30 Apr 2010

Francesca Gavin, Visual Arts Editor at Dazed& Confused, speaks to Fox&Squirrel

Converse and Dazed&Confused recognise the difficulties that face all young emerging artists from financial, to becoming recognised and to be represented by a gallery. The two have teamed up and are calling out all young to enter the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award (you can read more about the competition here).A panel of highly acclaimed judges that includes Sadie , Mark, Tom Morton, Isobel, Tim Marlow and Francesca Gavin will select three submissions. These three artists will exhibit their work at the Stephen Friedman Gallery besides winning a generous cash prize. We caught up with Francesca Gavin to find out more about the competition and her individual projects.

First of all please tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement in Converse/ Dazed Emerging Artists Award.

Among other things, I'm the Visual Arts Editor at Dazed & Confused. I work as a freelance art writer, curator and have written 3 books on art and design (the fourth, a survey of emerging artists, is out Jan 2011!). I put together the panel for the prize and am one of the judges. Its something I'm really passionate about - getting recognition when you haven't got a gallery is hard.

Your are interested in street art, which is recognised more and more as a form of art. What first fascinated you in street art?

Well it was a long time ago! My sister used to wander around London taking photographs of crumbling walls and disintegrating spaces - i used to come with, hold her camera bag and we'd began to see the first wave of street art emerge out of graffiti. At that time it felt really fresh - areas that are now gentrified were once covered in paste ups, images, stickers, graff. It made the spaces feel alive.[Francesca Gavin is author of Street Renegades: New Underground Art. Please click here for a review]

Favourite Street Artists? Favourite example of Street Art? and why?

I like work that veers closer to 'fine art' - more sculptural strange objects in the street rather than 2D images. Like Truth in Poland, Brad Downey. I'll always have a soft spot for Space Invader I think.

Although Converse/ Dazed Emerging Artist Award is open to all medium it does not include street art. Why so and is this fair on street artists?

The prize focuses on bringing attention to people that are not represented currently by galleries. But what art you make however is very open, so that's not true. Saying that we did have in mind to fill the gap in the art world left by Becks Futures etc. There's no award out there for younger fine artists and it can be very hard to get a gallery.

The call for artists claims that the competition's criteria is innovative work. As one of the judges how do you define innovative work?

Well not an obvious homage to another artist! I spend a lot of time looking at artwork - everyday in fact. As do all the other judges So its an instinctive process. You know if you've seen it all before. We're looking for innovation in approach, material, concept, style...

The involvement of mega brands in the arts has drastically risen in the past decade. At times this has received negative criticism what are your thoughts on this?

I agree in many cases it can feel contrived and abuses the artist's work. However I think Converse's involvement in this prize has been amazing as they are in no way impacting on the content of the work. It isn't about making art for a shoe or with a brand-friendly brief. They believe in supporting and nurturing new talent for its own sake and I think that has to applauded.

Each week a favourite submission is published on Dazed Digital. Have you had a look at some and have you already decided which ones are your favourite?

I'm really excited by all of then! The quality of work being submitted is brilliant. It would be rude to choose.

Image 1: Converse/Dazed& Confused Emerging Artists Award, Courtesy of Dazed Group

Image 2: Brad, Traffic for Berlin 2008, Museum, Germany,Urban detritus, gravity,Photo by Just,Courtesy of the Rik Reinking Collection. Image taken for Fox&Squirrel from Brad official website.

29 Apr 2010

Fox&Squirrel Interview Sentinel Productions

Sentinel Productions is a fast rising film production company. In less than two years their short films have made it to the the Cannes short film festival, Swansea Bay International Film Festival, just to name a few. Over a beer in Soho George Hamilton, director and founder of Sentinel Productions, let me shoot some questions at him. Read the following interview to find out more about his recent short film 'The Reward' and his latest collaboration with music sensation 'The Correspondents'.

Fox&Squirrel: First thing first, what do you do?
George Hamilton: I produce, direct and do a bit of writing...

F&S: What is Sentinel Productions?
G.H.: Sentinel Productions is a small production company that I set up and run with Lucy Patrick Ward (no hyphen in the name or she will kill me!) We have made a number of short films, and narrative fiction is our driving passion. We have also now moved into music videos, live gigs,we are shooting a bit of fashion and we are dabbling in the corporate pool also...
And to comply to the social media frenzy you can find us on facebook and follow us on twitter under SentinelPro.

F&S: You sound busy?

G.H.: Yes we are. Lucy and I both moved back from New York after three years and have re-launched Sentinel over in the UK. It has been a very exciting year so far and we have a lot of cool things happening.

F&S: So what shall we be watching out for?

G.H.: Well our latest short film 'The Reward' is just finishing up after a final sound mix... Have a a look at the trailer.

'THE REWARD' Trailer HD from Sentinel Productions on Vimeo.

F&S: You produced this?

G.H.:That is right. I produced it and Lucy directed it. It was a great short and Lucy did such a wonderful job, it is a lovely film. It was written by the playwright Joel Horwood when he was out in New York and so although in every way a New York film, the two leads, writer, director and producer were all English, which gives it a very interesting perspective.

F&S: Who were your cast?

G.H. Anatol Yusef plays Felix and Phoebe Waller- Bridge plays Charlotte. Both of whom are astounding actors.

F&S: Where are they and what are they up to at the moment?

G.H.: Anatol lives out in New York and is just in the process of finishing up shooting Scorcese’s new HBO drama ‘Boardwalk Empire’ playing Meyer Lansky (not to mention running his own theater company Fixitsolife).Phoebe lives in London and seems to be going from one great theater production to the next, as well running the innovative DryWrite [The Reward was produced in association with DryWrite]

28 Apr 2010

Felicities PR press event at Hoxton Factory

On Tuesday evening Fox&Squirrel were invited to Felicities Press event at the newly refurbished Hoxton Factory. We got there early to avoid the queue,to get up close and personal with all the garments, and to squeeze someinfo out of some of the designers. We also got to chat with the ever socharming Alison of Felicities PR who explained to us that the agencyprovides business support for all its designers besides PR services. Upon enteringthe venue we were greeted by a Shea Butter manicure stand; tempting as this was we decided against it. We knew wewould be going through racks of clothes and smudgy manicure isdefinitely tasteless.

First designer we scouted was Jakob Kimmie, currently in his 6th season. Jakob tells us that the woman he envisions is ostentatious but spiritual. He elaborates by telling us that he considers these to be states of mind and therefore his clothes need to adapt to fluctuating moods. At times these may be at polar opposites and indeed the piece we adored expressed this by drawing inspiration from Classic and Gothic styles.

26 Apr 2010

So- Young Cho

All images were provided by Ida Hajdari on behalf of So- Young Cho. Copying these without the permission of the artist, Ida or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

Ida Hajdari speaks to Korean Artist So- Young Cho

Ida Hajdari: Untitled text work (2009) works as well as it does partly because of the nature of the Korean language where the characters themselves and the way in which words are written seem to lend themselves so well to being seen like points of intersection in a grid. Have you considered doing a version of this work in English? Do you think this is possible at all?

So-Young Cho: There is an English translation of the work in progress (in fact I think the work could exist in any written world language). However the considerations behind an English translation or even other translations of the work are for me at the moment practical ones, as opposed to conceptual or aesthetic, since no audience in for example London or Paris would have access to it as I intended without some kind of translation or glossary. This is an interesting thing – the audience I mean.I take most things visually; and you’re right that Korean script (Hangeul) does make it easier to work in this way because of the nature of the system, and the visual aspects of the system. I was able to compact and contain lexical elements into this ‘grid’. I tried to make it compact and symmetrical like a grid or a map. Korean does allow me to do this more than say English. To an outsider (a ‘viewer’ of the work not a reader) it does appear more regulated aesthetically than it actually is at the level of the word. And this is more noticeable for them. They can’t read it, they can only look. The visual aesthetic must be raised for the non-Korean speaker and lowered, subordinated, for a Korean. I did think that anyone who came to it and could read Korean would literally read the whole thing before they would accept the whole image as ‘an image’, because they can understand the objects and know what they ‘look’ like. Obviously a non-Korean can’t do this; so they can’t read the diagrammatic aspect. Yes, it would make an interesting comparison to contrast Korean language audiences with non-Korean audiences. It is hard to imagine what a viewer might get at an interpretative level beyond or within the perceptive level if they had no idea what it was that they were looking at!So going back to the issue of translation – as a bilingual English-Korean speaker/writer I can say that the work will never really be the same, but it could still be valid. Each language has an ‘aura’; culture, politics, aesthetics, many things make it unique at a level of sense. Also I think the sound system can never be silenced; there is an inner voice. This is directly comparable to the visuality. This could be considered in parallel as the materiality or ‘music’ of an alien language in terms of audio. The pictorial elements of my first language do make this work very special I think, but everything has to be considered in the end. And as I said in the beginning, I never meant for this work to be translated, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be. Maybe it can’t be equal. It can’t be transferred. That’s the point.

24 Apr 2010

AFW - Day 4 - Tower Hamlets A Team Arts - Heritage Explorer & Fashion Anatomy - Photography by Venetia Alkema

Photographs were taken by Venetia Van Hoorn Alkema. Copying these without the persmission of Venetia or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

AFW - Day 4 - Thomas Lovegrove - Men's Sportswear Collection - Photography by Venetia Alkema

Photographs were taken by Venetia Van Hoorn Alkema. Copying these without the persmission of Venetia or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

AFW - Day 4- Alice Barcham - Inspired by The Sydney Opera House & Audrey Hepburn - Photography by Venetia Alkema

Photographs were taken by Venetia Van Hoorn Alkema. Copying these without the persmission of Venetia or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

AFW - Day 4 - George Strood - Experimental Knitwear - Photography by Venetia Alkema

Photographs were taken by Venetia Van Hoorn Alkema. Copying these without the persmission of Venetia or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

AFW - Day 4 - Alex Seroge Ignatian - Middle Eastern Influences & Ancient Persian Style - Photography by Venetia Alkema

Photographs were taken by Venetia Van Hoorn Alkema. Copying these without the persmission of Venetia or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

23 Apr 2010

AFW - Day 4 - University of Derby - Metallic collection - Photography by Venetia Alkema

Photographs were taken by Venetia Van Hoorn Alkema. Copying these without the persmission of Venetia or Fox&Squirrel is strictly prohibited.

21 Apr 2010

AFW - Day 2

Jojo & Lefteris Pr covered the first day of the AFW 2010. Today it was my shift. By some bizarre streak of fate I was left with no photographer, a blackberry that for some reason would not let me tweet needless to say I soon developed a banging headache. The idea of me shooting for the blog with a tiny camera was unthinkable. I rocked up to the show adamant that I was going to beg a photographer for some pics. Little did I know that I was going to meet a budding fashion designer documenting the event through her own lense. 
She is none other than 16 year old Charlie who believes that fashion is for everyone. She runs her own blog nofashionfortheold, the name is a slight oxymoron taking into account her beliefs about fashion. Never mind, what I am trying to say is watch this space - the kid has serious attitude and incredible talent!

AFW - Day 2 - Tanya Smith & "The Natural Look - A Trip to Kew Gardens" - Photography by Charlie Ashh

AFW - Day 2 - 4.2morrow "Ballett versus Armour" - Photography by Charlie Ashh

AFW - Day 2 - Charlie Chambers & "That Indie Look - Laundry Day" - Photography by Charlie Ashh

AFW - Day 2 - Kimberley Startup & "Come On Now Kimi, Grow Up - A Celebration Of Childhood" - Photography by Charlie Ashh