Solaris on tour: London calling Part 2

Bright lights, big city. So if you are not really culturally inclined then London has a lot of damn good shopping options as well!

Although classic streetwear locations like The Hideout, BAPE London and the Stüssy London Chapter closed down yonks ago, the town is littered with other great options to get rid of your hard earned cash for some hip garms!

One of my favourite stores in London is the DPMHI store in Great Pulteney Street. Not only is Maharishi one of the OG’s in the Street Wear game, but the store looks absolutely fantastic: Camo tiled floors, Japanese armour and a selection of the finest Urban Vinyl really makes this location special!

I love the connection between art, fashion and music and Maharishi is championing this mix with their embroiled art pieces by Futura and Neckface up the walls, it’s great jackets and pants and collaborations with musicians like Travis Scott.

You don’t need to walk long to hit up the next spot: Just around the corner from Maharishi is the latest brand to kick up a stir in the Hypebeast scene… Palace Skateboards.

Ripping a massive page out of Supremes playbook, Palace is like the rowdy British cousin of the US streetwear giant who,  instead of listening to Capone-N-Noreaga, raved through the early 90s to 2Step and UK Garage.

The shop turns up the swagger with it’s Versace style floor tiling and a Rolls Royce grill mounted to the wall. And if you still don’t believe the place is fresh, cool and dope you better believe my homie Jonah Hill!

The rest of the shop is following Supremes approach of less is more with a clean shop space with a TV screen mounted on it’s white walls showing skate vids. Don’t forget to grab some overpriced silly merch on the way out: I recommend the  £1 Palace matches…

Talking about Supreme… let’s just say we have history together! 

Of cause I had to drop by the Supreme store also. When the London store opened 2011 I expected for the hype to die down a little, but what do I know: It went straight through the roof!

Queues every Thursday morning ( aka Drop Day ) were a regular sight on my way to work. No shopping luck for me this time tho, but at least I got a good birthday present for a close mate!

To cover all awesome shops in the centre of town is futile, so let’s just say I had a good ol’ snoop around my favourite haunts for sneakers, records and magazines like Reckless Records, Foot Patrol, Size?, Oi Polloi and others!

When I was heading back east I had to have a quick check around Bricklane as well. Rough Trade East is great for record collectors and stores like Son of a Stag are perfect for finding some great denim and menswear.

Rare Japanese denim threads for the urban cowboy… 

The shopping gods finally revealed some treasure for me when I checked out the Good Hood Store further up in Shoreditch. As late January is traditionally Sale season I was able to pick up some wicked WTAPS Vans for such a nice  price that I was able to afford an additional Eric Elms Kilroy coffee mug as well. Result!

What can I say: London always delivers! There is so much cool stuff to do, buy and see that things can be overwhelming. I might do a little shopping guide for London soon, but in the meantime you can read Part 1 of my London travelogue here or buy yourself a ticket to fly to this great city. It will be well worth it!

Solaris on tour: London calling! Part 1

It’s always great to visit London. I just love this city! But let’s be honest here: It’s not a place where you can catch a breath and chillax. The hustle and bustle of this multicultural metropolis sucks you right in and it’s great fun to over-indulge in it’s cultural offerings of which there are many!

So join me on my trip whizzing through the shows London had in store for me on my recent trip to the big smoke…

Gavin Turk at the Newport Street Gallery

However one feels about Damian Hirst, he really puts his wealth to good use by creating a stunning museum to showcase pieces from his personal collection. I love the fact that the entrance is free and that the gift shop is not part of the viewing experience.

The current exhibition centres around Gavin Turk, another YBA and Hirst contemporary. Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1996, he rose to instant fame when the RCA refused Turk his postgraduate degree based on his graduate show piece called Titled Cave. 

It consisted of a whitewashed studio space with a blue heritage plaque on the wall commemorating his own presence as an artist, stating “Gavin Turk worked here, 1989-1991”. 

Ballsy move I say! But then again it’s always better to rock the boat and stand out than just fall in line.

Still, the show left me feeling ambivalent. His pieces might play with questions like value and originality but seeing bin bags cast in bronze felt like a tired metaphor I have seen over and over again, starting all the way back with Duchamps urinal from 1917.

Whilst I loved his legendary MA piece the waxworks and sculptures of himself fell a little flat for me also as I feel Cindy Sherman already explored this play on celebrity and identity, and with more success.

I might do his work injustice, but I felt Turks pieces came across like a lovechild of David Shrigleys crude surreal humour, Banksys social commentary and Koons self loving egomania. Not a bad mix but lacking in impact for me.

Still, the execution of the work was great and fitted the space well. More about the exhibition and the artist Turk here…

The next thing I was curious to check out was the museum restaurant Pharmacy 2. When I visited the Koons show last year the space was already closed so today was my chance to see it in all it’s pill popping glory!

What can I say, an exercise in subtleness it’s not: Stuffed to the brim with Hirst-isms like his famous butterflies and pill cabinets, it’s visually stunning for people who don’t mind to indulge. After being shown to a table by a very friendly waitress, the reasonable prices of the menu allowed for having a seat and a quick cocktail to take it all in. Definitely recommended!

Onwards to the…

Banksy Print Gallery

Although Banksy stopped working with Steve Lazarides in 2009, the gallery still owns a massive stash of Banksy prints and artwork. As I already checked out the Lazarides curated exhibition at the MOCO gallery in Amsterdam last year I couldn’t pass on the chance to have a look at this permanent exhibition next to the Mondrian Hotel on the Southbank.

No surprises here, just walls full of Banksy’s Greates Hits! Again, this exhibition was free also and it’s always great to see a Banksy in the flesh. The prints really show why Banksy is so popular: Clever visual puns and a crisp execution.

Next stop…

Tate Modern Switch House

When gallery crawling on the Southbank, the Tate Modern is a must! Especially as I haven’t had the time to see the spectacular extension yet! Dubbed the Switch House, this twisted pyramid structure stands 64.5m tall and has an amazing 360 degree viewing platform on it’s top level.

Nobody does massive as impressive as the Tate Modern, and this new building fit’s right in next to the legendary Turbine Hall!

Whilst taking in the great views I wondered how happy the owners of the luxury loft buildings next to the Switch House must have been having thousands of tourists peeking into their flats every day. 

The sign urging visitors to respect their neighbours privacy feels too little too late as the glass walled living rooms across the platform feel like natural extensions of the viewing experience. Let’s just say I am happy the Tate is not planning any viewing platforms next to my flat anytime soon!

No Southbank visit is complete without checking out the Southbank Skatepark! After a long legal battle about it’s relocation in 2016 the park is here to stay  and breaks up the row of chain store restaurants that clutter the area rather nicely!

As the sun set it was time to slowly walk over the Millennium Bridge to head towards Soho for the private view of the UNKLE retrospective at the main Lazarides Gallery. I will give this exhibition it’s own in depth review at a later date so let’s just say it was a lot of fun and very, very geeky!

My exhibition crawl ended the next day with a very special show curated by my good friends from Gammaproforma. Run by it’s curator Rob Swain, Gammaproforma is bridging the gap between art, music and print. 

Launching their new gallery Gamma/Sector 25 in SE25 with a bang, their first show “Humilitism” examines Social Media and it’s fallout featuring new artwork by SheONE, Will Barras, Swifty and many more. Of cause I had to check it out!

Loved all the pieces on display and it was great to catch up with old friends. As a very special treat I finally got my hands on the Gamma published book by legendary London Designer and Artists Swifty! “Funky Typo-Grafix” is full of his art and design work he did for record labels like Talking Loud, MoWax and more. Check it out here, essential reading!

So there you have it! The first part of my London travelogue… stay tuned for part 2!

Let me sign off with a massive THUMBS UP to all of you via the fourth plinth on Trafalgar Square and the genius of David Shrigley… #goodvibes!

10 things creative people can learn from La La Land

I planned to kick off the blogging year by a self affirmative and motivational post how to best achieve your New Year resolutions. Then I went to see an early screening of La La Land… and now I have to re-shuffle my posting schedule!

 Credit:  Dale Robinette
Credit:  Dale Robinette

La La Land blew me away and touched upon a lot of points I wanted to make in that New Years motivational blog post. So I felt compelled to do this write up as a semi prequel… just with less Jar Jar Binks! 

I expected the movie to be a sweet romance with some whimsical music numbers thrown in for good measure. What I didn’t expect was getting a multi layered meditation on creative ambition, dreams, insecurities, doubt, pain, love, happiness and despair on top of it!

It’s the story of how two struggling creatives falling in love in LA: Mia being an aspiring actor, Seb dreaming of playing Jazz and owning his own club. Garnished with amazing cinematography, lush colours, a great soundtrack and fun dance numbers, this movie feels like Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers via Wes Anderson. 

  Credit:   Dale Robinette
Credit:  Dale Robinette

This is really as far as I like to go reviewing it. I urge everybody to watch this movie for him or herself first without listening to any hype or reviews!

Still, I really like to discuss some of the themes that stood out for me.

Like any piece of art, how one will read a movie is deeply personal. Some might see La La Land as just a love story, some might see it as a critique of glitzy LA and some might just enjoy the film for it’s musical numbers and forget it the next day. 

Most reviews I read after touch upon the vintage musical feel the movie successfully recreates but somehow fail to mention how perfectly it discusses what it takes to be successful as a creative person.

Personally I think director Damien Chazelle crafted yet another great film dissecting the dynamics of creative relationships. His last Oscar nominated film “Whiplash” from 2014 was showing a dysfunctional relationship between an aspiring drummer and his tyrannical mentor, asking how far is too far in order to achieve artistic greatness and immortality. 

 Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. .
Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. .

La La Land is far more romantic, subtle and paints a broader picture on how difficult life as a creative person struggling for success and fulfillment can be.

Being a Designer, Artist and DJ myself I loved how the film followed the characters from their humble beginnings to the conclusion of their path, touching on many obstacles designers, artists, actors and musicians face every day.

So without further gushing here are…

10 inspirational things creative people can learn from watching La La Land

1. Have passion

If you don’t care about what you are creating how will you make your client or audience excited about your output? If you are more committed to your Facebook feed than your actual work it might be time to hand in your apron.

2. Don’t be a hermit

Hiding away in your studio is no fun. Go outside and hang out with great people you can bounce ideas around with. Your brain needs fresh air!

3. Endure the pain of creativity

Nobody says it’s gonna be easy. You will be judged, applauded, torn down, insulted, celebrated, hated, mocked, loved, fired and hired. Don’t let this shaky ride discourage you!

4. Respect your fellow artists

Even if you disagree with the work of a fellow creative: Don’t dish out the same vitriol you got served by that horrible client just two hours ago! Try to be respectful and give productive feedback.

5. Just do it

If you don’t start planting seeds nothing can grow. One idea might die, the next might grow into a beautiful flower. You never know until you actually put something out there and see what happens!

6. Don’t be stuck in your ways

Maybe you become exactly the painter you dreamt to become. Or maybe you realise that teaching art is more your forte than standing in a studio in solitude working. Wherever your journey will take you, don’t be afraid to improvise!

7. Stay on target

We all need to pay our bills so you might have to make concessions in your creative endeavours to make ends meet. This is just to give you some stable foundation to build your dream on. Don’t get cushy and forget about your original ambitions! 

8. Never give up

Things can become overwhelmingly tough. Self doubt can be crippling but curling up in the fetal position is not really an option that gets you anywhere. Dust yourself off and keep on walking, who knows where it takes you.

9. Be aware of the price of success

Everybody wants to be successful, but nobody wants to pay the price to get there! Late hours, a crazy work load and pushing your dream alone in the studio whilst your mates have fun down the pub… all this can be the price you have to be willing to pay to get where you want to go. 

10. Never stop dancing!

Don’t forget that life is more than ambition, work and long hours in front of the computer. The ultimate goal of every endeavour should be to become a more happy and healthy person!

Let me know your thoughts about the movie and about my 10 things i picked up on in the comments! I would love to read them!

I wish everybody a HAPPY and CREATIVE 2017!!!