Browsing Tag


art, London

The Failure of the American Dream by Phil America

September 10, 2014

The other week I attended the exhibition Failure of the American Dream by Phil America, curated by friend and fellow blogger Victoria Villasana (AKA Syle Marmalade). Here’s a short description of the project, from Victoria’s blog:

“This pop-up exhibition was presented with video installations, where Phil America draws the audience into a dangerous month of living far below the poverty line, this time in San Jose’s The Jungle, America’s largest Tent City; In this piece, Phil lives each day with its residents and learns to defend himself in an autonomous society where its residents are surrounded with violence and despair on a daily basis the video was accompanied by a sculptural installation of his tent and belongings  which Phil America relied on during a month inside Silicon Valley’s ‘jungle camp’ where hundreds of homeless live in tents, caves and tree huts.”

Sadly, too many live in these conditions in the world, not just in America. The problem here is that America is one of the richest countries in the world and yet there’s so much poverty that people choose to ignore or pretend it doesn’t exist. It isn’t just all Hollywood glamour and to me this is one of the scariest things about the US and one of the reasons I had decided I didn’t want to o live there with Mr D. How is it possible that so many people still resist access to medical care or even basic help is beyond me.

The people portrayed here are real, they’re not part of a movie set and it’s interesting how to me, the presence of the tent makes it somehow more real. More tangible. The projected images are not just a film. They are real people and that reality is brought forward by the presence of a material object that was part of it. Shocking. As it should be.

art, London

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican, part 1

September 9, 2014


I’ve been meaning to edit and post these photos for weeks. The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican Center was phenomenal but unfortunately it’ll be too late to go see it, as it closed a couple of weeks ago. My bad, should have posted these earlier. I took loads of photos and it was hard to pick the best ones or do collages as a lot often the beauty is in the details. Many of the outfits on display had a mention of how many hours it took ‘les petites mains’ to complete them. It was in some cases, mind blowing. For that reason I’ll post the photos over a few days, interspersed with other things so you don’t get fed up. I hope you enjoy the eye candy as much as I did anyway.










Comics Unmasked, an exhibition at the British Library

June 11, 2014


Kill superheroes!!! Tell your own dreams.

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Some of you might not be aware of this but before I embarked in working for a financial services company, I was a professional colourist. Part of the work I was doing back then was colouring comic books! I worked with an artist and we did a few minor titles for Image Comics and Marvel, besides the commercial work for advertising agencies. I’ve always been interested in comics and graphic novels, so for all these reasons, I could not have missed the Comics Unmasked exhibition over at the British Library.

The exhibition shows a comprehensive analysis of British comics, throughout history and how comics were part of social change as well as a reflection of it. It’s organized in several sections, and it’s very easy to go through. Sometimes you have to queue to go through some of the glass displays but it’s unavoidable due to the nature of the objects on show. You will also see several mannequins wearing the V is for Vendetta mask, which has been in recent years adopted by the Occupy movement. That is a very good example of how comic book culture has invaded the mainstream and if you ask me, will continue to do so more and more. It’s a great time to be a geek!

My favourite sections at the exhibition were  “To See Ourselves“, “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Breakdowns: The Outer Limits of Comics“. “To See Ourselves” focused mainly on you guessed it, us. Comic books started paying attention to real life in the 70’s, reflecting the questions that society was posing itself – Women’s Rights, Racism and other viewpoints. This happened because small presses and fanzines started proliferating, allowing minorities to have a voice.

Aubrey Beardsley

Let’s Talk About Sex” was also a favourite section of mine… Mostly because some personal favourites, like Aubrey Beardsley’s Lysistrata and John Willie’s Sweet Gwendoline were on show, among other erotic creations. Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls was also represented, a very controversial tome that I think it’s well worth reading. All links in this paragraph are NSFW, obviously, so click at your own risk!

Moving on to the next favourite, ” Breakdowns: The Outer Limits of Comics“, this section explored the influence of magic(k) in modern comics – a few authors such as Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore are well known to explore mystical and esoteric themes. Of course, Alan Moore’s Promethea had to be featured as it is heavily influenced by the writings of Aleister Crowley. Speaking of which , I was surprised to see that the original manuscript for Confessions of a Drug Fiend as well as ‘The Universe’ card from his Thoth Tarot deck were on display. Along with this, another manuscript was to be found, this time by John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I’s own wizard. Certainly pieces that are unusual and not shown to the public all that often.

My general impression is that the exhibition revolves a lot around transgression, as you may have realized through the snippets I shared. This may have also been due to the art director’s sensibilities (Dave McKean) – if you know his work this makes sense.  There is a lot more to be seen, so I would definitely recommend a visit. You can do so until the 19th of August and I would suggest booking your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

For more information, go to the British Library’s website.


Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

October 4, 2013

On our recent weekend in Brighton, Mr D and I visited the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. We sort of bumped into it, as it is located in one of the buildings in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion. It was a lovely surprise and what we found inside was an even better one. From beautiful paintings to exquisite outfits and lovely homewares from the last couple of centuries, combined with historical exhibits about the city of Brighton, makes this small museum a real gem. I took a few photos of the items that caught my eye and imagination.

I wouldn’t mind having these panels, bed and light fixture in my bedroom.

Chinoiserie, which in French means something like ‘Chinese-esque’, was very popular in Europe, particularly in the 19th Century (like the examples above) and consists of art and decorative objects inspired by Chinese art.

These smiling cats look so happy, they made me smile too!

A very colourful 1970’s tea set. I really wouldn’t mind bringing it home with me.

A child’s Jubilee celebration dress, made of flags. How pretty is that?

On the Brighton themed rooms, Mods and Rockers could not be forgotten, of course. If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out the film Quadrophenia and you will see.

The dedicated ceramics room had some very interesting specimens indeed. I found it most intriguing why that Virgin Mary on the left has the name written in Portuguese. Nossa Senhora do Bom Despacho – Our Lady of the Good Dispatch, which would be the Virgin Mary making sure prayers were heard by God – she would help “dispatch” them to the Lord quicker, if you asked for her interference. Interesting.

Also interesting and located in another area of the exhibition, was the chamber pot, decorated with the effigy of Napoleon with the latin word ‘Pereat’ which means ‘May he Perish’ painted next to it. Talk about a smear campaign!

The room dedicated to performance art was great and of course, all the sequins and glitters made me go all wide eyed.

What a beautiful 1940’s red dress. I’d wear it in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t you?

How fantastical is this lacy number by Alexander McQueen? Seeing clothes like this, especially in person, convince me that garments can be a lot more than just protection against the elements, they are Art.

Anything ballerina inspired is a winner in my book. I don’t remember who made this one but it’s really beautiful.

1960’s Ossie Clark mellow yellow.

The simple elegance of an Azzedine Alaia black dress. Only when you strip down a dress to the basics can you really appreciate the beauty of structure and construction.

I also enjoy a little bit of excess, particularly Asian inspired rich fabrics like these.

A part of the exhibition featured some clothes worn by locals who are members of several different scenes. I refuse to call them urban tribes as the term makes me cringe. There, I had to say it. I particularly liked the goth items on display.

Beautiful inspiration in the shape of paintings. Who needs fashion magazines when you can go to the museum?

And last but not least, the sexiest piece I’ve seen in a museum lately – capes, masks, mules decorated with bows, ooh lala!

There is plenty more to see as well as a nice cafeteria serving light meals and a good selection of cakes and teas. I definitely recommend spending a couple of hours at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.


David Bowie is…

July 31, 2013

One of the best exhibitions I’ve seen so far this year, if not the best, was David Bowie is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The pre-sale tickets have been sold out for months now and I kind of had given up on the idea of seeing the exhibition at all. As I spent a weekend in London and my friends also wanted to see it we decided we would get out of bed early and be there for the opening of the Museum on Sunday morning. It worked like a charm. We still had to queue for half an hour to get some tickets but it would appear that 500 tickets are released every day for the day so if you’re there early, you can still get tickets.

Photography is not allowed in the exhibition so we’ll have to make do with some photos I took at the shop and around there with my phone. And why is this exhibition worth seeing? Well, lets just say that it is a feast for the senses. You are handed a head set when you get in and it will be activated with different sound bites as you go through the exhibition – sometimes it is music (it really made me feel like dancing while I was going through the exhibition), other times it is interviews ans commentary by several people. It was a lot to take in because there was a lot of people there I didn’t get to see everything in the detail I would have liked to (you had to queue to look at the peep holes on the wall, for example) and ain’t nobody got time for that.

This was extremely stimulating and almost too much to take in in such a short period of time. There are lots of things to see- outfits (the jumpsuits, oh my god the jumpsuits), memorabilia, posters, records, photos, videos… Everything! I already liked jumpsuits but seeing this exhibition really made me a convert.

It was amazing to see the personas David Bowie developed over the years, tapping into the current trends and culture. He takes in the influences from the world around him and brings it back out ‘bowiefied’ and adding completely different aspects to it. The world is then influenced by his work and it is so unique that it becomes an entirely new thing. Bowie took inspiration but didn’t copy anyone, he transformed things and made them his. The funniest reference I memorized was about Clockwork Orange- how it inspired some of the costumes, described as “Ultra Violence in Liberty fabrics“.

There was so much to see and so many layers of aesthetics and meaning it is difficult to convey in words. It’s going to be in London until the 11th of August and then it’ll travel the world. All I can say is GO SEE IT!