Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Russian Constructivism

Last night I was watching a documentary on russian art towards the end of the tzarist regime. It reminded me how art isn't a separate entity, it is connected with it's surroundings politically, environmentally or psychoanalytically. I think we sometimes forget this, just seeing whats on the surface. Ok, there are genres of art that visually I'm not a fan but the more I look into it I can build a context to how it came about.
Beat the whites with the red wedge by El Lissitzky
I first was introduced to this type of art at uni, the above painting was my introduction. If I'm honest, I thought it looked a bit simple; the 'I could have done that' kind of reaction. But, as I learned -that was the exact reaction it was designed to give.

During the reign of the Tzars the russian people were living hand-to-mouth while the elite upper class spent to excess. The uprising wanted wealth to be shared equally amongst the masses; the communist revolution, represented in Lissitzky's painting by the red wedge. The style was simple, in opposition to the complicated styles and subjects representing the old ways. Colours and shapes were kept to a minimum, only what was necessary with no 'ornamentation'. This style was designed to remove the artists ego, the notion was, 'we are all in this together', no one person was more worthy than another. The message was that anyone could do it and everyone was necessary. Russian constructivist art strips everything down to the bare essentials, to the flesh and bones with no extras.
Shout out by Alexander Rodchenko
Much of the art came in the form of posters, rallying the cause. This poster combines photography and painting. The woman wearing the head scarf is a deliberate image; it shows her as a worker, one of the people. Another feature worth mentioning are the diagonal lines. A diagonal line shows movement, dynamism. This is a visual representation of the dynamic changes happening in Russia.

I'd forgotten how much I love Russian constructivism. I think it intrigues me because it's at this moment I was hit by how art can play a vital part in moulding a society, how it isn't just about pretty pictures completely unconnected with the outside world. Art is everywhere and has vibrant connections with all of us, in one way or another, we are all art.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


I've had a bit of a mooch on, I can spend hours on there but amazingly have never joined. I think I'm a bit scared of having my name out there on the web, but as I have a blog now I thought, in for a penny in for a pound and finally requested an invitation. It's such a good site just for surrounding yourself in ideas and inspiration. As an 'indoorsy' type such that I am, it feels good that the community is in my own home.

I have a bit of an obsession with birds, ever since boyf told me about the crow experiments done by Oxford University; setting them simple and more complex tasks to solve. Check them out, bloody amazing!
 I love maps and globes, I just think it's really cool to know where places are; places where I want to go and places that seem worlds away from where I sit. This was an idea for a project I saw online, I really can't wait to try it, we have these horrid chairs and laminated table we bought when we had no money but wanted to have a dining area so we could look civilized, it's the same theory I had when buying a 5 door over a 3 door car!
I really love this idea, I love samples anyway but this is a really simple, modern twist. MUST DO!
I think of this quote when I'm feeling really rubbish and useless. I was watching an interview on TV a few weeks ago with Henry Winkler, the 'Fonz' (of all people!) He was talking about a project he does with young people in schools, he said we all praise the top 10% of a class because they will be doctors or politicians but neglect the bottom 10% who may become builders or plasterers even though those jobs are equally important, I mean, I can't build a house any more than I can perform open heart surgery. I thought it was such a simple but powerful analogy.
As a creature, butterflies really gross me out but when drawn, painted or sculpted I just think they look so beautiful. Maybe it's what they represent; beauty, freedom, nature. Hmm, I think I'm in a particularly hippified mood today...
When I was a kid my sister and I tried to make a chicken-wire sculpture at the bottom of our garden, since then the medium has really intrigued me,
we also covered our sculpture in moss, leading nicely into this image; I love the connection between the mechanical and the earth. It reminds me how everything starts and ends in the dirt.
This is just a fun way to stylise trees, they are crafty little buggers to draw!
This is such a simple idea but looks really cool, all it is is a photo in a jar filled with olive oil, and how cool! I will have to gift one for someone!
How could you not think this looks pretty! Its all crochet I  believe... I wanna wrap my trees up for the cold weather!
Always remember, even in the darkest times. Life is what you make it, we are all beautiful!

Friday, 26 August 2011

food network

The food network uk has just started broadcasting on freeview from 6pm-10pm and I have to say I'm hooked. I can't describe what it is; all these 'lifestyle programmes' are so unbelieveably fake, but I'm hooked!

Nigella's bus turned out to be fake *shocker*
I was watching an episode of Nigella Express the other day where she had the ordacity to claim she gets on a BUS to work! I'm sorry Nigella, but if my shared fortune (with hubby Charles Sacchi) is an estimated £110million there's no frikkin' way I'd be getting bus; unless it was my own rock star-style tour bus - coated in gold and diamonds, driven by James Franco... and it flies. On another occasion she 'just whips up' some chocolate croissants for a BREAKFAST MEETING(?!) Keeping in with the scroats eh? I, for one, can't get enough of breakfast meetings(!) Why is it that some presenters make out they're salt of the earth one minute and completely contradict themselves in the next?

There-in lies the reason I love watching them - its car crash tv. Some celebrities are so far removed from reality that they really think 'plebs' like us would believe that they 'just pop to the shops' on the way back from the office. Its a total farce, a mockery - but boy is it addictive! True, I spend the majority of the shows talking to the screen (I'm getting sectioned shortly). Isn't that half the fun of TV? It's totally interactive when I'm watching!

Hey, don't judge - some people have the soaps, I have my food channel!

Thursday, 25 August 2011


I'm having one of my knitting phases at the moment, it seems to go in circles, knitting, crochet, sewing, drawing, photography, drawing, writing. All in some kind of order. I can't seem to do more than one at the same time; I think I'm a little obsessive about whatever I'm doing at that time and I can't concentrate on anything else. However the obsession can switch suddenly and I'll put the piece I'm working on down for months. I have real trouble finishing projects! You just have to look around my front room to see the remnants of my crochet phase. I'll get back to it I'm sure, but the joy will have gone out of it. Anyone else feel like that?

At the moment I'm working on a scarf; a work collegue showed me these lace knitting patterns that she couldn't get to grips with and asked if I could figure them out. I liked the look of the pattern so I have now 'adopted' them. Initially doing the swatch I didn't find them that difficult to follow but when I started a bigger item every time I finished the 4th row I'd picked up 4 stitches somewhere. I kept reading the pattern and counting the stitches (full of increases and decreases), it all made sense but whenever I did it there came these four stitches, aargh! So I decided to use my HUGE needles to try and work it out and when I started I really liked the big loops and I got this cool pattern. Thinking of giving it to my (twin) sister for our birthday in October. It's not completed yet but I couldn't resist taking a photo, what do you think?
Framing was never my strong point

I've gone for alternating 16 rows cellular stitch with 16 rows stocking stitch.

Cellular stitch: Units in any number of stitches
Row 1: (wrong side) Purl
Row 2: K1, *K under the horizontal strand before the next st, K1, pass the made st over the K1*

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Laugh Hard

I was watching Tim Vine on TV last night. When I first saw Tim Vine I thought he was super unfunny, but then he was presenting a game show on the first night of broadcast on channel 5. I hate game show hosts even more than I hate gameshows; I'm yet to see one who doesn't make me want to gouge my eyeballs out - it would be less painful than seeing another frikkin' smarmy, nicey, orange oxygen breather. (Rant over) But I've since seen him doing stand up and ok (I'm man enough to admit I was wrong) he was misrepresented; he's really funny. He does one liners mainly, so by law of averages you have to hit a few winners. Anyhoo, I thought I'd share this clip with you. P.S, if you haven't seen Tim Vine then youtube him.

Seeing as we're doing funny clips, this one made me cry when I first saw it:


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Fo' Shiz

This made me crack a smile, I'm thinking of making my brother one for his house; he lives in this apartment in Austria thats decorated really classically and tastefully. It needs a bit of tweeness and a sense of humor won't go amiss...

Finding my voice

I am endlessly aware that my posts are all truly dull and needlessly long, I'm just trying to find something interesting to say. I think at the moment I'm being prolific with my writing because I'm trying to find my voice. Seriously, if someone was to tell me I would be as yawn-inspiring as this I would have thought they were just being a dick! I honestly thought I had more to say for myself - I mean, I make myself laugh, right?

Am I trying to be someone I'm not? Ya know, saying things that I can't make flow because I'm not really that into them? Or is it just because I'm new at thins kinda thing? Really, I recon its a mix of the two (and who knows - I probably am quite dull really!) I'm writing just for writings sake, not because I have anything interesting to say. I know, right? As if I don't have anything interesting to say?! But seriously folks, about this voice thing...

Is it best that I just 'power through' with the crap shiz of should I leave it until I have more idea about what to say? I initially thought this would be a great place for me to put my ideas down and 'show my wares'. I still think thats what it will be, the problem being that I'm putting too much emphasis on getting something- anything, down and not giving myself time to really think about what I'm putting.

I guess that decides it then, I'm gonna chill out about getting something new down on the page and wait until I have something to show for myself or something to say. The idea to take photos I had a few days ago seemed like a good one at first, but I didn't give myself time for it to grow, I thought I should put something new on, keep the page fresh and all.

I'm gonna try to speak the way my head speaks as well I think. At least until I see that it is all mangled nonsense, it'll give me a flow at least anyhoo. So, so long for now. Back when I have a better idea of what to say.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Those were the best days of my life...

I saw this picture on the internet a few months ago it made me chuckle. I don't know about you but I have an inner dukebox of songs that play over and over, there's not a moment when I don't have a song in my head.

I often think of all the useful things from school I could have kept onto if I didn't have the lyrics to Brian Adams "Summer of '69", maybe Trig wouldn't have been so hard to grasp. It pains me to admit, but when I hear 'Got my first real six-string...' I know I'm going to be singing along, like it or not. And obviously I find Brian Adams intolerable, who doesn't for goodness sake?! I guess that goes to show how bland he is...

Friday, 19 August 2011

Dear me!

I suppose I can't in any way call today the day from hell, I just feel exhausted! There's a whole shake-up with work which we had a consultation meeting about today after shift for two hours. I guess I'm not feeling negative about it, I could become redundant at the end of it but to be honest I think the service needs the shake up and its for the greater good. But anyway, I shan't bore you all with work issues. I think because I work in a 24/7/365 industry when I do eventually have a weekend off it becomes even more precious. Today my mind wanted to clock off at 2.30 but here I am at half 6 having just got back. Anyhoo - that was just the background to todays photo, I've posted it on facebook as well to show my solidarity to my collegues.

BTW, that photo in the frame behind is my chameleon, Doc. I know - the frame is hideous but theres a story behind it. We got given it as a holiday present (maybe as a joke?) but now we have it. We were looking for a picture to match it's *ahem* charming qualities, so when we got Doc it just made sense - garish animal, garish frame.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

does my bum look big in this?

This was right at the end of the day, I was doing the sleep over at work and I was wiped out (much as I am now - 24 hours at work is evil, especially for 2nd day in a row). I was covertly trying to take a photo without being heard, its more of a stealth photo on the run. My dress was from primark a couple of years ago, still going strong! Leggings from Tesco and my shoes (love my shoes - they have that clonky sound when you walk on hard floors but are still flats) they're from New Look. If only I could hold a camera straight...

and today... I can't do those 'model' poses that other people do (believe me, I tried - to no avail), I think I'm to self conscious so I've gone with the trying-to-hard-to-be-cool-looking-up shot, eek - less said the better methinks. BTW, that headband was made by my own fair hands. I'm totally in to headbands ATM, so easy to whip up in a short time and you can be wearing them the same day. Awesome-o! You can just see my chameleon's travel cage in the background - I'll get a pic of him for tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Getting Started

So I've been thinking about how this 'quest for creativity' is going to start and I did what any sane person wanting knowledge would do- ask google. And what I came up with is that I have to mix it up a little bit; get out of the funk that I'm in, doing the same things, seeing the same people and going to the same places. I guess thats where this blog comes in - if I can document what I plan to do then I have written evidence and I can't get away with talking about it anymore.

And now I'm out of ideas, perhaps I should just look for opportunities where I would usually do one thing and try doing something else - boyf said that I am the least spontaneous person he knows, which could possibly be true, I'm a bit of a control freak about knowing what EXACTLY is going to happen and I completely stress out about not having a plan or feeling like I don't know something; I even hate being surprised by nice things like christmas presents! I know, I'm a freak...

I think everythings connected, how you feel in yourself, how healthy you are, what you do. If you change one thing then the rest will follow, theres gotta be something in that. So thats what I plan to do, I can document how I get on and see if its working. In the meantime I recon I need to set myself a challenge; I'm going to go somewhere and take a photograph each day, it could be of anything but it should be different. I'll check back in a few days to see how its gone - it may be a completely crap idea that goes nowhere but I can think of something else...
cya soon

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

honest to blog..?

I watched Banksy's Exit through the Gift Shop the other day;

The basic synopsis is a guy, Thierry Guetta, videos everything, goes on holiday to see his cousin who is a graffiti artist and follows him around. He then gets into the graffiti scene and filming other artists and decides this is what he's going to film about from now on. He finds Shepard Fairey and follows him around for a bit and later finds Banksy and follows him around for a bit, eventually he decides to make a documentary from his footage, but his finished documentary is rubbish, Banksy asks to take over the documentary and suggests Thierry goes off and tries a bit of graffiti and maybe puts on a little show (he has previously been inspired to try graffiti for himself). The rest of this documentary is Thierry going completely overboard with this task, selling all his things and buying a studio, hiring graphic designers, set builders, artists to create the ideas he comes up with. He hypes up this show to the LA art scene and they go crazy for it, its a huge success (footfall wise) but those who work for him and whom he followed before all lose respect for him as he doesn't seem to understand the art, its just about the money and the specticle; to them he seems a joke, clueless.

In my opinion its a fake. I can kinda see how it could almost be real, there may be some nutters who would behave like Thierry but I recon it was Banksy making a metaphor about what the graffiti/street art scene has become; all hype and no foundations. The footage of graffiti artists seems pretty thin on the ground, judging that it says he spent eight years following graffiti artists and it seems mostly to be Shepard Fairey and Banksy. The Andy Warhol style factory he sets up and Thierry's whole look and attitude is cliched to the extreme, think of a typical artist and this is what you will see. The whole body of work looks completely like a lazy set designers idea of what 'a lot of modern art' would look like, it has no theme other than, 'that piece is bright, lets copy that.' It just looks fake to me.

Having said that, I did like the documentary. It was kinda fun initially trying to find out if it was real or fake and it shows footage of loads of graffiti being created. Thierry is an interesting guy to watch - whether he's for real or not.

All in all, if I was gonna watch a 'mocumentary' I'd watch this ten times over before I'd watch 'I'm Still Here' again!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

My *narrow* body of recent work

First Post

As this is my first post and I'm fairly new to the whole blogging thing I'll try to keep this short and sweet. I'm making a blog primarily because I'm curious but also because I'd like a space to showcase what I like, what I do and what inspires me.

I love art, I studied it for 5 years and lost my love but I'm trying to get back on the right track. I just like creating things, be it 'art' crafty things or food; anything really. This blog initially is for me to try and find my artistic self again so pretty much I'm just writing for myself, which is good because I'm fairly dull and I can't see anyone else wanting to read it. I understand blogs are essentially narcissistic endevours but I've come to the conclusion that we are all on some level narcissists, be it internal or external, so I'm just going to power through my negativity because some self-awareness can be a good thing. Anyway, lets not listen to me prattle on about things I don't understand; as it is only me reading this I'll probably never read it again. So, objective announced (I think), lets get to it...