Whoever said that Sunday’s were for lazing around, obviously haven’t been to Eye Like Gallery! A couple of months ago during a spell of dreadful weather, we rocked up to the gallery and hoped it wouldn’t be another sleepy Sunday morning in Beaconsfield. Our prayers were answered when we heard from a certain Simon Staines from 67 Inc, a ‘print emporium’ that stems from him passion for music and collecting.
67 Inc is a relatively new venture for Simon, despite his experience in printmaking after gaining a degree at ‘The London College of Printing’. Before the newfound success of 67 Inc, Simon worked as a graphic designer at Arena and The Face Magazines, before going on to work with Neville Brody collaborating on a variety of projects. Most recently however, I say with baited breath, Simon has been doing motion graphics for the film industry. He’s worked on some seriously cool films such as Captain Philips, The Bourne Trilogy, and Terminator 3, and with a background as exciting as this, you know that his artwork will no doubt be a talking point too!
Simon’s love of music started back when he was a youngster still at school, and so when he wasn’t studying, he was eagerly photographing various bands at their concerts. Always planning ahead, he then started to sell these photos outside of their next gig, so that he could fund his trips to see dates on their tours – now that’s what I call a born entrepreneur! This passion for music is very much still alive, and Simon’s enthusiasm helped to fuel the creation of 67 Inc (many of his prints are music related, for instance ‘Punk Pin Print’, and ‘Music Legends A to Z’). And for all you Eye Likers that want to know a cheeky fact, the badges used in ‘Punk Pin Print’ come from Simon’s own personal collection! One of them is even worth quite a lot of dollar, but we have to keep some secrets to ourselves now don’t we….
Simon’s other passion is collecting, and alongside the music theme, various 67 Inc prints are based upon the 1960’s collector cards that you used to get with packs of bubble gum – oh how I wish this still existed! The simple colours and bold style of the period influence the illustrations of these A to Z prints, and I have to say that they really do stand out on the wall because of this!
What I really love though is the original ethos behind 67 Inc… Simon has created the prints with the simple aim of producing things that he’d like to have on his walls at home, and he’s always hoped that others would find his artwork as interesting as he does. This philosophy is not at all unlike Eye Like’s motto (shameless plug)– ‘if we don’t love it, we don’t sell it!’
And clearly it’s not only the Eye Like team that are dotty about these prints… They’ve really gone down a storm in the gallery and are loved by adults and children alike. Forget PlayStations or the television to entertain your kids, I had a brother and sister come in with their mum and they were mesmerised by ‘Football Legends’ for a good ten minutes... They were excitedly pointing out all the icons that they recognised - so if you're stuck on games for your child's next birthday party, 'spot the icon' sounds like it would be a great hit!
Simon has described how the designers Peter Saville and Vaughn Oliver are for him the ‘complete package’ - as well as loving their work he also admires the bands they designed artwork for. Well, in my opinion, 67 Inc too has the whole shebang! Not only has Simon produced exciting prints, but it’s a double whammy knowing that he loves them just as much as we do! Simon takes it as a ‘huge compliment’ when people want to display them in their home sweet home, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t?
The downside to 67 Inc? Erm, I don’t know about you, but we may just run out of wall space trying to display them all for you to admire!
“Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” – Samuel Johnson
These wise words by Samuel Johnson may have been spoken three centuries ago, but boy does he have a point! Nothing shows his words more appropriately than the ‘Katharine White: London’ exhibition, the launch of which Saro and I proudly attended on Monday evening to support our very own Eye Like artist Katie White. Taking place within The Hanging Room of the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, Katie’s pieces quite rightly display the wonders that London has to offer, despite the fact that you are ironically sheltered from any view of the city within the exhibition room itself.
And I say ‘room’ lightly, as the exhibition space was indeed the perfect environment in which to display the fantastic artworks depicting the city, many of which featured the London skyline. Entering the exhibition, you were first led down a staircase to be greeted by a set of three large canvases – the showstopper pieces in my opinion! But what made the space so apt for Katie’s artwork was that to view her other pieces you travelled down a long corridor, with the artworks either side of you, to get to the final room in which several more pieces were displayed. And no, I’m not describing Hogwarts here, although the RAC did seem to be almost surreal at times! It was this ‘journey’ along the corridor that actually replicated London – it felt as if you were walking through the city viewing the various scenes and landscapes around you, but at the same time seeing London at it’s most beautiful through the vivid colours and textures used within her original artworks.
But back to the showstopper pieces! ‘A London Skyline’, ‘The Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall’ and ‘Neal’s Yard’ gave the exhibition a striking first impression, and they too dictated the different, yet all impressive, styles of artwork within her ‘London’ pieces. Although each piece is an original, and has been created using mixed media and acrylics, for Saro and I it was clear how over the past few months Katie has developed and refined her style. ‘The Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall’ is a prime example of this, as not only has she beautifully captured the aspects of the building within the piece, but after talking to Katie we found out that she had completed the artwork in a mere twenty-four hours, and only a week ago! (This includes food and sleep breaks of course, she’s an artist not a machine!)
Since we last saw her around four months ago, Katie has increased her number of artworks from four, to a remarkable thirty-one pieces, created especially for the exhibition. Not only were we awed by her determination and success at creating so many pieces in a short period of time, but she also pays an incredible attention to detail. Katie, using acrylic paint and newspaper, has created ‘A New Millennium’ that depicts the London Eye – however she’s not used just any old pages lying around the house… In fact the intention of the wheel was to bring in the new millennium, and ordered especially for the piece is a newspaper that was released on January 1st 2000. Now that’s what I call commitment!
There’s no doubt that Katie White is a talented artist, and luckily for her, her talent is matched with an endearing personality that leads you to love her work even more. Nervously delivering her speech, there were laughs all round as she realised she had forgotten to thank the most important people of all – her parents! However, the quality that I like most about Katie is that she’s focused on her creative development, but at the same time remains appreciative of the work which kick-started her success and passion for art. Included within the exhibition is ‘A South Bank Scene’, which is based upon a piece that she initially created in 2010. Unfortunately the original artwork was lost whilst Katie went to University, but she decided to recreate it as a ‘tribute to the inspiration and push towards art’ that the original piece gave her. Since that day in 2010, Katie has never looked back – and thank goodness for that, as I wouldn’t be writing this blog post today!
Eye Like Gallery.