Aberdeen Voice is grateful to Ben Harley, a retired-psychology-student-turned-cartoonist for permission to reproduce his work here. Writer and illustrator, Ben’s comics can be found resting at www.FlockOfInk.com
Aberdeen Voice is grateful to Ben Harley, a retired-psychology-student-turned-cartoonist for permission to reproduce his work here. Writer and illustrator, Ben’s comics can be found resting at www.FlockOfInk.com
This Friday, 22 Nov, 6 – 8pm, Peacock Visual Arts open their new winter exhibition, #SEENINTHEDEEN – Creative Characters from Aberdeen and Beyond.
The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Aberdeen collective WLDWLVS.
The works included in the exhibition all use text and typography in some way; these include pieces by local artists Brian Ross, John Mackenzie and Neil Henderson amongst others, such as a large-scale mural commissioned for the show.
This work will be shown alongside that of established international artists Adam Bridgland, Chu, Scott Myles and many more.
It will bring together a rich variety of styles and disciplines from printmaking to graffiti.
The title, #SEENINTHEDEEN, was a quick method for WLDWLVS to start documenting the hidden side of Aberdeen that people could otherwise miss.
The inspiration originally came from graffiti, paste-ups and stickers posted around the city, however the hashtag has taken on a life of its own. It’s another way of looking at the city – these are images that won’t be found in the guidebooks but that show a truer representation of the city.
The exhibition invites contributions from residents and visitors of Aberdeen using social networking platforms Twitter and Instagram. Images of street photography from shop signs to graffiti, and everything else in-between, taken and tagged with #SEENINTHEDEEN will be displayed on the website www.seeninthedeen.com, which will itself appear in the exhibition.
Neil Henderson of WLDWLVS said:
“we’re continually surprised by the gems people find around the city and we love the range of images presented; from the serious to the absurd. It was always our intention to bring the work together at some point and when the opportunity to partner with Peacock Visual Arts came around it just felt like a natural fit.”
The opening is sponsored by anCnoc and BrewDog and runs from 23rd november to 21st December.
For some semi-pro musicians, it’s not unusual for the phone to buzz on Thursday night and the conversation to go along the lines of,
“Got a gig the morn?”
“No, Saturday at The Cragshannoch, Sunday at The Argo”.
“Can you fill in with us at The Bilermakers? Cash in hand, start at 9 o’clock, after the bingo”.
“Aye, go on then, send me your set list. Keys will help. Is Shake Rattle and Roll still in bloody Bb to accommodate your sax player?”
Dave Innes reflects, from fraught experience, on such rattlings and rollings as he flicks through the pages of Graham Forbes’ Rock And Roll Busker.
It was ever thus. Busking, you see, is not solely the preserve of the Oasis-obsessed fellow outside John Lewis’s, or of the tasteful Eastern European accordionist flourishing the bellows in St Nicholas Street.
Busking, to those in the know, is playing along brazen frontedly, with songs you half-know without anything as decadent as a rehearsal, making an intuitive contribution, often taking a leap of faith with chords or fingering, and always having the fallback default option of “muffled E” if you’re a bass player.
This is a seat of the pants world where bum notes are ‘jazz licks’ and mis-timed cues are ‘a bit of funk syncopation’. Audiences never notice. Sssssshhh….
That’s where the yarns in Graham Forbes’s third book will chime with jobbing musos, who share the author’s obsession with playing to an audience, not for the cash but for the buzz that only live performance can impart.
Glaswegian by birth, Forbes grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, when, if players were prepared to travel, they could be playing live every night. As well as traversing Scotland with a series of bands of rock n roll misfits, semi-alcoholic soulmen and cabaret tearaways, Forbes played in a credible line-up of the Incredible String Band and on sessions by household names.
Beyond this, however, his desire was always just to turn up, plug in and rock out.
The associated tales are hilarious, fascinating, and will ring true with anyone who experienced those crazy days and their financially-meagre but often otherwise hedonistically-satisfying rewards, destroyed forever by pub DJs and bloody karaoke.
Forbes is forthright, opinionated and passionate. Those he loves and respects are described affectionately, but he reserves harsh words and a fine level of splenetic disdain for money-obsessed managers, lazy, unreliable band members, young acts concerned only with record deals and for music stands onstage. He likes 1950s valve amplifiers, tanned, long-legged American girls, mountaineering, Fenders and skiing.
As he brings Rock And Roll Busker up to date, he divides his time between Florida and Glasgow, always on the lookout for a gig, whether for the well-heeled in the humid clubs of Saratosa, or the formica-chic of Paisley’s Patter Bar offering punters a few hours respite from the grim deprivation of life in the put-upon West of Scotland. Accounts of his experiences in these starkly-diverse situations show that his love affair with entertaining has diminished none.
My favourite rock n roll books are Deke Leonard’s twin behemoths Maybe I Should’ve Stayed In Bed? and Winos, Rhinos and Lunatics. Rock And Roll Busker is every bit as entertaining and nostalgic and has earned the right to be slotted in next to those seminal tomes on my bookshelves.
ROCK AND ROLL BUSKER
(MCNIDDER & GRACE)
Oil And Glass Gallery and Workshop invite you to the opening night of New Grads ’13, an exhibition by selected 2013 graduates of Gray’s School of Art, at 7pm – 9pm on Friday 2nd of August.
During the exhibition, which continues until 18th August, pieces will also be showcased in a number of windows in Torry Town Centre, including the constituency office of MSP Maureen Watt, Gail Goodfellow Solicitor and Eternal Video/Janie Barclay photography.
The exhibition features works by Rachel Kerr, Annirose Ansbro, Harriet Voar, Laura Mcglinchey, Michael Astbury, Lauren Milton, Gemma Balfour, Tomasz Wrobel, Amy Brown, Holly Aitchison, Jon Nicolson, Yasmin Oskooi and Grant McNicoll.
Open Tues, Wed, Fri: 10am – 6pm, Thurs: 10am – 8pm, Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 12pm – 5pm.
With thanks to Kirsty Young.
Artists in Print: 21 Years of Collaboration celebrates the wealth of prints made, in collaboration with numerous acclaimed artists over the last 21 years, by Peacock’s own master printmaker, Michael Waight.
Over 30 prints by prolific artists such as John Bellany, John Byrne, Ian McCulloch, Toby Paterson, Barbara Rae, Peter Randall-Page, Ralph Steadman, Frances Walker, Sylvia Wishart, Donald Urquhart, plus many more, will be shown together for the first time in this exciting exhibition.
Michael Waight has curated this show to give printmaking enthusiasts, fans of Peacock Visual Arts and the communities of Aberdeen a chance to see how he has spent the last twenty-one years in the Peacock workshop and in whose company.
The impressive list of artists included is by no means exhaustive – Mike having worked with over fifty artists on over three hundred editions and proofing projects.
To accompany the exhibition, Peacock Visual Arts will host a gallery tour and printmaking workshop, dates and details of which to be confirmed.
A gallery walk-around and informal talk with Michael will also be held at the gallery, to coincide with Impact 8 Conference (Dundee) and the Scottish Print Festival.
Michael Waight, Printmaker comments:
‘Putting this show together allows me and Peacock Visual Arts very publicly to acknowledge our thanks to every artist who has, and continues to, come our way. The artists are the brave and tolerant partners in these collaborations, entrusting ideas to us with faith and understanding that we can do justice to their vision.’
John Bellany has inspired a new pride in Scottish artists; a fact duly recognised when he received the CBE.
His paintings are in the collections of major museums and art galleries throughout the world, including the National Galleries of Scotland, The Tate Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Adam Bridgland (b. 1979) lives and works in London. He graduated with a Masters in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art in 2006 and has since exhibited widely in the UK, Europe, Asia and America. The BritishMuseum, the V&A, UBS, Boeing Asia and Debbie Harry are just some of the collectors of Adam’s work. Described as ‘your favourite leisure time artist’, Adam embraces the everyday object finding inspiration from the colouring book image, travel guidebooks, and scout camping paraphernalia. Kitsch and humorous, yet equally poignant, Adam’s work rejoices in the mundane and is an investigation of the notion that holiday-making is just another ordinary everyday activity and that the holiday is essentially a fantasy that rarely lives up to our expectations.
James Furneaux was born in Aberdeen on 7th June 1935. In 1965 he became a lecturer at AberdeenCollege, where he taught art and design for 23 years, before taking early retirement in 1988 to concentrate on his own art.Furneaux was most noted for painting Aberdeen’s lesser known buildings and landmarks from unusual perspectives, and this early training in architecture was often apparent in his depiction of the city’s buildings.
Ralph Steadman was born on 15 May 1936 in Wallasey, Liverpool.
He is renowned for his political and social caricatures and cartoons
and for illustrating a number of picture books, for which he received several
His work is sought after all over the world.
Exhibition Runs: 3 August – 14 September 2013
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 – 5:30pm
Entry: Free to exhibition. Charges will apply to events and workshops.
Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.
Balmy evenings, hot days, dolphins playing in Nigg Harbour; things are looking pretty good in the Deen for a place with such poor connectivity. The Surf show of River Don photos has moved to 17 Belmont Street; at the opening Alicia Bruce gave an interesting talk, and some of the photographers discussed their work.
Art events, whether state-sponsored or not, are taking place despite the cultural bid being knocked out in an early round. Artists converged on BrewDog earlier this week, with artists creating more wall art, and everyone given a chance to create their own artwork as well.
Photographer Sam Brill took some brill shots of the goings-on ( See pic below ).
It was almost as if artwork and spontaneity can happen without being planned and controlled by non-artists.
To celebrate getting a year older, I had a great night at Cafe 52, complete with a great group of people and the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, which was made with stout – thank you Dorothy B. I also had a lovely meal at Cafe Montmatre (the chocolate fondue dessert in particular was amazing); and some mysterious person sent champagne to my table as well, which went down very nicely indeed. Thank you mysterious benefactor.
Graduating Uni students took their parents and friends to Union Terrace Gardens for photographs.
I suspect this is just to demonstrate the kind of hardships they’ve had to put up with while studying in the Deen, with its dark, dank scary park filled with deviants and druggies.
Many wonderful honorary degree candidates have been awarded diplomas as well; more on that later.
There are one or two coincidences in the news this week; one involves Aberdeen International Airport’s magazine, upBeat, sister to Trend magazine [what that? Ed]. Its latest issue extols the virtues of our favourite golf course:-
“All golfing eyes are on Aberdeen with the advent of the Trump International Golf Course. …the course has been voted both course of the year and the UK’s beset practice ground, by Golf Odyssey, a leading golf travel magazine. Looking ahead, the Trump resort will offer luxury accommodation in the Balmedie area, right on the coast.”
Isn’t that wonderful? Awards, luxury, and no mention of any problems.
Coincidentally, the same issue of upBeat has a full page front inside colour advert. Would you believe me if I told you this tasteful ad is for Trump’s Balmedie course? Well, it is! How very lucky to have the kind words appearing in the same issue as the ad.
This week’s definitions feature another coincidence and some university- and police-related definitions.
School Dinners: (mod English plural noun) cafeteria meals served to school children at meal times.
Known for their gourmet quality and popularity among children and school staff alike, I can truly say there is nothing like a school dinner.
In the news this week, government is being pressured to make taking these delicious, healthy lunches absolutely mandatory. The BBC reports that lobbyists want to ban packed lunches. We can’t have too much freedom of choice, can we – makes things confusing.
Coincidentally, banning packed lunches and mandatory school dinners would be very profitable – for the Leon restaurant chain, which have been involved in a government-commissioned school food review. Well, they weren’t going to come down in favour of children eating what they wanted or what their parents gave them, were they?
Sadly this attempt to gain further control by the state over children and parents is only in England so far.
I wonder which ConDem pals are behind this healthy option?
Since school meals are absolutely delicious and nutritious all the time, the little kids will be lapping this news up. Still, it might be better if they could be force-fed, just to make sure they ate as they were told.
If some lucky restaurant/catering company gets a few pounds more from the recommendations they themselves made, so much the better. It’s not as if we’ve had any food scares. And what could be better than a delicious British/English/Scottish/Welsh lunch at school? Yum!
The small fly in the ointment (or in the spag bol sauce) might just be the little revelation that most of our institutions are serving chicken from… Thailand.
Sure this might not be the most ecologically sound choice in terms of carbon footprint. It might not exactly be the best country in terms of animal welfare. This fact might not exactly be good news to UK farmers. But still, we’re saving money, even if causing further animal suffering, ignoring our own economy, and making interesting transport choices in terms of pollution.
I wonder which ConDem pals are behind this healthy option? Then again, it’s not a great amount, only 70% or so of chicken is coming from Thailand. It’s not as if we’re serving horsemeat or contaminated beef to the little nippers, is it?
Honorary Degree: (Eng. compound noun) a citation/diploma bestowed by an educational institution on a person worthy of receiving such a qualification in light of their achievements in the world.
Someone named Annie Lennox got an honorary degree this week; she’s a singer who sticks her nose into issues such as Union Terrace Gardens (when we know only famous football managers are allowed to comment on the gardens’ future). She’s also done lots of charity work, entertained people around the world, and campaigned on issues such as AIDS.
Bad luck Ms Lennox – you didn’t get a degree this time round from Robert Gordon University. It instead decided the person to honour was: ex BP supremo, Tony Hayward.
Tony gratefully and humbly accepted this honour , presumably from Chancellor Ian Wood, for his 30 years in the oil business. Less said about that little blip in the Gulf of Mexico, the better.
Of course Tony could have refused this degree, but why should he?
Haywire was in charge when the Deepwater Horizon incident happened. People lost lives, lost husbands and dads, and it was very gruelling indeed for Tony. He told the press he very much wanted his life back; it was all just a bit too demanding on his time.
Not so demanding though that he couldn’t go out sailing with Hay junior (presumably not in the Gulf of Mexico though).
RGU are being just a little bit modest in their awarding Tony this honour. They say that once it was on the table, they had to go ahead and honour him. Of course they did – when did RGU or Chancellor Sir Ian Wood ever go back on their word? (Voice Competition – send in your lists of Ian involved in contradictory statements/actions – longest list wins a prize. First hint to get you started – who said they would walk away if the public didn’t want the city gardens project?).
Of course Tony could have refused this degree, but why should he? Aside from issues of accountability, lack of cooperation with US investigators, denial, self-pity, or self-absorption, no reason I can think of.
Congratulations to Tony for joining other honourees including Donald Trump. If the unthinkable happens, and RGU ever did anything unpalatable or unethical, Wayward could do as Dr Kennedy did, and return his degree. More on the great man here, from Lena the Hyena http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/i-would-love-my-life-back-the-honouring-of-tony-hayward/
Undoubtedly, this great honour to a great guy to celebrate him getting his life back (unlike the 11 souls which were killed, and the thousands of birds and sea creatures killed) is completely justified.
The best part of these RGU degrees is the example they set to the students. Holding up Hayward and Trump as examples of what to aspire to, rewarding how they have proceeded through their careers, sends a clear message to students as to the importance of integrity, ethics, compassion and accountability.
Betting’s open for who will get an honorary RGU degree next year; favourite contenders are Ian Duncan Smith, Vlad the Impaler, George Osbourne, or Roger Pearce of Special Branch. “Who’s Pearce?” I hear you ask. Well, here is a tale of our chief freedom fighter…
Justified: (noun) Necessitated, explainable, required.
Sometimes it’s worth taking a minute to realise how important it is that police spy on us. Whatever they do, it’s for our own good. Here’s to the men and women – although in this case mostly men – who go to great lengths to blend into dangerous subversive groups to keep our nation free from democracy – SORRY – I mean to say they keep our nation a free democracy.
Scattered around the country, there are a dozen or so young people who will eventually get mandatory school dinners justifiably thrust down their throats; they may wind up on great university courses where they will learn ethics by example such as RGU. Their very existence is a shining testament to the vigorous vigilance, – and virility – of our brave, selfless undercover police.
This might seem outrageous, anti-democratic, exploitative of women
So thank you Roger Pearce of The Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad, for running secret operations, keeping us safe in our beds. In the case of a dozen women, it was more a case of getting them into bed, having sex with them, and fathering children – all under false pretences.
Those brave undercover cops got under the covers to keep you and I safe – from middle class environmental protestors.
There can be no better example of how actions are justified than what Pearce told the BBC:-
”The objective was to gather secret political intelligence. Many in the Met as a whole wouldn’t have known about it and even within the branch it was kept very, very secret for 40 years,”
“People felt very awkward about doing it. People thought of the parents of the children who had died. But against that was the sense of mission and work for the country.”
“Most [of the creepy two-faced bastards – sorry - police] had families who had to also bear this other life they were leading at strange times of the week – weekends and evenings – so it was tough for the officers and tough for their families too. But I think what drove them on to do it was that it was seen as the pinnacle of their careers,” (Presumably their wives gave their consent for the police husbands to have unprotected sex with suspects and father children – how very giving of them – if they were consulted).
“on balance, distasteful in many ways though it was, set against the sense of mission and the sense that this was done for protection of national security, I believe it was justified“.
For ten years, Pearce signed off on operations where male officers took the identities of dead children (nb – the bereaved parents were thrilled to learn of this) in order to pretend to be protestors, spending years pretending to be friends, lovers, husbands.
This might seem outrageous, anti-democratic, exploitative of women if not actual sexual assault by sleazy narcissistic police officers, and so on. But rest assured – Pearce believed it was all justified, so that’s pretty much all right then.
Not just anyone would be willing to spend years fooling those around them, even after realising the protestors in question were harmless, non-violent average people who simply wanted to do their bit to protect the environment.
Not everyone would have had sex with women and got them pregnant to keep their cover. And not just any top cop would have signed the approvals needed for this to go on. you just can’t teach this kind of patriotism or ethics – perhaps doling out a few RGU diplomas to those involved would be a suitable reward.
Officer Bob Lambert was especially vigilant; he had his own children, but fathered a child with a woman named Jacqui. Oddly, she feels hard done by, and feels like she was ‘raped by the state.’ The Guardian has more on her story here http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/24/undercover-police-spy-girlfriend-child
As ever, Private Eye has been on this story from its early days. No doubt more accounts of heroics will be forthcoming; Old Susannah will watch in admiration, and report back.
Just a little reminder.
Do enjoy the summer sun, but wear sunscreen. If you have children, don’t let them out for any length of time, cloudy or sunny, without a good child’s sun lotion. Unless you want to damage their health that is. Even a little sunburn for a child will be very dangerous and damaging.
Dogs need lots of water if you’re taking them on long walks, make sure you bring some water for them. And please don’t wind up like the Edinburgh policeman a few years back who killed his dog.
He left it in the hot car. Just for a moment. It’s dead, and that’s really all you need to know. Dogs die in hot cars – and in cars that don’t seem hot to you. Dogs also get stolen. If you wouldn’t want your dog dead or stolen, then don’t leave it alone. Enjoy your summer with sense.
Each year Gray’s School of Art holds an end-of-year degree show; this has become a highly-anticipated social as well as artistic fixture in Aberdeen’s cultural calendar.
Jewellery, photography, fashion, painting, design, sculpture and ceramic work by graduating students is displayed then scrutinised, and while the atmosphere is enjoyable, it is still a serious business for fledgling artists.
This year’s overall creative quality was considered outstanding by students, faculty and visitors alike.
Societal issues seemed to dominate the graduates’ work, with design students in particular addressing the issues of our time and the future.
In many ways it is reassuring to know that such thoughtfulness, creativity and effort is being brought to bear on the world’s problems, ranging from the cities of the future to the needs of children.
Issues of mental health, hunger, poverty, freedom, violence and freedom were given artistic attention with some very creative observations and solutions advanced. A striking work on depression used distorted and burnt images of men and women displayed on a grid. A work concerning Aberdeen asked viewers
Steven Bremner’s work examined how the problems of today may well manifest in a future dystopia:-
“Our outlook on the future is somewhat skewed by the culture and imagery that we surround ourselves with. Images of violence and corruption shown on news media leave a sour taste in our mouths. Television and cinema give us visions of the future that are negative. Newer cultural outputs such as gaming and the internet are used exploitatively by their owners to seize our data without our permission or knowledge.
“All of these aspects of every day culture distort our view of the world and by extension, our view of future. That through societies actions or inaction, a Dystopian future is being created, a Dystopia being an undesirable future, the opposite of Utopia.”
His strong collages echoed a potential future metropolitan world – crowded, gray, problematic, cold. A video was part of his work, which can be viewed here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J51FE6pMoDA
Susannah Leake’s sensitive work was geared towards helping children deal with the problems of senility and illness in a grandparent via a child’s book.
This simple exercise reminded those who participated what an ephemeral yet critical, personal faculty memory is.
The problems of the increasing ageing community and issues such as senility, and how children can be helped to cope with this problem in a grandparent will require consideration and solutions such as Leake proposes.
The range of work was itself impressive. Lorna Glencross worked on the theme of ‘Death, Love, and all of the Above;’ she commented on her work:-
“My work this year has been focused in iconography and its power in ownership, religion and spirituality. Death, Love and all of the above is a modern day shrine that has no specific religion or origin but gives the viewer a sense of calm and time to reflect…. My aim was to create something that was visually pleasing but asked questions about the fundamental issues we face in the future. Our relationship with science and our morals, aims and desires.”
Graduating student Ruaraidh Cable addressed the increasing use of computer generated images (CGI) which is reflective of the growing overlap and integration of the digital and the biological. He commented:-
“I decided to look into the relationship between the digital and physical world. I noticed recently that in several major film releases there has been a trend to replace roles traditionally played by human actors with CGI creations.
“In many cases I felt that this fails to work effectively as the CGI characters lack the visceral impact that a human performer brings. The conclusion to this topic was two full sized wearable suits, one of which was from already existing content while the other was a character of my own creation.
“Both suits were created using a digital file as the starting point. The overall goal of this project was to show that digital and physical can complement each other rather than one obviating the other.”
There was a great deal of commendable work, and it is unfortunate that there isn’t enough space for commenting in detail or including images for all of these. However, notable work from artists including John Nicholson, Zack Anderson, painter Jamie Steele, Ashley Morris, Rachel Furness, Holly Aitchison, Michael Loudon, and Stacey Geddes all memorably resonated and impressed.
Unfortunately the fashion students’ work was either in the VIP tent and inaccessible to those without tickets, or unceremoniously hung on the wall unceremoniously in a large untended room in the main building.
From the dozens of distinctive garments I was drawn to an ethereal and classic salmon-coloured chiffon, pleated and embellished with pearl-coloured beads. Unfortunately, hardly any of the fashion work was clearly labelled, so crediting these designers is problematic.
Good design can help us deal with the problems the future will present; the clues to the future’s issues are in the present. Fine art, crafts and wearables reflect our society, draw from the past and anticipate the future.
Our upcoming photographers will record our successes and defeats. In a world where higher education is coming to mean vocational training with a focus on future earnings, the arts have never been more important.
Grays has this year successfully nurtured our future artists and creators, whose skills we need now to help shape a better future.
Oil and Glass was opened in Torry in May 2012 when it was chosen as a winning business in Aberdeen City Council’s Retail Rocks scheme. After a very successful first year, Shelagh Swanson, the studio’s owner and artist in residence, has taken on the retail unit in her own right. Included in her plans to expand the business is the development of additional studio spaces for artists.
Other artists, working in a variety of media, will be joining Shelagh in creating work, to be sold by silent auction to raise funds for their chosen charity, Momentum Aberdeen Brain Injury Services.
The public will be able to pop in at any time during the event to watch the artists at work and follow progress.
Finished creations will initially be made available for bid via the Oil and Glass Facebook page, but the culmination will be a silent auction at the birthday party on Saturday 25 May from 1900-2200, when all the artwork made will be exhibited.
During Shelagh’s marathon, Hidden Aberdeen Tours will be providing free storytelling sessions Tales of Old Torry from 1500 to 1700, and Terror Tales of Old Torry between 2300 and 0100 – not for the faint hearted!
Shelagh decided to support Momentum Aberdeen Brain Injury Services when the lovely Rhian Johns, who has been helped enormously by the charity, was taken to the studio by her mum Iris to commission a painting.
Rhian’s story is featured on the studio’s webpage where there’s also a preview of a further fundraising event, Top Hats and Tiaras Grand Ball, due to take place at the Hilton Treetops on September 14.
Rhian and Iris will be joining Shelagh in the studio during part of the event and will be available for photographs.
Oil and Glass
64 Victoria Road
Tel: 01224 905134
“Don’t expect too much; these are only 2nd and 3rd year fashion students” was the caveat for a recent show by Gray’s School of Arts fashion students.
They were all a year or two at least from their final degree fashion show, and could hardly be expected to do more from their outing as fledglings.
The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, headquarters on Holburn Street was the venue; the links between it and Gray’s stretch back many years now.
If anything, having such a beautiful setting and bringing collections in front of professional weavers and other craftspeople might well have proved daunting.
No one – not even the course instructors, technicians and course leader knew quite what would happen.
The organisation, the students’ speeches, the elegant wine and canapé reception were polished. But the calibre of the work on show was beyond all expectations. There wasn’t a piece on show which couldn’t have been in a final year student’s collection. Imaginative, daring, colourful works were all on show, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the number of pieces which could have instantly translated to retail.
A man’s slightly oversized tweed coat had an asymmetrical back seam; it moved beautifully. A tweed tulip-style short-sleeve dress in an earthy gray-green featured brightly coloured orange silk insets at the hem, rising to differing heights towards the model’s waist; it was an elegant and wholly modern and refreshing use of tweed.
The orange inserts caught the eye and made for an amazing colour contrast with the muted colours of the body of the dress as the model walked.
Other tweed pieces for women were eminently wearable. These outfits were sophisticated and ideal for work, and quite timeless.
A simply cut sleeveless dress featured dozens (if not hundreds) of delicate, possibly hand-painted hexagons of multi-coloured material, probably silk. The overall impression these hexagons and colours gave was three-dimensional, kinetic, elegant, highly original and extremely. pleasing.
A long, romantic dress tightly fitting then cut with high, thick fringe at the skirt melded several types of fabric dyeing/printing together beautifully; the colours were muted but large patterns made it a very striking piece.
Memorable work came from every collection; there were beautiful blouses (a blue and white number seemed ready for high-end retail), skirts, asymmetrical coats…
Designers and Sponsors
The collections were Tweed Outerwear, Covered, Body of Space, This Place is Dreaming, Knack & Knave, Anarchy, Colour Against Conformity and Alternative.
As a final piece of professional fashion show tradition, goody bags were supplied containing gifts from Lush Cosmetics and literature from some of the sponsors, which were The Aberdeen Weaver Incorporation, The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, Amicus Apple, Lush, The Athenaeum, and Daniel McAVoy Photography. The makeup for all the models was done by one person – Emma McMahon – who also had work in the show.
Gray’s School of Arts Libby Curtis spoke briefly at the end of the show; she genuinely seemed as surprised by the calibre of the show and the organisation as the rest of the audience. A member of Aberdeen Weavers had very positive things to say as well.
Recognition is growing for the Fashion arm of Gray’s, and this trend seems set to continue. At the final degree show last year, the list of awards, prizes and internships won by the graduates made for a long, impressive list.
This crop of students look set to raise the beam further. They look set to succeed on a foundation which clearly encourages experimentation, creativity, and collaboration. There seems to be no fear of tradition or elegance, and no reliance on sensationalism or gimmickry. This will be a crop of students to watch.
The Woodend Barn, Banchory, presents an evening of captivating contemporary culture at on 25th April. David Officer tells Aberdeen Voice.
First, we have an innovative art installation entitled #Unravel utilising 7″ records, social media, acoustic instruments and storytelling, and secondly, we have a new company in residence – the wonderful physical theatre group Company of Wolves.
Both of these exciting events will combine on the 25th April when we have the opening for #Unravel starting at 5.30 p.m. in the gallery and then a sharing for the Company of Wolves production of Invisible Empire at 7.30 p.m. in the main hall.
These events are free to attend and we’d love as many of you as possible to come along.
#Unravel has been created by Edinburgh based arts-collective/experimental pop band FOUND and Glasgow musician and author Aidan Moffat. Both artists are signed to the legendary Glasgow record label Chemikal Underground and spent a year working together on the #Unravel exhibition.
Aidan had to write 10 short stories, each sound-tracked by 160 new compositions created by FOUND.
The exhibition is controlled by 7” records which trigger acoustic instruments around the room to soundtrack the story told by the narrator on the record. It’s not the first time FOUND have done innovative things with records – in 2011 they released a chocolate record that could be played on a record player and was completely edible.
FOUND – the members of which include Ziggy Campbell, Kev Sim, Tommy Perman and Simon Kirby – also created Cybraphon, the world’s first autonomous emotional robot band. The music it plays changes depending on its mood which is set by mentions on social media and the internet.
The artists have carried some of this innovation into #Unravel, with the music developing depending on the time of day, what’s being said about the exhibition on the internet, the size of the audience and the local weather.
This reflects how a real narrator would change the telling of a story to suit its audience, as tales would evolve with circumstance and even memories would distort and warp depending on influence from elsewhere.
The preview is in the Gallery at 5.30 p.m. on 25th April, after which the exhibition runs from 30th April to 8th June.
The Gallery is open from 12 noon to 4.00 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.
Company of Wolves: Invisible Empire
Using voice and text, movement and song, Invisible Empire traces the psychological progression from conformity and alienation to extreme acts of resistance.
This performance is a live interrogation of our conflicting tendencies to conform and to rebel; to justify our actions by any means necessary; to lose ourselves in the morass of modern life; and –sometimes – to stand firm and resist.
Commenting on Invisible Empire: Work-in-Progress at the 2012 SURGE Festival 2012, theatre critic Joyce McMillan described it as:
“… promising and contemporary, using deep resonances of choral music…
“The atmosphere is clear, adult, humorous yet serious; and the sound is simply sensational.”
The sharing takes place in the Main Hall at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 25th April.