Here Comes A City

An Interview with Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes seemingly overnight, local artist Marc Gooderham has made it his mission to capture these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur, that are beginning to vanish before our eyes. In the run up to his exhibition Here Comes A City, opening February 8th 2018, we took the opportunity to ask Marc about his paintings and his project.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….

There are two. Naturally the paintbrush, but also the highly underrated yet extremely versatile piece of chalk!

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How long have you been painting and drawing? When did you start out?

As far back as I can remember. As a child I would sit and draw for hours. Still lifes, portraits, intricate buildings using pen and ink. The first piece of art I sold was to my art teacher at school. He kindly parted with £150 for a still life piece. As a kid, this was all very exciting. I tried not to let that first sale go to my head…honestly.

All your pieces come from real locations, mostly in London. What is it about the urban landscape that appeals to you?

I’ve always lived in London, so it’s a place I know and love. A place of intrigue and new experiences. It’s the contrast of old and new and glimmers of a forgotten time that really appeal to me.

Buildings with a fallen, crumbling exterior always hold an evocative beauty. Cities are a physical thing, they’re made up of lines and interesting forms, and the complexities of architecture and perspective can be challenging at times. But it’s all these things that make it the perfect subject to paint. Buildings command our attention. They’re our homes, places of work, places we admire and fall in love with. They help us navigate our way through life.

What is your process for working on a new piece? 

The only real way of getting to know a city is by walking it. Familiarising myself with the street level views. Making preparatory sketches and photographs. Revisiting a potential location at different times of day – sketch as much as possible! It has to have all the right components, which help make the final composition. Light and shade, suggestions of human life, a glow or reflection in a window, lights shimmering in the distance. These all give harmony and unity to a picture. Once these are in place, I begin work in the studio.

You are now working more with chalk pastels instead of painting, was there anything in particular that drew you to a new medium?

Working with charcoal and chalk pastels has been quite a liberating experience. I am still painting, producing large canvas pieces each month, again of the urban landscape.  I will always paint, however the pastel/charcoal lends itself to working quickly and more instinctively, 50% of the picture is created using my fingers.  There isn’t a lot of room for mistakes which adds to the excitement of this medium, speed is of the essence! It’s about capturing a certain feel or atmosphere and ultimately exercising the art of freehand drawing. It gives the artist a sketch – like fluidity.

Do find yourself returning to locations?

All of time. The locations are very familiar to me. Old haunts or places I have lived naturally become the subject of my work. The city is changing at such a rapid pace, there will always be a new discovery.

What is your favourite takeaway?

 Quite simply ‘Babur To Go.

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An Interview with Lauren Mortimer

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Our next exhibition will be with London based illustrator Lauren Mortimer. The opening night is on Thursday September 1, from 7-9pm, and the show will hang until the end of October.

We love Lauren’s graphite illustrations that combine nature elements in unexpected ways, and so it was very exciting when we got to sit down with Lauren for an interview and find out more about the lady herself and her artistic process.Lauren Mortimer_Profile

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
The pencil is pretty much my best friend!

You originally studied Fashion Promotion at Central St. Martins. Has that influenced your current illustration work?
I think that it must have influenced my current work on some level, though if it has, not purposefully. By not having an illustration background, it allowed me to have more freedom and find my style quickly. My work does lend itself well to the fashion world though… I do a lot of editorial work for instance for fashion magazines.Lauren Mortimer Prints_2Many of your pieces include visual puns and hidden meanings, as well as surrealist combinations. How do those themes come together for your pieces?
I think the wonderful thing about illustration is that you can create anything you like on a piece of paper. There are no limits. Though my work is very realistic, I like to mix themes and merge objects together to create something more visually exciting – something that isn’t a reality. Patterns and texture play a huge part of my work too. I like to change the meaning of the objects, and nature will always be huge starting point for me.
 

Some of the projects you’ve worked on include illustrating books. Can you tell us a bit about the process for a larger project like that?
I’ve got 5 books under my belt so far, and I’m working my way through the final artwork of my 6
th, a colouring book. The wonderful thing about big projects like these is that you have a physical product at the end of it with all of your artwork put together. You see it in a different context to the piece of paper you created it on, and you have that proud moment. When my two cocktail books, Tequila Mockingbird, and Gone With The Gin arrived in the post from the publisher, it was really exciting, and definitely a highlight for me.Lauren Mortimer_Gone With The Gin Cover GWTG_Lauren Mortimer_Blade Rummer

There is a slightly macabre and dark undertone to many of your pieces, is that something you find yourself consciously drawn to? Do you find that graphite lends itself particularly well to those themes?
I think that it’s just my style and my interests that come together that way. By contrasting an object that’s soft and beautiful with something that’s hard, for instance, enhances each of them, and creates something poetic in my eyes. For me it’s more about how the viewer interprets it. Everyone should take what he or she wants from it in their own way.

How long have you been making prints?
I’ve been producing limited edition prints for about 4 years now! Time flies!

What is your favourite takeaway?
That’s easy… Pizzzzaaaaaaa!  

Thanks so much! You can see more of Lauren’s work on our website or in the shop. Feel free to pop by on Thursday the 1st to meet her in person, enjoy the work up on the walls and have a glass of wine.

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An Interview with Freya Cumming

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Spring is just about here. Or at least surely it must be close – we can almost smell it! Also, right around the corner is our brand new exhibition with one of Of Cabbages and Kings’ longest standing collaborators Freya Cumming. Freya will be traveling down from Dundee with her latest collection of screen prints fresh of the drying rack. The private view is on Thursday May 5th from 6:30 – 9pm. We hope you can make it along. In the meantime, we caught up with Freya and found out a little bit more about her art process and influences.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
I use them all, but if I had too choose one, my weapon of choice would be a propelling pencil. I love ’em! 

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Your art features many repetitive motifs (hot air balloons, Victorian figures, the ocean, etc.). Do you feel like you work with themes or that you are drawn to a particular image?
I don’t think that I have any particular themes other than that most of the work I enjoy making has some form of pattern, however small a detail it is, it’ll be in there! The balloon images became a theme by accident, I lived in Bristol for seven years and I thought one day I might try a balloon print, as they are such a familiar sight in the city. I enjoyed the endless possibilities of patterns and colours within the balloons and so I got quite carried away and produced a whole series of these. 

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Your images feature many built up layers. Can you tell us a bit more about that process? 
One of the pleasures of screen printing for me, is the ability to play around with the opacity of the inks when mixing them. Printing in overlapping layers, in varying opacity can come up with colours and effects that I aren’t planned, but that make printmaking more interesting for me. I like making it up as I go along! It makes what can be a very technical process, much more interesting and spontaneous.  

Can you tell us a bit more about founding Snap Studio, the artists co-operative in Bristol?
It all came about very serendipitously. My friend Frea and I were manning a pop-up shop in an old hairdressers in Bristol for a few days. We were chatting about how amazing it would be to have a studio, gallery and printmaking facilities under one roof. The man who had the keys to the hairdressers, just so happened to be the founding member of the ethical property company, and owner of  a beautiful 16th century building across the street. He offered it to us at a really reasonable rate which allowed us to seek help from the co-operative development agency in Bristol and go on to form a co-op with six other printmaking friends. We are all either just graduated/ or graduating, so it was perfect timing. It was the perfect setting- post-uni to have somewhere to work. 

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

You recently moved back to your hometown in rural Scotland. Has this move changed or influenced your work? 
I’ve realised with hindsight that it did at the time. I’ve always been inspired by my surroundings so suddenly, instead of urban scenes, I was drawing chickens and squirrels. I found I missed the urban landscape and I realised there was a danger that my work was unintentionally becoming overly countrified, so I moved my studio from the village to nearby Dundee.

How long have you been printing?
I learned to screen print the same year I graduated in 2001 – so on and off, around fifteen years of squeegeeing ! 

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What is your favourite takeaway?
All of them?!. I live in the middle of nowhere though so takeaway is rare! No-one will deliver this far either 😦

Q&A with Tiff Howick

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We are excited to announce our next exhibition will be with Tiff Howick. It will run from Thursday February 4th, with an opening preview on Wednesday February 3rd from 6:30-9pm.

Tiff’s artwork features striking portraits of animals, focusing on dogs and British wildlife. They are done with a loose, expressive style in black ink, printed over a strong colour on crisp white paper.

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What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
It is very hard to choose, I would say overall it’s a paintbrush, I really enjoy experimenting with brushmarks to create different textures.  

Your art features striking portraits of animals. Have you always been drawn to animals?
I have, I grew up with pets – Jack Russells, rabbits and guinea pigs. I also spent my summer holidays in Norway where there were sheep grazing in the forests and we’d see squirrels, deer and elk.  

Your animals are very expressive, like they each have their own personality. Is that something that evolves as each animal is drawn?
Mostly the expression is intentional, I’ll have a reference image with an animal in a pose that I think represents a particular behaviour or emotion such as the spirited French Bulldog or the thoughtful Greyhound.  Sometimes the expressions evolve and either reflect the mood I’m in when I’m drawing or I make subtle changes to the eyes to create an overall feeling that works for the drawing. 

Reading the expressions in my screen prints is subjective, people commenting on my work have seen a variety of different emotions. 

Your art is inspired by your Scandinavian heritage, vintage children’s illustrations, and contemporary fashion illustration. On the surface these styles are quite different, what is it within them that you think draws them all together so successfully?
Over time I have incorporated in to my work the elements of each style that I most admire.  Limited colour palettes from Scandinavian design and the creation of striking images with just one or two colours.  The bold colours are from Scandinavia and my childhood picture books, two of my all-time favourite illustrators are Carl Larsson and Richard Scarry.  The loose, textured brush marks and sketchy lines are inspired by fashion illustration, I am a huge fan of David Downton’s work. 

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One of your most popular prints has been the Yellow Hare, which features a bright splash of yellow. Some of your prints feature colours that are not traditionally associated with the animal depicted. Do you feel that the colour can change the mood of the animal?
I’ve used bright primary colours to represent extreme versions of the animal’s natural colour, using one vibrant colour to simplify the final image. This sometimes ties in with the mood of the piece, the bright red fox staring assertively over it’s shoulder.  The hare is resting but alert, the bright yellow also representing a hot day in a cornfield.  

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How long have you been printing?
I first printed a long time ago on an art foundation course.  I rediscovered screenprinting fairly recently and have been using it to create most of my work for just over three years. Tiff-Howick-screenprinting-work-images

What is your favourite takeaway?
Since starting to work for myself I’ve researched and read a lot about how to make it work.  I would say the best advice, and the hardest for me to stick to, is to focus. Being creative my head is always full of new ideas, there are so many things I want to do and experiment with.  To make a living out of work that I really enjoy I’ve had to pick one idea and work really hard to make my screenprints as good as they can be. 

Or if you mean food it would have to be Indian :o) 

Made You Look screening and Q&A

When we heard about the documentary Made You Look we just knew that we had to get involved. The film is primarily about printmaking and the digital age. The documentary interviews a number of established artists from across the UK about their work and how they view art and making in the middle of a digital revolution.

Process of an Anthony Burrill print.
Process of an Anthony Burrill print.

In our gallery and shop space we work with a number of artists who also print at Print Club London, a studio space that gives artists access to screenprinting equipment on a membership basis. Many of the artists in the film are also members of Print Club, which is located down the road from us in Dalston.

Hattie Stewart in the Made You Look documentary
Hattie Stewart from Made You Look documentary

We have organized a screening of the film on Monday October 26, at 6:00pm, at the Hackney Picturehouse. There will be a Q&A afterwards with one of the co-directors, Anthony Peters, and producer David Waterson. You can purchase tickets through Ourscreen for the event. We need to sell a certain number of tickets before October 18 in order to have the screening go ahead, so please purchase your tickets soon or we’ll all miss out!

You can watch the trailer for the movie here.

The synopsis of the film is below.

The last 15 years has seen a boom in the UK graphic arts and illustration industry, with a DIY scene emerging and prospering alongside new and affordable leaps in technology.

So much of our lives is now spent in the virtual digital realm, so what will become of the tactile objects we all hold so dear? Will we see books disappear in our lifetime? And why are more and more creatives moving away from the computer and getting back to using their hands to create art, both commercially and for art’s sake.

Made You Look is a documentary which sets out to explore the landscape of the commercial arts in the 21st Century. It’s a film that gives an insight into how modern creative people feel about the challenges and triumphs of living in a hyper digital age.

This film is a rare and candid insight into the work of some of the UK’s top creative talent, including beautifully shot footage of artists at work and play in their own creative environments.

Pete Fowler painting from the documentary Made You Look
Pete Fowler painting.

Anthony did a keynote talk at the Blogtacular conference in June, which they have just released for the public to watch. He talks about how he got the idea for the movie, some sneak peeks into the making of, and the importance of making.

We hope to see you at the screening!

Ashley Amery Inverview and Exhibition

We are excited to announce the next exhibition in the shop. Ashley Amery will be displaying new prints and drawings on July 2 from 7-9pm. If you are interested in attending you can RSVP with our Facebook event.

We were able to grab Ashley for a little interview about her work and inspirations, as well as a preview of some of her pieces that will be displayed in the show.
Web Banner OCK show_2What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
A pigment liner pen, or a small paint brush.

You have studied art in California, Italy and in London. Did you find that there were different approaches to art in each place? Has that influenced your work?
I think place always influences work, the landscape as much as the people. In California, I studied under artists influenced by Abstract Expressionism, who focused on the act of painting as an expression of the unconscious. California felt big and open. Large canvases layered with paint made sense in the space there. When I moved to Italy, it was a different world, packed with detail, and an extensive past. I had access to darkrooms and printmaking studios, and a library full of art theory books. I became interested in photography and how an art piece can embody a concept. I wanted to live in London partly because I read about ideas coming from the art colleges there. I loved the work of artists who used their practice as a way of thinking philosophically, often humorously. During my MA at Camberwell I began to draw about my internal struggles to define my identity. Since then I have circled back to the unconscious, approaching it with illustrative imagery rather than painterly gestures. Using the narrative aesthetic of illustration can be an unsettling way to point toward questions about limitations. Opposition within a piece creates energy.Ashley Studio shot

Your pieces evoke storytelling, imagination and play, while also hinting at darker mysteries. Can you tell us a bit more about your inspiration for creating these pieces?
For me, art is play that helps me access my thoughts. I like to think of my drawings as a way of looking for the unknown self.

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Swimming by Ashley Amery 420×594 mm.

You also run a business (White Wall Yellow Door) creating children’s resources for museums and galleries. Do you find it very different to create art for children than adults?
The work I do with WWYD is about creating space for children to use their imaginations, which often means having to think about bigger ideas and take away much of my own detail work. I co-direct with an artist friend of mine, Sophy Rickett, and we enjoy the challenge of getting ideas about art across to young people. Each project has a direct aim and a client, providing a nice structure to work within. It’s exciting to make something kids spend time with, giving them ways to discover their own ideas and abilities.

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Story no. 1 by Ashley Amery. Gouache on paper.

Do you find yourself returning to themes with your work?
I am fascinated by the idea of the human mind, memory, and the unconscious, especially Jung’s archetypal Shadow. I have returned to this in a number of drawings and prints.
How long have you been printing?
I have been printmaking in some form since 2005, and I’ve always been drawing.

What is your favourite takeaway?
Bos Cirrik

Lazy Social

Wowser! This is one doorstopper of a pulled pork sandwich and I’m very pleased to say it’s also delicious! I’ve just popped in to Lazy Social, our new neighbours at 101 Stoke Newington High Street, to see how it’s all going on their first day.

The cakes look amazing! (I think I may be back to sample those later) And for coffee fiends, it will be important to know that Workshop Coffee is the brand of choice.

Lazy Social is a big woody space, kitted out with large comfy sofas and rows of old school desks. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and inclusive, and Mums and Dads are very welcome. There’s plenty of room to swing your buggy or your bicycle. Lazy Social is certainly the first cafe I know to provide an indoor bike rack! A couple of the walls have been stamped with vast, bright graffiti and the front of the counter is filled with over-sized, primary coloured lego bricks. There are plenty of these for the kids to play with too.

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I’m amazed by how quickly this place has been turned around. When owner Carl introduced himself just a few weeks ago and told me when they were planning to open the first week of October I was quietly thinking he’d given himself a pretty tall ask. But here they are open, almost bang on schedule!

Of Cabbages & Kings has taken over one of Lazy Social’s walls as an extended exhibition area. At the moment we have on show very bold, black and white images by One Must Dash, coupled with Jack Ramsay’s detailed and comical illustrations of city living. We hope you enjoy it!

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Introducing Marc Gooderham

A new exhibition went up in the shop over the weekend and I’m very excited to let you know all about it. There’s an element of the outside coming in here as there’s a few immediately recognisable local street scenes from the surrounding East End.

Marc has put together a series of Limited Edition Prints concentrating on the city’s decaying and unique architecture. They capture the singular beauty to be found in those neglected buildings that have fallen into disrepair as the living city of London continues to evolve around them.

“I had always set out to paint the city I knew and which is close to my heart. Avoiding the repetitiveness of London’s landmarks depicted in many paintings my aim was to capture an alternative view of the city. As much as I love the monumental buildings that create our skyline, it was the side streets and alleyways that seemed to hold a mystery for me.

I love the freedom of the city, getting lost in the crowds. It can be claustrophobic yet there’s also the feeling of loneliness and isolation. It’s these feelings that allow you to create your own world within the city.The atmosphere can change according to weather, season and the time of day, which makes it the perfect subject to paint. It can be the drama of sunlight hitting a window or the glow of a street lamp or chimney tops against an unsettling sky.

I began to explore the East London streets discovering something magical and new each time. I saw the street corners in a different light, almost appearing as cinematic compositions. I was able to visualise them from reality to canvas.”

Fashion Street
Fashion Street by Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes overnight, it’s apparent that these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur are beginning to vanish before our eyes. Desolate buildings, with their peeling paint, numberless front doors, and glimpses into empty rooms through uncurtained windows invite contemplation – of the lives once lived here, and the new lives that continue to do so.

Wilton's Music Hall
The Music Maker by Marc Gooderham

The Music Maker illustrates the facade of the famous Wilton’s Music Hall, an example of London’s decaying and unique architecture, beautiful and decorative buildings that appear desolate, living on amidst an ever-evolving city. The layers of paint applied to Wilton’s exterior over the years chime with the generations of Londoners ushered through her doors to enjoy music, variety and spectacle. Even if you’ve ever passed the building you can imagine the revelry and cabaret emanating from within. Though paint may fade, Wilton’s Music Hall remains one of the most colourful places in the East End.

Late Afternoon, Spitalfields
Late Afternoon, Spitalfields by Marc Gooderham

Marc’s prints are currently on display at Of Cabbages & Kings