Sunday, 29 May 2011

Shawn Smith

I first became aware of Shawn Smith's work on Twitter and instantly wanted to find out more about him. Smith creates 3D sculptures from a variety of hand dyed woods like Bass, Balsa, Plywood etc. He begins by sketching out the form of his subject matter to understand the scale and proportions of his next work. Then, after selecting his chosen material, he first shapes then dyes the individual pieces to their desired size and colour.
His sculptures intentionally resemble the look of a pixilated digital image, the inspiration source of which is found online. Smith creates the sculptures painstakingly, piece by piece, building the little nuggets of wood to recreate the original 2D image.
Taken from Smith’s website he describes his art as:
'My work investigates the slippery intersection between the digital world and reality. Specifically, I am interested in how we experience nature through technology.  When we see images of nature on TV or on a computer screen, we feel that we are seeing nature but we are really only seeing patterns of pixilated light.'
One of my favourite artists of all time, Georges Seurat, was the founder of 'Pointillism,' a movement  which involves the application of thousands of tiny strokes of pure colour with a paintbrush to build a whole image, if you will, the original CMYK process. He first discovered this effective technique in 1886 and today, over a century later and after many technical advancements, we can draw parallels in the ethos and the almost scientific approach in process of Seurat's work and Smith’s sculpture. I find it fascinating when you can take a modern art form and suggest the trace of history back to another artist who, no doubt, gained as much enjoyment and fulfilment from painting his work as Smith obviously does when building his.
If you want to see more of Smith’s work take a look at his website: or you can also find out more about Seurat at

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Dan Stiles

Dan Stiles, it would appear, is a bit of a music artist God. Originally from Michigan but now living in Portland, Stiles has made it his business to collaborate with an array of muti-genre heavyweights from the music world, including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Dizze Rascal and Hot Chip.
He has a number of influences ranging over old comic books, Pop Culture, African art and 3 of my favourites genres - Japanese, Deco and Art Nouveau. The work he creates is very iconic with a heavy graphic feel, using generally a cheerful palette and providing a strong sense of rhythm.
Having produced an exceptional amount of posters and artwork for the music industry he is keen to go on and focus on other areas of design, including textiles by bringing out a line of marine inspired fabric.
Dan has a great portfolio and selection of beautiful posters available in his online shop, you can check both out at

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Gabriel Dawe

A friend of mine suggested I look at as there are some interesting finds on there. There were a number of highlights but one in particular that caught my eye was an artist called Gabriel Dawe.
Gabriel is Mexican but has lived for a number of years in both Canada and Dallas, in particular The University of  Texas. As a boy growing up in Mexico he was exposed to the vibrancy and intensity of the culture and craft, and like all males, was discouraged to take up any interest in textiles and embroidery. He started life, as many artists do, as a graphic designer until he moved to Montreal with the view to discovering a new culture and country. It was here that his experimentation with his creative talent really started and the beginning of a new stylistic direction began.
Dawe's pieces are made over a period of 4-5 weeks and from thousands and thousands of threads. Should you be fortunate enough to catch one of his shows the work is best viewed in person to fully appreciate the 'Op Art' effect that it gives. The 'Op Art' movement was of course dominant in the 60’s, 'Op' being short for 'Optical' and as a genre centered around the illusion of the abstract lines or patterns creating movement. The 60's fashion is currently a trend that is dominating the fashion world, the emergence of which was seen at this year's fashion week. Dawe's beautiful work would be greatly admired regardless of when it was seen, even if only viewed on a  technical level. But it is interesting that the two have started to flourish at the same time and I wonder if therefore we might see a quicker rise of this sure-to-be star than perhaps even he might have ever predicted.
You can find out more about Dawe and his work on his website,

Monday, 16 May 2011

Audrey Kawasaki

I've had a bit of an addiction recently to Japanese themed art, I've previously blogged about Victo Ngai and now am going to shout a little about the wonders of Audrey Kawasaki.
I first became aware of Audrey's work about 3 or 4 years ago, I've always appreciated the genre that Japanese greats such as Hokusai, Kuniyoshi and Hiroshige embody. The more contemporary 'names' like Ngai and Shimizu (who I repped for a while) also have an exceptional draw to me but Audrey's work had a certain magic and charm to it that I'd not seen before.
Audrey Kawaski is a Japanese-American artist whose influences are strongly taken from Manga and Art Nouveau. If you are familiar with my blog you will know from previous posts I'm a bit of a fan of Art Nouveau, which might explain why Audrey's style was so attractive to me. Generally her work depicts beautiful young girls who have the look of innocence about them, but with an erotic edge. Audrey's website goes on to describe her work as 'The figures she paints are seductive and contain an air of melancholy. They exist in their own sensually esoteric realm, yet at the same time present a sense of accessibility that draws the observer to them.'
Audrey's work tends to sell like hot cakes, you can purchase limited edition prints through her website and I was lucky enough (in the two minutes they were sold) to hit the 'buy' button in time. I was assuming, from chatter on the web, that her work does sell out tremendously quickly but wasn’t prepared for all 300 to go in 2 minutes flat! The examples of her work featured below are typical of her style, her canvas of choice being wood panels. The print I now have hanging in my flat is 'She Entwined' which is the image on the right.
You can see more of Audrey’s work at

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Aqua Sheko

I've been meaning to experience the new fish manicure/pedicure phenomenon for a while and didn't have any plans so took Rob to Aqua Sheko on Frith Street W1 for a Sunday with a difference.
I didn't hold out any hopes that the therapy session would actually show results, it was more that I was intrigued by the concept and wanted to see what the fuss was about.
The manicure and pedicure treatments are conducted separately. The Garra Rufa fish live in tanks which are housed at the foot of the leather seats where your pedicure session happens. Their natural habitat is unsurprisingly different to what you find in this Soho based spa. The species has thrived in hot springs near Kangal, Turkey where bathers have visited for centuries.
Once your feet have been sanitised you dip them into the water and the fish instantly start to sucker at them. It’s a completely painless process and for me was a really relaxing sensation. The 'light box' base style tank affords a wonderful aspect of the fish silhouettes swimming around, finding an appropriate part of the foot and getting to work. The manicure bar has long tanks that you sit up at to dip your hands in, it enables you to get a closer look at the fish going about their business.
The visual theatre is just as an important element to this unique treatment as the stimulation of the fish. As far as the results of exfoliating your feet are concerned I didn’t notice a difference, frankly it didn’t matter, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
To book an appointment at Aqua Sheko check out