The London Original Print Fair

I spent a gorgeous Spring afternoon at The London Original Print Fair.  Held at the Royal Academy, I realised that this was actually the first time visiting, even though I’ve walked by the RA so many times and also worked at galleries nearby.  As I reached the top of the marble stairs, my eyes were immediately fixated on sale signs in the Christmas card section.  C’mon, £2 for a set of 10 cards!  I couldn’t resist! With my Christmas cards in tow, I entered the fair and this time, I was immediately drawn to a vintage London Overground print by long-standing collaborators Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power:

Sybil Andrews/ Cyril Power, Aldershot Tattoo,1934, Lithograph, 100 x 61 cm, Osborne Samuel

Sybil Andrews/ Cyril Power, Aldershot Tattoo,1934, Lithograph, 100 x 61 cm, Osborne Samuel

Regarding Power, he is known for his linocuts. I do like Futurism and the next work of his that I noticed reminded me of the techniques.  Perhaps he may have been influenced?

Cyril Power, Monseigneur St. Thomas, 1931, Linocut, Printed from 5 blocks, Edition of 60, 35.4 x 28 cm, Osborne Samuel

Cyril Power, Monseigneur St. Thomas, 1931, Linocut, Printed from 5 blocks, Edition of 60, 35.4 x 28 cm, Osborne Samuel

I continued around the fair and my eyes caught a print of vibrant red orange by Howard Hodgkin:

Top left: Howard Hodgkin, Girl on a Sofa (from "5 Rooms), (Heenk cat. no. 9), 1968, Lithograph, 51 x 64 cm, Edition of 75, Gwen Hughes Fine Art

Top left: Howard Hodgkin, Girl on a Sofa (from “5 Rooms”), (Heenk cat. no. 9), 1968, Lithograph, 51 x 64 cm, Edition of 75, Gwen Hughes Fine Art

Speaking with the owner of the gallery, she informed me that this was part of a series called “5 Rooms” and this was one of his earlier works featuring simple minimal forms before becoming more spontaneous with his abstract works.  If I had £2,400, I would’ve purchased it (and as of today it’s now sold).

I continued browsing but this time recognised a older man sitting at a booth - Peter Blake!  I did a double take but it was confirmed when someone asked him to sign The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album not to mention the booth he was at featured his prints:

Peter Blake, CCA Galleries

Peter Blake, CCA Galleries

Peter Blake, USA Series - Boxer, 2014, Silkscreen with collage, Edition of 100, CCA Galleries

Peter Blake, USA Series – Boxer, 2014, Silkscreen with collage, Edition of 100, CCA Galleries

Peter Blake prints and postcards, CCA Galleries

Peter Blake prints and postcards, CCA Galleries

I debated on whether or not to approach him as I honestly wouldn’t know what to say.  I wanted to tell him that my first ever art work that I purchased for my 30th was one of his prints but I honestly couldn’t remember the name nor the series of the print!  I wish I knew about his recent unveiling at the Royal Albert Hall otherwise maybe I could’ve talked about that?  As I went back and forth on this I watched him leave, uttering, “Goodbye, Peter Blake”.  Oh well. Blake was quite popular at this fair as I spotted his works at a few more booths including the Brook Gallery.

Moving on, I ended up approaching Long & Ryle and really liked the porcelain works by Katharine Morling:

Katharine Morling, Touch, 2014, Porcelain and black stain, 35 x 55 x 25 cm, In series, Long & Ryle

Katharine Morling, Touch, 2014, Porcelain and black stain, 35 x 55 x 25 cm, In series, Long & Ryle

I ended up purchases the glasses featured in the series and I think it looks great together with some of my glasses and sunglasses, don’tcha agree?

LOPF Morling Glasses

By the way, I love maps! - I think it all started with Alighiero Boetti’s Map of the World.  Or perhaps on a more personal level, my mother loved this globe she received as a gift from work, and I always saw her examining at it.  And now that I’ve discovered The Afternoon Map, I’ll must warn you though, don’t be surprised if most of my tweets will now feature maps.  MMMMMAAAAPPPPPSSSSSS!!!!

That said, at Tag Fine Arts, I really liked Justine Smith’s prints of maps featuring each country’s respective currency:

Top left: Justine Smith, Judgement, 2012, Embossed inkjet print paper, 40.9 x 57.8 cm, Edition of 90 Top right: Justine Smith, Great Britain, 2012, Archival inkjet print with screen printed detail,  59 x 41.5 cm, Edition of 150 Bottom: Justine Smith, World Money Map, 2012, Inkjet with pearlised screen printing on paper, 92 x 150 cm, Edition of 90

Top left: Justine Smith, Judgement, 2012, Embossed inkjet print paper, 40.9 x 57.8 cm, Edition of 90
Top right: Justine Smith, Great Britain, 2012, Archival inkjet print with screen printed detail,
59 x 41.5 cm, Edition of 150
Bottom: Justine Smith, World Money Map, 2012, Inkjet with pearlised screen printing on paper, 92 x 150 cm, Edition of 90

After an hour or two (I seemed to have lost track of time), I left the fair but of course I spotted yet another sale section at the RA’s gift shop.  Peaking behind a bunch of prints, I saw one with a vibrant red orange colour.  I picked it out and it immediately reminded me of Hodgkin’s lithograph: And for £2.50, I’ll take it!

Print of Brett Whiteley's Big Orange (Sunset), 1974

Print of Brett Whiteley’s Big Orange (Sunset), 1974

P.S. If you’re confused as to what the difference is amongst the various types of prints, the fair’s website gives a brief description with examples here.  Even I had to refresh my memory and even learned some new ones.  But I do know of intaglio prints because my brother created a few.

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To the Moon and Back

Hello world.  Again. Nevermind a winter hibernation.  I needed a long sabbatical.  But I’m back.  That is, until my next hibernation/sabbatical.

I started volunteering at the V&A Museum of Childhood.  When my fellow volunteers started talking about the current exhibition, Daydreams and Diaries: The Story of Jacqueline Wilson, I asked who she was.  “YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF JACQUELINE WILSON?” they both said in unison.  Reminding them I was born and raised in the US, they immediately removed the shock from their faces and proceeded to explain who she was.  Wilson is a children’s writer, and millions of children grew up reading her books, including my fellow volunteers.  She’s still writing and will soon release her 100th book so girls today are still reading her books.  I thought back to books I read as a child – Nancy Drew, Goosebumps (just found out a Goosebumps film will be made and will be released 2016!), and Babysitters Little Sister (a spin-off from The Babysitter’s Club).  I remember with the latter series, one book in particular I read was about the main character, Karen, having to get glasses.  It was that moment I wanted to get glasses too.  I even made glasses out of construction paper to wear.  Although I still like wearing glasses in a fashionable since, I do wish I could tell my 8 year old self how much it is a nuisance not being able to see. However, I do look pretty cool in them.

Back to Wilson, I watched a BBC Breakfast interview with Wilson (at the Museum of Childhood) and I’m always amazed when writers are motivated to write every day.  It’s taken me weeks to write this blog post!

I saw the exhibition for the first time the other week – starting off with her childhood including a replica of her room, then describing her move from the south of England to Scotland at just 17 to become a writer for a teen magazine called Jackie.   Which reminds me – I had drinks with my colleagues and one of them revealed that Flash Art (a magazine that focuses on contemporary art) agreed to feature his first article - they didn’t realise he was only 17 year old and found out when he asked them to write out a cheque to one of his parents as he didn’t have a bank account.

Back to the exhibition, it also focused on some of Wilson’s characters such as Tracy Beaker, Hetty Feather, and The Illustrated Mum.  In conjunction with the latter character, I thought it was so cool and almost daring to have an activity encouraging children to draw their own tattoos.  Although the exhibition was about this well-known children’s writer, it also featured Nick Sharatt, the illustrator of Wilson’s books, and visitors were given the opportunity to trace some of Sharatt’s illustrated characters including one of Wilson herself (complete with her fingers full of large rings – her trademark look). Visitors ranged from babies throwing around plush toys and children who were obviously fans to even adults who came to visit for pure nostalgia.  One child in particular told me she didn’t read her books but wanted to start reading them after visiting the exhibition.

The last part of the exhibition featured some of the letters and gifts Wilson received throughout the years.  As a 30-something year old being introduced to this author for the first time, I wondered if I missed out as a child.  But would I have enjoyed her books?  Some of the topics Wilson has also written about are quite difficult but important – divorce, death, abuse, and mental illness.  I’m glad there are children books that address these topics.

A fun and inspiring retrospective exhibition – Wilson must be proud of her career.  This is a lighthearted break from the at times self-absorbed and convoluted contemporary art scene I’m used to.

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Camp NaNoWriMo

2013-Participant-Camp-NaNoWriMo

Although I’ve never been to summer camp before, when I was 11 years old, us sixth graders were invited to camp for a week in the fall (autumn).  I absolutely loved it; everything from nature walks (including night walks), singing camp songs, to just being around friends (and no parents!).  Oh and I had a crush on one of the camp counselors.  He was Italian, and on our last day, he wrote in my notebook, “Ciao, bella”!  When he translated it to me, I swooned.  Then I showed it off to my friends who all revealed that they too had that written in their notebooks.

Even though November is NaNoWriMo, they’ve held a few Camp NaNoWriMo‘s during the year, and as there will be one in July, I’ve decided to participate.  It’s relatively easier – one can choose a word goal.  And I’ve also decided to “bunk” with up to seven other random “campers,” meaning, I’ll be in a group of other writers to support each other.  I just missed NaPoWriMo – that’s National Poetry Writing Month – (I see a trend here), where one commits to write a poem a day for 30 days.  So for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to do a poem a day.  It’s a 10,000 word minimum, so I’ve made that as a goal, and as I don’t think I can write a poem that’s 323 words per day, I will also write a children’s story or two that I’ve been meaning to finish along with other anecdotes.

Wish me luck!

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Winter and Spring Updates

In high school I always hoped for “June Gloom” weather.  Growing up in California, “June Gloom” referred to the cloudy and often times rainy weather during the month of June.  Considering how hot it can get in California, it was a nice break for me especially since I had P.E. as my last class which was particular horrendous when forced to run in 100+ degrees F weather.

Whowudda thought many years later I’d now be living in a country where the “gloom” would extend to most parts of the year.  (Ironically, this week has been quite sunny – isn’t that a record?)

That said, it’s now June, and I haven’t posted a blog since December.  I’ve quite a few blog drafts but just never got around to finishing them.  So I figured I’d write a recap of the last few months.

In January I pretty much hibernated.  Nothing exciting to report.

In February I somehow came out of early hibernation and went to my first poetry workshop.  From the very first confirmation email the organizer was very welcoming and supportive.  The theme was “snow,” and for the first couple of hours we worked on a number of exercises which included jotting down words and phrases from memory as well as from the images that were passed around.  Once the exercises were done, we had an hour to work on our poems before sharing with everyone.

I have to admit, I already had an idea and used that as a starting point.  I was pretty impressed with some of the phrases I came up yet struggled trying to fit them into my poem.  I kept going back and forth with sticking with my initial idea or starting from scratch.  I ended up doing the former but wasn’t completely satisfied with my poem.  One hour was not enough!

I enjoyed listening to everyone’s poems.  There was one I really liked – I can’t recall the poem now but it was very simple yet clever.  I thought that I’d hear a few self-confessional poems, however mine was the only one.  And I decided not to share my poem mainly because it wasn’t finished.  But also because the poem itself was quite personal and it would be like reading out loud a diary entry.  In fact, I actually did bring my journal to use for the workshop.

I definitely want to attend another workshop and hopefully do this regularly.  I need to practice other styles apart from self-confessional poetry.  And I definitely need to share my work in order to get feedback.  I just need to suck it up and do it!

Also in February I started taking yoga classes again.  I figured I’d start off with Hatha Yoga and ease my way back into it again.  Just a minute into class I realized I was in the wrong class, Ashtanga Yoga.  At first I panicked then decided to stick with it and somehow I did alright for my first time.

In March I somehow managed to finish (and survive, unscathed) this monster of a 10k run (and when they mean 10k they mean 15k) at night, in 0°C with snow, mud, streams, and up/down two fairly large hills in Scotland.  In a t-shirt and shorts.  Yep, never doing that again.

I attended Poets After Dark in April, an event at the Hayward Gallery in conjunction with the exhibition, The Light Show.  Ten poets (Mimi Khavlati, Sam Riviere, Kate Tempest, Simon Barraclough, Tamar Yoseloff, Julia Bird, Chris McCabe, Amjad Nasser, Sabrina Mahfouz and Vahni Capildeo) were commissioned to write and perform a poem about one of the works in the show.  It was actually nice to see both the performance and the inspiration simultaneously together.  A more thorough synopsis to be blogged soon!

I accomplished something quite significant in May -  I managed to do a back bend with ease for the first time ever!  Thanks, Ashtanga Yoga!  Next goal – head stand.

That’s it for now.  I’m off to see the new Serpentine Gallery Pavilion designed by Sou Fujimoto, that is, weather permitting.  So much for the sunny weather!

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50,059 Words

Winner-180x180

 

Woohoo!  I did it, and I can’t believe it!  With birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, zombie runs, and simply just running out of ideas to write about, 50,000 words seemed like an unattainable entity.  However, during the last week, I plopped myself at my local library and somehow managed to churn out the last 10,000 words in 4 days.

And now I have a novel that is in dire need of revising and editing.  But I’ll save that at the start of the new year.  I’m now working on the book proposal simply to help organize my brain in the hopes that I can make sense out of my story.

Eeek!  I wrote a novel!

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Novella in 30 Days

As one of my Christmas gifts last year, I received Chris Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem!” book on how to write a novel in 30 days.  Chris Baty is also the founder of National Novel Writing Month (conveniently referred to as NaNoWriMo), held every November.  After months of this book collecting dust on a shelf, I finally browsed through it.  And now that I just joined the local NaNoWriMo group, I’m declaring that I will write a novel/novella in a month.  That’s 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’m fucking crazy!

This is indeed official if I’m announcing it on my (neglected) blog, right?  So now I have to do it.  No excuses!

Now, what should I write about?  I’ve been switching amongst 3 novellas the last four years plus I just started a children’s story.  As you can see, I’ve a problem with focusing on one thing as I get bored quite easily.  Hopefully NaNoWriMo will motivate me to finish at least one novella!  Out of the 3 novellas I already started, I’ve decided to choose the very first one I started, a bildungsroman (I love that word!) story set in Italy.  That’s all the details I’m revealing for now!

So no more vegging out in front of the TV/tele, watching Dog the Bounty Hunter and Border Security.  Let the writing commence! (as of 1 November)

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Airplane Reunion

So I’m officially not a New Yorker anymore :(  Even though I’ll be back for a week in a couple of weeks, I’ll technically be a tourist.  Eek!

While waiting to board the plane, I spotted a jr. high and high school classmate.  It was one of those moments where I kept glancing back at her, and I’m sure she noticed me looking at her, but of course she didn’t recognize me and probably thought I was a creep.  Back then, she was the popular cheerleader, and I was the wannabe nerd.  Even though in jr. high school we were part of the leadership team – I was Historian (a precursor to my career as an Art Historian, whowuddathunk) and she was something I can’t recall right now.  I didn’t think much of it afterwards, but once we boarded the plane, guess who sat right next to creepy me?  She did of course.  Throughout the entire 5-6 hour flight I kept thinking whether or not I should say something.  “Hey, remember me?”  “Hey, aren’t you so-in-so?”  “Hey, you probably don’t remember me, but I think we went to high school together.”  I even thought about calling a friend as an excuse to say my hometown in the hopes that she would recognize the city and then recognize me.  Midway through the flight she took out her laptop and started watching videos of herself weightlifting.  I thought, “is she training for the Olympics?”  Maybe I can start up a conversation about the London Olympics, mention I’m moving there, and eventually our hometown would be brought up…

Then I suddenly realized that she was the one that got me cut from the jr. high basketball team!  Okay, she didn’t really get me cut.  When I was a kid I liked playing basketball, however the only experience I had was really just shooting hoops.  When trying out for the jr. high team, we were doing drills where one person would dribble the ball across the court while another person would go against that person.  So as I was dribbling the ball, she was the one against me, and she successfully snatched the ball away from me.  That moment got me cut from the team.  But I don’t blame her at all.  It could have been someone with a broken leg and that person would have snatched the ball away from me.  I was cut because I sucked.  I’ve since embraced my wannabe nerdness (especially since I now have these uber geek chic eyeglasses), and I did chuckle when that memory came back to me.

But I remained silent the entire flight.  After dwelling on it, I just couldn’t be bothered.   I’m enjoying life now, and I really didn’t want to reminisce about high school nor did I want to talk about what we’ve been up to these days.  What’s the point?  So we exited the plane together but probably didn’t go our separate ways as I’m sure we were heading in the same direction – our hometown.

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