Tuesday, September 29

Sculpture in Painting

The Henry Moore institute in Leeds' latest exhibition explores the relationship between art and 3D. A campaign, starting next week aims to maximise the number of visitors by using large-format graphics, posters, and giving away free merchandise. It sounds like the campaign might reel in the visitors, but I just hope the exhibition itself lives up to all the hype. Having seen several exhibitions at the Henry Moore institute, I can't say I've ever been overly impressed; The last one, 'The New Monumentality' was hardly exhilarating.

Tetley's Good Earth

The identity, branding and packaging of a new range of Tetley products, 'Good Earth' is currently underway. The new product is organic and is based around 3 principles to display its properties:

- Good for the planet
- Good for others
- Good to you

The 'secret' halo above the 'e' in the logo reflects the product's 'goodness', as do the soft lowercase letters. Not obviously linked to Tetley's, and with a sense of honesty attached to it, I think this product will prove quite popular.


FACT (The Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) is a Multimedia complex in Liverpool which was founded in 1989 to inspire people, and promote film, video and new media. FACT offers many opportunities for audiences, and a support system for artists.

The building itself is aesthetically impressive, covered in zinc tiles and LED columns; it's the perfect home for such an expressive and stimulating complex. Facilities include galleries for moving image and streaming media broadcasts, a Medialab for workshops and the development and production of artists' projects and The Box gallery and projection space. Not to mention a cafe, bar and 3 cinema picture house, screening the latest arthouse releases.

FACT really is an inspiring organisation, providing endless opportunities in the world of film and new media. Definitely worth a visit at least.

Saturday, September 26

3 Minute Wonder

3 Minute Wonder is a short Channel 4 Television slot where first time Directors and Producers can broadcast their work to a large audience. Channel 4 is aiming to help new talent break into the very competitive UK Television industry - something that they might not be able to do by themselves.

Channel 4 provides the Directors with £4,000, and offers them their assistance in making their short film. This is a great way of getting their name out there, and pushing them one step further towards their ultimate goal. Channel 4's 4talent also runs competitions, so the winners get even more publicity. Any up-and-coming Director should jump at the chance to help their career, and when handed on a plate like this, it is the perfect opportunity.

This is one example of the short series, a 3 minute documentary about street art:

Books on the Edge

"I am attempting to blur the line between objects, sculpture and photography"


Texan artist Cara Barer bases her work on taking photographs of the edges of pages, in whimsical and elegant positions. Her inspiration came when she photographed whe intricately bent pages of a wet Yellow Pages book. After this, she moved onto other books, carefully positioning the pages into beautiful designs on a studio black background.

Barer does not consider herself a photographer, but simply an artist who uses photography. She takes into consideration the size of the book, the quality and colour of the paper, and her designs are often even influenced by the content of the book.

The final photographs are really impressive, and display great depth - it's unclear how they have been created on initial viewing, but I think discovering the 'page design' only makes them even more effective and inspiring. What an absorbing and original type of art.


Friday, September 25

Essential Wear

These are just one of the Freebies given out at this year's Freshers - Miniature shopping bags containing free condoms. The bags have images of men and women on them, bearing bold statements such as 'I've got Chlamydia' and 'I've got Gonorrhoea'. The reverse side of the bags say 'He/She won't be wearing this, so make sure you use a condom'. I think these are really successful, as the message is clearly and bluntly delivered, free condoms are received, and the small bag is really unique and handy. Perfect for the intended target market of students!

Rock Stars' Art

It's not often that you hear of musicians wanting to become artists - actors maybe; but it appears that in reality, Rock stars actually love showing off their artistic skills. London Scream Gallery is currently showcasing artwork from Rock and Pop singers, past and present, from now until the end of October. It's not surprising that some of them show extreme lack of artistic flare (although are obviously worth a fortune!) However, others make me think that perhaps they took the wrong route when deciding to be a musician. Some of them are pretty dark and obscure though - maybe that's the effect the Rock star lifestyle has on you.

'The Enabler' by Marilyn Manson shows depth and emotion and reflects the image he portrays as a Rock Star.

'Red Charlie' by Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones paints very lifelike portraits - who knew you could be so skilled at two things?!

I can't say that Bob Dylan has quite the same skill, as shown in this supposed self-portrait. Not only does it not resemble him, it makes me wonder if he painted this before he became a musician - potentially when he was a child.
Chris Mars of The Replacements paints creepy, yet really detailed and realistic pieces, as displayed here in 'Haggerty'. I really like this piece, but can't say I'd want it in my house - luckily I can't afford it!
John Lennon's 'sketches' - although not the most skillful - have become utterly iconic, and recognized worldwide. 'Real love' is clearly of him and Yoko, despite its simplicity.

Saw IV

Dare you see... SAW IV???

The first was well thought out, dark, twisty and like nothing I've seen before. Great!

The second was predictable, gory, hectic and yet somehow still pretty good.

The third was sickening, far-fetched and a step too far.

So six films later, I'm not quite sure what the producers are thinking, or where they are going. It's not original anymore - hopefully they're not going for a horror version of James Bond, because I'm not sure I can cope with 21 Saw films. Not that it directly affects me, but they're taking up precious cinema slots.

Defintely less a case of 'Do you dare?' and more 'Do you care...?'


I was recently watching Dragon's Den, and was less than impressed with 'Reestore's' pitch to the Dragons, which included seating which was made from old shopping trollies. These designs might not look out of place in a hospital ward, however I can't imagine them enhancing the aesthetics of a modern style apartment. Unsurprisingly, I was shocked when two of the Dragon's decided to invest £50,000 in the project.

As I was obviously missing something, I decided to check out Reestore's website, and it turns out, some of their designs aren't half bad. I can totally imagine some of these designs being a modern interior designer's idea of luxury...

A gear box table?

A plane wing table?

Can't say I'd ever want a bath in my living room though!

Sunday, September 20

Don't drink and drive

Really effective, simple advert to show what your car could end up like.

Logo illusion

I've always been perplexed by the simple FedEx logo's strong and hidden message - the arrow between the 'e' and the 'x'.
Recently, the cleverness of Amazon's logo was brought to my attention, where the 'a' and the 'z' are connected with an arrow, implying that they sell everything from A to Z.These really are the most effective, memorable logos. Just take a look at the logo for The Guild of Food Writers. Clever illusions within logos are definitely the way forward.

500 days of Summer

Boy meets Girl.
Boy falls in love.
Girl doesn't.

I've got to admit, 500 Days of Summer is quite an emotional journey not only for the characters but for the audience too. The film follow aspiring architect Tom's growing obsession with work collegue Summer, however as stated in the opening, this is by no means a love story - more of a break up story. As a retrospective film, the audience's emotions are unsettled from the start when the end of the relationship is shown first.

I enjoyed so many aspects of the film, paticularly its quirky nature. Normally I'd cringe if one of the main characters broke into song and dance (unless of course I was watching Grease), but the Director really pulled it off. The seasons, wardrobe and production design matched the emotions of the main charater - noticeably duller when he was feeling down, and the killer soundtrack assisted in making the audience feel truly zealous and emotional.

Thursday, September 17

Bunny Suicides

"Little fluffy rabbits who just don't want to live anymore"
I can't say I'd find it all that funny if I stumbled across my rabbit impaled on a light saber, but Andy Riley succeeds in creating one of the funniest non-textual books I've ever seen. His comical illustrations and endless ideas make this book highly entertaining, everytime.


When I first saw the 17-foot original Superlambanana, I thought it was a total eyesore and couldn't think of any reasonable excuse for its hideous design. However, after my first - and possibly unfair - judgement it seems that the statue has actually proven quite successful in raising awareness within Liverpool. Although its usual colour is yellow, the Superlambanana has occasionally been repainted in order to sponsor certain causes - for example purple during the Smoke-free Liverpool campaign, and pink in support for a breast cancer awareness charity.

After my initial hatred for the Superlambanana, I couldn't help but join the thousands of people in 2008 scouring Liverpool for one of the 125 replicas created during the European Capital of Culture. I still can't say I like the design of the statue, but I'll tolerate it due to the impression it has had on Liverpool, and the causes that it has successfully sponsored.

The original Superlambanana remains in Liverpool, some of the replicas have been auctioned off, and others can be seen in Museums countrywide.

Wednesday, September 16

Sew what?

Whilst on the subject of window displays, I was pretty impressed with All Saints in Manchester's latest display, consisting of hundreds of old Singer Sewing machines. I was amazed by how many people from all generations had gathered round to look at it (the older ones possibly having used one before!) This is definitely an innovative idea for a window display, and reflects All Saints' authenticity. I'd say it shows off the popularity of the shop, as their clothing ranges aren't even required in the window to interest the customer. Although it did seem that more people were standing outside than in...

Hang about!

At first glance, I barely noticed yet another wacky window display in Harvey Nichols. However, upon closer inspection, I realised that the figures were in fact made up entirely of wooden clothes hangers. I can only imagine how long these displays took to create, but I'd say it was certainly worth the hours of work.

Normally I find myself walking past Harvey Nichols without looking twice, as the extortionate prices are way beyond my budget.

However this time, I needed a closer look. My wallet still wouldn't let me enter the shop, but the thought-provoking window display definitely ticks the box of capturing the shoppers' attention.

Monday, September 14

Stonemade gadgets

I'm thinking weight may be a slight limitation of these designs...

Pictures taken at exactly the right time

This Facebook group consists of over 1,000 photos that have supposedly been taken at 'exactly the right time' - those that would be far less effective if taken only seconds before or after. The group is really addictive, and I found myself looking through the pictures for hours at a time, and constantly checking if any new photos had been added. The huge variety of photographs in this group ensures that it remains entertaining indefinitely.

What really interests me, is that the photographs aren't always taken on a quality camera, or by a professional photographer, but the content manages to amaze and captivate with its mind-blowing beauty or sheer humour.

What really doesn't interest me is how serious the 'Group Officers' have become, creating rules and regulations. They claim it's 'Just for fun' so I think they should keep it that way! Some of them are potentially photoshopped, but I'm willing to look past this.

Mene Mene or just mean?

I found this signpost down by the canal in Leeds. After being originally dumbstruck, I researched it and discovered that it's part of an art project (Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin) by two Christian artists. The Biblical quotes are placed in various locations around Leeds including paving stones, park benches and billboards. Reportedly, the public have been taken aback by some of the chosen quotes such as 'Blessed are the breasts' and 'You are a rock'. I find the whole thing rather entertaining, especially when they're placed in the right place: 'The hairs on your head are numbered' - Outside Toni and Guy hairdresser's. Witty yes?

Parkour for those who can't be arsed

It's a craze that seems to have recently swept the nation - The lying down game, consisting mainly of lying rigidly face down in the most random place possible. The original Facebook group 'The lying down game' has over 60,000 members and has ensured worldwide spread of the game. Some have criticised the game, as recently it resulted in NHS staff being suspended for playing it at work. Granted, there is a time and a place for it, it's definitely pointless, but great fun all the same!

Be warned though it's highly addictive, you'll find yourself looking for places to lie down everywhere you go, as my friends and I found out...

Declare yourself!

In 2004, David LaChapelle worked together with 'Declare yourself' to create a campaign aimed at persuading people to register their vote. LaChapelle uses a combination of the 'shock factor' and celebrity appearances to draw attention to the cause. I am really interested in the photographer's use of bold colour, and his general unique, surreal - and often humorous style.

Sunday, September 13

Health Promotion

Involving children is one of the many ways companies attempt to raise awareness of the importance of health. In this case, the Child Health Foundation have emphasised the child's innocence with the aim of persuading parents to stop smoking. However, it's difficult to say whether the type of parents who are likely to subject their children to smoke would take much notice of these advertisements.

Derren's 'prediction'

Last week, illusionist Derren Brown apparently predicted the national lottery numbers live on television. In a later show, he claimed that it all came down to mathematics, which has since caused much debate and deliberation amongst the general public.

Despite explaining how he did it, many still don't believe Derren Brown and are certain that it was all a set up or some sort of split camera trick. Some even decided that all possible variations were filmed, and the right one was shown on television - I'm not sure what is actually going through some people's minds.

I'm not entirely sure how Brown successfully carried out this trick, but I'm almost certain that it wasn't a mere camera trick - that's just not what Derren Brown's about. Having watched him live on stage, it's clear how skilled Brown is, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't risk losing fans and jeopardizing his career on a pointless facade.

Thursday, September 10

Just a Daft Punk?

Literally too much time on their hands or just sheer entertainment? I'm going for the latter, any other opinion is probably jealousy.

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange was released in 1971 by director Stanley Kubrick, as an adaptation of Anthony Burgess' 1962 novel. The story follows psychopathic delinquent Alex Delarge and his gang of 'Droogs', whose interests and lifestyle largely revolve around a combination of classical music, rape and violence.

There's no question that the film is very controversial and disturbing at times, proven by the fact that it was originally banned in the U.K. and was largely censored in the U.S. However, what interests me most about the film is Kubrick's use of contrasting sound. Particularly during scenes of extreme violence and molestation, Kubrick has chosen to use classical pieces of music - particularly Beethoven - in order to portray the character's enjoyment. By using lively, classical pieces of music that the majority of the audience will recognise, Kubrick manages to enhance the shock factor of his film. This is also the case when Alex serenades his victims with 'Singing in the rain' whilst attacking and violently raping them - successfully creating unease within the audience.

2012 Sham?

It's a debate that's been going on since 2005 when Britain won the international competition to host the 2012 Olympic games. I for one agree with thousands that Britain simply can't afford to hold the games, and it is likely to look like an amateur school fete in comparison to Beijing's stunning - yet extortionate - display in 2008.

China spent a reported $44 billion hosting the games last year, whilst Britain's budget has already been pushed to an estimated $17.4 billion, $981.8 million of which has been spent on building the stadium alone.

I struggle to see the logic here, as surely a city with an existing stadium, the required free space and even half of the money needed to host the games would have been a much more practical winner.
Britain faces both future financial problems and the fear of another terrorist attack, not to mention the embarrassment of hosting a much less spectacular event than the previous years' - although let's face it, it was pretty much set to be a disaster when the 2012 logo was released.

Tuesday, September 8

Stop Crime Ballooning

The Knowledge Campaign works with other organisations within Leeds in order to help students get the best out of their time in Leeds, and to stay safe.
In May 2009, local police and Leeds' Student's Union combined forces to launch 'Operation Balloon' in an attempt to raise student's awareness of how often burglars are practically invited into their homes. The campaign consisted of police and students visiting student houses to speak to the residents about crime prevention. In certain cases where nobody answered the door, one of two things would happen: If all the doors and windows were secure and locked, a deflated balloon would be posted through the letter box - almost a 'well done' for being safety aware. If a door or window was found to be open or unlocked, an inflated balloon would be later found floating around the student's home.
This campaign was definitely a good idea - and a great success! It has made students more aware of the liklihood of burglaries in this area, and has made them think twice about leaving their doors and windows open - particularly over the summer when many houses are empty.
It can only be hoped that the burglars weren't following the campaigners around as they helped pick out their victims' houses...