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I like things simpl, str8 & tru, I’m a boi so my favourite colour is blu

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Cocky Warholian tribute.

Through no fault of my own I made the mistake of going to a university renowned as being a good arts and culture school. It was the place where Young British Artists willingly pimped out their souls to Saatchi’s hijacking of contemporary art; a place where young (wannabe) artists learn the tricks necessary to to trade in modern art world. On a basic level art and culture deal with visual viscerality. Sounds, touch, taste and smell all have their place; but I’m certain if you asked the layman, the girl in the hood or the proverbial pedestrian observer: Art =  Pretty Pictures. A lot of contemporary cultural creations (arts/fashion/design/etc) are ruined by the infusion of the dirty dollar. I’m not saying that all expensive art is necessarily shyte; I mean take this stunning piece of modern art from YBA’s granddaddy:

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A prime example of money’s inability to polish a turd, that fact that Damian (son of) Hirst’s “Most Expensive piece of Art.EVER!!!” was the result of too many cooks following a recipe for disaster. I imagine Saatchi egging Damo on ‘Go on so, wack a bit more bling on it and I’ll make sure to use my advertising agency to fleece any idiot trying to fill that hole in their soul with dollars’ #JustSaying.

Damien Hirst Unveils Major New Work

As I’m not a practising artist, I’m not qualified to pass judgement on Damian’s work; I’ll leave that to an older, wiser head: “Everyone in the art world knows Hirst hasn’t sold the skull. It’s clearly just an elaborate ruse to drum up publicity and rewrite the book value of all his other work.” Shock horror! Mediocre artist pumped full of filthy lucre by the advertising man who got Thatcher elected, uses media-training to dupe bloated art fools into believing all that glitters is gold.

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Now, don’t want to knock a fellow northerner, but somewhere between Leeds and Ldn-town; the the UK’s most famous artist sold his soul to Saatchi’s sheckles;  pretending to be Leonardo di Vinci (a genuine Renaissance man) meets Andy Warhol (he of Factory fame, known for industrialising contemporary art) ever since.

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MCR. The. Greatest. City in the World (north of Watford;-). The birthplace of the industrial revolution, the place where Karl Marx studied and formed socialist ideals: = rights for the workers & all that. One thing MCR has over Ldn is the fact that people here are (usually) more co-operative and community minded. If the UK was a family, Mcr would Ldn’s bloshier more rebellious elder Uncle. The size and cosmopolitan make-up of the place mean different ethnic populations have to rub along together; the flip side is that anyone using works with more than three syllables is considered middle-class, bourgeois or (worse still;-) French!

Anyway, Mcr’s end-of-year design degree show was where I found myself on a sunny Saturday morning. WTF was I doing here – bed, breakfast and the weekly paper are my usual fayre this time of the week. Feeling like a fish out of water I mingled with the excited parents, bored siblings and expectant students. http://degreeshow.mmu.ac.uk/

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This playful piece is the work of Elizabeth Winstanley – a designer working fixated with illusions, alternative media interacting this modern medium with the more traditional trope of embroidery. http://www.elizabethjanewinstanley.com/

Not knowing where to start, I figured the best place was the top where I found a textile/fashion collection. Now I’m bloke, who likes deign but has a boy-like approach to aesthetics; probably not the best person to pass judgement on the work of others in this field, but flicking through work-books was like reading ID/face/Dazed&Confused magazines back in the noughties.
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The fusion of different fabrics and juxtapositioning  of different cultural aesthetics made me reconsider my preconceptions. Finding two young designers (one Jamaican, one caucasian-blonde;-) sitting by their work, I talked to them after browsing the collection. The pieces I’d assumed the work of one, belonged to the other.
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Check blondie beside the neon cape thing with ethnic tassles (told you I’m a bloke and know sweet FA ’bout female fashion). IMG_2395
Check (nervous-looking) gyal from Jam-rock (rocking a Ramones T), beside her Prada-esque (a distinctly Italian/Euro/White?) dress-thing.http://embroiderygraduates.co.uk/graduates.html – for contact info on these young designers. 

Working my way through the exhibition I was tickled by the wit, impressed by the practicality and awed by the range of modern designs on display. Honourable mention to Becka Saville for having the sharpest-looking business cards and a most-media-savvy-name…Seriously check out this girl’s work:
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Headhunted by Adidas to produce online virals, due to work at Esquire magazine, this young designer is going places. I was also taken by the work of Alice Ellis-Hayle. Her bird-boxes, designed to help older folk deal with dementia and placate so-called ‘hard-to-teach’ kids; released the my inner-child. I was making and remaking the boxes, placing them in the tree, suggesting blinged-up verions…
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If I get to be a contented old man, sitting on ma porch, shooting the breeze with a mate then I might consider purchasing such a bird-box – (if only to give me easier targets for ma’ shot-gun;-). For the record I’ve never owned, or would want to own a shooter; I just have a gun-ho attitude to metaphors. Boom! Boom!
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On the topic of guns, props out Ban Hawamdeh a designer from Dubai using 3D printers to create expensive-looking bling. I liked her work if only it made me realise cutting-edge tech could be used to make the world a better place…well a prettier one for those into wearing trinkets and rings.
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A final shout out to Sarah Walsh – and her playful artifice on paper. As I was leaving the exhibition I was struck by the sight of a tree growing indoors.  Looking like something dreamed up by Salvador Dali, Sarah’s final piece brought a wry smile to my minds eye.
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Here are some pretty pictures that caught my eye.
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(If anyone out there wants to contact any of the designers depicted here holla – preferably @ mmu, or @ me if you must;-)   Till next time: cioa for now. 1.x

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