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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: ARTS

“A FAIR TO REMEMBER!”

I’ll say this

…for now, only once (with advance apologies for repetition to the affirmative, in future posts!), but, with regard to fairs of the Fine Art ilk, 2014 has, to my mind, been the strongest year, yet.

From ‘Works On Paper’ at the awe-inspiring Science Museum, ‘The Other Art Fair’, (or TOAF), with its ever-edgy takeovers, at The Old Truman Brewery and Ambika P3, through to ‘The Independent Artist Fair’, (or TIAF, not to be confused with TOAF!), only the pitch-of-a-stone from Brick Lane and encouragingly organic and lo-fi, the common denominator has been the ability to maintain creative integrity for all artists involved, whilst simultaneously harnessing the entrepreneurial energy, worthy of a well-loved and respected developing ‘cottage industry’ template.

Take, for example, the aforementioned, ‘TOAF’.

It stays cerebrally locked since, in one fell swoop, its Director, Ryan Stanier, has successfully orchestrated a move to combine the best of the Creative Arts and simultaneously do away with the stereotypes of a world, exclusively inhabited by those of a certain socioeconomic background. Having attended a healthy amount of Private Viewings, it is clear to see that, as per the inclusive nature of the creative energy, itself, all walks are, not only welcomed and encouraged, but, in fact, vital to the lifeblood of this event-model. Founded in a desire to expose the wide range and eclecticism of Art at its highest level and reflected by the practitioners selected, the experience is paramount… Thus, the propostion of meeting and greeting with inspirational emerging and established talent, seeing their work within buildings which mirror the dynamism of the artistic energy they will house and adding culinary and musical fayre to maximise ‘the vibe’ (and rival any top London nightspot), becomes immensely exciting and enticing!

Let me make it clear, that the zeal-for-zeitgeist is not to the detriment of an authentic desire to simply share and engage on a holistic level. Kinetic to kinaesthetic, Stanier employs the diversity of Arts and crafts them into an authentic dialogue between maker and potential buyer, whilst managing to dissipate any pressure to consume, through the lively rendering of the backdrop of London culture. It is intense as it is genius! As if to compound the vision for ‘all-access-Art’, TOAF was a brand-partner at the recent ‘Off The Rails’ menswear event. Held, once again, at The Old Truman Brewery, it served to blow the doors off the image of an ‘apparel man-cave’, rather, embodying a treasure-trove of classic and contemporary collections for the modern man…Naturally, this was an absolutely perfect fit, vis-a-vis promoting the cross-fertilisation of complementary accoutrements for such lifestyles. Attending the four-day event was a distinct pleasure, made all-the-more amazing, by the speed of site-turnaround, given that the venue had played host to TOAF, less than a fortnight prior!

It is this marriage of a sensibility to multi-platform creative expression and a supreme logistical skillset, underpinned by sharp media-savvy and the pure passion of their manifestion, which has resulted in the rise of bringing art to the masses. If the round-the-block queue at TOAF’s last event was anything to go by, the popularity is only set to increase…meaning greater exposure to even greater artistic talent…and that is fine by me!!

©AFROW2014-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Other Art Fair

The Independent Artist Fair

Works On Paper Fair

Off The Rails

The Old Truman Brewery

SPOTLIGHT ON: ‘THE 24 HOUR PLAYS CELEBRITY GALA’… A SENTIMENTAL RETROSPECTIVE!

Dearest Afrow-Family, as I compose this, my newest post, somewhere, there is ensuing, a hive-of-activity, a buzz-of-excitement, a thrill-of-the-theatrical-chase! The location for the epicentre of this explosion-of-anticipation, is one of the cornerstone venues of the UK, if not global, Theatrical Arts arena, namely, our beloved Old Vic!

Yes, this weekend, will see well-known faces of stage and screen, join artistic forces and flex creative muscles with a tantalisingly team of writers and directors, themselves amongst the industry’s finest emerging and established talent, to produce ‘The 24-Hour Plays’, one of the most exhilerating, multi-discplinary rollercoaster-rides upon the Cultural/Creative Arts mustsee list!

Past years have seen a plethora of stars, old-guard and new, showcasing the best of edge-of-your-seat collaborations, somewhat metamorphosing into a combined vanguard, for the elemental nature of stagecraft. Such names as Josh Hartnett, he of the melifluously Robeson-esque tones, Sally Phillips, she of the razor-sharp witticims and Mackenzie Crook, he, the rascal of genuis comedy-timing, have deigned to take the bull that is the ’24 Hour Plays’ event, by the horns and subdue it over an evening of live performances, so palpably immediate, as to be ignited by raw flint!

This year’s participants, who will include the indefatigable, Clive Rowe, the understatedly sublime Tom Ellis, the creative powerhouse, who is Catherine Tate and a rising-star, with quite the most captivating screen-presence, Douglas Booth. The list of celebrities does not tail off and, consistent with the unpredictability of the process, will surely serve-up some of the most delightfully unusual casting combinations that the audience in-attendance might ever have the pleasure to see!

To compound the hub-bub, akin to that of a Hollywood premiere of a hotly-tipped, award-winning movie, is the fact that this year also marks the 10th Anniversary of the fundraising gala. No pressure then!

So what if, as an actor, you have to sit in a room with a prop, share it with other new faces, except that they’re not new faces, because you already know who they are, having racked-up, between them, a C.V the likes of which you couldn’t dream-up?! So what if, as a writer, you are to take that prop and reversecram a vignette, which will, hopefully, interlock seamlessly with all of the other five scenes?! What of the fact that you have to pull an all-nighter, in order to release said work-of-written-art?! Or even that there’ll barely be enough time for writer’s block?! Who cares, that it is all to be nursed-and-rehearsed, then presented infront of a kindly-donating audience of savvy theatre-going witnesses?! Oh and why should it be in-the-slightest bit bothersome that the Social Media-Readers can ride, side-saddle, with every second of progress?!

Forming, storming, norming and performing in a 24 Hour group-dynamic, for one night only?!

NO. PRESSURE. AT. ALL!!!!!

Well, having attended, myself, I know that it was pressure-filled, but that, evidently, this was the kind of pressure which caused the artists to yield control, dig deeper than ever before and share the journey towards the birth of theatre-like-no-other! I had the privelege of seeing the entire arc-of-vision, from backstage tours which allowed we band-of-happy-guests to see the performers working through scripts on their own, as well as being face-to-face with the very boards upon which so many greats had trodden, and which would soon become the home of skilfully-crafted creativity, with an intensely off-the-cuff edge!

The very year I attended, I remember walking with other guests, extremely gingerly, past an actor, himself, sat staring into the distance, as if in his own incredible world of moment-to-moment brainfreeze, interspersed with absolute recognition of his lines! It was, right then, that the realisation dawned upon me of being an honoured party to the condensed version of this ‘artist’s way’… and although, prior to the day, I had been enthusiastic about what was to burst its way into my psyche, it rapidly stepped onto my mental-plane and took subsequent flight!

My chosen outfit of a floor-length, champagne-coloured, spaghetti-strapped, ballerina dress, with draped bodice and an acreage of tulle skirt, had also flown all the way from New York City, and was accompanied by a matching pair of crystal-embellished high-heels, an iridescent, sheer pashmina, matching oyster-shell satin purse, with gold chain, a selection of pearl jewellery and a shower of Coco Chanel! My hair was gently encouraged into a delicate chignon, with a few wisps and tendrils, teased for texture… My chosen transport? A good old London Cab!

The show, itself, was…well…out-of-this-world! Filled with emotional highs, lows and turning points…and that was just the introductionEvery excited synonym, possible, sat upon the lips of the adrenaline-fuelled audience. We all knew what the rules of the ‘game’ were, but the improvisational quality of the experience meant that all of the rules had been jettisoned out of the fourth-wall window.. We all knew that too! No longer were we ‘audience members’, but, fellow participants.. Co-creative-cathodes, emitting empathetic energy! Thus, when one actress forgot her lines, looked out at us, declared, ‘Oh, I can’t do this’ and proceeded to retrieve the script and read, verbatim, through the scene, she received rapturous applause, not, as one might think, because she had been defeated, in any way, shape or form…but because she had made an absolute triumph of the moment, and enjoyed the freedom of being able to do so! In this context, it all made utter sense and gave rise to a certain bonding, such as I haven’t experienced in quite the same way since. The post-show party was an entirely relaxed, yet, highly elegant affair, with artists and guests mingling and dancing away until way into the wee, small post-24-hours hours!! I have no doubt that 10th anniversary celebration of this uniquely glitzy gala will be even more impressive, especially being held at the luxurious 5* Rosewood Hotel!

 Whilst embraced by glamour, The 24 Hour Plays model, is an ingenius medium, through which we are blessed to see expressed, what I believe to be at the foundation of all great experiences… At the root, is the courage to fly-by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants (be they of the exquisite YSL cigarette-silhouette, or a nonchalantly loose-legged, denim-flared DKNY variety), and to have faith that, not only is there potential for all of those experiences to come together for the good, but also, that these combined episodes, en-route, will contribute to an amazing ‘mosaic-of-moments’, which we, with true feeling, can all call ‘real life’.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to support The Old Vic by snapping up one of the few remaining tickets, getting your best bib ‘n’ tucker on and going… Black Cab, optional, of course!

©AFROW2013-2019  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.oldvictheatre.com/the-24-hour-plays-celebrity-gala/

www.rosewoodhotels.com

Creative Arts go OFF-the-BEAT-en track!

All roads led to ‘The Oval Space’, in Bethnal Green, last night, for one of the most anticipated of multi-media mash-ups on the Creative-Arts Calendar, namely, ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show 2013’! You might remember that I was more-than-a-tad excited at the prospect of attending the event, which was presented by ‘öffbeat’, the Arts lifestyle brand… Well, it was, indeed, an extraordinary display of, what I happen to believe, makes the power of creative-collaboration so undeniably potent.

The moment I entered into the behemoth of this, formerly-derelict, space, pregnant with potential, I immediately sensed a synchronicity between the throbbing baseline, which was disseminating through my central nervous system and the  contractions of imminent, fashion-brand-births! I also found myself marvelling at just how perfectly-balanced a venue it was, being, at once, expansive, with enough room in which to throw and catch shapes, a-plenty, whilst also intimate enough to accommodate the collective energy of a collaborative congregation.

The vibe was rich and distinct. People from all walks-of-life rubbed shoulders, as they shook to the dynamic DJ-grooves and pressed palms with artists and designers, alike, in congratulatory exuberance. However, just like the beats, the meet-and-greets didn’t stop, for these everday-people embraced one another, as well as opportunities to form newfound fashion-friendships.

Co-existing under this banner of ’emergent ambience’ were starkly-contrasting Art-forms. In one corner was housed a formidable frieze of stylised character-outlines, created by self-confessed Narnia-resident, Dom&Ink! These especially-conceived, ebullient images were oft-surrounded by admirers, yet, things took a definite turn, when the quiff-sporting illustrator, and author of ‘Map Of My Heart’, appeared, and encouraged the observers to colour them in! Around the corner, more exceptional Art took my breath away. Wandering guests were bathed in diffused, iridescent light, emitted from the impressive installations, at floor and eye-levels, of SunYin Xiaowen and Aphra Shezma. Others stood, face-to-face, with equally-stunning, Fine Art offerings from Linda Cieniawska, Charlotte Osbourne and Gwyneth Fugard. As I passed by the intermittent onlookers, it was as if their inner energies were mirrored by the pieces, in such a way as to become ‘human glowsticks’ and ‘living wallpaper’ and I recall feeling truly priveleged, not only to witness the effect of such private moments, being experienced in public, but to also be an integral part of appreciating the exquisite talent.

As time grew nearer to the presentation of fashion, which was so on-edge, it felt as if someone were scraping their fingernails down a blackboard, excitement was fuelled by singing sensation, Vince Kidd. All but prowling-the-platform, he delivered Otis-Redding-raw vocals, with a similarly-seasoned prowess, speaking-to-the-deeps with his soul-inspired spin, on life, love and all that lies between. After taking the audience upon a heartfelt journey, Kidd made his exit, stage left, to whoops of delight and enthusiastic applause, leaving the see-through screen to became the backdrop behind which each model would wait, before taking to the runway.

In a bid to further immerse myself into the experience, yours truly took to her second home (for which I didn’t need to find five percent!), the Frow! Suddenly, silhouettes of each collection were backlit-to-perfection, establishing the effect of a ‘fashion-fourth-wall’, as well as indicating that, tonight, something was coming, which was better than good! However, this separation was soon to be aurally removed by bespoke, live collaborations with up-and-coming musicians who, from the stature of their performances, are bound to make increasingly influential impacts in each of their respective genres. First-up, was the amazing singer, Lydia Baylis, who tore-away-the-veil, with a unique set of beautifully-accompanied, sultry, acoustic-folk. Hot-on-her-heels, and before anyone had time to settle into the still, harmonic haze, ‘Kill It Kid’ stepped up and totally smashed the divide, juxtaposing the, previously, gentle mood, with an awesome repertoire of sonic explosions! Both styles brilliantly served to complement the essence of each designer-aesthetic and we were treated to a creative-clash which would put the SS14 ‘print-clash’ trend of any well-known fashion-house to shame!

Models with raked-back, ‘just-got-out-of-bed’ Batiste-hair and fashion-forward, metallic make-up were bedecked in sublime, sheer pieces from the avant-garde world of Marcelo Yarussi, the deftest of twists on masterful, digitally-printed garments, designed by Nicolas Wirth and the cool creations of blank-canvas-white, high-end futurism of London College of Fashion Graduate, Isabell Yalda Hellysaz. The fêted, power-house-of-a design institution was also showcased via the stand-out, all-black, structural apparel from Maria Zhminko, the intriguing, open-weave, cage-like, riffs on body-con from design-duo, Rebecca Morter and Gemma Vanson and the decadent columns-of-kaftans, with concentrated print-formations, from the joint-genius-pairing of Christina Tiran and Victoria Rowley.

As the showlights faded, such superstar-DJ names as the irrepressible ‘Bill & Will’, ‘Shivas Regal’, the A&R-astute founder of Tigermilk Recordings, and idiosyncratic rhythm-maker, ‘Mculo’, were heralded to take-to-the-decks and storm-the soundsystem! With a two-step, here, and a head-nod, there, (but, sadly, before the anticipated arrival of the superb Rufio Summers), I was ready to bow-out gracefully and wind my way through a London-town which, once again, felt like a haven for burgeoning, undiscovered artistry. In fact, I can’t remember a night where so many apparent-strangers were apt-for-sharing, participating and co-creating such a ‘moment’ in time.. It just goes to show that there is a real fashion-fellowship, of sorts, doing-away with the out-dated image of an industry which is, supposedly, replete with back-biting, where only the strong survive, and is redefining it, as one filled with opportunities to go beyond disciplines or regions and traverse brand new terrain! Of course, no industry is perfect, but the ethos behind such events as ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’, promotes the commercial as a facilitative route and supportsystem to creativity, whilst maintaining, without compromise, the core integrity of the energy-source from which successful collaboration grows.

So, my deepest gratitude goes out to öffbeat, for providing me with with the chance to be part of such a unique vibe. Further congratulations go out to all other sponsors/ affiliates, both front and back-of-house, involved in delivering this fantastic gathering. Last night was everything it promised to be, an interactive celebration of multi-media expression, par excellence, filled with extraordinary and inspiring examples of Creative-Arts-at-their-best and I cannot recommend ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’ to you, highly enough! Neither can I wait to see how öffbeat and partners focus-pull their combined-skills to shine new lights on rising-stars of parallel creative-platforms in 2014!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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TWITTER-TESTIMONIALS FROM ‘VIVID FASHION GROUP’ (@VIVIDFashionGrp)

‘One of the most descriptive and all together best blogs we have read!! @A_F_R_O_W please review all our events!’

‘…just re-read your blog on the show, it’s such an honour that what we created came across to you. Thank you for your words x’

SPOTLIGHT ON: THE SHOREDITCH FASHION SHOW 2013!

I love fashion, I love music, I love art and I love it LIVE!

So, imagine my utter bliss at having discovered ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’, a multidisciplinary smörgåsbord of emerging creative talent, which takes place this Saturday 12th October, from 7pm to 1am, at The Oval Space in Bethnal Green, EC2.

Imagine my excitement, then, when, courtesy of the organiser, breakthrough Creative Arts lifestyle-brand ‘öffbeat’, yours truly was provided with a guest pass!

Presented, in association with ‘Batiste’ and in partnership with such top industry names as Julien Macdonald, Fashion TV, Artlyst, London College of Fashion, Serge De Nimes, to name but a few, the evening represents the best of the U.K’s next-generation Creatives, and promises to be an immersive experience, rather than just a show.

The music line-up has been confirmed to include the likes of the brilliant Rufio Summers, Kill It Kid, Vince Kidd and Linda Bayliss, whilst the unique perspectives of artists Sunyin Xiaowen, Linda Cieniawska, Aphra Shemza, Gwyneth Fugard and Charlotte Osbourne will be showcased in a specially-curated exhibition, under the intriguing title of ‘Through the dark, light shall appear’.

Add to this a number of pop-ups, live graffiti, some mouthwatering gastronomic offerings and an exclusive runway show (with designers to-be-revealed on-the-night!) and it’s easy to see why this is going to be both the hottest and coolest site-specific, creative-arts ticket in town!

 See you there!

For more information visit www.theshoreditchfashionshow.com ..but hurry up because, after the success of the the event’s first outing in April of this year, this is sure to be a sell-out!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED