Vehicles 8

More Long Beach cars, in paintings based on photos from the 1970s. Signs Signs features a Pontiac Tempest with a hard-to-paint bulbous body, and a piece of a Toyota. Patriotic, this one, with a red-white-blue color scheme (except for the Toyota). The Chevy in Wonder Shops was added, but from a photo taken just down the block, and recolored from copper to turquoise to match the Malibu I once had.

More at http://www.tmichaelward.com/michaelwardartist.htm

Check out my limited edition print of Used Cars at Tiny Showcase. A portion
of the proceeds goes to a worthy charity.


Things that remain

As a counterpoint to the Gone series, here are a few views that still exist, in defiance of change and progress. The view of Pine and Third in Persistance is substantially the same as it was in 1975 when I took the source photo, though the fashions and cars are long gone. The Million Article Thompson sign incredibly still remains, having survived earthquakes, rebellions and neglect. Liquor stores never go out of business, so the one in Rollin’ Down Pico remains, though changed somewhat. And wheel skates are making a comeback. The Aztec Hotel building in Twilight of Empires still graces Route 66 in Monrovia. Lee’s Market remains on Atlantic Ave. in East LA, safe from gentrification, at least for now. Silvers is another undying liquor store in Long Beach, with fewer windows and no Schlitz, but basically unchanged.

I am always struck by the randomness of what pieces of the past persist, seemingly without logic. They are a solace as we mourn what has been lost to progress.

Abstract London coming soon


Trevor Woods is one of my favourite artists, not only because of his strongly graphic approach to shape and colour, but also because a lot of his work focuses on London. A new 50-canvas show, Abstract London opens next month, with some pictures more abstract than others. Moorfields Eye Hospital, below, tends to the former and Neal’s Yard, above, to the latter. 


The show runs from August 20th to 4th September at Gallery Plus, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk. I shall post a couple more fabulous images, this time of Kew Gardens, next week.

The remarkable art of Doreen Fletcher is enjoying belated recognition. These images are from the BBC’s ‘Your Paintings’ website, but The Gentle Author posted a splendid range of previously unseen east London views on his blog (http://spitalfieldslife.com/2015/10/24/doreen-fletchers-east-end/) yesterday.

10 Things You Should See at the London Design Festival

The London Design Festival has been around for 12 years, but the 2015 event, which begins on 19th September, looks particularly strong with over 380 events planned including a wide range of exhibitions and lectures. You can download the full guide here, but in the meantime, here’s my pick of 10 #LDF15 things that should be worth a visit.

1. Ladybird By Design

What’s not to like about an exhibition of over 120 original illustrations celebrating 100 years of Ladybird Books? All your favourites are there, including 

People At Work, Shopping With Mother, and Key Words, as well as rare photographs and correspondence. There’s a late event too, on 25th September. All at the House of Illustration.

If that sounds a bit tame, the London College of Communication is staging a rival show, Ladybird Books Reimagined,

bringing together Ladybird Books and LCC students and presumably coming up with something a bit spikier.

2. Barnaby Barford: The Tower of Babel

A six metre high stack of bone china shops should be something to behold at the V&A.   There are 3,000 of them, all modelled from photos of real shops, apparently. “At its base the shops are derelict, while at its pinnacle are the crème-de-la-crème of London’s exclusive boutiques and galleries,” says the V&A, the whole thing “standing as a monument to the great British pastime of shopping”.

3. Print Is Dead: Long Live Print

Old hacks like me go misty eyed at the smell of ink and the feel of freshly printed paper. So the upswell of beautifully produced indie art and fashion magazines, is a thing to greet with joy. Inspired by Ruth Jamieson’s book ‘Print is Dead. Long Live Print: The World’s Best Independent Magazines’, this exhibition at the London Print Studio showcases some of the independent publications that are breathing new life into old media. 

4. 50th Anniversary Of The British Road Sign

The standardised road signs that now seem so familiar to British drivers made their debut on ours streets in 1965, introducing along the way two new typefaces, Transport and Motorway. Designed by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert they have, via the offices of MADE NORTH inspired leading designers to muck them about a bit and create 50 new signs “to poetically disrupt the everyday” to be installed across London for the Festival. The Design Museum is the event hub.


A Bullet from a Shooting Star by Alex Chinneck

Yes, it appears as though an electricity pylon has been plunged into the earth. This installation at the Greenwich Peninsula “is testament to the site’s rich industrial history and acts as a visual beacon signifying the site’s future as a new residential district for London” goes the blurb. But actually, it’s just great to look at.


Book Works – Open Studio & Bookbinding Demonstration

Not everything at the Festival is on a grand scale, or indeed revolutionary. It’s a celebration of craft too, so the offer of a contemporary take on bookbinding, box making and printing at the Book Works Studio looks worth investigating.

7. Brixton Street Gallery

Brixton’s old Bon Marche department store gets dolled up

with 10 canvases created “for the Brixton community” by local designers. This includes the launch of a bespoke Brixton print by Eley Kishimoto, “The Patron Saints of Print”, adorning the store’s façade and pavement. There’s a whole lot more to explore in the area too, courtesy of the Brixton Design Trail.


Gig Poster Power

When everything is digital is there still hope for design in music?, asks design agency Clinic. With this exhibition of the best gig posters, past and present, the answer seems to be yes.

9. Battersea Art Station

It’s about time Battersea Power Station reclaimed its position as a London design icon. Perhaps this show will help, with some 400 artists from around the world showing over 500 pieces of Battersea-inspired artwork, “ranging from striking black and white photography, poetry, film, contemporary neon interpretations, classic oil paintings to cast iron sculptures”. Alas, the event isn’t at the power station itself (although it’s claimed it will be open to the public from 2019) but rather at the Battersea Arts Centre.


Design Uncovered: London Transport Museum Depot Open Weekend

Open weekends at LT’s Acton depot are fairly common, but this one looks particularly interesting with its focus on the development of the Johnston font – London Transport’s iconic typeface. There’s a good Design Pass deal on offer getting you into this event, plus the Night Shift exhibition at Covent Garden, and more, for £20.

There’s a 10-view snapshot for you and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Enjoy your intensive week of London design mania.