Something Old Something New

With the eyes of the world transfixed on London with less than twenty-four hours away from the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Royal Fever has firmly turned into Royal hysteria on the streets of the city and through the lenses of the teams of international media that is being broadcast around the globe. To commemorate the event, which is said to mark the beginning of a new generation for the British Monarchy, I have designed my very own something old into something new in tribute to the newlyweds. Inspired by British youth culture, Bigger Better has been exhibited in the luxurious environment of London's Selfridges to the urban elements of Sheffield, and has now been given the Royal touch with the names of 'William' and 'Catherine' entwined in Creole formation set in red, white and blue splendour of majestic purple.
To view a larger image of William Catherine visit my website here - for further enquiries about this work or information about previous examples of my practice please contact me at jmvelardi@yahoo.co.uk
All images are registered to the artist ⓒ JMVELARDI 2011
Follow tomorrow's Royal Wedding with the Official Programme that will be for sale from Explorer Scouts and Cadets in West London with profits benefitting The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry or is also available for download from officialwedding2011.org - enjoy the celebrations everyone and have a great long weekend!


The Art Of Seduction

Film-lovers listen up: Meghan Horvath, Winner of 'Best British Documentary' - The Middle Men - at the London Independent Film Festival 2010 is currently working on her much anticipated offering around love and fantasy in the drama, Seduction. Shot earlier in the year in London, this short film was written and directed by Meghan, who is a good friend, a fellow American and more importantly, an incredibly talented filmmaker with an impressive portfolio of works that have documented life in front of the lens in Romania, America and in England where she currently resides.
You can view details of her projects, including that of Seduction, on her website - Meghan has also recently signed up to Kickstarter which is a new trend for filmmaking and other art practices where crowd-funding is promoted to raise financial support to complete projects that are already in motion. As an effort to help promote Seduction and the next stage of making it come alive in post-production, I encourage you all to click on the film's dedicated page at Kickstarter for more information about the film and its development as well as the various options that are available if you would like to either pledge money or just help to spread the word on social network platforms. Of course this is not only open to screen-conoscenti but to anyone and everyone who enjoy the arts and wish to support its fruition. So if you want to see these film stills come to life spread the word and chances are you'll see it on the big screen at a Film Festival near you later in the year!
Images courtesy of James Ide
Follow Seduction's progress on Facebook and Twitter or contact Meghan at meghanhorvath@gmail.com


Berlin Kultur

Luckily, landing at Berlin Tegel at the same time as Hilary Clinton on Air Force Two last weekend was the beginning and end to my political opinions of late - I was in town to celebrate a very special person's birthday and I was looking forward to replacing Mr Gaddafi with Mr Gordon's... in my glass. So while the NATO Allies were taking over Brandenburger Tor and Hotel Adlon in their droves - or drones? - the birthday party found ourselves in an amazing apartment in the Northeast district of the city in Prenzlauer Berg.
Wall Drawing #1256: Five Pointed Stars, Sol LeWitt - US Embassy
Since this was my first time to Berlin, I was going to be amazed with anywhere my feet landed, but there would have been no better place to land than Prenzlauer Berg: a centre of bohemianism in the nineties, the area continues to be popular with the art scene today as well as hold the funny title of 'baby boom district'. Peppered in between the brezel bakeries, galleries, cafés and gourmet bars are children's toy stores and kitsch charity shops that cater to the yummy mummys who have contributed to an apparent high birth rate in the quarter and roam the characterful and gentrified streets of Prenzlauer Allee and Danziger Strasse. Never one to underestimate local knowledge, it gave all of us the excuse to hit the bars and relive our inner kinder.
With Alexanderplatz and Mitte only a few stops away on the tram or U-Bahn, I learned very quickly that East is best when it comes to Berlin hangouts - some of my favourite finds were Prater Garten for hearty and traditional food, Botequim Carioca for Brazilian beats washed down nicely with caipirinhas (danke schön to Ellen for reminding me caipirinhas make a great gin-substitute), Café Gorki Park for great commie comida and for some Berlin über lux, check into the recently opened Soho House and their lobby gallery and monthly screening events - sehr gut!
Meins & Deins, Danziger Strasse
Mammut Bar-Café was a great find just around the corner from our apartment - this punk rock hideout hosts DJ sets every Saturday in a dark and velvet-lined bar with mammoth drawings on the walls, packed full with a hardcore rock star crowd and even a little gallery space behind the bar - Mammut turned out to be a must-do and be-seen venue and with Berlin's reputable climate of ever-changing nightlife I hope this is one bar that will escape extinction on my next visit.
Liebig 14, Liebigstrasse
The art scene sprawls across the city and thanks to some recommendations from my good friend, artist and Berliner, Ellen Macdonald I managed to grasp the varying art outputs that inhabit all four corners of Berlin. Check out Sprüth Magers (I Am Not Free Because I Can Be Exploded Anytime by Sterling Ruby) and Contemporary Fine Arts (Sunny Side Up by Georg Herold) for central spaces - or head out North around the city's central station area, Hauptbahnhof for an interesting enclave of studios and galleries surrounded by mechanics and automobile repair shops.
With an air of New York's Chelsea district, housed in a large red brick compound off Heidestrasse you can find the creative community of multi-tiered spaces such as TAPE, Hamish Morrison Galerie and Edition Block who specifically deal with works on print with rolling exhibitions from their vast archives.
For institutional grandeur there is no place like Hamburger Bahnhof. Touring exhibitions - Land Art by Richard Long - and works from the late twentieth-century that form the Marx Collection are on display in the main building - Flavin, Judd, Lichtenstein and Nauman, Warhol, Haring and Rauschenberg play a part in the concise narrative that sets the foundations for the museum's contemporary art collection later in the tour.

Here Comes Everybody was an electric display of works by New York-based mixed media artist Cory Archangel. Exploring the realm of internet culture, visual and audio formats are manipulated by programming devices which Archangel deploys to create a hyper-installation of works that comment on the addictive processes and myths of digital popular culture. Penetrating the space with distorted sound, the two-screen video installation, A Couple Thousand Short Films About Glenn Gould (2007) invites you to listen to a familiar yet equally alien audio experience. Reminiscent of the video works by Christian Marclay, Archangel compiled over a thousand internet clips that referenced the musical instrument to create a version of the 1st variation from Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations with individual notes sourced from each clip.
A Couple Thousand Short Films About Glenn Gould (2007)
Berlin being Berlin, there is a surprise around every corner and it is no different at Hamburger Bahnhof. Across an elevated corridor that has been made to resemble a U-Bahn passing, I was transported into the West Wing of the museum (Rieckhallen) to its contemporary art collection. The warehouse space spans five large exhibition halls that includes a basement for film and video installations - this old goods dept was transformed in 2004 into what I think is one of the best installed collections of contemporary art on the continent. Hamburger Bahnhof needs a good day and Berlin for that matter, needs much more than a weekend-flyby but that just leaves an excuse to go back for more and more and more - and that's only for the brezels (Mmmm) - bis bald Berlin!
Rieckhallen - Hamburger Bahnhof
If you're in Berlin next week check out Gallery Weekend Berlin 2011 next weekend from the 29th April - 1st May - click here for more details.


Paint The Town Yellow

This week inspiration reference Cool Hunting documents my champagne du gout - Veuve Clicquot - with their domination at Milan Design Week this month. With a series of Pop-up shops and showrooms, partnerships with hotels, lounges and bars and even a campaign on Milan's trams it was impossible for any Milanese to miss Veuve's aptly named Yellow Project that featured across the city's hotspots.
Clicq'd Up, Mathias van de Walle
The vraiment triomphe however, was the collaboration with Belgian designer Mathias van de Walle and his incredible and utilitarian champagne bucket, Clicq'd Up, that was very much in keeping with the company's mobile campaign. Inspired by origami structure, the bucket transform from pack flat to ice-to-go - perfect for every eventuality when one needs champers on the move.
Click here for more details on the various Yellow Projects at Milan Design Week 2011 here.


Royal Fever

The weather isn't the only thing heating up this Spring in the United Kingdom - with record temperatures reaching 25°C, the country has also been gripped with fever in light of one of the most historic events in British history taking place in less than two weeks time. The Royal Wedding of Prince William with Catherine Middleton on the 29th April at Westminister Abbey, London will not only mark the betrothal of a future King but will also act as a benchmark of present and future styles of the twenty-first century.
With the internet awash with royal souvenirs and every other banner on your social networking sites and news pages reminding you to cash in from everything to coins, condoms and china, the high street is not missing out on any of the action and it is no more evident in my hometown of Windsor, Berkshire. Whether you're in need of Union Jack bunting and Long Live G&T cups (which I confess I had to purchase) for your street party or official merchandise from the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, every avenue for profit has been tread and this is only the beginning. Having just returned from a weekend in Berlin, even German national news is taking a bite out of the wedding cake and newspapers and tabloids are making sure daily coverage in the run-up to the wedding has dedicated columns on their front pages. Advertising agencies have been working on numerous commissions for UK brands since the announcement of the engagement in November that have seen a series of launches in the last week - one of my favourites being for television network provider Freeview who feature the corgis who starred in The Kings Speech.

Freeview HD, 2011
While I still find it frustrating at many who do not understand the revenue the Royal Family bring from tourism across the globe to the British Isles, a wedding of one of the most famous Royal families in history is like setting another profitable arm in the already-desirable machine that is the Royal 'Firm'. While the press will endlessly compare the couple to times gone by, it will be the social significance of a young royal couple that will dictate future history as well as act as a font of inspiration and emphasis of royal association on all aspects of the everyday. In the same way the Prince and Princess of Wales epitomised the Eighties and beyond, the world has rarely experienced the same fever effect that next week's wedding will ignite. As art historians, Prince William and Catherine Middleton will know too well they have the ability to forge a global renaissance under the wings of the British Monarchy. 2011 has already seen an unprecedented series of Royal stories broadcast from the international press on various members of the Royal family bringing their diary of events and anyone associated with it into the forefront, very much in response to public demand. The launch of Facebook and Twitter accounts, an official Royal Wedding website and even a YouTube channel that will live stream the day's events reflects how the Press Office at Clarence House and the Royal Household respectively have embraced the digital age with gusto with minute-to-minute news and updates that have attracted nearly half a million followers across all social network faces.

The Royal Channel, YouTube 2011
So while it may be the end for the tacky memorabilia in less than ten days time, it is only the beginning of generations following the styles and tastes of one of the first royal couples to date to be immersed in the digital age and more importantly, be the first to play a part in how high royal fever rises - if they have anything to do with the recent weather we're having I think even the anarchists will be won over! News from my weekend in Berlin coming soon...


... For Japan

It gives me great pleasure to announce last week's four-day Charity Arts Fundraiser, "Send My Love to Everyone in Japan" raised over £700 for the Red Cross Japanese Tsunami Appeal! On behalf of all the organisers, I must thank everyone again who showed their support on our opening night last Thursday as well as over the weekend. Raffle winners will be contacted within the week to make arrangements for art collection at Quare, 21 Folgate Street E1 6BX. While the international media may have lowered the priority on covering the devastation in Northern Japan, it is critical to remember the ever-changing situation which is affecting the everyday lives of the Japanese people is far from over, and it is only the beginning, in the coming months and years, for the nation to rebuild and rise again - near and far, our thoughts and are with everyone in Japan.


What's New Pussycat?

A new month and a new project: this April I will be working on a charity art tiger for animal conservation organisation Elephant Family. I was honoured to be invited to design a sculpture for this year's public art event which will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the enormous success of last year's installation of hundreds of elephants around London, this year Elephant Family are focusing on other endangered species, such as the crocodile and hornbill, that share their habitats with the Asian elephant.
Follow my progress on this exciting project with my design, Tribal Tigris over the coming weeks @JMVELARDI and click here to learn more about the important conservation work Elephant Family take on around the world.


Arigato Gozaimasu

Arigato Gozaimasu to everyone who came out on Thursday night to help celebrate our Charity Arts Fundraiser, "Send My Love to Everyone in Japan". It was a great evening with an awesome art exhibition hosted at Quare with a plethora of artwork donated by artists from around the world in aid of the cause & our social area of live art and performance at The Water Poet pub who generously gave us their brilliant function room to use on their busiest night of the week which brought in a mixed crowd of old and new friends. We hope everyone had a good time - the money raised definitely pointed in that direction! We will be releasing the final tally once the art raffle is announced on Sunday 3rd April. If you bought a raffle ticket & can't attend the live draw tomorrow afternoon winners will be contacted by telephone & arrangements can be made to pick up artworks. There is still time to support the relief effort, whose proceeds will be donated to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal, this Sunday - head towards Spitalfields Market and visit the art exhibition at Quare, 21 Folgate Street E1 6BX. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow - until then, here are a few photos from Thursday night...

Arigato Gozaimasu from Team Japan!