Monday, March 18, 2013

Hey, so a short while ago I decided to enter the Columnist brief on Ideastap.

I didn't win the job (weird phrase right? that thing where the Apprentice woman sued Lord Sugar doesn't touch the weirdness that is trying to work in creative industries) so I thought I would share with you one of the 'column's I wrote for the application. Share being an important word for this topic. 

It was 500 words so I didn't come close to examining this issue properly, and it's something that still makes my head hurt when I try to, I don't actually think it's this simple. Maybe that's clear, maybe that's why i didn't get the job. 

Anyway here is it, with illustration. 

Have you seen the Samsung Galaxy Camera advert where the yellow beanied, teddy bear bearded guy photographs the picture in the exhibition, then the light sculpture on the roof, and then everyone on his unbrandedwebplatform loves him?

It makes me make inarticulate rage noises.

Not at the manipulative hipster-twee twinkly advert music, or the ‘isn’t life full of wonder and nice things when you open your eyes and look’ message. I LIKE twinkles and wonder and nice things.

I just get really grumpy at the fact that this guy seems to be taking the social networking credit for other people’s creative output. And he looks so SMUG about it. And shows no sign of saying where or who his images came from. Because who needs to add words to images?

We’ve long been told that a picture is worth a thousand words.

The way we consume images though, has changed beyond recognition since that phrase was coined. The image makers of today may be more interested in creating pictures that are worth a thousand likes, or a thousand shares, but what’s the point if their name isn’t attached?

Once your image (or poem, or video, or recipe etc) is out there in internetland you lose control over where and when it’ll end up. I’ve lost count of the number of illustrators I know who’ve stumbled across a company printing their images without permission on tote bags or similar. Totes unfair.

Privacy settings, watermarks and disabled right clicks will get you only so far, the only way to avoid people ripping you off is to not put yourself out there at all. And that’s ridiculous. If you’re casting out metaphorical messages in bottles you don’t expect them all to reach reputable vessels. It’s a trade-off and a gamble we make. And on the whole it’s worth it.

We have changed from a top down cultural consumption model, where the majority of the media received came from big powerful institutions, (be they publishing houses, film studios, record labels or art galleries), to a bottom up, top up, pass around, who knows where this came from originally model.
It’s awesome and exciting and it means we have a world’s worth of visual yummyness, cuteness and don’titmakeyerthinkyness at our eyeball tips. It means the power is back in the hands of the people to some extent, though of course our organic sharing is never far from the touches of those big players. We expect them to mercilessly exploit our awesomeness for their own ends. But that doesn’t mean we have to make it easy for them, or take it for granted that we can do the same. It’s getting easier to find out where things came from. As authors of our own culture, our great responsibility is to make sure that that culture credits its creators.

So next time you share an awesome picture, try and make sure you mention the person or organisation who made it. They may even thank you for it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I managed to make myself ill last week, predictably, by dashing round London fashion week, then immediately working for 2 days on a Hobbit themed arts workshop for small children, both highly exhausting activities that left me bed ridden by the weekend. I'm a fool to myself it is. Some flu like germs are also to blame, but I prefer to blame myself. Masochistic like that. 

Anyway I have some fashion write-ups, photos and illustrations to share with you. And there will be more to come. For the first time I was armed with a decent camera (lent me by the brilliant Frances) and spent a lot of my time at the shows and exhibitions fiddling with speed and iso and f stops and things I really do not understand, and so less time sketching. I think I prefer sketching. 

But it was nice to come away with my own set of images that I can call my own. Even though it is a bit head f*cky the sheer number of photos that are taken at these events, so there are so many out there with people in the background and those hundreds of moments recorded and pinned down in people's cameras and probably never used anyway. If you know what I mean. 
But also how photographs can never really do these outfits and moments justice. The sheer juiciness of the fabrics, the way they move, the glint of the bling that photos can't capture, not to mention the silly music and posers, the image angst.

Here's some pictures anyway.

live illustration I did at the Lewis and Leigh PR presentation of Claudia Ligari, wearing herself. 

And another live illustration of Eleanor Amoroso. I really enjoyed doing the live drawing, it's definitely my favourite way to attend a fashion party. My write up of the event is on Amelia's Mag here.

this illustration is from my write up of Ekaterina Kukhareva and here is a photo from the same - I like this one because the model looks doll like and pained, and no-one is looking at her.

This is my graphical representation of Holly Fulton, I love her a lot, but it was the first show i went to of the weekend and I got no good photos at all. fail me. Write up is here.

these 2 pics are from the Mercedes Benz Kiev Fashion showcase
You see the guy who is asleep? That is what I felt like. Not really. 

Anna Kolomoets, just like this picture. 

Also enjoy this Tom Van Der Borght character, one of many, shall we say, unusual designers showcased by Bloody Gray, my somewhat bitchy write up is here

This photo doesn't do justice to Vita Gottlieb's lovely new city poetry dress - but that's life - see my write up of the Felicities presentation I saw it at here.

Also. This. I don't know what this is. Some people think they can just rock up at Somerset House looking interesting and people will photograph them and put them in blogs and stuff. Cheeky. 

That's over with for another season then.