Thursday, 30 October 2014

DIY Tutorial: Halloween Pumpkin Decoration Without Carving!

 It's that time of year again! Costumes are dug out, sweets are stocked up on and Pumpkins are carved. If you're like me though, carving Pumpkins is messy and if I'm honest I would rather not stick my hand in a giant vegetable! However I had a Pumpkin left over from school and it seemed a little sad just sitting there so I decided to decorate it! If you need a last minute decoration or don't like carving either then follow along below! 

What you will need:

1. A Pumpkin
2. Gold paint
3. A paint palette or board
4. Brushes
5. Sharpie or other permanent marker pen

 Pour a small amount of paint onto your palette and start painting from the top outwards. Make sure you cover the stalk completely and then work your way down the sides. I decided to stop half way down but you might want to do the whole thing.

Decide what text you want on the front of your Pumpkin, I have gone with 'Happy Halloween'. Start of by parking lightly in pencil where you want your text to be (It might not show up very well but in good light you will be able to see it!) Then go over it in a basic black line.

I am always jealous of those people who either have beautiful script handwriting or who are good at Typography. But I have learnt a way to cheat! Once you have your basic line you go over it again and basically add bits on to make it thicker. There's no real science here but I recommend looking at a few pictures to show you were you would usually 'thicken' letters up.

All that's left is to colour in all of your lines and shapes until you have solid black lettering.

And there you have it! A simple, no mess, no frills Pumpkin that still has a little bit of shimmer to it! 

Happy Halloween everyone!

London Street Art Tour

I spent this last weekend in London visiting a friend but instead of our usual trip to the the shops in Central and a night out we fancied something different. I had heard of street art tours before but had never had chance to go on one or anyone to go with. So will little persuasion my two friends and I headed to Shoreditch for a tour run by London Street Art. 

This was our lovely tour guide Daphne whose knowledge of street art and graffiti was just amazing. When asked how she knew all of this information about  every artist we came across she replied 'I know them personally'. Can't have a better tour guide than that! In this picture she is pointing to a piece by Dscreet who is originally from Australia and his signature is these owl characters which are quite cartoon like. Unfortunately, someone had added to this with green paint!

 Ben Wilson turns old chewing gun into tiny, intricate murals. Like Daphne said, we have probably walked past tons of these around London and not even seen them! I love how it encourges us to look around more rather than hurrying to the next place and not looking at the world around us.

This piece is by Borondo, a spanish artist now living in Hackney, London. He actually has a copycat who is also working in Hackney who our guide was yet to meet but she didn't blame us for thinking they were all done by the same guy because they are so similar. Borondo's work is very expressionate and what makes it instantly different to all of the other work is that he uses rollers and paint rather than spray cans. I find his work quite emotional and dark which for some reason I really like! I love his work because they are such powerful, unusual images to use in street art and his painting style is incredible.

'London. you beast' was painted by  Faith47  in 2013 and is on a building that is currently being knocked down! I spotted this piece from far away so I was excited to get closer and see the full piece. I love religious iconography, don't ask me why, I have always loved murals, biblical images and stained glass windows despite not being religious myself. I don't know what it is about them that I find so powerful, perhaps even more so nowadays where religion is often a contraversial topic and is being discussed and refuted more than ever. I also love the limited palet which she uses and the scale of the piece. From what I have seen of her work since the tour all of her work is large scale like this, featuring religious individuals and swans.

This piece is attached to the same building as Faith47's piece but on the other side. I thought this was the whole piece and someone had cleverly used a space that is soon to be gone but it actually used to be a complete face with hair that covered the whole wall. I think I like it more as it is now though, it seems very opportunistic despite the fact I think it was a  more planned piece. The artist is Melbourne based RONE who has travelled all over the world creating these freehand, larger than life seductive and glamorous women.

 Dan Kitchener is a  Professional mural artist, Illustrator, painter and animator who was born in Essex but now lives and works in London. Sometimes when I see a piece of art, I can't stop staring at it. This is what happened with this piece. I looked at it close up, from down the road, over the road and then close up again. I couldn't quite get my head around the fact that it is painted by hand and how realistic it looks while remaining stylised. The short of it is I'm a little bit obsessed!

This is a close up of a piece by Conor Harrington,  an Irish born street artist who blurs the line between graffiti and fine art. Like Borondo's work, I find the pieces quite dark and eery. This just means I love it though! After doing a little bit of research I have noticed that a lot of his work depicts old military figures or battle scenes and his style of painting where he lets the paint drip slightly looks like these people are almost fading away or in motion. This gives them a ghostly effect which I really like and it made me stop while walking past to look closer.

 Do you ever come across a piece of art that you just can't get your head around? Well this is one of those! Created by Alexandre Farto otherwise known as Vhils, this portrait was created by chipping away and destroying the surface of the wall to reveal whats underneath. Our guide Daphne, told us that he pioneered this technique and even uses small explosives to get rid of larger parts of the wall, not the easiest thing to use when you are probably creating the piece illegally! What I like is that apparently all of his portraits are of people he has met in the past so you won't see pop icons or famous people getting even more fame. He creates incredible, strinking portraits of people who we will never know and I love that he elevates anonymous faces rather than generic figures from popular culture.

 Last but not least and that wasn't on the tour is this Steve ESPO Powers piece created in 2010 as part of his 'Love Letters' project. He moved to New York from West Philadelphia where he became a well known grafitti artist. However, in 2000 he gave up to become a full time studio artist. In Powers' own words this project was "A Love Letter meant for one but with meaning for all." He has created 50 rooftop murals in his hometown of West Philadelphia about the complexities and rewards of relationships. He has also created murals around the world like this one in London. It's probably the most photographed and instagrammed piece of street art in Shoreditch but I made it my mission to go and see it! I am a sucker for typography and romaticising life. I hope his work reminds people to sometimes look at the world through rose tinted eyes and remember that not everything is so bad after all.

If you are still with me at this point then I am very pleased you've got to the end of this mammoth blog post! I tried to be selective about the artists I included but I just found it too hard! I cannot recommend the tour enough to people who have an interest in street art or if you are looking for something alternative to do in London rather than the usual sights! If you are interested head over to their website to book yourself onto a tour!

As for the artists, I felt inspired and overwhelmed by the talent I saw. The time, effort and lengths that grafitti and street artists go to to create masterpieces which will only exist for a matter of time is incredible. They make us think, they make us smile and sometimes they might even make us sad but I would love to see more artwork on the walls to remind us all that creativity is still alive at a time in the world where control and oppression seems like the only option for many.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Whats on my bookshelf?

In the last few years I have become very fond of Pantone which is a universal colour system set up by Lawrence Herbert to eliminate colour variation in printing and graphic design.  I already have the postcard collection, notebook and storage tin so I was really pleased to find that they had a children's book too!

This may seem like a strange purchase as I don't have children of my own but I couldn't help myself (plus I got it for the bargain price of £2.90 from Amazon marketplace!) I have little nieces, work in a school and one day will have children of my own but most of all I just think it's a great concept to help children learn that there are different shades to a colour.

If you have little ones who are just learning about colour, children who love art or just love colour yourself I urge you to get this book! It's bright, it's got thick card pages so it's toddler proof and it's probably the coolest children's colour book I have seen in a long time! It's a piece of graphic design for children, what more do you want in a book?