Archive for the 'Art' Category

TALK: Ian Anderson & Kim Coleman 6.30 Weds 4th May


Please join us for talks by Ian Anderson and Kim Coleman. Ian is a graphic designer and founder of ‘The Designers Republic’, the Sheffield based design studio. Kim is an artist and a designer of live stage shows for bands.

Comm Des Talks are a series of talks and workshop events organised by the Communication Design department at GSA.

Sign up here for tickets:

Weaving Type


Com Des 2015 graduate Ruth Kirkby will be showing new work produced as part of her residency at The Caseroom SWG3 on the theme of weaving and typography. The show is at the new Glasgow Society opening 7pm Thurs 24 March.


A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World

Ruth Ewan’s Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World is a CD jukebox, sitting between digital and analogue technologies, which contains a growing collection of songs addressing a spectrum of social issues, some directly political in motive, some vaguely utopian and some chronicling specific historic events. The songs could all be described as progressive in subject matter. The archive currently contains over 2,000 tracks, with no more than two by the same artist, which are ordered into over seventy categories such as feminism, land ownership, poverty, civil rights and ecology.

Source: A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World | Projects | Ruth Ewan (thanks James Greig for the link).

Lunch Bytes

DSC_0447 DSC_0452

Earlier this year I attended a Lunch Bytes conference at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. (HKW generally puts on fantastic conferences at reasonable costs, and as such, is worth checking out). Also at the conference were vis-com-des people Sophie Dyer and Solveig Suess. The conference was a summary of other various symposia that have taken place under the Lunch Bytes banner (an initiative of the Goethe Institute) on the topic of Post-Internet Art. This is a highly contested term, and rather than try to write up what everyone said, (you can see the videos of the presentations here), I asked if Sophie and Solveig would be interested in exchanging questions and answers from the conference. They generously agreed, and that exchange can be read below.

Continue reading ‘Lunch Bytes’

Everything is Super

Super-Community (and Conversations) are two new interesting platforms (with interesting content) from e-flux.

Blip Blip Blip


Good friend of the department, Ciara Philips, and viscomdes person Edwin Pickstone, are presenting work at Blip Blip Blip in Leeds this week. The doubles series asks a mid career artist to invite another artist, with whom they have some form of educational or artistic relationship, to make an exhibition with them. In this sixth instalment of the series Ciara Phillips has invited Edwin Pickstone to produce a new collaborative work that will line the walls of the gallery.

Runs 14/05/15 – 29/05/15

Private View: 6-8pm Wednesday 13th May / More info here.

Brendan Dawes Talk // Don’t Miss It


Brendan Dawes will be speaking on Thursday 23rd April 2015

Time: 11:30 – 12:45pm
Venue: The Barnes Building.

Brendan Dawes is a key figure in the development of digital media in the UK, and globally.

Brendan Dawes is a designer exploring the interaction of objects, people, technology and art using an eclectic mix of digital and analog materials.

Ever since his first experiences with the humble ZX81 back in the early eighties, Brendan has continued to explore the interplay of people, code, design and art through his work for various clients and on where he publishes ideas, toys and projects created from an eclectic mix of digital and analog materials. His work is featured in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and is a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the Manchester School of Art.

Yr1 ComDes London Study Trip 08-11 December 2014

Tuesday 09 December

VISIT 10.30am


93 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BX

U Borough

Contact / Alex Swatridge

t 020 7620 0272

– – – – – – – – – –

Within easy walking distance from Borough – a mixture of large and small scale projects – Royal Mail stamps for the Olympic Games versus hoardings for big property developers – print examples on the glass board room table to peruse – exaggerated book format for Centre Point – 60s inspired textures and patterns beautifully printed – architectural images from Paul Grundy – clean sleek studio – small team of one director (Gareth Howat, co-founder) and five designers – they like to keep themselves busy and currently have 45 projects in progress – a selection of lovely print samples and awards placed around the boardroom – they have been very successful in ‘tickling’ our minds




– – – – – – – – – –

VISIT 12.30pm


1st Floor, 5 Back Hill, London EC1R 5EN

U Chancery Lane

Contact / Mike Radcliffe

t 020 7278 7272

– – – – – – – – – –

Much talked about agent with excellent portfolio advice for students – shop front leads into neat office with receptionist, gallery space and funky seating area (we all squashed in) – pared back PDF presentation with top tips — try and build up a number of internships for the experience (it will be hard as some companies do not pay students on work placements) – this will help build a rapport and a chemistry – “keep your portfolio simple” – “be proud of what you do” – be well presented, polite and on time if you have an interview – Mike noted that attitude is more important than skill level (things have moved on from five years ago) – try to develop your people skills (warmer skills) – avoid the wet kipper handshake – Mike is open and engaging – he is keen to make links with The School of Art – nice cup of tea


– – – – – – – – – –

VISIT 12.30pm


54-58 Tanner Street, London SE1 3PH

U London Bridge

Contact / Gareth White

t 020 7403 0417

– – – – – – – – – –

New Future Graphic: a vibrant meeting room and studio space, we were greeted by Gareth White and his energetic studio dog who gave us lots of advice and honest insight into their growing business. The studio grew from the early days producing all the illustration in-house to now commissioning photography and illustration for the project (currently they are the worldwide creative agency for Clarks shoes). They also collaborate with clients and suppliers to bring new products to the market (by bringing together a printer and tailor) which challenges their role as designer and client. There were also lots of practical tips for students and graduates (use mail chimp to monitor your own self promotion) and valuable lessons learned along the way (assumption is the mother of fuckumption). All delivered effortlessly while multi-tasking playing fetch with the dog. Lovely. — Emma Keogh



– – – – – – – – – –

VISIT 4.00pm


11 Needham Road, London W11 2RP

U Notting Hill

Contact / Rhian Edwards and Angus Hyland

t 020 7229 3477

– – – – – – – – – –

We were welcomed into the big meeting space to the left of reception – I wonder who has sat around this table since 1972? – Angus presented his “show and tell” PDF that he had shared with the other Pentagram partners that week – hushed cathedral atmosphere – the presentation was chatty and engaging – content included branding work for Mulberry, ambitious new publishing project ‘Monarchs’ for Penguin (this included the options rejected by the client – all lovely) – crafted typography, carefully commissioned illustration (including Marion Deuchars etc.) and crisp gold foil blocking – he also showed some of his own geometric compositions used as backgrounds for Cass Art packaging (Glasgow shop is located on Queen Street) – when asked about the difference between American and UK design (“Le Style Anglais”), Angus suggested it was more about attitude (look at the work of New York partner Paula Scher for comparison) – when speaking at The School of Art recently, Paula said “fake your way through something three times, you become an expert”


– – – – – – – – – –

Wednesday 10 December

VISIT 10.00am


6 Brewhouse Yard, London EC1V 4DG

U Barbican

Contact / Clare Styles

t 020 7559 7000

– – – – – – – – – –

Clare met us in reception and was super friendly (I detected a hint of a north of England accent) – amazing contemporary offices – selection of 2000 era songs floating across large open plan studio (was that “A Song For The Lovers” Richard Ashcroft?) – lively, young, vibrant – lots of ‘break out’ booths with meetings going on – floor space is divided into five teams with Clare heading up one of them – confident and relaxed presentation in mezzanine meeting area – she took us through their Euro 2020 pitch which had been unsuccessful – daunting to think that her team worked solidly for around two weeks in addition to the fee paying work to produce three slick solutions – the cutting room floor often gives you the best insight into the level of creativity – despite losing the pitch, Clare was satisfied with the quality of the thinking and the attitude behind the work – a great studio for a first work placement – big thanks to our friend Lynne Devine for setting up the visit – wow!



– – – – – – – – – –

VISIT 12.45pm


107 Great Western Studios, 65 Alfred Road, London W2 5EU

U Royal Oak

Contacts / Fernando Gutiérrez  and Michael Gibb

t 020 3214 3277

– – – – – – – – – –

An exciting ‘hub’ juxtaposed under a motorway flyover (in a good way) – GSA graduate Michael Gibb met us at the front door and led us through a collection of busy studios – lots of activity and a happy buzz about the atrium – this looks like a good place to work – Fernando greeted us and guided us through a selection of images – some were philosophical, some were metaphors and then backed them up with highlights from his portfolio – it was a masterful presentation giving us insight into his passion for research and simple ideas that communicate – his work for the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid combines clever picture research with touches of classical and contemporary typography – Michael is a natural at Studio Gutiérrez, overseeing budgets and coordinating work with a range of international clients – great stuff!

Fernando GutiérrezV25_COVER295x400

– – – – – – – – – –

VISIT 4.00pm


Studio 1.8, 1–5 Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

U Bethnal Green

Contact / Peter Hellicar

t 020 8983 3829

– – – – – – – – – –

Compact studio in the increasingly fashionable Bethnal Green (not far from A Practice for Everyday Life) – Joel and Pete greeted us and then took us on a journey of the things they have done, the things they would like to do and the things that inspire – what a double act – they dance around each other offering insight with attitude – two unconventional paths synthesised – Joel has a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from Imperial and then went to the RCA – Pete was riding skateboards for 25 years – GSA alumni Kieran Startup was doing his thing in the background – was that an elegant piece of interactive type on his Mac? – Pete showed us ‘stuff’ that he had made in the past and highlighted the value of drawing as a tangible way to express ideas – he showed us a book on rock music photography from the 60s and 70s emphasising the quality and creativity of pre digital images – hey, these guys love the play between analogue and digital – best thing to ask a client, “what did I do wrong?” – there is no lack of enthusiasm here, big thanks.

 – – – – – – – – – –

Medieval Modernity — an Embassy project by viscomdes person Aaron McLaughlin.

On Memory

Lunch Bytes Dublin, of possible interest re: current projects.

If You Couldn’t See Me

This article from Walker Art Center provides a detailed overview of a range of artists using ‘performative’ drawing as a way of exploring abstraction, physicality and the world around them. Some great images too.

Picture: Matthew Barney performing Drawing Restraint 6, 1989. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York. Photo: Chris Winget.

Riso + Shine(o)

Hato Press are featured in Grafik and at Serpentine Gallery

Established just four years go, Studio Hato and its sister business risograph printers Hato Press have an impressive roster of clients, including the Tate and Serpentine Galleries. We caught up with director Ken Kirton to discuss experimental production, community engagement, and new digital venture Hato Labo.

Stephen Murray / Briggait

The Comedown – Test Ride from Stephen Murray on Vimeo.

Stephen Murray : The Comedown from arts-news on Vimeo.



The Plinth is a living room gallery set up by GSA students and graduates Hamish Chapman, Freya Fullarton and Charlotte Fountaine. Anyone is free to have an exhibition on The Plinth, see the website for submission information. Exhibitions run for one week, and are published online and in the quarterly publication. So far there have been 19 exhibitions, and all past exhibitions can be viewed at Have a nosey at for more visual delights.

Image: Antra Svarcs

Form and Function

Information: Information for all students here. Buildings to remain closed until 30th May, please read link in full for comprehensive information.

Thankyou: It’s difficult to comprehend what happened yesterday. In the first instance we need to thank the staff and students of the Mackintosh building, who evacuated the building safely and tackled the blaze in the first instance, and the firefighters who brought the blaze under control, remarkably emerging with a building that is “90% structurally viable”.

The loss of artworks of graduating students and rooms of historical significance is terrible, and it’s been amazing to see the support coming in from people throughout the world. And the reason people have such strong feelings about the Art School is that it has currency.

If the Mackintosh Building had the same architectural form, but it’s function had been something other than an art school, it would not be regarded in the same way it is today. It is a form that is completed by its function, where it’s raison d’être is to support the making, experimentation, and reflection that goes on inside it. Its cultural impact and influence, and the pleasure it brings people, is a direct result of this powerful combination.

It is a building that has, throughout its history, been used, wholeheartedly, by its inhabitants. The Art School will undoubtedly recover from this, on the back of all the friends and all the support it has, from around the world – and in the short term our work should be about supporting this graduating year in whatever they want to do to mark their time at GSA. Thanks to everyone for their support.

It’s sunny in Dundee mostly


Tentsmuir WW2 Coastal Defences

In the spirit of inter-institutional caring and sharing:


Preview: Thursday 27th March 7pm
Exhibition Open: Friday 28th March 12 – 4pm, Saturday 29th March 12 – 4pm

The White Room project space, Tin Roof Studios. 38-40 Bellfield Street
Dundee DD1 5JD

Presenting an exhibition of work created by 3rd year Illustration Students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

Come along to our show! It consists of hand printed posters and set designs for a series of imagined theatrical adaptations of plays exploring climate change, sustainability, urban planning and related social and political issues.

Exploring subjects such as:
Hydro Fracking, Gentrification, Micro-topias, Climate Activism, Nuclear waste disposal, Nuclear War, Social Housing, The melting ice caps, Surveillance, Community Gardening.

For more information please visit:

Business as Unusual

GSA occupies an interesting space in Higher Education. It is (very) small by HE standards, and based in Scotland (where tuition fees, for Scottish students at least, don’t yet exist), on the fringes of Europe and the UK, in a city that has a well connected thriving artistic community. It is a designated SSI (Small Specialist Institution – though current director Tom Inns suggests this could be reframed as Specialist Studio Institution), so it’s interesting to think about how organisational logics have an impact on the nature of educational experiences. Some schools of organisational theory suggests that all expanding, complex organisations will grow to the point where they only serve themselves. This is a problem inherent in all public-facing organisations, as discussed in Ivan Illich’s De-Schooling Society. He suggests that this drive towards institutionalism “undermines people – it diminishes their confidence in themselves, and in their capacity to solve problems… It kills convivial relationships … kills creativity”. In the same text, Illich also suggests that “most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting”, and this too cuts to the heart of the art school issue.

Why are we seeing a resurgence of interest in alternative educational experiences, at the same time as the emergence of the MOOC? In the emerging technological landscape, GSA might as well give away all its course content. Alone it is valueless. It would (and will) get devoured – lost in a second – in the race to the bottom of the free open content paradigm. What do these phenomena tell us about the way GSA could find a place for itself in the world? Where does the value lie? Surely its in the ‘meaningful setting’ of the studio, peopled by driven independent students, assisted by staff who are equally able to respond to the studio as the locus of activity – projects, talks, workshops, visitors – looking out of the institution and connecting to the world outside. We’re running a version of the Parallel School in Glasgow soon, and hopefully we might be able to air some of these issues, in an environment of self-directed learning that eschews the hierarchies and accountability, modularisation and commodification that seems to increasingly dominate the mainstream.

And I’ve posted it before, so will post it again (apologies), but the video from Stewart Lee below is very good. While I’m aware that I sound conspiratorial in tone (yes, I know), the pervasive creep of conservatism (with a small ‘c’, not the political party, though there is a big overlap in that particular venn diagram) is best countered locally, where the urge to homogenise, unitise and compartmentalise is as present, if slightly less well signposted, as it is in the policies of an austerity government. Momus, at a talk he did at GSA a few years ago, talked of the ‘delirious’ and the ‘pragmatic’, as two counter forces at work in modern society. Pragmatism has become the ruling logic of our current political debate, the trump card of the reductivists, and is as evident in education as it is elsewhere. The position GSA occupies enables it to say no to business as usual, if it wants to.

Beauty is in the Stack: Michael Oswell and Scott King

Beauty is in the Stack: Michael Oswell and Scott King... Tickets, Glasgow - Eventbrite

Beauty is in the Stack: Michael Oswell and Scott King.

Part of the preview events for It’s Not Very Nice That, a forthcoming exhibition at the Lighthouse, Michael Oswell and Scott King will discuss their recent projects. This talk is the first in a series of events that run alongside the exhibition, and which will be posted on, when the organiser gets organised.

The exhibition opening follows the talk, to which everyone is very much invited.

Supported by the Design School, Glasgow School of Art

This event will take place in Gallery 1 at the Lighthouse. Doors 5:30pm.

Image: Libcom Anniversary Poster (Michael Oswell)

Rachel Thomas + Ross Sinclair

Rachel Thomas + Ross Sinclair – A Feral Studio

Rachel Thomas + Ross Sinclair – A Feral Studio:

Feral Studio returns, with Rachel Thomas and Ross Sinclair, featuring talks from two artists and designers, both working with space, scenes and ‘set’. Rachel uses bold, simple visual archetypes and signs but is interested in “the mental craft of thinking something out and creating a puzzle” through her visuals. Ross is a prominent artist who loves Real Life.

Feral Studio events are open to all GSA students, plus fully open to members of the public and the design community in Glasgow and beyond. The workshop attached to this event (20 + 21st Jan) will open for sign-up at 10am on Mon 13th Jan, via the VLE.

Doors open at 6pm, for a 6.30pm-ish start.

Venue: Due to the campus developments at GSA the venue for this talk is currently ‘in flux’ – we will confirm the venue within a couple of days, and post it to this eventbrite page. It will be Glasgow city centre, one way or the other.

Image: Rachel Thomas / Behind the Scenes

When Nothing is Sure


GSA vis-com-des person Jingjing Shen is taking part in this forthcoming London exhibition. Private View 9th Jan, all welcome.