Thursday, 22 April 2010

In The Flesh

When I was asked to put a groupshow together at projectspace Dek 22 I thought: 'ow jeez, WHEN am I going to do this?'. Then I thought: 'kinda cool'. One hour later all the participants were chosen, called and confirmed... 'WOW'.

The exhibitants are Marie Civikov, Wietse Eeken and Niek Westendorp and all three are very gifted and very cool. Marie makes huge paintings with bright colors and shocking images. She's got a very original and personal style of painting that I really like. Wietse makes big objects out of stone that are very raw and very in your face. They are so big and heavy that he needs a big truck with a lift to get his stuff from one place to another. Niek is an incredible painter that makes collage-style work. He paints layer on top of layer creating very intriguing sometimes scary images.

To make the flesh move, there will be music by me and the wonderful DJ Miss Delicious followed by a live show of J.C. Thomas & The Missing Slippers. Hope to see you there!

Thursday april 29th, 18.00-22.00u, Willem Buytewechstraat 22, Rotterdam

One week later, during the In The Flesh exhibit, the very talented fashion designer Daisy Kroon will open the fashion exhibition Skin, Skinner, Skinniest.

This will be a one night event with chocolate sneakers, skin-toned dresses, a pop-up closet and more. Sounds cool? Make sure you visit Dek 22 on friday may 7th at 19.30.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

a sheer genius

This design for a piece of embroidery by 14-year old Mary Tyrrell, made in 1717, sent me into a drawing frenzy this week. I found it in the book Embroidered with White - The 18th century fashion for Dresden lace and other whiteworked accessories (which I picked up in a charity shop - of course). I think the girl was a sheer genius, just look at those exotic birds!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

MC Laren

My trip to London last week was kind of a last minute decision. And as you need to book your train tickets three months in advance in this country to get an affordable fare, I was forced to take the bus.. Which sucks because by train London is just 2 hours away, by bus it takes over 3 hours. But then again I kept £45 in my pocket (which I could spend in London on 2nd hand records, books (bought at a gem of a bookstore, Bookmongers in Brixton), the most delicious sourdough pizza at Franco Manca, several pints of ale, and on seeing Mats Gustafsson. Plus I was able to put a good dent in the 600-page book I'm currently reading: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life - The History of the Disc Jockey. It's very entertaining, very informative and I can highly recommend the book to anyone who is interested in dance music, whether it's soul, disco, hip hop or techno.

I'm half way through the book and so, as the bus made its way onto the M4 on Thursday morning, I continued reading the chapter
Hip Hop Roots. I read about the pioneering work of DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa in the Bronx in the '70s. I read about the relationship between disco and hip hop and the links between punk and hip hop, in which Malcolm McLaren played a big role. I chuckled over this part where McLaren goes to some block party in the South Bronx in the early days of hip hop:

"In August 1981 McLaren had been introduced to Afrika Bambaataa by Michael Holman, a black video artist who had taken him up to the Bronx to witness this amazing new music scene. The Sex Pistol's ex-manager was then steering the fortunes of pop band Bow Wow Wow, and formulating an ambitious album project based on smelting together the world's folk-dance music (this would become this Duck Rock LP). Despite a harrowing night during which he was, by most accounts, completely petrified, McLaren was mesmerised. 'It was like Heart of Darkness,' laughs Holman. 'I go to the hotel and I'm about to take them up to the Bronx on a summer evening - McLaren and Rory Johnston from RCA - and they're dressed like fucking pirates, in all that Vivienne Westwood gear. I thought we were gonna get stuck up or shot at any second. We finally get there and we go from a place that's completely deserted to masses and masses of kids, nothing but teenagers running from one corner to another, watching fights break out in the crowd. It's insane. Bottles flying everywhere. Malcom's dressed like a pirate - and nobody noticed us.'"

Watch and listen to McLaren's own account of this event in the 1984 BBC documentary
Beat This! A Hip Hop History. Hehe I love it...

Back at my hotel I learned Malcom McLaren had died that morning.

He might have been a bit of a tosser, but credit where credit's due, his influence on pop culture is undeniable. So here's some ancient hip hop for you, including McLaren's go at rapping (from 1983) and Afrika Bambaataa biggest hit Planet Rock (from 1982). I'm also putting up Takin’ All that Jazz by Stetsasonic from 1988 because it nicely reflects on the state of hip hop at the time and the criticism it received (that it wasn’t creative because of the sampling and that it was a fad(!)). And look where we are today. In part thanks to that fucking pirate.

Malcom McLaren - Buffalo Gals. Get it here (YSI).

Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force - Planet Rock. Get it
here (YSI).

Stetsasonic - Talkin' All That Jazz. Get it here (YSI).

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Clap your hands everybody, because this is our our 100th blog post!! And funnily enough this 100th post is about a project I took part in recently, called Jazz Cakes 100!

100 t-shirts were handed out to 100 artists from various disciplines by Jazz Cakes, an artist collective based here in Cardiff. Each artist had to work with a designated number to create a piece from the starting point of this plain t-shirt. I got number 77..

Of course the first thing that came to my mind was BINGO. Pretty obvious, but as I moved to the UK I noticed that bingo is taken much more seriously over here. Much more. I pass a bingo hall every day on my way into town and I’ve become intrigued by the whole ‘bingo culture’. I started fantasizing what goes on in behind those doors. The anticipation, the suspense, the defeats and the victories…

Instead of making a print or cutting the shirt up, I decided to keep it close to its subject by making brooches, an accessory usually associated with old ladies (just like Bingo is).

I drew lots of elderly ladies and taxi's (to my annoyance there's always a huge line of cabs parked on the cycle lane in front of the bingo hall) and I learned a lot about bingo lingo!

It took a while for the Jazz Cakes to retrieve all 100 shirts, but the countdown has begun: the exhibition opens this Saturday April 10 at gallery Studio B, 24 Tudor Lane (Riverside) in Cardiff. Drop by anytime from 18.00 till 23.00!