Artists & Product Customisation

by Vanessa Champion

Vans shoe customisation launch event, shoe customisation by artist Tin Robot (photo by Vanessa Champion)

So Friday night, Camden… something usually gives, and last night was no exception, bang opposite Camden Tube an awesome crowd rocked up into the Vans’ store to chill to some vibing grooves from the decks of a rather handsome DJ, drink champagne, mixers, wine and mingle with journalists and creatives.  The reason for this cool shindig was to launch the "VANS CUSTOM MADE + YOU" tour which is another brilliant move on the part of Vans to excite contemporary customisation of their footwear.

Not a lot of people know this, but Vans kick started shoe customisation way back in 1966, this unique project aims to celebrate and support their long standing connection with the art scene.

Art by Tin Robot, on display in the Vans Camden store at the launch event 12 July 2013 (photo by Vanessa Champion)

The tour opens in Camden, with customers cramming into the store on Saturday to get their shoes customised by the five artists, the artists then pick up their inks and creativity and head to three more stores located in key trend cities: Glasgow, Bordeaux and Paris where they will produce live art.

Artists Psykey and Kevin Grey (photo by Vanessa Champion)

I chatted to the artists Ben Bobzien, Kevin Grey, Seth Shelman and Tim Wolff. Each of them have really interesting backgrounds in graphic designs, tattoo art, graffiti and fine art, working across media and with a variety of outlets from publishing to licensed clothing. Vans have been exceptionally impressive in selecting these artists whose work exudes urban vogue will now travel along with the artist ‘French’ on to Vans’ store locations in Glasgow, Bordeaux and Paris where they will produce live art.

It’s a great concept, as the live art show combines a bespoke customisation service & exhibition plus a live in-store paint session, creating a permanent fixture on the Vans Store front.

Follow the artists on twitter @zien_art @frenchcraft @timrobot @sethcs (photo by Vanessa Champion)

artist Psykey (@sethcs) with his art and Vans’ customisation (photo by Vanessa Champion)

Artist Tim Wolff (@timrobot) by his quirky creations, which is calling out for a graphic novel! (photo by Vanessa Champion)

Ben Bobzien with his customised Vans (photo by Vanessa Champion)

thi's the season...

Street Art on Christmas Day

Hope that everybody in London have had a merry Christmas. So while public transport is not around, and most shops are not open today, you can have a very good view of Ben Eine's alphabets along Middlesex street around Aldgate -

Ben Eine's alphabets in Middlesex Street video link

If you do not know who Ben Eine is, below are a few pages and videos to get you familiar on his works.


Further Readings -
Page: Official website of Ben Eine
Twitter: Official twitter of Ben Eine
Report: Graffiti artist Ben Eine embraces the art world by Emma Love for the Independent, 10.12.2010
Report: Ben Eine: the street artist who's made it to the White House by Jon Henley, 21 July 2010
Wiki: entry for Ben Eine
Video: Ben Eine - The Origin Wine Canvas by TestifyFilmsCT, 08.11.2010
Video: A Man of Letters - Eine (Graffiti Artist) documentary by vintageEXP779, 05.06.2010
Video: Ben Eine (Part 1 of 3) by hallmork357, 15.09.2010

dalston re-visited

After the first thursday art walk 2 weeks ago stopping by Dalston, we headed down to the area again last saturday after some art explorations and ran into the afternoon delight of the Portavilion touring in Gillet Square.

Full photo set here
We then went over to the Dalston East Curve Garden (Dalston Barn) and found the workers were working on the furniture right there -

Full photo set here
And we found some gorgeous graffiti at the garage behind the garden as well this time, perfect under the bright summer sun -

What a lovely neighbourhood!

the streets are the playground...

A little walk across these 2 little streets in the east has kept my eyes happy for the rest of the day. I believe there are more talents than just banksy London can offer :)

Would be interested to know more about the creators of these great works. I saw a few by probably the same people elsewhere in town... Just  not having the time to look up online to uncover him/her yet.

On Fashion Street -

On Commercial Street -

art december in london . part 2

It's the last weekend before Christmas, if you are still doing your last minute gift-shopping, the followings may be of some inspirations to help you out -

the Fiesta Resistance
Pictures on Walls at 46 Commercial Street
until 23.12.2009

Prints, Posters, Books, Paintings ... lots of different stuff you could get here

The Banksy work at the entrance

Full photo set here


Flying Eyeballs
08-12.12.2009 (already closed)

The standalone shelf at the shopfront

Various items inside the shelf

Swallow composed of helicopters

Full photo set here


Art for Kunst at Christmas Bazaar
The Old Truman Brewery
until 21.12.2009

Limited edition sets of T-shirt and picture by various artists

Full photo set here


New Acquisitions Show + Christmas Party (09.12.2009)
until 26.01.2010

Minotaur 2 by Gordon Cheung

Sea 0° - 135° by Jan Dibbets

Full photo set here


Further Readings -
Official web of Pictures on Walls
Flying eyeball press release at Alive-not-dead
Official page for Art-for-Kunst's christmas stall
Official web of Gordon Cheung

banksy in bristol city museum

Banksy vs Bristol Museum
13.06 - 31.08.2009
Bristol Museum

banksy vs bristol museum by you.

Five minutes after arriving at the exhibition venue, I asked myself, "Am I queuing for Space Mountain in Dinseyland?"

There are fencings outside the Bristol City Museum with papers stating "2 hours wait from here", "1.5 hours wait from here" etc. The girls in front of me in the queue drove from Bradford, and I am sure there are quite a lot of visitors to the show are from outside Bristol.

banksy vs bristol museum by you.
Uncle Old McDonald sitting above the entrance of the museum

banksy vs bristol museum by you.
Lots of people from all over the country come to see the works of a street-art genius

Full photo set here

Many people should have visited the show by now. And if you have not yet done so, you probably should hurry up because the queues would only get longer & longer with the final day of the show counting down in 3 weeks' time.

You don't see people having the need to read any explanation notes or joining a guided tour for the show. Everybody's faces turns up a light smile or full eye open once they could finally enter the entrance and see all the works by British's most famous graffiti 'artist' (he probably is qualified as the top 20 most recognisable name in the UK). This, is the power of Banksy.

His power to connect everyday life and common people through his works is magical. You could immediately get what he want to say on most occasions - his works does not need a title to explain what it is about, just like what he painted on streets have no formal title. They are meant to be part of the urban fabric, nothing different from pedestrains on the streets, shopfronts along high streets and the seagulls flying over the river & canals. They reflect the everyday life of this country (not just London, as almost none of his works have any specific geographical reference to the city).

His work is more than a graffiti logo/signature. A logo cannot communicate so much to the general public. And the locations he picked to put his works up are strategic to generate debates and public awareness. And he does not only remain in his own circle - he expands into the public (and legal) realm. He participates in joint venture projects like Cans Festival, and contacts the Bristol City Museum to initiate this exhibition. All these events are hugely successful and create a media storm internationally. The commitment he made on all these has shown that he seems to have more to give the society other than promoting his own fame.

banksy vs bristol museum by you.
Everybody is taking photos and contributing to the Banksy phenomenon

Looking at the current art world, graffiti art has been employed by fashion houses and enterprises to market their merchandise to the young generation. While some people say that graffiti art has been high-jacked for commercialism, would it be more appropriate to say that graffiti has finally been formally recognised as a form of art which reflects its zeitgeist?

A few clips showing what it is like inside the show in terms of exhibits and people's reaction in the central halls -

Two more graffiti outside the museum in the city -

banksy in bristol . 01 by you.
The street warrior aiming at the pedestrains

banksy in bristol . 03 by you.
The graffiti attracted vandalism itself

Further Reading - - official website for the exhibition
Banksy's stencil collection online
Report from BBC news, 12.06.2009 (with video link)
Review from Suit Yourself Magazine of Bristol
Review from the Independent by Steven Wright, 13.06.2009
Review from the Telegraph by Serena Davies, 15.06.2009
"Banksy was here, the invisible man of graffiti art" by Lauren Collins for the New Yorker 14.05.2007

Update - Banksy insisted CCTV footage was destroyed from the Times, 13.08.2009 (via @banksynews)