Thursday, 29 January 2015
In simple terms, it was fantastic.
I've always been a huge fan of Parr's work so to get to see a collection of images which focus on an area that I have an affinity to, was a pure delight.
The images are funny, touching, charming and instantly relatable. By focusing on the everyday, they manage to cover a huge range of the area's society. From pigeon fanciers and vegetable growers, to football fans, hairdressers and church-goers, Parr's ability to capture the everyday, the mundane and reflect this back at the viewer is a tremendous skill which is at the core of his appeal.
I also sat and watched a 20 minute documentary created by Parr on Teddy Gray's Sweet Factory in Dudley. It's an amazing insight into a business which has been using the same methods of business and production for generations. A family-run business to this day, it has, so far, managed to avoid using digital means for ordering and production. The film focused on the people within the business as well as the traditional methods used to create the sweets. The people showed themselves to be charming, devoted and passionate about what they do while the intricate and precise way they go about making the sweets is utterly mesmerising (the rock in particular!).
The New Art Gallery in Walsall is a fantastic space and all the staff and volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful, long may it continue exhibiting shows such as this one.
Black Country Stories will next be exhibiting at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 23re May to 22nd August. I urge you to get down there.
Friday, 14 March 2014
Me and the missus went to see John Cooper Clarke at Letchworth Arts Centre earlier this month and were treated to a fantastic night of performance poetry. I've been a massive fan of John Cooper Clarke since I heard 'Evidently Chickentown' on the ending of the penultimate Sopranos episode.. Thankfully he was as funny, enigmatic, effortless, professional, and as cool as my high expectations had expected.
The Letchworth Arts Centre venue was tiny so you really felt you were witnessing a treat in such an intimate environment. This feeling was made even better by the support acts, Mike Garry & Luke Wright who were equally as awe-inspiring as Johnny. Particular highlights for me were Mike Garry's eulogy for his mother 'What me Mam Taught Me' who had passed away the previous year; a truly heartfelt yet uplifting piece. Luke Wright's 'Houses that used to be Boozers' and his poem for his son Sam were also incredible pieces of work.
To portray this night visually, I've decided to chuck in a few videos that show the men themselves.
First off, here's one of my favourite John Cooper Clarke poems, the alliteration masterpiece, 'The Pest'
...next is Mike Garry's 'God is a Manc'
...and finally, Luke Wright's 'The Company of Men'
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
The wife and I decided to make a post-Christmas visit to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour and, I'm pleased to say, it surpassed the high expectations I'd placed upon it.
The section I was most looking forward to was the graphic props that I'd seen were produced by a duo called MinaLima. I'd seen that they had exhibited the work earlier last year at The Coningsby Gallery so was very much looking foraward to examining the work in detail.
Although the graphics section was a tad on the small side (one large glass cabinet), I managed to spend a large portion of my day in front of it generally staring, taking photos and obstructing people's view.MinaLima (Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima) have been working on the franchise since the very first film ao have spent over 10 years working on one of the best projects you could imagine. Since meeting on set, they've forged the partnership of MinaLima and continue to produce some beautiful work. The astounding thing about the Harry Potter work is the extremely high level of detail the props hold. You can see that each element has been carefully researched, extremely well executed, and matches it's place in teh Harry Potter World perfectly. The range of styles is huge which, as a designer, is a challenge to master. The work exumes a passion for the work that is clearly evident in every tiny detail.
As a designer, and Harry Potter fan, I can not begin to explain the levels of jealousy I hold for this work. I read a comment on the Creative Review Blog that it's a great university project that has lasted 10 years; I can relate to that. It genuinely is a dream job and is worthy of that classic phrase "I wish I'd done that".
Tuesday, 4 February 2014
As it's nearly been a year since my last post, I think it's time I start blogging again.
Here's a quick video of one of my favourites photographers, Martin Parr, talking about one of his main inspirations Tony Ray-Jones. They is still an exhibition entitle 'Only in England' displaying at The Science Museum which I'm hoping to pay a visit to this month.
If you like the art of the everyday, in particular old people at the seaside then give it a watch.
Friday, 8 February 2013
The Last Stand are an extremely powerful set of images which exude a melancholic and mesmerising aura. These physical artefacts of war that are now buried into the landscape are an eerie reminder of a previous chapter to the environment they are now found.
As well as all this underlying feeling to the images, they're simply a great set of photographs and I think the they do a grand job of showing their quality without me rambling on about them so here you go…
You can see more of Marc's photography at his website
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Excuse me for gushing on this one but earlier this month I stumbled upon some work on the creative review blog that surprised and delighted me in equal measure. It appeared that my beloved football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, had made it to the illustrious pages of creative review through a re-brand and stadium overhaul by the Machester based creative agency, Raw.
The building of the new Stan Cullis stand begun last year and as part of this process Raw were asked by Wolves to develop a consistent brand approach as well as super-graphics and wayfinding throughout the stadium.
Generally, Wolverhampton isn't associated with the type of work that appears on creative review - There aren't many skinny jeans, fixie bikes or spectacles to be seen as you tootle around the ring road - which explains where the above mentioned surprise and delight stemmed from. Working within the design world myself, I know how difficult it is to find clients who have the creative vision and trust in a design team to create this type of project. For this I can't applaud the team at Wolves highly enough.
Equal praise also goes to the folks at Raw for perfectly executing a well designed, beautiful looking and well researched project. They got under the skin of the club and more importantly the people of Wolverhampton. This gives the work a reason, some context, and, most importantly, a soul. They then presented this using sophisticated typography, colour usage and icon design.
As well as this, the imagery plays a huge part in the project so hats off to the folks at SM2 Studio for their part. For me, the photography captures the buzz of a matchday, the tiny details that make up a football club, and the eccentricities of the people that pay their money every week.
For many (me included), this would be the dream job. You may expect a brief like this from one of the big clubs in Manchester, Liverpool, or London but the fact it was created and inspired by the people of Wolverhampton and executed by an agency in top form, makes it all the more special.