Last week Jungle City was officially unleashed onto Scotland at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. With the incredible success of last year’s Elephant Parade in London, the animal conservation organisation Elephant Family will be calling Edinburgh home for the next two months in what will be Scotland’s largest public art event. Over one hundred and thirty crocodiles, orangutans, hornbills, tigers and elephants have been transformed into fantastical creations by artists, designers and celebrities from Scotland, England and around the world, all with the hope of raising £1 million for these endangered species. I was honoured to have been invited to design a tiger earlier in the year and it’s great to know that within its opening hours last week Jungle City was already gaining the publicity it so deserves, with a segment on BBC Scotland News.
Having had the pleasure of meeting a handful of artists and designers at the London studios while I was creating my very own tiger, Tribal Tigris, it is certainly a sight to see all the animals in one place, at the tropical surroundings of the Royal Botanic Gardens and a big thank you to the talented @CazHaigh who managed to make the journey Northwards to view all the animals - including her own orangutan, Hati - to take brilliant documentation of the event. Please visit Caz Haigh's website for more images from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Harvey Nichols as well as viewing her amazing illustrative works and projects!
Tigers are ironically immortalised into symbols of identity – such as logos and mascots – when in reality they are being driven to extinction. Tribal Tigris explores the importance of identity through native markings across the sculpture painted by hand that include arrow designs and conceptual targets referring to its Persian derivative ‘tigris’. Tribal Tigris is painted with event-sponsor Farrow & Ball 'Babouche' and 'Pitch Black' eco friendly paint.
Jungle City takes shelter in the temperamental summer at the Royal Botanic Gardens until 4th September before the herd escape onto the streets, institutions and public spaces from 6th September. Visit the official website for Jungle City for a schedule of events and details of the art auction taking place in Edinburgh with Sotheby's and further information about Elephant Family’s important conservation work around the world.
Don't forget to get in touch @JMVELARDI if you find yourself in Edinburgh and look out for Tribal Tigris in the urban jungle that will Edinburgh this summer!
There is an abundance of critical information about Class, Race, Politics and Society on the internet as a result of last week’s devastating chapter in Britain’s social history. Like millions of people across the country I took to twitter to express my views, share other people’s opinions and try to understand the underlying causes. Londoners tweeted street clean-ups and promoted support for victims from riot-hit neighbourhoods (Keep Aaron Cutting) that exemplified the Conservative government's intentions of a Big Society who fought back at the minority who cry “destitution” while they send messages on their new BlackBerry phones. Perhaps they will catch the current UNICEF campaign for famine-stricken Somalia on their new plasma televisions and revaluate their position.
Readers of my blog will know I cover a range of subject matter from politics to Pantone and I try to highlight stories relevant to art, culture, design and creativity as well as my interest in social activity around the world that inspires my own contemporary art practice. So while there will always be a serious cause to fight for and promote, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s pop-up store in SoHo this weekend is just as newsworthy in the creative realm – I defy anyone who doesn't think their album cover designed by Ricardo Tisci (Watch The Throne) is near-orgasmic.
So this week I am launching two hashtags that I have used to define my internet activity and interests for a while now: #highlife and #lowlife. I will be using them on both Twitter and my blog from hereafter to categorise my postings and I would like to invite you to use them in your social media postings - it would be great to know how you define them since what I want to try to do is not merely capture what is 'highbrow' or 'lowbrow' but the interesting crossovers that happen within the creative realm.
High Art? Julian Schnabel -The Ones You Didn't Write - The Maybach Car 2011
Living the high life? Jay-Z & Kanye West - Otis 2011
Whether you think the crass customisation of a Maybach in Jay-Z and Kanye West's Otis video is any more #lowlife than Julian Schnabel's gun-shot The Ones You Didn't Write - The Maybach Car at this year's Venice Biennale which by default assumes #highlife status is the interesting dialogues that I hope to create with you all. So get in touch with your thoughts!
Join me @JMVELARDI for the #highlife and #lowlife of the everyday…
Images courtesy Fred Perry