Since 2012 I have been working with Wahaca, UK specialists in Mexican street food on an arts programme for each of their new spaces. My work for them is partly a curation role, by introducing to them to interesting street artists from around the world and matching the right artist to a particular space or project. This can involve planning with architects, artist liaison, production and documentation.
The most recent site has revamped and utilised a unique building in the heart of Brixton on the corner of Electric Lane that has been empty for 12 years. The building which is much loved by the locals and was a former Railway hostelry and the site of the old Brady’s pub. Above the building run the overground lines and the surrounding area are the famous Brixton markets…
Rather than destroy the old layers of history our brief was to work with the exterior and interior surfaces we found. In this regard the chosen artists Roid and SatOne did a fantastic job working together to create art that was sympathetic to the architecture and local life. Having grown up in the area local artist Roid took inspiration from patterns such as the dutch wax african patterns sold in African material shops in the market. The respected German artist SatOne had collaborated numerous times with Roid before and seemed the perfect partner for the commission. Here are a few more shots in progress.
To celebrate the work Wahaca TV undertook interviews with the artists as they were finishing the painting. They spoke about their experience first-hand in producing the work – much better than I can explain here!…
The Exposed gallery is a new space and venture in Russia and so this was the first time that I’ve been asked to design using Russian language and to liaise with printers in Russia. In the end the results were perfect.
Although I’ve mentioned this on Twitter and Instagram it’s about time I mentioned my new book Big Art / Small Art due to be published next week on the 8th September.
As you can see from the photos it’s a handsome looking volume with a beautiful card bound spine, embossed cover and different textured paper sections on the printed pages. The curation, text and general art direction as per usual is my role, alongside the great team at Thames and Hudson for direction, editing, production and fantastic design work by Therese Vandling.
First and foremost though it’s about the art inside the book and the artist’s who trusted me to present their work in this context that counts. As the title suggests the book is about how artist’s use and play with scale to create art that is engaging and experiential – divided into two chapters – Big Art & Small Art.
The idea for this book has been brewing for a while as I’ve been contemplating a series of books that look at the fundamental elements of art as a way of looking at contemporary practice. In my preceding book Raw + Material = Art: Found, Scavenged and Upcycled, the focus was on materials, in particular those artists who were using low-cost and low-tech media in exciting and creative ways.
While I was investigating materials it got me thinking similarly about scale as another fundamental factor in art and how artists today are pushing the boundaries with their approaches to both media and dimension. Materials are a basic consideration in the creation of an artwork, as are scale and proportion.
There is perhaps some subconscious overlap in both books as my attraction to unusual materials and original techniques follows through into this new Big Art / Small Art book.
Because of the far-reaching subject matter of the book it’s made it possible to feature art that is wildly different but similarly inspiring; from the vast clouds of fog used by Fujiko Nakaya, to towers of ice built by Brent Christensen or constructions of thousands of bamboo poles created by Doug and Mike Starn alongside the intricate book carvings of Guy Laramée or Lorenzo M. Durán’s painstakingly cut leaf silhouettes.
I’ve tried to limit my images here so as not to give too much of the book away! Above images include work by Nguyen Hung Cuong, Janet Echelman, Jason DeCaires Taylor, Diem Chau, Katharina Grosse and Jean-Francois Fourtou…
The full artist line-up include 44 artists – many thanks for everyone who was involved and look out for up-coming press which includes the The Guardian website..
Support your local bookshop – http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/tristan+manco/big+art+_+small+art/10493382/
or go for the big guys…
Varoom Magazine is a wonderful magazine produced out by The Association of Illustrators – each issue is full of great content generally on a theme.
The theme of the latest issue is STYLE – with thoughtful essays such as The Commerce of Style, The Culture of Style etc… As a regular contributor to the magazine I was pleased to see my own article published called the “The Hand of Style”.
It was a great excuse to talk about style in terms of graffiti culture and in it we explored the evolution and innovation of Wildstyle through the incredible work of Horfee… Or should I say Incroyable!
For anyone not familiar with the wildly creative work of Horfee here are a few images and please explore his main website for more madness…
In my continuing curatorial role for Mexican street food experts Wahaca, I was very pleased to invite Kenor from Barcelona to create artworks at their new spot on Great Portland Street, just off Oxford st. I’ve long had a love of Barcelona street art since first travelling their in 1991 and then since 1999 I began to document it regularly for my first book Stencil Graffiti and in later books Street Logos and Street Sketchbook. In all that time, Kenor’s work has been a key part of the scene and watching his work develop I felt it would really suit Wahaca’s style and ethos.
Particularly in the last ten years he become recognised internationally, being invited to paint huge scale murals at prestigious street art festivals such as Art Basel, Miami and for institutions and key locations such as Parc de la Villette in Paris. Besides painting murals he has been following in his artist father’s footstep’s to work with painted ceramics, sculptures and work on canvas. This September he is star of a solo retrospective “Polyrythmic Beats” at Galerie Celal in Paris from 11/09/14 until 4/10/14.
Kenor is known these days for large scale works so for Wahaca it was a more domestic setting although there was scope to create work from the window facades of the corner fronted building inviting the viewer into the space. Then the mural continued at double floor height into the basement and around into the window ceilinged alcoves under the pavement into the nooks and crannies of the building.
Something we hadn’t tried before for Wahaca is to create work on the window glazing, which at first the artist attempted with spray paint. The results were good but very time consuming and limited. Luckily we discovered a shop opposite the site which had a huge range of coloured vinyl which the artist was able to cut to his abstract designs to make the final work more durable and detailed…
Here is a fun small project I was asked to help with for Mais Um Discos.
They wanted to make an interactive map which makes use of a clever app called Thinglink, so that visitors to their webpage can explore the music from different areas of Brazil.
My role was to illustrate the map which can be seen here and there’s great music to listen to too…
A little late in posting this but still looking and sounding fresh is the new CD from Mais Um Discos. UK-based Brazilian music label Mais Um Discos asked me to design their latest music compilation which was released just in time for the world cup. As on a previous job we decided to work with a Brazilian Street artist for the main image and in this case it was the wonderful Danilo Omwisye (Zéh Palito).
His artwork (collaborating with artist Fumero) was perfect for our gatefold design in expressing the many sides of new Brazilian music. It also made for nice image for the two-disc CD which is full of great tracks…
More about the CD – rolê translates as ‘let’s roll’ in Brazilian Portuguese and Mais Um Discos’ label head Lewis Robinson ‘rolled’ around ten Brazilian states to pull together 43 tracks that represent some of the most exciting artists and micro-scenes in Brazil now.
To listen or buy the music – link here!
So the World Cup goes to Germany (deservedly) and despite Brazil’s shock at the end of the tournament it was a very memorable world cup. Without Fifa are the ultimate winners in all this but the world’s focus on Brazil can only have been a good thing if we put the one to one side. For my own part it’s been a thrill to have been involved in projects promoting Brazilian art in the UK.
An interesting part of the exhibition was improvised in form of an animation which mixed the graphic imagery of Daniel Melim’s stencils with the work of SHN which was projected in a looped presentation onto the wall…
The AOI Illustration Awards Winners 2104 have now been announced. Sorry to say that in the Public Realm category I was judging it was unanimously felt that the shortlisted work for both New Talent and Professional entries wasn’t outstanding enough to select as category winners.
Unfortunately for AOI- their call for entry period was cut in half this year due to delays in launching their new site. We hope that next year the category will attract more entries!
In the Children’s book category I was delighted to see Chris Haughton announced as one of the winners for his new work – SHH! We Have a Plan (see image above)- My kids and I love his previous books such as A Bit Lost and Oh, No George…
I’m pleased to announced a project I’ve been working on alongside Rich Mix Cultural Foundation on Bethnal Green Rd in East London, Brazilian record label Mais Um Discos, Latin music promoters Movimientos and Coletivo Rua in Brazil.
Joga Bola! is a festival of Brazilian Music, Cinema, Theatre and Street Art that will run alongside the World Cup. My involvement so far has been in curating and inviting street artists from Brazil, who will be painting a mural, installation a two month long exhibition and giving workshops in stencil art and screenprinting. Artists include Daniel Melim and SHN who as well as being great friends are producing fantastic work and I’m sure will make a great impact at Joga Bola.
I also created a logo, A6 foldout poster leaflet and ads for the event…
Brazil is renowned for its progressive D-I-Y street art and Joga Bola! is proud to present debut London shows for trail-blazing artists Daniel Melim and the SHN Collective. Both will take-over Rich Mix creating a special mixed media mural in the main space, an installation in the mezzanine space created from hundreds of silkscreen posters featuring graphic icons combined with stencil art, DIY art workshops and creating other ad-hoc art ‘occupations’ around the venue.
Stencil Maestro Daniel Melim is one of Sao Paulo’s much admired street artists whose murals – playful colourful twists on pop culture – can be found across Sao Paulo city, who has exhibited at MASP and Afro-Brasil Museumand works on projects with young people in the Ferrazopolis favela.
Joining him will be members of the legendary poster art collective SHN, one of Brazil’s firstDIY art collectives known for their street actions, exhibitions and collaborative multimedia projects they call ‘occupations’ that see videos, projections, silkscreen stickers and posters DJs, performers and multiple artists ‘occupying’ public spaces.
Since relocating to the South West some months ago it’s been a pleasure to re-connect with old clients and cultivate new ones in the area. There is so much going on here culturally and in terms of big ideas its a great hub for green and sustainable thinking.
I’ve always been a fan of Sustrans, the Bristol-based national cycle network charity, having used their Bristol to Bath Cycle path almost daily in the past. So I’m pleased to have been doing some freelance design and illustration work for them recently – firstly with a brochure aimed at their volunteer network. It was also a chance to borrow some great photographs for print from my cousin-in-law Zoologist Extraordinaire – Dr Ross Piper
For more about volunteering for Sustrans – take a look here.
Mexican street food experts Wahaca open their newest restaurant in Wimbledon this week. Following in their on-going arts programme – I was involved in inviting up-and-coming artist GoddoG to create large scale murals for this new space. After first planning beforehand with architectural drawings and sketches we finally got to work with the GoddoG in the space a few weeks ago the final results look smashing!
GoDDog aka Damien Mauro is based in the historic city of Avignon in South Eastern France. A self-taught artist, GoDDog learnt to paint after being introduced to graffiti as a teenager. Having always loved drawing his style began to develop over time by painting on the street alongside others – what he calls “a Street School of Art”. Besides graffiti he cites the influences of pioneering painters such as Jean Michel-Basquiat, Gustav Klimt and Francis Bacon. Even more influential have been his travels and experiences abroad in India and Asia, which opened his eyes to traditional arts and crafts. Most recently he has become interested in the indigenous arts of South America and the graffiti culture of Argentina, Peru and Mexico.
In interview he states, “My paintings are often colourful mysterious creatures, all curves and sometimes wearing fur… I create the material of my creatures with textures that are often precise and meticulous. The idea is to “re-awake” the public’s imagination and inner child. I like to compare my work with the urban world to make it more attractive and fantastic.” Through his graphic language, GodDog conjures up a world of fantasy made of futuristic shapes crafted in various ways from skulls to figures and mythical creatures. He also plays with colour contrasts, fickle forms and geometric shapes.
Today creatures are less of a feature in his painting which are now giving way to more of a strange graphic universe…
The Association of Illustrators is the most important organisation representing the rights of professional illustrators in the UK. They also have an essential role upholding standards and encouraging students into long standing careers in the profession. Each year they hold their annual awards in numerous categories and I’m pleased to say I’ve been asked to judge the Public Realm category.
As a graduate illustrator many years ago the The Association of Illustrators was my first port of call to use their portfolio review service and more recently I have been a regular contributor to the AOI’s excellent magazine – Varoom.
The competition is open to illustrators worldwide and award winners will be announced at a prestigious ceremony at Somerset House, the major arts and cultural centre in the heart of London. Category winning illustration will be displayed in the spectacular Terrace Rooms at Somerset House and featured in an accompanying publication. This special exhibition will tour across the UK throughout 2015.
Finally had time to blog about my work with Wahaca this year, which is set to be a busy one! This will be my third year working with their architectural, design and production teams – helping to create original artworks and installations at each new site.
My role is to curate and propose artists that might work well with each space and then liase and assist appropriately. So far each new installation becomes my new favourite and I’ve enjoyed working with some fantastic artists.
In January we invited Hcientouno (H101) from Barcelona to create designs for Wahaca’s White City site including a mezzanine alcove and ground floor pillars. H101 produced some stunning work improvising around a “Sun Temple” theme – inspired by pre-colombian art.
I’ve been a long time fan of Barcelona’s vibrant street art scene since my first visits there in the early 90s, so it was pleasure to bring over an artist who is a key part of that scene – to bring a splash of Catalonian colour to London.
Hcientouno is a prolific muralist on the streets, with his work often seen on shutter fronts as well as large scale walls. His imagery mixes decorative and symbolic arts influenced by Mexican motifs. With striking use of forms and colour he seemed a perfect match for Wahaca.
With only a few months to go until the World Cup in Brazil I’m pleased to be involved in a number of Brazil themed projects including an artist mural, exhibition and workshop project at Rich Mix in London soon to be announced…
In the meantime here are a couple of logo projects on a Brazilian theme…
The first was completed last year for Instituto BR a new consultancy aimed at promoting 21st century Brazil via contemporary Brazilian culture, and the Brazilian Portuguese language. For Instituto BR I was asked to create a family of logotypes which could be used in different design and communication contexts. The inspiration for the logo came from the central diamond used in the Brazilian flag which turned into a repeat pattern could be used to describe the shape of Brazil.
More recently I was commissioned to design a logo for a new series of CD releases for Universal Records. This up coming series will feature many albums from their excellent back catalogue plus new material. I created a logo that could be adapted to different formats for usage on a social media campaigns, print campaigns and album design. The logo is inspired by Lambe Lambe – a particular style of letterpress poster, made famous by the print shop Grafica Fidalga in Sao Paulo. Having commissioned Grafica Fidalga to produce posters in the past I made use of type examples in my personal collection of Lambe Lambe to produce this design.
Some late news prompted by seeing this lovely photography book on my shelf (designed by myself!). I am a big fan and friend of the wonderful photographer Barry Cawston. Barry’s work has won many awards and his is typically known for his landscape and interior photography shot on a large format camera. He has a great eye for those spaces in between, for colour, pattern and texture and we both share a love of travel.
After working together on logos and CD cover concepts for the excellent Ramona Flowers – Barry asked me to design a book of his recent photographic work to coincide with an Exhibition at Atkinson Gallery. It was my first experience in designing a book that would be produced digitally. There has been a huge rise of on-demand printing options and after some research we decided to use Blurb.
I created the book in Indesign as I found it gave me the maximum control in the layout but Blurb also offers good off-the-shelf layouts which can be found on their website, which can be used on-line and are not too bad for a simple book. Although as a designer I needed more control of the text and styling. We produced two versions a small paperback and then a larger format cloth bound hardback version which can be purchase and viewed here.
The accepted brief for designers and makers has always been to produce well made goods, fit for practical use. However, many have also employed shape and decoration to ask questions about political and social issues of their times, or about form and function. This is the subject of Subversive Design, currently showing at the Brighton Museum – a unique exhibition gathered from pieces from its historical collection, alongside new works cleverly curated to fit this fascinating theme including furniture, fashion, ceramics and more. Designers shown include Campana Brothers, Dupenny, Grayson Perry, Timorous Beasties, David Shrigley, Philippe Starck, Leigh Bowery, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. Within this larger theme the exhibition looks at a number of sub-themes such as Big Issues, Form Vs Function and Subverting the body.
In October & November of 2013 I was invited by Brighton Museum to work with the Museum Collective – a group of young people aged 16 to 21 years old who organise and run events at the Royal Pavilion & Museums. Over a series of workshops we responded to the Subversive Design exhibition by producing our own zine which took inspiration from the art and issues embraced by the show.
The collective used collage, original drawing and painting, writing and journalistic skills to explore the works and quotations highlighted from the exhibition signage. Our main limitation was that we relied on analogue techniques and only used computers for research. The results were serious, fun, quirky and spontaneous…
The final result – Subverzine, is soon to be reproduced as a limited edition zine to be sold in the museum shop as the exhibition continues. Thanks again for the invitation and congratulations on the energy and commitment shown by all those who took part!
Words of Wisdom aka WOW – is an initiative of the Enquiry Desk a not-for-profit initiative founded by Josie Sullens and Zara Wood. The idea is that creative professionals share some of their words of wisdom for others. Zara Wood aka Woody asked me to take part some weeks ago and I only got round to mentioning it now.
See my page here: with lots of other great and good characters here to read about here – If you know your onions therm you’ll probably of heard of most of these folks. If not its a great way to browse and gen up on people doing creative stuff in design, art direction and illustration…
Each art project working with Wahaca becomes my favourite one and the same is the case for this one recently completed at One New Change, St. Pauls, London. The place was a blank canvas with no particular history to the site but it did allow for space to create a huge mural across the length of the space becoming the biggest mural painted for Wahaca so far!…
For this project I was delighted to invite two young Mexican street artists who often work together – Sanez (aka Fabian) & Kawamo (aka Sergio). Both are influenced by indigenous traditions and the rich artistic culture of Mexico. Sanez is known for his distinctive graphic painting style often using rollers to depict pre-Hispanic inspired motifs, while Cawamo produces high detailed and often politically inspired stencil art.
Although stylistically different, their work compliments each other while they both seek to create what they describe as, “our own national identity in our work.” Both artists have been drawn to the creative city of Oaxaca as a place to work and initiate projects. Originally from Monterrey, Fabian now lives in the city, while Cawamo spends time between Guadalajara and Oaxaca, together they team up to produce murals, exhibitions and performance pieces.
Most recently in June, 2013 they received attention for their experimental art project and exhibition “Corpus Plural” which involved working with the community of Teotitlán del Valle, a small village 31km from Oaxaca. Using installations, murals and video performance they invited local children to create a local lexicon of graphic symbols and explore ancient cosmology.
In the global world of street art Fabian & Cawamo present something authentic; they are both fascinated by their local roots and cultural identity, which they explore in original ways. In their combined murals Fabian’s bold designs create a structure using flat colour and clear outlines that have a flavour of and references to pre-Hispanic sacred art but with a contemporary interpretation. Into this geometric structure Cawamo integrates motifs for example symbolic animals, local people and folkloric activities such as shamanistic dancers.
Fabian’s decorative patterns and compositions are also filled with icons such as birds; deer and other animals, all sacred symbols in Mexican folklore. But more than simply re-interpreting icons, they feel a real affinity with, as they describe the “way pre- Hispanic cultures perceived the universe, with infinite possibilities, that’s how we see our work. Transmitting sensations rather than communicating an idea.”
Both artists have an autodidactic approach, having had no formal training, only knowledge learned from painting graffiti on the street. However they both draw from extensive personal research in folkloric art, national history and Mexican underground culture in developing their designs. Fabian is currently studying traditional printmaking techniques such as etching and lithography, in the numerous print workshops, which can be found in Oaxaca.
The following images are of the work at Wahaca in progress..
It’s been a busy year. Particularly with my on-going artist liaison work for Wahaca – finally it’s time to take stock of all the projects completed so far starting with… Daniel Melim at Wahaca Islington.
Earlier in the year we invited Brazilian artist Daniel Melim to create murals inside and out at Wahaca’s Southbank Experiment documented here. This job went back to back with another project at their new space in Islington (which we now have professional images of). It was an interesting space to tackle with a double height space which was left open, allowing Daniel to paint two storeys into the original ceiling.
To compliment Daniel’s stencils we used found surfaces such as panels from old tea chests and found wooden frames to add depth and texture to the installation.