Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hair Battle Spectacular

There's a brand new TV channel on Freeview here in the UK called Really. It has lots of wonderful, high quality programmes like Extraordinary Breastfeeding, Farm Of Fussy Eaters and Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses.

However, the greatest hour on the small screen for the next 4 weeks on Thursday 8pm is the loudest, the most monstrous, introducing the première series of Hair Battle Spectacular.

Part sculpture and part pop art, fantasy hair has been inspired by pop culture leaders like Lady Gaga and Nikki Minaj with each challenge requiring contestants to create outrageous coifs and mops.

There was 10 contestants to start and each week they enter a boxing ring and are whittled down one by one. They present their hair creations in a high octane and stylized performance with a truly awful rap/poem overlayed as a bad soundtrack when their models enter the arena. After each challenge, the judges, lead by award-winning fantasy hair designer Derek J (he has the most fabulous kitten heels), and 2 others - critique the stylists on creativity, execution and overall presentation. It's just been commissioned and starting screening a second series in the US, so we should hopefully get a large piece of hairy action when series two lands.

One man has created the biggest impression on me, Mr Tsunami (real name Nate). He created this for the wedding themed week and transformed the model into a table with a cake on top. It looked like a warped Cousin It.

Hair pieces have dropped off en route on some weeks and I've seen exquisite hair do's and plenty of horrendous hair don'ts. Be careful though Hair Battle Spectacular is quite addictive and I'd encourage readers to take least two steps towards the world of fantasy hair the next time you visit the barbers!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Writings and Emily Speed

In November 2008 I exhibited at the Artists' Book Fair in Liverpool and met Emily Speed, who coordinated the event, commissioned some new book works and created a jolly nice environment and atmosphere for both sellers and buyers.

As an exchange for selling my wares during the event, Emily took a copy of two of my books, The Writings of Ian Abbott Volume 1&2 and The Writings of Ian Abbott Volume 3&4.

They were both small, square, hand made, concertina books with 10 miniature performances encased in them. 1&2 had a cover made from cardboard and 3&4 had a cover made from polystyrene. They were exhibited at quite a few galleries including the beautiful Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk.

Emily currently has an exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and I love her new limited edition Egg Plaster Casts, but she got in touch again recently for another purpose. She's been asked to put together a present of artists' books for four departing members of a-n's board. a-n's mission is to stimulate and support contemporary visual arts practice and affirm the value of artists in society.

So four copies of both Vol 1&2 and 3&4 (original editions) will be making their way to various departing artistic board members over the coming weeks and that's good news all round. I'm currently creating some delicate space travel themed books which will be highlighted here and for sale very shortly.