The Comedy Store Players

Comedy Store Players

We love the Comedy Store players – an Improvisation night on Sundays & Wednesdays at The Comedy Store (London). Some of the stars include:

Andy Smart

Neil Mullarkey

Paul Merton

Richard Vranch

Josie Lawrence

Lee Simpson

We highly recommend this show to all comedy lovers. Unlike usual stand-up comedy, there is very little repetition with this amazing format – the comedians have their favourite “games” that come up every time but the themes are always different and include a lot of audience participation. Most of the show is improvised – I found the performance of the comedians really amazing and went back twice already!

Check out their website here.

Restaurant review – Shoryu Ramen

Shoryu Ramen Restaurant

Today we are reviewing the wonderful Shoryu Ramen restaurant in London.

Shoryu is a minimalist noodle bar specialising in handmade ramen in pork broth, and they also do great drinks including sake and Japanese whiskies.

Overall it’s a really lovely place and the staff are very welcoming, friendly and helpful. You are greeted as you enter with a drum! The ramen is beautifully presented and you get to choose from many different options.

They have traditional drinks such as sake but also some innovative cocktails! 🙂

The atmosphere is warm and it’s a great place for a quirky date!

Things to do and see in Bournemouth

The Pig – on the Beach hotel

The Pig on the beach Bournemouth

Described as “a 23 bedroom mellow country house perfectly situated along Studland Bay.” This is the perfect place for a posh getaway. Nice selection of wines and gourmet food.

Chaplin’s

Chaplin's Bournemouth

Described as a “quaint bar staging live local bands and serving real ales, with a cobbled terrace plus fairy lights.” This place is open late and has a very diverse crowd.

Swanage

Swanage beach

A lovely beach close to Bournemouth. You can get some delicious seafood and drinks in the cafes right by the beach.

Flirt cafe

Flirt cafe Bournemouth

This place is open all day and is perfect whether you want tea or jugs of cocktails, cakes, snacks, etc.

Interview with painter Joseba Eskubi

Today we interview Joseba Eskubi, a Spanish artist who lives and works in Bilbao, Spain.

Tesa, 2013 Oil on canvas 61 x 50 cm

Tesa, 2013
Oil on canvas
61 x 50 cm

Tell us a bit your background and how you got into painting in the first place.

Painting has always been there. My work has experimented with different ways, but in these recent years I have focused on a serial work about materiality and gesture, as imaginary still life.

Dolorosa

Dolorosa, 2012
Oil on canvas
46 x 38 cm

Your paintings appear in a surrealistic world – have some surrealist painters in particular influenced you?

Yes, I am very interested in Surrealism. It has been a very fruitful and  a thrilling artistic movement. I especially love the paintings of Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy and Oscar Dominguez, for example. I feel much affinity, especially in their search for a stage on which to place a soft material, in metamorphosis … the suggestive ambiguity of the figures and the hypnotic value of images.

Nimo

Nimo, 2012
Oil on canvas
46 x 38 cm

It is difficult to describe your art – some parts are figurative, some are abstract. How would you describe the subject matter of your art?

I like to work in a frontier territory where the form might suggest a figure, but at the same time continues maintaining its intensity as something abstract, that causes an immediate sensory reaction. The scenic device of my painting tries to build a feeling that everything is real but all of this story is simultaneously decoded by gestures and strokes that cancel a concrete and figurative reading of the image.

I generally work in a serial painting that creates a visual chain on which each piece is attached to the others, forming an insistent atmosphere, with different variations on the same theme.

Untitled

Lamur, 2013
Oil on canvas
61 x 50 cm

Where do you find your inspiration?

The start emerges from the contrast between various qualities (dry / wet, opaque /transparent, rough / smooth…) Initially I want to link the painting to these sensory perceptions. All the materials are an interesting map of registers and little nuances.

I am fascinated by the small details of Baroque painting: a fold, a cloud, a fragment of the body… sometimes this de-contextualization serves as a reference and starting point for all the process

Untitled

Dedo, 2013
Oil on canvas
92 x 73 cm

Are there any other contemporary painters that you are interested in at the moment?

I am interested in many artists, including Cristine Guinamand, Ivan Seal, Damien Meade…and many others.

Grijalbo

Grijalbo, 2009
Oil on canvas
61 x 50 cm

What is the thing you like the most about painting?

I like the whole physical aspect of the process, the feeling that the work has a concrete development of time in that place. There is a sort of lifelong commitment to painting, an obsessive relationship where the work is alive, communicating you possibilities and opening new ways of perception.

Maldoror

Maldoror, 2008
Oil on canvas
38 x 55 cm

You can see more artwork on Joseba Eskubi’s website.

Interview with figurative painter Miguel Laino

Today we catch up with Miguel Laino, a Spanish-born figurative painter living and working in London.

Tell us a bit about you, your background and how you got started with painting.

I originally came to London to study Fashion Womenswear at Central St Martin’s College and had the opportunity to work with designers like Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. After graduating, a visit to the Georg Baselitz retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy had a profound impact on me and triggered the start of my career change to painting. The process itself was a gradual shift outwardly, but on an inner level it was an instantaneous realisation.

What inspires you to paint these days?

The times we live in offer an unprecedented proliferation of the sheer volume, diversity and accessibility of visual imagery. At the same time, the opportunities for communicating ideas and sharing information are immense. And yet there is a paradoxical sense of isolation that comes with it all, and a desire to re-establish a sense of community and connection with each other and the world itself, with nature. It is this boundless interplay between the inner and the outer, the individual and society, technology and nature that inspires me to reflect it as honestly as I can.

How important is technique to you?

I believe it is important not to become rigid about technique, but rather to be spontaneous and keep exploring new ways of using the medium to expressive effect.

Do you think that the development of photography has radically changed the role of the painter and art in general?

You could argue that the advent of photography would have made photo-realistic painting and even figurative painting and portraiture obsolete to some extent. And yet these forms persist and have evolved to survive alongside photography. There is something irresistible about art fashioned by the human hand that we will never tire of seeing. In some ways the best photography needs to embody these qualities too.

Describe what your life is like as a modern artist.

In many ways it is a typical urban, 21st century life, with the exception that the sights, sounds and experiences are often revisited, re-imagined and shared with a wider audience through the work. In this way, a single personal experience can have many incarnations and affect many people.

What would be your dream as a painter? Is there a gallery you would like to exhibit in? What is your ambition in the next couple of years?

The privilege of spending the rest of my life painting and the gift of constantly being surprised and inspired by what comes through the work.

At the moment I am very fortunate that my solo show “there’s nothing out there” is being held in the wonderful space that is Yusto/Giner Gallery.

You can view more artwork by Miguel Laino right here.

Suzannah Doris Dress

Interview with British designer Suzannah

British designer Suzannah Crabb creates unique tailored dresses, from ready-to-wear to couture wedding dresses. We’re thrilled to share with you an interview in which she tells us more about her inspiration and creative process.

Suzannah Fifties Duchesse Corsage Wedding Dress

Suzannah Fifties Duchesse Corsage Wedding Dress

How and when did you get into creating clothes? Do you remember the first garment you designed?

I have always made and created clothes since I was a child. Sewing and knitting were skills I learnt from my mum. She is and always was passionate about clothes and about her appearance at all times and she loves fashion. I must have inherited it.

You say your style has been heavily influenced by vintage fashion, notably the 1950s. Can you name a few of your most important designer influences?

I love the vintage works of James Gallanos, the American couture designer and the work of Jean Patou. In the modern day I admire the work of John Galliano. He is a genius. He creates such theatre whilst maintaining very powerful, wearable and totally elegant dresses.

Suzannah Doris Dress

Suzannah Doris Dress

The fabric you use is an essential part of your creations – how do you go about finding the perfect fabric? Can you name a few of your favourite fabrics and describe their qualities?

We now develop a lot of our fabrics from the initial weaving. I am so passionate about the properties of the fabric; the structure and the exact amount of sheen and very specific colours. I love very compact, very clean weaves that we can tailor beautiful and create wonderful silhouettes with.

Celebrities, actresses and members of the royal family have famously worn your creations. How much did your long experience in the fashion industry facilitate you getting such amazing exposure?

I was never particularly well connected in celebrity circles, but I think the word spread because of the nature of the dresses and the look of the clothing which I create being appropriate for special occasions. I strive to bring a youth to couture.

Suzannah Fifties Tank Dress Cannes Stripe

Suzannah Fifties Tank Dress Cannes Stripe

Can you describe the typical process of coming up with a new design? How much experimentation and testing is involved? Do you work mainly alone, or do you have a team with specialists in different areas?

I could and I do come up with many many many designs everyday. I tend to work in a different way. I focus on particular silhouettes and shapes I believe in , and work with them to create the ultimate fit and cut. I start the process with the fabric. When I find or develop a weaving it immediately brings a silhouette to my mind. I then create this on the mannequin, and develop it from there with my team. I work with specialists in fabric and cutting. We then test the silhouette for cut many many times, making many many prototypes, and also test for fabric performance.

What advice would you give to young designers trying to create their own labels? Do you feel like you knew “this was it” for you? Was it easy for you to find your clientele?

I could not have achieved the success of my business without having years and years of industry experience to support my passion. Also commercial business acumen – which has to support the label – can only be achieved through working, I believe. However, I know designers who have become very successful straight out of university. Though I feel like my business is not a design label as such, but more of a couture label with the emphasis on supreme servicing, expertise and knowledge.

Which of your creations are you the proudest of and why?

The Kaleidoscope dress. It is unique, modern, timeless, fun, unbelievably flattering and can be worn to any occasion.

Kaleidoscope Silk Dress White

Kaleidoscope Silk Dress White

To find out more, visit Suzannah’s website

Winston-featured

Interview with Winston Chmielinski

Young and talented artist Winston Chmielinski is well known for his strong and colorful paintings. We have the pleasure of sharing with you a little conversation we had with him about his art:

MAN WOMAN BIRD

Man Woman Bird, 2008

How important is figuration to you? Your paintings have been described as “verging on the threshold of photorealism and abstraction”. Do you agree with that description?

I regard the painted space as threshold; from moment to moment there’s an uncertainty of line, color, and form. Figuration sets up a current in all that chaos, something like a wave captured in a box, without which a painting would be nothing more than the sum of its parts. But I think any form can spark growth, and recently I’ve been experimenting with improbable shapes derived from virtual renderings and physical ephemera alike.

Swallow

Swallow, 2011

Do you find any other activity as fulfilling as painting?

I am humbled and challenged by it. I like to think it brings out the best in me.

SERVING UP SOME BACK PAT AND A CHUBBY HAND SHAKE

Serving up Some Back Pat and a Chubby Hand Shake, 2013

For you, is there a big difference between the creative act of painting and the finished result? How much importance do you give to each? Do you think it is a rare thing to be pleased with both the act of creation and the finished work? Is a beautiful painting painful to produce?

Stages are inherent in the process of painting, but wholly committing to them is counteractive. The preciousness of ‘time spent’ and ‘materials used’ will putrefy a painting if you let it. Instead, every stroke should have the potential to destroy just as much as it creates, which leaves half of the act to chance. Finishing a painting can be bittersweet, because whatever conclusions you’ve reached in one will be torn to shreds in the next. It’s all quite exhausting, actually.

MARCH 2012

March 2012

Do you feel that there is a big difference between your art and your life? Do the two go well together? Do you ever feel like you need to choose between one or the other?

I process everything through painting. To me they are inseparable, but then again, there’s a lot within me that needs to be wrestled out. And my messy studio is the perfect arena for that, because anything goes!

A YARD

A Yard, 2013

Do you enjoy the works of other artists? Is there anything happening right now that you find interesting? Do you feel like art is much influenced by the changes in the outside world (technology, etc.)?

Despite the fact that almost everything fits under the canopy of “art” today, I believe that successful works must transcend historical tropes and still make their humble insistences. There are artists across all media who move me, some working with teams to realize incredibly intimate pieces, and others still pushing forward with painting or prose. Art cannot survive in a bubble, and yet some of the most profound pavilions at the Venice Biennale this year, for example, transported me to a sublime place where nothing else really mattered, except the fact that I was overwhelmingly alive.

DRIFTWOOD

Driftwood, 2011

Tell us a bit about your state of mind when you paint – do you paint alone? Is there any particular ritual you like to follow? Do you listen to music?

I’m highly distractible, so I have to set up a quiet and solitary environment in order to channel those impulses back into my work. If my left hand gets tired, I switch to my right. Not that I’m ambidextrous in the least—I just don’t want to break concentration.

WOMAN THREE TIMES A WOMAN

Woman Three Times a Woman, 2010

How do you come up with the colours you use? There seems to be such a complex balance between your blues and pinks, deep greens and purples – is it fair to say that there is a psychedelic element to your art?

Reference images inform my choices. But through the transposition of color, for instance, a sinking shadow might require something blacker than black, like a head-on collision of green and red. That said, working with a varied palette always runs the risk of churning out mud, so I have a lot of clean cotton scraps on hand and will often infer value through chromatic relationships rather than absolute hues.

PASTORAL

Pastoral, 2011

1988

1988 (Self-Portrait), 2012

THREE CAN BE SO VICIOUS

Three Can Be So Vicious, 2013

Pause

Pause, 2012

The End or Just Before

The End or Just Before, 2007

Low to the Ground

Low to the Ground, 2013

From Where I'm Standing

From Where I’m Standing, 2012

You can view more artwork on Winston Chmielinski’s website and on his blog.

Darius-featured

Interview with artist Darius Martin

Romanian artist Darius Martin has created a series of colourful and enigmatic works. We interviewed him to learn more about his mysterious “inner world” and post-apocalyptic visions.

The Passage by Darius Martin

The Passage

Tell us a bit about your background – where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I was born in Oradea, a town in western Romania, and I’ve lived here for much of my life. I also lived in Cluj (the capital of the historical region Transylvania) for several years, including my university years. Right now I’m sort of oscillating between the two.

When did you start getting “seriously” into art?

It’s actually hard to remember when it all started, because art has been in my family for several generations. My grandfather was a photographer and a war correspondent. My father was a sculptor and taught art at the local Art University. My mother is a retired photographer.

Airborn (Dreaming) by Darius Martin

Airborn (Dreaming)

Your style of painting features some amazing colours and movement. Is there anything in particular that inspires you to create your art? Where do you find your inspiration?

I’m inspired by nature, inanimate objects and the processes that occur in nature. Although my work has perspective, surface, texture and colour, I don’t actually depict reality, rather I filter what I see, and recreate my own alternative world. It’s basically a balancing act between reality and abstraction.

You say your art “opens a door to an inner world people might find familiar, yet disturbing” – what are you looking for when you paint? Do you think art can reveal something that would otherwise remain hidden? Are you more attracted by reality or fantasy?

Everything in nature (including us, humans) has an outer shell and an internal structure. Doctors and engineers understand this best and they look beyond the external “package” of things, however they’re limited in their work by the laws of nature. Artists on the other hand can create their own rules, or break existing ones without limitations.

I like to take things apart, look inside, and then reassemble them according to my creative needs. I’m not interested in reality or readymades, unless they’re so bashed up and destroyed, that their initial use is no longer apparent. To answer your question, I’m only interested in the basics of reality (lighting, colour and texture) and “fantasy” as a mental process, rather than the actual genre, although I’m fascinated by science fiction and fantasy, especially post-apocalyptic imagery.

Heavy Rail Blues by Darius Martin

Heavy Rail Blues

How often do you exhibit?

I’m sort of recovering after an almost complete hiatus (2003-2010), and since then I had about a personal exhibition every year. For this year I’m preparing three exhibitions.

Do you have a favourite artist?

Uh, hard question! Because my preference is always shifting according to many factors, I can’t think of any artist that I would qualify as a personal favourite. I’ll try to make a list of artists that I love (both historical and contemporary). The list only contains painters (although I love artists from all mediums), because my main field is painting.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo – because he was 500 years ahead of his time.

El Greco – because he got closer to the divine than anyone else.

Vermeer – because he almost reached image perfection.

Goya – because he explored the depths of the human soul like nobody else.

Van Gogh – because he was sane in a crazy world.

Max Ernst – because his work defined modern Science Fiction.

Antonio Saura – because I tried to be like him.

Boxed Landscape Darius Martin

Boxed Landscape

Do you have anything special planned for 2013?

I have three projects that I’m working on right now. A new series of paintings, quite different in concept from the ones I did last year, an installation and a sculpture project. The idea is to to switch mediums and see if my body of work retains some degree of unity.

Are there any tips you would give to aspiring artists?

Because I’m an aspiring artist myself, I can’t give any advice on how to become successful. Especially because success is hard to define these days. I think social skills are important if you’re trying to make your work known to the public and especially if you’re trying to sell it. I’m not a socialite myself, but I’m slowly working on this skill. Being able to speak about your work and explain it to as many people as possible is probably just as important (if not more) than knowing how to draw!

Light Angel Darius Martin

Light Angel

Rust and Steam Darius Martin

Rust and Steam

 

The Watcher by Darius Martin

The Watcher

You can find Darius Martin’s artwork on his website.

Nelina-featured2

Interview with Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova

Ukrainian painter Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova offers us a colorful figurative art, both expressive and harmonious. We are proud to present an exclusive interview with the artist.

Untitled by Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova

Untitled

Portrait of a Girl by Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova

Portrait of a Girl

Where were you born?

I was born in Belarus, in a small place called Kurenets, not far from Minsk. My parents were of Polish origin.

At what age did you get into art professionally? Was it a difficult choice to make?

When I was young, I definitely knew that my life would be connected to art. After graduating from Art College in Minsk, I moved to Yalta in Crimea. There, I started working professionally and made my living selling my artwork. I was then 30 years old.

Disguise by Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova

Disguise

You say: “it is interesting for me to see through colours and lines something hidden and sometimes to hide the obvious.” Do you feel like there are certain things than can only be seen through paintings? Do you voluntarily hide some things from reality?

You understood very well, there are some things we can not see through the images that the artist has hidden – or for which he perhaps just gives us a hint.

When the eye of the spectator is active, the viewer’s imagination is awakening – this is the true art as I understand it.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I never think about the inspiration – for me, it is an illusion. I only hear my inner voice that tells me what I want to create in the moment, whether it be painting, sketching or just going out and getting some air.

Nude by Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova

Nude

Can you tell us a bit about your artistic process? You say you use a mixed technique, drawing and oil on canvas. Are there any other unusual techniques you like to experiment with?

At the very beginning of my work, I use all that I have – and only at the end of it, to my great regret, nothing is seen. I think it may be the shortcoming of the classical education and it’s so difficult to fight.

How often do you exhibit?

I have participated in joint exhibitions recently – for a solo exhibition I don’t have enough works or couldn’t exhibit some of them in the same place. Although I am thinking about it.

Woman on Red by Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova

Woman on Red

How would you describe the art scene in Ukraine?

I think that Ukraine could have a bright future. In our country, much is being done by Victor Pinchuk, a billionaire who presents art exhibits of high level in Ukraine and the best artists in the world. He has also created educational programs of contemporary art for adults and young people – it is not in all countries you might see something like that.

At the Window by Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova

At the Window

Do you have a favourite artist?

I love a lot of painters and enjoy their work. But in the beginning of my career I have mostly been influenced by Mikhail Vrubel. I love Picasso: I like his ideology and his multifaceted art. Sometime I read that Picasso came to cubism when he saw Vrubel’s Demon in Moscow. This fact really impressed me! Also, Willem de Kooning…

Vrubel Demon

Demon Seated in a Garden, Mikhail Vrubel, 1890

Are there any tips you would give to aspiring artists?

I think they have to believe in themselves and get pleasure from the process of creation.

You can find Nelina Trubach-Moshnikova’s paintings right here.