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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: COLLABORATION

LAUNCH: LAUREN BAKER ART WILL ‘BLOW YOUR MIND’!

Imagine it…You alight with me at a Dalston Junction, which is giving birth to commuters, running-before-they-can-walk, to get to the already-distorted buses, distended, from overcrowding. We navigate our footsteps to the next available anaconda-queue, in anticipation of another modern-day Routemaster, to whisk us from Kingsland to Stoke Newington High Street and, arrive at contemporary art gallery-come-hang-out, of Hang-Up Pictures. Well, imagine that’s exactly what we did, as I take you on a tour through the mind-altering world of East-London, city-girl-turned-super-artist, Lauren Baker!

Owned by uber-curator, Ben Cotton and run alongside his wonder-woman sidekick, Carla, and their happening Hang-Up team, the gallery is a never-ending space whose walls change, chameleon-like, with the intense turn-around of incredible artists. Only a few winter-weeks had wound their way forward through the calendar, since Radiohead collaborator, Stanley Donwood had graced the walls with scenes from his ‘Apocalypse Boutique’, with ‘Karma Police’ being sonically speaker-piped into our waiting aural canals. Now, it was a decedent, two-tiered boudoir, with animal skulls of all dimensions, proudly-protruding along the vertical, with their human crania on the horizontal. Parallel uprights were replete with starburst relief-work and mirror-lightning bolts, complementing the intermittent thunderclap applause from beneath your feet in, enticing you to follow them below-deck.

What had been a second exhibiting room, had now become a night-sky-muralled, fog-smoke-filled, neon-flashing, lightning installation, which was all-encompassing, in swallowing you whole, whilst itself, spitting out rays of incandescent intensity. An homage to the power of Nature, it was, to me, a welcome riot-to-the-senses, which made my heart beat through my chest, like the bassline of the best dub-plate special!

En route upstairs, your eyes are seized upon by a golden sculpture of DNA, which has been drawn, 3-D printed, re-shaped and re-made into a thought-provoking representation of the precious fragility of the unique, human being. Yet, there was no point in trying to shift gear, since you could do all of that over the days to come (which I have been doing!)…All that was necessary, was to open the pores, accept the nourishment of Lauren Baker’s creations and release the sweat-inducing effect of sweltering multi-media art! Doingso was a lamp unto my neuro-processing-pathways, hitting me with the supreme potencies of Life, Death and the Afterlife, succinctly-presented via the stunningly poignant ‘White Light’. A mirrored infinity-coffin is leant, perpendicular fashion, as if propping up some celestial bar, daring viewers to come face-to-face with their own mortality/ immortality, dependent upon their respective perspective. Baker also points-the-finger at reflecting on existence, through clusters of projectile digits, protruding from a mini-fridge and 3-D wall-art, challenging the observer to ponder disillusionment in life’s journey and yet, not dwell on it. Why? Well, my thought is that one finger pointed in your direction, leaves the remainder pointing back at someone else. I assimilated them as a host of sat-navs, indicating the true-north of my authentic creative direction.

It was pointless to linger, either, as the gallery was soon heaving with well-wishing guests, apt for drowning in hip-hop, whilst making sequential moves around encased, hyper-embellished skull-art, made in collaboration with Sequin Kay, herself a rising-art star. in addition, the crystallised touch was applied to those of rodents, showing an acute attention-to-detail. Antlers were also bedecked in gold-leaf, or high-visibility flourescent pink paint, with my favoured set, adorned in amethyst crystal and the most stunning magpie plumage. Pieces doused in Mexican-styled paint-techniques showed Baker’s innate sensibilty to both, transforming and translating global culture, in an extremely audacious and masterly manner.

For many, the showstopper was a beating ferrofluid heart, blackened through the acrid, magnetic, influence of one lover’s presence upon another. The narrative is fulfilled in the melancholic hope that, still beating, life-after-loss can and does go on. Being the last exhibit I saw, on exiting, it left me with an essence of stoicism. Indeed, compounded by my enthusiastic admiration of such gargantuan and eclectic dynamism from Lauren Baker, the artisan, I have come to realise a deeper wealth of learning, which is that of appreciating the skeleton anew. After all, it offers us all support, in different ways, and whilst it lies beneath, it is no less beautiful because it is unseen.

I thank Lauren for sharing her distinct ability to encapsulate the meaning of the cycle of life with such raw emotional prowess and the Hang-Up curators for, once again, ensuring that a journey around their gallery is, not only utterly mind-blowing, but highly recommendable and totally unforgettable!

‘You Blow My Mind’ is on now until 24th January!

 www.hanguppictures.com  ~ www.laurenbakerart.com

http://www.sequinkay.co.uk/

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“MOVE” SATISFIES MY HUNGER!

Afrow-Family, I’m an easily-pleased kinda gal…and so, I write this mini-installment, in the relaxed state, typical of someone who has just had a scrumptious serving of hearty Christmas fayre!

Why? Well, hot-on-the-heels of ‘Fred Astaire’, Mr Hudson has cranked-up his all-singing and, evidently, all-dancing, music-making hit-machine, with new head-nodding, hip-pop track ‘Move’. In stark contrast to the former, which wound its way around the heart-mind with a debonaire downbeat, ‘Move’ sees a ‘ballin’ Ben’, bustin’-out his best one-two-steps, to a bumping bassline in, what is sure to be, an absolute radio-rampaging, dancefloor-filling smash! Being a Hunger collaboration, finesse and easy-elegance is effortlessly aligned, through a stripped-back, black and white aperture, with high-end sports-style and sharp-and-dapper suiting, being ‘Rankin’-file! Oh, and, of course, a chorus of feisty, front-cover-worthy, female dancing sirens, addicted to the singer (think, home-girl homage to Robert Palmer!), who, nonetheless, “know what they want”…! Mr Hudson dutifully obliges, in shooting and scoring a ma-hoo-ssive three-pointer, in true NBA/ Harlem Globetrotter-style! (Check the clip and you’ll see what I mean!)

It all adds up to a win-win combination of Hudson’s quirky and deceptively-intricate production-values, transmuted into mightily memorable-melody lines, relentless, rolling beats-per-minute and a chorus that could hook a killer-whale, plus the undeniable genius of the Rankin/Lawton creative sensibility!

For me, this track totally delivers and, quite frankly, I couldn’t care less whether or not a guy can groove, but I do love to see a man enjoying himself in the attempt! I get the feeling that there’ll be a lot of office-party dancefloors, shaking this Chistmas with “Move”-rs, following suit!

I’ll see you there!

‘MOVE’ IS OUT NOW! BUY IT, LOVE IT, PLAY IT LOUDLY, ON REPEAT! http://t.co/sYbKbwnaGD

WATCH THE VIDEO!: http://www.hungertv.com/feature/exclusive-mr-hudson-move/

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

‘SPOTLIGHT ON: THE SARTORIAL RISE OF MR HUDSON’

Dearest Afrow-Family, might I prevail upon you for a moment, in order to regale you with the very happy news that Mr Hudson has returned!

Yes, he’s back on-the-‘b’-of-the-bang, with his soulful new single, ‘Fred Astaire’ suitably-paired with a couture video-clip of exquisite elegance.

We catch him in collaborative mood, with photographer-extraordinaire, Rankin, his willing creative-accomplice, and what results is a snapshot of a man-in-love, making himself ready to meet the object-of-his-affections, herself, in preparation for his arrival. It is, indeed, a  romantic narrative, but don’t think for a minute that co-created visual-art would ever remain simple, in a Rankin-Hudson world!

What ensues is a glorious homage to the entire process of manifesting such a stunning end-result. With the objective of giving status-to-the-apparatus, we, the viewers, become an invited-audience of a site-specific, behind-the-scenes, movement sequence. Thus, in one shot, we are exposed to the make-up artist, putting the final swipes of non-reflective base onto Hudson’s gossamer-skin, whilst in another, a snake of crew-members process after him as, rose-in-hand, he winds his way to his date’s door. It is, in a word, stunning and witnessing the work-in-progress would be one thing, but the merging of the emotive element is a sight to behold. The crew seem to be a support-system to Hudson’s ‘Eynesford-Hill-style’ character, in parallel to the real-time support-group of professionals whom they form, in facilitating the succesful outcome of the project.

Stylistically, the video is an undeniable tour-de-force. From the trademark black vest, at the beginning of his dressing ritual, to the crisp, clean, lightning-white shirt, razor-sharp, Hardy Amies suiting, efficiently-cut, so as to accentuate Hudson’s compact frame, to the timepiece which tantalises at the wrist and the beautiful, old-faithful brogue, constituting the Astaire-footwear, the look hails to the top-to-toe glamour of the quintessential, reel-to-reel screen-star, with an anglo-edge!

Just as our protagonist takes to the look with a cool and quiet confidence, so too, has Mr Hudson stuck his stylistic-perspective above the parapet, along his journey to greater public visibility. At times the classic country-gent, in tweed flat-cap and waistcoat, at others the ‘Singing Detective’, in a dipped trilby-and-trench ensemble, he has always held an air of wit, to match the wisdom of his open-hearted lyrics. As his career has developed, so too has his foray into the realms of the fashion-cognoscenti deepened. Courting the extremes of the on-trend, has found him ahead-of-the-game when it comes to expressing his sartorial approach. He makes no bones about having a wardrobe, which incorporates either a T-shirt with a stark, geometric design, a vibrant, primary-red two-piece suit or super ankle-skimming, tapered trousers, seemingly tailored to within-an-inch of their perambulatory efficacy! He has an innate sense of freedom-of-fashion-speech, which promotes the continuation of his brand-conversations on many levels, whether high-end, via Jil Sander, Burberry or Dior, or high street, through the likes of Top Man, and the excitement rests in the fact that he is such a chameleon…ergo his model-status with the top-tier ‘Next’ Agency!

Of late, he has been off our radars, building his production-repertoire, thus any glimpses which we have seen of him, have showcased another of his ‘go-to’ looks, of striped, loose top, rolled-up, straight-legged pants and, more often than not, his beloved brogues…without socks, mind you! However, with the release of ‘Fred Astaire’, we get to see the a man who is a symposium-on-style… On this track, we hear just how gifted a vocalist he is, with a faultless falsetto, (better than I’ve ever heard him sing before), reminiscent of the scintillating skills of Daryl Hall, and the lyrical ability to verse the vulnerability of a type of man with a ‘stiff-upper-lip’, who is courageous enough to admit he hurts but still gets out there and loves, all the same.

Mr Hudson shines in the constellation of U.K and global artists and whilst he has named David Bowie as his style icon, I believe that this troubadour-for-our-times, is fulfilling his potential of being a top man and gentleman, for generations to come.

‘Fred Astaire’ video: http://youtu.be/ikvxrC2mI1g courtesy of HungerTV! Enjoy!

©AFROW 2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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’