CR Blog http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog News and views on visual communications from the writers of Creative Review Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:16:31 +0000 http://www.creativereview.co.uk/ en http://www.creativereview.co.uk/layout/img/crlogo_small.gifCR Blog     http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog1616 Jacob Dahlgren art for the Royal London hospital http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/jacob-dahlgren-royal-london http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/jacob-dahlgren-royal-london#feedback Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:29:00 +0000 Mark Sinclair http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79493

A new artwork by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren was recently unveiled at the dental hospital at the Royal London. It's one of the latest commissions from Vital Arts, the Barts Health NHS Trust organisation that aims to improve the hospital environment for patients and staff...

]]>

Photo: Joe Clark

A new artwork by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren was recently unveiled at the dental hospital at the Royal London. It's one of the latest commissions from Vital Arts, the Barts Health NHS Trust organisation that aims to improve the hospital environment for patients and staff...

The piece, which is Dahlgren's first UK commission, is an abstract, three-dimensional structure made from painted lines and powder-coated metal rods. Entitled Constructing a New World, the artwork was fabricated by Luke Morgan at Supergroup London.

Photo: Joe Clark

Photo: Joe Clark

Dahlgren has worked on a hospital commission before – in 2010 he applied paint and vinyl to the elevator doors over seven floors of the UMAS building in Malmö in Sweden.

Of the new commission for the dental hospital at the Royal London, Vital Arts claim that "This dynamic commission aims to help improve the hospital environment for both patients and staff.

"Over one million people attend the six hospitals within our trust each year, looked after by 15,000 members of staff. We see these important civic spaces as ideal places to introduce a new audience to contemporary art."

More on Vital Arts at vitalarts.org.uk; Dahlgren's site is jacobdahlgren.com.

Photo: Joe Clark

Photo: Joe Clark

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79493
Silk Pearce mark 15 years at Aldeburgh http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/aldeburgh-music http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/aldeburgh-music#feedback Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:57:00 +0000 Creative Review http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79489

Design studio Silk Pearce has worked with the Aldeburgh Music festival for 15 years: a landmark celebrated in an exhibition of images of the area's distinctive landscape

]]>

Design studio Silk Pearce has worked with the Aldeburgh Music centre for 15 years: a landmark celebrated in an exhibition of images of the area's distinctive landscape

River Alde

 

Long-term clients are often those for whom design studios do their best work – the build up of mutual trust and the ability to develop ideas over time lends itself to bodies of work that both designer and client can look back on with pride. Which is very much the case with Silk Pearce and Aldeburgh Music in Suffolk, the organisation which stages performances, educational programmes and the Aldeburgh Festival at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, the venue made famous by Benjamin Britten.

 

Coastal Lookout

 

Dovecote and Maltings

 

In addition to creating all the season brochures for Aldeburgh Music since 1999 (over 60 in total), the team's design work has included: Aldeburgh Music's corporate identity, fund-raising literature, websites, signage schemes and promotional campaigns, including that for the 2013 Britten centenary celebrations.

 

Full Moon over Aldeburgh

 

Silk Pearce at Aldeburgh Music, which opens at Snape Maltings on August 1, will feature prints of some of the most memorable images created by Peter Silk and Rob Steer of Silk Pearce for the Festival's seasonal brochures over the last 15 years.

 

Concert Hall lawn

California Dreaming of Snape

 

Bats Above the Reeds

 

Avocet

 

Aldeburgh Beach Shelter

 

The exhibition is timed to coincide with Snape Proms (1 to 31 August, except Monday 18) and is open from 2pm until the end of each evening performance. Details here

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79489
Six Great New Music Videos http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/six-great-new-music-videos http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/six-great-new-music-videos#feedback Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:15:00 +0000 Eliza Williams http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79450

Looking to pass the time until the weekend? What better way than to catch up on some great new music videos – here are six of our recent faves.

]]>

Looking to pass the time until the weekend? What better way than to catch up on some great new music videos – here are six of our recent faves.

First up is a comedy crime caper for Duke Dumont's new track Won't Look Back, directed by Tim Main, which features a gang of masked arm robbers making a getaway on pogo sticks, while being chased by cops on segways. Lovely stuff.

Director: Tim Main; Production company: Friend.

For those of you growing tired of twerking, I'm afraid the dance style shows no sign of disappearing just yet. Two of our videos this week are centred on the shaking derrière – first up is this promo for Basement Jaxx track Never Say Never, directed by Saman Kesh. Set in a Japanese factory, the film envisions a world where humans no longer dance. Their remedy? The 'twerk-bot'. Production company: Skunk.

Our second twerk-based vid is this film from director and animator Maxime Bruneel for Diplo + Swick's track Dat A Freak, which features a series of animated dancers getting on down. Production company: Chez Eddy. UK/US rep: Not To Scale.

A change of pace with our next promo, which is a beautiful stop motion animation created by Simon Roberts for the song Sirens by Flight Brigade.

We return to the dance in this promo, directed by Oliver Hadlee Pearch, which features a slightly unlikely couple busting out moves to Jungle's track Time. The video is the latest in a series by Pearch for Jungle. Production company: Colonel Blimp.

Our last video is an intense one: a beautifully shot film by Martin de Thurah, it is created for the new Röyksopp and Robyn track Do It Again. The film, which is all black-and-white, is a dream-like piece featuring scenes of violence, political revolution, and sex, as well as Robyn throwing her arms around. Production company: The Lift.

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79450
Talent Spotters: Arts University Bournemouth http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/talent-spotters-arts-university-bournemouth http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/talent-spotters-arts-university-bournemouth#feedback Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:34:00 +0000 Justin Barrow http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79465

As part of our Talent Spotters series of degree show reviews, Justin Barrow, art director and founder of Supreme design and branding agency, selects his favourite projects from the Arts University Bournemouth BA Visual Communication degree show...

]]>

As part of our Talent Spotters series of degree show reviews, Justin Barrow, art director and founder of Supreme design and branding agency, selects his favourite projects from the Arts University Bournemouth BA Visual Communication degree show...

 

I am always excited to see what's happening at the BA Visual Communication degree show at the Arts University Bournemouth and this year's graduates didn't disappoint. Aptly named Fridgeworthy, the students showcased a great mix of graphic design, photography, illustration and printmaking and highlighted that the future world of design is in safe hands!

 

The 12th Man by Stephen Flagg combines his love for football and visual communication and gives insight in the many layers of under-represented fan characteristics and reflects 'true fans' in a positive manner, through playful typography and familiar tactical image-making.

 

Lewis Bartlett's By Hand project is a celebration of the beauty of print, displayed though a series of posters and print plates, that showcase traditional print techniques such as relief printmaking and foil blocking, and highlight how these processes converge with new technologies.

 

Aizzah Hanis' Angry Grrrls Club Feminist zine and posters creates a space for every girl and woman in Brunei to express their thoughts and feelings about being a girl and a woman in a traditional society. Each illustration is based on the personal writings and thoughts of girls and women from Brunei and the style of illustrations reiterate the freedom that Hanis so strongly discussed within the zine.

 

The Farrant Avenue Project by Oliver Purrsey is a photo-documentary of his family's experience of community street culture in Wood Green, London, as the location transitions into a contemporary, anonymous, ever-changing environment. This project is a real celebration of place, visualised through some beautiful photography and brought together in a fantastic piece of editorial.

 

Sam Hodgson's The Human Experience is a playful insight into who we are and what it is to be human through four stages; consciousness, experience, language and culture. Through type and illustrative diagrams the project visualises how we interact with each other in the modern world, using experimental folds so that we can navigate the project in our own way, encouraging us to discover our own meaning of The Human Experience.

 

For more on the BA (Hons) Visual Communication at AUB show, go to:

http://fridgeworthy.co.uk/
http://aub.ac.uk/courses/ba/ba-visual-communication/

@VisComAUB

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79465
Sagmeister and the 'bullshit' around storytelling http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/sagmeister-storytelling http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/sagmeister-storytelling#feedback Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:33:00 +0000 Patrick Burgoyne http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79443

Stefan Sagmeister has vehemently dismissed the current vogue among creative types to label themselves ‘storytellers' as ‘bullshit'.

]]>

Stefan Sagmeister has vehemently dismissed the current vogue among creative types to label themselves ‘storytellers' as ‘bullshit'.

In an uncharacteristically irascible interview for FITC, the organisers of the Camp festival in Calgary, Sagmeister attacks the urge for those in the communications industry to rush to re-assign themselves as storytellers, the theme of the conference. "Now everybody's a storyteller," he says, before dismissing the trend as "bullshit"

 


Some commenters on Vimeo, where the film was posted, disagreed, particularly with his definition of storytellers as only those who write novels or make movies.

Here, they have a point. Of course storytelling exists beyond those narrow confines, it always has. But I think Sagmeister's thrust was directed more at the way that ‘storytelling' has been latched onto by the advertising and marketing worlds to the extent that every corporate drone in chinos and a polo shirt is now spouting about it in their conference Powerpoint presentations.

It's almost become as ubiquitously nonsensical as ‘content', the misuse of which Gordon Comstock and Sell Sell railed against with great passion here.

At Cannes this year it seemed as though almost every session had a ‘storytelling' theme as if this were some amazing new discovery. People like stories you say? Wow, amazing insight!

Perhaps some of these ‘thought leaders' need to get their, er, stories straight. Here's Mainardo De Nardis of OMD telling us that "Storytelling is the capacity to create and distribute content which is relevant for audiences across whatever platform" - it is? Wasn't that 'integrated', or is that just what we were calling it two years ago? He also says that "without storytelling we go back to 30 second spots which is not the way our brains need to be communicated with to create real engagement"

 

And yet, at the same event, his peers on the jury were busy handing out award after award to this, a commercial (remember them?) that, in its form and content, could have been made at any time in the last 40 years (Solvite anyone?)

 


‘Storytelling' has been at the heart of some of the greatest advertising campaigns. What's this if it's not telling a great story, for example

 

And the famous BBH Levi's ads were all about telling stories around some of the unique features of the product

 

Now we have online films with longer narratives about brands, their users and their community

 

 

And we have new, powerful tools to tell stories in multifaceted ways, such as some of the brilliant pieces currently coming out of the National Film Board of Canada

 

 

Storytelling is universal and as old as the human race. But that doesn't mean we are all storytellers in everything we do.

In the film, Sagmeister rages about a rollercoaster designer who referred to himself as a storyteller: "No fuckhead, you are not a storyteller, you're a rollercoaster designer!" Being a rollercoaster designer sounds a pretty cool job - surely that's enough? Why the need to dress it up as something else?

This, I think, is the crux of the matter. The ad industry is searching for a role for itself in a communications world that has become very complex. The old certainties no longer apply. It has leaped on ‘Storytelling' as a means of defining what it offers that none of the data geeks or algorithms can.

So thank goodness for Sagmeister for puncturing this particular bullshit bubble with such alacrity. Of course it helps if you've got something interesting to say about your product or organisation, of course telling a powerful story will stick in people's minds and make them feel positive toward you. Yes, we now have lots of different ways to tell such stories. Didn't we know all this already?

Oh, and while we're on the subject of conference bollocks, can we please all stop saying "learnings'?

 

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79443
Ad of the Week: Citizen, Better Starts Now http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/ad-of-the-week-citizen-k-better-starts-now http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/ad-of-the-week-citizen-k-better-starts-now#feedback Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:58:00 +0000 Eliza Williams http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79428

Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo has created this charming film for watch brand Citizen, which uses a mix of elegant filmmaking and typography to tell the tale of the company's history. The spot is our Ad of the Week.

]]>

Wieden + Kennedy has created this charming film for watch brand Citizen, which uses a mix of elegant filmmaking and typography to tell the tale of the company's history. The spot is our Ad of the Week.

When thinking of watch advertising, what usually springs to mind are campaigns focused purely on wealth – a celebrity with a weighty timepiece dangling from their wrist perhaps, or Patek Phillippe's particularly nauseating father-to-son ads, which bear the line 'You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.' In this context, W+K's film feels especially refreshing, focusing not on money and power but instead on the innovation and hard work that are contained in Citizen's watches.

Shot by Johan Kramer, the film takes us through the different eras of the watch brand, focusing on the company's technological development over the 84 years since it was founded. Shot from above, we see the Citizen designers hard at work on the various innovations, with each significant moment marked by a slate saying 'The End', using type appropriate for the decade featured. A selection of the typography is shown below:

To further emphasise the different generations depicted in the film, Kramer used a range of cameras – including a hand-cranked 35mm camera and a VHS camera – to give a sense of vintage authenticity. This attention to detail can also be seen in the objects featured on the desks, which change from tables lined with tools to a sparse modern space where the computer dominates.

The ad ends with the brand's new tagline, 'Better Starts Now'. The film is playing on the Citizen website and it will also appear in stores and be used at the major sporting events sponsored by Citizen, including the forthcoming US Open.

Credits:
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo and Amsterdam
Director: Johan Kramer

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79428
CR August issue: digital futures http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/august-issue http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/august-issue#feedback Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:40:00 +0000 Creative Review http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79430

Are you sick of all the nostalgic, handmade imagery that has dominated our visual landscape recently? Is it time to embrace the potential of 3D, CG and digital imagemaking and talk about tomorrow rather than yesterday?

]]>

Cover concept by Carl Burgess featuring image by Komba3D available from TurboSquid

 

Are you sick of all the nostalgic, inky, handmade imagery that has dominated our visual landscape recently? Is it time to embrace the potential of 3D, CG and digital imagemaking and talk about tomorrow rather than yesterday?

 

In our CGI special issue, designer Carl Burgess makes the case for digital imagemaking. Our nostalgic obsession with the handmade comes from the desire to play it safe, he argues. Digital imagemaking, in contrast, is risky, exciting and allows us to talk about our world today and our hopes for tomorrow

Subscribe now and you will receive the August issue as the first issue of your subscription. Subscribing is the quickest and cheapest way of getting Creative Review each month and you’ll receive special subscriber content and offers. Just go here to subscribe.

 

We look at a range of work that is pushing digital techniques to the limit, including a remarkable film by Warren Du Preez, Nick Thornton Jones and the team at Glassworks. Worship was commissioned by James Lavelle for the Meltdown festival and set to a specially written track by UNKLE

 

We interview photographer Giles Revell in whose hands hi-tech processes re-present traditional artistic subjects in unexpected ways

 

And Ben Koppel, a regular collaborator of Revell's, who, inspired by an ad in CR for Cinema 4D taught himself to become a freelance CG artist

 

Did you know that Len Deighton was a designer? Away from our CG theme, David Crowley and students from the RCA look back over the history of the college's Ark magazine and its glittering array of contributors, including Alan Fletcher, David Gentleman and Deighton, who designed the cover for Ark 6 in 1952

 

And we talk to the curators of the V&A's controversial Disobedient Objects show which looks at the design of objects and materials used by protesters around the world

 

Plus, Antonia Wilson visits The Barbican's Digital Revolution show and asks whether it still makes sense to talk about 'digital' as a separate entity - surely 'digital culture' is now just 'culture'?

 

 

Mark Sinclair takes in the weird and wonderful at Tate Britain's celebration of Folk Art

 

And AKQA's ECD Nick Turner asks whether, with the launch of its new Material Design guidelines, Google's design will finally catch up with the excellence of the other aspects of its products

 

Plus, for subscribers, we have a brillaint Monograph designed by SEA featuring 15 full-stops from typefaces in the Monotype archive

 

Subscribe now and you will receive the August issue as the first issue of your subscription. Subscribing is the quickest and cheapest way of getting Creative Review each month and you’ll receive special subscriber content and offers. Just go here to subscribe.

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79430
Richard Wentworth reflects on the First World War http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/richard-wentworth-14-18-now-mirror-poster http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/richard-wentworth-14-18-now-mirror-poster#feedback Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:04:00 +0000 Mark Sinclair http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79426

A new poster by artist Richard Wentworth will be unveiled on the London Underground tomorrow as part of a cultural programme marking the centenary of the First World War. Using the Tube's familiar Johnston font, it reproduces a letter written by a young soldier to his wife – but the text is reversed...

]]>

A new poster by artist Richard Wentworth will be unveiled on the London Underground tomorrow as part of a cultural programme marking the centenary of the First World War. Using the Tube's familiar Johnston font, it reproduces a letter written by a young soldier to his wife – but the text is reversed...

When You Look You May Not See is a co-commission betweeen Art on the Underground and 14-18 NOW, the UK-wide cultural programme which is marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. The words come from a postcard written by soldier Herbert Ernest Wilson to his wife Martha Emily Wilson towards the end of the conflict on September 4 1918.

In reversing the text, Wentworth has said that he hoped to emphasise the historical distance between the contemporary mass audience and the original experience of the Wilsons. On closer inspection, new readers become privvy to this intimate exchange between husband and wife.

Wentworth says that the Tube's mix of public and private spaces was one of the ideas behind the work. "There is a lot of captive dawdling, with many standing at a habitual point each day," he says. "The message of Herbert's card and its frailty, banality and optimism is no different from the chatter one overhears in multiple languages on London transport."

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79426
What's On http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/whats-on-2407 http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/whats-on-2407#feedback Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:40:00 +0000 Antonia Wilson http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79425

CR's pick of current and upcoming exhibitions, design events and creative activities including Graphic Advocacy poster show in New York, Divine Violence from Broomberg & Chanarin in Llandudno, Gibert & George in London, Barbara Kruger in Oxford, street artist Sickboy in London, Summer Screen Prints at Somerset House, The Power of Baked Rolls! poster ad show in Helsinki...

]]>

CR's pick of current and upcoming exhibitions, design events and creative activities including Graphic Advocacy poster show in New York, Divine Violence from Broomberg & Chanarin in Llandudno, Gibert & George in London, Barbara Kruger in Oxford, street artist Sickboy in London, Summer Screen Prints at Somerset House, The Power of Baked Rolls! poster ad show in Helsinki...

 

Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age 2001-2012
ADC Gallery, New York
Until 15 Aug

Touring showcase of 122 posters demonstrating the medium's crucial role in social change - recording struggles for peace, social injustice, environmental defence, liberation from oppression, as tools for education, politics, and promotion - in this digital age, when multiple audiences can consume media through multiple sources and multiple channels.

After the New York show, it travels to Florida, Maryland, Indiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, with more dates to be announced.

http://www.graphicadvocacyposters.org
http://adcglobal.org

Broomberg & Chanarin: Divine Violence
Mostyn, Llandudno
Until 2 Nov

New exhibition from artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin (winners of the Deutsch Borse Photo Prize 2013). Inspired by Bertolt Brecht's annotated bible, which Broomberg and Chanarin discovered in the Brecht Archive in Berlin, the duo annotated their own (entitled Holy Bible) - highlighting images of violence and destruction with photographs sourced from the Archive of Modern Conflict.

After initially publishing this in book form, it now goes on show as a full-scale exhibition, exploring visual representations of conflict and the connection between biblical catastrophe and modern governance. Other key works by the pair will also be on show, including Afterlife, a series offering a re-reading of the controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning 1979 photograph of the execution of blindfolded Kurdish prisoners; and The Day Nobody Died, a series of non-figurative, action-photographs taken without a camera in Afghanistan.

Get CR August on the iPad (out next week) for a closer look at the work from this exhibition. More info on the app and subscribing here.

http://www.mostyn.org


Gilbert & George: Scapegoating Pictures for London
White Cube, London
Until 28 Sep

New show from the iconic duo, featuring giant photomontage work exploring urban existence, with a look at the changing face of London (their home for many decades), religious fundamentalism, drug abuse, and youth culture in the capital.

East London landmarks sit alongside burkas, buses, sinister bomb shaped nitrous oxide canisters, and of course depictions of the pair themselves in vivid blocks of red black and white. These are said to be some of their most outrageous works to date.

http://whitecube.com

 

Barbara Kruger
Modern Art Oxford
Until 31 Aug

Solo show of new and recent work from the acclaimed conceptual artist, whose work combines bold colours, slogans and jarring juxtapositions of text and image, and explores and questions the strategies and manipulative nature of mass communication and consumer culture.

The exhibition includes a text based site-specific architectural wrap of the upper gallery space, alongside a series of classic 1980s paste-up works, and two films - Plenty LA (2008) capturing the gaze of the phone-obsessed consumer, and a four screen installation presenting a rare look at her film Twelve (2004).

http://www.modernartoxford.org.uk


Sickboy: Make It Last Forever
Until 30 August
The Outsiders gallery, London

Multi-disciplinary exhibition from UK street artist Sickboy, one of the leading artists to have emerged from the Bristol graffiti scene, presenting "a unique multimedia diary that seeks to outlive its creator, a rare opportunity to delve inside the chaotic existence of a nomadic talent".

His surreal, playful visual language appearing on large abstract canvases and other sculptures and interactive installations including temple shrines, a superman sculpture and a coffin, alongside ephemera from the artist's personal collection.

http://www.theoutsiders.net


Summer Screen Prints
Somerset House, London
31 Jul - 25 Aug

Film poster exhibition in association with Print Club London, with limited edition prints inspired by each film shown at Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, marking the event series' tenth anniversary. Print Club has selected an assortment of styles and artists including Rose Blake, Hattie Stewart, Kate Moross, Steve Wilson, Kate Gibb and HelloVon.

http://www.somersethouse.org.uk

 

The Power of Baked Rolls! - Co-op advertising in 1950s
Virka Gallery, Helsinki
Until 31 Aug

Nostalgic show of '50s Finnish Co-op Union ad posters from the Labour Archives collections, featuring local food, eco-values, family life, pastimes and DIY, alongside seasonal window displays built in to the gallery space.

http://virka.fi

 

To submit events for consideration, please email whatson@creativereview.co.uk

]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79425
Silly Arse Broke It http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/silly-arse-broke-it http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/july/silly-arse-broke-it#feedback Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:30:00 +0000 Antonia Wilson http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=79392

Jason Wilde's photo project Silly Arse Broke It brings together discarded handwritten notes that he has collected since 2003, around Clarence Way estate in Camden, London.

]]>

Jason Wilde's photo project Silly Arse Broke It brings together discarded handwritten notes that he has collected since 2003, around Clarence Way estate in Camden, London.

Many are records of everyday activity - functioning to remind, instruct, organize, and explain; there are lists, descriptions of journeys, and school letters; there's grand political and philosophical statements, and nonsensical, mysterious messages; some are friendly or familiar, others attack and blame.

Wilde suggests that he is collecting these once-private documents in an attempt to record the transformation of this community. These salvaged texts act on the imagination to help create an open-ended narrative about the people that might have written them, and invite the viewer to consider this multi-cultural, inner-city estate as characteristic of the ever-diversifying society of 21st century Britain.

We spoke to Wilde about his work, and how he came to be a collector of these little notes ...

Can you tell me more about your background - how did you first get into photography?

I left school at 15 and became an apprentice watchmaker which bored me stupid, so after trying my hand at being a labourer, a scaffolder, a courier (motor bike and lorry), a postman, a masseuse, a pen repairer, a picture framer and working in an industrial laundry, I thought I'd try photography. I completed 6 week evening course called 'Getting To Know Your Camera', swapped my car for a camera and then got myself onto a 2 year full-time photography BTEC, going on to do both a BA and MA in photography.

So you've been collecting thee notes for over ten years, what made you start collecting them and where and how exactly do you find them?

In an effort to tell a story about the Clarence Way estate I was making portraits of the residents and also collecting and photographing debris that I had found on the estate. Among the 30 odd pieces of debris were four handwritten notes which when I put side-by-side screamed out 'project'.

Since then whenever I have been walking to or from my flat on the estate I have been on the look out for discarded notes. I find about 10-12 a year in a variety of places but mostly near the communal bins.

Have you found related notes, and have these led you to form stories? Or perhaps it's the viewers who find connections themselves?

As it stands this is an ongoing project with two different edits, a defined book edit and an ongoing and open-ended exhibition edit. The book edit has a narrative that is defined by 50 images. The narrative is controlled by connecting elements within the individual notes, including symbols, words, themes and colours etc.

In order to alert the viewer to the fact that each note is connected to the one after, I have deliberately made the connecting element in the first four images of the book edit very obvious. The notes in the book edit also hint at a number of universal themes. It starts with the theme of love and ends by becoming a little dark in its mood. The book has yet to designed and published but an edit can be seen online.

Is there something particular about this area, or similar communities, that you felt needed exposure?

The Clarence Way portrait project did start out as an antidote to all the negative press that was being written about the estate, at the time and Silly Arse Broke It began with the same motive, but developed into something that goes beyond a simple political statement.

I still feel that the general way of thinking about these kinds of residential environments is very lazy and negative but that is no longer my main reason for continuing the work.

This project is one of a number of projects that I am working on that explores the idea of my local environment, which I define as the London Borough of Camden.

What made you choose to shoot them in this way?

Originally the debris, including the notes, were shot in various places on the estate (car park, balconies, lifts, door ways, stairwells, etc.), using available light and front on camera flash. The images produced were ok but looked too much like other projects that were being produced at the time. I then decided to take the notes into the studio and used lights and a medium format digital back with the idea to capture and foreground the details that one wouldn't normally look for when reading a note - things like dirt, tears, handwriting, paper weave, stains, ink colour, blotches, and so on.

The notes were shot against a white background and dead centre of a square format, making them the focal point of the image. I was much more pleased with these images but still not completely satisfied as they still lacked something I couldn't define.

The idea of using wallpaper as backgrounds presented itself, and, after a few test shots, the combination of note and wallpaper became the project. I chose to use wallpaper, not only because its colours and graphic elements make the images much more visually appealing, but because of the different layers of meaning they can offer. In the same way that the choice of wallpaper affects the mood and style of a room, it can have similar effect on my images of notes.

Wallpaper is vivid evidence of an individual's taste and can often reflect the age, status or gender of a house, and suggest notions of class and taste. The wallpaper backgrounds anchor the work to the domestic environment, reminding the viewer that these are conversations between family and neighbours, taking place in and around people's homes.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

All over the place.

Who or what are your creative influences?

Photographically I like the work of Anna Fox, John Davies, Mark Power, August Sander, Nadav Kander and Alec Soth, amongst others. Outside photography it's an endless list of songsmiths, comedians and filmmakers. I'm attracted to people that make the process of constructing a narrative seem an easy one, in any medium. And I'm a massive fan of WYNC's Radiolab.

Are you working on anything else at the moment?

Silly Arse is an ongoing project, but I'm also working on a variety of other personal projects.

Jason Wilde's Free Portrait Studio (ongoing since 2010) has visited a variety of venues in the London Borough of Camden and set up a mini mobile portrait studio, with 1680 portraits being made of the visitors, creating an ongoing and unprecedented visual archive of Camden.

My newest project, Vera & John - Part 1 and Part 2 (on-going), is a simple examination of Vera & John, my mum and dad. Part 1 is a still-life study of the contents of their bathroom cabinet. I plan to 'borrow' and photograph the products that they use and keep in their bathroom cabinet over a period of 1 year using the advertising still-life aesthetic. (Work-in-progress images can be seen here). Part 2 is a collection of handwritten notes that Vera has written to John and left on the kitchen table for him to read when he gets home or out of bed, including instructions about food in the freezer, kids coming for dinner and hospital visits. I've been collecting these for a number of years and although they have all been photographed, the project is still under construction in terms of edits and backgrounds.

For England Under 13's (on-going), I have visited 4 London Borough of Camden playcentres each year since 2009, and made a series of 200+ portraits of children. The aim is to make a series of images that give the viewer room to reflect on a child's role within modern society and on our own relationships with children.

Since 2003 I have been photographing the bathrooms of family, friends and strangers living on the housing estates of London and its satellite towns, for I'll Kill all your Fish (on-going). This series of still lifes explores the idea of the modern bathroom as a private place used by all members of the household for a variety of activities.

Im also working on an as yet undefined project, Estuary English (on-going), an exploration of the area known as the Thames Estuary with a large format field camera.

Silly Arse Broke It has been accepted into the 2014 Guernsey Photo Festival. Check out more from Jason at http://jasonwilde.com and @jwfps


]]>
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/dynamic.php?page_id=79392