Insiders: Valentin Fischer

For our latest edition of Insiders we had the pleasure of chatting with Valentin Fischer, Stuttgart-based illustrator. He has worked in a number of capacities as a freelance illustrator and designer and his works are out of this world. Don’t miss the interview below and judge for yourselves!

1. Who gave you the best piece of advice? What was it?

“Be honest to yourself.“ Maybe this sounds silly, but it’s not always easy to do so. In the end you are happier and more satisfied with life if you’re not doing something you think you should do. Instead do something you are really happy with.

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2. Who or what inspires your illustrations?

Life, of course. Other contemporary artists like James Jean, Joao Ruas and Erik Jones. But old masters like Caravaggio and Bouguereau as well.

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3. List 3 things you couldn’t live without.

Pencil

Music

Friends

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4. How did you become an illustrator? Was it something you had planned out or it happened by chance?

I wasn’t the guy who drew and paint his whole life. Of course I did some scribbles as a kid, but I started to draw and paint regularly around the age of 17. But I also was interested to become a designer. Since there are not that many schools in Germany where you can study illustration (at this time only one on the other side of the country). I did a masters in “Communication, Planning and Design”. During my time at university I kept doing my art and illustrations and did some jobs here and there. Now I work as a freelance designer and illustrator.

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5. What do you like the most about your job? And about living in Stuttgart?

To make a living out of doing what you love is probably the best thing to achieve in life. At least for me.

Honestly, I guess Stuttgart is not the best place to live as a designer/artist/illustrator. But it’s the place where I do have my network. On top of that, almost all of my closest friends are living in this city, I couldn’t ask for more. Maybe I’ll move to an other place sometime, but I’m sure I’ll always come back.

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6. Finally, if you could partner up with a blogger, artist or publication, which one would it be? Why?

I’am a huge movie fan, so I would love to do a poster for www.mondotees.com. That would be a dream job.

 

You can check out more of Valentin’s work over at:

Blog: Valentin Fischer 

Facebook: Valentin Fischer

Website: Valentin Fischer

 

The finest examples of street art

A few weeks ago we told you about an alternative route in London which allows you discover the best street art the city has to offer. Street art has been taking many cities around the world by storm for many years now. Instead of daubing the streets with meaningless signatures or drawings, which only make cities look rundown, why not decorate the streets with real art?

Below we show you the cream of the crop, street art which has added a touch of colour and non-conformity to many cities worldwide.

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The ordinary objects exhibition

A museum, by definition, is an institution devoted to the exhibition of artistic or scientific objects, but what if there were a space dedicated to ordinary things? Art is not only about paintings and sculptures, design is art too. That’s why the exhibition Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things presents a selection of the key designs of everyday objects that have marked the history of modern man.

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Design Museum Collection – © Luke Hayes

Design Museum Collection -  © Luke Hayes

Design Museum Collection – © Luke Hayes

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Design Museum Collection – © Luke Hayes

How can a red telephone box become a symbol of a nation? Through its selection of emblematic items the Design Museum traces the history of contemporary British design, contextualizing each piece and reflecting on the reason for its existence in people’s everyday space.

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Design Museum Collection – © Luke Hayes

Design Museum Collection -  © Luke Hayes

Design Museum Collection – © Luke Hayes

In each of the exhibition’s six sections, Taste, Why We Collect, Identity + Design, Icons, Fashion and Material + Process, there is a common element that unites them and makes them part of history. For example, in Material + Process there is a part dedicated to plastic and to why objects such as Jonathan Ive’s iMac owe their existence to this material.

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Design Museum Collection – © Max Colson

Design Museum Collection -  © Max Colson

Design Museum Collection – © Max Colson

Design Museum Collection -  © Luke Hayes

Design Museum Collection – © Luke Hayes

The exhibition will be on display at the Design Museum in London until 2015. However, it won’t always be the same since some of the pieces will change depending on the month. If you don’t have the opportunity to go in person, you can still enjoy the exhibition on your tablet. 

Insiders > Valeria Ustarez

A lot of people like photography but not everyone knows how to take photos that really touch the heart of the viewer. Valeria Ustarez has this talent. With the two things she loves the most, music and photography, she wants to make her living. She has the ability to look beyond what initially meets the eye and to capture the essence of her surroundings, capturing their beauty. We talked to her to find out how she sees the world through her lens and here’s what she told us:

1. How did you know that photography was your thing?

When I was taught how to use a camera, I liked to take it everywhere with me and photograph everything I saw. Then I became interested in music photography, and I was good at it, and I started going to concerts specifically to take pictures and to capture the music.

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2. What do you love most about photography?

I love the fact that my photographs are memories that I’ve experienced and that I’ve decided how to take photos so that I will remember them all my life.

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3. Which of your photographs is your favourite?

It would have to be the photograph I took at a Miles Kane concert, where I caught him in a moment of ecstasy playing a solo.

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4. What inspires you when you’re out taking photos?

The location and music in particular. If the place is suitable for taking photos, then it inspires me to play with the light and with black and white. I like taking photos on the street, there’s always something interesting to capture.

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5. Which photographic work has satisfied you the most?

Definitely my work in Hard Rock Rising in Mallorca, a battle of local bands where the winner participated in a competition with bands from around the world. I met some great musicians through this job and the Hard Rock Cafe staff treated me really well, I felt really comfortable.

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6. You’ve worked with Cirque du Soleil. How was that experience? Have you worked for other brands or companies?

Yes, I did an illustrated feature for Live Nation on Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Alegría’ show. They explained how the artists organise themselves and rehearse for the show. I really enjoyed it; I’ve always loved the circus.

I’d like to show you some photos but can’t because of the issue of confidentiality…

I worked with the Hard Rock Café Mallorca, doing illustrated features of the concerts held there, and in the end they put together a fanzine which included the best moments of each band, mainly the competition winner.

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7. If you were the one being photographed, who would you like the photographer to be?

I love taking photos, but I have problems when it’s me being photographed. I’m a shy person, but I wouldn’t mind being a model for Man Ray or appearing in a Robert Doisneau photograph without knowing I’ve been photographed.

8. What project are you undertaking at the moment?

My photography project entitled “Nights of sound”, which portrays various musicians that I’ve met. I started in Mallorca and I’m still completing a series of photographs in Barcelona.

9. Have you any project in mind for the future?

I’d like to stick with artistic photography, and also to experiment in order to learn new techniques and to improve my work. I’m very self-critical and I want to become a real rock photographer.

10. If you could photograph any thing or any person, what or who would it be?

I’d like to go to an Elvis Presley concert, take a portrait of him, and tell him how much he has contributed to the world with his music.

Check out Valeria’s work: Cargo Collective , Hard Rock Rising fanzine

Home is where your heart is: 5 unusual homes to live in

Anyone who’s done a bit of travelling around the world will have seen that there are many ways in which to live and many places that we call “home”, including everything from stately mansions to discrete little apartments. But there are people who, bored with conventional homes, decide to live in unique places.

Here’s a selection of 5 of the most unusual houses you could live in. They were designed by highly creative architects and are truly unique places. Judge them for yourself!

1. Nautilus

The Nautilus (Mexico) is one of the green homes designed by architect Javier Senosiain. Inspired by a snail, you’ll find nothing like this house anywhere. The interior is designed for living in harmony. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers!

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Designed by: Javier Senosiain

 

2. Residential Church XL

Since 1970, over 1000 churches have closed in the Netherlands. Zecc Architecten decided to renovate one of them and adapt it so that a family could live in it. Here’s the result:

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Designed by: Zecc Architecten

 

3. Skate house

Skate Study House is the work of skateboarder and designer Pierre-Andre Senizergues from the USA. This house is, literally, a skate park converted into a home. In fact, you can enter the house on a skateboard and move through its three different areas. The first area has a lounge, dining room and kitchen; the second has a bedroom and bathroom; and the third a space for practicing skateboarding. Perfect for skateboard fans!

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Designed by: Pierre-Andre Senizergues

 

4. Old water tower

In Belgium, the Bham design studio wanted to convert an old water tower into a new “Chateau d’Eau”, where you can live perfectly well, exploiting the energy resources and enjoying the enviable views.

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Designed by: Bham Design Studio

 

5. Slide house

If you have a house with floors and you’re tired of climbing stairs, then this is the home of your dreams. The architects at LEVEL Architects in Japan designed this house so that only you have to climb the stairs once because, to come down again, you can use a slide!

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Designed by: LEVEL Architects
Which one of these houses would you choose to live in?

Contemporary art takes on another dimension at the Guggenheim in Bilbao

Lover of contemporary art? Like looking at different art styles? Then check out the works the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Spain) has selected from its collection for the exhibition entitled “Selections from the Guggenheim Bilbao Collection IV”.

This exhibition comprises works belonging to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection, created by two generations of contemporary artists who explore spaces of presence and absence.

The works are divided into two distinctive areas: the first has a theatrical dimension to it, where figuration dominates, and the second is characterised by abstraction. In both cases, the artists attempt to turn reality into a unique experience.

Elssie Ansareo El baile de las flâneuses (La danse des flâneuses), 2007

Elssie Ansareo
El baile de las flâneuses (La danse des flâneuses), 2007

Manu Arregui Con Gesto Afeminado, 2011

Manu Arregui
Con Gesto Afeminado, 2011

José Manuel Ballester La balsa de la Medusa, 2010

José Manuel Ballester
La balsa de la Medusa, 2010

José Manuel Ballester Palacio Real, 2009

José Manuel Ballester
Palacio Real, 2009

José Manuel Ballester 3 de Mayo, 2008

José Manuel Ballester
3 de Mayo, 2008

The artists experimenting with figurative compositions include Elssie Ansareo, Manu Arregui and José Manuel Ballester. The latter of these is notable for his interpretation of masterpieces in the history of art through the digital alteration of photographs of historic paintings.

Also featured in this space are the works of three artists who seek to portray reality through abstraction: Prudencio Irazabal, Darío Urzay and Juan Uslé.

Prudencio Irazabal Sin título # 767, 1996

Prudencio Irazabal
Sin título # 767, 1996

Darío Urzay En una (Microverso I) fracción, 1997

Darío Urzay
En una (Microverso I) fracción, 1997

Juan Uslé Soñé que revelabas XI (Airport), 2002

Juan Uslé
Soñé que revelabas XI (Airport), 2002

You can enjoy these works by contemporary Spanish artists until 31 August 2014 at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao763TF- 089. (Spain).

Pop Art beyond the soup cans of Andy Warhol

The Barbican Art Gallery in London is hosting a fascinating exhibition where Pop Art and design come together in over two hundred pieces by the most acclaimed and controversial artists belonging to this movement. On hand we have the imagination of pop artists, their products made ​​art and their comic-book aesthetic. On the other are young designers steeped in pop culture whose creations are not always the objects that they appear to be.

5. Pop Art Design, Barbican Art Gallery

Installation image
22 October – 9 February
© Gar Powell-Evans 2013 Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery

The Pop Art Design exhibition takes us back to the sixties, to explore the exchange of ideas and inspirations of the artists in the Pop Age. Born amidst the hubbub of the big city, Pop Art is inspired by celebrities, the media and advertising. It doesn’t seek art for art’s sake but rather to make everyday products of mass consumption aesthetic.

8. Pop Art Design, Barbican Art Gallery

Installation image
22 October – 9 February
© Gar Powell-Evans 2013 Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery

Among the Pop Art fans is the novelist William S. Burroughs, who championed this new movement with the same argument as its detractors:

I see no reason why the artistic world can’t absolutely merge with Madison Avenue. Pop Art is a move in that direction. Why can’t we have advertisements with beautiful words and beautiful images?”

If you visit Pop Art Design you can admire over 200 works from around 70 artists and designers, including Peter Blake, Judy Chicago, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein and, of course, Andy Warhol. The exhibition also presents a large selection of graphic material from posters and magazines of the time, and audiovisual material of Pop interiors and architecture.

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Installation image
22 October – 9 February
© Gar Powell-Evans 2013 Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery

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Installation image
22 October – 9 February
© Gar Powell-Evans 2013 Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery

24. Pop Art Design, Barbican Art Gallery

Installation image
22 October – 9 February
© Gar Powell-Evans 2013 Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery

The Pop Art Design exhibition is open to the public until 9 February 2014 in the Barbican Art Gallery in London.

Pam Glew, the artist who expertly combines fashion and art

Some artists are known for their technical skills, others for their particular vision of the world and there are others that stand out simply because they’re different. Pam Glew is a combination of all three. This contemporary British artist is especially known for her technique of bleaching and dyeing cloth to create her works of art.

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As an artist, Pam Glew is interested in the culture of heritage, the feeling of nostalgia for a country and the patriotic sense of belonging to it. There is a recurring use of flags, especially the American flag, to convey these feelings to the observer of her work.

What makes Pam a different kind of artist is her unique work technique. Since 2005, all her work has undergone this technique. She selects vintage flags, brocade, and generally any fabric that can be painted on and then dyes the material black before discolouring it with bleach. This process is repeated over and over again, cleaning the material each time to remove any remaining chemicals. The end result is a unique, particularly impressive work of art emerging from the cloth.

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Pam’s work really inspired us here at Pepe Jeans and we wanted to surround ourselves with her originality and great taste. So we asked her to decorate our new Concept Stores, and here’s the result!

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As you can see, Pam has filled our walls with her collage-style hand-painted murals, continuing her unique technique with our denim clothing. We absolutely love it! Each of our Concept Stores has a different work, so don’t forget to keep an eye open for them whenever you visit!

Insiders: drewall

Today we’re delighted to introduce you to a band with a difference. They are James Shadom and Jos Ethman and they form drewall, a band that is self-proclaimed as “alternative”. They’ve just released their first album, entitled “Answers are inside us”, featuring 11 unique tracks full of meaning and rhythm. But they’re overflowing with ideas, so are already working on new compositions.

We’ve spoken to the band and their enthusiasm for music is truly contagious, but we’ll leave them with you, so you can experience them first hand.

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1) How did you get the idea for forming the band?

We knew each for quite some time. We played together in a couple of bands with mutual friends and we were always a bit more restless than the others. After a few years we decided to form a band together. We tried a few times in fact, but it didn’t quite take off. At least not until James went to live in the US for a while, and it was then that the project started to take shape. We could actually say that the band was born in Skype; we decided the name and philosophy of the band through Skype. And when James got back from the States we got down to work. We followed a “plan” that some might call “a mad plan”.

2) Why the name ‘drewall’?

Drew all, literal translation: I drew all. Drawing, the visual, is a way of expressing the ideas in the mind, and it facilitates understanding, regardless of the language or culture of the person looking at it. Metaphorically speaking, that’s what the project aims to be.

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3) How would you describe your music?

It could be described as visceral, full of feeling, and coming from deep inside us. We make music that we really feel, without prejudices or whims. If an idea strikes a chord in us, we work on it and it ends up as a song. That’s an advantage when you’re playing live, the feelings you experience on stage are much more intense. In terms of style, we ourselves would categorise it as an indefinite style. Although it’s true that our first album sounds like something from your typical band (vocals, guitar, bass, drums and piano) we’re always evolving and changing. For example, right now we’re exploring unchartered territory with new themes: everything from R&B, a bit of electronic, and even classical symphonies.

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4) You write your own music, so where do you get your inspiration from?

Our inspiration mostly comes from sad things and, in one way or another, we try to convey some kind of message, which usually results in some social criticism. Our source of inspiration often comes from creating a visual story in our heads. We’re like creators of stories.

5) You’ve released an independent album, what was the experience like?

Hard going, but very rewarding. We’re proud of our work. As it was only us, you have to just get on with it and put in a lot of hours. Nobody‘s going to demand anything of you because nobody expects anything from you and you have to motivate yourself, but at least you only have to rely on yourself. We’ve learned a lot and we’re much wiser now to be able to deal with what’s ahead.

6) What impact has your 1st single “Sleeping is for others” which has a video clip?

A professional salesperson would say: “Looking at it objectively and in isolation, we’ve reached thousands of people”. But we still haven’t broken the ten-thousand barrier. We’ve had quite a lot of impact, in that fans sing along with us at live gigs, and to be able to get that feeling at a concert is already good enough for us!

7) You’ve played in Barcelona, but have you thought about branching out and playing in other cities?

The live music industry in Spain, outside the festivals, is complicated. If there’s an economically sustainable opportunity to play in other cities, then we’d definitely go for it! We don’t expect to make money for now; we know this is very difficult, so we settle with not losing any (or much).

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8) When do you plan to release a second album?

We don’t want to rush it, we’d like to take it a bit more slowly than with the first album where everything was very quick, but neither do we want a couple of years to go by without releasing an album, the ideas would just build up and drive us mad.

9) Can you give us an idea of what your next steps are? What are your plans for the future?

Our next steps will be to start experimenting with new electronic, and not so electronic, sounds. With this broadening of our knowledge of sound, we want to eventually define our sound and hope that this results in a second album. In the “Trasterou”, the place where we have our studio and do rehearsals, we give concerts with the aim of interacting with more fans and seeing how they react to our new songs. Apart from that, we will try to be the support act, enter contests, play at festivals and look for other opportunities to play. We believe it’s the best way to move on to the next “level” as musicians. Ah! And keep an eye open in the run up to Christmas, because we’re preparing the first surprise in the form of a single!

Drewall: www.drewall.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drewallofficial

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drewallofficial

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/drewallofficial?feature=mhee

Discover London’s most artistic corners with the Alternative London Walking Tour!

The London Eye, Tower of London, London Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Camden… all these places are a must-see for anyone visiting London. We at Pepe Jeans are quite familiar with them. But they say that you really only get to know a city by losing yourself in it.

We’re not suggesting that you get lost or anything, but that you let yourself wander along the streets with the most characteristic street art in London. This is art you won’t find in any of the guides or in the museums, but you’ll certainly be immersed in the pastiche of cultures that make up the British capital.

The Alternative London Walking Tour will take you into the heart of East London to explore the past and present of London’s creative hub via the ‘streetest’ of street art.

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And the best of all is that the tour, the first ‘pay-what-you-like’ tour in London, is offered by guides who live in London and form part of the creative community. And who better than native artists to show you the most interesting corners of the city?

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As well as the Alternative Walking Tour, given in English and French, there are other tours including a combined Street Art Tour & Workshop, a chance to discover the best pubs in East London, or even admire the street art sitting on a bike. So make sure to book your spot in advance and see London as you’ve never seen it before!

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The Alternative London Walking Tour can be taken on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 12 pm and 7 pm, on Fridays at 12 pm only, and on Saturdays at 12pm, 12.30 pm, 3pm and 3.30pm. The tour begins and ends near Spitalfields Market and lasts about 2 hours.