Film Collages

Film is really special to me because of the wait, the physicality, and the look of film photos. I store digital copies and my original negatives safely, but I like to treat my prints like fun things to cut up and rearrange and carry around with me in my card wallet. Given the collages I've been making lately both in my sketchbook and on my scanner bed with paintings and magazines, I thought it would be nice to rummage through my photo print collection and make some messy collages which function as a nice little curation of some of the best (recorded) moments of the last couple of years.

Diary: Purple Paint & Picnic

This week has been quite a jam-packed one, with my weekend being taken up by a performance art evening in Camden on Saturday (I performed with Ed at this and you can watch my vlog from the weekend here), and a blogger meet up in sunny Grosvenor Square with Lily Pebbles and Vivianna Does Makeup on Sunday. Other than that (as you will see), I've been working on some painting projects, getting sleepy, and beating up skeletons in Skyrim.

Fitting Room Focus: Topshop Love

Prior to the making of this post, I had never been in the Oxford Street Topshop fitting rooms before. Oxford Street shops are scarily busy, so I tend to avoid them, but this Topshop is nicely spaced out and as I was there fairly early in the morning (catching that worm, y'know) it wasn't too busy.

top - £28, skirt - £30
So the first thing I spotted was this incredible two piece. It reminds me of Charli XCX's style - cute and magic with a little kitsch thrown in, but also hella comfortable. It's so adorable. It's such a happy little outfit, it makes me wanna bounce around. This is ideal attire for a court meeting in a bouncy castle.

top - £8, trousers - £42
This outfit has a smart casual vibe but also manages to remind me of the glorious/horrifying (delete according to preference) 1990s, and in particular my favourite purple suited 90s teen, Billie Piper. I still am so shocked that crop tops are having such a resurgence. I hated them for a long time, but after seeing steadily more and more people wearing them and looking amazing, I've given in. I think this one looks really cute paired with some smart trousers to give a more mature edge to the baby pink smallness of it.

I may not be 16 any more, but I am still hoping a record label will reach out to me and ask if I'd like to dance with a CGI rhino just like Billie. We all have our aspirations, mine are just perhaps more rhino-focused than most.

Moons (Faces)

I make a lot of very straightforward, unmoving scans, but sometimes I like to revisit the cool little distortion techniques of the scanner. Some of the first ever scans that really pulled me into the world of compositional possibilities with a scanner were like these continuous, stretching faces. There's something very enjoyable about expanding myself (like a puffer fish) and squashing my features. It's cool how our faces can be such squishy little moons.

Here are some very early examples of stretched scans: 1, 2.

Magazine Collages ft. Wine

I tried some more collages using magazine and newspaper cuttings, this time with more of a randomised approach. Collage #3 is probably my favourite here as it has a clean softness to it and a gentle but definite personality. Newspaper cuttings have a slightly murky quality to them (as is most evident in collage #2). This is interesting and could perhaps lend itself to a nice textural partnership (delicate, muted newspaper and clear, bright magazine).

Why I Love Webcams

Webcams are useful. They are the best tool for recording me in my natural habitat: directly in front of a computer. When the little light above my screen flicks on, I know it’s my time to shine. I guess I have a strong interest in specific types of photographic technology, as evidenced in my scanner adventures (a project which has now been running for four years), and webcams are no exception. They have a unique documentative role in contemporary culture

The webcam is a beautifully mundane device now, but its presence in our homes and computers is quite a recent development. Years ago I used to visit internet cafes, as there was no computer yet at home and my best friend and I were keen to spend all our time talking to strangers on MSN. Back then, a webcam was still a novelty. They were sometimes available in internet cafes, but I never used them as I wasn't too keen on making myself that visible to my strange collection of MSN friends. Occasionally though, some of those friends would put their webcams on and give me a glimpse into their mysterious personal worlds. I remember one boy in particular (I met him on Habbo Hotel - classic) who had long, dark hair, and snow white skin - he would glare dramatically from my screen as he typed cryptic, theatrical messages. He postured as some sort of vampire prince. It was pretty amusing for a while, but I got bored of it soon enough (Lemuria Delacroix, if you’re out there: hi!).

Eventually, of course, webcams became embedded in every laptop - and I came to enjoy sharing my visage online on a scale that my fifteen year old self would have been horrified by. There’s a great openness on the internet now - a happy culture of shared personal celebration. For me, webcams and their pictures are a big part of that. Just as much as blogging or sharing my creative exploits gives me a sense of personal achievement and fulfilment, so does sharing my life in a more direct, visual way via my webcam.

I've been sitting in front of my window, sunlight resting in fragments on my legs as I sip tea, catch up on some anime, and draw cute characters in purple felt tip. My hair is curling up a little at the ends (as usual), and cool air is blowing gently against my neck from the small fan next to my bed. This is what I look like today, and I'm happy to record and share the reality of myself and my life at this exact moment. I feel good.

Mega Collage

Following on from some experimentation with collage, across these pages I have tried to combine collage of scrap paper and magazine cuttings with my own characters. I feel that this book is becoming more cohesive - the pages are starting to lead into one another, steadily turning the book into one cohesive world of overlapping compositions. Building links between the book's pages is an important step and one that should serve to make it an intricate and vast paper dream land on completion.

Saatchi: Huge Ants & Other Delights

Dead on arrival - Christian Rosa (detail)

I always find the Saatchi has a really interesting collection of all sorts of different stuff, and they run really concise exhibitions. I'd like to visit the Saatchi more often because every single exhibition seems to have so much variation - it's like walking around inside a big collage. It's so useful as a springboard for your own art ideas. I always find something I really like, and it's that inspiration that propels my art practice forward and gives me the confidence and delight in making my own ideas happen.

Casa Tomada - Rafael Gómezbarros
The first thing I saw when I walked into the building was this giant infestation. I've always enjoyed things that are amusingly bigger or smaller than they're supposed to be, so I find installations like this really fun. I thought the ants were arranged really well - I wonder how much Rafael studied the way ants move together.

Casa Tomada - Rafael Gómezbarros

Casa Tomada - Rafael Gómezbarros

Le Couloir de la Mort - Aboudia
There was a room full of Aboudia paintings and I had to include them here because they are so like the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist who is a favourite of mine for his sprawling, childlike pieces tinged with angry disorientation and lots of colour on black. Aboudia similarly chooses bright colours and makes use of every inch of his canvas in creating chaotic scenes.

Lugares en Fuga - Fredy Alzate
It's a brick ball, what's not to love? It's the coolest slightly weird object.

Dead on arrival - Christian Rosa
I really liked this piece by Christian Rosa because it has such a harmonic selection of mingling colours and shapes and textures. I find it so satisfying to organise such a composition of visual objects like this, whether I've drawn them or am collaging them from another source. There is something mesmerising and satisfying about it. I think the generous amount of cream space is a nice, calming touch. I also like the fuzzy smudges of red around certain shapes as they remind me of the way blackberries stain your fingers.

Dead on arrival - Christian Rosa (detail)

Dead on arrival - Christian Rosa (detail)

Madre Perla V-11 - José Lerma
Lerma's work caught my eye based on two things - the cathartic biro scribbling and the fact that his canvases are placed on top of keyboards. The canvases themselves remind me of drawing on the back of an envelope whilst on the phone - the kind of mindless artistic activity which I have a deep fondness for. Mindless art is so fascinating and special to me because it gives unique insight into the subconscious. Automatic art is like a special, external part of a person - an unthinking expression. The keyboards give the installations a touch of slight unexpectedness - and they made me laugh, which is always nice in art.

Madre Perla V-11 - José Lerma

Samuel Bernard - José Lerma

Ben Quilty
The scope of Quilty's work is incredible. I love his rich depth of colour choices, and the spindling, oft shadowy, expressive style which lends itself so well to characterisation. This expansive piece, consisting of several small-ish canvases working their way from demonic, abstract chaos on one side, through straightforward portraits bathed in nightclub lighting colour, to milky absences - all of this reads as a cycle through Quilty's artistic range. From abstract madness to simple (but richly expressive) portraiture, to a watery abstraction playing on each previous painting. Quilty utilises the form of the series in captivating ways, making paintings and sitting them next to near-identical copies of themselves with stylistic removal of details, or pushing one incredible portrait into a blank canvas to make a beautiful mirrored set as in Smashed Rorschach Self Portrait.

Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty (detail)

Ben Quilty (detail)

Self Portrait Smashed Rorschach - Ben Quilty

Self Portrait Smashed Rorschach - Ben Quilty (detail)

Thing Language - Paul Bloodgood
Like Rosa's piece, this caught my attention due to its pretty arrangement of various shapes and colours. This piece is evocative of a landscape, and looking at it I can see two flying creatures in red and blue. There is a great beauty to imaginative interpretation, and an abundance of shapes arranged in this way makes it so easy to imagine scenes inside the drawing. A child can imagine almost anything with little stimulation. Children have an almost endless imaginative capability, but adults seldom imagine without closing their eyes. I think it would be a fantastic venture to create images which encourage in adults the ease of imaginative wandering that children frolic in, and Thing Language has this effect on me.

Thing Language - Paul Bloodgood (detail)