Friday, 23 November 2012

Lotta Jansdotter

One of the Surface Design group had arranged a visit to see Lotta Jansdotter's Studio and Shop in Brooklyn. Unfortunately Lotta couldn't be there as she was away with business however the shop manager was there to talk to us, answer any questions and talk us around the studio and shop.

The shop space was clean, fresh and had an exciting atmosphere, it was painted white so that all the colours and patterns of the products stand out from the bright white backgrounds. 

I really loved the simple and fresh patterns of her work, the patterns were bold, but also mixed nature and organic shapes with the bold shapes. I think my favourite pieces of work were the blue/teal collection (above). I really loved the colours, the mixture of blues and the clean white, with a mixture of bold shapes and organic shapes. 
I was really inspired by the way the work was presented in the shop, as I want to make things and put my designs onto products in the final year I got lots of inspiration and ideas from, as sometimes I think that it is difficult to place and arrange difficult objects like these, as sometimes it can become too over crowded and cluttered, making it look messy and unprofessional. However I really liked the mixture of objects on tables and then things on shelves above.  
The studio manager told us that because she creates things now on such a large scale that she no longer does all the printing herself instead it is done offsite, however if she is sampling or coming up with ideas then she will screen print herself. 

I found the studio to be really inspirational too, there was no real separation between the shop and studio, I thought that this was really interesting and something I have never really seen before, to this scale. I found it really sweet how her aprons, stamps and screens had been left out as if she had been working there only a few hours ago. 


Stephen Byram

Also on the first full day of New York we went to the house of Stephen Byram in Jersey. He was so welcoming and friendly letting us into his house, and to see some of his older works and some of his most recent works.
He has a variety of different styles and techniques, collage, line drawing and some abstract works, what I really found interesting was that a lot of his work has been used on CD covers, I thought that this would be an amazing feeling for an artist to see their work on a CD. He had placed some of his CD covers, posters and other works around his house for us to pick up and look at/through and didn't mind us taking photo's of his house and work. He said that in some ways he has moved on from the CD covers because they don't have the same feel to them any more because of the internet, downloading and iTunes, as the picture is so small and tiny on an iPod people don't care anymore or take the time to look and appreciate the work and attention that goes into music/album artwork.

His studio in the basement

In some of his more recent works he has moved onto 3D sculptures made from found objects and recycling materials and objects (mainly wood) to create something new and exciting. He seemed really excited and proud talking about his new works as they are so different and refreshing from his work for CD's. He calls himself a graphic designer, however he seems to have so many layers to his works, in some works he is definitely a graphic designer looking at typography, shape and layout, in some ways his works look like an illustrator and painter and then in others you can see the sculpture 3D elements in his creations, all really interesting and appealing.

The Invisible Dog/ Andre Da Loba

On our first full day in New York we got the subway to Brooklyn to visit the Invisible Dog Art Centre.   We were welcomed by Andre Da Loba, (one of the artist's who has a studio space there.)
We started by looking around the current exhibition, by the duo Steven and William. The Art Centre was an old factory/mill that use to make jewellery, and belt buckles, so when the Art Centre was made a lot of objects were left there, so many of the works were made by recycling this unused and found items. 

There were also some wonderful repeat patterns and drawings another room, (I think that they were by the same people, although they seem completely different from their other works). But as I am a surface designer they really caught my eye, because of the repeating patterns, the simple colours in the background, and that there were multiples of the same thing (my favourite). 

Andre Da Loba 

Once we had looked around the exhibition of Steven and William, we then went upstairs, in a huge old lift, which said 'Danger' all over it (not very reassuring), and went to see some of the artists studio's. A real privilege as I think that many artist's and designers are private and secretive when it comes to their studio spaces.
Andre's studio was amazing and inspiring filled with his work, objects and artefacts that he has collected over the years. What I found interesting was he about of colour and variety in his works, from 3D and sculpture to drawings and prints. I really made me think about my own studio space and how I should make full use of the amount of space I have while I am still at Stockport.
It has also made me think about the importance of a studio space and how it is a place where an artist can escape from their houses and bedrooms too, and it should be a place of randomness and artistic mess and chaos.

The works that I really liked was the prints/paintings of the houses and buildings, I thought that they were beautiful each once a different colour, shape and size. 

New York!

It has taken me a while to write this post, but I think that I have just about recovered from the amazing and thrilling and jet lagged experience of our last residential trip with Stockport College to New York, somewhere I have wanted to go since being young and seeing the Big Apple in films and photographs.

After a 16-17 hour journey from Manchester to London and then finally New York JFK airport we had arrived, we drove over a bridge to Manhattan and saw the wonderful, picture perfect famous skyline lit up and gleaming in the darkness.
It still doesn't even feel real that I have actually been there and tick it off my bucket list, I saw all the wonderful sights, Times Square, went to the top of the Rockefeller Centre, The MOMA, and The Metropolitan, went to Jersey, Brooklyn and Manhattan, all squeezed into four days. 

The trip was amazing and so eye opening to what life as an artist/designer can be like, I found all the advise we were given to be really useful and inspiring, and in some ways has made me more determined to become one myself, as I still don't have the confidence nor do I see myself as a designer yet. I found all of the artist's/designer's and people of New York to be so friendly, warm hearted and welcoming, (in some cases even letting nearly 30 students to have a nosey around their own house).
I would definatley love to go back in the future, however I don't think that it would be the same without Stockport College, all the hard work and organising, and the amazing studio's and people they had arranged for us to see and meet were so amazing and a once in a life time opportunity, that I will never forget.

The First Cut

Recently I went Manchester City Museum to see the new exhibition The First Cut, Paper at The Cutting Edge. In the first year we were given a project on manipulating and sculpting paper, and as most of the artists exhibiting were people I looked at for inspiration in the projects I thought it would be a good idea to see them in real life.

A lot of the pieces were dotted around and mixed in with the other exhibitions but most of the works were on the second floor. There was a mixture of massive pieces made from huge pieces of paper that covered the walls, to small butterflies that fluttered magically over the walls, and tiny, intricate sculptures made from a single piece of paper.  
The group of internationally well known artists include Rob Ryan, Su Blackwell, Claire Brewster, Peter Callesen, all with different styles and techniques of working. 

One of my favourites and an artist I have always looked towards for inspiration is Rob Ryan, who is a British artist specialising in paper cutting and also screen printing. All of his designs art very intricate and time consuming, all with amazing narratives and great story telling pieces. This piece was one of Ryan's largest paper cuts to date, measuring 1.5m x 3m. The about of time and detail in this piece is amazing, people were trying to figure out if it was multiple pieces of paper, or a single piece of paper.  

Another artist that I love the work of and have looked to in the past is Su Blackwell, again another artist who has amazing story telling and narratives in her imaginary and fairy-like pieces. My favourite piece was an a small box on the wall with a glass front, inside was a fairy tale like scene of a house lit up from the inside, and garden all made from an open book. I think that this is a wonderful piece of work because it was quite high on the wall children were asking their parents to pick them up so they could see, and then when they looked inside they were amazed by what they saw, and thought it was magical and beautiful. This piece manages to appeal to both children and adults because of the beautiful sculpture and story telling.  

I thought that this exhibition was wonderful because of the range of artists, different styles of work and range of techniques, all created from the same material... paper. I thought that the work was really imaginative and creative, and would love to go back and recommend it to everyone. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Guru/Graham and Brown Visit

Early on in the year we each had a meet up in college with a Guru we had been assigned with by the tutors, as they felt that they linked in with our work and would be a great way to get advice, tips and hear the stories of past students of Stockport College, and how they had successfully made a career in the art and design world.
Our guru was Phil who now worked at one of the biggest wallpaper companies in the UK, Graham and Brown, he showed us his portfolio, that was full of designs both recent and also things that he had done while in college and just when he had left. He also told us how he creates the wallpaper, from the initial brief and ideas right through to the finished product, and how difficult it is to get to the final outcome, as there are lots of different components to think about, for example, how much it would cost, if it would be too difficult and complicated to products on a large scale, and how picky some companies can be.
He also gave us some really good advice, to do as much work experience as possible, as you can learn a lot from them, from how to do repeat patterns, learn photoshop and illustrator and also CAD, as this is what they us to create the wallpapers and you would need these skills to get a job in the future.

A couple of months later we actually went to the Graham and Brown office/studio and factory where they design and make all the walloper for distribution, in Blackburn.
On the trip we were given a guided tour by Julian of both the offices/studios, where all the designers create the wallpapers, they showed us one of the briefs they were given, and told us that sometimes they can be very vague or very exact and particular depending on the client they are working for/with. Going to the studio also showed us how different designers work, some of them really like to get involved by getting a large piece of paper and sketching out their ideas and plans, or some work on a large sheet of tracing paper and draw small intricate designs, where as other designers go straight onto the computer and create their designs that way.
They also told us that they create and distribute the wallpaper all over the world and how each different country has different tastes and requirements, one designer was creating wallpaper for France and she said that they want simple, geometric patterns that are luxurious as they include metallics. They also said how they are moving into the Russian market as this has huge potential and is a great opportunity to widen their business even more and make it more global.
They told us how they are already designing for 2015, and they are forecasting trends and colour ways for the future.

The Office/Studio

They keep all the sample screens so they can go back to them in the future

The factory

Next we went over to the factory, I found it really interesting and was great to see how the artists design started and then moved on to the finished product, and how strange it must be fro the artist to see their finished wallpaper in the flesh. 
I was amazed by the size of both buildings and wouldn't expect such a large company to be right here in England.