Until 18th November there is a fabulous pop-up exhibition called Urban Masters at Factory 7 in Shoreditch (13 Hearn Street, EC2A 3LS). The exhibition, organised by The Opera Gallery, showcases street and urban art by some of the greats, including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Blek le Rat, C215, Sweet Toof, ROA and Ron English, to name just a few of the 33 artists involved. Urban Masters attempts to capture the feelings and experience of the artists who were invited to give their personal interpretation on the marks left by art history-makers. Proceeds from the show’s catalogue go to Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest human rights organisation.
Here are some of my favourite pieces in the exhibition:
Here’s a video of the exhibition’s installation and opening night:
Despite my general dislike of exhibitions of street art in galleries, I’m always curious to see if it can work and was quite excited to hear that Paul DON Smith had an upcoming exhibition. I’ve been a fan of DON’s work for a long time now, and walked to the gallery yesterday with my fingers crossed, hoping he wasn’t going to let me down.
I needn’t have worried. Although DON’s work on the streets often works because of the location or surface, his art work is actually perfect for the gallery too. DON paints the most outstanding portraits, and his work really is the kind of art I would want to buy and hang on my walls.
DON’s famous ‘Banker’ image was also in abundance in the gallery…
As well as DON’s usual portraits, there was also a series of star sign themed pieces, with small lights inserted in them:
I prefer his portraits but I can see how these pieces could be popular.
The centrepiece of the exhibition was this curious cupboard which I just couldn’t stop peering in…
I’m not quite sure what the meaning of this piece was, and felt a little self-conscious in the tiny gallery staring into it on my own, but I loved looking at it. I wonder if this is what it looks like inside DON’s head…
My only criticism of the exhibition would be that there wasn’t enough space. I’d love to see DON’s work spread out a little more in a slightly bigger space, like perhaps the Pure Evil gallery or Stolen Space. But other than that – wonderful! DON is one of the hardest working street artists I know of, and he never disappoints.
In November 2010 I participated in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Now, two years later, I’ve decided to have another go. My 2010 novel hasn’t seen the light of day since I finished it, but finishing it was actually the main achievement. If I read it back now I would probably cringe at how badly written it is, but that doesn’t matter, because NaNoWriMo is all about putting that inner editor to one side and bashing out 50,000 words. Yes, 50,000 words – that’s about 1,667 a day for 30 days.
This time round though, I’m intending to write something that could actually be commercial. I have an idea forming which may not make me the next Elizabeth Gilbert/Helen Fielding/Candace Bushnell/[insert name of favourite chick-lit author here], but it might actually be something that people want to read.
So, from November 1st until November 30th I shall be tapping out my story which is provisionally titled ‘The Shizuka Tea Shop‘. Keep an eye on the counter to the right of this blog to see my word count progress… and wish me luck! 😉
Every time I’ve come across a piece of Pablo Delgado’s art on the streets I’ve felt excited, because it’s like discovering secrets. His work is tiny, and so easy to miss, which is such a contrast to a lot of street art which seems to be about being bigger and better than the last piece. When I heard that Pablo Delgado was going to be having an exhibition at the Pure Evil Gallery on Leonard Street I wasn’t sure if it would work. I like his art because I have to discover it, so I wondered if having it presented to me in a gallery would take away some of the magic.
I needn’t have worried.
Pablo Delgado’s exhibition is wonderful. In the ground level part of the gallery the work is nicely presented and fun to look at – I love these monkeys:
And the display in the window is pretty cool:
There are cardboard boxes scattered around the exhibition – make sure you look inside them!
But it’s not until you step downstairs into the basement that the fun really begins.
It’s like stepping into a magical world where little people really exist, and they’re everywhere.
A lot of the work retains the feeling of being on the streets, but there are also pieces in different styles, which work perfectly in a gallery. Like these people in vases of water:
And these wonderful reflection pieces:
I was quite fascinated by this dark room containing people in illuminated jars, too:
Delgado has used the gallery space really well, playing to the rough, urban style of the small space and its exposed brickwork. This isn’t an exhibition that would necessarily work in a big, shiny gallery like the Tate Modern, but it seems perfect for the space it’s in.
Pablo Delgado is at Pure Evil Gallery, 108 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4XS until 28th October. For more information visit: pureevilclothing.com. It’s so good, I might go back for seconds…
For seven days in a row I have found something new to try, and it hasn’t been too difficult. This has been a fun challenge because it’s just made me a lot more mindful of what I’m doing with my time, and made me think about how easy it is to fall into ruts and routines. I also discovered that trying new things doesn’t necessarily cost any money, and you can have a lot of fun for free.
Today’s ‘something new’ was a new recipe, because I had the day off and felt like baking. I have lots of recipe books, but I decided to search online for something new, and I found this wonderful Hairy Bikers recipe for Skinny lemon cupcakes with drizzly icing on the BBC website.
My oven is playing up a bit at the moment, so these cupcakes are far from perfect, but they taste GOOD! They have blueberries in them, and lemon icing, which makes them fresh and fruity, and I’m sure they make some small contribution to my ‘five a day’. 😉
This evening was spent doing something I have certainly never done before, so today’s new thing was…
Watching guys get their legs waxed for charity!
My company decided to have a sponsored leg wax for the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, and four of the lads stepped up to sacrifice their hairy legs all in the name of a good cause. Amazingly, no one screamed or cried, but there were a couple of whimpers.
Well done guys!
If you’re feeling generous and would like to sponsor them, there’s a JustGiving page right here.
Today’s ‘something new’ was something which I’m sure a lot of people find very easy, but it’s something I find very hard:
I like plans and organisation, and I’m really bad at being spontaneous, as all of my friends will testify. When I wake up in the morning, I like to have a fair idea of how my day will go and what time it will end. I like to know if I’m dressed appropriately for the activities that might crop up, and have planned my meals and the contents of my handbag accordingly. I know that might all sound very boring, but I just don’t gel with spontaneity.
Now, to some, what I did today might not seem all that spontaneous, but believe me it was…
At lunch time today I suddenly decided it would be nice to meet my mum after work and treat her to a coffee. It’s my first full pay day of my new job, and I wanted to mark the occasion. My mum was working in London today, so it seemed like a good chance for a catch up. A few short emails later and it was arranged.
When it came to leaving work on time to go and meet her, naturally, sudden issues came up and I was delayed. Then I had to wait ages for a Circle Line train to come at Liverpool Street Station, but in the end I got to Embankment and we went to Starbucks for a chai latte and a bit of cake.
It was really nice. 🙂
The big bonus of working in Shoreditch is that I get to pop out to exhibitions in my lunch break. Today I visited The Gallery at 50 Redchurch Street to see the new Ross Watson exhibition.
I have to confess, the main reason I wanted to visit this exhibition was to see one picture – the crowning glory of the exhibition:
The wonderful Stephen Fry is, of course, the star of this picture. The ‘King of Twitter‘ (with 4,822,845 followers at the time of writing), sits clutching his iPad with an intriguing expression on his face. Has he been interrupted while composing a Tweet? Or is he thinking about the scene behind him, in which a young girl receives a letter she most probably had to wait weeks for. In this spectacular picture, Watson makes a comment on today’s technology, and the way in which we are now communicating. Fry, in his eyes alone, adds his own thoughts.
If this had been the only good picture in the exhibition I wouldn’t have minded but, as it turned out, they were all absolutely gorgeous! Here’s a selection:
I do heartily recommend checking out the exhibition for yourself though, if you’re in the area, as the pictures look even better in real life.
Ross Watson was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1962. He has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions since 1984, including important surveys of Australian and international contemporary art at the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, and in the Toronto and Melbourne International Art Fairs.
Today’s ‘something new’ was easy to find as it was waiting for me on an empty Tube seat:
Yes, from today, Time Out London magazine has become a free publication, handed out at train stations during the daily commute. I have, of course, read Time Out before, but it’s a new initiative to make the magazine free. I suppose sales must have been down due to the large amount of content available on their website, and also because of the other free publications which are available in London.
I have to admit though, I’ve never really liked the format of Time Out magazine. I quite like their website, and love the weekly emails highlighting free things to do in London and advertising competitions, but I’ve always found the magazine a bit of a waste of money. So, does being free make it any better? For me, no. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’m prone to a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out), so adding another free publication advertising things to do in London to my already growing pile is actually a really bad thing for me. Every day I can pick up the Metro and Evening Standard, and then once a week I find Stylist and Shortlist thrust into my hands. Sometimes other free magazines like aMuse Magazine pop up too. All of them have online versions as well as paper versions, and all of them are bursting with far too much information and more “things to do” than any human could ever possibly fit in. It’s exhausting!
So, after flicking through my new, free copy of Time Out, I recycled it, and decided not to bother picking it up again. Along with all of these…
My other new thing today is to try to put myself first a bit more. I was supposed to go to a talk tonight, which no doubt would have been interesting, but I wasn’t feeling great and I wanted to go home, eat something warming (veggie sausages, homemade oven chips and Baked Beans!) and blog, so I did. I need to learn that I and only I make my decisions, and I mustn’t feel like I’m under any obligation to do things if I decide I don’t want to do them.
The ‘Something New Every Day Challenge’ is going well so far. I’ve decided to try to keep it up for 7 days, and then after that it will just be as and when I can, as it will become too much to post every day (especially with November and NaNoWriMo coming up…). So, 3 days to go…
I knew it was going to be much harder to find new things to do on work days, and the pouring rain today didn’t help, but I still managed to find something! Today’s new thing was:
Smiling while commuting
Everyone hates commuting, right? Especially if you’re stuck on a crowded train with your face in someone’s armpit, an elbow in your ribs, and someone else’s free newspaper grazing your boob. Commuting really gets me down, and I feel like I have this big black cloud over me all day because I know I have to get back on the damned train again after work to go home.
But I have no choice. I can’t afford to live in Zone 1, therefore I must commute, and I must use public transport because I can’t ride a bike and wouldn’t cycle that far anyway! So, today I decided to try to find a way to smile while commuting.
Generally it’s the other people on the commute that get my goat, so I figured I would have to form a bubble around myself and fill it with things that made me happy. The easiest way I know to do this is with music. I often listen to a bit of Lady Gaga on the way to work, but I decided to try something new today… something which was guaranteed to make me smile…
Comedy. Or, more specifically, comedy music. 😀
Here’s an example of something that made me smile inappropriately on the Tube today:
Please note: If you try smiling while commuting your fellow commuters may glance at you suspiciously and think you rather strange, but it shouldn’t matter because you will be in your own little comedy bubble, oblivious to their grumpy moods. The only people I am allowing into my bubble with me at the moment are the gorgeous Tim Minchin, the hilarious Victoria Wood, the ridiculous Bill Bailey and perhaps a little Monty Python.