Thursday 16 April 2015

'Wanderland' at Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery has always sat firmly as one of my favourite galleries. The large and light rooms always house something new, vibrant and entertaining. Its a great gallery choice for taking your children to and always captures the imagination of my daughter and her cousins when we have been. There's always an interesting and diverse selection of work including lots of installations and sculptures, as well as interesting 2D work. The shop is also excellent, loads of creative and new things and a great selection of books as well as artist's work for sale.

Currently running is Hermes Wanderland, featuring lots of wonderful objects from the Hermes archive that are presented within eleven rooms of multimedia interactive installations, its full of eclectic Parisian wonderfulness! It was so fun. There is a room with projections of walking people on the floor, that speak their inner voice when you step onto them, and Narnia-esque doorways that lead you to a giant elephant having a tea party. I took lots of photos with the intention of attaching to this post, but on second thoughts I really don't want to spoil it - you should go and experience it yourself!  The photos also don't really do justice to the magic and theatre of the exhibition. Head down if just to see the awesome set design. I think the Saatchi makes art really accessible to all, and fun too.

Saatchi Gallery is open every day from 10 - 6 and is totally free. Its right there off the Kings Road by Sloane Square, which is always nice for a visit - lots of (expensive) but lovely places to eat and shop, and its always buzzing. Try and make it down there!

Saatchi Gallery, SW3 4RY
Daily 10am - 6pm
Free entry
Hermes Wanderland runs until 2nd May 2015 

Saturday 11 April 2015

'Mac Conner: A New York Life' at House of Illustration

I went to another excellent exhibition at the House of Illustration this week. Just entering its second week is 'Mac Conner: A New York Life', a retrospective of some of the work of this mid-century modern true 'madman'. I REALLY enjoyed this exhibition.

Flirting between design, art, and illustration, the most striking thing for me was the strength of his compositions. I was completely in awe of the intelligent placing of figures, lines and balancing of weight in the painting. Couple this with some seriously accomplished colour work and the result is awesome in my opinion, really inspiring stuff. In a similar vein to Norman Rockwell, Conner appears to be a champion draughtsman, designer, painter, layout artist, AND storyteller in one package.

During his career (he is still alive at 101!) he produced illustrations for loads of publications from naval training material to women's lifestyle magazines and novels. His paintings feel effortlessly cool and authentic, representing fashion and life in mid-Century New York. Fascinating to see in this exhibition is the working process; photographic studies alongside original works, and often the actual finished publication too. The printmaker in me was especially drawn to those paintings that use a restrained colour palette, for publications that were to print in 2 or 3 colours. He largely painted in gouache on board, and looking at his work makes me want to go pick up my paintbrushes right away.

House of Illustration is a great little gem of a gallery, a stone's throw from the newly placed Central St Martins in Granary Square behind Kings Cross St Pancras station. Flanked by cranes and new builds, with the canal running through it, there are some lovely old buildings in this square, housing trendy eateries and fountains in the square that kids splash about in. Designers, illustrators, fashionistas & Madmen fans, you will not be dissapointed, go see this exhibition!

See a short snippet on Channel 4 about the exhibition here

House of Illustration
Tues - Sun 10am - 6pm
Until 28th June 2015
Adult ticket £7

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Andy Warhol Colouring Book

Ok, so let me start by saying this is not cheap; at £12.95 it works out at about a pound a page. BUT, this is not your everyday colouring book. Inside are the fun and quirky sketches of Andy Warhol, the book is an adaptation of an original colouring book by Warhol first published in 1961. It's just shy of an impressive A3 in size, and the paper feels about 250gsm, heavy enough for some painting, mixed media and gluing if your little one fancies it.

I am really keen to expose my daughter to all styles of art from an early age, to develop her visual language understanding by seeing a variety of mark making and colour by different artists and illustrators. I have always loved picture books and had a steady collection before I had any children, so I enjoy sharing these with my daughter now and watching her imagination take hold as she studies the pictures and smiles. Some of my favourite early memories are of colouring and tracing books, and I remember clearly getting my first Spirograph in the 80s, hours and hours of fun. All this nostalgia combined with an excuse to make a blog post from it convinced me to part with the pounds to buy one of these!

On the first page is the sentence "For children of all ages to color and paint. You will want to frame these or perhaps send them to someone you want to make happy.' How lovely. The inside back cover has some of Warhol's own coloured renditions of some of the pages too.

If you are a Warhol fan and have a kid who likes to create, you should save up your pennies!

Buy one from Waterstones here