Fine Art Cocktails

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Too many ‘Sex on the Beach’ for Tracey Emin, the ‘Shaggy’ years, Margate’ solution to an easy ride throughout the difficulties of her adolescence.

Sarah Locus stirred a ‘Cosmopolitan’ to remind her of the metropolis, the capital now she has moved to rural Norfolk.

The man who screen printed the stars from his down-town New York Studio; Andy Warhol, poured a ‘Manhattan’ over ice.

David Hockey throws back an ‘Americano’ he’s been in LA so long her can’t recall Yorkshire and his routes.

A ‘Russian Mule’ for Kandinsky, transporting all to the awe of his abstracts.

Judy Chicago passed a ‘Bloody Mary’ the first female artist to utilize menstrual blood within her work.

A few to many ‘Ginger and Cinzano’ for Frida Kahlo, hitting the bottle, backwash over her divorce from Diego Rivera.

‘Long Island Iced Tea’ in access, like everything else, including women for Jackson Pollock. Hopefully, no automobile accidents on the peninsular as he makes his way home.

Note: a fiction works, many of the artists featured were lost to the World many decades ago, only their great works remain.

 

Recycled Tampons + er, do I have to?

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So you’ve moved with the green revolution: recycling, re-using carrier bags and you endeavour to sort waste for compost. Due to lock-down you’ve reduced use of the vehicle and invested more time to walking and cycling. The next step: they want us girls to use re-cycled tampons, your first thought?

Someone else’s discharge! ew…ew…ew.

Your initial intention: to reduce your carbon footprint by all other means keep sanitary produce; new, pure and cleanly raped.

It’s time to re-think the matter of eco sanitary products, they are not what you imagine!

1.5 billion sanitary products are flushed down the lav every year in Britain. An average woman will use 11,000 sanitary items over her lifetime. It’s time to consider greener alternatives.

Okay, I understand recycled tampons are actually made from used tampons, but aren’t they less pure?

Wrong – many are actually made from organic cotton and often, unlike regular varieties, free from chlorine bleach. They frequently exclude rayon and chemically produced fragrance. If polymers are used, medical-grade is usually stated. Further claim to be hypo-allergenic, highlighting their superiority to standard produce.

Are there genuine environmental benefits?

So, so, many: regular tampons are around 90% plastic and ultimately not biodegradable, taking up space in landfill and the oceans of the planet. Green alternatives use cardboard applicators, paper wrappers and compostable film. Some utilise re-usable applicators which are purchased separately.

Any other plus factors?

There are animal cruelty-free and vegan alternatives, some donate to charities that act against period poverty and FGM.

Then there’s straightforward vanity: the packaging looks amazing. A luxury supplied in a 5-star hotel or first class lounge at the airport.

So are you with me?

Yeah, I’m with you, recycled tampons are for me and forever!

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The Man Who

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Dave, my partner died from covid-19 during the pandemics deadliest week in Britain. This poem was written for him and read at his funeral. Due to the circumstances only 10 could attend the service and we were seated 2 metres apart. Now, as we progress towards some kind of pre-coronavirus normality, only without Dave and so many others, it feels right to reflect on those lost to the pandemic.

 

The Man Who

Dave; lost 3 weeks ago
Covid-19 took from our throw
Laughing, joking till the end
Paramedics struggled, too late to mend

Never shy
Tears, to cry
To show emotion
Animated in notion

A time of lock-down
Leaving house necessity bound
Bars void of serving beer
Brass’ brandishing running gear

Shutters shut on Breck Road
Supermarket queues overload
City traffic ghost-ridden
Parks crammed, exercise-driven

Countries closed down globally
Coronavirus expands robotically
Fatality toll gets bigger
Home death’ omitted figures

An engineer well-travelled
Shores and jobs marvelled
World wide memories collected
To all, much respected

Nigeria
Nicaragua
New York
New Orleans
New Mexico

Dry docks of Cammell Laird
Oceans of the Med
Sights few make comparison
Might of Hurricane Alison

Should Athletico have come
3000 fans, epicentre were from
Post pandemic, answer we will get
Till then we can only threat

He could do the Twist
Dancing moves blitz
Sofa based arm bopping
Laughter, joke swapping

Boris got Better
Death count fewer
Fate, the decider
Dave smiles wider

Up there in heaven
Still a lover of women
A flirt and a tease
Eager to please

To remember:
the jokes
the laughs
the banter
the frolics
a man never afraid to say that’s bollocks

The Man Who was Davy Jones

Alison Little

Brit Pop Guitar

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The Brit Pop Guitar is a sensation: Visual arts meets music culture with the dynamism of the Nineties which we all love to remember.

The iconic Union Jack which was imprinted on many of the bands of the era immerses within the surface of the guitar. A gritty rendition, presenting many blemishes, reflecting the disenchantment of the decade.

An unusual vision of beauty, the sexy NHS spec wearing girl, projects from the base with the same impact she made in the Pulp’ Common People music video.

Towards the lower section, we have a crowd at the festival which pre-dates Christianity: Glastonbury. Taking us back to a simpler time when entrance meant scaling the fence, away from the inflated cost of festival tickets commonplace within contemporary culture.

On the other side of the bridge, two fingers affront our focus. The insult which many, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, in particular, brandished throughout appearances. A decade which encountered economic decline, instigating uprisings of dissident activism. The generation which fought back against the raw deal they were inheriting.

Centrally we engage with the Oasis symbol, the motif printed over two levels, dominating the sound-hole. Rendering Britishness, red white and blue, backing the stretches of the guitar strings.

Negativity and dissatisfaction, prevalent of the era, is projected from the upper section:

‘Modern life is Rubbish’

A term coined by the staple of Brit Pop: Blur. The graffiti-style conveys the widespread anti-establishment dissatisfaction of the Nineties.

Butterflies flutter over the neck of the instrument. Our late Millennium radio stations were taken over by Richard Ashcroft of the Verve belting out:

‘Don’t go chasing butterflies.’

A sobering, reflective lyric in a time when heroin was being widely consumed across our nation. A drug which had not only engulfed our cities but had filtered out to our towns and villages.

The head-stock displays one of Noel Gallagher’s acclaimed anoraks. Oasis refashioned the anorak, making it desirable once again. Iconic of Britain, not only due to the protection it offers from our frequent rain showers, but equally re-visualizing the white on the red of the St Georges Cross.

The three-quarter sized Brit Pop guitar is set to make as much impact as its full-size contemporaries. A spectacular string instrument which reminds us why we still celebrate Nineties Brit Pop.

£350

Contact for more information.

 

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1970s: girls now get wet!

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Learning to read, the ultimate voyage of discovery for today’s youngest, but this has been the custom since literature became widely available in the nineteenth century. We look at the differences in culture, relationships, and gender in the reading books of the sixties and those of the seventies.

In the books of the sixties, the body language of boys is confident and pro-active while girls are more cautious. Boys take on more active roles when playing games and getting wet, girls sit sunbathing and keeping their delicate dresses smoothed in place. Leaning out and taking risks is commonplace with males, while the females shelter and ensure they remain safe. Boys run speedily ahead taking the frontward position as girls lag dramatically behind.

We address a common Ladybird book published during the sixties: ‘Happy Holidays’. Traditions of the British sea-side holiday are explored throughout ‘Happy Holidays’, ice cream treats alongside the ritual of a pot of tea.

In the books, the girl appears to be much more advanced than boys at academic tasks, such as reading and writing. All the children featured are white and often Aryan, most appear to be British through traditional attire. Boys clothing is much more practical, T-Shirts and shorts while girls are dressed in delicate sun-dresses. Girls are shown to be interested in traditional female pursuits, identifying wild-flowers.

The seventies saw revolutionary progress in the content of children’s reading books. In this, we identify characteristics of the Ladybird classic, ‘Out of the Sun’.

As of the previous decade, the cover presents us with an image of the boy ahead assisting the weaker female. Boys are drawn toward hunter-gatherer activities while girls occupy themselves with female pursuits, such as picking flowers. Again the girls seek out feminine activities while the boys occupy themselves with the use of tools.

Aryan culture is being promoted, however children with varying hair colours and alternative features are now included. Although the children are predominantly white, those from ethnic minorities are now being visualized as active members of groups of friends. The notion of healthy eating is introduced and the ideals of patriotism presented through the Union Jack duvet cover. Girls now wear practical clothing and are clad in T-shirts and jeans. Rough and tumble games are explored by females, a girl tackles a dog with a walking stick. However, most revolutionary, we now see a girl getting wet and enjoying water sports games. Soaked in water, drenched through she emerges from the swimming pool, triumphant in her games play.

In the space of a decade, we move from girls sunbathing as boys play actively in the water to girls being fully emerged in water and pro-actively involved in pool sports. Although traditional male and female pursuits are still being presented in the seventies, the more practical clothing of girls is a significant step towards equality. The inclusion of ethnic minorities can be seen as a progressive move. The decade which embraced second wave feminism influence shown through children’s literature, a decade which laid the foundations for the gains we benefit from in contemporary society.

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Flies of Beauty

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Flies of Beauty is the latest painting from North West based Artist: Alison Little.

She explores a range of diverse techniques to create this groundbreaking example of visual arts.

The work is 60 cm square, her work being of these proportions in format. The flat panel uses a box mount to set out from the surface of the wall. Acrylic pouring techniques were used to create the backing tones. The surface was added to using a bamboo drip pen, creating texture within the image. A vinyl cutting process was embraced for the butterflies, acrylic paint was scrapped on using a squeegee, they were then carefully located onto the surface of the painting.

Uplifting art created during a time of crisis.

£120

Contact for further details.

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The Loss

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‘Silhouette; burnt orange’ by Charlotte Hodes

Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

The Loss is a short fiction works written by Alison Little. It was produced in responce to ‘Silhouette: burnt orange’ by Charlotte Hodes which was exhibited as part of The Errant Muse exhibition held at the VG&M in Liverpool.

The Loss

Sunlight brandishes down on the desolate beach location, she lies stretched out on her front, body twisted towards the horizon of the sea. Hand raised above her eyes, blocking the sunlight attempting to obscure her vision.

Eyes scanning the spectrum for him, she has lost sight into the expanse of the ocean. Only out of sight she assumes, hidden between waves lashing against the rocks of the coastline. Her rear is arched slightly, enhanced by the slender fit summer dress. Knees encased by the warmth of the dry sands. Earlier, her feet had kicked up joyfully towards her rear, playfulness re-connected in adulthood, now tensed. Below her, the sands burn a deeper orange.

A hand crochet blanket, hours of pain, distraction-seeking hooked yarn, covers the sands she rests on. It was the only thing for her to do, removing her mind from the loss. There was no point in making any more baby clothes, she didn’t know what to do with the collection she had already made, laid out in the draw she had lined. They would decide in unison after the negotiated break.

Vision streaming further into the ocean, she could still not see him. They had waited four weeks since the miscarriage to get away, both needed to arrange time off work. Making the blanket had kept her mind occupied, kept the tears from flowing full force. They had come to Swanage in Dorset, easy to book a B+B at limited notice. The main town beach had been packed full of babies and children, grown into what their foetus would have once become. He had taken the initiative to suggest walking to a more remote beach around the coast. He was trying to be strong for her but he was grieving the loss in tandem.

Further, into the ocean, a longboat jammed full of tourists heads towards deeper waters. All the trips they would never take their unborn child on, the picnics they would never consummate, the family games they would never play. Into the abyss, the no-more, her hand fell onto her reduced stomach. A light tear joins her face, panic sets in, she couldn’t see him. What if she had lost him also, drawn out to the infinite seascape. As she is about to stand several petals drop down onto her smudged checks. Looking up, he is scattering wildflower petals over her, their eyes connect and they smile in unison. He joins her as they wrap into each other, minds and bodies link, they know everything will be okay again.

The Errant Muse

Charlotte Hodes has two further exhibitions later in the year:

Remember Me, Charlotte Hodes Papercuts & Ceramics Solo exhibition, National Centre for Craft & Design, 11 Jan – 22 March 2020

Most Admirably Improved by Art, Hestercombe, Somerset, 29 February – 28 June 2020

Britishness

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As Covid-19 strikes our shores, looking to attack and kill many of us Brits we must question; What is Britishness? Britishness can be glorious, but equally, sometimes less appealing aspects. The extent of the British Empire at its prime to the realities of Post-Colonialism in modern society. The cultural heritage of our nation to the modern ethnic diversities in which we thrive.

What symbol could we select to represent ‘Britishness’. This could be the actual size of an item replicated on a smaller scale. A teacup and saucer jump into vision, possibly a post box or the now virtually redundant phone boxes once of British Telecom. Also in red: traditional buses which are still in service or modernised to a degree. Umbrella’s to represent the ever-present rain showers which engulf our shores, the nostalgic notion of vicars on bicycles. Equally, the symbolism potential of animals could be exploited, the frequently used lion to show strength from the Empire days. Alternatively, a bulldog, famed through Churchill and our victories during World War II. Would we look to incorporate the National Flag: Union Jack and the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement?

If you were asked to collate a statement around the theme of ‘Britishness,’ how would it read?

The concept of ‘Home’, the area in which you live and building, people and places of importance. Identifying with feeling around gender, ethnicity, class and regional background. Do women feel differently to men, do those from ethnic minorities feel as strongly ‘British’ as their white neighbours? Do white working-class opinions vary from those of the nobility? Will Scottish feelings about Anglo-centricity contrast to those of the English?

Whatever your feelings about Britishness, in this state of emergency we must fight off this virus, in isolation but equally in unison.

Mrs Trump

 

Mrs Trump

Although Mrs Trump and other characters in the narrative are real, this is strictly a fiction works and the actions and events are not based on real life.

Mrs Trump gazes over the silver-framed Wedding photo they have positioned on the intricacies of their mantelpiece. The happy day: a falsehood, like herself, a manufactured outer shell. He owns her like his property empire, the White House, the Billionaire who purchased the United States, if not the World. Her vision moves towards the photos from their honeymoon. Modest, but designer suited, backed by the vision of a meadow. A meadow which they never walked in, only fantasies of jumping and throwing things at each other as she gathers wild flowers. A nature she had never submersed herself in, not even in youth. Even when at the beaches of the tropics, she goes no further than the spotlessly cleaned lounge areas of the most luxurious hotels.

Eyes manoeuvre back towards the image of the big day. The bridesmaid from her side, a cousin she hardly new flown over from Slovenia. A girl who would look good in the dress the stylist selected for her which she didn’t question. The bridesmaid figure they were able to call up and slot in again when needed for media stated family occasions, now replaced by their son.

The fallacy of the photograph, as she looks over she feels nothing. Void of emotions or signs of dissatisfaction with the home life she has built up. A fake marriage, a collection of houses in which she didn’t enjoy living. A husband whose affections wonder over those he can afford. Horses they hire people to ride, the land they purchase as simply a pleasant view from the windows. Dead inside, presenting a placid outer shell. Simply stand by his side. Mrs Trump: the ultimate purchase, a representation of beauty, an outer crater containing nothing but stale air.

Reminiscing on the excitement of her youth before she became the third Mrs Trump. The wild all-night parties of her modelling work, Milan, then Paris. A smile takes over her face and her lower lips become moist as she recalls the thrill of jetting into London to bare all for GQ magazine. Fully naked, draped over furs, neck adorned by jewels as she looked directly at the lens. When she had it all ahead of her, desired by all, she could have made any man her partner.

Fingers run over the jewel of her neck piece she selected earlier in the evening. The fulfilment she had felt when she had established her own jewellery business, the company she had been forced to abandon as it was deemed unfitting for the President’s Spouse. The PC role she now plays helping children’s charities. The glamour of the jewels given up for the dust-ridden dorms and desolate units of children’s homes. The special attention she has been directed to give towards the harm opioids can do to the foetus. Not her instigation, could pregnant women on heroin, really, not work out they are harming their unborn children for themselves?

Legs rested on the footstool, she leans back into the comfort on the leathers of the settee. Eyes wandering around one of many living rooms of the White House, gazing through the expanse of the interior. Her memories re-engage with the modest apartment in which she was raised. The entire residence for her parents and there two daughters to live being the same size as the room she is currently seated. As she sips her gin and tonic she contemplates the separate beds her and her husband now sleep. When their relationship had started they indulged in sex multiple time a day, now they rarely even touch one another. The son they had together, the boy they hardly know due to the amount of time he spends away at school. She is ambient to his meagre attempts to hide his latest affair, a brave front made up and ignored. She had acquired all the riches a woman could desire, but right now she recognises she was happier squashed into the apartment block of her childhood surrounded by the love of her family.

There can be no return, no escape, no way of leaving the most powerful man in the World. Again, her vision gazes towards the mantelpiece, this time toward the bottle of pills, her eyes look down towards the ice in her gin and tonic.

No, she will continue to dress for the press, stand by his side and present herself as ‘The Wife’, her envisaged role.

For now anyway……

Block Works

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Block Works is the latest concept based practice from Alison Little: comprising of a series of sculptural forms which represent areas of urban residence. An ethnology process where collections of discarded objects are cemented together in block form. The artifacts are selected and encased in the common urban material offering an explanation of those who occupy the city space, their lifestyles and methods human existence.

Everton Block Works engages our attention with the towering form of the engine suspension system, reflecting the second-hand car culture commonplace within the area. Several narcotics smoking devices emerge from the upper surface, indicating drug use within the external environment. Homelessness or the misguided pursuits accountable as youth culture. Contrasted by the healthy activities of dog walking, shown by a lead and enhanced by an exercise equipment suspension spring. An adjacent feather shows the ever present urban pigeon, commonplace within cities globally. The top surface encases a heavy industrial ring, accompanied by screw findings, rope matter throughout the form. Manual work being common with local inhabitants. Child’s playthings are present, but items from £1 stores from lower-income families. The edges of the block are lined by food consumer packaging waste: crisp packets, fizzy and alcoholic drinks cans. A suburb where the unhealthy diet is prominent and drink alcohol a persistent activity. The greens and grays of the blocks finish reflect the mix of residential and urban green space which dominates the Everton area.

The top section of Anfield Block Works is entangled by the dynamics of a discarded cable. Other electric wastes reflect a culture where the inhabitants are happy to discard debris freely. An array of drinks top illustrates further examples of poor diet, however, an exercise water bottle top suggests healthy activities. This is joined by a dog toy and tennis ball, positive pursuits within a leisure space. Again, a pigeon feather evidence of urban wildlife. Examples of gambling additions within the district can be drawn from the miniature blue pen of the bookies. Wire wool, cable systems and sponge matter indicating manual tasks occurring within the outdoor spectrum. The Liverpool football stadium ‘Anfield’ being a central hub of the district. The inflatables from match-days, the drinks straws from spectators present in the block formed in the shadows of the Kop. The final colour showing a degraded range of greens and blacks, an urban green space heavily polluted by the traffic of the stadium.

The Block Works Collection with expand across the city and further afield. More collections with be collated, encased and presented as representations of the city and occupants.

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