Feature production log

 

In the earliest days of our group’s meetings, we were all collectively clear that we wanted to feature and base our magazine around the arts, whether it be creative, musical, or humanities. We decided on newer up and coming artists, as we had an easier access to interviewing and speaking to them, as well as there being a gap in the market for it.

We visited two independent specialist magazine distributors in London to get inspiration for our layout and concepts. From what we saw, we knew we wanted our magazine aesthetic to be unconventional and artistically driven. I learnt a lot about what is in popular demand by the public, while also being risqué enough to engage ore niche artistic audiences. White space and varying accent colours were key features we wanted to include.

When first thinking of new and talented artists, my first thought was Jo Rosenthal. I have had online and personal correspondence with her for a few years, and her art was topical as well as being unique enough to contrast from my group’s feature ideas. Although she is largely an unknown name, she has done enough interviews in the past to know how to answer my questions informatively with key vocabulary that would suit the feature.

I first used Instagram messenger to contact her, as it was approachable and friendly and not too formal, to correlate with her online presence that doesn’t take itself too seriously. She was quick to agree, so my next step was to redirected to email and sent her professional, as well as genuine questions that would give email content more depth and personality.

Her questions were answered in full, so were easily converted into prose for my article. However, when I needed various quotes that she hadn’t touched on, I used statements from her artist profile that she had also sent me the link for. As well as this, I gained a deeper knowledge of her identity and nature through the handful of her previous interviews that are online.

Writing about her art was both easy and difficult in equal measures. I understood and liked the thinking behind her pieces, but as it was very conceptual and emotionally driven, my writing risked sounding pretentious and too flowery at times.

With this in mind, I’d made sure to keep my piece interesting and engaging, as well as allowing the language to dip into the creative spectrum. I had multiple people of different ages and social groups read through the piece once it was finished, and edited more than five times to perfect it as well as I could.

 

 

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Through their eyes: Karren Seymour

 

Instillation artist Karren Seymour is who many would describe to be an conventionally unconventional creative. Pom-poms on every accessory imaginable, paint splattered dungarees; she pays a distinctively Dexy’s Midnight Runners homage. The chopstick in her hair and the glitter around her eyes teleports you away from the drearily decorated coffee chain, into a realm she has made unapologetically hers.

Growing up in the rural county of Shropshire, Karren had humble beginnings. In turn, her departure from traditional country living to conceptual and alternative instillation art was by no means a predictable one. “My parents don’t really understand my art.” She confesses, with an air of blazé acceptance.

“Modern art has no voice in Shropshire, so moving to London was just always something I had to do.” Since trading in her shears and rake for fabric and paint, Seymour has been given the opportunity by fellow industry collectors and art enthusiasts to hold gallery showings across the capital. And despite the warm reception her controversial creations received, the science behind her chaos is one to be learnt, respected, and admired.

“It all starts with structure.” She urges, grinning over a mug of a chamomile tea no less. “I’ve always been fascinated by the shapes in structures, and how they can change the space they’re in.” Her work, spanning from backgrounds in architecture to interiors, have always kept a conscious loyalty to foundations of the surroundings, and reinventing the space. Seymour’s instillations ooze playfulness, with technicolored balloons, bubble wrap, metals, and wood. There is no material discriminated against, with few stones are left unturned in her construction process.

Colour began to dominate Seymour’s instillations, when what began as minimalist displays, slowly evolved into what became more abstract concepts, tuning into bright primary colours. “I want to make people feel something when they see my work, I choose to do that with colour.”

She urges that instillation art is equally as grueling and rewarding as the canvases on our walls. “They’re almost performances in themselves. They can be visually enjoyed in ways 2-demential art fails to be.”

The focus of her contemporary works are built around nostalgia and childhood youth. Her most recent venture incorporates donated toys and play equipment, as a means to explore playfulness that our everyday lives lose over time. “I want it to be fun. Everything I’m using is associated with a carefree happiness that we all wish we still had.” The instillation is for onlookers of all ages to enjoy and relate to the display. “Environmental artwork is meant to make audiences feel included. It can be very spiritual. Kusama inspires me most in that respect.”

Yayoi Kusama, arguably one of the best living artists, has captured the public’s attention to environmental art. The Japanese artist’s Mirror Room exhibition in Los Angeles’ art museum The Broad, has drawn in crowds of across the globe, lighting the way for up and coming artists of her kind. Seymour recalled particularly liking the artist’s attention to dots and the dimensional shift they can bring spaces.

Kusama took an infatuation with polka dots, that eventually led into avenues of a deeply rooted mental obsession, eventually using them indefinitely in her art. “She’s designed interactive rooms in galleries for people to add their own identity and flare.”

However, it seems the occasional audience participation is farthest Seymour is prepared to go in terms of collaboration. “I prefer to work alone because that way I don’t need to compromise my vision for anyone else.” She laughs, “I can be very selfish, because I know what’s in my head, and adding another oversized ego into the mix would only lead to disaster. At least for now.”

Random Acts see spark in UCA student

Channel 4’s Random Acts series take pride in embracing new talent in the world of film. Elmaz Ekrem, BA (Hons) Animation student from UCA Farnham, was commissioned by the Random Acts team earlier this year to create a film responding to the recent refugee crisis.

‘The Law of the Sea’ tells the story of Greek fisherman rescuing boatloads of Syrian refugees stranded along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Enfield born student was picked out of thousands of applicants to showcase her skills, Random Acts stating ‘We handpick the best artists from around the country … films that are pushing boundaries, provoking thought and debate, playing with your minds and making you ponder your existence.’

Ekrem set out to change her viewer’s standpoints on what has become a global humanitarian tragedy. She told local newspaper East London & West Essex Guardian; “It is so easy for a nation to become spectators to a situation that they should be actively helping.”