Lockdown Playlist

This is what it says on the tin – a mindful selection of songs that both encompass and soothe the mixed set of emotions I am feeling during the current lockdown. I have had a few requests from friends to create a playlist as we all seem to be craving musical comfort whilst working from home/crafting from home/simply being at home right now. So HERE it is.

One minute I find myself craving newness and something upbeat and motivating and then the next I want an old, faithful favourite. With this in mind, I have chosen a few (hopefully) new finds for you alongside a handful of go-to classics (of course there is lots of Tom Misch). Before I edited the playlist down, it sounded jarring and ill-fitting, so I have tried to choose songs with a somewhat similar feel, texture or energy. I am not a musician/producer, so I can’t pretend to know what I am talking about! So, to conclude, I have chosen a few songs that will hopefully provide with you some company, comfort and joy during lockdown. Enjoy!

Kyiv – Tom Misch

Hopopono- GoGo Penguin

A Man’s Fail (Ton Song Suite II) – Thundercat

Marrakech – Tom Misch

Leap of Faith – Mr Jukes, De La Soul, Horace Andy

Quite Like You – Andy Shauf

Comic Sans – Cory Wong, Tom Misch

Sunset Crayon – Fox Warren, Andy Shauf

Show You The Way – Thundercat, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins

Everybody Loves The Sunshine – Takuya Kuroda

What Kinda Music – Tom Misch, Yussef Dayes

That’s O.K. – Jonwayne

Ice Water – Loyle Carner

Breathe Deeper – Tame Impala

Lift Off – Tom Misch, Yussef Dayes, Rocco Palladino

In Your Eyes – BADBADNOTGOOD, Charlotte Day Wilson

Without You – Anderson .Paak, Rapsody

Nightgowns – Tom Misch, Loyle Carner

Prickly Pear – Portico Quartet

Everything Else Has Gone Wrong – Bombay Bicycle Club

These Words Are Everything – Jonwayne

Lost In Yesterday – Tame Impala

Home Again – Michael Kiwanuka

C-Side – Khruangbin, Leon Bridges

Bittersweet – Lianne La Havas

Eugene – Arlo Parks

Morning Matters – Yazmin Lacey

Kandaiki – Mammal Hands

How Long ‘Til We’re Home – Ego Ella May

Tieduprightnow – Parcels

You can listen to the playlist HERE.

A Guide to 2020 Summer-Autumn Gigs and Festivals

Before I begin, I hope this post sees you all well and hanging in there, if anyone would like to have a chat (music related or unrelated) please do feel free to get in contact, now is the time to care for each other and community is more important now than ever.

That said, in and amongst this uncertain and isolating time, I find myself constantly looking forward to the summer months when we can (hopefully) leave this virus (that shall not be named because I am sick of mentioning it) behind us! In my daydreams of 2020 summer I keep imagining myself sat in a field surrounded by friends, sipping a somewhat cold bevvy listening to mesmerising music. So I decided to do some research and have compiled a list of gigs and festivals that will (fingers crossed) go ahead, which I want to share so others can delight in my daydream.

Whilst writing this post I checked that tickets are still on sale for these events and they are currently going ahead, but please do double check and I apologise in advance if that changes.

1. 7th Aug, Guts @ Jazz Cafe, London, £22.50

I saw Guts this time last year at Jazz Cafe and I had an absolute blast. People of all ages and walks of life were all grooving and boogying together to this funky Frenchman’s music. I had tickets to go and see him again here earlier this year but had to sell them last minute and have been keen to repeat the enchanting experience ever since. For a lively and sociable night, this is one to look forward to.

2. 5th-9th Aug, Boardmasters @ Watergate Bay, Cornwall, £197 Weekend Camping Ticket

Kings of Leon, Loyle Carner, Sam Fender, Lianne La Havas, Damien Marley and Hot Chip; the list of acts at this year’s Boardmasters is extremely exciting and varied. The music however, is only the cherry on the top of this very tempting cake, as it takes place in Cornwall’s famous Watergate Bay, offering beachy entertainment from swimming and surfing to yoga and meditation. After several months of confinement and self-isolation, this sun-filled, melodic oasis seems to be the perfect antidote.

3. 6th-9th Aug, Houghton @ Kings Lynn, Norfolk, £202 Weekend Camping Ticket

If you are looking for 24-hour techno dance DJ sets surrounded by friends old and new, this esteemed festival, set up by Craig Richards in 2017, is one to set your sights on. Despite having to cancel last year due to crazy weather conditions, this festival remains everyone’s favourite UK electronic festival. Not only does this beloved festival deliver all-night-long back-to-back sets by some of the most exciting and renowned DJs, but set in the gardens of a beautiful estate it offers innovative sculptures, art and non-stop spontaneous fun.

4. 30th-31st Aug, Notting Hill Carnival @ London

“Carnival is a heartbeat and you’re just part of that” – Levi Roots. Although the streets of Kensington are currently stripped of their local community due to the pandemic, I cannot wait to see them come alive, loud and vibrant, when Carnival hits this summer for the August bank holiday. Running each year since 1966, whilst Notting Hill Carnival is grounded in Caribbean culture, with its Windrush-generation influence firmly apparent, it has also become characteristic of today’s ‘London’. With live bands and impressive sound systems, Carnival will be sure to pump life back into London’s streets this summer.

6. Sept-Nov, Michael Kiwanuka Tour @ Across U.K

This fast-selling tour is one I am extremely determined to get tickets for; this man’s music brings me so much joy, peace and ease during this crazy old time. Kiwanuka wants his listeners to feel “lost and immersed” in his music, and my personal fave track of his, Cold Little Heart, certainly delivers this desired escapism. Kiwanuka’s eponymous album released in 2019, draws on some seriously significant influences: Gil Scott Heron, Prince and Eddie Hazel to name a few, need I give you any more reasons to consider getting tickets to listen to this man’s music this autumn?

7. 13th Sept, Caribou @ O2 Academy, Brixton, £31

If you can’t make Houghton in August, but are still looking for a night of hip-hop, disco, techno fusion, seeing Caribou is the one for you (and me) this September. This man (Dan Snaith) has delivered seamless albums since the 00s, which continue to evolve and mutate as time goes by. They are thrilling, provoking and most importantly, make you want to move. When I listen to his album now, it makes me miss sweaty druken dance crowds (something I never thought I’d say), so I am finding it very difficult to resist purchasing a ticket. Take a listen and join me.

8. 20th Oct, Andy Shauf @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, £24

In a time when we are all seeking guidance, calm and comfort, Andy Shauf’s colourful and observational story-songs (a made-up medium that I think fits the nature of his work) deliver these desired feelings along with friendliness and a promise of sunnier times to come. He is one of my favourite artists to play right now and I keep recommending him to friends and family because his music is truly so joyful. So I am incredibly excited to see this Toronto-based artist in London this autumn (I may even take my boyfriend for his birthday if he’s lucky!)

9. 16th Nov, GoGo Penguin & Portico Quartet @ O2 Academy Brixton, £30

These guys absolutely kill it. I am sitting here watching their Tiny Desk set in complete awe. The pianist Chris Illingworth opens up the piano so he can stick down a few piano strings to make a muted percussive sound; this band seriously love their instruments and music making. So when I saw that they are performing in London this November alongside Portico Quartet, I was one happy woman. Like GoGo Penguin, Portico Quartet are an incredibly talented ambient jazz band that make me want to dance in sporadic movements in a Thom Yorke-esque fashion. I will most certainly be attending this night of electrifying music.

I really hope this brings you joy and something to look forward to, writing this post has certainly brought me these feelings. I plan on writing a few more similar posts – a selection of events in the arts that we can look forward to in the summer and autumn, so if anyone has any theatre, art, dance, literary suggestions please let me know! In the meantime, thank you so much for reading this post and I hope you are all taking care.

A Guide to Seaside: Photographed at Turner Contemporary

We really hit the jackpot with the weather for the august Bank Holiday this year, and what better way to enjoy the glorious sunshine than to visit the seaside? If you are missing the sunshine, and cannot get enough of the striped deck-chairs, colourful windbreaks and a flake 99, then I highly recommend visiting the Seaside: Photographed exhibition at the Turner Contemporary Gallery, in the wonderful seaside town of Margate. This joyous exhibition celebrates British seaside culture from the 1850s to the present, curated in and amongst incredible cinematic views of the Kent coastline through the gallery’s vast windows.

Seaside 3

This exhibition filled me full of pure joy as I walked through the exhibition’s galleries admiring photographs of families, lovers, friends, and of course the family dog, enjoy the sunshine, wind and rain, which characterises British summertime. The exhibition includes photographs and postcards of a wide variety of British seaside locations, which made it a fun treat to see photographs of my local Suffolk seaside towns over the last 150 years.

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Due to its wide geographical reach and its strong cultural references, this is a personable, fun and engaging exhibition. However, I could not help but feel that a certain something was missing from the overall experience… ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ and ‘we all live in a yellow submarine’. To fill this musical gap, and to enrich one’s experience of this fabulous exhibition, I have compiled a playlist of a few of my favourite summertime tracks over the decades, which I hope will truly bring these seaside photographs to life! So if you can spare a day to take the trip to Margate before this joyful exhibition comes to a close in September, why not immerse yourself within the contexts of these photos by pressing play to the British Seaside playlist?

To listen to the British Seaside playlist click HERE!

 

 

A Guide to the Lee Krasner exhibition at Barbican

First things first, I would like to apologise for YigYag’s lack of content over the  last eighteen months, it’s been one hell of a year. So before I dive head first into this post, I thought I’d quickly bring you all up to speed with what I’ve been up to since I last posted back in January 2018. Since then, I have graduated from Warwick (whoop!), started studying an MPhil in Arts, Creativity and Education at Cambridge (gasp!), curated a research project exhibition to explore  participatory and democratic museum practices which can better engage audiences with museum displays (Oooh!), met lots of inspiring creatives at Cambridge (yay!), wrote a hefty old masters thesis (boo!) and recently completed my MPhil and subsequently my time at Cambridge (hurrah!).

Cambridge

Cambridge

Whilst studying for my MPhil I became increasingly interested in the role of the museum visitor, and decided that in order for museum practice to develop and become more inclusive and democratic, it needs to reconsider the visitor as not only a consumer but a valuable contributor to museum practice. During my research I had multiple conversations with friends, family and fellow students about the experience of being a visitor in an arts museum. Many people shared that they found visiting art exhibitions daunting and confusing as it can be hard to know how to read, interpret and engage with the artwork. This saddened me to learn that so many people were missing out or avoiding art museums because they were unsure or unable to engage with the displays. In an attempt to try and overcome this sense of confusion or disengagement with art exhibitions, I have decided to write a series of simple and easy guides to Britain’s contemporary art exhibitions. Each guide will provide you with an activity, discussion topic or soundtrack etc. to help you better engage with the art exhibitions.

So to get the ball rolling, this week’s guide is to the Lee Krasner exhibition at Barbican running from 30 May – 1 September 2019. The aim of this guide is not to spoil the exhibition for you all ahead of your visit or to review it, but to provide you with an (optional) structure to help you engage with the artwork and Krasner’s technique. I experienced the exhibition last week and came away feeling utterly inspired by her unique colour combinations and sensitive and stylish eye for collage composition. These two stand-out aspects of Krasner’s oeuvre have inspired the creation of this guide.

Firstly, before you visit the exhibition, I recommend thinking about and perhaps jotting down your current three favourite colours. They can be a particular combination you are loving during this time of year, or three childhood favourites. Three is simply a guideline amount because Krasner’s artwork often contains three key, staple colours, however, two or four will suffice. My top three favourite colours before I visited the exhibition were tiger orange, scarlet red and navy blue.

Lee Krasner Colours Before

Now, whilst wandering through the rooms of the exhibitions looking at the many paintings and collages by Krasner, I recommend considering whether any of Krasner’s colour choices override your initial three colour favourites. I am not usually drawn to brown, and would never declare it as one of my favourite colours, however, I found Krasner’s series of paintings known as Night Journeys, which were all painted in shades of umber, magnetic, sophisticated and somewhat feline (this is always a good quality). Therefore, this talented artist has since transformed my feelings towards this colour, introducing umber into the top three favourites.

Umber

Umber brown within Krasner’s artwork

I have always loved the daring and clashing combination of orange and pink. It reminds me of my two favourite flavoured jelly babies (or most sweets for that matter). So to see this joyous, proud combination crop up again and again within Krasner’s artwork was a sheer delight, and it prompted me to place hot pink back in my top three, right next to tiger orange which was a firm favourite from the offset.

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Hot pink and tiger orange in Krasner’s artwork

The final three favourite colours had been decided, and I hope this exhibition similarly provides you with an appreciation for previously loathed or discarded colours. Umber brown, hot pink and tiger orange.

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Once your final three colours have been refined and chosen after your visit to the Krasner exhibition, I recommend tearing up the free printed exhibition guide, as Krasner often did with her paintings, and using your new Krasner-inspired colours to create your own vibrant collage. This process of refining colour choices to create a collage composition will engage you with Krasner’s unique colour mixes and combinations in the exhibition, as well as with her artistic method once at home. It took me no more than twenty minutes to create my Krasner-esque collage, and it further affirmed my love and appreciation for this underrated, sassy artist.

Krasner Collage

So if you’re keen to experience the Krasner exhibition (which I cannot recommend enough for an easy afternoon away from the summer sun), but are unsure of how to engage with her abstract art, please do give this guide a go! If you have any feedback/ colour favourites/ collages do get in touch, as I love to hear from you all.

Lessons From Life-Drawing

Upon attending the fresher fair in first year, I was introduced to a branch of The Warwick Art’s Society, which holds a life drawing session twice a week. This small creative society instantly appealed to me as I enjoyed life drawing whilst studying for my Art A Level, and I also thought it would be a great break from my studies. What I did not expect from the life drawing sessions, was the amount of inspiration and artistry that I would apply to my studies, which would ultimately shape the direction and focus area of my degree.

life drawing 5After going to the sessions once or twice a week, I fell in love with the relaxed yet respectful atmosphere of both the drawers and model. I also did not expect to leave the class with the sense of empowerment that I felt every week. After each class I found myself not only believing more in my drawing abilities, but what really surprised me was the amount of body confidence I gained from attending the classes. Much like most great paintings of life models, I found the models I liked to draw the most were those that had imperfections and oddities that ultimately make them unique and interesting muses. With this in mind, I would leave the classes feeling uplifted, and more self-assured in my own skin. I cannot recommend this art form enough for both drawers and models, as it is a uniquely therapeutic and respectful experience that I have loved participating in.

Each week, I became more and more entranced by this often unspoken about and perhaps outdated art form, and the brilliant and brave models that would perform for us week in and week out, varying from 20+ students just like you and I, to women and men all of ages and sizes. When the opportunity came about in first year to do a creative project rather than a written assessment for a theatre module, I leapt at the chance to explore and investigate my new-found hobby and interest under an academic lens. I absolutely loved the assessment and interviewed some of the models from the session, and others from a class at home to explore the performance of the life model. For several centuries life models have been undermined and their work as a model has not been truly acknowledged. However, after having spent several weeks looking and appreciating the stillness and artistic poses that these brilliant performers were able to hold for up to 30 minutes, I felt that this impression of the life model needed to be updated and they instead, need to be celebrated rather than trivialised. I also wanted to use this opportunity to honour and pay homage to each and every one of mankind’s naked forms.

After having gained so much from this assessment in first year, I found that this brilliant art form began to seep into many other aspects of my studies, in both the English and Theatre areas of my degree! I also have recommended the society to many of my peers, for various reasons: a creative outlet (outside of the Warwick Drama Community), for body confidence reasons, and also just to have some relaxing headspace whilst on campus! I cannot recommend joining this often overlooked and under-discussed society enough, however, it’s relatively quiet and intimate nature is what makes it arguably so special. This society has given me so much inspiration and taught me about art forms that have really sculpted and informed most aspects of my university life, both academic and recreational, and has even become one of the greatest influences on my dissertation. So, pop along on a Thursday evening, and fall in love with this memorable and expressive community.

5 Young Artists You Will Want To Know

Starting out in the arts world is harder today than ever, with this in mind we really need to support and encourage our fellow students who are leading the way and striding forth in this zealous industry. As we come towards the the end of 2017, I want to draw attention to five innovative and current young artists who are exhibiting and developing their noteworthy artwork both in the U.K. and internationally. Ranging from animation to painting, the following artists are all creating unique, compelling and engaging artwork which demands to be seen.

Emily Straw

Fluid, organic and energetic, Emily Straw’s unique artistic medium of photographs layered with acrylic paint challenges modern perceptions of fashion trends and personal ‘style’. Straw’s sensitivity and awareness of texture, pattern and colour is immediately

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Emily Straw

striking, as she seamlessly combines all three elements to create delicate yet abstract pieces. Having recently graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in Fine Art, Straw has had great success following her degree show. Her work has been exhibited at The Harley Gallery in Nottinghamshire, whilst she is undertaking various commissions. Straw continues to take inspiration from individual fashion designers such as Central Saint Marten’s graduate Mimi Wade and behind-the-scenes fashion week imagery, to create this remarkable synergy between fashion and fine art.

To see more of Emily’s artwork visit her Instagram: @emilystrawart

Guy Campbell

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 17.30.38In between skydives, travelling and studying, Guy Campbell manages to find the time to take in his surroundings via his Sony a6300 camera. Having only recently left school in Suffolk, Campbell’s artistic talent is both remarkable and exciting. Campbell admits to being completely self-taught, and instead has learnt via trial and error to experiment with different settings and composition styles. Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 17.30.24Having worked and created exceptional shorts with his drone, Campbell has a keen eye for the bigger picture. His landscapes offer an inviting window into otherworldly locations; from Sulphur springs to the milky way, he effortlessly catches breath-taking moments. Campbell also hails Instagram as a really useful platform for young up and coming artists, as it has enabled him to gain the attention of recognised photographers such as Harry Hall, one of his main inspirations. Whilst continuing to take photographs, Campbell is excited to work more with film in the future, to bring his incredible landscapes to life.

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If you like what you see, you can find more photography on Guy’s Instagram:
@guycampbell14

Saskia Martindale

Inspired by all things Japanese, Saskia Martindale’s 3D videos and animations offer lessons about the popular culture and different lifestyles of this far away nation. Having recently graduated from Brighton University with a degree in illustration, Martindale is gravitating towards animation and is demonstrating a very skilful and intricate flair for this fine art,

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Saskia Martindale in front of The Hospital Club

despite also being a brilliant illustrator. The future is looking bright for the multi- talented graduate. As well as currently taking great inspiration from her 5 month exchange to Nagoya, Japan, Martindale strongly holds the Picasso museum in Paris as one of her favourite exhibitions, which has also influenced much of her artwork. Her work has been exhibited at the Bargehouse in London this year and can currently be seen at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, but instead of allowing herself a break, Martindale modestly confesses to having a new (and sadly very private) project on the horizon.

To watch Saskia’s animations and learn more about her kinetic artwork visit her Instagram: @saskiamartindale

Molly Egan

Introducing our international artist, Molly Egan, who creates these charming and vibrant illustrations in Philadelphia, USA. After graduating from The University of the Arts in 2015, Egan left her computer behind and began working with paint to embrace Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 18.00.02.pngthe little oddities (which ultimately make her work so special) that can only be accomplished by working off-screen. Although Egan humbly reminded me that she has only recently graduated and is therefore, still mapping her way through the world of illustration, she has very impressively worked for the likes of Warby Parker, Bitch Media, and Bust Magazine. Egan is proud to share that she is currently working on a self-directed project where, for 100 days she is completing a unique double page spread in a mini sketchbook. The results are both ebullient and ornate. Egan is excited for a future filled with drawing and painting for magazines, textiles, products, galleries and perhaps even a change of direction towards animation. The years ahead for Egan resemble her artwork: exciting and confident.

If you would like to see more pages from Molly’s 100-day project visit her Instagram: @mollytheillustrator

Tom Hume

It’s no wonder that Tom Hume has had such an impressive education at Newcastle University Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 18.03.40.pngand more recently at the Royal College of Art, as his work is clearly not only innovative but also challenges current theories of painting and visual science. Hume revealed that one of his main sources of inspiration is the way in which humans perceive colour, as well as being influenced by the work of Georges Seurat. Hume’s inspiration, however, is not the only unusual aspect of his work, as he described how he paints with oils directly onto aluminium. He then layers the paint over several months to create the optical illusion-like nature of his paintings. More recently Hume has enjoyed experimenting with leaving areas of the aluminium exposed, which further adds to the illusory impression of his artwork. Alongside his recent exhibition at the RCA degree show, Hume is working on a series of smaller paintings which he hopes to exhibit in the near future – so keep a look out!

To see more of Tom’s enigmatic artwork visit his Instagram: @tom_hume

 

Famous Art or Famous Artist?

Once artists reach a certain level of critical acclaim or fame, they are subject to intense scrutiny and often criticism, due to the subjective nature of art itself. One spectator’s reaction of excitement towards a painting is valued equally to the next spectator’s reaction of despair. It therefore becomes very difficult to define what makes an artist ‘good’ and subsequently ‘famous’.

Earlier in the year Grayson Perry tackled this controversial topic in his much talked about exhibition titled, The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever. In the exhibition, Perry directly confronts the notion of the ‘famous artist’ through his use of social media and topical political affairs as platforms for the inspiration for his artwork. Instead of shying away from the public eye and popular culture – as many artists, for example Damien Hirst, sadly do in order to avoid berating – Perry calls upon this chastisement as a vehicle to scrutinize other social controversies.

Grayson Perry Exhib

If we look at Damien Hirst again as an example, many artists have become ‘famous’ due to the shocking and sometimes disturbing nature of their artwork. Hirst often marries grotesque and uncomfortable objects with valuable and desirable counterparts, which simultaneously attracts and repulses his audience. Demonstrating this relationship is Hirst’s 2007 sculpture, For the Love of God, a platinum cast of an 18th century human skull which is encrusted with 8,601 diamonds. There is an uneasy synergy between a worthless human skull and the extremely valuable and cherished diamond. Hirst’s sculpture gained even more awareness when it sold for the asking price of £50 million, which begs us to question whether fame is determined by both shock value and expense.

Damien Hirst Skull

For the Love of God, Hirst, 2007

Ironically, an artist’s anonymity often greatly contributes to the fame of their work and to the artist’s own identity, as proven by the mysterious Banksy. By shying away from the public eye and from the very notion of fame, Banksy has become the centre of an international Cluedo hunt, with more and more people claiming to have found or even to be the artist itself. This enigma is made even more scandalous when we consider the artistic medium in which he/she works: graffiti. Perhaps the artist remains unidentified because the art form has always been, and continues to be, a crime. Banksy’s art form functions in the opposite manner to Hirst’s, as the artist must first enter into the public sphere to find his canvas before he can even begin to create. What’s more, Banksy’s work is priceless as it cannot be bought or sold, and this potentially contributes to the fame of the artist. Banksy’s graffiti cannot become an item for one to possess; we are therefore kept at a distance from the artwork, yet anyone is invited to witness and take pleasure in it.

Despite working in completely different art forms, and the artwork of one having an extraordinarily expensive price-tag, whilst the other’s artwork can never be acquired, both Hirst and Banksy have obtained an untouchable and almost unintelligible social status. Therefore, regardless of an artist’s role in the public eye, what ultimately makes them ‘famous’ and popular is their ability to leave us asking questions and wanting more.

Anna Scott: My Winter Fashion Inspiration

Whilst re-watching Richard Curtis’ 1999 work of brilliance ‘Notting Hill’ last night, I could not help but notice that, in one of the opening scenes where Anna Scott and William Thacker meet for the very first time in his slightly disorganised yet homely travel bookshop, Anna’s strikingly monochrome outfit ticks all of the boxes that I am looking for in my 2017 winter wardrobe. From the black wool Chanel beret to the platform Vans old skool trainers, costume designer Shuna Harwood carefully pieced together an iconic outfit that would come back into the spotlight as a trendsetting look for 2017 winter fashion.

Julia Roberts fashion

Julia Roberts as Anna Scott and Hugh Grant as William Thacker, NOTTING HILL, 1999

Despite being covered in orange juice, we can see from the image above that Julia Roberts effortlessly pulls off this glamorous yet comfortable look. I love teaming up smart wide-leg trousers with statement trainers, it creates a boyish-chic look that works particularly well in black and white, as demonstrated here in Harwood’s outfit choice. Below we can see Kendall Jenner sporting a very similar look in a black hat, sunglasses and Vans old skool, and Alexa Chung in another comparable outfit, and both come together to create the same understated stylishness as seen in Anna’s outfit.

I love Harwood’s use of deep greys teamed up with black in various different textures, such as wool (as seen in Anna’s trousers) leather (as seen in her jacket) and suede (as seen in her handbag) to create a sense of chic luxury, whilst also remaining youthful and playful, and it’s this balance of textures that I am looking to recreate this winter.

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NOTTING HILL, Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, 1999, Breakfast on the Roof

Despite the above look being much more relaxed and casual, Harwood still maintains this stylish balance of monochrome textures as seen in Anna’s oversized, grey wool jumper teamed up with her sports leggings and white shirt underneath to remind us that even in this private domestic scene shared between William and Anna, Anna still naturally radiates her movie star elegance. Anna’s statement platform trainers create quite the contrast with William’s quintessentially British loafers in this image in order to remind us of the two very different social worlds that these two characters belong in, however, the similar colour combinations within their outfits represent them moulding into one another and coming together.

It’s this simple yet playful charm which Harwood so perfectly creates in Anna Scott’s wardrobe that I am so drawn to and keen to re-create (like many of the celebs it seems) this winter… so let’s get beret shopping!

Performing Composition: Matisse In The Studio

I am a huge collector of small knick-knacks for my home, which give me joy each and every day hence, I completely empathise with Henri Matisse’s love of the unique and bespoke objects that make up his studio and continue to inspire his artwork time and time again. The Royal Academy’s current exhibition, ‘Matisse In The Exhibition’ pieces together the cherished inanimate members of Matisse’s studio once more, and sensitively surrounds each object with the various pieces of artwork which feature or have been inspired by the said collectable, in order to draw attention to Matisse’s life-long mission to create an individual and contemporary style.


The exhibition, despite only consisting of around six different rooms, manages to re-create the sense of loyalty and admiration that this brilliant artist shared for his carefully selected items. However, not only is the onlooker offered an insight into the different relationships shared between the artist and his collectables, but we are also enlightened on the various relationships that are formed between the objects themselves when they  perform in unison to inspire the exuberant paintings that once filled his library of culture, and today fill the various rooms of the exhibition.

In the above painting titled Yellow Odalisque the Small Painted Table, which was a favourite of Matisse’s, becomes a source of life for the flowers which stem from the jug placed on top of it. The table also creates a conflict of colour and energy with the glamorous lady situated to the right of it. This conflict draws our attention to the table as a performing actor, which equally shares the spot-light with the female model within the painting. Matisse believed that just like “a good actor can have a part in ten different plays; an object can play a role in ten different pictures” (Royal Academy). The unusual, shapely legs of the table are also imitated in the scalloped edge of the woman’s long robe and within her own legs. Finally, when looking at this delicate little table in real life, we can see how its intricate painted designs, which are bright, exotic and feminine, have truly inspired the very eye-catching essence of Yellow Odalisque.  

Henri Matisse, Red

Red Interior: Still-life on a Blue Table, 1947

As you can see from the above paintings, flowers play an integral role in Matisse’s exhibition. They enable the artist to capture exterior life and they offer a sense of gravity within the interior scenes of his studio. Finally, floral shapes and colours seem to be a reoccurring theme throughout the different phases of Matisse’s artwork, becoming the ultimate actor which he cannot resist to employ over and over again.

The Kaleidoscope Exhibition: A Return to the Primary

The University of Warwick was founded in 1965 as part of the government’s aim to expand access to, and encourage citizens to seek, higher education. This ambition to broaden Britain’s access to education seems to be reflected in The Arts Council’s touring collection, the Kaleidoscope exhibition, which has recently opened at Warwick Art Centre’s Mead Gallery. Much of its artwork features colourful and fluid shapes, making it accessible to most.

But why, fifty years on from the opening of the university, is there a return to the primary? And how is this social rush from the 1960s to make education, and in particular art and culture, more accessible represented in this exciting exhibition?

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Richard Smith, Trio

Kaleidoscope features work by many celebrated artists including Bridget Riley, Mary Martin, William Turnbull and Richard Smith. But what does the work by these talented arts have in common? They all share a strong sense of order, exuberance and bold simplicity. For the adult eye, which is perhaps more used to complex images and shapes, the exhibition is striking due to its daring lack of fine detail, and instead its focus on unusual forms and colour combinations.

But how would a group of children react in this space? The exhibition bears a strong resemblance to a primary school’s playground with its use of stimulating colours and shapes, which are often adopted to encourage and nourish early stages of learning development.

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William Tucker, Thebes

So, would a group of children be stimulated to run and play in this space? Should we also react in this way to the artwork, and abandon the strict conduct we usually assume in galleries? In order to fully appreciate the sensory awareness, which the striking artwork creates, perhaps the exhibition could have benefitted from music or a soundscape, such as the pitter-patter sounds created by rain sticks or a glockenspiel.

Ideas of the playground are reinforced by the exhibition’s ‘Creative Space’, allowing its spectators to experiment and create with colours and shapes. During adult life, we are not encouraged to take time out of our busy routines to sit, relax and be creative. This now seems like a peculiar gap in our lives, and moments at exhibitions such as these remind us of our own, often long forgotten, primary development.

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The Creative Space

Much like the establishment of the University of Warwick, the Arts Council prides itself on “bringing people together and teaching us about ourselves”. The Kaleidoscope exhibition does both of these things, by calling upon our earlier stages in education to remind us of the simple yet enriching effects that art has on both children and adults alike. So go, explore and find that inner child-like curiosity for colour once more.