Thursday, 29 January 2015

recent works

New illustrations in vintage frames available from my website.

I have created a set of limited edition prints for US-based online art gallery Buddy Editions, including the above Spring Flowers in a Classical Urn. Shop the collection and read an interview with me here.

Timothy with a Cat.

A series of bone china plates - coming soon!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

christie's interiors january/february 2015

Some recent styling work for the third issue of Christie's Interiors magazine, with photography by Tom Harford Thompson. We shot this one at home on a very cold Sunday morning, just before Christmas, along with an abundance of fruit, vegetables and flowers from my local greengrocer. I was more than a little taken with the (huge and heavy) Piero Figural Venus head-shell champagne bucket. I mean, could you ever imagine a more fabulous object? I think not. Imagine that in the centre of your dining table. I returned it very reluctantly.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

a birthday in bruton

It was Duncan's Birthday at the beginning of January, and to celebrate we travelled down to Somerset last weekend with a group of nine good friends in tow. We took an early train from Paddington to Bruton and walked through several muddy fields to get to the newly opened Hauser & Wirth Somerset, which lies just outside the village. D. and I have spent a fair amount of time in Bruton - usually when staying at At The Chapel - and I'd wanted to visit the new gallery ever since I first heard about its arrival. It seemed like the ideal place to visit with a group of friends (especially with the promise of a big, celebratory lunch to look forward to afterwards), but primarily I just felt like taking us all to the countryside for a day - you can always guarantee hopping on a train and seeing fields and rivers will lift everybody's spirits.

The gallery complex is quite phenomenal - a beautiful combination of new, sleek wood, old stone and glass. Everything seemed to glisten or glow in the soft, frosty January sunshine (we were very lucky with the weather). Here's our friend Paola enjoying the country air in the courtyard. I loved her big check and blue theme.

I cannot recommend Pipilotti Rist's exhibition Stay Stamina Stay enough. From summer 2012 through to summer 2013, Rist spent a sabbatical in Bruton, taking part in the first Hauser & Wirth Somerset artist residency. She went on to produce new work in response to the surrounding landscape and the people she met. In one of the exhibition spaces, Rist has projected Mercy Garden on to two of the walls; the imagery comes mostly from footage the artist shot whilst living in Somerset. Slow motion close-ups play out in mirrored effect; fingers stroke stinging nettles, hands caress soft petals and washing floats in the breeze. The images are filtered and layered and set to a soundtrack of banjo folk music by Heinz Rohrer. It was beautiful, and in fact we all left the space feeling quite dazed.

After our jaunt around the gallery and a Bloody Mary or two each, we sat down at our table in Roth Bar & Grill. Not just any old gallery restaurant, the chefs serve honest, seasonal food. The room itself is wondrous - the gallery's entire family of artists have work on show. With D. surrounded by his friends, we had the most perfect, long lunch. People caught up and laughed and laughed well into the afternoon. The food and drink was simple, earthy and delicious - sardines on toast, roast chicken, fish stew, treacle tart, good wine and good cheese and the obligatory round of espresso martinis to wake us all up again.

Work no.1086 Everything Is Going To Be Alright by Martin Creed. The ideal mantra.

Well and truly stuffed, we left the gallery and headed over to the village of Bruton itself (by this time it was quite dark and we were trying very hard to walk in single file down the winding country lanes). We crowded around this very apt neon in the clubroom at At The Chapel on the High Street and drained a bottle of wine or two. Before long we were back at the tiny train station, homeward bound. The Birthday party carried on into the night, but my memory is a little vague post-6pm. I suppose one could blame this on those small bottles of champagne, which we went through at a rate of knots during the return journey... A perfect day.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

art on a thursday

Still Life at Basiluzzo by Alberto Morrocco.

sin fang

Did you know about Sindri Sigfússon and his beautiful music? I didn't, and the reason for this baffling oversight is quite beyond me. Iceland musician Sigfússon, or Sin Fang, creates swirling, wistful songs, and I can't get enough of them this week. Listen to the rippling single Look at the Light below. Warm piano, brass, strings and a vast array of twinkling electronics combine to create something very special indeed... And just look at the artwork! So very me.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

fabulous tulum

And so, to Mexico. We took off from Heathrow early on the morning of the 30th. I love flying, that excitement I always get reminds me of being a child. (I used to enjoy those documentaries about airports so very much.) The flight was fine - I watched Boyhood over scones with jam and cream. The film was incredible. I'd marvelled at all of those ridiculously good reviews in 2014, and it didn't disappoint - I found it very moving. Afterwards, naturally, I moved on to Godzilla. Who doesn't love a disaster movie featuring an army of fighting, prehistoric monsters? Touchdown in Dallas, three or four margaritas later (to get ourselves in the mood, very important), and we were back on a plane bound for Cancun. We were then driven in the dark to Tulum, where we arrived, exhausted, at our holiday home for the week. It was really quite disorientating, arriving at our beachside hut in complete darkness, unable to see anything, with the sea roaring loudly in our ears. Nevertheless, we were terribly excited, and just look at the view we woke up to! We stayed at a place called Diamante K - it was the only hotel that I contacted that had a free bed in the entirety of Tulum (we organised the trip only a few weeks prior). Our place was pretty basic, essentially just a hut on the beach, but what could be better than waking up every day to the sound of waves breaking and the feeling of sand underfoot?

After a long, exploratory morning walk along the beach, we spent most of our first day with a few of D.'s friends from New York who were also in town for the week. A delicious lunch was had at Posada Margherita, and after a quick nap, we ventured over to the Mayan ruins where, close by, a festival was being held to celebrate New Year's Eve. The highlight of the celebration had to be the full-blown Mayan ritual which took place at 12am, complete with men jumping around in jaguar masks and feather headdresses, furiously banging drums and doing insane things with fire. Of course all of this meant that Thursday was mostly spent sleeping.

We woke early on Friday and visited the ruins - we were pretty much the only people there at 8am, which was delightful. Later on we had a great lunch and much needed, highly relaxing massages at Hemingway - a beautiful beachside spot.

In the evening our friends from New York were DJing at a fabulous bar just up from the beach called Gitano - it was good fun. Pink neon lights, palm trees, disco balls; it was, we reckoned, the best place in Tulum to enjoy a late night drink.

Saturday and Sunday were both spent at Villa Las Estrellas - another beautiful restaurant on the beach with great big beds to fall asleep on after the essential lunchtime taco fiesta. As you can probably gather, most of our time was spent eating delicious food or hanging out at the beach - napping or reading or swimming in the sea. When we go away in August, usually to Italy, many of our days are spent visiting churches or nearby towns; it was enjoyable to do quite the opposite in Mexico - we stayed in one place and just... relaxed. After lunch on Saturday we wandered further down the beach to Coqui Coqui - the famous perfumery and spa. Worth a visit, if only to sample the sublime fragrances.

Nancy Mitford - perfect holiday reading... Clearly not wanting to venture too far from the beach, we spent Sunday morning exploring a cenote close to Tulum, where D. snorkelled and I mostly just flapped about in the crystal clear water (wearing a bright orange life jacket, thank you very much). Oh, and we discovered a really cute family of turtles.

When researching good places to check out in Tulum before our arrival, one restaurant in particular kept on cropping up. Every blog I read and indeed every person I spoke to mentioned it. So, very hungrily, we made our way over to The Hartwood on Sunday evening. The queue was pretty long, but we were seated after a few minutes and had the most delicious dinner. It was worth the hype. I had steak (barbecued to perfection) and mashed yuca - a root vegetable native to the Yucatán Peninsula. Lots of whisky cocktails too.

Monday morning saw us fly home to rainy London via Charlotte, North Carolina. I didn't mind too much. I'd had a wonderful time in Tulum (I highly recommend it, especially if you're into good food!), in fact I'm sure we'll end up returning before too long, but I always rather like getting on with things after having had a few relatively lazy weeks off. Lots to do, lots to look forward to. I do keep daydreaming about that jaw-dropping view though...