Rooms Magazine asked me to interview two brilliant artists, Kate Gibb and Harriet White, for their latest issue (no. 13). It was fantastic to get to know these hugely talented and lovely people, and I'm very pleased that my articles were well received - I just hope I did their work credit!
I interned at Rooms Magazine for three months, mostly writing articles and pieces for their website. It was a great learning curve for me, and I really enjoyed the chance to review exhibitions, interview artists and see some fantastic work. I was asked to write two articles and interviews for their printed magazine, which is on sale across the world from MOMA New York to London’s Tate Modern, and I really hope I did the artists’ work justice.
Rooms Magazine's hip and happening website can be found at www.roomsmagazine.com - it's a great place to find up-and-coming art, graphics and music.
See more of Harriet White's brilliant work at http://www.harrietwhite.co.uk
More of Kate Gibb's fantastic prints can be found at http://kategibb.blogspot.co.uk
Kate Gibb Article (the first three paragraphs)
"My approach to my work is one big, happy accident" declares Kate Gibb. The prolific print-screen artist is perhaps best known for her creative work with the Chemical Brothers and Dries Van Noten, but her non-commercial artworks are simply fantastic. Producing iconic, playful images - constantly shifting, mis-printing, experimenting - Kate's intuitive and adaptive approach has been responsible for producing some modern classics of illustration.
The Paddington-based artist was launched into the spotlight with a set of quirky, atmospheric artworks for the Chemical Brothers. Her poster for their Earl's Court concert is the epitome of a high-summer's gig - laid back fans against a packed arena, rainbow motifs littering the crowd. Working often with simple, bright shapes and colours, Kate's trial and error approach is continuously inquisitive and happy. It's a delight to scan through her prodigious back catalogue and view the output of a curious and informative mind.
Despite the popularity of Kate’s more abstract pieces, it’s her figurative work which most closely resonates with me. Picking people out from a crowd, social harmonies and contrasts are literally highlighted. As much a comment on fashion and style as anything else, there’s still a hint of social prejudice and segregation through the division of Kate’s bright colours. However, it’s still done with so much taste and flair that even these segregations seem unimportant - they’re merely the differences which make our society that bit more colourful. Originally created for the fashion brand Stussy, Kate’s clever depictions of dancers and actors being watched by crowds of people are a true statement about the positive values of fashion and style - they help us to define ourselves, our how we group ourselves accordingly. Within Kate’s figurative works are some amazing cover art pieces made for Sonny J’s Disastro album. Printed on top of Technicolor, Americanised, sunny scenes, a riot of shapes, patterns and colour explode around the figures. They’re incredibly fun, rich and varied dioramas, and irresistibly charming too.
Harriet White Article (the first three paragraphs)
Ambiguous, slick, glam - Harriet's White's immaculate artworks are items of incredible skill and beauty. Focussing on the theatrical and the personal, her portraits of performers and actresses are uncomfortably intimate. Bold and serene expressions calmly hold your gaze, their super-sized scale and heavily cropped faces luring you into an extremely personal proximity. Executed with a perfectionist's touch, the paintings are flawless, the make-up perfect, the performer's facade complete.
Her recent works are an exploration of photography and cinematography, which goes a long way to explain the obsession with actors and actresses. Hidden behind the glitter and glamour of stage make-up, a double hit of intimacy and veneer in the closely-cropped portraits are echoed in the fight between photography and painting. Almost like an actor playing the role of a different person, Harriet White's portraits are not paintings of people, but are instead posing as something else - a painting of a photograph.
It's this duality that forces the impact in Harriet's work. Her images, so obviously taken from a photographic source, lose the immediate connection of a portrait - there is no personal link between the artist and her model - and the focus turns to the skill and development of creating a painting of a photograph. And there's certainly abundant skill on display within Harriet's style. Standing next to one of her artworks, it's hard not to do a double take. Photographically exact, it's only under close inspection you can confirm that, yes, these are indeed paintings. And even then you're still not entirely sure. Taking 3 to 4 months to produce each artwork, the exactitude within her painting style is incredible. Every aspect seems super-real. Pores glisten. Make-up sparkles. Sweat shimmers. In fact, the paintings seem like an accentuated version of reality.