Digesting Design

YCN ‘A’ Launch

Posted in Everything Else by Paul on September 5, 2009



On Wednesday evening I was invited to the ‘ALaunch at Village Underground by YCN. The A is the new physical award created by YCN for those commended annually for the design award they run as well as to be presented periodically to outstanding creatives, both established and upcoming. The launch show was very busy with a few faces that I recognised including the guys from THIS IS Studio so it was nice to catch up with them. A central projection screen displayed all winning work from this year YCN Awards, although I’m not sure how effective this was in displaying the work. Colourful paintbrush and sticky tape installations were also created specially for the event. Thanks to Sarah from YCN for the invite. You can see all about the ‘A’ here. All the photos of the night can be seen on YCN’s Flickr here.


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Banksy vs. Bristol Museum Exhibition

Posted in Exhibitions by Paul on August 22, 2009

With the hype surrounding the new Banksy vs. Bristol Museum Exhibition since it opened its doors in mid June, it was time to pay Bristol a visit to check it out with UK Street Art. My mouth has been watering since I heard about it and saw that video from the BBC whilst in Tokyo. We queued for about 3 hours and I never thought I’d queue that long for a single exhibition exhibition, but it was 1000% worth it, and I urge you to stick it out in the queue and go see what I’m thinking will be Banksy’s best ever exhibition.


There were three mains rooms in the museum dedicated to the UK’s most notorious and identity hidden street artist containing new and old work, canvases, sculptures, installations, stencils and everything else in-between. Something I’ve never seen of Banksy before was a space dedicated to all the artist’s workings, sketches, old stencils and all the stuff you don’t see, set behind chicken wire and in a realistic workspace of what could be Banksy’s studio. The next main room included the highly anticipated animatronic chicken nuggets, fish fingers and sausages as well as a bunny rabbit putting on make up as a provocative comment to animal testing. We spotted a postcard high up on one of the wall ledges, but couldn’t see what was on it, something which I wish I could. Then in the other main room, an abandoned and tagged ice cream truck took centre stage alongside a riot policeman riding a kids electric rocking horse and modified human sculptures.

As well as the three mains rooms, Banksy had placed his pieces of work amongst the rest of the Bristol Museum’s permanent collection. I don’t think I’ve ever paid so much attention to every piece on display in a museum, but we spotted a bong amongst antique china cups and saucers, a reduced sign on a terracotta army figure and a dildo amongst some other similar looking rocks in the geology section. There was plenty of Banksy amongst the permanent collection.



Hopefully we spotted everything, but probably not, with visitors looking out for the unexpected. Maybe there were things on the floor and ceilings and windows we didn’t see, but the postcard was the only real obvious which we saw, but couldn’t see what was on it. All in all, make sure you go visit if you can, we heard people from as far as Australia have flown to the UK especially for the exhibition, as this is the best street art exhibition I’ve ever been to and well worth the wait outside. I’ll let all the photographs do the talking instead so check them all out on the specially created UK Street Art x Banksy microsite here. Alternatively, you can see them all individually on my Flickr here. Go visit, go visit now!



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The Kaleidoscopic Eye Exhibition

Posted in Exhibitions by Paul on June 27, 2009


The exhibitions keep coming thick and fast for me here in Tokyo as there is way too many good ones on right now, so next up was a visit to the Mori Art Museum close to work in Roppongi to go and see ‘The Kaleidoscopic Eye‘ exhibition. Mori have collaborated with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, a Vienna-based foundation, drawing on their renowned collection to present a selection of art, including dynamic installation, that stimulates the senses in myriad ways. Participating artists included Tracey Emin and Carsten Höller.

A very well thought out exhibition with each artist’s work taking centre stage at some point of my visit. My favourite pieces were the disco ball room, the interactive table when touched triggered sound and music around the edges of the room and Klaus Weber’s fountain. When I walked into the final room with the fountain in it, I thought, “great some pretentious piece of art”, but the fountain was flowing with liquid LSD! Great stuff.




JAGDA New Designer Awards Exhibition

Posted in Exhibitions by Paul on June 13, 2009



Today I went to my next exhibition in Tokyo. It was the JAGDA (Japan Graphic Designers Association) New Designer Awards held at the Creation Gallery G8 near Ginza again. JAGDA are a body that support and develop the roles and careers of graphic designers in Japan and the New Designer Awards are an annual competition hosted by them.

The exhibition was absolutely brilliant with a great range of works on show in a very well thought out exhibition guiding visitors round all pieces. My favourite pieces were Rika Eguchi’sHow to cook Docomodake?‘ sculptures as seen in the image above, the personal typeface created by Yoshinori Okada in the image below and the vegetable man sculpture and photography which was a quirky Sesame Street style man made from vegetables sporting a tweed suit. There was also some great print work on display and some really innovative direct mail.

You can read more about JAGDA here and about the New Designer Awards here and the top four entrants including Rika and Yoshinori. Here is the exhibition event page, only in Japanese.


Tunnel 228

Posted in Everything Else, Exhibitions by Paul on May 19, 2009



On Saturday at 4.20pm I visited Tunnel 228 in Waterloo. Tunnel 228 is a collaboration between Kevin Spacey, artistic director of the Old Vic theatre and Punchdrunk.

“I’ve always been interested in the bringing the art world and theatre a little closer together” said Spacey.

It is a sensory experience lurking behind the doors of the Leake Street tunnel where the ongoing Cans Festival is taking place. I was one of the lucky ones to get tickets to it as the 15,000 places made available went in a flash, however there are plans to bring it back in Autumn time for everyone who didn’t get to see it this time round. The photos here are from media websites as no photography was allowed inside.

It was probably one the more weirdest things I’ve been to and most of the time you couldn’t see more than a metre ahead of yourself. Visitors were given face masks and this immediately started to block out your senses. The space where everything was set up was huge and featured street artists included Mark Jenkins and Slinkachu, famous for his miniature installations as show in the image below, which we dotted about the space as well; featuring Gala Bingo, Aldi and a Shell garage. Mark Jenkins had worked on most of the mannequin installations in the space, my favourite one being a man face down on the banks of a man-made river in the space and attached to him was a group of colourful balloons.

Other parts to the experience included bouncers dressed with balaclavas, a human running on a hamster wheel, a booth where you looked inside and a woman went under water to what looked like she was drowing, but when you looked through the second eye hole she was kissing a man under water. There was also two men using pulleys on a train track walking on the tunnel’s ceiling, a forest made out of paper and what looked like a New York subway toilet in pitch black. It felt like that if you switched on the light, there would be a person and blood everywhere. A light bulb filled room with a Jesus sculpture and upstairs rooms of a dining scene and a sculpture made of feathers were also great pieces on site. There was one room right at the back of the space, where you honestly couldn’t see anything ahead of you and it felt like you were going to fall at any moment.

Tickets are now all sold out but you can see the website of Tunnel 228 here, with the option to keep a track of things; and you see what the Guardian thought to it here. Punchdrunk can be found here.

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