Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Thanks to the SUPER MOON, low tide in Brighton has been exceptionally low for the last few nights.
I try and keep this blog to vaguely creative stuff, but this definitely seemed worthy of an entry for sheer interestingness...

I went down to the beach at about 6.20 on Sunday night for my evening stroll, completely unaware of the freakish events the moon had got going on. (Well, I was aware the moon had been unusually bright, but hadn't appreciated it's impact on the tides...)

When I got down there and saw the vast and unusual expanse of shining sand I immediately scampered home and pulled on my wellington boots with the glee of a small child preparing for snow. I actually RAN back down the hill to the beach, because I was worried the sun would set before I got there. Fortunately it hadn't, and I wandered down onto the sand and aimlessly wandered in and out of the sea, watching the sun set.

It was pretty beautiful.

Next day at work we were talking about it, and I learnt that the tide was going to be at it's very lowest that night, at exactly 6.30. This time I prepared, and headed down there earlier, at about 6.

Any regular readers of this blog will know of my undying love for Brighton, and it's nights like this that confirm it... at the point of the beach parallel to my house there was a band making themselves a music video. I have no idea who they are, but they made for wonderful listening.

Tide from Emma Charleston on Vimeo.

While they played, parents and children paddled in the sea, both in wellington boots and some, bravely with bare feet.

I found a HUGE starfish in the shallows, and pointed it out to a small child and his mother who were stood nearby. We all stood and looked at it and tried to decide if it was alive or dead (difficult to tell with starfish)

I made my way along to the derelict West Pier, where I could already see crowds gathered. Normally the top of the pier is a hundred metres or so out to sea, and much of the wreckage leading up to it is invisible beneath the waves. This low tide exposed more of it than I had ever seen before - possibly more than anyone has ever seen.

At some points on the beach you could get within just a few feet of the main wreckage, and there were people in waders walking around and underneath, exploring the structure like never before.

(Just after that picture was taken, that guy stepped off his board-thing, and the water there was only about knee deep)

The general atmosphere amongst everyone on the beach was one of such friendliness and marvel, and so many people were down there taking advantage of all kinds of things you can't do on the normally pebbly beach... cycling, sandcastle building, running...

And as the sun set and I walked home, I came across these men with head torches and mysterious apparatus, sucking up tubes of sand and ejecting them onto the beach... I asked one of them what he was doing, and he said they were looking for worms for fishing. I said it looked like an awful lot of effort, and he said yes, but a lot of fun too.

I walked back to my house and left them too it, with their satisfying 'sluuuuurrrrrp - SCHLOP' noises, and nearby, a couple dancing on the sand in the sunset. It was insanely corny, but warmed my heart :)

There won't be another Super Moon like this until 2059.... I wonder where I'll be then.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The best kind of day.

I approached today with absolute unswerving optimism, which is usually a recipe for disaster, but somehow everything turned out just as delightful as I could have hoped for.

I decided it was time for a long overdue London trip, mainly to see the fabulous Pick Me Up (at Somerset House), but also Outline Editions 'Joy of Spring' show, and to have a general wonder around the Oxford Circus area. (Topshop trip inevitable)

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful, and I very much enjoyed my train journey up to London. Gliding past the traffic jams was particularly satisfying. (WHY would you take your car into London?!)
I headed straight over to Somerset House, which is delightfully easy to find. I didn't even have to get my map out.

I proceeded inside where I then experienced complete and utter graphic overstimulation. SO MUCH AWESOME. Pick Me Up is an excellent show at which picture taking is not at all frowned upon, so I've been able to capture a few of my favourite pieces. But a photo is absolutely no substitute for the real thing, and if you can make it over there before it closes on the 27th of March, I'd highly recommend it!

Kate Moross was first as you entered, excellent as always... I've had one of her 'Don't Panic' poster designs on my wall ever since my first year of uni.

Other highlights for me amongst the solo illustrators work were Jessica Hische (Whose 'Daily Drop Cap' side project is one of my favourite RSS feeds)... lovely letters.

I liked these huge banners. I'm afraid I didn't see who they were by though…

Lovely colourful prints from Gwenola Carrere...

Tom Gauld is definitely a favourite. I've seen his work quite a lot of times before, and it never fails to be brilliant.

That last one by Tom Gauld was a print - Pick Me Up commissioned every one of the illustrators exhibiting to produce an affordable print for sale at £20. I think this is a really good initiative for these kind of shows - it's great to see more affordable ways of buying art.

Talking of buying art... Nobrow were back again with their little corner.

It takes huge strength of will not to buy absolutely everything on that table - I'm particularly tempted by their Graphic Cosmogony, 'Rise and Fall' (Which I've had my eye on for AGES), and one of their newest releases, Hildafolk, by the supremely talented Luke Pearson.

Nobrow's corner wasn't limited to beautiful stuff I want to buy though... there was also giant sushi...

And the biggest wacom graphics tablet I've ever seen.

I headed downstairs after this, where It's Nice That and Themlot were residing.
Themlot had created an elaborate cardboard world, with all sorts of cunning lighting and hidden depths...

While It's Nice That had some live drawing action going on...

As well as the ever popular 'It's Nice That' cinema, showing a loop of 8 or 9 short films. My attention span is shamefully fleeting, but I was drawn in to sit on a bean bag by the lure of watching Thom Yorke dancing BIG SCREEN

However I stayed on after that for more amazing short film pieces... most notably the utterly beautiful 'Eagleman Stag', for which you can view a short trailer here:

The Eagleman Stag - Trailer from Michael Please on Vimeo.

After this nice sit in a darkened room, I headed upstairs where many more delights awaited...
Anthony Burrill had a whole room...

(I should try and live by those words...)

People creating their own photocopy collages! Results below...

In the next room there was live screen printing action courtesy of Print Club London.

A few rooms further were the excellent Evening Tweed Collective. I know I've basically just been talking about how awesome everything is, but... I think you all should know that Evening Tweed are SUPER awesome.

That last one is by Jez Burrows, who I have particular affection for...
At Brighton uni, if you get an interview for the Graphic Design or illustration courses, you get interviewed by a panel of two tutors and one second year student. I don't know if this is normal practice, but it sort of surprised and reassured me, having a current student there too. Anyway, my student was Jez Burrows, and upon finally seeing his work at his degree show, I was delighted that 'my' student interviewer was so great.
Since then I've always kept half an eye on his work, and am delighted to see him continuing to produce such great stuff. He happened to be at Pick Me Up this afternoon, producing limited edition Gocco prints, so it was nice to say hello, and I'm pleased he remembers my face! :)

Anyway, total and utter overstimulation done with, I headed to the Underground. While my journey over to Somerset house saw me jammed into a carriage with an entire Brownie pack and plentiful grumbling tourists, my District line train back was deserted. For the first time ever in my life, I found myself completely alone in a carriage. I felt like I should in some way take advantage of the situation, so I hung from the ceiling bars and swung my legs, span round the central pole, and then decided a more productive use of my solitary tube train time would be a panoramic shot.
Here's the result... (It's not perfect but it's difficult to align things when you're being jolted and shaken - most of these were taken whilst at a station)
Click for zoom!

Anyway, this tube train was ultimately taking me over to Outline Editions 'Joy of Spring' show.
Now after the majestic expanses of Somerset House, this did seem rather small by comparison, but it was worth a visit to see some more Kate Moross, Anthony Burrill, and one of my all time favourite illustrators, the very clever Noma Bar.

Now this was all pretty good.
Could my day possibly get any more exciting?
Oh hell yes it could. I totally saw Bill Nighy out shopping. Only one of my favourite actors of all time EVER! He looked lost, if I'm honest. I'd have liked to have gone and pointed him in the right direction, but it turned out I was lost at the time as well, so I wouldn't have been much help.

To conclude, it's been a good day, all helped by the fact that there has been blissful sunshine and I've eaten loads of super tasty food. Happy face. :)

I would also like to inform you that in the past week I've done some design work of my own that I'm very pleased with, but alas, I can't actually show you just yet. But soon! Soon! Come back soon!

Friday, 11 March 2011

I did a thing

Another illustration for the 'Unstruck' blog/experiment (My previous contributions can be seen here and here)...

Today's question/answer initially seemed very inspiring, but when I actually got down to producing it, I realised how difficult it is to visually represent our senses, and the loss of them.
I'm not 100% pleased with this, but there's a half hour limit on the amount of time to be spent working on these illustrations, so I sort of had to bring it to a close.

Here we go, anyway...

Just a short entry for today.
More soon.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Today, my work colleague managed to forget his camera, and since he'd limped all the way in on a twisted ankle, I offered to pop back to his house and get it for him. He lives on one of Brighton's regal Victorian sqaures, lined with vast town houses divided up into flats. Little did I realise that these town houses are so vast that most of them contain ancient, creaking elevators. The ones with doors that you have to manually open and close.

Now... this led to some of the most fun I've had all week. This may make it seem like I've had a pretty unremarkable week, but I suspect you're just underestimating how much I love lifts.

Well actually kind of love/hate. I have recurring bad dreams involving lifts, being trapped in them, falling down lift shafts, and so on, and if a lift stops unexpectedly I get very claustrophobic very quickly... Yet I'll never turn down the chance to go in a new or unusual lift. The mechanism and concept sort of fascinates me, and the idea of the lift shaft as a 'non-space'. If you can possibly bear to read an 8 page article about elevators, I'd highly recommend this one... which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I felt like I was breaking every single health and safety law relating to lifts, and it felt GOOD!
Here's a wonky, wobbly, handheld video of my retro-lift experience. Fun times.
(And a whole new genre of lift to add to my nightmares)

Elevate from Emma Charleston on Vimeo.

Anyway... I can't believe I've written that much about a lift, when in actual fact probably the most worthwhile thing I've done today was to attend the Carrie Reichardt private view at Ink__d gallery.

I'm writing this up for the Bored of Brighton blog, so I'm not going to spend too many words on it here, suffice to say it's a nice little show, and ink__d is always worth a visit.

 Nothing like a bit of unconventional, anarchic ceramic work to liven up a Thursday evening!