Thirty Thousand Streets

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blisters on my Fingers

On Friday I bounced out of work half an hour early to hurry over to the 'Blisters on my Fingers' print show at MC Motors in Dalston. My original scheme was to get the tube over to Old Street, which I realised was probably misconcieved when I got through the gates at Tottenham Court Road to remember that it's on a different branch of the Northern Line from my destination. Like, duh. I battled over to Bank station to find the platform Northbound resembling the final scene of Crocodile Dundee, but I managed to squeeze onto about the fourth train.

From Old Street I walked to the bottom of Kingsland Road, then caught the bus up to Dalston Junction, from where the Studios in question were but a short trot. As predicted there were 'bare heads' in attendance, nervously clutching umbrellas and Google Maps printouts, or at least I was. Guestlisted up, I was waved on in.

The exhibition's remit was: Thirty Five Artists, Thirty Five Prints, Thirty Five pounds, and given that that is a very low print run, £35 pounds seems almost absurdly affordable, especially when one considers that Lazarides gallery was knocking out Anthony Micalleff prints from an edition of 1000 at three hundred a go. Interestingly perhaps, the two most well known 'street artists' exhibiting (Eine and Pure Evil) had sold out within the hour, before I'd even arrived, and in some ways I thought their work was some of the less interesting on display. But then, I often find 'Street Art' a triumph of branding through repetition rather that any necessarily dazzling display of skill.

I'd also gone to see what Si Scott had on display. I'm a big fan of Si's work, or at least his typographic excercises. He and Non-Format pretty much wrote the rulebook on the deconstructivist, Illustrative typography that populates advertising and magazines these days. He basically does one thing, very well indeed. I'm less of a fan of his personal illustrations of creatures, examples of which can be found at Cosh gallery in Soho, and such a one was on display today, with a drawing of a swan's head, which though undeniably pretty, seemed slightly underwhelming to my tastes. I've seen calligraphic etchings from the 1800s where the subject is rendered in a series of 'Spencerian flourishes' by the artists hand, and these examples of Scott's work seem to fall into this tradition. Up close though, this one seemed a little fidgety and have something of the blotter pad about it, but whether that owed something to the process of digitally rendering it, or the gauge of the screen, who knows.

I bought a print by Steve Wilson, (like Scott, on the books at Breed London) and who does lots of stuff for an impressive range of musical and corporate clients. He perhaps falls into the body of slick 'digital' illustrators, of whom Jasper Goodall was an obvious, early exponent. What I do really like about Steve's work is his variation in style – he's managed to carve a niche for himself where his motifs are at least reasonably recognisable, yet still manages to experiment with what he does. I don't like everything he does, but some of it I like a lot, and moreover he reinvigorates his work regularly, which keeps it interesting. His print here was some straight-up Magic Eye-style eye-candy. More than that though, I thought it was among the most ambitious on display, considering the amount of colours used. Having dabbled with screenprinting myself I know aligning all those different screens can be a bit of a pain, and although the registration here wasn't bang on, his use of overprinting to achieve extra colours made a virtue of the process's shortcomings, by lending it a certain optical vibrancy where the inks hadn't trapped quite right.

I was going to take some photos, but perhaps inevitably my camera ran out after one, pretty duff shot. There are some here on Flickr...

Anyway, having bought a print and mooched around with an Efes beer, I departed into the the tepid rain, to catch a train from Dalston central, over to Hackney Central, and thence to meet my friend Sam over near Broadway Market, where we went for a bite to Eat at The Dove, and a pint and pep-talk at the Cat and Mutton.

Awoke on Saturday morning, and headed out to get a parcel from the post office. Opened my front door to find blue Police tape, and the pavement at my feet caked with purplish, clotting blood where someone had been bottled the night before. Nice neighbourhood I'm living in.

Saturday evening went out to Wahaca, a Mexican retaurant in Covent Garden, which was good, though the service was a little patchy. Based on 'Market Food', my favourite bit of the meal was from the 'sharing' bit of the menu, which we had for starters. It was quite Tapas-y, and made my main – a steak burrito – seem a little leaden and brick-like in comparison.

After this we went to the John Snow, and then caught the tube to Elephant and Castle, where there was a Drum and Bass/Dubstep night on at Corsica studios – neither of which I'm a huge fan of, but they did have a metal detector on the door, which was reassuring.

Sunday, all quiet really. Made some Laksa for dinner, then got a bit panicky that the paste had been hanging about for a bit and might give me food poisoning. Seem alright now though. Back to work tomorrow. Musn't grumble.


Zeno Cosini said...

Wahaca is run by Tommi Miers, a client of ours.

Really like the print. Man my eyes are itchy today.

Periwinkle said...

hey tom. that's where I live, just off kingsland road by the big mosque. next time call in!

The Eyechild said...

Hi Renee?

Really? cool. I quite like Kingsland road.

Yeah, next time I'll come pester you for tea and biscuits, fo' sho'.