As you should be aware, I take pleasure in reporting the professional advance of fellow artists. I find it motivational and hugely encouraging to observe the ambition, tenacity and will of individuals pursuing their interests, developing their careers and moving closer to fulfilling their dreams. I take particular pleasure in witnessing the progress of my cousin Fae Simon as she moves forward, establishing her credentials as a singer-songwriter and painter.
Trained in opera and jazz, Fae revels in live performances. Drawing from all her musical influences, Fae has idiosyncratically fused hip-hop, jazz, rare groove, soul and dub in her song writing. Having toured the London unsigned scene, performing tracks from her debut album, “Mellowdrama” she has become a firm underground favourite. Her track entitled ‘New Londinium’ features on my video ‘Let’s Jam- A Painting in the Making.’
Gaining further performance experience from supporting N’Dambi at London’s Jazz Café and touring with Yarah Bravo & Trommel Tobi on her ‘Good Girls Rarely Make History’ tour, Fae has introduced Europe to a new facet of her style. After headlining ‘Got Soul’ at the Bohannon Jazz Club Berlin in November 2010, the next year brought two fresh releases. The first was ‘RoyalFlushLushSelf’ taken from the ‘Faerie in the Cloudz’ EP, an experimental collaborative EP reflecting a journey of the alter egos of Jonas McCloud aka CloudFistConceptz; and Fae Simon aka the AfroFaerie, available for download on the ‘Untold Songs’ compilation for Amnesty International. The second was ‘I See You’ a reggae/dub hit on the ‘Love The Music’ compilation released by Ryff Music in conjunction with the Caribbean Tourist Organization, featuring Singing Melody and Aloe Blacc. I take pleasure sharing a recent conversation with I had with her.
DEN: You’re a talented painter as well as a singer- songwriter so are you furthering your visual art career?
FAE: I have just successfully exhibited & sold my first pop art piece in Berlin, for the annual artshow and am working on 3 canvases for exhibiting at Yarah Bravo’s ‘Pop-Up’ store, which should be back in Brick Lane next month.
DEN: Since I can remember you’ve been singing but how did you get into it?
FAE: I attended the Weekend Arts College where I received voice & dance tuition from professionals. Julie Dexter was my singing teacher. I then started working on my own music by collaborating with producers I’d met or knew, the first being Jnr Sas from the Planets…and the rest is my autobiography…lol…
DEN: Who is your greatest inspiration within the industry?
FAE: That is a BIG question because I don’t really know! I’d say Lauryn Hill, because she can sing, act & is one of the best female rappers ever! She was iconic as a young dark-skinned, natural-haired woman in a crew with men. She showed me that I could do it all & do it well when I was young. Aim high!!
DEN: Of your contemporaries, who would you like to work with and why?
FAE: Ooooh, the hard questions keep coming!
DEN: Ok, I’ll let you think on that one. I loved the energy and eclectic sounds of your last album. What should we expect of your second?
FAE: Even more! I have more collaborations with featured artists, not just producers; such as John Robinson & Pugs Atomz, as well as some fully live tracks. You will even hear me rapping on it too! I’m really excited about it!
DEN: Many UK RnB female singers have their sights set on the US and overseas. I know you’ve toured Europe in recent years so what’s next on your agenda?
FAE: I’m not an RnB singer, but yes I hope to get out to the US asap!
One of my tracks ‘I See You’ was released on the ‘Love the Music’ compilation for the Caribbean Tourist Board but released by Ryff Music in Atlanta who are hopefully going release more tracks of mine that will get promoted in the US. The track & compilation are available on iTunes. For now, I’m on Jehst’s 2nd UK tour & feature on the remix album of ‘A Dragon of an Ordinary Family’
I wish her the best of luck with her career. For further information on Fae Simon please visit.
This week I attended a private viewing at the Rook & Raven Gallery in London. The gallery is the flagship space for London Art Consultancy 2R Art, showcasing contemporary artwork by UK and international artists. It was the first time I experienced having to wait in a queue for the gallery to open but I guess an opening time is given for a reason. It was a good sign it attracted many people.
“Economy of Scale” is promoted is a solo exhibition from the multidisciplinary artist Penny. After an unexpected wait the guests were allowed in. I must admit the experience was like entering the premiere of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, passing through the front doors to view a clan of well built security guards looking menacing in their black suits.
I’ve been to a few shows at Rook & Raven and one thing I do like about this gallery is its sense of order, planning and hospitality. In truth, the security guards in truth weren’t that bad! The gallery is a wonderful space, serving large works of art well so I was initially disappointed with the scale of the majority of work. However, my interest was sustained and as enjoyed the cut stencils, taxidermy butterflies and mixed media works on dollar bills and old one-pound notes. One noteworthy entry was ‘Kali’ This is a 13 layered hand cut stencil, spray paint on glass, framed with a genuine butterfly on cotton wadding.
The portfolio of work exhibited addresses a variety of subjects from religion to the Victorian and Renaissance eras. You can definitely appreciate the effort and time executed on each piece. For further information please visit http://rookandraven.co.uk
The last week has been a cluster of thoughts. I’ve observed the plight of friends and acquaintances as they confront potentially life-changing choices from health issues to migrating to far away lands. I do not doubt their ability to overcome their respective challenges or profit from the choices they make. I remain proud to know them all, in awe of their achievements and their ability to reinforce my belief that anything is achievable in our short time on this planet, provided we want it bad enough and dedicate time towards bettering our lives.
Perhaps it’s not obviously related but thinking further on that principle strengthens my ambition to be an active artist, doing what I love and being able to contribute effectively to the artistic landscape. Collectively, artists can also leave a legacy through their ability to shape society and nurture the minds of others. Whilst my peers continually inspire me, one may ask if ‘nurturing’ and ‘shaping society’ should always be the intention of artists. Equally, is the ability always a welcomed thing?
I ‘m reminded that the Bauhaus School of thought was rejected by the incoming Nazi Government as a promotion of ‘degenerate art’ with Jewish influences of ‘cosmopolitan modernism.’
Last week I attended a few shows in London’s Mayfair district. I wonder how the works of contemporary artists such as Jamie McCartney, Michael Alford, Piers Ottey and Barry Wilson will impact on the art world or society in generations to come. Nevertheless their work is worth noting.
Jamie McCartney’s solo show at the Hayhill Gallery is a division of photography and sculpture, providing the viewer with a wall of sculptured genitals and nude photographs. The first selection of work entitled ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’ is meant to grab the viewer’s attention and educate them on what ‘normal women’ look like. I have to say I’ve never been in a room full of moulded vaginas before.
In the physical photography series he gives us a new way of looking at the body. ‘Skin deep’ is the second part of the show, focusing on notions of beauty (at least a western perception) our personal and societal experience of it and obsession with it. This show is definitely not for everyone, especially the more conservative amongst us. That said, it certainly attracted a significant number of visitors at the private viewing! Men and women alike showed fascination in being up, close and personal with a variety of vaginas coming in all shapes and sizes!
In contrast, the Medici Gallery’s Cityscapes exhibition was more ‘conventional’ and showcased three very talented artists. I did appreciate the work of Ottey and Wilson but particularly Michael Alford. I was drawn to his use of colour and ability to capture some of London’s iconic districts with precision, realism and nostalgia. My only deleterious observation is his inability to capture the ethnic mix of London’s growing population. His lack of non-Europeans in areas everyone knows are heavily populated with tourist from the furthest regions of the globe is a flaw to what is otherwise an enjoyable amalgam of work.
The shows run until June 2nd and 1st respectively.
So that was last week. Now it’s time to prepare for a new one! Have yourself a good week!
Hello all! Getting back in the studio, I’ve been absent from blogging. Today I take time to think of you, hoping all is well and you’re enjoying life with family and friends. Today I include the link to a recent interview conducted by American art collector, journalist and broadcaster Michael K Corbin. Michael is the author of ‘Art For The People: A Collector’s Journal’ which won the 2012 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. He writes for a number of magazines including Absolutearts and Artbookguy. He took time to ask me a few questions about me and my work. http://artbookguy.com/david-emmanuel-noel-transcending-genres_425.html