I've been a big fan of H.N Werkman for some time but for some reason have as-of-yet not posted anything about him. Born in 1882, in Holland, he established a large scale printing house in Groningen in 1908. The enforced closure of the printing house lead to Werkman establishing more of an independant set up from an attic space. This in turn lead to almost DIY printing methods which resulted in some truly innovative works of print. This can be best seen in the work he created whilst a member of the Dutch movement 'De Ploeg,' ('The Plow') with the simplistic yet effective use of stenciling and manual ink rollering onto paper. This work was frequently distributed in his self-published, avant-garde magazine, 'The Next Call.' I suppose what i find so appealing about his work is the delicacy and experimentalism that is existent in it. The limitations of having to work on a smaller scale with less amenities can create truly striking images not in spite of their primitivism but arguably because of it. With this in mind, the proto DIY ethic must be considered in regards to what i feel is interesting in his work. Of course, those in the know surrounding Art and Design are well aware of independantly-run magazines and in turn the contemporary magazines that are now common-place are given suitable and understandable gravitas. So, i feel it must be acknowledged that Werkman was revolutionary in this aspect, creating be-spoke publications from the inside of a warehouse attic. These publications reached their pinacle during the Second World War when Werkman and friend, August Henkels produced a pro-Jewish magazine entitled 'De Blauwe Schuit,' ('The Blue Barge') whilst under the Nazi regime. Despite the subtlety in which Werkman's magazine rebelled against The Third Reich, he was executed with nine others, three days before the liberation of his native Groningen. So this is my salute to H.N Werkman, to my mind one of the most under-rated artistic minds of the 20th century. Enjoy.
Monday, 3 October 2011
I've just been listening, as i do every week to the podcast 'Football Ramble,' hosted regularly by Marcus Speller, Luke Moore, Jim Campbell and Pete Donaldson. Each week, there is an induction into their 'Dean Windass Hall of Fame.' This week was a break from the norm in that it was a team rather than player being inducted. I found 'The Ramble's' story about Chivas Guadalajara extremely interesting. Aside from their dominance on the Mexican domestic front being a key point of note, i find the concept of the team being built, to this day on players from purely Mexican heritage an interesting one. The reason given for this decision from 'Chivas,' derives from the growing feeling from the Mexican populace, at the time that native Mexicans were trodden under-foot by the influence of foreign powers. Two years after their formation in 1906, 'Chivas Guadalajara,' adopted this ethic of fielding 100% Mexican players. Two years later, The Mexican Revolution toppled Porfirio Diaz from the seat of Mexican power and thus toppled Hapsburg influence from the country. This is not to overstate the importance of the advent of 'Chivas,' but it is interesting to observe the discontent of the Mexican populace two years prior to the revolution itself, in the form of a football team. A positive reaction of discontent i would say. This can still be seen today, in fact. Whereas, the 'Chivas' of Mexico are now a dominant force in the league of a country that has long since thrown away the shackles of foreign intervention, Chivas USA has carried the ethic of the team across the border to Los Angeles where young Hispanic people of the U.S (a famously repressed minority group) are given opportunities in a starting XI of a top flight United States team. Anyway, their whole profile is reviewed on 'The Football Ramble,' on the episode entitled 'A Weekend of Slips,' which includes a full explanation of their name which roughly translates in English to 'The Goats of Guadalajara.' Interesting stuff. Anyway, here's a few interesting images of Chivas Guadalajara that i found online. Enjoy.
Friday, 30 September 2011
So, i've been working at Tap East at the new Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford for the past few weeks and am still doing so at the moment. It is a bar/pub that specialises in exotic, esoteric beers from within the British Isles and around the world. A strange establishment for a shopping centre, true, however an endeavour that i am more than pleased to be part of.
I had a day off from work last week and went to the magnificent 'Museum of Childhood,' in Bethnal Green. After exploring the exhibits extensively, i perused through the book collection they have there and came across a book on the subject of Herve Morvan, the French poster designer. Amongst his more notable creations are the mildly racist posters that advertised the French cocoa product, 'Banania.' However, upon looking through this book it appears that Morvan created posters advertising products now seen as considerable vices of the human mind and body, more specifically Gitanne cigarettes and a variety of beers. With my rejuvenated interest in beer, it was of course the posters advertising the latter that intrigued me most. These marvellous posters, whilst remaining stylistically estranged from the modern day beer advertisements do interestingly bear some form of resemblance to them in the sense that beer is a friendly thing, that beer is a drink for fun times filled with laughter (something that cannot be said for the pompous adverts for vodka and other such leading manufacturers of high vol spirits). Take for example, the brave knight striding along triumphantly with his mammoth glass of amber ale or the man, so enamoured with his glass of beer that he sees it as a thing to be romanced (a primitive Swiss Tony perhaps?). It is for these reasons and these posters that i transform myself mentally when at the bar, into the burly Northern French, Belgian or German bar tender pouring increasing amounts of alcohol into the glasses of willing customers.
As usual, i regret to inform you that i've not done my research into where i got these images from merely downloading them like a madman instead. Apologies for this.
Anyway, do come back for some more folks. Over N Out.
Friday, 2 September 2011
Yes, i must be getting a bit boring on the whole football front. Sorry. The last footy-related post for a while, i swear. Having said this, i feel i need to show these images (i forgot to take note of the websites again so apologies for that). Primal i suppose is perhaps not quite the right word for all of these images as there is of course a piece from Stanley Spencer in there (needless to say a very sophisticated artist with terrific vision) but there are items of interest from 2nd and 3rd worlds where the game does truly create a community around it as can be seen in these works. Furthermore, as i have said before, i am a sucker for bright, primal colours frequently used in the outsider art of West Africa and South America. Anyway, i hope you enjoy them...
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Anyone who knows me well enough will be aware of my unhealthy affliction of being a football fan. With this comes a further obsession with any piece of tat that is associated with it. This includes games with a football theme. For most people (me included), this usually manifests itself in the video game, FIFA (yep, i can be that boorish). However, i did manage to discover these games of yore created before the days of FIFA, PRO-EVO or even Subuteo. The lazy football fan of the past whose shoes i began to fill around 1998 would play these strange assortment of games instead of actually taking a football to a park. It was in these ways that the football lazy boy would emulate his heroes' real-life achievements. One of the finest out of this maverick bunch of misfit games to me is the one in which the players appear to be key figures of politics, entertainment and the army just after the turn of the century, namely Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Haig and David Lloyd George. Anyway, i hope you enjoy them as much as my childish mind has. More football related stuff to come. Stay tuned, folks. That's right, all 14 of you.