Saturday, 30 April 2011

Modern Toss

I do a bit of writing for the excellent Bored of Brighton blog, about events in the Brighton area - generally arts and music. You can read some of my previous pieces here, here, here, and indeed, here.

Anyway, a couple of nights ago I was lucky enough to attend the private view of Modern Toss' new show at Ink__d gallery in Brighton. Here's a cheeky preview of my piece about it for Bored of Brighton, along with some pictures I took on the night.

The press release for Modern Toss' new exhibition promised - amongst other things - some 'challenging' tea towel designs. Tea towels are not generally renowned for being 'challenging', so I was pretty excited to head over there and take a look.

I arrived fully prepared to be 'challenged'… but although I was challenged getting through the crowds to actually see the work, I found myself more charmed than challenged by the work itself.

I got the impression that this show would consist mainly of anti-monarchist Royal Wedding themed work. Much of Ink__d's last show (Carrie Reichardt's "Mad in England") was based around this idea as well, and I did wonder whether two such shows in a row right be a tad samey.

Well I was completely wrong. For me, modern-toss are best known for their comical dissections of the harsh banality of day to day office life, as well as their 'home clubber' strips, published weekly in The Guardian. Both of these are generally small, simple illustrations, and I had wondered whether the show would just be many of these, blown up in size and framed, but again, I was delighted to be proved wrong.

With several beautifully produced screen prints, and some unexpectedly gorgeous type treatments, I was charmed afresh by their sense of humour in a new context. As well as these differences, there were also some unusual mixed media pieces, still cleverly reflecting the themes they work with so well, but in a new and fresh way. I was particularly delighted by their famous 'Periodic Table of Swearing' - while displayed in it's original context as a tea towel, it had also been made up into a suit by famous local tailor Gresham Blake. A perfect example of how this show takes their work and style and finds ways of displaying it in new and inventive ways.

While there were a lot of delights at this show, possibly my favourite piece was actually quite well hidden - pasted up on the back wall of the outdoor garden, entitled 'Retail Village of the Damned', it is an Escher Style depiction of crowds flooding into an inescapable shopping centre.

The show is on until May 30th, and is particularly worth a visit next weekend on the 7th of May, when the boys from Modern Toss will be there producing portraits of visitors to the gallery.

I see you drivin' round town with the girl I love and I'm like: haiku~

My friend Danny writes poems.
He asked for anyone who was interested to consider illustrating one of his haikus. I decided to get started on this one...

Woman in purple,
Eats blueberries one by one.
Pink lips.  Black hair.  Eyes..?

I guess poetry is a very subjective thing, and it brings to mind different imagery for everyone who reads it. This immediately reminded me of blackberry picking as a child, arriving home with fingers stained blue and purple from the berries - as an adult, whenever I eat berries and get stained fingers, I feel like a child again. The richness of the colours delights me.

So I decided to go with this idea of berries, fingers and the deep, rich colours. Here are some of my initial experiments...

And here is my final illustration.
Danny wants another version with the text somehow incorporated, which is always a challenge, as I hadn't originally envisaged this. Here are a couple of attempts, but that aspect is still very much working progress.

Thursday, 14 April 2011


Oh dear oh dear, long time no blog!
I have a whole combination of dreadful excuses which I'm not going to bore you with, because it doesn't matter. I'm back now.

A bit of an unusual blog for me, as I don't actually have any of my own images to show you. Well, not still images anyway. Last weekend I had the pleasure of making a short amateur documentary of a photoshoot at Stanmer Park, Brighton.

Two of my colleagues - James and Wayne - also run a wedding photography company, Horse and Carriage. While the vast majority of their work is wedding based, they also get the occasional non-wedding shoot, like this one.
The mission was to photograph the band Woodville - Louie and Charly - for their upcoming album cover, plus some general promotional shots.

The shoot had been very thoroughly planned by Art Director James, but could still have ended badly were it not for the beautiful weather we were blessed with on the day.

I'll let me video tell the rest of the story... suffice to say it was a really interesting process to be involved with. Well, I say involved... all I really did was creep around the shadows filming goings on, although I did also serve the purpose of test subject in some initial lighting test shots, along with James...

I really enjoy making short films like this, although still have a lot to learn, especially with regards not wobbling the camera around... oh well :)

Woodville Photoshoot from Emma Charleston on Vimeo.

(I'd recommend watching it on Vimeo, rather than the embedded version - it's a bit bigger)