Friday, 30 March 2012

INSA - Self Reflection is Greater Than Self Projection

London Newcastle Project Space
Redchurch St, London

29 March 2012 ONLY

All photos: NolionsInEngland except the proper photograph stolen from Ian Cox

It’s not porn, it’s critiquing porn. That’s the fine line INSA’a one night only installation of chrome, arse and tit straddles.

INSA Room Ian Cox
photo Ian Cox

The installation comprises an all-enveloping wallpapered collage of images of INSA chicks photographed reflected in mirror balls. To the voyeur, it’s the hyper contrasting optical distortions that delight the eye most,

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The photographic collage builds from studies (interesting how when it’s INSA, we use "studies" rather than “readers wives shots”) of two pouting females. The artistic concept is raised another power of two as this surround-fetish installation is evidently a collage of photographs themselves taken in an all embracing installation room.

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The blurb says something about a Francesca Selby from Papergraphics who donated the digital printable wallcovering, Digimura ( One of the other Graffoto contributors is actually some kind of un-sung global hero in the world of printing bloody big stuff but I can’t be arsed to ask him what this printing technique is; to this author it looks like a distorted colour dottery (whut?) which itself becomes a bit abstract if you try to get to close.

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The first 50 fetishists through the door were given a numbered limited edition print derived from the imagery in the show. Usually a free print is so insignificant, so little to write home about that it veers close to a debasement of the artist’s usual quality of work. A bit like getting a Michelin chef’s ready cooked diffusion meal range from the 24hr petrol station down the road. The 42 by 59 cm freebie INSA print given away tonight is undeniably a stunner. It looked so lush there was a hope that it might grace the walls of NoLions Towers but Lady NoLions wasn’t swallowing it.

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There is some kind of sick irony in the fact that this all-encompassing immersion art installation is photography based and in itself is magically photogenic. These photographs may not do justice to the trick on the eye in which people appear to be poised perfectly balanced on tanned bootilicious contours.

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INSA’ s signature stripes, flesh and swoosh come together all over the installation

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(Our good friend from Hookedblog reckons that the original shoot for the wallpaper was done in some kind of kinkily dis-orientating strobe flash mode. This explains the intense points of light scattered around the wallpaper, not to mention the ghost tripod in the shot above.)

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The Graffoto photo collection from this show includes a beautifully composed “from the hip” shot of an friend with his mouth wide open, perfectly juxtaposed in front of one of the images so that his bearded mug looks like a carelessly trimmed Brazilian. Unfortunately, such is the way with that kind of “street photography” technique, the pic was hugely over-exposed and will never be published, this will hopefully prevent a generation of young boys growing up with a bizarre idea of where a G-Spot is found. Here is a completely unrelated pic.

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Someone cleverer than this author may make a case that a room full of lathered up penises might fulfil the same intended artistic concept but if INSA ever takes that as inspiration to a produce a similar gender opposed installation then you might have a bit of a wait to read about it here on Graffoto.

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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Secrets Of The Sticker Shed - Sticker Making Workshop

High Roller Society
10 Palmers Rd
London E2 0SY

25 March 2012

All photos: NolionsInEngland

Stickers photographed in the wild are by a variety of artists and are not all made by Stickee

Stickers operate at the margins of general acceptability, slightly less vilified than tagging by the “I love street art but tags are mindless vandalism” brigade. Stickering is a vital and vibrant culture where the graffiti's “up and prolific” mindset fondles street art’s aversion to risk.

feat Nylon, printed by Stickee

High Roller Society took time from its hectic schedule to host a workshop by sticker maker Stickee. In the presence of some of London’s leading users of robust and permanent stickers, who understandably shied towards anonymity on the fringes of the gathering, Stickee demonstrated how the gap between you and home production of top quality screen printed stickers is bridged with a bit of software and some low cost hardware, most of which you probably already own.


Stickering is a broad label so to put Stickee’s product in context, sticker “artists” get up using anything ranging from hand written courier labels with acres of lovely white space, check our 2011 novelty street stickering interview with wordy DHL label supremo Curly, lazer jet printed envelop labels, “my name is” stickers to hi end multi-colour giclee printed and shaped vinyl productions. Often a glance around the edges of a street art show might reveal a little pile of artist stickers filling the function of calling card, usually worth trousering a few of those whilst sinking a few of those free weird tasting Ukranian cyders (or whatever they are, often it becomes difficult to remember).

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Stickee is a full time sticker maker and the quality of his product belies the slightly Heath Robinson ramshackle production line. Starting with the art work which is imported or scanned into illustrator, a black template is prepared including registration marks which are incredibly important for the shape cutting at the end. Working in the CMYK colour scheme the template is printed on to acetate which is then used to burn the silk screen. Eschewing the very expensive vacuum photo exposure unit, Stickee creates the screens using a duvet vacuum bag (£1!!) and piece of foam, a black tee shirt, a vacuum cleaner and 1 cigarette’s worth of free sunshine. The enemy of sharp imagery at this stage seems to be light sneaking around under the black areas of the acetate, Stickee gave loads of tips, does and dont’s and tricks to minimise the risk of producing a crap screen.

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Printing the reversed image on acetate

Vacuum sealing
Duvet Covers - not just for housewives

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Burning the screen, vacuum holding good!

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Rinsing photographic emulsion off the screen

After all that care and cautious processing to ensure a blemish free image with sharp edges, no dust specks, nothing missing, the fun and quick bit is slapping around the ink at the screen printing stage, we all got a fling at that. Curiously, while the objective of printing the acetate is to get as much black ink as possible out of the nozzle, the nature of the vinyl paper and the ink are such that you actually need to be quite sparing with the ink at the screen printing stage, who’d have thought?

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Then there is the cutting, which is computer driven on a digital blade cutter, this actually cuts the sticker but not the backing paper behind, must be pretty sensitive and/or clever. This is where the registration marks on the sheet are very important so that the optical device on the print head can find out exactly where the image on the computer screen is located on the sheet of paper. Best way to be wowed by this precision cutting is to look at Stickee’s own youtube video below.

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Sticker contour cutter

video by Stickee

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The Finished Product - main image attributed to ARREX

The gallery walls had a lush looking selection of various stickers produced by stickee, see below, as well as several intriguing "making of" demonstrators such as this collection showing the four screens used to produce the famous TEK 33 trident stickers.

Four Stages ofTek 33
Top left to bottom right: pink layer, red layer, yellow layer, black layer

Like all these things, the technology is impressive and it is quite an eye opener to see the skill and length of time involved in producing even a single layer sticker. Anyone at the workshop could go home and have a fair stab at producing top quality stickers but as always the art is actually more important than the medium, so without a big flow of ideas probably your best bet is to let Stickee do it, Graffoto has known for a long time that his work is about the cheapest and highest quality!

Stickers by Mighty Mo, Aida, Nylon, Sweet Toof, Mr Penfold, Stickee, available from High Roller SocietyLink

Stickee Facebook
Stikee Flicker
High Roller Society