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G-Force Eighties Clothing Company in Nottingham

July 16, 2018

Anyone who remembers names like Cocky’s Shed and Culture Vulture in Hockley, Nottingham, was probably (like me) around there in the mid eighties when different forms of street fashion were establishing. I was chatting recently to a friend from my Trent Poly days about living in Nottingham and the name ‘G-Force’ came up, as we remembered the boutique clothing shop with it’s strong, bold knitwear.

Funnily enough we had both bought our own G-Force knits, to wear and be ‘in with the in-crowd’ of the time.

Although to be honest I didn’t always have the guts to wear it as often as I would have liked. This was my jumper.

Their label and logo with great details, heavy zip and characteristic stitching on the seams.

G-force was often worn by bands like the Stereo MC’s, the performance artists Stomp, celebrities like Cher and Eric Cantona. I started googling the name to see what was available and the name of it’s founder Robin Kerr appeared. As luck would have it, Robin not only had an accessible email address but is now a Senior Lecturer in Fashion at non other than the Manchester School of Art ..small world again eh !! I got in touch with him to ask a little more about this iconic brand… he replied to say he would answer any questions I might have but when I sent them over, sadly I didn’t hear back.

Another small piece of 80’s and 90’s culture. Who else remembers these ?

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Reginald Montague Lander Midcentury Posters Part 2

July 9, 2018

Welcome to part 2 of my posts about the wonderful mid-century posters and illustrations of Reg Lander. He worked predominantly using gouache and watercolour and had many distinct styles. A very painterly rendition of Conway to start us off.

There’s not been a great deal of change as this photographic view of Corfe Castle in Dorset (below), clearly shows.

Sadly as there isn’t a great deal of information online about Reg, I don’t know if he worked from real life, sketches or from photographs. I’m guessing a mixture of all three.

I love these rural views. The texture and colours work so well together.

Slightly strange yellow and orange, cloudy borders, I must say.

A beautiful harbour rendition above and a very different style of work below, almost like a grey-green version of a Seurat painting lol.

If the images I found online hadn’t been attributed to Reg, I doubt I would have believed that they were all the work of one person. Great to see how adaptable he was as an artist.

One of my favourite styles is this truly midcentury 50’s and 60’s one below.

He must have created hundreds of posters during his lifetime.

Quite a prolific and hopefully affluent artist.

Look at these beautiful scenes.

More uplifting scenes to make you smile here.

These remind me of the work of Harry Stevens and Daphne Padden.

If anyone has any more information about Reg Landers I’d love to hear it. Which of his work makes you smile the most ?

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Reginald Montague Lander Mid Century Poster Artist

July 2, 2018

Reginald Montague Lander was born in London in 1913 and lived until he was 67.

Educated at Clapham Central School and studied art at Hammersmith School of Art.

He produced a wealth of work in the 60’s and 70’s for travel companies. Look at these beauties !

A close up to appreciate the detail in his work.

He became the chief designer and studio manager at Ralph Mott Studio from 1930-9, and worked for Government Ministries and the British Transport Commission.

He produced a huge number of posters for GWR, LNER, British Railways and the Post Office, right up to the late 1970s.

He worked in a few different styles, painterly, graphic, architectural and even quite cartoon-like.

Tune in next Monday for a second post of Reg’s amazing work.

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Tom Duxbury Contemporary Illustration of times gone by

June 25, 2018

Tom Duxbury has been an artist since the age of four when he first remembers painting the sky, sea and the land in a school art lesson. Growing up in Yorkshire not far from Bingley, he feels those early years, surrounded by the northern hills, have never wandered far from where his true heart lies. Although nowadays he’s based in Chesterfield and works in Sheffield, his work still often tells stories of rural landscapes.

He studied in Leeds College of Art taking a foundation year there and enjoyed it much more than the illustration degree he did at Brighton. Afterwards he headed back to the Yorkshire hills to reconnect with the landscapes he loves so much. Tom works using lino-cutting techniques to create his illustrations.

Doing initial preparatory sketches to decide where the colours will lie and to perfect his curves, pathways and illustration layout.

By his mid twenties Tom had already created book covers for Vintage Classics, drawn chapter headings for A Little History of Science,  and illustrated a book for Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate.

Tom’s graphic, strong style is characteristic of linocutting — a printmaking technique using sculpted linoleum that was associated with the modern Vorticist movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

“My first problem was falling in love with a process that was so dated,” Tom says. “The sculptural process of lino printing is so integral to my image-making technique, because you can express so much in it. Because you’re carving, it just feels like you’re putting all your emotion into it.”

Below (top left) is his homage to E.Nesbit’s The Railway Children and the others covers are for James Herriot’s famous books about the Yorkshire Vet and countryside, like ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.

More info about Tom here on “The City Talking” blog. Great work Tom !

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MMU Degree Show 2018 Part 2

June 18, 2018

Hi and welcome back to part 2 of my blogpost about the Manchester School of Art Degree Show 2018. For you local peeps it’s open until 20th June so you’ve still got a couple of days to pop along and see it. For those readers who live a little further afield, I’ve taken some images to share with you.

Let’s begin with some wire-work from Rosemary Brown.

Joe Bazalgette Zanetti revealed the time consuming process of making a mould for a glass vase. I did think about those sixties vases from Whitefriars when I saw all the colours lined up. Great work Joe. Bailey Shooter showed us that shards and segments could equally be as beautiful as the whole form.

Francesca has gathered sand from 16 places in Italy, near to where she’s from and used it in her ceramics, to add texture and distinction to each piece.

Silver pieces from Maisie Smith, a beautifully designed table with inlaid wood by Anna Evseeva and some contemporary retro  cabinets from Samuel Ellis.

Sarah Lyons takes reference and influence from old rural wheat weaving forms like the Irish St Brigid’s Cross (above left). She’s made some wonderful pieces based on this one idea alone.

Moving onto the Illustration department. Some fresh quirky work from Olivia Axson.

Folk tale illustrations from Nafeesa Khaliq.

Fresh, vibrant lines from Sarah Wilson and Hannah Williams.

Laurie Campbell explores myths and legends.

Maisy Summer Lewin-Sanderson reveals some fabulous cutout singers and musicians, inspired by the Night and Day Cafe.

Ravilious style retro print from Amy Needham.

Lines and angles everywhere.

Finally to this years favourite choice for me, sumptous food illustrations from Alexandra Boocock.

Good enough to eat !

I hope you’ve enjoyed my trip to this years MMU Degree Show, which was your favourite.

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MMU Degree Show 2018 Part 1

June 15, 2018

I went to the Manchester Metropolitan University Degree show this week and caught up with a few creative graduates work. In case you are interested the show is on until June the 20th. Opening times: Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat/Sun – 10am – 4pm at Manchester School of Art (Benzie, Grosvenor and Chatham Buildings, Cavendish Street, M15 6BR) and 99 Oxford Road (Old Manchester Met SU, M1 7EL). Starting off on the Textiles in Practice Course, and the painterly work of Amy Pham.

Some beautifully delicate floral work by Gemma Barton, painted onto Muslin and Organza and layered to create depth.

Some aquatic prints from Alice Veevers.

Bold and beautiful, 1950’s weaves by Francesca Shimmin.

Textural exploration and visits to the jungle with Hannah Coates.

Fun and quirky, Hot, hot, hot Prints by Elizabeth Hinds.

Extraordinary tactile objects in foam and plastic from Hannah Marke-Crooke.

Elizabeth Birch brings an array of busy and buzz with colour and disjointed lines.

More to see in Monday’s Part 2.

Abram Games

June 11, 2018

Abram Games (29 July 1914 – 27 August 1996) was a British graphic designer. The style of his work – refined but vigorous compared to the work of contemporaries – has earned him a place in the pantheon of the best of 20th-century graphic designers. In acknowledging his power as a propagandist, he claimed, “I wind the spring and the public, in looking at the poster, will have that spring released in its mind.” Because of the length of his career – over six decades – his work is essentially a record of the era’s social history. Some of Britain’s most iconic images include those by Games.

Abraham Gamse was born in Whitechapel, London on 29 July, the day after World War I began in 1914, he was the son of Joseph Gamse, a Latvian photographer, and Sarah, nee Rosenberg, a seamstress born on the border of Russia and Poland. His father, who had emigrated to Britain in 1904, anglicised the family name to Games when Abram was 12. Games left Hackney Downs School at the age of 16 and, in 1930, went to Saint Martin’s School of Art in London.

Disillusioned by the teaching at Saint Martin’s and worried about the expense of studying there, Games left after two terms. However, Games was determined to establish himself as a poster artist so while working as a “studio boy” for the commercial design firm Askew-Young in London between 1932 and 1936, he attended night classes in life drawing. He was fired from this position due to his jumping over four chairs as a prank. In 1934, his entry was second in the Health Council Competition and, in 1935, won a poster competition for the London County Council. From 1936 to 1940, he worked on his own as a freelance poster artist. An article on him in the influential journal Art and Industry in 1937 led to several high-profile commissions for Games, from the General Post Office, London Transport, Royal Dutch Shell and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the start of World War Two, Games was conscripted into the British Army. He served until 1941 when he was approached by the Public Relations Department of the War Office who were looking for a graphic designer to produce a recruitment poster for the Royal Armoured Corps. From 1942 Games’s service as the Official War Artist for posters resulted in 100 or so posters. Games was allowed a great deal of artistic freedom which enabled him to produce many striking images, often with surrealist elements. Among his first designs was the Auxiliary Territorial Service recruitment poster that became known as the blonde bombshell, (below top left).

Games had wanted to challenge the rather drab image of the ATS but the authorities feared that the glamorous image he had produced would encourage young women to join the ATS for the “wrong reasons” and the poster was quickly withdrawn. The design Games replaced it with was criticised by Winston Churchill as being too “Soviet”.

Other notable posters included Your Talk May Kill Your Comrades (1942) in which a spiral symbolising gossip originates from a soldiers mouth to become a bayonet attacking three of his comrades. Games used the photographic techniques he had learnt from his father in that and other posters such as He Talked…They Died (1943) part of the Careless Talk campaign. In addition to his poster work, Games completed a number of commissions for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee.

 

Later in the War, Churchill ordered a poster Games had produced to be taken off the wall of the Poster Design in Wartime Britain exhibition at Harrods in 1943. The Army Bureau of Current Affairs, ABCA, had commissioned Games and Frank Newbould to produce posters for a series entitled Your Britain – Fight for It Now.

While Newbould produced rural images similar to the pre-war travel posters he had created for several railway companies, Games presented a set of three Modernist buildings that had been built to address poverty, disease and deprivation. The poster that annoyed Churchill most featured the Berthold Lubetkin designed Finsbury Health Centre superseding a ruined building with a child suffering from rickets. Churchill considered this nothing short of a libel on the conditions in British cities and ordered the poster to be removed. Ernest Bevin, the war-time Minister of Labour, had another poster in the series removed from the Poster Design in Wartime Britain exhibition organised by the Association of International Artists.

In 1946, Games resumed his freelance practice and worked for clients such Royal Dutch Shell, the Financial Times, Guinness, British Airways, London Transport and El Al. He designed stamps for Britain, Ireland, Israel, Jersey and Portugal. Also, he designed the logo for the JFS school. There were also book jackets for Penguin Books and logos for the 1951 Festival of Britain (winning the 1948 competition) and for the 1965 Queen’s Award to Industry.

Among his pioneering contributions was, in 1954, the first moving on-screen symbol of BBC Television. He also produced murals. Between 1946 and 1953, Games was a visiting lecturer in graphic design at London’s Royal College of Art and in 1958, was awarded the OBE for services to graphic design. In 1959, he was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI). He also designed the tile motif of a swan on the Victoria line platforms at Stockwell tube station in the late 1960s.

 

 

Games had been among the first in Britain to see evidence of the atrocities committed at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, when photographs taken there by British troops arrived at the War Office in 1945. The same year he produced a poster, Give Clothing for Liberated Jewry, and would often work to support Jewish and Israeli organisations. Games, who was Jewish, spent some time in Israel in the 1950s where, among other activities, he designed stamps for the Israeli Post Office, including for the 1953 Conquest of the Desert exhibition and taught a course in postage-stamp design. He also designed covers for The Jewish Chronicle and prayer book prints for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain. In 1960 Games designed the poster known as Freedom from Hunger for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Games was also an industrial designer of sorts. Activities in this discipline included the design of the 1947 Cona vacuum coffee maker (produced from 1949, reworked in 1959 and still in production) and inventions such as a circular vacuum cleaner and an early 1960s portable handheld duplicating machine by Gestetner, which was not put into production due to the demise of mimeography.

In arriving at a poster design, Games would render up to 30 small preliminary sketches and then combine two or three into the final one. He would also call on a large number of photographic images as source material. Abram quickly and methodically filled a layout pad with two to three dozen ideas for a poster. Invariably two elements would be combined to produce a third image. Once he had selected a design from the thumbnails, he circled it with a pencil. He wasted no time covering large areas and avoided detail. ‘I never work large because posters seen from a distance are small. If ideas don’t work an inch high, they will never work.’ he said.

Showing his rough ideas to his wife, children and friends, he would ask ‘What does this mean to you?’ If they looked blank, he threw his efforts into a large dustbin and started again. When the final artwork for the poster was finished, he painted ‘A. Games’ in a corner. It hung on his studio wall for one week, inviting criticism from colleagues, family and friends. Only when satisfied, he would add a full stop after his signature. Purportedly, if a client rejected a proposed design (which seldom occurred), Games would resign and suggest that the client commission someone else.

 

In 2013, the National Army Museum, London, acquired a collection of his posters, each signed by Games and in mint condition. Many thanks to Wikipedia for the information for this post.

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