Hello to you!
And blog up all that is wicked and massive like me winning a flippin' award from Feedspot who have listed me in the top 100 illustration blogs in the world. So, you're now reading quality (ranked 84 type quality : I know). http://blog.feedspot.com/illustration_blogs/
As you may, or may not know, I wrestle with this blog. I always put a great deal of effort into it. It takes a whole day a month, it's my personal experience of my job which is never a comfortable feeling is it, having to talk about yourself? However, saying that, big up yourself! When you win an award for something that makes you go all cross eyed and spaced and to be ranked after two years into the old biznizz it all seems worth it! WOOOO!
So, quick recap, you remember I did Pint of Science and I shared my little video? Well, I got to meet the Sheriff of Nottingham and I was on the tellybox for BBC East Midlands! You can watch the videos again here on my Facebook illustration page;
And you remember it was Breakin' Convention? I had an amazing time seeing everyone and even had my own little lodger, DJ Psykhomantus to stay for the event which was lovely because we rarely get to hang out unless it's work! If you haven't checked out Visionbombing then you're really missing out, Mantus is one of the OGs of scratching and cutting. He's a master of his craft and he supports UK rap and Hip Hop like no other. Here is a link if you're interested:
Also we did Dot To Dot 2017 festival with my new stall set up! Here I am with the weatherproof pop up gallery:
Amazing things have been happening here at Emily Catherine Illustration Treehouse HQ. Back in March, I intimated that I was collaborating with quite simply a legendary brand of clothing, Blue Cheese? Well the first of many wonderful collaborative designs was finally released. Blue Cheese is a clothing company that make urban streetwear with a difference. The brand has acquired a cult following of grime and urban artists, including Big Narstie, Lordie (amongst others) and this is a Nottingham-bred independent company who has toiled his heart out to make clothing that represent the true culture. I'm so honoured and proud to be involved with Blue Cheese. 100% keeping it real 100% of the time. We love to meet up and have tea and sweet treats at our business meetings. This gave inspiration for a collaborative line of alternative sweet designs. The first of which is 'Lowits' available in my shop and from Blue Cheese Clothing here:
Next magical thing? I only got bleddy published again dint ah yer boggers?
One thing you'll notice is I tend to intimate I'm really busy then you won't actually see any result? Well this is because, like buses, work tends to complete all at once! Now, one cannot control what your clients or collaborators announce, or when, and quite right too, but often, if something suddenly 'goes live' I have to get my marketing head on pretty quickly and help promote it.
This was the case with a novel I'd been asked to help illustrate. Last year a talented author, Padraig O'Gorman, contacted me about perhaps illustrating the front cover of a novel he was in the process of writing. The collaborative process was a dream, and very moving. I've never been brought in during the creation stages of a novel and it became a journey as much for me as it was for him! I was totally invested in trying to convey the essence of the story and give it the respect it deserved. Here's the blurb:
"You are in my heart always. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of you”
These sentiments, expressed on an old postcard found at a Dublin flea market in 2010, unearth for Alannah the ill-fated love story of Micheál and Eileen set during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War.
Mirroring the prophetic words of W.B. Yeats ‘things fall apart’, Micheál and Eileen are immersed in the events of the time, full of passion, courage, idealism and hope. Tragedy ensues and it is left to Alannah to reconcile the outcome a century later in a way that brings her intimately and surprisingly in contact with both Micheál and Eileen.
Set in County Cork, this historical novel describes the turmoil of a people in their quest for identity.
So, boggers, I needed to create an image which reflected the duality of past and present in the book and how this journey into past came alive to the main character in a very present and real way. Having found a postcard, the germination of the story, I need to begin with this. My Grandpa used to send my mother vintage travel postcards so I wanted to mimic that aesthetic. The sense of place is very strong in the book and so it was important to have a recognisable place in Ireland as the subject, and, luckily, this particular place had a lake, perfect for the reflective element of identity. In order to make this image different to the usual run-of-the-mill book covers with 'vintage' illustrations as the cover, I floated (if you'll pardon the pun) a vibrant reflection of place in the water with Padraig's name upside down in place of the title. To my utter and blissful surprise, he loved the idea. So I went ahead and painted this:
You can literally turn the book upside down and the image still makes sense. I also illustrated the little pencil illustration of the postcard inside the book.
You can buy the book here: http://www.patrickogorman.co.uk/Iconclast/Welcome.html
So, every year Surface Gallery hold their Street Art Festival 2017 which is their biggest and most successful show of the year. Throughout the exhibition, the gallery work with the local community to hold events which tie-in with the exhibition and works closely with contacts and local bodies in the graffiti and street art community to help. This time of year is always busy, stressful and jubilant all at once. In some ways we all dread the amount of work we are about to partake in, and yet get so excited because it always comes off as successful and joyous. To undertake what everyone does is genuinely a miracle. Surface gallery is a volunteer led, underfunded, gem of a gallery who try to throw a spotlight on some of the less known artists in the city whilst also managing to put on very professional and slick exhibitions. When a small group of volunteers are running large scale events which are becoming increasingly more and more popular it's a massive credit to our city and creative community. It's not my job to shout out all the many people that made this year wonderful, but, from me personally, to every single person that pulled in favours, painted for free, organised it and gave permissions, financially backed it, stayed awake at night with furrowed brows about it, literally everyone, THANK YOU. It's such an incredible opportunity and wouldn't be possible without everyone's individual efforts.
First up is the exhibition itself, which runs until July 15th :
My favourite exhibit from the exhibition was something called StreetArtPad Leeds by Errington Creative. It was a book with photographs of urban landscapes you could draw on and graffiti and tag and decorate. This edition is Leeds but they're doing a Nottingham edition next and I can't wait! When I came back to visit the exhibition the next fortnight people had gone crazy! They had drawn all in the book, on the plinth, on any given surface. It really made people participate and get to know the roots of Street Art and graffiti in a really organic way. I urge you to check out the FB page and Instagram for updates. Such a cool idea I wish them every success! https://www.facebook.com/Streetartpad/
First event was Sisters Of Street, an all female painting event. Surface put on a screamingly vibrant event full of solidarity in the face of adversity.
Why adversity I hear you say? Well, every year it's been:
'why all female?' Why not?
'Why not have a mixed event?' We do.
'Why not have all male?' Because it's a predominantly male dominated world, the art world, so better to highlight and expose the talent that struggle to be seen than ignore them as normal?
No? You think that's positive discrimination? Well, if you take issue with that then you take issue with the very fact that it's a Street Art Festival and not a Fine Art Festival. Surface Gallery work tirelessly trying to smash these myths and bust some prejudices. It's important to provide a spotlight for minority artists whether it be because of race, gender, sexuality or practice because otherwise people literally don't see them, fact. If you think people should work hard for their recognition, you'd be right, but here's the thing, they already do! How would you feel if the only trees you ever saw were Christmas trees and all the other trees were still there but you only read, watched and heard Christmas Trees? The media control what we see, that becomes knowledge, knowledge becomes fashion, fashion becomes taste. See it as a gift! We're offering you different trees to experience for one day out of year. You may fall in love with a Eucalyptus! You may covet a conifer! You may go bonkers for a bay!
Anyway, rant over! SOS pictures:
If you want to read a little recent interview I did about being female in the arts for the awesome Women Who Create, you can, here!
Next up was the amazing finale event Block Party an old skool traditional Block Party like they do in the Americas! Hosted on Sneinton Market, an area of much needed regeneration, but in the city centre, Surface Gallery's colleague Tim Onga (OG of graffiti himself) organises artists, some small, some BIG names, from all over the world to decorate the market once a year. He hosts an independent market for everything you might want to buy: arts, food, fashion, curiosities. Food traders provide authentic home cooked streetfood. An all day bar is licensed with refreshments. Music is provided by Tekonta, a bespoke made UV soundsystem and PA (this year an octopus!) as other independent artists take to the mic to perform. The whole community is invited to go a see the artists spraypainting, get involved with the music and traders and to, well, party! The afterparty was held at Rough Trade which featured a doodle-off and live scratch djs, all in all an incredible day and night!
I was given a spot this year to paint with the professionals! Not only that but the pressure was quite significantly on as my spot, a gable end set of window panels on Bath Street, was in between Kid Acne's piece on my left, and Dilk's on my right! Both are reknown and very well respected artists. On top of that, the location happens to get a lot of traffic. A LOT. I was tasked with wondering how to tackle it. Should it be a serious and thought provoking piece, beautiful and whimsical? I felt like I wanted it to be funny. After all, the geo-political landscape is pretty awful and depressing. Why would I want to add to somebody's daily commute with yet another thing to worry about?
You know if you have read this blog before that my brand of humour is pretty gutsy but this time I had to have a bit of decorum. So I came up with perhaps an 'in-joke'. So I planned to create a 'Posh Emoji Gallery'; four gilt frames of emojis which denote a sexual connotation. At first glance it would look like an innocent selection of subjects, when the penny drops you realise I've covered each sexual emoji base!
Right, coming up in the old diary:
WORKSHOP: FACE TO FACE
Join illustrator and Real Creative Futures participant Emily Catherine for a workshop aiming to reclaim perception, exploring how we build our understanding of one another through what we choose to see. Through portraiture and markmaking, this session asks participants to see each other's faces differently – attempting to represent a person beyond their appearance. Participants will be asked to prepare a 100 word written personal story to use as a starting point to connect person and face on paper.
AGE RANGE: 16 YRS+
Please note that all our events have restricted capacity. To book you place please follow the 'book now' link (below) or contact New Art Exchange (0115 924 email@example.com) We recommend arriving 15 minutes before the event start time. We reserve the right to re-allocate unclaimed tickets after the event start time.
Image credit: Emily Catherine
3RD AUGUST 18.30- 21.00
NEW ART EXCHANGE
THE PORTRAIT PROJECT
Come drop by the studio to have your photograph taken, printed in house, for one of our amazing guest illustrators to embellish you; creating a unique one-of-a kind portrait to take home that day.
Whatever your style or personality, these guys are The Dog's... whether it's for a family, child, self, friends or pet portrait. Chilled beats & beers in the secret garden.
No need to book, just like, join and share this page with your friends - details on prices, artist bios and further info to follow in the coming weeks!
5TH AUGUST 10AM-8PM THE FLOURMILL STUDIO BEESTON
Now for the fun bits! As you know I like to finish the blog with happy things or a joke.
Caio for blao bloggers!