Filtering by Category: Art

The Triennial Effect

Added on by Stella Chapman.

As the Folkestone Triennial draws to a close, our thoughts turn to which artist's work will join the permanent Folkestone Artworks collection. This 'gallery without walls' is made up from 27 works from the past 3 Triennials by artists including Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger, Pablo Bronstein, Yoko Ono and Richard Wilson.

A friend recently asked how often the Triennial came to Folkestone as I was always talking about it. I told her the clue is in the name! Every 3 years artists are commissioned to create public installations that form an art trail around the town. We love the lead up to the event – discovering which artists will be exhibiting and what the theme will be. This year was particularly exciting as we were one of 3 agencies shortlisted in a 3-stage pitch for the Triennial branding. A great achievement for Salt and something we are keen to win in the future.

This is our 2nd Triennial since relocating from London 6 years ago. Attracting creatives and tourists to the area by 'rebranding' Folkestone as a creative hub is the Creative Foundation's mission – with the Triennial being their flagship project. And it seems to be taking hold. There’s a definite buzz in the Creative Quarter this year, with local artists referring to the ‘Triennial effect’ increasing their sales as tourists look to take away a piece of the action.

Hitting the art trail with a 6 year old means it's as much about the experience as it is the concepts behind the pieces. There was a beautifully designed family guide this year to keep the kids engaged, as well as a programme of free family workshops at Block 67, Tontine Street. Here's what we've enjoyed and whether we think they will stay.

Richard Woods' colourful cartoon holiday homes were standout pieces for us – with 6 homes to spot floating in the harbour and dotted around the beach and cliff tops. Like the seasonal residents that inspired these installations, they are surely temporary. Midway through the 2014 Triennial a Banksy piece entitled 'Art Buff' appeared. Unfortunately these 'Holiday Homes' have been decorated with less welcome graffiti.

 Richard Woods – Holiday Home

Richard Woods – Holiday Home

Likewise, the Antony Gormley cast-iron figures, which despite looking very much at home beneath arches or staring out to sea, were only ever visiting. 

A teetering white wall by Alex Hartley is perhaps the most immediate expression of this year's theme 'Double Edge' – exploring anxiety (being on the edge), boundaries and balance. Its future seems precarious.

Alex Hartley - Wall
 Alex Hartley – Wall

Alex Hartley – Wall

When we visited Lubaina Himid’s ‘Jelly Mould Pavilion' it was being used to frame a bride and groom on their wedding day – already paying its way as a local landmark!

 Lubaina Himid – Jelly Mould Pavilion

Lubaina Himid – Jelly Mould Pavilion

We enjoyed discovering new parts of Folkestone and gaining new perspectives. Sometimes it's as simple as looking up – to see Jonathan Wright's little boats perched on tall poles, or taking a moment to listen, to Emily Peasgood's sound installation 'Halfway to Heaven' in an18th-century Baptist graveyard. We’d like to think the giant 'Siren' by Marc Schmitz and Dolgor Ser-Od could have the longevity of the concrete 'listening ear' at nearby Dungeness that it references.

 Marc Schmitz & Dolgor Ser-Od – Siren

Marc Schmitz & Dolgor Ser-Od – Siren

A Guardian review was not being complementary when it commented that some of the artworks ‘put design some way before art’, mentioning Sinta Tantra's colourful paintwork for the Cube Building and the Gothic plywood structure by Studio Ben Allen transforming the Quarterhouse Clearing Cafe. For us that is no bad thing. Art and design may have different roles, but they are both about emotional engagement. About challenging and changing perceptions. If art is about questions, design is about solutions, with the Triennial being one solution to the ongoing regeneration and repositioning of Folkestone.

The Folkestone Triennial finishes on 5th November. For more information www.folkestonetriennial.org.uk

Photography kindly provided by Kevan Smith www.smithstudios.co.uk

 

Be Bold For Change

Added on by Stella Chapman.

Salt were among a group of female professionals invited by a young women's project, Bossy Girls to advise on creating a poster campaign to celebrate International Women's Day.

Along with Nichola from Word It, we joined the group of women aged 15 to 23 at one of their workshops at the Quarterhouse, Folkestone. Led by founder member Emma Westbrook, the team had created a room full of impressive sketches, visuals and slogans for the campaign based on issues important to them – grouped into the themes of sexual harassment, media representation of women and gender roles. We helped select a concept they could develop into a public installation to appear in various locations in Folkestone. One idea stood out instantly and told their story of what it's like being a young woman today in one clear message – 'Being a girl is not a crime'.

Emma explained "The result (of the workshops) has been an overwhelming feeling that women and girls are often made to feel that they are being punished for simply being themselves."

The posters and banners popped up guerrilla style around central Folkestone last Sunday morning, designed to create intrigue among the general public and resonate with local young women. We were delighted to see they demonstrated great restraint in the design using bold black type, free of embellishment or any obvious expression of the feminine. It captured the spirit of the International Women's Day theme 'Be Bold for Change' perfectly.

The hashtag #NotACrime was used to encourage engagement during International Women's Day and beyond.

Following the project's success, the 'Bossy Girls' aim to have regular meetings and workshops across different areas. The posters are available from Folkestone Quarterhouse Box Office this week.

  Awareness campaign by the Bossy Girls Project

Awareness campaign by the Bossy Girls Project

Emma said: The Boss(y) Girls Project came about after the WOW (Women of the World) Festival at Folkestone Quarterhouse last year (2016) and has been heavily supported by them and Folkestone Fringe throughout. The name was inspired by Beyoncé's quote, "I'm not bossy… I'm the boss." and was designed to address the double standard that girls were seen as bossy and fussy when they were assertive, but boys were seen as strong and having good leadership skills."

The core team were Chelsey 17, Livvy 17, Josie 19, Chani, 23, and Emma Westbrook, 18. For more information visit the Bossy Girls Facebook page.

 

Design and Dungeness

Added on by Stella Chapman.

Summer is over but I'll still visit my favourite beach, Dungeness  – a vast expanse of shingle on the Kent coast. What it lacks in traditional seaside charm, it more than makes up for in character, and if you look closely, design.

The monolithic Dungeness nuclear power station sets the tone of the unique landscape, which the Guardian perfectly described as 'the wild west meets the post apocalyptic'. It's this otherworldly, unconventional atmosphere that keeps artists and creatives visiting, and if they are lucky, making their homes here.

Design and Dungeness - View towards Mini Moderns beach house

Mini Moderns beach house

The two designers behind one of our favourite interior brands, Mini Moderns chose Dungeness for their retreat from London life. The 468 acre Dungeness Estate is home to only a handful of residents so they were lucky to snap up one of the Victorian railway carriages that were converted into homes for local workers in the 1920s. They stripped it back to reveal original features, opened up the space and gave it a signature retro twist with mid century furniture and their fabric, prints and homeware collections on show. There are some great before and after pictures, an overview and comments from designers Mark and Keith on this Design Sponge blog.

 The living room

The living room

 The living room view / kitchen detail

The living room view / kitchen detail

Inspired by their visits to Dungeness, Mini Moderns created the The Hinterland Collection including wallpaper and fabric featuring the two lighthouses that the beach house sits between. The collection is featured in Issue 4 of the collectable Penny Newspapers, which is sold out but has been published online here.

 Dungeness Wallpaper – Mini Moderns

Dungeness Wallpaper – Mini Moderns

 Dungeness Fish Shack sign inspired Mini Moderns typographic fabric prints

Dungeness Fish Shack sign inspired Mini Moderns typographic fabric prints

Contemporary architecture

Yes, Dungeness is a bit ramshackle, littered with old fishing boats, bits and bobs from the Second World War and discarded bits of machinery. Even the contemporary architecture that has been added over the last decade does its best to fit into this patchwork. The Pobble House by Guy Hollaway Architects, The Shingle House by NORD for Living Architecture and Gelon Hanna House by Simon Conder Associates were designed to meet strict planning rules. But they are all the more creative for it – black rubber cladding and other materials designed not only to withstand a battering from the storms, but look better for it. The Pobble and Shingle houses are available as holiday rentals if getting 'back to basics' in style is your thing.

 The Pobble House – Guy Hollaway Architects

The Pobble House – Guy Hollaway Architects

 The Pobble House

The Pobble House

 The Shingle House – NORD Architecture

The Shingle House – NORD Architecture

 The Shingle House view

The Shingle House view

Prospect Cottage

You can't mention Dungeness without Prospect Cottage. The most famous resident, filmmaker Derek Jarman, spent his last years here in the former fisherman's cottage, where he created a stunning garden which is well maintained today. It feels both wild and sculpted and its development is lovingly described in his book 'Derek Jarman's Garden' – his last and an inspiring read 11 years on. Dungeness is classified as a National Nature Reserve, filled with unique wildlife and over 600 different types of plants. That said, it seems Jarman had his work cut out getting plants to grow in the barren shingle!

Prospect Cottage itself is also memorable – it's black walls filled with the lines from a poem and gorse yellow window frames. I'm not a gardener but would love to give my coastal garden some Dungeness style. 

 Prospect Cottage

Prospect Cottage

  The Sun Rising by John Donne   

The Sun Rising by John Donne 

Dungeness spirit

If Dungeness was a font, it would look like ‘RX12’ by artist Paddy Hamilton at Dungeness Open Studios, inspired by hand painted roadside signs. Romney Marsh Brewery commissioned a bottle label, pint glasses and pump badge design using this lino-cut alphabet, which is available to buy in a digital format or as artwork featuring a personalised message.

 Dungeness font in production

Dungeness font in production

 Romney Marsh Brewery packaging

Romney Marsh Brewery packaging

If you visit Dungeness, the first thing you notice is the magical light. Then you notice the details, the unusual textures, patterns and forms. This exhibition by Philip Hughes Art captures this spirit – the scale, colour and energy. It's currently on tour and will be back at their London Studios next month to view. 

 Dungeness Exhibition by Philip Hughes Art

Dungeness Exhibition by Philip Hughes Art

So, although creativity is flourishing in Dungeness, it remains unspoilt, peaceful and unique, and there's always something new to explore.

For an entertaining local's guided tour see www.dungeness.org.uk/what-to-see

 My son George exploring Dungeness

My son George exploring Dungeness

 

Folkestone Book Festival Visitor Experience

Added on by Stella Chapman.

This project began with a timely tweet inviting artists and designers to submit their proposal for a visitor experience for the Folkestone Book Festival. Salt has been involved with a number of interior display and exhibition graphic projects and we knew this was a pitch we had to win. 

The Creative Foundation, the arts charity behind the festival and many other local events, had been in our mind for a while. Their flagship project the Folkestone Triennial, a contemporary arts exhibition, was so amazing we created a blog about it! They have attracted big name artists in previous projects and are a well respected arts body.

Salt Folkestone Quarterhouse

The brief was to transform the interior spaces at the Folkestone Quarterhouse, the venue for the 10 day November Book Festival. The aim was to create a warm and inviting environment to gather together and share stories with well known authors including Mark Billingham and Melvyn Bragg alongside local writers. We immediately wanted to put our loves of books and obsession with type and paper at the centre of our idea. 

 Creative pitch moodboard

Creative pitch moodboard

Finding magic

We distilled our ideas into the concept ‘Finding Magic’ inspired by a Dr Seuss quote "You can find magic wherever you look, sit back relax all you need is a book" and pitched it to Tania McCormack at Creative Foundation. An artist herself, Tania instantly understood we wanted to lift the stories right off the pages and display them around the venue in unexpected places.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival Floor graphic
Salt Folkestone Book Festival foyer graphics
Salt Folkestone Book Festival floor graphic

We designed typographic quotations as floor and wall vinyls in the entrance foyer to lead visitors through the space up to the focal point in the bar – a 4m high hanging installation of type and snowflakes cascading from the double height ceiling through the circular atrium to the foyer below.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival installation

Commissioning the artists

From early on we knew the perfect collaboration would be with bespoke paper artist Suzanne Allen at Paper Tree Design. Due to the tight schedule there was no time for testing our design, and working from our visuals Suzanne began one of the largest project she’d undertaken. Over 100 bespoke paper cut snowflakes set the magical and festive mood and Suzanne produced the festival poster with letters opening like doors on an giant advent calendar.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival poster

It was important for the Creative Foundation and us for the production to be bespoke and crafted, and with this in mind we also commissioned local artist Samuel Capell to screen print limited edition quote posters, as souvenirs of the occasion.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival type posters

The results

The whole project from pitch to installation was achieved in less than a month, with the help of Tania, Ioannis and Chief Technician Anthony with an impossibly tall ladder! For flexibility, everything was assembled on site and installed over 3 days by ourselves, Paper Tree and the Creative Foundation team. Local company Sign Graphics did an amazing job with the cut vinyl lettering.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival team

All the elements were designed to have a permanent nature so they could be re-used for future Book Festivals and we were delighted to see the work being left in place over the Christmas period too.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival Bar installation
Salt Folkestone Book Festival snowflake detail

The festival, which opened with author Louis de Bernières switching on the Christmas lights, was a great success with record numbers attending. It was great to see everyone from the celebrity speakers to local school children enjoying the festive space. 

Salt Folkestone Book Festival bar detail

We really enjoyed the collaboration and hope it's the first of many projects with the Creative Foundation. We are proud to be involved in their mission to use creativity to bring Folkestone to back life and prosperity.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival bar graphic

"Stella and Victoria quickly came up with a concept for the Book Festival 2015 decorations and worked to a very tight deadline. Their initial ideas encompassed the brief and at all stages there was excellent communication and we worked together to problem solve within the limitations of the space and budget. The finished outcome transformed the space beautifully and was well received by our audiences. It was a complete pleasure to work with Salt." 
Alastair Upton : Chief Executive Creative Foundation

"I loved the decorations, I thought they were very festive, original and elegant. They were definitely a great addition to the Quarterhouse. I do hope we work again with you in the future!"
Geraldine D’Amico : Curator Folkestone Book Festival


Photography Bernadette Baksa (NGM Photography where stated)

 

Making art work for Folkestone

Added on by Stella Chapman.

When I moved to the pretty coastal town Hythe in Kent, I wasn't expecting neighbouring Folkestone to offer more than a handy high-speed link to London, where Salt's clients are mainly based. But over the four years I've lived here, I've watched the harbour town being transformed through creativity, reinventing itself as a cultural destination and an inspiring place to live as a designer.

It was the public art exhibition, the Folkestone Triennial that first opened my eyes to the creative projects going on in the town. Every three years the nine week festival turns the town into an open-air gallery with specially commissioned works by artists that have included Andy Goldsworthy, Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger and Yoko Ono. There is also Folkestone Artworks, a permanent public collection of 16 works created from the previous two Triennials, plus fantastic independent street art which graffiti artist Banksy temporarily added to during the Triennial last year. The Banksy may be gone, but there's still a lot to see. Here's a selection of my favourites, which I think are worth a visit to Folkestone in their own right!

  Art Buff : Banksy : Folkestone 2014

Art Buff : Banksy : Folkestone 2014

Folkestone Artworks

As a graphic designer I love Spencer Finch's colour wheel on the cliff-top Leas Promenade. Spinning the palette of 100 colours and picking the Pantone swatch to match the sea is a brilliant idea! For the 2011 Triennial, flags were dyed to match the swatches and hoisted to declare the shade of the sea each day. Colour, light and the natural world are key themes in the New York artist's work. 

 The Colour of Water :  Spencer Finch :  Triennial 2011

The Colour of Water : Spencer Finch : Triennial 2011

At first this collection of stones on the Leas seemed decorative, but I learnt the numbered pebbles represent the 19,240 soldiers killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916. The installation by 2007 Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger is a simple and moving reminder of Folkestone's past.

 Folk Stones : Mark Wallinger : Triennial 2008

Folk Stones : Mark Wallinger : Triennial 2008

Also echoing the past, is a quirky row of bright green bunker-like beach huts on the coastal promenade which sculptor Richard Wilson constructed from the abandoned crazy golf course. It is good to think art is filling the place left by traditional seaside amusements and attracting a new type of tourist. At last year's Triennial, thousands of people came to dig up artist Michael Sailstorfer’s buried treasure on the outer harbour beach in his public participation event Folkestone Digs.

Looking at the present is Baby Things, seven painted bronze mini sculptures by artist Tracey Emin dotted around the town as a subtle comment on the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the area.

 18 holes : Richard Wilson : Triennial 2008

18 holes : Richard Wilson : Triennial 2008

 Baby Things : Tracey Emin : Triennial 2008

Baby Things : Tracey Emin : Triennial 2008

Folkestone Triennial 2014

The 2014 Triennial was curated by Lewis Biggs, the former director of Tate Liverpool. The theme  'Lookout'  was about the future of Folkestone and the 21 artists each had a different take on what's here now and what's to come. I really enjoyed following the trail with my 3 year old. Being outdoors and being able to touch and interact directly is a great way for children to discover and learn about contemporary art. We loved the colourful geometric maze which made a surprising contrast to the Victorian grotto it's built into to. Dwelling by Krijn de Koning is part architecture, part sculpture and has an ‘identical twin’ at the Turner Contemporary who commissioned the work. 

 Dwelling (for Margate, for Folkestone) : Krijn de Koning : Triennial 2014

Dwelling (for Margate, for Folkestone) : Krijn de Koning : Triennial 2014

One of the most inspiring things about Folkestone is the quality of coastal light which is why I loved Green/Light, a light sculpture by Folkestone born artist Jyll Bradley. Created for the old gas works site where electric light was first generated for the town, the shimmering poles map out her personal journey and connection to the area. Yes, the sky is always this blue!

 Green/Light (for M.R.) : Jyll Bradley : Triennial 2014

Green/Light (for M.R.) : Jyll Bradley : Triennial 2014

A creative future

Arts charity the Creative Foundation is behind the Triennial and Artworks as well as many other creative projects, events and activities, including the regeneration of the Creative Quarter in the old town, home to artists' studios and creative businesses. I love these two recent pieces of independent street art by Folkestone-based artists Leigh Mulley and Sam Millen for their unexpected locations and local themes. The 13m high seagull mural is a landmark to be proud of!

So art continues to make Folkestone a better place to be. I look forward to seeing which 9 Triennial works return as permanent attractions in May and am already counting down to the next one in 2017.

 Small Eyes : Leigh Mulley : 2014

Small Eyes : Leigh Mulley : 2014

  Redding Wall : Sam Millen : 2014

Redding Wall : Sam Millen : 2014