Curated by Allan Binns
Today, and for the foreseeable future, we are the 1%-ers, man! ...an artist-led, arts ‘supergroup’ based in the Midlands. It started with a God-given phrase... ‘Banality and Big Questions’ - the title of our debut exhibition, the remnants of a dream. It grew from there. A couple of us began by rounding up the waifs, strays and artists that littered the cerebral corridors of our past, drawing them in on an Earth-bound beam - hooked by jabbing a simple title through their bottom lips. What emerged was a gaggle of roaming artists, siphoned forth from other various collectives: friends from Vanilla Galleries, people we had lost touch with and people who’s work we had seen in bygone years and just plain liked the look of. Once we were all on board it seemed fitting that this group of odd-bods from such different artistic backgrounds and practices should adopt such a fitting moniker - The 1%-ers, a phrase taken from Hunter S Thompsons’ Hells Angels, an early tome concerned only with the shitstrewn plight of Oakland’s infamous vagrants, meatheads and polite-society pariahs: Image: The First Island - Paul Patrick Morrison
“We are the one percenters, man. The one percent that don’t fit and don’t care...” Having assembled the 1%-ers, we saw a way to promote and support each other, to form a kind of brother/sisterhood where we could utilise eachothers’ strengths and passions, while still celebrating every member individually. Our debut show 'Banality and Big Questions' is, as the title suggests, an exploration of the knotted relationship between the two paradoxical themes. Throughout the forthcoming year (and hopefully beyond), we, the 1%-ers, will tour ‘B&BQ’ intent on providing a traveling soapbox for a listless generation - dissecting and prodding fun at life’s profane and profound, leaving more questions than answers in our meandering wake.
or brick-a-brack stall, full to bursting with clothes, furniture, artwork and sound, all with voices trying to shout loudest, clearest above the synapse-ravaging din.
With the premise set and everyone still psyched about the title, this newly formed group of creatives was left questioning: What is a 1%-ers' show? How does it look? How does it feel? And, more importantly, how do we successfully curate a show with so many different styles, voices and mediums?
Already after only a few short months, our group has grown, sending out our groping feelers from the incestuous world of art and welcoming experimental (and piss-funny) theater company, The UglyKillers, into our midst.
We could have opted to give the work individual breathing space as per, or even claimed tenuous/fictitious similarities between pieces in order to fast-track a phony exhibition, but we wanted more than that a tangible sense of 'exploration'. We wanted to experiment, push curation's narrow envelope, kick against the totemic nature of the ‘umble art gallery. The gospel truth is that these works were all hand-picked and slung trying together in an artistic cataclysm - a 'boutique of art' if you will. A space similar to a vintage shop
As a result, the gallery is transmogrified into a space, an experience, that can be ‘lived through’. Sound may seep through walls like oil through a sponge and one artist's work may bleed into that of another – such is the complexity of the dialogue being forcibly coaxed between every available entity. All of which reflects the belief that the artist is not as important as the work, and the work is not as important as the whole - culminating in a fucking gestamkunstwerke of an exhibition, a complete show.
From here on out, we, the 1%-ers, aspire to excite you, the viewer, with our innovative, challenging and provocative arts events. Keep up to date with us, the Banality and Big Questions tour and all of our associated groups and artists by following us online @ www.1percenters.co.uk or joining our social networking pages on facebook and twitter.
Bertram is a German born performance maker and visual artist. exploring communication through various art forms and the discrepancy between total privacy in the act of painting and the impossibility of privacy in the act of live art. Embracing the abstract, investigating the absurd her work pushes toward an understanding that is surpassing linear thought and restrictive language.
Lo-fi, film, truth, beauty, turmoil, community, perversion, significance, copycat, faith, freaks, death, realism, emotion... Davidoff, Adventure www.badfilmco.co.uk
The elaboration between life and death, between two states, between the state of living and dying. The moment between animal and human, society and organism, the moment between stasis and continuity; The notion of the beginning and end / the passing of time and of the seasons / life and death / the continuing circle of life www.chriscawkwell.com www.vanillagalleries.com
One half of Bad Film Co. One Bad Film-maker www.badfilmco.co.uk
Derived from people, places and events that appear throughout the everyday narrative of existence; then recorded through a variety of techniques or mined from memory, the resulting paintings become removed from the contextual web of narrative to prompt new and openended meanings. www.vanillagalleries.com
If Greg Evans can call himself an artist then so can everyone else on the face of the planet. His often underwhelming performances as an artist are not in any shape or form accomplishments. The fact that he even get's exhibitions or commissions is staggering. Perhaps people find his low brow, amateurish attempts at art to be sweet and comedic. If you were to ask Evans himself I'm sure he would reply with just as much bile and contempt to what is being displayed here. www.vanillagalleries.com
Gamble's work transports us from the familiar into a world riddled with absurdity; a world where daydreams teeter on the edge of nightmare.You will find no answers here, no beginnings or endings, traditional narative has been removed until what remains are fleeting glimpses of ambiguious moments appealing to suggestion rather than description.
Hill’s has been largely interested in the decline of ‘traditional’ British culture and the changing ideas around community. The collection of works has been based around several journeys he has undertaken, trying to capture the identity of an area by photographing the people and places that make it meaningful. The images vary from open shot landscapes and snapshot scenes to more formal portraiture and images of everyday life within society. www.tcbphotography.co.uk
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Taylor explores imperfection in human perception, our traditions and our values. Disposable items are suddenly transformed into artefact, questioning the value of the everyday and distancing the viewer from their familiarity with the original objects. We are now confronted with a new sculptural device, void of function, but full of nostalgia.
Taking Care of Business Inspired by all things Rock’n’Roll, TCB photography is the convergence of creeper wearing black country boys, Chris Hill and Dom Lester. Spawned out of the West Midlands punk scene at the turn of the millennium, these two ‘slicksters’ are starting to make waves in both the artworld and on the street. Whether it is commercial or personal, working together or apart, TCB always seek out the truth and beauty of their subject. Their shoots range from fetish photography to social documentary, and now, because being paid in ‘drink and ink’ wasn’t paying the bills, to the commercial extremities of weddings and portraiture. Despite this recent necessity, their personal projects, influenced by the likes of Robert Frank, The Clash and the current social climate, continue to live on. ‘Banality and Big Questions’ currently provides a platform for such projects, showcasing a selection of Hill’s signature documentary style images, concerned with contemporary British culture and the 'everyday’. With their apparent timeless quality, the works are intent on mirroring the photography that documented the economic downturn of 1980's Britain, reflecting the idea that the more thing change the more they stay the same.
‘Heal - Face : The Jay Austin Story’ is the new project from Bad Film Co.'s Allan Binns and Timothy Davey. This compelling documentary shadows young, up and coming British wrestler Darryl Elliott (aka. The 'Lone Star' Jay Austin) through his in-ring glories and the mundanity of his everyday life. As this documentary unfolds it becomes increasingly clear that the schizophrenic nature of Darryl's life exists within a fragile balance between heroism and despair. Not only does the documentary gain access, via Darryl's exploits, to the often overlooked world of British wrestling, but it also provides a unique insight into the psychology of a performer hell-bent on carving himself a sense of significance and acceptance. This is the first feature length picture from director Allan Binns, which has seen him, along with co-writer and producer Timothy Davey (and their unique film process) tour the length and breadth of the county. I met up with Binns in his studio-come-flat in the Midlands. My dictaphone rested precariously on a bar stool (which I was assured was stolen from a local pub), I sat, perched upon a chair from a drum kit as I waited for this bohemian film-maker to relax and prepare to explain the exhausting experience that was the making of Heal - Face : The Jay Austin Story.
RV: So Heal/Face : The Jay Austin Story, how did it all come about? AB: Well it all started one evening, bored, knocking around on Facebook, I found out that an old friend of mine Louise (Elliott) had gotten married to an MCW wrestler. So after about five minutes of thinking about it, I picked up the phone and got in contact with her to see if we could make something happen. Then a minute later, when I knew it was a goer, I was on the phone to Tim (Davey). 2 weeks later we was filming at Festival Hall. (MCW’s home venue) RV: What was the basis for the film and where did you want to take it? Was it to be a straightforward documentary or did you want to investigate the world of professional wrestling in a manner different to what we’ve seen on TV and Film recently? AB: I was aware of a lot of the wrestling documentaries already out there, and of course Aronofsky’s ‘The Wrestler’, but I didn’t want to do was just knock out a carbon copy of something people have seen before. I wanted to produce an intimate film about the British wrestling scene. So I guess that was the unique angle I was looking at. In terms of art I was interested in where people find significance in life. Some people find significance in God, others in a gratifying home...
...life and some in a ring on a Saturday night wearing face paints and tights. Whether or not the film was going to be a documentary I don’t think either of us knew. My films have always attempted to blur the lines between fact and fiction. We talked a lot about using documentary techniques in fictitious parts, and about really glossing up any raw documentary footage to make it seem like a work of fiction. For me this was about reflecting the ambiguity of the subject matter. Wrestling is both real and fake, and it's hard at times to know which is which. RV: Jay Austin, or Darryl Elliott to use his real name, is the main protagonist in the film. Could you have foreseen any of the latter events of film happening to him? AB: No, it's been incredible watching this unfold. We couldn't have wished for a more dramatic plot. Not that we would, because things aren't too great for Darryl right now. But with your film-making cap on, you sit down and you say “right we're just going to
follow this wrestler and film the events and hope that it becomes a spectacle”. It’s sad that things have gone this way, but for the film, we simply couldn't have written a more interesting character and story. RV: From what I've seen there are short clips of phone conversations between you and Tim in the film. Tells us about your thinking behind that. AB: I wanted it to feel quite brutalist by showing the viewer the structure of the film, showing them how we put it together, again just playing around with the film language, playing the format of the film (ficition or documentary). Having said that though, most of the phone conversations we recorded are between me and Darryl. RV: Those ones are quite intimate aren’t they? AB: Extremely intimate. On the last day of filming he gave me a Christmas card reading, ‘thank you for everything you’ve done and for being my shrink for 6 months’... (Written by RV)
read more at www.badfilmco.co.uk
The Short Story of Gianvittori From the reminants of ‘The Film Collective’ comes Bad Film Co. the joint venture of Allan Binns and Timothy Davey. Despite their strict manifesto, the duo constantly toy with the viewers understanding of a presented ‘reality’ and have an insatiable desire to ‘fuck’ with film language, thus creating their own. The start of 2011 sees the production of the Bad Film Co.’s first two films draw to a close; ‘Heal - Face : The Jay Austin Story’, a wrestling documentary soaked in a bavardo of face paint and sadness, and this, Timothy Davey’s ‘The Short Story of Gianvittori’.
TD: ‘It was my duty to tell this story, it now exists in the same mysterious way, and is dedicated to my greatest source of inspiration... ...I met Marco Aponte in Camden, midDecember, he was very enthusiastic about my script. I was surprised to say the least; the man was a published writer, he’d worked in New York for 13 years, Paris for 8, and the last person to direct him was Martin Scorsese... Go to www.badfilmco.co.uk to keep up to date with all things Bad film Co.
Whether it be Binns’ influence, or just Davey mirroring his subject, his latest project sees him adopt a more spiritual approach to filmmaking...
A Film By Timothy Davey
Raiders of the Lost Art In the summer of 2008, Dave Briggs, a Fine Art student from Loughborough University, entered a painting into the Leicester City Gallery Open Show. Dave, who was in his final year at the time, was hoping that the exhibition would gain him a small amount of exposure and an opening into the art world. However, it didn't prove to be the artistic debut that Dave was hoping for. Although the painting was large and certainly worthy of a prime spot within the show, his painting was relegated to a small corner of the gallery, not obvious to ignorant eyes. Dave, disgruntled and bemused would not let this become his, or anyone else's, future fate. At that very moment he had a brainwave, a vision hued in glorious technicolour. Hence,Vanilla Galleries. From here, our protagonist gathered together a small roster of talent and Vanilla Galleries emerged as a collective toward the latter stages of 2008. Built upon a strong and committed foundation of art students, they set up a base for contemporary art in Loughborough to cater for both the town itself and the surrounding area. Their mission; to support and showcase young emerging talent from Loughborough University by means of providing an alternative to London after seeing so many people
try and fail to break the big smoke. “Why be a small fish in a big pond when you can create your own ocean?” With that exact ethos emblazoned in the forefront of their collective mind,Vanilla Galleries staged their first exhibition within a few months of forming; ‘Extract’. Set up in an old record store, ‘Extract’ displayed a plethora of recent students’ work and drew in over 2000 visitors. Though it may have been slightly on the naive side and lacking in any real direction, it was still a giant step forward - not only for Vanilla themselves, but for Loughborough in it’s own right. Visitors and passers-by alike expressed adulation at the work and events they saw taking place. Students often visited the gallery, not just to see the work, but to socialise and discuss the current state of art, with lecturers from the University also quick to heap praise on the show. Vanilla Galleries’ members may now dismiss the show as nothing more than ‘spit and sawdust’, but with the benefit of perfect 20/20 hindsight, it was an undoubted success. However, like all good things, there had to be an end and ‘Extract’ closed its doors in December 2008 with Vanilla Galleries embarking upon an enforced transitional period throughout the subsequent year.
Members came and went, with initiatives and direction changing frequently but a core group remained and put together some great art and even better events. However, it wasn't until March 2010 that Vanilla Galleries really started to make waves in the art world.
plus formative plans to stage a further two exhibitions within the city's cultural quarter are also beginning to take shape. Plus, their ongoing collaborative efforts as part of the 1%-ers mesh reinforce the hope that something great is just around the corner for the emergent Midlands art scene.
After becoming disheartened and frustrated by the local councils’ failure to nurture and support their artistic number, the group decided that a change of scenery was called for, and Leicester was beckoning. After submitting several approaches to various contacts operating on the City Council,Vanilla artists were finally given the right to go ahead and exhibit in an unused hairdressers which sat right slap-bang in the middle of Leicester city centre.
To indirectly quote a large communications network, “The future is bright, the future is Vanilla”
‘Bang/Tidy’ was it’s name, and it was from here that Vanilla really started to create some dynamic and inspiring art. The show itself was split into two halves with two separate mandates; ‘Bang’ would have an impact on the city and display work inspired by the local community and businesses, whereas ‘Tidy’ aimed to have a more subtle approach and allowed artists to create installations and be free with their practice. The two shows allowed artists to take dynamic risks which resulted in rooms filled with butterflies and light boxes, peep shows made from shelves, huge drawings of photo graphs and a head floating on water! Once word of such an awe-inspiring show got around, crowds flocked from afar to visit the exhibitions. Students, media outlets, travellers, businessmen and even the BBC gathered on the shore to witness Vanilla’s wave. Yet, as before, Vanilla had to begrudgingly accept that all things, do indeed, ‘pass’. Vanilla Galleries now find themselves in a very exciting and prosperous position. A permanent space within Leicester is in the pipeline,
Newly formed theatre company, The UglyKillers, are so much more than an intriguing name. Borne out of the success of what was initially meant to be a non-permanent collaboration 'Sharp Ugly' and 'The Killer Show' have made a go of it, fashioning their own exciting blend of absurd, comedic drama. In the same town but worlds apart, Sharp Ugly (an all-female theatre group, namely Victoria Gaunt and Jennifer Sear) were focusing on the exploration of unorthodox spaces whilst, conceptually, investigating obscure and controversial themes. Meanwhile, just down the road, The Killer Show were adopting a more absurdist approach to their theatre, geared chiefly toward producing Python-esque comedy sketch shows.
This group (the brain child of two selfconfessed 'mentals', Robert Coletta and Craig McKay) eventually crossed paths with Sharp Ugly at Jarry's House (a jointly-curated cabaret evening in the West Midlands), with the latter deciding to meander gracefully away from their original interest in 'cross-art form collaboration' and 'dark-site specific' pieces and write a sketch of their very own. Sharp Ugly's buoyant new direction, when twinned with the comedic leanings of the Killer Show, proved so successful that it coaxed the two groups into a merger - an amalgamation which provided the newly-formed UglyKillers with the kind of impetus they needed to begin resolving and refining the foetal style of theatre with which they had just (...fucked out of each others' minds...?) been blessed. Since their convergence, this Coventry-based group have continued to spark the interest of their audiences with a unique brand of theatre, focused on transforming the sheer mundanity of everyday life into the spectacular. Catch up up with with The The UglyKillers UglyKillers on Catch on Facebook Facebook
Written by Janie Francesca Luchesse
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Editor Allan Binns Copy Editor Chris Wright Layout Design Chris Cawkwell
Published on Feb 19, 2011