Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It's coming up to the end of the year and I've just uploaded some photos from recent months onto my computer. I really like this one - it was taken at Frieze Art Fair this autumn. It was my first time at the fair and it definitely made an impression on me. I didn't like a lot of the things I saw, but this Opie sculpture caught my eye. Quite a nice image to end the year with I think!

Hampstead Heath

Some pictures I took on the Heath recently



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Somerset House ice rink

These are some sketches I did on Wednesday at Somerset House, London. I intend to go back there and do more sketches, and then make some paintings from them.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Roman protests

I found this in my sketchbook from earlier this summer - I was sitting waiting for my friend May at Piazza Venezia and ended up getting caught in the middle of an anti-war demonstration. This is a very quick sketch of some of the poliziotti standing at the ready with their riot gear - they looked almost like statues, or like toy police in their starched blue uniforms. In the end the protesters marched by very peacefully, but it was an interesting spectacle nonetheless.

Drawing London by night

Covent Garden market

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cambridge Film Festival 2009

I've spent most of the past week in Cambridge, seeing some great films, interviewing directors and enjoying the crisp autumn weather. Highlights have definitely been interviewing two very cool French directors, Robert Guédiguian and Rémi Bezançon, seeing The Red Shoes for the first time, and watching Joe Wright's The Soloist. I was also impressed by British filmmaker Peter Strickland's simple, beautifully shot first feature set in Romania, Katalin Varga.
I also took advantage of the beautiful weather to do some painting in my old college, Jesus. The Sculpture in the Close exhibition is still on for a few more days and I wanted to capture some of the lovely artworks before they are taken away. The top two sketches depict a pile of Gormleys in Second court, and one of Jake and Dinos Chapman's friendly, rusty dinosaurs lurking in Library Court.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Art in Amsterdam

I spent four blissful days in Amsterdam last week visiting my friend Milenna. I loved it, and think maybe one day I'd like to live there (if I don't live in Paris or Barcelona). The weather was glorious and I took lots of photos. I also did some watercolours and drawings - here are some examples.

Monday, June 8, 2009

summer drawing

Synecdoche, New York

Just went to see Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, and thought it was brilliant. Kind of a crossover between 8 1/2 and a Woody Allen movie. It also reminded me in part of A Bothersome Man, a Norwegian film by Jens Lien which I saw at the Cinémathèque Français in 2006 and which made an impression on me for its strange, wacky kind of black humour and a delight in the grotesque.

Synecdoche, New York is a film about a theatre director who wins a prestigious MacArthur grant, with which he decides to direct a play about his own existence - and recruits an enormous cast of characters to (re)enact his life. However, things get more and more confusing as reality and fiction overlap.

Kaufman's film focuses on the great 'crisis of the artist' but also addresses a wider human fear of loneliness, failure and, ultimately, mortality. But like Fellini, Woody Allen and Lien, Kaufman combines these ponderings with humorous touches highlighting the banal superficiality of everyday modern life. In 8 1/2, Fellini exposes the contradictions of Italian society through his juxtaposition of showbiz, luxury, egotism and night-time decadence with the brisk, clean whiteness of nuns and doctors at a plush, sunny health spa. In Synecdoche, New York, Kaufman creates a running motif of sickness, hospitals and endless visits to a shrink. Ironically, the protagonist, Caden (Philip Seymour Hoffman), doesn't seem to know that much about what he is actually suffering from, and the director doesn't make it clear whether his illness is real or metaphorical. In tandem, his shrink - an attractive, middle-aged blonde who has published a prolific array of self-help books, many of which focus on her own beauty and sexual allure - seems more in need of psychological counselling than any of the other characters.

The emphasis on health - physical or psychological, and the presence and absence of it - also reminds me of another fantastic film starring Seymour Hoffman: The Savages, directed by Tamara Jenkins. This is another film set in the artsy, often pretentious milieu of American East Coast intellectuals, and a film which exposes the ridiculous side of human relationships.

Synecdoche, New York is a funny, disturbing, uplifting and saddening film - perhaps a little too long, but then again if it weren't, then maybe it would be too comfortable, too easy, and ultimately less satisfying.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paris scenes

Here are some photos and sketches from my recent trip to Paris.

view, afternoon, Canal St. Martin


Sketch from a stunning Kandinsky show at the Pompidou. I recognised this painting from the Guggenheim founding collection. It looks even more spectacular in this show, surrounded by so many other works from different periods of the artist's life. I liked the way the exhibition is ordered chronologically, with a room for each phase in the artist's life, which also coincides with periods he spent in different cities. This chronological approach seems to have gone out of fashion in the UK, and I agree that sometimes it isn't the best way to show of an artists' oeuvre. But it works a treat with this show.

Flowers in the gorgeous jardins Albert Khan - we cycled across Paris on our vélibs to get there (well almost, we made it to the 16e and then hopped on the metro).

Dusk on the Rive Droite

Notre Dame, sunset

Street art in Belleville

St Martin mural

Took this at 6 am as I crossed the canal on my way to catch the Eurostar.