After Goya, cut paper on birch panel, 109x81
Brian Adam Douglas is a Brooklyn based artist, who under the name Elbow Toe has been pasting his collages, drawings, woodcuts and stencil work onto the walls of the cities all around the world for the past decade. Due Date is his first solo show in UK and it’s hosted by Black Rat Projects in Shoreditch.
As Douglas describes it himself Due Date explores his “preconceived notions of parenthood and the opportunities for growth that come through that process.” It is a series of collages, which viewed from the distance could be easily mistaken for paintings. Douglas calls this medium ‘cut paper paintings’. He builds the images through the meticulous layering of tiny pieces of coloured paper, each individual piece replaces here a single brushstroke. It creates fluidity rarely seen in the collage work.
My favourite image After Goya depicts little girl in a pink dress terrified by the sight of two cats ripping apart a magpie. It is inspired, or even appropriated from Goya’s Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zúñiga.
I have to admit that I don’t remember last time I was so astonished by the work of so called ‘street artist’. It is most probably the best show I have seen recently and I strongly recommend to visit it.
Bears, cut paper on birch panel, 122x89
What Could Happen, cut paper on paper, 75x100
Any Which Way But Loose, cut paper on paper, 75x100
Sweet Dreams, cut paper on paper, 100x75
Assume Crash Position, cut paper on paper, 100x75
- Knitting Circle, cut paper on paper, 90×115
Design is thought made visual.
Saul Bass was one of the greatest American graphic designers of the mid-20th century, who had a significant impact on the film industry. Breaking the convention of plain and unimaginative film titles, he reinvented them to become integral part of the movie. He is best known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.
As well as the film titles Saul Bass designed and created number of groundbreaking movie posters. Some of them were on show in the Kemistry Gallery in Shoreditch for the past month. Since I am very interested in poster art it was a great pleasure to see his work. I admire the distinctive style, but also the simplicity of the design. Most of his posters are created using two colours only (often red and black), the uncomplicated drawings seem almost effortless, but the final effect is eye-catching, direct and very recognizable.
In a period when graphic imagery can be so easily manipulated electronically, Bass reminds us that a strong idea is always at the heart of a great design. His work, as reflected in this exhibition, is as refreshing today as ever. [from a note accompanying the exhibition]
Here are some posters and photos from the show, which Kemistry Gallery kindly provided me with:
If that’s not enough I strongly recommend short movie “Why Man Creates”, for which Saul Bass received an Oscar in 1968.
Why Man Creates, Part 1:
Why Man Creates, Part 2:
Vanity 8th Wonder
I was completely outraged by the populistic slogans, that my fellow students (mostly male voices shouting: men are pigs!! men are taking advantage of women! etc.) expressed in the debate we held in the class on Wednesday (09/03/11) after the soft-porn image of Vanity 8th Wonder appeared on the screen. I decided to investigate the myth of women being exploited in porn business.
“I used to do interviews like this, just like the movie you’re doing, and I did it 15-20 years ago; and those documentaries were never shown, because it actually showed me as being kind of intelligent, articulate female, who had chosen to go into particulate business, and that’s not exciting. You wanna believe that I was made to do it. That I was a victim! That I was forced! And I’m sorry, it hasn’t happen like that” (Jane Hamilton, AKA Veronica Hart, director and producer of adult movies, former adult film performer)
That’s the opening lines of Naked Feminist, the documentary depicting a group of strong and quite often intelligent women, who surprisingly seem to be in control of their own fate, while working in the socially condemned pornographic industry.
We discussed as well ‘size zero’ models and generally the female image served by fashion/pop culture. And again the same male (!?!) voices were shouting: this is disgusting! men are responsible (because of their visual sexual stimuli)!! Apart from the painful hypocrisy expressed here (how on earth this image can be disgusting to a heterosexual male?)… lets just remember that the majority of men involved in fashion industry are of homosexual orientation (probably all male fashion designers). There is nothing wrong about that I suppose except the fact that they might not have the idea, and surely they do not represent, heterosexual male perception of the female physique.
Achille, L. (2004) Naked Feminist, US: Lush Lily Productions.
For everybody interested..
Saul Bass exhibition @
43 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch
London EC2A 3PD
"Keep Calm and Carry On" poster, artist unknown.
Keep Calm and Carry On poster was produced by the Ministry of Information in 1939, at the beginning of II World War. The posters were intended to offer the public reassurance in the event of wartime disaster. It was printed in 2.5 million copies, yet never officially issued, so it remained unseen by the nation.
In 2000 the poster was found by Stuart Manley, the owner of second-hand bookshop Barter Books and it’s popularity grew rapidly ever since (there is even a blog tracking it’s phenomenon). I would be very surprised to find somebody who haven’t seen this design. It appears on nearly everything: from T-shirts, coffee mugs and bags, to doormats, chocolate bars, cookies and g-strings for naughty teenagers (guess where?..www.keepcalmandcarryon.com). Even Banksy who appropriated it for one of his stencils can be proud to have cushions with his artwork being sold to geeky graffiti fans.
Best parody: "Keep Calm and Cary Grant", unknown artist
According to the Guardian this ‘great come back’ is connected to the credit crunch episode: “All around the nation, nostalgia lovers are keeping faith with a slogan to get through the hard times ahead. The Keep Calm And Carry On poster was designed to help boost morale in the second world war, and it has been rediscovered to become the logo of the credit crunch.”
For some reason I always associated this design with totalitarian politics, where nosy regime is trying to stick the camera up your … (sounds familiar?) Later I found out that Alan Moore adapted the image for his graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dosier in connection to Ingsoc Party of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Moore, A., O’Neill, K. (2007) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dosier, US: America’s Best Comics.
Barter Books: http://www.barterbooks.co.uk/kc_home.php
Keep calm and put up your poster, the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2009/mar/17/keep-calm-carry-on-pictures?picture=344713815#/?picture=344713809&index=2