5/31/12

Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland
I spent last weekend in the Ezulwini Valley of Swaziland at the Bushfire Festival. It was an incredible two days of African music, poetry, dancing, food and art. The festival is held each year at the inspiring House on Fire, a dream-like venue filled with sculptures, colour and beautiful installations. Bushfire also does a lot of good in the community: they are fiercely committed to sex education and condom promotion, all of the profits from the event go to Young Heroes Orphan Sponsorship Program, and their Schools Festival exposes thousands of students and educators to the arts. There were so many amazing musicians but my favourite act was Napalma, made up of percussionists and vocalists from Brazil and Mozambique. Seriously haven't danced that hard in a long time! I don't know if they tour outside of Africa or South America but if you ever see their name on a lineup definitely check them out.

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

2012 Bushfire Festival, Swaziland


See more photos of mine and Charlotte's time in Swaziland on There & Here.

5/23/12

The Creative Block, Johannesburg

Creative Block art project, Johannesburg
Across the street from the Shoe Shop we found Creative Block gallery space in Johannesburg's trendy 70 Juta Precinct. The Creative Block is a program to give well known and emerging artists the opportunity to display and sell their work. The ongoing project provides artists with blank square boxes which the artist can transform however they wish. The artists are provided with valuable feedback to aid their artistic development and the blocks are then displayed in the gallery and are available for sale, allowing collectors access to affordable, one-of-a-kind pieces. Creative Block also lends its name to a range of wines which features the artwork.

Creative Block art project, Johannesburg
Creative Block art project, Johannesburg

Creative Block art project, Johannesburg

Creative Block wine, Johannesburg

5/21/12

Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Thabiso Sekgala for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

I just got back from a long weekend trip to Johannesburg and I think it's probably one of the most interesting cities I've visited. Despite the immense poverty, numerous unsafe neighbourhoods and constant apartheid reminders there are some beautiful examples of how the city is being rebuilt. Shoe Shop was one of the highlights of my visit and is one of the best community projects I've come across in awhile. The project explores and reflects on human movement and migration in public spaces through various programs including films, performances, lectures, artist walks, workshops and a photographic poster installation relying on public participation, which is where these beautiful images come from. Visitors to the Shoe Shop pop-up space in Newtown are able to take away these large format print posters, free with a conversation, to hang where they please and then document, geotag and tweet the locations so everyone can visit the expanded public exhibitions. The organizers hope the various installation locations throughout the city will provoke discussion and commentary on the accessibility of art in public spaces. I was able to pick up a few of my favourite prints and am really looking forward to hanging some around here and to taking a few home as gorgeous reminders of this place.

photo by Emmanuel Bakary Daou for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Emmanuel Bakary Daou for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Fatoumata Diabate for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Emmanuel Bakary Daou for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Emmanuel Bakary Daou for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Fatoumata Diabate for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Thabiso Sekgala for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg      photo by Thabiso Sekgala for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Thabiso Sekgala for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg       photo by Thabiso Sekgala for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

photo by Emmanuel Bakary Daou for Shoe Shop, Johannesburg

5/11/12

Kruger National Park

Elephants in Kruger National Park, South Africa
I've been in South Africa for just over a week now and it's been an incredible time so far. I'm staying with my good friend Charlotte at her lovely house on Longmere Lake. She's been great at introducing me to her life here, showing me around and really making me feel at home. It has simultaneously been one of the most exciting and relaxing times that I can remember. I honestly admire anyone who comes to South Africa without knowing anyone as I can't imagine trying to see this country without Charlotte to guide me. We spent three days last week in Kruger National Park and it was probably one of the best experiences of this trip so far. Rather than pay for an organized game drive we drove ourselves around the park at our own pace and stayed in authentic safari rest camps, something I would recommend to anyone who does Kruger. I've seen animals in zoos and other game parks but never anything like this. We witnessed a lion attack, waited for elephants and giraffes crossing the road in front of us and had hyenas begging for scraps at our fire. We're relaxing at the house this week while Charlotte finishes up the design for the next issue of Loveld Living but next week we're heading to Johannesburg. If you have any recommendations for the city please let me know!

See some more photos of our time in Kruger on There & Here.

5/2/12

Curtain Twitchers by Astrid Jaekel, Edinburgh

I've walked by these windows on Victoria Street dozens of times since I've been in Edinburgh but for one reason or another I had never stopped to really have a good look at them. However, on my last day of wandering around this great little part of the city, I finally gave Astrid Jaekel's Curtain Twitchers the attention they deserve. I had always assumed they were merely stained glass windows but on closer inspection they are actually incredible paper cutouts. The installation was created for the 2011 Fringe Festival and depicts four elderly people looking out at the happenings of Edinburgh's lively Victoria Street. Apparently they are quite something to see after dark but I learned that far too late. Please don't make the same mistake I did and make sure to go check them out if you have the chance!

Also, I have to note, this is my last post from Europe/UK for the time being. As I write this I'm waiting to board a place to South Africa! I'll be spending two months there with my good friend Charlotte and have no idea what to expect. I'll likely be out of commission for the first few days as I get over jet lag, visit Kruger National Park, meet all of Charlotte's friends and, most importantly, drink lots of vino and catch up with my beautiful best friend. But I do hope to be able to share our adventure very soon!

      

      


Analogue Books, Edinburgh

Analogue Books, Edinburgh
It's places like Analogue Books that make me really sad to leave Edinburgh today. This tiny little independent bookstore specializes in art and design books and magazines and doubles as a gallery space for local artists. It's tucked away on Candlemaker Row yet within spitting distance of the Meadows and the National Museum. The selection is thoughtfully curated and filled with treasures. I picked up a few magazines for my plane trip while my girlfriend Elyse found some gorgeous children's books and graphic novels to send home as gifts. The few times I've been in the staff have always been incredibly sweet and helpful and this time was no exception, giving Elyse a long list of similar shops in her current home of London. Analogue also publishes their own books which are available through their online store along with the rest of their merchandise, a small consolation as I leave this wonderful city behind.

      

      

5/1/12

David Fleck, Glasgow

David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator

David Fleck is an architecture student and illustrator based in Glasgow and is probably one of my favourite illustrators of the moment. I came across his work at Red Door Gallery in Edinburgh, one of the best places in the city for paper goods, gifts, prints and local art. His current show, Our Ancestors, explores whimsical cityscapes by use of geometry and clearly makes use of his background in architecture. If you're in Edinburgh, please try to stop by and see his work and buy one of his beautiful prints. If you're not lucky enough to be in this beautiful city any time soon, check out his online shop to buy some of his work. You can also buy one of his custom t-shirts from Threadless.

David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator      David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator

David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator      

David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator      David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator

David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator      David Fleck, Glasgow illustrator

portfolio/blog: fleck-tesseract.tumblr.com
online shop: society6.com/artist/Fleck
threadless shop: www.threadless.com/madeby/fleck
twitter: @_fleck