Jan 282011

Miseryweeds is the first official retrospective of self-taught graphic designer artist Jimsin Vogel. A local artist who has been submerged in Aberdeen‘s counter-cultural scenes, his exhibition is a multi-media display of the city’s dark underbelly. Keava McMillan tells enough, but not all, to make this sound intriguing.

If you didn’t know Aberdeen had hidden depths, Jimsin Vogel’s debut exhibition will reveal what you’ve been missing.

After working for years with alternative cabarets, fetish clubs, burlesque shows, gothic designers and roller derby events, as well as a host of strange and unusual club nights, Jimsin has been inspired by these curious sideshows to create a unique and distinctive style.

His distant, enigmatic signature characters first caught the popular imagination in his long-running comic strip series Darling I’m Dying, which will be displayed in full for the first time at this exhibition.

Taking influence from sources as eclectic as Weimar expressionist cinema and totalitarian propaganda posters, Jimsin creates tenebrous worlds of smoke and mirrors occupied by vague and decadent creatures. In addition to his graphic art work, Jimsin will be exhibiting part of his growing collection of commissioned portraits of various waifs and strays.

Jimsin Vogel is a self-taught artist. As such, he is breaking into the art world in his own unique way. The opening of his exhibition is designed as a celebration of his work in the form of a party rather than a conventional wine reception and viewing. Due to his background in club promotion, he sees the space in which his work is hung as a site for entertainment and interaction rather than introverted artistic contemplation. This highlights one of the main questions his exhibition raises, “why does art have to be viewed in a gallery setting to be taken seriously?”

Vogel’s graphic art is already a part of our everyday lives. It has adorned street corners and pub walls for some time, standing out from the average corporate advertising posters in its eccentric, propagandist style, relevant to the community events he is involved with. Since 2004, Jimsin has been working in marginalised genres – advertising posters, online comics and stylised portraits.

By boldly displaying these media in the context of an art exhibition, the artist challenges our ideas of what should be considered serious art. Nobody would deny the fact that his works are visually striking and compositionally innovative. By viewing them in a new context, the subtlety and wit of his artistic parodies of accepted high art become apparent. Through this retrospective, Jimsin insists that graphic work is to be considered as a genuine art form and that to work as a true artist it is not necessary to train in the conventional art-school manner. His exhibition is entertaining. It is also thought-provoking.

After years of creating intricate and unique pieces to support alternative and community projects, this exhibition signifies the start of Vogel’s career as a professional graphic artist.

To celebrate the launch of this newest addition to the Aberdeen art scene, everyone is invited to a free launch party at Cellar 35 on Thursday 3rd February from 7pm to midnight.

In addition to a preview of the main exhibition which will be open until the end of February, there will be atmospheric music, live art, screened projections, prints for sale and a supply of complimentary drinks.

Oct 082010

With thanks to Keava McMillan, Jim Waugh and Nicki Machiavelli.

On Wednesday, 29th September, an exciting and thought-provoking event described as “Part call to action, part show, part club night”, was held in The Tunnels, Aberdeen.

Organised by Keava McMillan and Jim Waugh, under the banner of “The Bird And The Ballerina Promotions”, Suffragette City aimed to bring together various left-wing political groups, local action groups, musicians and the public to share ideas, to inform and create understanding, and perhaps spark some inspiration.

In an age where political apathy is rife, and direct action seldom means more than clicking ‘like’ on Facebook, this promised to be a unique and unusual event.

The suitably underground venue of the Tunnels could not have been better for this attempt at injecting some excitement back into politics. A stage for guest speakers, numerous tables stacked high with pamphlets & an area outside the main room where points could be argued & issues debated.

Over the course of the evening a rapid succession of speakers and performance artists was introduced to the stage by compere Nicki Machiavelli.

This was a great opportunity to hear all manner of less established political views, with speakers from CND, Tripping Up Trump, Friends of UTG, Aberdeen Voice, The Green Party, Scottish Palestinian Solidarity, Cuban and Venezuelan Solidarity, Aberdeen Anarchists, the Scottish Socialist Party, The Communist Party and Unite Against Fascism. Speeches were limited to approximately five minutes on stage so there was never a time when any of them became tiresome.

Other slightly more light-hearted, but no less thought provoking “acts” included a short stand up set from local up-and-coming comedian Lewis Muirhead, political performance poetry from Aberdeen’s own radical poet Rapunzel Wizard (who’s pithy yet humorous verse targeted various social evils including local matters such as the Trump golf course, and Ian Wood’s Civic Square proposals), and a folk set from local SSP Candidate Ewan Robertson – joined by his father on the bagpipes.

If the aim of Suffragette City was to put politics in a more accessible and interesting light, then it was certainly a success

For many, the highlight of the evening was the Edinburgh based ‘Zorras’ – two witty, intelligent female performers who mixed poetry, singing and a megaphone to great effect. Their spellbinding performance brought the first part of the evening to a very satisfying close.

Rapunzel Wizard’s band ‘The Dog’s Botox’ delivered a lively and politically charged set  before the event was rounded off  as a club night until closing time to allow those in attendance the chance to mingle, to further discuss, or to just relax.

The mixture of political speakers with musical acts and poetry worked quite well as it blurred the boundaries between entertainment and politics. It was a fun and inspiring blend.

If the aim of Suffragette City was to put politics in a more accessible and interesting light, then it was certainly a success. It’s not often you come back from a club or gig feeling that you want to change the world.

“Viva la revolution!”