Tuesday 25 August 2009

Beatrix Von Bourbon

I'm still busy getting my art work finished as I plan to show my new series of watercolours based on nautical themes and sailor tatoos in a show I'm doing in October in Manchester's Gay Village. At the moment I'm sourcing frames and materials to customise them with...I'm very excited, more info to follow!

In the meantime I thought I'd tell you about my favourite British burlesque performer Beatrix Von Bourbon. I first became aware of her when she performed at the private view of the Ooh La La exhibition I took part in in 2007. The show was Britain's first burlesque inspired art exhibition and I'm really proud to have been part of it!

This was before I started to perform as one half of The Chantilly Belles and I was so excited to see some live burlesque. I was absolutely entranced by Miss Von Bourbon's performances! She did two in all and I remember that even when her music ran out half way through the second act she carried on and still wowed the crowd!

The reason I like her as a performer so much is that she is extemeley intuative when it comes to burlesque. She has a strong character that singles her out from many other strip based acts making her unique in looks and stage persona. She is also very funny on stage and to top it off she has the most incredible tattoos that add to her allure. Her acts have gone from strength to strength and she has gone on to perform internationally, last year taking part in a three month residency at Friedrichsbau Variete Stuttgart, Germany.

Last year I painted Beatrix after she modelled for me. I was inspired by her tattoos and wanted to paint a piece that told a story about revealing truths. In her portrait she is slowly pulling away her blouse to reveal her tattoo chest piece. It's up to the viewer to decide if she is being tentative, coy or seductive. I included the painting in my ongoing series My Baby's got a Secret which you can see HERE. Miss Von Bourbon also makes a cheeky anonymous appearance on my Bon Bons series which you can see HERE!

'Beauty Marked' Acyrlic on canvas 2008

Now that I also perform burlesque my appreciation of the art form has only increased as I know what a lot of hard work goes into creating each act and promoting it, the anxiety and adrenalin of performing and the huge sense of fun and fulfilment you get from the whole experience!

Myself and Beatrix Von Bourbon at the Candybox 2007

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Ellen von Unwerth

"(Women) are not just there to be admired, they are there to be enjoyed."--Ellen Von Unwerth
This week I thought I'd share with you one of my favourite contemporary photographers Ellen von Unwerth.
I've been seeing her distinctive photos for years now and never realised they were all by the same fantastic artist until I stumbled over something about her in a photography magazine about a year ago.

"I love all the old pictures--of spanking and Bettie Page and corsets. But you can't do spanking in fashion, so I wanted to do a project where I could really let go and get girls who also love those things."--Ellen Von Unwerth on Revenge

The thing I love about this german photgrapher's work is that she seems as fascinated with the female form and all the details of it's apparel as I am! In my work I am constantly inspired by the stories I see hidden in costumes and accessories. I think Unwerth is a master at presenting her own version of these stories in her photography. She also seems to be a big fan of bottoms just like me!

"The mystery in my pictures differentiates them from porn. They tell you a story, but you don't know quite where it's going to take you. They are more ambiguous and activate your fantasies."--Ellen Von Unwerth

'Cherry Liqueur' acrylic on canvas 2008

Earlier this year Kylie Minogue posed for Ellen Von Unwerth for the new TOUS campaign. I love these photos, kylie really looks like she's having a fun time. They are really colourful sexy and girly pictures!

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Learn the Ropes

Just a quickie this week! Here's a peek at the most recent painting for my nautical pin up series. I'm finding that as I work on it the theme is evolving, it isn't so much about traditional sailor tattoos anymore but heavily inspired by them. It is becoming a more fluid way of getting my ideas down. The theme is still nautical with each image taking it's cue from maritime sayings, but the outside influence is much looser now, I think the point when I was listening to Air in the studio while working and found myself going down a much more personal route really was the turning point.

With this image for instance I am definately getting a Kylie vibe through (probably as I keep listening to Boombox and Made of Glass) but also I have added my fascination with performance here and turned the mermaid into a kind of burlesque performer using japanese rope bondage as well as star pasties.

Other news:

The Chantilly Belles now have the video of our performance at Urbis for the Urbis Creatives launch night up online!

The night which took place earlier this year was to celebrate the launch of the Urbis Creatives website, a platform for the staff of Urbis who have creative projects outside of work. You can see the website HERE.

Urbis Creatives will have our own stall at this years Buy Art Fair to be held at Urbis from the 24th - 27th September. Along with other artists I will be showing and selling orignal artwork as part of one of the largest consumer art exhibitions in the country! More info to follow...

Tuesday 4 August 2009

What to do with my website?... and how to relaxxx

This week I've been making some big decisions about my work and my website which you can see HERE

I've thinking about having an update and changing the overall look of the site. I would really appreciate your opinions about the current layout colour scheme and ease of navigation, please let me know what you think. I'm having a meeting with my website guy tomorrow so fingers crossed we come up with something fab!

Other news:

I'm pleased to announce that after months of trying to figure it out, I now have the performance of Never Outfox the Fox by The Chantilly Belles online! This was filmed when we performed at the Silk Stocking Striptease Show at the end of last year! Better late than never huh?

As well as my website, I've also been taking decisive action regarding my current art work and studio time; making timetables and lots of lists and changing my routine. I've been mulling things over for a while and all this thinking has been a bit stressful, which has inspired me to share with you my favourite things that help destress and cheer!:

Firstly I have a new obsession! Last week I was introduced to The Flight of the Conchords, a very funny low key comedy about two novelty musicians from New Zealand who have moved to New York. I can't beleive I only just found out about these guys! I have now watched the entire first series and am enjoying the second one.

Jemaine and Brett are adorable naive and disfuntional and the show is too obscure to relate properly, however each episode follows the boys as they attend band meetings with their manager Murray and try and avoid their number one and only fan Mel. So far they have been mugged, made friends with the muggers, gone on tour to an airport lounge and been published as a musical greetings card! My favourite songs includes the pairs take on rap stars and the David Bowie episode!

I am also enjoying listening to Kylie's track Boombox from her album Boombox. Here Kylie has embraced electro pop to the full and created a great dance track that is fun to sing along to.
I have had this track on lots at the studio while I've been painting. It's great for pepping up your energy! I've got a boombox...You've got batteries!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my huge excitment about the new TV drama Desperate Romantics, a series about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Well, I have been enjoying the show but as a super geek about the PRB's I have noticed lots of tweaking of the truth to condense the story into a six part drama. You can see clips from the show and more info HERE it's well worth a look for the gorgeous costumes the boys wear alone.

I bought the book the serial is based on and have found it fascinating! a full five stars from me! The author Franny Moyle has written a factual intense book covering the reality of the artistic movement and the private lives of it's members. You can really immerse yourself in it which I have been doing mostly on the bus. I highly recommend it!