard came from when I was a kid. I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa.  To get us out the house my mother would take my brother and I down to the local beach and let us run amok. We would body surf a lot and play in the waves.  It wasn’t long before we started using objects on our hands to get more lift and speed when going down the wave.

I remember using frisbees and flip-flops – anything we could find. One of our favourites was a fast food tray.  We quickly evolved from those objects we’d found to tearing open our old surfboards to hand shape a more refined board from the foam inside. At the time, there was no brand associated with this, even though a lot of kids were doing it. That’s when I decided the brand and product would be something that a new generation could associate with. Those found objects were essentially the early prototypes for what you see on our website today.

Tell us more about your exciting new investors? And what the future has in store?

Our two new investors are Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban. Mark is the owner of the Dallas Maverick NBA team, and a billionaire. It’s always good to have a billionaire partner! We pitched the company to them on the US TV show Shark Tank, which is a very similar format to Dragons Den in the UK.  You pitch in front of five investors and they either invest or don’t, all on national television.

I remember watching Dragons Den when living in the UK, and thinking what a great opportunity that would be. Little did I know that, five years later, I would be pitching to Ashton Kutcher, Mark Cuban and the rest of the Sharks, in front of 6.5 million viewers.

We filmed in June of last year and since the deal closed in November of 2015 we have been firing on all cylinders. Both Mark and Ashton have been phenomenal in their support. Mark is amazing with the business, hooking us up with all sorts of amazing opportunities and avenues to grow our distribution channel. And Ashton has been incredible on the social media side, plugging us into his immense network. We are have grown 100% year on year since inception in 2010, and this year we are predicting a million dollars in revenue.

Our aim for the company is to get as many people involved in this awesome water sport as possible. To grow the brand through worldwide events and spread our distribution channels to other countries that have a huge surfing and beach market, including Brazil, Australia and the UK.

Steve and Angela at their warehouse space in San Clemente , Ca

Steve and Angela at their warehouse space in San Clemente, Ca

What advice would you give to any UAL graduates wanting to turn their ideas into a successful business? 

Choose something you love to do and never, never, never give up!  We have pitched to a lot of people and we heard NO a lot of times. Honestly, I didn’t care. I always had the attitude “your loss“.  You have to believe in what you are doing and believe you are supposed to be in that room. In the end you are offering them an opportunity too.

Also be prepared to eat very cheaply for a while (unless you have a surplus amount of cash), because unless you are very lucky, it will take time. Another thing to remember is that often when you are design and art oriented, generally speaking you do not focus so much on the numbers, and this is all an investor cares about. Know your numbers inside and out, and if you don’t, partner with someone who knows how to make your proposition as viable to an investor as possible. It doesn’t matter if you just invented the lightbulb, if your numbers don’t match up no one will give you a second look.

Try to remember these guys have money because they don’t waste it, so know what you can bring to the table in the way of return on their investment.  Also be charismatic; there are many investors that will invest in you. Mark Cuban is one of these investors that like to invest in a person, so bring your “A-schmooze” game and impress them with you passion and commitment to the company, and to getting their money back as quickly as possible!

 

 

Review: LA London Transplants 2016 (An Exhibition from the UAL West Coast Alumni Association)

LA London Transplants opening night

LA London Transplants opening night

Over 300 people attended the opening night of the London Transplants Exhibition on 19 April 2016, which was held at Wallspace Gallery, LA.  The exhibition was organised by the UAL West Coast Alumni Association.  Now in its third year, the exhibition featured the work of 20 UAL alumni, ranging from artists who graduated in the 1950’s up until the present day. The work shown covered a broad range of different mediums, including contemporary art, photography and film and animation.

Angie Stimson, President of the West Coast Alumni Association

Angie Stimson, President of the West Coast Alumni Association

The night was a great success for all involved.  A DJ played a mix of British 80’s and 90’s music (with a Prince tribute thrown in), with the addition of a couple of scantily clad servers helping get the party started! To top this, many of the alumni exhibiting also ended up selling their work.

LA London Transplants Opening Night - waiter

Many thanks to Angie Stimson, President of the UAL West Coast Alumni Association, and all the other UAL alumni involved, for organising and curating such a brilliant exhibition!

Wallspace from outside

Wallspace Gallery, LA

Watch a video of the exhibition here. Or Click here for more images of the event.

If you are based on the West Coast, and want to be involved in future alumni activities in the area, get in touch today!

An angel rises in Islington as emerging star artist creates celestial public sculpture

This week, rising star artist Alex J Wood was announced as the winner of the prestigious Picton Art Prize, as his winning work ‘Celestial’ was unveiled at a ceremony in Islington. The award-winning artist revealed his dramatic bronze angel sculpture on Wednesday, launching north London’s newest piece of public art.

Celestial, 2016. Artist: Alex J Wood. Image courtesy of Picton Art Prize

Created in the London Bronze Casting foundry, the impressive bronze sculpture will stand at 2 metres high, and is located as a centrepiece within Picton’s Angel Gate development, EC1.

Recognizing new talent

The Picton Art Prize judges comment that: “British eccentricity is a significant area of Alex’s practice, as well as the notions of obsessiveness through the creation of very intricate models. He combines lo-fi materials such as paper or wax with a high art material such as bronze, juxtaposing the two materials together to create amusing sculptures that portray narratives relating to human endeavour.”

Tim Hamlin, of sponsors, Picton, said: “We are delighted to announce Alex J Wood as the winner of the Picton Art Prize. In developing the prize, we specifically wanted to recognise new and emerging talent. We are thrilled to support the talent developed at UAL, which is reflected in the high quality of the shortlist.”

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, UAL, said: “It’s vital that we support our students and graduates in the early stages of their careers, offering them opportunities to develop their practice and extend themselves, as well as high profile platforms on which to showcase their work to new audiences. The Picton Art prize offers just this.”

Angel sculpture by Alex J Wood Picton Art Prize
A rising star artist

Alex J Wood graduated from Chelsea College of Arts in 2014, with an MA in Fine Art. In 2014 Alex was the first Foundry Fellow at Camberwell College of Arts where he created a series of space travel inspired bronzes including ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, a bronze space rocket based upon the 1902 Georges Méliès film “A Trip to the Moon”. ‘Hidden Depths’, is verdigris green patinated bronze with an ambiguous form now in The Patrick and Kelly Lynch collection.

In 2015 Alex was shortlisted for both The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award and The Henry Moore Plinth Prize, and in 2014 he was selected for art residency in Beijing. In April 2013 Alex was resident artist at Tokyo Wonder Site in Japan, and exhibited in Tokyo and London.

Alex was recently commissioned by Penguin Books to create a sculpture for Foyles Flagship London store. Whilst studying for his MA Fine Art at Chelsea, Alex was the 2013 recipient of The Patrick and Kelly Lynch Scholarship. His work is held in various private collections in the USA and Europe as well as the University of the Arts London collection. In both 2013 and 2014 he was shortlisted for The Clifford Chance Sculpture Award.

The judges

The Picton Art Prize juding panel comprised artists Susanna Heron and Nick Hornby; Head of Arts and Culture for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Adriana Marques; Picton Asset Manager, Tim Hamlin; and Director of External Relations, Central Saint Martins, UAL, Stephen Beddoe.

Read more about funding and mentoring at UAL

Discover fine art courses at UAL

See Alex J Wood’s prize-winning Angel sculpture at Angel Gate, Islington, EC1

Read more about Alex J Wood

The power of The Collective

Gone are the days of getting discovered in obscure downtown galleries – it is the era of The Collective. Assemble – part architects, part designers – proved just that when they were the first Collective to scoop the Turner Prize last year. Death of the Turner? Or just a new way of practicing art?

Here, UAL talks to Steph Wilson, 23, founder of the Lemon People who says the Collective just well may be the way of the future.

Lemon People group shot

You’re the founder of the Lemon People who are…
We’re a London-based collective made up of artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers and musicians. We work as individuals, mostly as freelancers, but a lot of our work wouldn’t be possible without the combined effort of the Lemons. Plus, our never ending favours to one another means our creativity is never hindered.

Oxford

Alice Zoo

Do you actually just need to be in a Collective to afford studio space and have enough money to study and have a social life?
No, but it definitely helps. Being in a Collective just adds more reason to go out of our way for each other. There’s an element of knowing that if a fellow member succeeds, then that success will lead back to the Collective. That way, you and your fellow Lemons work will be seen more frequently.

Elliot

Elliott Arndt

Do Collectives get noticed more?
In a literal sense, yes they do. By having our work all linked to Lemon People it all leads back to one place – increasing the views of our website, and our collective’s work. We become more noticeable.

Steph Wilson_ two girls

Steph Wilson

You all look like models! Is there a conscious effort to look a certain way as an artist?
Yes, I intended to make an art collective/model agency hybrid. Really? No. We just got lucky.

Elliott Arndtlemon

Is there an ‘audition’/ hazing ritual process for becoming a Lemon?
We’re all close friends, so, to become a Lemon I guess you’ve got to get on our good side for, on average, about five – 10 years. I’ve known most of the girls since we were about 12. We all went to school together. Either that or you could donate £100k to the Collective. We’d let you be a member for that, too.

download (3)Steph Wilson

What is it about Collectives that make them powerful?
It serves as a kind of comfort knowing that there are people who have got your back. We know that if a job comes up that I can’t do, it’s not a wasted opportunity and it’ll go to a Lemon and vice versa.

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Do you operate almost like a ‘dysfunctional’ family and tell each other when one of the Lemon’s work is not up to scratch?
If a dysfunctional family means that I am the angry nagging mother that says how shit something is occasionally, then yes. It’s difficult when people are at a risk of being offended. I’m a fan of being as blunt as possible, regardless of how tactless it comes across as, and I’m sure I’m hated for it. But hey, someone’s got to do it.

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What are the biggest tensions/ most frustrating thing about being in a Collective?
Ego. Almost all of us are quite strong characters with our own minds made up about certain things. Ego and stubbornness often gets very frustrating, and we still need to learn to curb that into a positive asset by asserting official roles when working together collaboratively as to not trip over each other.

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If you could come up with a new ‘model’ for how artists work, what would it be?
I would design a laissez-faire art system. I liked how when I did a 6 month foundation course at UAL’s Chelsea College of Arts, it was based on positive criticism, led by an experienced figure. But essentially, you’re left to your own devices. To learn in an environment, where you are free to simply soak up knowledge and experience- would be a good structure. Constantly meeting useful and interesting people always gets you so much further than a piece of paper.

Alice

Alice Zoo

What are your predictions for the ways artists will work in the future?
People are getting quite lazy, so I hope it’s not just online stuff or work so abstract you eat it by accident at the private view. As young people get more savvy – because they have to – hopefully this will lead them to become even more creative in order to survive. I just hope it doesn’t turns into the very wealthy taking on their mother’s art gallery and only exhibiting their very wealthy friends’ shit work.

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Steph Wilson

Sex? Politics? What do you think will always be the ‘best-selling’ subject as an artist?
Oneself. We’re all obsessed with ourselves; what we think, how we feel, what our shit looks like, everything.

Meg Nixon

Meg Nixon

The worse the break-up, the better the art?

You can cry and scream, or you can do what these 12 artists did…

1. FEEL THE BURN: Microwave the evidence

Hansika Jathnani - London College of Communication, BA Photography

Hansika Jethnani, Xhibit Artist, London College of Communication, UAL

“My long distance ex-boyfriend broke up with me over a WhatsApp conversation. Breaking up in person was impossible, and so it happened over a cyberspace of floating words instead. Like the anticipation of heating something up in the microwave – I was in constant agony waiting for a reply. When I heard back, it was gut-wrenching words that broke my heart. I put Polaroids I photographed in the microwave. What I photographed did not matter – it was what happened to the Polaroid once popped into the microwave that did. Burnt and damaged they resembled me through the wretched phase of my relationship.” – Hansika Jethnani, Xhibit Artist, London College of Communication, UAL.
See it now: Xhibit 2016 @UAL

2. SHELVE YOUR PAIN

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“Ex-Axe”: Museum of Broken Relationships.

Forget storing memories of your ex in a tattered shoe box – display the remnants of your break-up in the Museum of Broken Relationships instead! Sheer exhibitionism? Cathartic relief? Closure? Whatever the motivation, you are free to share in and gawk at others misery in a united “we’re so over you” front. From a toaster stolen out of spite, to a used axe that a spouse had used to smash up every bit of her cheating husband’s furniture – there’s something for everyone. Even Jeremy Clarkson revealed to Sunday Times readers that he was impressed: “…most of the world’s museums are filled almost entirely with stuff that’s not very interesting. (This) was the only museum I’ve visited where every single thing on display was utterly fabulous. Certainly, I must confess, as I moved from exhibit to exhibit, that I felt a tinge of fear that the next would be a teddy bear with a severed head and a short accompanying story about a former local newspaper reporter with an interest in cars and a very small gentleman sausage . . .”

3. PUBLICLY SHAME THEM: Get Ex-ting

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Allison Wade/ Huffington Post

“I obviously date the wrong people,” artist, Allison Wade told The Cut after she received a text message from an ex telling her: “I’ll contact you after the burial”. She never heard from him again. It prompted her to comb her phone for other break-up texts and used these, along with inspiration from rom-com clichés to create a series of Break-up Text paintings, which showcase the messages she’d sent and received at the end of various relationships. Dizzying texts: “WTF!!! You left for Ibiza without me,” to “Sorry I have been out of touch this week. There was a snowstorm and I have been watching movies,” to “on Zanax at the airport had a panic attach please stop calling me” are juxtaposed against jaunty colour hues – perhaps a nod to the cold nature of screen-based communication.

4. FLAUNT IT

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You can cry or you can show them how good you can look – which is exactly what Alexis Housden, London College of Fashion, UAL student did when he based his MA16 Menswear show on a break up. “When someone leaves you, you think you are going die but you don’t – everything ends up OK and life continues – the world continues to be light and wonderful.” Housden’s collection represents mourning, anger and then rebirth.

5. BECOME AN ICON

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The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1893

It may very well have been a break-up that led to expressionist, Edvard Munch’s seminal work: “The Scream.” It’s 1892 and Munch confesses in his diary: “I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature…” His misery may have been born out of an ill-fated on-again, off-again affair with his cousin’s wife – irrational bohemian Tulla Larsen. The affair ended with a bang, when Larsen shot off one of Munch’s fingers with a revolver during an argument. Adding insult to injury, Larsen went on to marry one of Munch’s colleagues.

6. GET A DIFFERENT TAKE

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Sophie Calle, Take Care of Yourelf, Artation

French artist, Sophie Calle received an email sent to her by a boyfriend intent on breaking up with her. It ended with the words, “I would have liked things to have turned out differently. Take care of yourself.” And so, she did just that. Calle sent the letter to 107 women from different professions and backgrounds—a psychiatrist, an author, a rifle shooter, an opera singer, a family mediator, a lawyer, even a parrot—asking them to interpret the text. It resulted in her 2007 tour de force, Take Care of Yourself that saw an entire gallery taken over with interpretations and performances of the letter. The repetition of the original letter, played over and over again, led Calle to focus on the project – not the man. Voila! Take her of herself, she did.

7. UPGRADE YOUR LOVER

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Matthew Broderick & Helen Hunt, 1987, Old Loves

Old Loves. The name invokes images of elderly lovebirds, but it’s actually an exhaustive catalog of celebrity couples who are no longer together. From Matt Damon and Winona Ryder, to Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt, and Cher and Gene Simmons. The ex-files are out.

8. FACEBOOK PHASE-OUT

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Screenshots of the Facebook breakup tool, New York Times


Not only does Facebook have a dedicated Compassion Team – it also has tools that allow you to digitally fade out former lovers. Product designer, Emily Albert got thinking when she found it difficult to face her former flame’s Facebook post. Solution? Create a tool that prompts users to choose from a variety of phase-out options after changing their relationship status: “Take a Break. Here are some changes that might be helpful. We won’t notify Taylor of any changes you make. See less of Taylor. See Taylor on Facebook only if you visit his profile.”

9. CREATE YOUR ULTIMATE BREAK-UP FANTASY

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Revenge Dioramas, Facebook Page

Want to live in a world where your ex gets run over by a train? Where lovers rule and the cheats who have wronged them perish in a dinosaur attack? Well, now you can thanks to artist Laura Stokes and her collaborator Nichole Cordin who have created ‘Revenge Dioramas’ – based on break-up fantasies, which they photograph and post to their Facebook pageCountless stories of betrayal inspired Stokes to make her revenge dioramas: “I realized this is really a thing that women in particular need,” she told Mashable. “We need to laugh at men. With all the headlines about men taking away our reproductive rights, denying us justice in court for rape and sexual harassment, refusing to listen and believe women about their experiences, there’s a lot of justified rage in women right now,” she said. “This is just one way to feel some catharsis about that, to strike back just a little bit.”

10. REPLACE THE OLD WITH THE NEW

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Untitled, 2012. From the series Beth. Matthew Swarts.

Constantly comparing? Hard to let yourself fall for new love? Matthew Swarts dealt with these questions he split up with a long-term girlfriend and then found a new one a year later. He channeled the change-over in two photo series. In Beth, he manipulates old photos of his ex-girlfriend so she slowly fades from view. In The Alternatives, he manipulates images of his new girlfriend to represent the complicated process of forging a new bond.

11. GET A MAKEOVER: “Love Raised Me Lipstick Saved Me.”

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Angelique Velez

New York City based make-up artist, Angelique Velez founded Breakups to Makeup, an accessory & apparel line, showing that makeup is more than a simple product – it’s art. And sometime the only thing better than saying it – is wearing it.

12. REBRAND YOURSELF

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Nicole Leth. Instagram: sex.icecream

Take a leaf out of Nicole Leth’s book and rebound from a break-up by launching a business and becoming ridiculously successful. Founder of Sex + Ice Cream, a clothing brand that could be described as “breakup art,” based on “graphic patterns, bright colours, traditional fiber techniques mixed with modern processes, and honest storytelling of my girlhood.” Every fiber of Leth’s being goes into her designs—she’s literally personally attached. “All of the patterns and prints I use are scanned directly from my diary,” she told Nylon.

Meet: Rebecca Moyster

Rebecca Moyster studied BA (Hons) Textile Design at Central Saint Martins, graduating in 2004. After a successful career working in product development at Burberry and the Designers Guild, she decided to quit her job to follow her dream of perusing her own idea. This led to her launching the highly original and successful luxury balloon business, Bonbon Balloons.

Rebecca Moyster with balloons

Rebecca Moyster with some of her Bon Bon Balloons

After graduating from Central Saint Martins I got an internship with Burberry, and I ended up staying there for two and a half years working in product development.  It was quite different to textiles design, hard work but really fun. I developed the lines for the handbag and jewellery runway collections.  After a few years I moved to the Designers Guild, still working in product development, but with more management and pure fabric development.

Then, four years ago, I just decided to leave my job and start my own business.  I didn’t really have a business idea, I just knew that I wanted to go out on my own, and it was now or never.

About a week after quitting my job I had the idea for Bonbon Balloons. I was looking at some sketch books on my table, and I saw these Tim Walker photographs with giant balloons on the sea and my brain started ticking… Giant balloons… Why don’t you see them? They’re amazing! I also started thinking about the balloon string and how it usually just a plain bit of string that gets ignored, and I thought how cool it would be to have decorative string. It escalated really quickly. I thought of the name that night and registered it, but I didn’t know anything about balloons. So then I spent the next six months trying to learn and making mistakes, working on the identity of the brand, how I wanted it to look, the logo, photography etc. and then launched it. That was four years ago, and we have been trading ever since.

I have never had to spend much money on marketing because the balloons promote themselves at events. Instagram didn’t exist when I launched on social media, I was just using Facebook and Twitter – and I got picked up by blogs and press straight away, and the momentum started to build from there.  Then the first company that contacted me were Dior in Paris. It blew my mind, I nearly fell off my chair in the one desk studio in Angel I was renting at the time.

Bonbon Balloons

We are a luxury balloon company who work with each client in a really bespoke way, creating something exactly to their preference.  Everything is from scratch and so creatively we never get bored, it’s always different. We work with luxury fashion brands, PR companies, events, venues, weddings, parties as well as individual clients.  We also offer the ‘balloon in a box’ service which enables you to order a balloon with a personalised message – the balloon gets delivered and floats up out of a beautifully packaged box when opened. They are really durable and will still be floating five weeks later (they last longer than flowers).

We source our balloons from a traditional balloon supplier, but we use them differently. All the confetti we use is hand cut and hand inserted into the balloon, so we can use any colour/pattern. We design and make everything in the studio, and everything is hand crafted. Nothing is off the peg, and we adapt it for every client.

We’re now based in a studio in Dalston, and I have a team of three people working with me in the studio. When we have larger jobs we call on other freelance creatives.  We’re not a traditional balloon company – there’s nothing we could have ever been taught from another balloon company – so the people that work for us don’t have to have any experience working with balloons, they just need to be creative and have a really good eye. It works really well because we have a great collective of different backgrounds when we do events.

When you’re setting up on your own you almost have to have a big heap of nativity – I look back four years on and I’m not the same person I was.  Now it feels really reckless just giving up my career to start my own business.

The most daunting thing I faced was the constant mistakes. Still now we make mistakes, but at first you make LOADS. And obviously you learn from them, which is the lesson, but it’s still really hard to swallow. You’re constantly not quite sure how to do things because there’s no handbook on it.

BonBon Balloons on location

I was also following a business model that I’d never seen before, so there was nothing to compare it to.

Something that is a constant challenge to us is those that see our ideas and also want to pursue them. It does strengthen the trend, but we also have to be really mindful of copyright, because there are certain companies who have really infringed on our copyright. We are putting ourselves out there on Instagram all the time and telling everyone what we’re doing, so it is part of it. The way we deal with it now is to just create something new, we never sit with the same ideas, which keeps things really fresh.

We are constantly expanding. The next step is to expand to international markets, so we can offer the services we offer in London in other places, inflated. We want to take what we have done here and bring it to other places.

Creatively we want to keep working with the great brands that we’re working with, pushing things and doing new installations. Our business is great because it’s totally led by who we work with. We’re usually given free reign with the projects as well. The team love it because one week is never the same as the next.

Get yourself a BonBon Balloon today.

Follow BonBon Balloons on Instagram.

 

Shakespeare 400 at UAL: Costume Designs from WWII to Today

Joining activities across the UK to mark Shakespeare’s legacy on 23 April, Shakespeare 400 has been created to explore Shakespearean costume design and theatre across UAL.

The website showcases the original watercolour sketches of costume designs for some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters from the WWII era, inlcuding John Gielgud’s Hamlet in 1944. These feature alongside some of UAL’s latest student designs showing how Shakespearian costume design has evolved to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400 year legacy.

Richard III Costume by Jeanetta Cochrane, 1944, alongside costume design for Richard III in 2014

Richard III costume design, 1944, by Jeanetta Cochrane, alongside costume design for Richard III in 2014, by Laura Albeck, UAL student

All the original watercolour sketches from WWII era, held by UAL at its Central Saint Martins museum, are by costume designer, Jeanetta Cochrane. The designer, who studied at Central Saint Martins (formerly known as Central school of Art & Design), went on to teach at the college in 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, and led it from the 1930s through the Second World War, up until her sudden death in 1957.

Commenting on the costume designs, Judy Willcocks, Head of Central Saint Martins Museum, said:

“Jeanetta Cochrane was a real inspiration. These beautiful Shakespeare costume designs show her desire for greater historical accuracy in theatrical costume. I’m delighted they are now curated online for everyone to see so her creativity and memory can live on.”

Jeanetta proposed a building of a professionally equipped theatre with adjoining workshops, costume cutting rooms and design studios for students. Named after her, the former Cochrane Theatre in Holborn (next to the original Central Saint Martins), was opened in 1964 although sadly Jeanetta did not live to see it. The Cochrane Theatre closed in January 2012 and Central Saint Martins, part of UAL since 1986, moved to their new site in the highly-successful art-led regeneration of the King’s Cross area, including the new Platform Theatre.

Nigel Carrington, Vice Chancellor of UAL, said:

“The creative practice-centred approach, exemplified by Jeanetta Cochrane, lives on in the philosophy of all UAL colleges today. Providing a liberating platform for creativity to thrive, UAL has produced multiple winners in the most prestigious art and design awards including the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Oscars. Over the next five years, UAL will invest more than a quarter of a billion pounds on new buildings in regeneration priority areas of London to keep innovation and creativity at the heart of the capital.”

Shakespeare Now – Latest UAL Costume Designs & ‘Shakespeare in the Park’:

For contrast, the latest Shakespearian costume designs from UAL show how Shakespearian costume design has changed over the last 70 years. The costume designs are from two UAL colleges: Central Saint Martins and Wimbledon College of Arts. These prestigious costume and theatre design courses have produced the likes of Jenny Beavan, Oscar winning costume designer for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Gasholder Park, King's Cross

Gasholder Park, King’s Cross

Joining events across the UK for Shakespeare 400, is ‘Shakespeare in the Park’; UAL Central Saint Martins’ production ‘Brave New World’, performed outside in the Gasholder Park in King’s Cross, London. The play takes a radical approach looking at the role of women in four of Shakespeare’s late plays by using only the acts which contain women. The 5 act play will be performed on 22 & 23 April by students from the prestigious MA Acting course which has produced stars such as Edward Holcroft, known for his role in Kingsman: The Secret Service and Wolf Hall.

Costume designs for this production are by Laura Albeck and Sonia Birman, Performance Design and Practice Students at Central Saint Martins.