Hackney Wicked: Art, Egg baps and Sweet Toofs

Not breaking news: Dalston and Hackney Central are loosing their cool at an alarming rate with drunken Essex boys and girls pouring into the area. The concerned East London Hipster and Hipsterette has only one chance: To go even more East than East! Welcome to Hackney Wick…

Although the craft beer crowd has already landed, Hackney Wick still has this Outer Rim territory feel with its ware houses and grey motorway that runs parallel to the area.

Hackney WickED Art Festival began in summer 2008, springing up from the garden of The Residence Gallery, when a group of local artists decided to coordinate a series of local art events to highlight and celebrate the breadth and diversity of art and creativity in the area. With talks, performances, open studios and much more has been going from strength to strength and what better for an Dalston twat like me to check it all out!

Personally, any visit to an art festival needs to start with a fashionably late and Instagrammable breakfast, at least in my book. So after I grabbed a Hackney Wicked map and program I hit The Hackney Pearl  for a delicious brekky bap made with free range egg mayo, homemade chilli jam and dry cured streaky bacon. YUM-TASTIC! And yes, I got an extra slice of raspberry cake as well because I am awesome…

Another Hackney Wick classic must be surely Vinyl Pimp. So before I hit the art scene I had to have a quick peek… I just love the smell of vinyl in the morning! Plus his wall of wax is always impressive… no love for cheapskates tho!

One thing struck me straight away roaming the streets of Hackney Wick: This is Sweet Toof Land! The iconic skull and pink gums were out in force, often taking up whole buildings. Say what you will about this visual bombing, it surely is impressive.

What I love about Hackney Wicked is that you can check out all these amazing artist studios in their brick warehouse setting.

Artist studios just fascinate me. Somehow an artist studio has a waft of freedom and rebellion about it for me which I just love and gives the art a subtext that’s fascinating. Plus I just love shelves full of stuff!

Before I get hated for not showing enough art… here ya go! 

I finished my visit of Hackney Wicked with a cold beer at CRATE Brewery and will definitely return next year!

Make sure to connect with Hackney Wicked via their website for next year’s festival!



Getting my RISO on…

People who follow my Instagram account know I love snapping away with my iPhone. For the longest time I have been thinking about printing the best pictures and putting on a show or curating a little zine but somehow I didn’t find the right medium to translate the images from digital to offline.

When I dropped by Ditto Press during a magazine launch party I saw all the great Riso printing they have been doing so far and inspiration struck!

When they offered a 4 colour risk printing workshop I jumped onto the opportunity to learn more…

According to Wikipedia Risography is “…a high-speed digital printing system manufactured by the Riso Kagaku Corporation and was designed mainly for high-volume photocopying and printing.” Fun fact: All the ink is soy oil based and directly imported from Japan to guarantee the best quality!

If I had to describe the process with my own words I would say it’s a screen printing machine trapped in a photocopier, making it possible to print up to 4 colour leaflets and posters in bulk at a cheap cost.

In order to trick the eye into seeing a bigger array of colours the artwork needs to get colour separated and the dots meticulously aligned. Good that Ben from Ditto was ready to lend a helping hand!

He provided cold beers to improve our ability to absorb technical explanations ( at least that’s my theory ) and showed some sexy Riso printed books. He then explained how the artwork is getting colour separated and prepared for printing.

Making things look that good is a science in itself for sure!

After this technical introduction we moved to the print room where we got introduced to the machine that makes all the magic happen. After doing some test prints it was time to start the printing process.

The print is layered and starts with printing the two lightest colours first. Then the ink drums are changed and the last two colours are added with printing the darkest colour last. Fine tuning manually the alignment of the screens is important to get the best result.

The printing itself took a few minutes and after all was done each participant of the workshop could take a nice amount of prints back home. I really liked how the colours popped and how the overlaying of ink gave an interesting texture to the final artwork.

I’d say: Job well done!

Riso is a very fun technique to get artwork out there so I can recommend checking out the workshops, events and publications Ditto Press runs!

Ditto Press
4 Benyon Road
London N1 5TY