London Art Spot: Ji Seon Kim

Emptying her vivid imagination onto each large canvas she paints, Ji Seon invites us into a world that resembles this one but truly exists only in her head. With a vibrant palette she works with sweeping brushstrokes, a concern for space and a flair for creating texture in her landscapes. She wants her work to evoke feelings of displacement and loneliness, and the sheer size of the canvas mixed with the deserted scenery does make you realise that there is a massive world out there.

Her recent work draws on inspiration from traditional watercolour painting from her native South Korea and she has a show on in Hoxton at the moment with two other South Korean artists.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Ji Seon talks about a certain beautiful place in London that she would love to paint, tells us where she finds inspirateion for her landscapes and what to expect at her exhibition.

LLO:Which aspects of London life most influence your creativity and in which way?
JS: I have enjoyed living in London for the past 6 years. I think London is a really great city in which I have great experiences, in urban life, and historical and natural landscape. This environment in London motivates and inspires my work. It is also easy to access plenty of interesting exhibitions in London. The intriguing shows open up new possibilities of exploring and developing my practice as well.

LLO: Give us an overview of your working process, from initial idea to final painting.
JS: First, I try to decide which kind of space I would like to paint referring to landscapes I remember from my previous travelling experiences and image books, especially travel magazines. After words, I purely use my imagination to describe the place, and paint my imaginary world.

LLO: Which piece are you most proud of at the moment and why?
JS: If I have to choose one painting, it would be “Orange Cliffs and White Crystal”, because I feel that this painting is more realised in connection with the main concept, which is about playing with marks and colours in an imagery landscape.
LLO: You work with a lot of vibrant colours in scenery that would in real life be quite subdued. What does this add to your landscapes?
JS: I am very interested in creating an imaginary landscape in an artificial way, so I always use really bright and powerful colours in my painting.

LLO: Do you find that your South Korean background inspires your work?
JS: I have produced paintings using different aspects of a Korean sense of space and a western sense of perspective. One of the most significant influences is Korean traditional landscape painting, so I have tried to mix between this influence from my background and my understanding of contemporary western art.

LLO: Your latest work revolves around imaginary landscapes. Is there a place in London that you would like to paint using a similar approach and technique?
JS: I really like Holland Park, particularly Kyoto garden. It is a really beautiful place to get inspirations and motivation for my works.

LLO:Other London-based artists you admire?
JS: Peter Doig. His use of colours and his technique are so interesting and impressive.

LLO: You recently finished your BA in Fine Art from Slade. What are your plans for 2011?
JS: I have just started Master course at Slade from this September 2010. The Master at slade is 2-years course, so I will keep continuing to study this course in 2011. Plus, I am plannig to have an exhibition in Seoul, South Korea in July or August, 2011.

LLO: You have an exhibition from 2-23 December at Arch 402 in Hoxton with artists Gyeong Yoon An and Chinwook Kim. What can we expect from the show?
JS: When I was a BA student, Gyeong Yoon An and Chinwook Kim were MFA students at Slade. At the time, I just thought their works were very interesting, but I couldn’t find any connection between my painting and their works. When we decided to have the show “Imaginary Landscape” at Arch402 and put our works all together, I was so surprised that we do have really a huge connection, which is that our works are coming from our own imagination and delivering viewers into our imaginations, so people can feel and see our imagination world.

LLO: What are you working on now?
JS: I am making a huge imaginary landscape painting as usual. In order to do more challenge with my painting, I am exploring the intersection of abstraction and representation through the imaginary landscape.

Thanks Ji Seon!

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

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London Art Spot: Karishma Shahani

Brightly coloured designs marked Karishma Shahani’s award-winning catwalk collection for the London College of Fashion’s Graduate Runway Show 2010. She came away with an award for “Best Surface Textiles” to add to her CV alongside the “Nina De York Fashion Illustration” award and “Fashion Graduate of the Year award.

It’s no surprise her eye-catching work has caught the attention of staff at Vogue, Grazia, Elle and ID magazine alongside quite a few others around the world from France to Russia to Hong King and Japan.

Her values of longevity in clothing, ethical fair trade and using “upcycled” and organic materials match the values of the forward-thinking audience she will reach with her vibrant collections.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Karishma tells us how life in her native India plays a massive part in her work, shows off some photos of latest stunning collection and lets us in on the details of her collaboration with American artist Amy Sol.

LLO: Give us an overview of your latest collection, Yatra.
KS: The collection draws inspiration and elements from the multiple layers of India’s vibrant culture that continuously create colourful, vivid and eclectic experiences for the onlooker. The colours are picked from traditional paintings of Indian Gods, and recreated through natural methods of dyeing. The surface texture adds to the multi-dimensional feel enhancing the use of natural fabrics alongside upcyled packaging materials.

In its essence this collection is a reflection of the Indian lifestyle of re-interpretation of materials and their function at every step; always re-using and recycling; creating heirlooms that are passed down through generations. Each garment is made with beauty, simplicity and versatility as its core which lends it a multi-layered and personality-driven charm. The designs combine a fusion of two extremes, making the collection experimental and unconventional, while being hinged on modern functionality.

LLO: Which aspects of life in your native India most inspire your work? What about aspects of London life?
KS: A lot of aspects ranging from the people on the road, to our vast history, culture, architecture, crafts, travel, the list is endless. London’s cosmopolitan nature is very appealing. Being a melting pot for people from all around the world is quite inspiring. UK too has a comprehensive history and its ties with India are aspects I like exploring.

LLO: Tell us about some of the materials that have gone into your latest collection – the bright colours, the recycled concept, etc. What’s the most unusual material you used or the most difficult to obtain?
KS: The materials in the collection range from calico and cotton to pure silk and silk tulle and then over to High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). The last being a material used extensively in packaging in India hence lending to the upcycled nature of this collection as the patterns were cut from previously used sacks. All the material in the collection barring the HDPE have been hand dyed to suit the colour requirements that give enough homage to their source of inspiration. The accessories include secondhand hand-painted shoes and piece from chandeliers, cut away sneakers and blankets. The toughest material to obtain was the HDPE due to its varied sizes and quality control it required to obtain large pieces to create the garments.

LLO: Do you remember a precise moment that made you decide you wanted to have a career in fashion?
KS: Just the simple fact of creating new things. Consciously or without realising, clothing plays an important part in defining a person’s personality for the onlooker and I’ve always found this aspect really interesting. So I can’t pinpoint a precise moment.

LLO:Which signature elements of your designs make them unique to you?
KS: Colour, texture, contrast

LLO: Not only have you won some impressive awards (including “Best Surface Textiles 2010 LCF BA Graduate Show”, “Nina De York Illustration Award 2010” and “Fashion Graduate of the Year 2010 British Graduate 100 Award”) but you also started your own label. What has been your proudest moment so far in your fashion career?
KS: Receiving the “Best Surface Textile Award” at the London College of Fashion Graduate show 2010 was a great way to graduate, a fulfilling pat of encouragement.

LLO: Your bio includes a degree in economics, experience in at an NGO and a stint as a production manager. Does your career background have an impact on the way you approach fashion?
KS: Yes it does. I do think that one needs to know all the aspects of the industry they are a part of; it’s not about mastering all aspects but just simply about knowing how things work, because everything works hand-in-hand. All my previous work experiences have shaped my outlook towards design and its end result. The work has made me travel and live in various cities, that in itself is an enriching experience.

 

LLO: Where’s your favourite place in London to gather fashion inspiration – both in the shops and on the streets?
KS: Camden Town. One of my absolute favourites. I love how you can find ‘anything’ in the market and see ‘anyone’ on the streets. It always puts me in awe at the diversity that is around us.

LLO: Any other up-and-coming London-based designers we should keep an eye on?
KS: Felicity Brown, Manjit Deu, David Longshaw to name just a few.

LLO: What’s next for you?
KS: I am currently working on developing an AW 11 collection, alongside a brand that further promotes social responsibility and traditional techniques for a sustainable future of products and fashion; that continues to become more aware of its power to change and assist changes in lives of all those involved. Alongside this, I am working on a collaboration project with American artist Amy Sol, whose phantasmagorical paintings always depict girls in flowing dresses wandering through luscious landscapes. This project for a social eco-fashion enterprise called “Jhoole”, a non-profit business, designed to uplift female artisans based in a weaver’s village in rural Madhya Pradesh, India which will culminate in exhibitions and fashion shows in the summer of 2011. Another, being a textile development project for a textile producer based on recyclability and sustainability of fabrics combined with a base to provide further work for craftspeople in different regions of India.

Thanks Karishma!

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Elephant Parade 2010: Charlotte Kingsnorth & Fred Rigby


One of the most unique creations in the Elephant Parade is Pit Bingko. He’s got quite a sad expression, like he could do with a hug. Pit Bingko, I would say, is also the most realistic of the elephants with an amazingly wrinkly textured skin.

Here’s a few words from the artists, Charlotte Kingsnorth and Fred Rigby.

LLO: How did the two of you end up working together on your elephant? What’s your connection?
C&F: In 2004, we lived in university halls together whilst studying a Foundation Arts Course at Kingston University. After this we both went our separate ways to study Furniture design (Charlotte went to Buckinghamshire and Fred stayed at Kingston) but stayed in contact. We had been talking about doing a project together since leaving university and the Elephant Parade seemed like a great cause and the perfect excuse to experiment with ideas and materials.

LLO: All of the elephants are very different, but yours stands out as unique mainly because of the texture. He also looks a bit like he needs a hug. How did you come up with the idea for Pit Bingko?
C&F:
We wanted to emulated and exemplify the texture of an Asian Elephant and then distort it by exaggeration.

LLO: Describe the process that you went through to create the textured look.
C&F:
Layers, layers and more layers of assorted mediums.

LLO: Seeing as this is a London blog, tell us about someone, something or somewhere in London you’ve discovered and think the rest of us should know about.
C&F:
The best things are always better kept a secret!

LLO: Where can we see more of your work?
C&F:
 To see more of our work take a look at: www.charlottekingsnorth.com and  www.fredrigby.com

 

Location: Green Park

To read more about the Elephant Parade in London, click here

Photo Scavengers – October

This will be quite a long entry as is it is a result of the Photo Scavenger hunt for October. The main site is here if you want to check it out or join in. Some of these photos have already been posted here, so I will make them smaller.

OCTOBER KEY WORDS:
 
1.   Cosy
Strangers snuggled up under a willow tree in Camden
2.   A stranger
For this one, I did something I never did before and worked up the nerve to approach a stranger for a photo. I got talking to her because she was selling lapis lazuli jewellery from Afghanistan in Camden Market for a man who was away to see his family in Kabul. When I asked her, she was amazingly cooperative, found a cool place to stand. She said, “You know, I’m flattered. I used to be a model you know. Many years ago. I ain’t got the face anymore, but I’ve still got the body.”

3.   An icon of your city
Two for one deal – Big Ben and the London Underground.

4.   Childhood
This little girl was hanging out in Hampstead on Sunday while we were watching the Morris Dancers.



5.  
Something red and green
Not the best image as far as photography goes, but instead of red and green foliage photos, I chose this one because I thought the concept was pretty cool to fit the key word (along with the colours, of course).
6.   A pattern or texture
This was taken near St James’s Park.
 
7.   Street art
This is above a garage on Portobello Road.

8.   An image that could be a book cover
For some sort of thriller novel…This is from the edge of the City.

9.   Old
A lively Morris Dancer in Hampstead, taking a break from his performance.

10.   New
New growth, Ravenscourt Park, West London

11.   A shadow or silhouette
A silhouette of branches against the sunset over Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath in North London.

12.   Language
Bilingual English/Bengali street sign off Brick Lane, East London

13.   Music
Camden Market

14.   Autumn
So many Autumn photos this month, but this is Hampstead Heath.


15.  
An animal
Okay, I have some fluffy ones as well, but decided to opt for the bird on a sign. Found this one in St. James’s park one evening. The bird just stood there looking about, not a care in the world.

16.   A place to contemplate life
Hampstead Heath again… what can I say? It’s a good place for photos. And comtemplating life…

17.   Something that begins with the letter O
O is for “orange”, a coloured building that stands out in Covent Garden.

18.   A reflection on water
St. James’s Park

19.   An interesting perspective
D and a lonely tree in Hampstead Heath.

20. A self-portrait
Just me in my room.