Saturday, 30 August 2008

Arundel Open Houses

Arundel Festival Gallery Trail seems to be going well and has been busy - the poor weather sometimes works in art's favour! Its the Trail's last day tomorrow so do get down there at 12.00 to be able to get round all the houses and galleries.

Sally Colledge's latex installation in the Garden of the Walker Gallery.

An update on the illicit spider sculptures. The Highways agency have ordered for them to be removed 'as soon as practical' which purely coincidentally is the day after the Arundel Festival ends on Monday. The Duke has agreed for them to be repositioned to the Castle lawn for a month. The controversy has created quite a lot of press coverage and a number of opportunities for Stuart Slade and he may have sold some of the sculptures. So some good has come out of the complaint.

One of Sarah Young's new monoprints (two colours and gilding)

Matt Smith's ceramic sculpture 'he realised she was the brains of the operation'

Victor Stuart Graham boats and houses.

Judy Dwyer's boxed dolls

Alison Milner-Gulland's ceramics and collagraph

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Thursday, 28 August 2008

Artist of the Week - RICHARD HEEPS

Richard Heeps - Richard Heeps Photography

Colour photography that depicts the values and remnants of our fading past.

Money spent on film and cameras is never wasted
Each new camera allows you another way of looking at the world and film makes each image permanent.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I have always had an interest in my immediate surroundings being brought up in North Cambridgeshire. At the age of 20 it became obvious, that I wanted not just to explore this landscape but record it and a camera was the perfect tool.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
No, I do not bend my vision and I am uncompromising in my approach.

Who would you say buys your work?
I would say all ages, and was pleasantly surprised that a very young person asked his mother to buy a photograph for him at my last Open Studio.

Where and what is your studio?
I am currently between studios, relocating to a more rural backdrop, where I hope to be able to print and at the same time have things on my doorstep to photograph. My wife works with me full time, on the editing and production of my work. I prefer to work in silence, but my wife insists on listening to 6 Music not that I mind.

What is your favourite website and why? is my favourite website at the moment because of its photographers share the same ethos as me ie. film is better than any digital photography.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
No. I eat, sleep and talk photography and it is hard to switch off if you are a full time artist.

Would you rather be doing something else?
No, I have had a few careers, as a precision engineer, a care worker and a teacher. I know that what I am doing now is the right career for me.

Are their other fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
I would be interested in trying my hand at documentary film making, but at the moment I am still focused on still imagery.

Can anything be 'art'?
Anything can be art. But I prefer art, if it is well made and shows a high level of skill in the production.

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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Sunday, 24 August 2008

Artist of the Week - Kitty Shepherd

Kitty Shepherd

It’s countdown time for me at the moment as the last few days tick away before The Joze Show. I love the run up to a show. It gives me permission to get into a controlled panic, which allows me to achieve my best work and I get the satisfaction of smashing all the pieces that simply don’t work or that faulted in the kiln.

All my pots are intensely individual. I make and paint ceramics working along very personal lines of enquiry and I am prone to be influenced by everything and everyone around me. I have a particular system for honing all that information, by cataloguing and imposing order on the things that affect me. It is all intentional; there is nothing random in the selection of source material - everything is obsessively thought out. My latest influence has been the sounds, textures and light of the Spanish mountains, where I moved to over a year ago and I now travel backwards and forwards to England, scooping up influences and practicing my art across both countries.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I discovered what I really wanted to do by default, in a way. When I was 18, I studied drama and voice at Chichester College. I was asked to pick a third subject to make up my time-table and I chose ceramics – which changed everything. Suddenly, from that moment on, I was going to be an all-star singing Shakespearean West End potter!

I also studied needlework and had a summer job restoring the tapestries at Castle Howard just after Brideshead was filmed there in 1982. I can still trace that time in my current work, which often has a tapestry/textile like quality to it. In fact I have always been interested in the historical and contemporary social history aspect of decorative textiles.

Who would you say buys your work?
Surprisingly, my work is mostly bought by men. Virtually all the major pieces I have made have been bought by, or for men. I don’t know whether that’s because most of my work sells in the UK, but as I begin to sell in Spain, Portugal and Germany too, maybe that pattern will start to shift.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I begin with a huge amount of trepidation and a great deal of pacing about and procrastination. The best ideas come from literally months of thinking and planning. I keep a small notebook with me and write down everything that inspires, excites or disturbs me and that forms the basis of my finished work. I find sketchbooks too confining so I prefer to draw on pieces of paper, which I then catalogue by placing them into books, bound by straps and pockets and grouped by subject. This method is getting slightly out of control and I plan to graduate to an indexed boxed cataloguing system.

Preparation and pacing about are key for me. I start two dimensionally, creating a profile drawn on a wall; the floor or a more conventional piece of paper. Then I cut it out of cardboard and bind it with tape. I hang a plumb line from the ceiling and use a spirit level to check the horizontal plane is straight too. After that for two days I coil snakes of clay smoothing them into shape using the profile as a guide. In a way, I build my pot with one eye open taking in the fall of the plumb line and profile. Once that’s done, I only have a short window of time to complete the painting before the damp clay dries out, about a week. Sometimes at the end I can look at what I have done in surprise and have no idea how I did it, which is usually a good sign.

Where and what is your studio?
For the past 18 months my workshop has been in my house in the village of Fornes just south of Granada in Spain surrounded by the cool of the mountains and breathtaking views across the lake. I feel I have time traveled to this place, 3,000 feet above sea level where children are still allowed to play like children and horses and donkeys live in the houses with their owners. Food is slaughtered in garages with home made sausages hanging in the rafters of upstairs rooms, and the women have fire stained cheeks from cooking in the hearths.

But the timeless idyll is not all it appears. The farmers have Audi’s and mobile phones and their wives have more cleaning products for their Neff hobs than you could stuff into one cupboard and yet they still prefer the hearth. It is a very traditional Spanish community of only 900, poised on the edge of the 21st century and I have been fascinated by this simple way of life. The electricity is very temperamental with several power cuts a day, which makes working a little tricky and can really try my patience.

I work very much alone, linguistically stranded. I have a wi-fi radio tuned in to Radio 4 or 6, but with 12,000 other stations to listen to I can switch to radio city Delhi for a thrilling change of mood, if the whim takes me. I miss my shared studio in Sussex and the chat. Building the Spanish workshop and working in it has been hard, but creatively inspiring. I’ve had to be dogged and disciplined to keep motivated and with no-one to talk to, my work just has to be fine enough to meet my high standards…and if it doesn’t…well it’ll end up in pieces in the hearth!
In November I am returning to England for four months, a break from this solitary simple life, which sends you mad after a while! I will be working in Petworth, sharing a studio with the painter and advertising genius Alan Waldie. I’m fascinated to see what impact that will have on the nature of my work.

What is on your pin board?
This is a small section of it.

What is your favourite website?
Jonathan Jones’ blog page of The Guardian is the best read of the week for me. It keeps me in touch with what’s going on and I like his style of writing.

Surprising activity?
I ride a Harley Davison motor cycle, a custard yellow Sportster 883 cc which I have dropped a few times and I can’t pick it up because it is so heavy!

What one product/item do you really covet?
I would love to own one of Tracey Emin’s quilts. My first choice would be Helter Fucking Skelter which for me is simply overwhelming. It is the combination of the fragile flower printed scraps of fabric and the sewn miss spelt words that proclaim passion and rage that is so thrilling. In fact I’m considering taking my cue from her and putting words on pots next, though that would be an overt move for me. I’d have to come out from behind the slippery shadows of pictures, to proclaim the kind of certainty that would make it work.

Can anything be 'art'?

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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Arachnophobic local forces removal of Arundel sculptures

As a follow up to the previous post, I was told last night that following lobbying by a single arachnophobic particularly persistent resident the highways agency has canceled its permission for the 'traditional' use of Arundel roundabout to house sculpture during the Arundel Festival and the 'Scuttleheads' will be removed on Tuesday. (it is to be hoped an alternative position may be found in the town)

The grounds for the removal is that the striking sculptures may distract drivers, and 'frightens children', although whether this paves the way for other more distracting landmarks such as the Angel of the North, to be demolished or roadside advertising to be banned is unlikely. It would seem Arundel children are particularly impressionable!

Whether arachnophobia or negative artistic opinion is the real cause remains uncertain! but ascertive negative reactionism seems alive and well in West Sussex as well as a craven fear of rocking the boat by the powers that be and sticking by previously thought out and agreed decisions.

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Thursday, 21 August 2008

Arundel Gallery Trail

The A27 Roundabout at Arundel has been invaded by large spider-like 'scuttleheads' - sculptures by Stuart Slade who exhibited one of the more original installations in last years festival (day of the mopheads)

The Gallery Trail starts on Saturday and runs every afternoon til Sunday 31. About 100 artists are exhibiting including exhibitors past and present at Brighton Art Fair: Sarah Young, Chris Mitton, Andy Waite, Robert Olivier Jones, Michelle Scott, Matt Smith, Judy Dwyer, Hannah Bedford, Fleur Grenier Lawrence Dicks and Joy Fox (so it must be good!)

What is especially pleasant about the trail apart from the lovely and impressive Arundel Houses is that the majority of Houses and Galleries are on just 2 streets (Tarrant and Maltravers) so the entire trail can be easily walked.

Painting by Charlie Stanley - exhibiting at 26 King Street.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Painting the galleries red…

Tech-tile at Hove Museum & Art Gallery
12 July – 12 October 2008

Contemporary jewellery by Stephen Bottomley inspired by the textiles of Fortuny

Painting the galleries red…

I’ve been the curator of contemporary craft at Hove Museum & Art gallery since 2002. I arrived during its redevelopment when a lift was installed in the building, the first floor permanent galleries were all redesigned and the three ground floor temporary exhibition galleries refurbished. When we reopened to the public in February 2003, we showed an exhibition of retrospective and new work by jeweller Cynthia Cousens in the temporary galleries. They were painted a very tasteful Farrow & Ball shade of cream/green. The walls were neutral but paid homage to the history of the house by hinting at a historic colour. The house was originally built as a grand but domestic dwelling for the local Victorian landowner until it was sold to the council in the early twentieth century. The walls have remained that colour for the last five years. Until now.

I was hesitant at first to upset the applecart – why change something which seems to work so well with so many different temporary exhibitions? - but it now seems so appropriate to change the mood of the galleries for our second solo jewellery show here by painting the walls a deep and rich red colour for several reasons. The wall colour encloses and personalises the rooms, and this focuses our attention to the jewellery itself, which is lit dramatically and minimally in the spaces. This in turn highlights the diversity and variety of work that is found in contemporary jewellery, which is constantly reinventing itself, playing with new technologies and materials, and the rich sources of inspiration that jewellers call upon to create new work. Responding to a space through its decoration colours our perceptions of what we see in that space, hopefully casting a new light on how we view an understood discipline such as jewellery.

Stephen Bottomley’s Tech-tile collection embodies tradition and technology, the historic and the contemporary. He drew inspiration from the textile collections of Fortuny which he researched at the Fortuny museum in Venice. Fortuny himself experimented with photography and printing during his career as a textile designer at the turn of the 20th century. Likewise Bottomley has experimented in his own work with photo-etching, printing on titanium and silver plating acrylic for this new collection, working with computers to create a technological illusion of hand drawn design. Much of the work on display is theatrical in scale, giving each piece its own presence whether seen on or off the body. We have wall mounted two large acrylic and silver neckpieces and bangles not just because they look so good on the red walls but also because this amplifies their power as abstract visual sculpture.

In my job I am constantly driven by looking for and exploring different expressions and sources of creativity. I would offer up the Tech-tile exhibition as a thought-provoking example of this in the hope that you will visit it and enjoy it for your own reasons.

Polly Harknett is curator of craft at Hove Museum & Art Gallery, 19 New Church Road, Hove. BN3 4AB

Associated Events at Hove Museum & Art Gallery
To book a place please call 01273 290200

Saturday 27 September 2008
10.30 am – 2.30pm
Inspired Printed textiles with artist Lucy Brown
Taking tech-tile as inspiration, explore and design print patterns on textiles using mono, block printing and stencilling techniques
£20 per ticket

Saturday 4 October 2008
Stephen Bottomley in conversation with Margot Coatts
2.30- 4pm
Renowned writer and critic Margot Coatts leads a discussion with Stephen Bottomley about his career and latest body of work on display.

Hove Museum & Art Gallery
Free admission
19 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4AB Tel 01273 290200
Open Tue–Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 2–5pm
Closed Mon (inc Bank Holidays); 24 Dec (from 2.30pm), 25 & 26 Dec, 1 Jan

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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Artist of the Week - DAWN STACEY


My images are inspired by the landscape evolved from walks around shores and harbours or my local nature reserve; where I sketch, photograph and collect objects. Recent Still life paintings have helped to convey a more decorative quality to my work, final paintings of either subject are intended to capture an essence or mood of a particular subject.

I studied Textile Design at Derbyshire Art College and went on to do an MA at Brighton University in Illustration and have since exhibited widely including The Royal College of Art, Affordable Art Fair, Wills Art Warehouse, Brighton Art Fair, Cry of the Gulls and Flowers Galleries.

Favourite Living Artist?
I am constantly inspired by contemporary artists. For example I love Mary Feddon’s still life paintings, her decorative use of colour and texture has such a sense of simplicity.

Favourite Historical Artist?
I also refer back to artists from the past. One of my favourite artists is John Piper, particularly his collages from the 1930’s. I saw an exhibition of his pieces from this period at The Dulwich Picture Gallery some time ago, I found his use of newspaper, music sheets or numbers cut out into shapes of houses, boats or lighthouses enlightening, his painted details giving an interesting slant to the final work. Some time later I discovered a brilliant book at The Tate Modern, ‘John Piper in the 1930’s’ which has provided a useful source of inspiration. Piper’s works are built up inlayers and this is the way that I work too’; starting with a base and then adding and not necessarily hiding the work on the additions.

What place in the world has inspired you?
A number of places have inspired my work from the coastal towns of Newhaven and Hastings to Cornwall. One subject that I regularly return to is the Lewes Railway Lands, a local nature reserve where I walk my dogs each day. The seasonal changes to the surrounding landscape can be hugely inspiring from blossom in spring to blackberries in late summer, the birds, their feathers, shells or pebbles provide a rich source of inspiration. My recent use of collage has helped to push my paintings in a new direction, developing a new language by building layers and textures and discovering those lovely, happy accidents.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
Over the years I have bought many pieces of art and don’t regret any of them! I once bought a Harold Mockford painting, I’d been looking for a while and saw this painting of glowing trees in an autumnal landscape and had to have it. The painting is now hung in my living room and I never tire of it, his paintings have also become highly sought after. I would also like to buy a painting by Peter Messer.

Last Best Read?
I’ve just returned from a very wet two weeks holiday in Cornwall, the easy to read and uplifting book, ‘East of the Sun’ by Julia Gregson kept me going. Once I started I found it very difficult to put down, it’s a tale of three women who travel to India and the fun they have partying on the boat and over-drinking crème de menthe. Each of them has a reason for leaving home and face different challenges they need to overcome in India, particularly Viva whose personal journey kept me gripped until the very end.

How do you set about starting a new project?
When I start a new body of work I visit the area that I’m interested in with my sketch book and digital camera and come back to my studio with lots of information to work from. My paintings start by using colour, layers and textures using a rough idea from a sketch and then I prefer the painting to take me on a journey and evolve. I regularly refer to reference books for information and imagery on plants, trees, birds, boats or shells that helps to bring the painting together. The initial collection of paintings can often be quite a struggle trying to push the painting further in a new and exciting direction but when it does its amazing.

Where and what is your studio?
I work full time in my studio that looks out over my garden, having a separate space solely to develop my work is important so that I can feel free to splash and splatter paint around without fear of making a mess. I have previously been a member of group studio’s where I enjoyed the company of other artists but this can be a distraction to getting on with lots of painting. I now meet up with other artists during the week to share ideas and discuss forthcoming exhibitions and attend a life drawing class where I work in a completely different way that can be really therapeutic.

Favourite Website?
I’ve recently joined The Tate and like to check out their website to see what exhibitions are forthcoming and led me to visit The Twombly Show, I found his mark making really inspiring and have booked the Twombly talk, its really important as an artist to keep up to date with other artists and their inspiration.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I start my working day quite early as I have to get up early to take my daughter to school and take the dogs for a walk, I usually get back home by 9am when I check my emails and then get painting in my studio for the rest of the day. My painting day sometimes finishes when I take the dogs out again but if I’ve got a deadline with a gallery I can often be working on a regular basis to late into the evening, especially when I’m painting for the art fairs.

Guilty secret?
I wear a (not) very attractive ski suit to paint in as I was regularly getting paint on my clothes and was cold in the winter months so this was a perfect solution and bargain at about £8 from a charity shop.

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Anton Pieck in Haarlem

Our first day in the Netherlands meant a visit to Efteling, the wonderfully magical theme park near Tilburg in the south of the country. Efteling is a fantasy feast for both adults and children with beautifully constructed themed buildings incorporating tame to hell raising rides which delight everyone.

A few days later we found ourselves at the Anton Pieck exhibition in Haarlem being held until the end of August in the characterful de Hallen Gallery in the middle of town. Anton Pieck was in fact the main visionary for Efteling which opened in 1952 and this is clearly shown in his nostalgic and intricate artwork. Pieck lived from 1895 - 1987 and aside from the enormous feat of designing and turning the Eflteling dream into a modern day reality much of his artwork involved illustrative pieces for fairytale books. He also produced paintings from his European travels including scenes from Harpenden (near St Albans), London and Oxford.

We were also delighted to come across the work of English architectural artist David Mach
in Haarlem. A giant submarine made from over 6000 car tyres entitled Size Doesn't Matter.

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Maker of the Week - Sonia Guzzo

Sonia Guzzo

Highly sculptural leather handbags and accessories, inspired by natural forms such as sea shells, corals, fossils and rock formations. Each piece is unique due the technique applied which raises the flat and smooth surface of the leather creating very textured surfaces which cast light and shadow.

Money spent on Good food/ good holidays/books/ movies/ gym is never wasted It's quality of life that matters so anything that makes you live to the most of your potential with a healthy body and with a well nourished, stimulated and content mind it's all worthwhile.

Favourite living artist
Eleni Anats for her highly uplifting work

Favourite living craft maker
Helen Amy- Murray for her divine leather work

Favourite historical artist
Almost all the Impressionists and Post Impressionists painters. I am absolutely moved by most of their work and often I have felt butterflies in my tummy while admiring and absorbing their work. I thinks it's their use of colours and how well they create strong light effects. Also I like their ability in communicating states of minds and emotions through their paintings.

Favourite historical maker?
William Morris
When and where did you first want to do what you do?
In London few years ago thanks to very inspiring tutors and mentors

What place in the world has inspired you?
Partly my land ( Italy ) for the strong sense of colour, of aesthetic and of beautifully made objects that I have acquired naturally, and partly London with all the creative and artistic work available around me and the abundance of cultures living together.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I like to be in charge generally but I also work well if it comes to involve and guide others such as students on work experience, my photographer or my graphic designer. I like the exchange with others when i work but in my own times.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
I bouhgt recently a couple of Rosie Bill's rings one in silver which incorporates some wood and a found pieces of victorian pottery and the other one also in silver but with a shell shaped piece of pottery from the 20s

At age 15 who influenced your style?
A bit the Mods

Last best read?
'A New Earth' by Ekhart Tolle

Who would you say buys your work?
Sophisticated ladies that have a love for art and design combined to function and that want to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Someone who loves and appreciate good, well made and unique craft pieces in contrast to what is mass produced.

How do you set about starting a new project?
Focusing on a specific idea or concept or form or tecnique that is of interest to me and that i want to explore and develop further.

Where and what is your studio?
My Buddhist shrine, plenty of light as I work from the beautiful loft conversion of my own house in North West London not far from Hampstead Heath. I always work with some music in the background. I like to alternate in between Classical fm and Capital radio. Also I have a beautiful piece of Lucienne Day textiles ( Calyx in mustard yellow ) stretched as canvas and hanging as a painting, and a wonderful photographic print of my inspiring artist friend Eleni Anats from her 'Angels' body of work.

Surprising activity/hobby?
Practising Buddhism but certainly it doesn't count as a hobby

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Yes I guess I do

Would you rather be doing something else?

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be? At the V & A

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Saturday, 16 August 2008

Fish and Stitiches - Kate Jenkins at Castor and Pollux

Kate Jenkins has been designing and making knitwear with her company Cardigan Ltd for over twelve years.
In addition to a collection of wearable wool, is an exciting and surprising range of Comfort Food.
Plates lovingly hand made of lambswool are adorned with bangers and mash, pizza, eggs and bacon, and fish and chips!

Fish and Stitches at Castor and Pollux coincides with Brighton and Hove's annual Food and Drink Festival, the organisers of which, not surprisingly, chose to use Kate's fish and chips for their publicity around the country.

You can see all these fish and chip dishes at the beach front gallery from the 30th August. Contact for an invitation to the private view on the 29th.

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Friday, 15 August 2008

The Harmony of Art & Interior Design

Interior designers at Les Tuileries in Surrey have joined forces with emerging and established artists to create a truly innovative partnership, bringing both fine art and interior design to their clients.

With experts in both areas, Les Tuileries offers a unique service of harmonising art and interiors so that collectors can live amongst the object d’art that they love. With style and flair beautiful interiors are created displaying works of art which are shocking to some but true perfection to others.

Most recently, artist Fleur Deakin has seen her ‘jewel like’ artworks adorn the walls of both contemporary and traditional schemes. Deakin creates mixed media collages using gold and silver leaf and recycled packaging which is then encased in reflective resins which burn brightly with vibrant colour.

Les Tuileries director, Penelope Shivjee says “Our partnership with Fleur Deakin reflects a somewhat innovative and youthful spirit to combining art and interior design, our aim is to get across that both are accessible and are a wonderful compliment to each other”

Les Tuileries gallery & studio is open Tuesday to Saturday 10-4pm
6 South Street, Dorking, Surrey

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Debbie Bryan - Make Your Mark Awards

Textile and accessories designer Debbie Bryan is a finalist in The Girls! Make your Mark Awards – Handbags and Gladrags Category in association with - Peoples Choice Award.

Debbie is working towards ensuring that all the materials and technology required to make her collections are sourced directly from her local Midlands' suppliers. She is presently stocked in small independent retailers in the UK and the US, but dreams of cracking the larger multiple retailers globally. Debbie is exhibiting her work at MADE08 in November.

If you are interested in casting a vote please visit for details of all finalists.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Love is the drug- Pinky at Ink_d

8 AUGUST 2008 — 30 AUGUST 2008

I first met Mr. Pinks when he took part in Variety Store at Castor and Pollux last Summer. Since then, I have seen him pop up all over the place, from various events in London, Berlin, Brighton and on projects for all sorts including Dior, Justin Timberlake, Maharishi, Darth Vadar and the BBC.

What is great to se is an extensive use of the space available in a small gallery, Pinky paints all over the walls to compliment his paintings and paper cuts.
At the Private view there was a real feeling that he made the event and the space his own. More than a few people had coloured ribbons in their hair, and although he references graffiti, psychedelic art, the 80s and Pink Floyd, his work is too celebratory to be looking back and is all about bringing the love.

To see pictures, check out these websites

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