CHELSEA GIRLS, GRAFFITI GRANNIES, MAGPIES & MAVERICKS
This issue of EVERYTHINGinmyhoue is dedicated to people who are doing things just that little bit differently. Rather like our own online magazine and store (which isn’t led by advertising and doesn’t conform to an established editorial model), these are individuals who dare to do something out of the ordinary in order to beat the recession - or just to indulge in their creative pursuits. We meet art agents and dealers who are changing the way we view and buy art, people whose homes have become galleries and museum pieces, human magpies and treasure seekers, graffiti artists (who are mature enough to know better) and young painters resurrecting the artist’s hub that was old-school Chelsea; all of them slightly maverick - and in a good way. Other features in this issue include the ten key moments in fashion for designer (and now professor) Keanan Duffty, plus a portfolio of work shot in London in the early Sixties by brilliant photographer Romano Cagnoni. We hope you enjoy reading and browsing the store – our next issue will be online at the end of November with a Christmas shopping special. Emily Evans, Editor.
Cover photograph courtesy of Robin Farquhar-Thomson
CONTENTS A London Tale pages 6-10 Collection Box pages 14-27 Salon PrivĂŠ pages 30-35 Yarn Bomb! pages 36-42 Chelsea Girl pages 44-49 Treasure Seeker pages 52-58 Special Agent pages 61-69 10 Key Moments pages 72-83
Italian photographer Romano Cagnoni tells us about his first experience of shooting in London in the early Sixties. We present a portfolio of his work from that period.
he sack-race was the first photograph I took in Chelsea.... Proper mums and kids were competing in the park of Royal Avenue, there were a few houses down the King’s Road and the CaTortuga coffee bar was the meeting point of the most heterogeneous London people one can imagine; John Hanson the actor, a waiter called Mario, Norman Vane American the playwright and Justin a banker. The running game of these old mates represented a completely different life-style and interests to the mums playing in the Royal Avenue. In the Royal Court Theatre Lawrence Olivier and Orson Welles were rehearsing the play ‘Rhinoceros’. An improbable access facilitated by Olivier’s nephew who I had met at the CaTortuga coffee bar resulted in one good spread in one of the London daily newspapers. An attractive 16 year-old Jane Birkin who used to chat to Norman Vane, later became rather famous in Paris; though more in the style of the CaTortuga than the Royal Court. Street photography, as it is now called, was fun. In pointing a camera at some person one often received friendly smiles. Berenice Sydney had a studio in Old Church Street. I told her that Picasso would have liked one of her large paintings and she suggested, “No, no, Picasso would say, mais quelle belle idée”. She also said “I have assumed an art name which is Sydney, so you can call me Syd.” How couldn’t one try to marry a woman like that? It was a success! Romano Cagnoni
These and other photographs from Roman Cagnoniâ€™s London portfolio are offered for sale at EVERYTHINGinmystudio With thanks to Sandra Higgins
STOREPICKS ICONIC JEWELLERY This large carved mother of pearl cross pendant perfectly suits A/W 2012’s dark mood; with a revival in all things Gothic and romantic. Available at EVERYTHINGinmyhouse £35
STOREPICKS WE MISS MOSS This framed purple edition of Miss Moss is by Michal Ksaczek and we love it for its Villemot-esque art style with Eastern bloc overtones. Dated 2006 and numbered 44/200 Available from EVERYTHINGinmyhouse ÂŁ240
WE LOVE 100 COVER VERSIONS.. Robert McCrum’s iconic 100 best novels of all time list turned into 100 posters by 100 artists – all for sale and with a % of the proceeds going to Unesco’s fight against illiteracy. View and buy at www.doedemee.be 36 HOURS Taschen’s beautifully illustrated book featuring 125 dream European weekends away as featured in the New York Times by Barbara Ireland. £24.99. www.taschen.com CLAIRE LA SECRETAIRE We would love this for the brand name alone but these lovely vintage typewriters are all cleaned, reconditioned, lacquered, polished and buffed personally by Claire La Secretaire at her studio in Nottingham. So we love it for the product too. Claire also re-inks old ribbons in vibrant colours. Gorgeous. www.clairelasecretaire.com ALLY CAPELLINO We think that Claire la Secretaire would like Ally Capellino’s A/W12 bag collection with its conservative chic ‘Lucy’ shoulder bag and woven leather clutches. Leather heaven. www.allycapellino.co.uk
PHOTOGRAPHER AND MAGPIE EXTAORDINAIRE ROBIN FARQUHAR-THOMSON HAS CREATED A VERITABLE MUSEUM IN HIS OWN PARLOUR. HE PRESENTS A SNAPSHOT OF HIS INCREDIBLE HOME AND TALKS CURIOSITIES, COLLECTING AND CAR BOOTS Robin Farquhar-Thomsonâ€™s home is almost museum like in its collective spirit; a head spinning display of all that is important in the mind of its brilliant curator. Vintage radiograms jostle for space with musical instruments, libraries of books and vinyl, Victorian pottery, toys, taxidermy, paintings, etchings and flea market finds. 16
As a renowned children’s portrait photographer we were intrigued to find out about Robin’s art, his home style and what inspires him. “When I had children I fell into doing child photography and so as my kids have grown up I have photographed these other children as they also grew up” explains Robin. “I am completely
fascinated by this idea of stopping time and capturing an age. It is almost like the death of a moment but in a very joyous way. I used to photograph authors too and have a photo I took of Alain de Botton – when he had hair!” Aside from his portraiture work, Robin is also assembling an incredibly meticulous photographic record of Britain’s 18
churches so we asked where did that fascination begin and when did he start collecting things? “My mother died when I was very young,” says Robin, “when I was five and a half – which I read is just the time a boy need s a mother. Death was very much swept under the carpet then so I cried in secret. And my dad was disabled form the war so we also felt like we had to protect him. I had brothers – but no female influences at all in the family – and this thing of collecting stuff I guess started right then; finding things to treasure. I think in the death of my mother, and the sadness, there was this need to draw things towards myself and to be surrounded.” We were very free, allowed to roam around town and we would go to lots of jumble sales. At the end of these sales everything would be priced at 1d and I would buy things up and take them home.” “I was one of three boys and we would be terribly naughty so we would buy wirelesses and TVs - anything you could blow up. 21
We also collected feathers and stones from the beach,” (Robin was brought up in Eastbourne) “but we had no money – just a big house and we loved things we could find. Anything that was free. We would even find bits of bombs on the downs. I don’t know where they are now....” “But I do think there is a big connection between photography and collecting,” muses Robin. “ I have met many other photographers who also like to store and hoard things.” And the church photography? “Well I think that s linked to death too,” says Robin “You are in graveyards and you can get quite close to the dead. And I love churches when they are empty and their smell of dust and I love how mournful they are.” A clue to Robin’s home style is offered in the following; “After my mother died when I was little I was sent to the house where my great (eccentric) uncles Reg and Eric lived. It was a huge old Georgian pile – they had never been married and they never lit the fire, had overgrown grass covered tennis courts and sagging glass greenhouses, broken antiques and dusty oil paint22
ing. It was a great place to visit! They had walrus moustaches stained yellow from smoked fish and Reg fed live mice in his waistcoat pocket. It seemed terribly normal – with them wearing their Victorian morning suits – but it was clearly very eccentric. In Reg’s bowler hat on the top of the wardrobe he allowed pigeons to nest. All very mad. It sound totally eccentric now but this is how I grew up.” “So maybe this is why I love old things – the rot, dirt and the decay of things that are not new. Old houses and dust. When I had my own children i would allow them to get very grubby and covered in dust - and they were tough as old boots.” So how did Robin’s career as a photographer take shape? 24
“I started taking pictures at 8 or ten years old when I found a Brownie 127 at a jumble sale . It was when we still had contact prints and I loved the whole process. So then when I screwed up at school and my father wanted me to do hotel management I decided to go to art school!” Added to this love of photography there was an instinctive artistic slant from home life instilled at home because his father was actually a painter. “The whole house smelt of turpentine and oil paint drying” explains Robin, “and you weren’t allowed in his study but you went in anyway because there were pictures of naked ladies in there from his life drawings!” “He may have been a dreadful painter, really,” expands Robin, 25
“but that ‘art thing’ being around clearly affects you with as pictures suddenly become important – it never leaves you.” Another influence in Robin’s life was being allowed to roam free around Eastbourne as a child; to just knock on doors and say in his words, ‘Can I come to know you?’ “It would not happen now but there was no hint of abuse then and people would take me and my brothers in and we would talk about the war and all kinds of stuff for hours. This is another thing (in what is probably a sadness within me) about modern life; everyone is so scared and there is no freedom. Not the freedom that we had. We would knock on people’s doors and it just amounted to amazing conversation and lots of biscuits and coffee. We never had coffee at home!” Expanding on the sadness of modern life - “Well there are lots of things that I enjoy,” (we happen to know that Robin loves social media and a quality stereo), “but people say why don’t you have a sofa?? Well it s because i don’t want to lounge around!” says Robin. Robin’s living room truly looks like a traditional parlour and he explains “I’d rather sit up and talk to people. But lounging about is just not me. And I don’t watch TV. If you have a computer you can watch what you like the next day – without a bloody sofa!” 26
So no sofa - but there is as story behind every other collected piece in Robin’s house. We asked him for a list of (a few) of his favourite things. He admits he is mad about far too many but cites Burrows, Betjeman, Beckett, Bach and Bowie amongst his heroes - and that’s just the ‘B’s. And the collecting? “Well I have stopped going to Kempton where I always end up buying big pieces,” he explains, “and now I just try and buy only ‘thin’ things”!! As I truly have no room left.” Said like a true eccentric. Robin Farquhar-Thomson’s work by commission can be viewed at www.robinft.co.uk All photography in this feature by Robin Farquhar-Thomson
STOREPICKS LOVE ME DO.....It is 50 years ago this month that Lennon & McCartney shook the world with the release of Love Me Do on the Parlophone record label. However it has always been George who shakes our world.....the coolest of all Beatles photographed here in Chiswick Park in 1966 by Robert Whitaker. Original signed print, hand coloured and framed Available at EVERYTHINGinmyhouse ÂŁ650
STOREPICKS TROPHY-KNITS The original trophy knit - as worn by Kate Moss and Alexa Chung. The new On The Road movie has us coming over all Beatnik and so does this Bella Freud limited edition ‘Ginsberg is God – Godard is Dog’ vintage sweater. Available at EVERYTHINGinmywardrobe £120
PRIVÉ THE HOME AS AN ART GALLERY IS NOT A NEW IDEA, BUT THE SALON PRIVÉ IS ENJOYING A REVIVAL ON THE LONDON ART SCENE. SANDRA HIGGINS OPENS THE DOORS ON HER OWN PRIVATE SPACE AND EXPLAINS WHY THE SALON IS, YET AGAIN, OFFERING A CONVIVIAL AND APPROACHABLE WAY TO BUY ART.
This month art consultant Sandra Higgins launches Discover Art Now, which is a vehicle for intimate salon style exhibitions, private receptions, studio visits and discussions – launching with a show by British op-artist Barrie Cook. Coming off the back of a number of successful salons privé held in her Earls Court apartment, Sandra is now dedicating the space to a rotation of Gallery Petit shows which show off her talent as a curator harnessed over the past thirty years; with immense contacts made throughout that period. And Sandra’s intimate salon shows and private receptions are proving a hit with buyers who want a personal approach when investing and requiring some consultancy in their art purchases.
Inspired by Helen Lessore who helped discover Bacon and Freud (and who did business within an intimate environment), as well as Gertrude Stein who often promoted relatively unknown artists, Sandra recognises “It’s not really a Larry Gagossian approach.” But while some people may buy art for the glamour of the purchase from a big gallery, Sandra’s way of selling offers something different to the buyer. “People are telling me that they are enjoying the experience. Everyone has a very good time. And it’s the way it should be done. So I am just trying to establish myself as a knowledgeable advisor, as someone who will tell you that’s where the value is - and you don’t get that in a big commercial gallery.” 32
And a great advisor Sandra is. She merges a traditional approach with a contemporary slant – as seen at her Saturday lunches at Chelsea Arts Club where gallerists and artists meet and talk in the most convivial way and less in the style of the modern day ‘dollar hungry’ art market. Sandra loves to educate and speak; being a dedicated talk volunteer at Tate Modern so that once a week she hopes “She opens the eyes and ears of the visitors there.” Plus she has also established a system of true internships in her work, again emphasising the educational aspects of her role. “I am a kind of crossbreed between artist, academic, consultant and art dealer. And I would hope I have a more sensitive approach to the aesthetics
of art and who creates it” says Sandra. “I hate the commerciality driving the art world right now. It seems weighted so wrongly,” she says. And with her wealth of experience (having run her own gallery in Mayfair), we tend to agree with her sentiment and with the direction she has chosen to take in her career. Sandra offers an insight as to why she has chosen to work in this way. “I trained as an artist myself – specifically as a printmaker in Chicago. I also did an art history degree and taught for a while; and therefore became very close to the idea of making art and the personality of the artist. I firmly believe an artist is represented in what he does. So I truly respect artists and their integrity. But I found when I had a gallery in Mayfair the atmosphere was far too formal for that to be expressed so I began dealing fro 33
my home in Greenwich and then to here; I basically just decided to get back to my principles of how I see artists being represented and how I can help them in connecting with the public.” And it not just in West London that Sandra hopes to share her ideal; with linked salon shows at Grace Teshima’s space in Montmartre, Paris already in the diary of events. Sandra walks me around her beautiful exhibition space and shows me works by Daniel Farson, Sonya Delaunay, Bert Ervin, Julia Wilson, Ofelia Rodriguez, Penny Green, Romano Cagnoni, Helen O’Keefe, Barrie Cooke and Graham Boyd amongst others. Discover Art Now’s first Gallery Petit show featuring the work of Barrie Cook launches on 16th November. And work by Barrie Cook, Ofelia Rodriguez, Helen O’Keefe and Romano Cagnoni is offered for sale here (click on the artist’s name for their studio store). email@example.com 34
YARN BOMB! GRANTED AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THOSE NAUGHTY GRAFFITI GRANNYS (SIC), WE FIND OUT ABOUT YARN BOMBING FROM THE UK’S MOST FAMOUS AND SECRETIVE KNITTING CIRCLE…
We first came across the work of the Graffiti Grannys when we happened upon hundreds of exquisitely knitted hearts tied with pretty ribbons to the railings along St Ives’ promenade - bobbing in the sea breeze like surreal woolly Christmas tree candies. It was Valentine’s Day. Small cards were attached to some of the hearts tagged with the aforementioned culprits’ moniker along with a Facebook page address; and we have been ‘following’ them ever since. So when we approached the Graffiti Grannys (GGs) for an interview and they agreed, we were thrilled. We can’t tell you who they are, where they live, or what they look like (because that would just spoil it and they may have to kill us!) but we CAN share the following with you… The technical definition of yarn bombing (for the uninitiated) is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn rather than paint; and the UK’s best known guerilla knitters are the Graffiti Grannys. Taking shape in the dark of night, their woolly creations have successfully been installed in random locations without their identity ever being 38
revealed and generating thousands of fans amongst communities who have had the privilege to enjoy the comforting visual fruits of the GG’s nocturnal labours. It might not be Blek le Rat, but it has still earned its rightful place in non-urban street art culture. The first Graffiti Granny yarnbomb took place on the 1st April 2010 when they left 69 knitted mice in Mousehole Harbour, Cornwall. The Granny (or GG) that we spoke to tells us “It literally happened at midnight; there was a beautiful full moon and it was very cold. Only one person saw us and he was a bus driver whom we swore to secrecy. I can’t quite remember what we threatened him with but he thought we were nutters who were probably drunk which we weren’t - drunk that is!” Initially getting together as a small knitting group, one member bought a book on yarnbombing and the seed of inspiration for GGs was sewn. “We had to choose a name and came up with Graffiti Grannys,” our insider explains, “ and the spelling mistake was deliberate - to make people think we don’t have a clue 39
and generally don’t give a ****!!” With such a maverick approach we were intrigued to know if the GGs really were grandmothers and what inspired them in, this most dangerous of, needlework pursuits. “We were first inspired because we were completely fed up with knitting jumpers! It is great fun, we basically like playing at things and cheering up places. Plus, we do like the mystery of not being known, etc.!!” our GG admits. “Most of us are retired, a couple of us have jobs but there are no surprising occupations. We are just normal people. And we are not all grannies - just six of us out of the nine.” So full of belief in their intent, we also managed to glean that at least 3 of the GG’s have a qualification in textiles. “We all have been involved in textiles all our lives and we all dabble in many mediums!!” our GG admitted; but what of the technical masterminding of such an installation? Who does what and how? “We don’t generally have different roles…we all do everything, really. However some do more installations than others but this is often because they are done early in the morning and most of us aren’t up at that time!!” says our GG. “We mastermind projects at meetings and generally brainstorm and discuss stuff we’ve seen, places, etc. that we want to yarnbomb. Art is all around us and it could be the place that inspires us first. Generally though, it’s what we want to do and then finding a place!! We bounce ideas around, laugh a lot and then try different ideas.” Since the Mousehole mice installation in 2010 numerous, thousands of people have woken up to find that their environment 40
has been Graffiti Granny-ed; with trees, beaches, playgrounds, parks and railings transformed via knitted and crocheted cozies and baubles, sheaths and pelmets; some discreet and discovered by only a few, others more obvious and publicized in the national press. However many of their projects are massively ambitious and we wanted to understand better how they technically approach a big installation; Port Elliot’s recent huge tree yarn bomb being a case in point. “Port Eliot Festival emailed us asking if we would appear, but we declined the offer and said we would yarn bomb there anonymously. The installation was put up 4-5 days before the festival using a scaffold tower. It took 7 hours for 2 GG’s to complete and they were covered in mosquito bites by the end of it. There were a couple of trips before hand to choose our victim tree and to measure up and decide what we wanted to do. This project took a long time to achieve for all of the team. Moreover, the tree is still decorated and a photo was uploaded to our page last week of Kaff Fassett hugging it. Which, you can imagine was pretty WOW!” Of all of their activity the Port Eliot tree is up there with GG’s most prestigious projects – along with a knitted ‘teatime’ installation for US Vogue in New York. “American Vogue actually emailed us but we ignored them thinking they were not who they said they were. But they emailed us back, so basically they headhunted us - lol!” explains GG. Other further afield ventures 41
also include The Woolly Walkalong in New Zealand and knitted flowers being left from Loch Lomand to Turkey. Are there any personal favourite projects, for the GGs? “Well that’s a difficult one! But Trees, Mice, Ducks, Fish, Seagulls, Crabs and Daffodils feature heavily. Along with The Merry Maidens which was definitely our most controversial - where I was rolled under a farm gate because I couldn’t climb the stile!!” laughs our GG (who is, for the record, physically disabled). Graffiti Grannys have a fantastic Facebook page which is generally done by one person. “We could all do more but we are basically lazy tykes who let Facebook Granny do most of it, and then another Granny takes over when Facebook Granny goes away!!” finishes GG. How much do you love this typically, chilled response from the most maverick knitting circle in the UK? If you do like it, then please follow them and long may their yarn bombing antics continue! http://www.facebook.com/graffitigrannys?ref=ts&fref=ts 42
STOREPICKS KIMONO ART Oriental blooms were all over the S/S13 catwalks and we love this trend for the home too. Here Helen O’Keefe’s collaged, painted and varnished Perspex box is inspired by the most exotic of Japanese textiles. Available at EVERYTHINGinmystudio £500
GIRL A GROUP OF PAINTERS ARE TURNING THEIR BACKS ON THE EAST END AND FIGHTING FOR STUDIO SPACE IN THE OLD SCHOOL ARTIST’S COLONY OF CHELSEA. PHOEBE DICKINSON LEADS THE PACK OF ‘NEW TRADITIONALISTS’
Ten years ago only a very few working artists remained in the SW10 and SW3 postcodes of London’s royal borough which had already been all but turned over to the bankers, oligarchs and developers. A small number of studio sitting tenancies remained and the fortunate canny few, who had purchased many years earlier, were now sitting on real estate gold dust. But gone were the days of a bohemian artist’s colony that had defined aspects of the Kings Road and its surrounding streets for decades. What was once a vibrant melting pot for London’s avant-garde was now just a playground for the super rich. And the only place to go, for any self respecting artist, was east. However more recently a quiet revolution has been taking place and it looks like Chelsea may be getting some of its creative credentials back; as a new generation of artists seek to revive the area’s bohemian ancestry. Phoebe Dickinson is one such painter and she explains to us how she fought hard to get her coveted space in Chelsea’s Worlds End. “To get my studio I went through a very long and drawn 46
out process. I rent my studio from the Chelsea and Kensington council and the application process is extremely long and tedious but I didn’t give up!” she explains. “My space is in a row of six studios which lie above sheltered housing and the whole building is owned by the council. The other studio inhabitants range from a woman who is in her eighties or nineties to a man that makes very sexual sculptures to the young painter Thaddeus Ramos who is my neighbour here.” The appeal is obvious with its location, “It has everything I need very close to me on the Kings Road plus it has a lovely large North facing window,” explains Phoebe but given her neo-traditionalist style it is also ideally situated for the type of clients her work attracts. Studying at Charles Cecil in Florence, Phoebe’s work is a credit to her formal training. “I chose to study in Florence because at that time there weren’t many art schools in England that actually taught how to paint properly. Florence was a very thorough and traditional training 47
in how to paint and draw figuratively which is what I wanted to do.” But there is a quirky flourish in what she does; particularly in her feminine drawings in pen and ink. Her studio is equally old-school but personalized to make it a room of her own. “For me it was very important to make the studio me and decorate it in a cozy and interesting way. I have the dresser from our nursery in it and it is filled with all sorts of things from trinkets,
to paint mediums, varnishes and powders to natural things that I took a liking to...a nest, a miniature seahorse, a gnarly piece of wood,” explains Phoebe. “And above the dresser I have a collection of pallets my father has given to me over the years that he has bought at house sales across the country. One of the pallets is attributed to having been owned by Reynolds.” Phoebe is currently working towards her second solo show which will be held at Blanchard, Core One, the Gasworks, Michael 48
Road, London, SW6 2AD from November 26th-30th and will also be featured at Gallery 27, 27 Cork Street, London from 29th of October until 1st of November. Works by Phoebe from this feature â€“ along with other drawings, etchings and paintings â€“ are for sale at EVERYTHINGinmystudio
WE LOVE PRINTS R US Masters of print Steve Thomas and Brad Faine get together in a show that is all about graphic techniques and British/American Pop Art. More on Steve Thomas in our Christmas Special, but for now Prints R Us shows until 27th Jan at Chelsea Futurespace. www.chelseafuturespace.org FUTURUSTIC Ex-trend analyst Rebecca Proctorâ€™s Futurustic blog site is focused on design, art and nature. Great photography and writing plus information about the various books she has written including Recycled Home published by Laurence King. www.futurusticblog.com RED WHITE AND BLUE More from ace curator Donald Smith, Red White and Blue explores the intertwinings of pop, punk & politics. 7th Nov - 8th Dec, CHELSEA space, John Islip Street. www.chelseaspace.org SIZE MATTERS This jumbo coffee-table sized sketchbook is just under half a metre tall and comes in a rainbow palette of cover colours. On our Christmas wishlist already! www.archiegrand.com
STOREPICKS ABANDONED BUILDINGS In 1979 sculptor Marc Blane collected empty pint sized, green liquor bottles from the streets of New York City. He took them to his studio, washed them individually and placed a photograph of a burned-out building inside each bottle. That year he produced a vintage of 187 cases of Abandoned Buildings. A limited number of the vintage bottles are available Available from EVERYTHINGinmystudio ÂŁ98
ALEXANDRA ABRAHAM CREATES STATEMENT JEWELLERY AND ART FROM HER AMAZING BEACHCOMBER FINDS. AND WITH ANTHROPOLPGIE IN THE U.S. PICKING UP ON HER, SHE IS SET TO GO BIG IN 2013
Artist and designer Alexandra Abraham grew up discovering fossils and collecting sea glass and pebbles on the beach, a passion that she continues to indulge as she travels the world seeking out stones, coral, sea-washed tile fragments and ancient slipware along with vintage buttons, beads and hardware to embellish her one-of-a-kind gilded jewellery and artworks. Born in North Yorkshire Alexandra studied woven textile design at Loughborough College of Art and when she left art school she ran away to sea. “As you do!” she laughs. “My friend built his own boat and we sailed to the West Indies where I spent a year working on yachts.” This is where Alexandra’s collecting bug really took hold “ I am still using shells I collected from that year away and I still have things I took from the beach as a child as well.” 54
Alexandra came back to the UK to work for Browns in South Molton St. “Then I got married and started painting which led to me into making things to fund my studio – and all the while still collecting things” she explains. She then completed a mosaics course “which I didn’t enjoy as it isn’t very fluid, ” but that fused that with her knowledge of gilding and glazing eventually evolved into her making jewellery. “Everything I find and use tells a story.” she says and within each one of a kind piece Alexandra does indeed weave a visual tale; with layers of coins, ancient ceramics, beads, buttons and stone, 23 carat gold leaf and glazes all worked together in her statement jewellery, tableware and wall art. “A lot of the ceramics I use come from the Thames and much of it is 15th century slipware” explains Alexandra. She has learnt about the ceramics via research by visiting the Museum of London and talking to the professors there. “You find so much blue china and I discovered that lots of potteries existed along the Thames centuries ago. Things that were considered waste were just chucked into the water.” “The other things you find are these clay pipe stems. I like these because they have had someone’s breath through them. They would be quite long and they would break pieces off the long pipes as they got bunged up with nicotine and throw the unwanted pieces into the river. So you find loads of sections of these pipes dotted around.” Alexandra shows me a box of the 56
pipes and explains that they are all 16th century “You can tell because they are not made in a mould.” she explains. Again she has researched all of this in order to better understand her finds and laughs as she tells me “You would be amazed but there are whole websites dedicated to found clay pipes!” Alex explores the whole of London’s river bank – the Thames is Europe’s largest open archaeological site – but she does let slip that the very best spot is just opposite the Tate Modern where, in the right tide, there is a lovely foreshore and plenty of the blue china can be picked up. “The history of London is written in the Thames – you can find amazing things like Roman roof tiles and Elizabethan oyster shells there,” she points out. But she also scours the beaches of the South of France on a regular basis “Someone threw out this bag of things from a really swanky villa so I picked them up and brought them back,” she explains and on travels further afield with finds brought back from Vietnam most recently. In addition many things are given to her to include in her unique work. “A client came in and gifted me with her father’s coin collection – coins from all over the world, from China to Turkey – and that has all gone into different pieces.” In her North London studio there are boxes of hand painted Delft and Chinese ceramic fragments that would have all been shipped to London in centuries gone by, (some of it river washed and softened in its colour, some of it sharp in tone and brittle 57
having been buried), along with trays of vintage buttons, beads, sea glass, stones and a rainbow display of jam jars filled with the Venetian glass smalti which helps her create the tonal colour palettes within each piece. A selection of Alexandraâ€™s one of a kind jewellery, chargers and paintings is available from our store at EVERYTHINGinmystudio
STOREPICKS DEEP PURPLE A bias cut silk chiffon dance dress with cross over V back detail and sequin embellished corsages at the bust plus matching bias cut 3 tier bolero cape Available at EVERYTHINGinmywardrobe ÂŁ440
The Colony Room Club 1948-2008 A History of Bohemian Soho By Sophie Parkin The Colony Room for those who knew it, needs no introduction. For those who didn’t manage a visit in those 60 years up some foul and dark stairs on Dean Street, Soho, missed a visual treat and a sociological experiment in creative living. For the Colony was an Arts club for the most important artists, ballet dancers, composers, poets, writers, MP’s, journalists, architects, gangsters, designers, directors, photographers, publishers, critics, musicians, academics, thinkers, fashionistas, actors, lords and ladies. Many like Dylan Thomas, Tallulah Bankhead, Nina Hamnett, Jeffery Bernard, Robert Carrier, George Melly, Jean Muir and Francis Bacon, had gigantic ego’s but all left them outside the green door before entering. The Colony was a private party for outsiders and ostracised members of society. Whether you were black, gay, female, an artist or poet, or just liked them. Like other legendary meeting places, such as Les Deux Magots in Paris’ Left Bank, or Dean’s bar in Tangier, the Colony was a place where its guests felt more at home than home. From this small green room in post war Soho, London, the creative juices mingled that would enable Britain to rebuild itself from austerity into a vibrant artistic country. In December 1982, 30 years ago, my father Michael Parkin put on an exhibition at his Belgravia gallery called ‘Artists of the Colony Room’. With paintings by Edward Burra, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Craigie Aitchinson, Francis Bacon, Nina Hamnett and Jankel Adler, the show finally cemented the reputation of The Colony Room Club (or Muriel’s, as it was always known by its older clientele) outside of its own membership “The Colony was a remarkable place, and while the octogenarians and upwards who remember it were willing to tell their stories, its history had to be chronicled, little did I realise what I was uncovering.” In this book exactly 30 years after the show, Sophie Parkin has traced the history of culture for 60 years in Britain through The Colony Room Club, from Freud to Hirst, and Turk to Maybury, interviewing 50 members and including a collection of intimate, unpublished, photographs of the famous at play. The Book will be published on the 10th of December 2012 it will be available from the www.thecolonyroom.co.uk or specialist bookshops. For anybody who orders and pays before 15th October the Standard hardback book is £30 (£5 off). The Limited Edition of only 750 which includes a lucky dip of 1 of 6 originally commissioned signed artist prints by Sarah Lucas, Abigail Lane, Chris Battye, Patrick Hughes, Molly Parkin, Michael Woods of George Melly. This is £225(£50 off), if you want all six prints the Collector’s Edition is £2,225 (£225 off). The Limited Edition books are hand bound, embossed and crafted in linen and come in a protective slipcase. Each signed and numbered by the author. About the Author Sophie Parkin first went to the Colony in 1975 with her mother Molly, a member from the 1950’s. Sophie became a member in 1979, a gift for her 18th birthday while studying fine art at St Martins School of Art, frequenting the Colony throughout the years until its final closing in 2008. Sophie also had the distinction of being the only writer to launch a children’s book in the Colony, her acclaimed teenage novel French for Kissing. She has also written and published seven other books, written for most national papers and appeared on stage at The National Theatre, The Cheltenham Literary Festival and the recent 5X15, and organises Performance at The Chelsea Arts Club. She is on the recent National Trust App ‘Soho’. For further information and copyright free pictures please call: 01304 373030 or 07753702910 Publication date 10th December 2012 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thecolonyroom.co.uk
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ARTISTS’ AGENT, COLLECTOR, PAINTER AND PROFESSIONAL CHEF, SIMON W DESMOND IS ABOUT TO ADD ART DEALER TO HIS LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS; WITH A FIRST, HOTLY ANTICIPATED, LONDON SHOW BY RISING STAR, PAINTER JOE HESKETH
Born with an entrepreneurial bit between his teeth and possessing a rare mix of true creativity with genuine business savvy, Simon W Desmond has always done things that little bit differently; an approach now proving essential for anyone trying to survive in these most challenging of economic times. Growing up surrounded by art, (his father was the late, great William Desmond of Austin Desmond Fine Art), Simon was bound to become involved in the business in some way. â€œOur family home was in effect a show space for Austin Desmond and when we moved to London my life was all about the gallery. But I never worked within it (the gallery) so I am really happy as an agent and love that side of it...the academic stuff.â€? Spurred on by personal experiences in his own painting career and with a great address book of gallery contacts to boot, a young Simon set up representing various artists on the recommendation of friends. â€œBased on my family background I was being asked for advice on how to approach galleries and how to get a show. But it is a business and you have to approach it from that harsh perspective, so getting a show is not that easy. 62
Artists aren’t always very good at this,” Simon explains. “It’s much easier for me to go to dealers I have made friends with over the years and show them the work and have a frank conversation about it. So I sort of turned into an agent as a result of that. And then I took it a stage further and have been able to make a living from taking a 10% commission on sales and becoming the liaison between the dealer and the artist. I like artists to remove themselves from that process so they can get on with painting.” A key factor for Simon in doing the best by an artist is to ensure that their profile is maintained by being active in promoting them year round. Gone are the days where a month’s show would provide an adequate outing for an artist to sell enough work to make a living. “It is a different world now to the one of monthly shows in Cork Street. Some artists are still represented by one gallery but very few paintings actually get sold that way anymore,” he explains. “So not being exclusive to one gallery, to be able to go and out and sell work beyond the parameters of a monthly exhibition, showing in pubs, dining rooms, at events, creating pop ups, basically keeping the artists’ profile up be63
yond a one month show - that is the way forward and that is my job.â€? The idea of creative thinking around possible exhibition spaces is not a new one and has become essential for canny artists and agents trying to work around the reality of exorbitant rents and recessionary spending patterns. But it is an idea that Simon has been on to for longer than most and one that he is particularly good at - given his other career as a professional chef. Cooking for private dinner parties since the age of 13, Simon is a chef at the award winning Griffin Inn, East Sussex where he has been part of the kitchen team since he was 17 years old. He also has his own catering company with chef Jason Williams and in his quiet East Sussex home a hub of activity stirs in a professionally fitted out kitchen (the wall spaces between shelves for pans covered in notable works by the likes of Anthony Frost!) and the bucolic, sprawling gardens filled with opportunities for the pot; with berries, fruit trees and herbs all growing next to the kitchen door. â€œHaving the contacts in the catering trade helps in positioning art in commercial spaces as I know how that world works. There is no point going in with avantgarde work to place in a traditional dining room. I know what works where but I learnt the hard way through trial and error.â€? One project for BAA where 64
a client would have effectively been using the airport as a giant gallery space never came to fruition but taught the young entrepreneur a huge amount about the global art market and who buys what in what sector. Working with Megan Piper (someone whom he considers to be the most important young gallerist to come out of her generation, having worked for Momart amongst others), Simon is now making his first outing as a dealer at Piper’s Newman Street space. “It is one of the best designed galleries in town now plus it is a very relevant space with Soho and Fitzrovia on the up again and a natural move away from Mayfair and Cork Street.” Collaborating on a number of shows with the gallery, first up is the much anticipated launch of artist Joe Hesketh onto the London art scene. “She is an eccentric, wild, brilliant Lancastrian, who I met a couple of years ago. She was at the bar in Chelsea Arts Club with photocopies of her paintings and she just asked me to look at them. The paintings were totally raw, almost Baconesque, and were totally at odds with the girl standing in front of me who was pretty and clearly out to party. I loved the paintings and very quickly I was able to sell a number of them. And then I took her on as an artist. Since then I have worked very closely with her and she has had an Arts Council funded exhibition called ‘A Pendle Investigation’ up in Lancashire - marking the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, all depicted in Joe’s very brutal style,” explains Simon. “Then Dean Clough in Halifax gave her a three month show of 40 paintings which is another massive stamp of approval. I like these things for my artists - Arts Council recognition and showing in public gallery spaces. They are not financially rewarding but are important when you are building up your reputation.” (Winsor & Newton also just took Hesketh on as the face of their products.) Bringing the show to London this November, marks for Simon a logical end to a year of touring for Hesketh. “It is high time Joe was launched onto the London scene as I would say she is one of the best young female painters to emerge in the last ten years. 65
She is out there doing her own thing a bit like Bacon was in the 1950s.” And for the London launch of this exciting new artist in a great new gallery, Simon has also come up with an ingenious new way to fund such an enterprise. “We are raising the money for the show through a shareholding which is a very new way of working as you would not normally raise shares in something that is temporary,” he explains. “Although it is a completely new idea and there is obvious risk, it also has the potential for huge gain for those involved,” he continues. “This is an artist whose work this week is selling at between £12-20,000. But is she the next £1million artist? If you look at the facts behind her - who is collecting, who is showing her work - if you look at the analytics and at the criteria an artist needs to be on the right path, well, all of the indicators are there with her trajectory to date.” Other artists on Simon’s list for 2013 include Geri Morgan who is now 84 and was a contemporary of Roger Fry at Camberwell. “I went to visit him in his house and discovered a body of work dating back to the 1940s. And with the market as it is for Forties and Fifties work it is something of a find,” explains Simon. In fact a dealer saw a piece of the work, visited the studio and has now offered Morgan, via Simon W 66
Desmond Fine Art, a retrospective of his whole career in a well known gallery in Mayfair. Aside from Hesketh and Morgan we wondered what else Simon considered to be a good investment right now and he highlighted Seventies British abstract painting as a good place to put your money. “Think of the 70s and you think of Led Zeppelin, drugs, colour, life and this is the period I relate to culturally.” He says. “But it is also the most interesting of periods - as a younger person buying art in the current market-place. Basically I can’t personally afford to buy 40s and 50s British art but I am also slightly removed from the Hepworths, the Moores, the dour colours of the post-war thing. I love them, but they are not part of my lifetime.” “The market moves on but it is now time for the decade to be acknowledged. These 70s pieces have been totally overlooked by the auction market so far and in terms of people’s tastes. But we are saying this is now really relevant,” expands Simon. “Many dealers sneer at it but what is so relevant about it now is that it is the last great (unexploited) decade of a style and an art movement. After that, from the 1980s onwards, it was all about mixing things up and the world changed dramatically through communication.” Simon sites Sandra Blow’s work as the 67
perfect example of a potentially good investment from this period in British art.” She is very much recognised for her 1950s work but from 1969 she rebelled and that work is pretty much overlooked. She’s not really recognised for her Seventies work and this doesn’t make sense as it is possibly her strongest period,” he explains. “My father collected her work during that decade so I am lucky enough to have pieces from that time. And my generation are now earning enough money to collect these paintings, so while you can currently pick up something for £10K, there is still a strong chance that these works could one day be worth five times that.” Collecting is, again, something that is in Simon’s blood. He regales me with a tale of someone once sitting on a folded up lithograph by Louis le Brocquy which his father bought as a student in Ireland and explains that “Everyone in the family collects something - from newspapers to model trains to paintings. Most of it is usually fairly useless, but some of it is interesting! 68
And throughout Simon’s home we thrill at myriad treasures such as Annabelle Moreau’s seminal work in metal entitled ‘Pulse’, pieces by Craigie Aitchison, Terry Frost and Robert Buhler - all hanging alongside examples of those wonderfully naughty, dark canvasses by Simon’s rising star Joe Hesketh.
For this issue we are delighted to be able to offer works for sale - selected by Simon - by Joe Hesketh and Sandra Blow amongst other artists at EVERYTHINGinmystudio ‘A Pendle Investigation’ by Joe Hesketh shows at Newman Street Gallery, W1, from 31st October – 22nd November. 69
STOREPICKS SEVENTIES REVIVALISM Like Simon W Desmond we are excited about a revival in 1970s British art. And this vintage 70s terrazzo table with ebonized legs and brass feet would look great underneath the Sandra Blow canvas we are coveting. Sandra Blow canvas P.O.A. Simon W Desmond Fine Art Available at EVERYTHINGinmyhouse ÂŁ140
STOREPICKS PASTEL MASTER While studying at the RCA David Blackburn met some of the great influences of his life. In 1962 Gerhart Frankl introduced him to the works of Austrian artists and scholars and to using pastels. Here Seascape II (Whitby) from 1969 shows Blackburn’s mastery of the medium. The work on paper (measuring 24 x 37cm) Available at EVERYTHINGinmystudio £1500
10 KEY MOMENTS In the first of a regular feature exploring the 10 defining moments in the lives of inspiring Creatives, we meet designer and recently appointed Senior Director at San Fransiscoâ€™s Arts University, Keanan Duffty to find out about the moments that have shaped his amazing career to date.
The first key moment fo spent 17 years in Don else. My friend used gigs where we met peop denly exposed to stree London. So I applied t course and was pretty in. And I knew then th lieve that my whole li into St Martinâ€™s and I are images from Keanan First with Hons).
The second moment is associated with a little shop Garden. It was about 1982 and we would trek round t with John Flett who was on our course and was super also the height of cool and Helen Robinson who ran make some hats. So that was when I literally realis ally have a career in this, you can make things and and wear them! And then you might see people wearing would make you feel amazing!â€™ I think prior to that just assuming fashion was about having a great time awakening for me.
or me was definitely getting into St Martin’s. I had ncaster -most of it spent trying to get somewhere to organise bus trips out of town to Northern Soul ple like Steve Strange and Chris Sullivan, were sudet culture and became aware of what was happening in to St Martin’s without having even done a foundation shocked when this letter arrived to say I had got hat this was going to change my life. I honestly beife would have been totally different had I not got I am eternally grateful for that opportunity. (These n’s Graduation show in 1986 for which he attained a
p called PX in Covent there from St Martin’s r cool. This shop was it commissioned me to sed ‘Oh! You can actud people will buy them g your things and that I was there in London e...so this was a huge
It has to be appearin saw the first issue of with Jerry Dammers on t people. So I bought it bible. And I always ha the Face so that was already so I knew it w (the great street styl jumped on some Egypti I made these pieces an pitched it to Robin De Clothes for Pharoes af big deal to be in ther Madonna was on a cover I was as well in the m
While I was still at college I started working with Stuart who managed bands like the X-Ray Specs and A duced by Natalie Gibson (the brilliant head of texti she encouraged me to take some tapes I’d recorded r kind of took me under his wing, got me into EMI , re and from there Falcon put out a single of mine called pendent label. Iain McKell crops up again here as for the single – in a swimming pool in south London w Speedos. It was completely freezing and I was so p ended up looking pretty cool (at the time) with this had. Anyway Smash Hits picked up on it and we got ‘ which was pretty exciting at the time! Not really fa all part of getting yourself out there at the time.
ng in the Face magazine. Before I went to college I the Face (on a news stand in Doncaster bus station) the cover and it was just full of amazing interesting t - rather than steal it - and from there it became my ad this idea that you had ‘made it’ if you got into an ambition. I had been in a little feature in ID was possible to get press. And then I met Iain McKell le photographer) and I showed him my portfolio and he ian themed sketches and said make some garments. So nd he shot me with two models on the Embankment and errick at the Face who took the story. We called it fter Vivienne Westwood and at the time it was a really re as The Face was at its height in influence. A young r, Hamish Bowles had done a feature.....and so here magazine that had made me want to go to London.
h this guy called Falcon Adam Ant. We were introiles at St Martin’s) and round to him. Anyway he ecorded a bunch of tracks d Watersport on his indewe did this photo shoot with me in a pair of blue pale with the cold which s long bright red hair I ‘Single of the Fortnight’ ashion related but it was
I graduated from St Ma making clothes and sel so looked round for a covered this amazing w that predicted trends oriented with clients opportunity to travel the time Japan was rea buzz and I got to go t ing to work for Nigel got to visit New York you could go and live
I guess my next thing was to actually make that mo had worked for Jeff Banks after Nigel French and he move here. He gave me lots of contacts in New York a easier to take the plunge and leave London. So numb the US. (Keanan is pictured here with Tommy Hilfiger
Number 7 has to be sta for various US compani Vagabond. I am a huge cans. I did a trade sh Fred Segal and in the that was really fulfill of a few years it went ourselves to being in 78
artin’s and started doing my own thing from my flat; lling them. But I didn’t have any money to speak of job. I got one with Nigel French and suddenly disworld that I never knew existed – with this company s and advised companies on design and was globally in Japan and in the US. So at 22 I had this brilliant while working which is so exciting at that age. At ally vibrant with domestic brands – there was such a there! So I think my number 5 defining moment was goFrench and all that brought with it. After Japan I for Nigel French and it started to dawn on me that in other countries by working in the industry.
ove and come to America. I e was key in me making the and he helped make it much ber 6 for me was moving to in NYC)
arting my own line! After a couple of years working ies I set up my own studio and called the line Slinky e Bowie fan and I loved that name from Young Amerihow and sold to US stores like Bergdorf Goodman and UK to boutiques such as Peter Sidell’s Library. So ling my dream to do my own thing. And over a period from me and my wife Nancy very much doing everything 150 stores and having a small team around us. 79
In 2006 we launched a clusively into Target benchmark – to reach a of our favourite style for a different market 500 and 700 for the can we really reach cr And I realised my name - so thought the way t
So I approached David Bowie! He is basically the reas clothes in the first place. I had met his manager bef set up a meeting and pitched the idea of creating a c ration with Bowie - specifically for Target. I had n even like the idea of selling himself into a superma out it is exactly why he did like it – he thought it we met in Manhattan and had this lovely first meetin blessing to go and pitch it to Target. At the time no these collaborations with musicians or stars so it wa would be successful but they loved it. It was actual took all this vinyl into the presentation and they “Bowie?! Bowie?!” At first they thought it was some we decided to do a range inspired by the Man Who fell to Station – so more the clean black and white Bowie 1200 plus store and David did a mini CD to go out for turn meant I got my name on a Bowie record! Most defi moment. 80
a range called Englandâ€™s Dreaming Keanan Duffty ext stores across the US and that for me was another a broader market. We were doing a re-design of some es from our higher end collection, re-working them t and we started in 200 stores and then it crept to next delivery but all the while I was thinking how ritical mass here â€“ get to really broad distribution? e is not big enough or well known enough to do that to do this is to collaborate with another name.
son I was interested in fore and I called him, collection in collabono idea if David would arket but as it turned t was very Warhol. So ng and he gave me his o one was really doing as not a given that it lly very amusing as we just sat there going kind of prank. Anyway l to Earth and Station e era and it went into r the launch. Which in finitely my number nine 81
About five years ago I got a little gig hosting a TV show in the Hamptons (on a sort of aspirational resort channel). I was doing a weekend show and just thought it was fun and a great opportunity to meet people I was fascinated by â€“ like Gore Vidal and various fashion folk who had places in the area. So the producers would just say who do you want to interview this week and one of the first ones I suggested to them was Malcolm McLaren They had no idea who he was but I said let me just try and make contact with him. So I got an email address for him, sent a message and he wrote back saying I am actually in the Hamptons right now. It transpired they were five minutes away and he agreed for us to come round and do this interview with my cameraman. He had been doing this art installation at a nearby gallery so we go there, set up the camera and start rolling - and two hours later we were still there with him telling these really great stories many of which I had never heard before. He just wouldnâ€™t shut up and it was all completely fascinating - all about Afrika Bambaata, the Sex Pistols, Westwood - and so we just let him carry on. And subsequently we developed a friendship and would meet up. And for me it was amazing that this guy who (along with Vivienne Westwood, Bowie and the Sex Pistols) was one of my greatest influences and is someone that I was lucky enough to meet. He is someone who showed me you can be creative and live your life that way whilst also having fun. And that is something I try and instill in my students now whatever they want to do...that at the end of the day you have to 82
follow your heart and the things that you love. Because those key inspirations are what will ultimately bring you happiness.
Keanan Duffty is now Senior Director of Fashion Merchandising at the Academy of Art University, San Fransisco. He also has a blog http://rebelrebelantistyle.blogspot.co.uk/ He is also co-producing the Malcolm McLaren documentary â€˜Spectacular Failureâ€™ 83
STOREPICKS PLEDGE MUSIC In the spirit of an issue dedicated to people doing things a bit differently, we are highlighting the work of www.pledgemusic.com where entrepreneurial musicians raise money for charity while you help them fulfill their musical dreams by pledging funds to their independent projects. Our money is on the excellent Johanna Graham Trio who are looking to record their debut album in advance of a UK tour. Part of the funds raised also go towards The Prem Rawat Foundation Pledge at Johanna Graham Trio
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