Skateboarding produces space, but also time and the self.

My bike (which I made from scratch) is pretty mushed up from when I got hit by a car 2 weeks ago. The front wheel is about as damaged as my ribs. As a result I was feeling pretty lost at getting from A to B. Sure I can walk, but it’s slow and boring. I could take the bus but it’s expensive. I need to do the excerise too. I’ve never been a fan of walking about, unless it’s a new place or in a city, like NYC where everything is a sight to be savoured. But generally, I’d rather take my bike instead. Nothing beats having the wind in your hair, the sun in your eyes, the burn from a mad-dash up a hill, or the adrenaline of riding down a steep hill at 30-40MPH.

No bike, I was stumped. Until I remembered that I had my skateboard that I bought whilst living in Brooklyn during the summer of 2008. It was a way to ensure I’d get invited by skaters to rooftop BK parties. And I wasn’t in a position to turn down friends. I’d practice riding the -then – not very busy industrial streets of Williamsburg, of course now it’s really busy down by the waterfront. And if you’re not getting hit by a car you’re probably getting run down by some dude on a fixie.

So it’s been a while since I took my skateboard out. My mom had hidden it in the depths of the cupboard where inanimate objects and old clothes go to die. I waited until I could lift my hands higher that my clavical without wincing in pain, and decided to take out the skateboard. I’ve certainly lost my confidence in riding, but mane, nothing beats the sound of skateboard on concrete.

Last night I went to my local leisure center. I know it closes at 4pm on a Sunday ensuring an empty parking lot. And honestly, I feel back in love with skating.  There’s a freedom to it. A control. A beauty between architecture, being and balance. It’s almost zen like. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was content with just riding up and down and around a parking lot. Just doing something relatively banal which feels so exciting! I feel like a child again trying to master something for the first time.

I’m quite excited to start taking the board from A to B again. Skateboarding produces space, but also time and the self.  I’m reminded of The practices of everyday life, which in everyday space, are rich in agency, invention and subversion, as much as they are habitual, controlled and restricted. Such practices produce and reproduce social space in ways that are both planned and unforeseen.

Here’s some of my favourite videos that I’ve found that really capture that playful, architectural production of space and time. It makes me really want to go back to America.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 01.35.16

QUIK from Colin Kennedy on Vimeo.

Balmorhea – Pyrakantha [official] from Colin Kennedy on Vimeo.

form from Colin Kennedy on Vimeo.

Four Corners: West – Episode 1 from Vans Europe on Vimeo.

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The Living Cube by Till Könneker

The Living Cube by Till Könneker

I moved into a apartment studio without storage room. So i made a minimalistic cube design with a shelf for my vinyl collection, my TV, Clothes and Shoes. On the cube is a guest bed and inside the cube is a lot of storage space. Remo fromwww.holzlaborbern.ch transferred my sketches very beautifully. My friend and Photographer Rob Lewis made this great photos. Info via Behance

Dude. This would be a DREAM come true if i could have one of these in my tiny-ass-bedroom at home. I think THIS IS THE FUTURE. New Bucketlist Item – I WANT 2 MAKE MY OWN 1 OF THESE!

RePlace ReAdvertise Project

The awesome Abi Goodman and I have been collaborating on a project since the Site Gallery Residency in February. I’ve just archived about half of what we’ve done. We’re doing a talk soon in May.

We have been invited by the amazing Ania Bas !!! , who is also currently the Artist Resident at Parsons X,  to present RePlace at the  PX Story Spring: Location event at Knutton Road Studios, Sheffield. The event will take place on 19th May 2012.

Check out our blog to get the low down on our research. Loads more coming soon! http://readvertise.wordpress.com/http://readvertise.wordpress.com/

DRAWING THE WORLD 1 BUILDING AT A TIME

I’ve found a better way to keep all my crazy street drawings all together. On what the cool kids are using. TUMBLR (i have 4 now!)

keep it locked HERE and FOLLOW ME for some crazy drawings of NYC, London, Sheffield, Boston, your street! Where ever i go! Holla!  (http://streetarchitect.tumblr.com/)

(above, no i haven’t lost my mind, it’s a drawing my mom asked me to do so she could pretend that she’s done it at work for an attempt to win a bottle of wine… some things never fail to amaze me..)

nearly a year after graduating, reflection: everyday i’m shuffling

Technically speaking i didn’t graduate until November when I officially got my certificate and that. But by transcript and exam board standards and the expiration of my  university log-in username – it has been since June 2010.   It’s nearly been a whole year!

Last night I was online stalking some of my favourite artists/people and seeing what they’re up to when I came across a blog post i wrote for debbie ainscoe’s blog http://downbythewaterfront.typepad.com/ . Debbie’s an amazing person and artist. And on read what I wrote even I was impressed with my 4 years of work at University! Ha! but suddenly i felt panicked at what have I been up to since?!  Have I fell off the bandwagon?

So it’s been nearly a year graduated.  And what have I learnt?

I have learnt that the new government coalition can kiss my ass. IT SUCKS. What little life there is left in the arts is going to become purely problematic and idelogical. Posts in today’s Guardian about cutting arts education shows just at how little knowledge people in politics have about the industry arts generates here in the UK.  the cuts within the arts council were depressing (although could have been worse) and the film council closure was just dreadful (esp after the success of The Kings Speech, which was funded by the film council) The short sighted, short term, planning of this government is killing what little economy and wellbeing our nation has.

Since graduating, I have been officially unemployed 3 times (although admittingly for about 2-3 weeks at a time).  My mom makes me  apply for JSA and I have to at least a part-time job whilst I do my commissions or other freelance gigs. It’s difficult being from a working class family because they don’t understand what freelance is.  All she  sees is me doing what I love. I’m terrible at saving and I think this is why she doesn’t believe I actually get paid to do what I do.

In June 2010 I went  back to America and did a teaching/ artist residency job. It was great but tiring. I had a great time!

Because I love teaching, i always apply myself 110%> I love to re-invent the wheel and to make people feel good about themselves. this is done by self-esteem building. i love encouraging people to believe that they can do something. I guess with my good natured team building skills and good evaluations I won a $3,000 award, which was a bit of a bribe to come back next year (I got half then – i get half if i go back the next year).  At this point i thought, hey maybe i’ll have something good in my life by then.  the coalitions power hadn’t kicked in just yet so it was only natural that i still felt hopeful on where i could go and what i could do!

After the job, i did a residency at Syracuse University in NY State. It’s this amazing program called the Art School in the Art School. It has so much relevance from its placement of being supplementary to the artschool or as part of an antagonistic  debate on the merit of art degree rewarding courses.  The people of Syracuse were very giving and generous with their time. I went away wanting to create a art-school in the art-school journal. Of which I’m about half way through putting it together and getting better and more submissions. More info on this in another post.  You can hear an awful interview with me here: (i need press training clearly) http://www.artschoolsound.org/2010/09/interview-with-sarah-smizz/

 

After the residency I travelled around the West Coast with some friends where i started to really think about LA and it’s myths and social history that’s kind of hyper-real.

 

I got back to NYC and I got some Freelance work with Time Warner for some illustrations for a bilingual kids book on cities! couldn’t believe my luck!

Institutions illustrations, by Sarah Smizz

I arrived back home signed on for the 1st time for 2weeks until late October and already had the awesome opportunity lined up to work with the amazing Sheffield Doc/Fest!

Debbie had asked whether the film councils closure had affected the great festival. The over-all answer is no. Because even though the film council was awesome, it rarely funded documentaries.  I believe that documentary film making is like contemporary art in the sense of how it’s made, how it engages with a subject and it’s audience and how there is an urgency its ideas. And obvs its lack of funds during the making of it. There’s an integrity that lies within the documentary film industry that doesn’t really exist in other art/media/film/journalism industry. Perhaps maybe it’s how Doc/Fest is structured and organized but it made me think that  there’s so many more opportunities that documentary film industry can offer, in comparison, and it seems to be one of the more accessible industries – knowledge rather than someone you know. I think this comes from its openness to co-production and collaboration in all forms from social media, games, film to even art.  But more on these thoughts in another post also.

After this amazing commissioned experience. I worked over the christmas period at Waterstones. They never kept me on but offered a job for next xmas. thanks!

So I kicked around enjoying my new found freedom. Planning a trip to NYC I was aware that if i did go in feb. I would be DEAD BROKE. so I went to Barcelona and had some drawings in a bigger show there. Which was a great excuse to go!

I came back looking for more work. signed on the dole for 2 weeks again until my friend got me a job at a candy store. Oh I know I know!   I did some small work for the Open University with the skills and ideas i had learnt from Doc/Fest.

After I finished working at a candy store (of which I quit because i’m sure they’re not legal- they didn’t pay my tax!) when we had to fill out the census, i saw that my mom had put me down still as working at the candy store instead of freelance work (which was more accurate picture of right now). So i made her change it. After all this is how I roll now.

We became super serious at relaunching CAKE (we have a new website address http://www.cakeeveryone.com) and did the first SlamJam in about a year. Unfortunately the disaster happened in Japan so we donated all money that we raised to Japan Red Cross ! something I’m proud of.  As part of an on going discussion #artWORK We have crit-group sessions,  a zine-day coming up, FEAST and an exhibition and event around Temporary Services ARTWORK: Art, economics and labour publication. This is VERY exciting! In addition to this, our new webste launch will have a launch party. so keep your eyes pealed!

 

I’m currently working freelance. I got a website commission for this amazing art conference series. And Doc/Fest invited me to come back to work with them (something I’m super grateful for and I’m gonna super make sure they get every single penny’s worth of their $$$ with me). more posts on this later too

In addition to this, I have some work in a show in Chicago and London coming up. And I’m going back after Doc/Fest to USA to collect the rest of my reward money and have a great summer (hopefully ha).  Afterwards i have 2 small residencies (both at publications – more posts later!?), a bit of work at DUMBO Art Festival in Brooklyn and I hope to visit friends around the USA including the AREA Chicago crew in Chicago and michael corris in dallas!

When I come back home in October i have another amazing opportunity to draw some talks to turn into animations for e-learning materials! And of course, if i want i have my waterstones job back Ha!

There’s some other stuff in here that i’ve forgotten but hey, if i’ve forgotten it it’s not that important ha!  what i need to do when I get back in October is to get a studio space. or travel and find work that way. i can’t tell you from month to month what i’ll be up to. it seems to happen all at once.  some months are super quiet and depressing. others are awesome.  It’s difficult positioning yourself as a graduate artist from Sheffield in a world where there’s hardly any normal jobs going, standards of living are slipping, and arts funding is becoming increasingly more difficult to get. But I have to remember what Michael Corris wrote/said in an article recently:

Artists: do not let your voices be hijacked.

everyday when i feel like i’m letting myself or my mom down, i think of this, or other inspirational advise. and everything is put into perspective. i’m doing pretty good despite the odds and i’m only 22.

London on a budget (travel)

I recently read the new post on the NYT’s frugal Traveller blog in London. Seth seemed to have gotten a bit of a raw deal. As a Northern UK person, we all know how expensive London is in comparison to the rest of England, never mind if you had to change your currency to half of it’s worth! (meaning you need double $$ to get just £). Plus our recent bump up in VAT  from 17.5% to 20% (although as an NON-EU citizen you can claim this back)

When I visit London (on a somewhat often basis for Art reasons)  I meet others from the North and the majority of conversations don’t sound like this, ” hey, did you see that amazing exhibition? or where have you been? any advise on places to go to?”

it’s more like this: “how’s it going? gosh, it’s expensive innit? i just paid £1.50 for a CAN OF COKE. It’s 60p in Sheffield?!  did you know how much it cost to eat out? how expensive it was to go to the movies?!”

I leave feeling wallet lighter and a nagging feeling that I could have got a Ryanair flight to Barcelona and stayed in a hostel for  2 days cheaper than spending a day and a night in London. But my love of art keeps me going down, despite having not bonded with the city. (Main reason why I have resisted moving down there to ‘make it’ in the commercial art world).

So this is for you all who will be attending London in 2012 for the Olympics, perhaps visiting for the Royal Wedding (lol), Gap year, summer holidays, business, ect. I’m going to save a few ££ and avoid you falling for Wetherspoon pub chains (which are ok – but you don’t go to America to keep eating at McDonalds or TGI Fridays)

First things first, when in london TAKE OR BUY A MAP.

straight up. FREE STUFF

There’s a bunch of free stuff to do in the Capital behind it’s face of expense and extortion.

MUSEUMS. In NYC you have free nights or pay-what-you wish hours, or suggested donation that makes you feel like your cheaping out the museum of $ when you only pay up $1. In London, the majority – not all – museums are free with a donation box. National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britian and TATE Modern’s collections are all free to view.  This will radicalize the way you treat viewing art. Special exhibitions, however, are NOT free.  Tate Modern for a special exhibition will cost you £10.00 a go (without concessions). So if you’re on a budget – my suggestion is to check out the gift/ bookstore and have a look at the exhibitions catalogue/book. Does the work interest you? Yes- then go ahead. No, then don’t bother.

Commercial art galleries are free too, like they are in NYC, Paris, Berlin ect. But are located all over the place. Every 1st Thursday of every month, the galleries on VYNER STREET [the main commercial area for galleries] (east London, tube stop Bethnal Green) are all open for business at 6pm with many free drinks and food. Get you art-clothes and networking hat on. This is where all the artists come out to play from all over London and the UK. Here you will probably get invited to drinks to a well known bar and find out where all the hip-cool places are at and possibly make some new friends. And not to mention you might get trashed on free cheap wine!

TOURS. if you’re stopping at a hostel, then tours are often free with the option of tipping at the end. if you’re not – Don’t fear. DON’T pay big companies to get a bus and look at stuff. no-way-oh-zay. instead just  get a free, funny and personal tour here: http://www.newlondon-tours.com.  I’m not a tour person myself, but for those of you that are: try and get a different sort of tour. Get one of the cool street art scene around london or the architecture.

BBC PROMS. In the summer the BBC puts on classical music (trust me on this) and theater on for FREE in the parks around London, bringing you the most talented people from around the world. It’s a vibe and experience you can not pass on.  You need to check out the BBC website for more details. But it is flat-out amazing. Bring a picnic and drinks, bask in the  luke warm, probably a bit over-caste weather (great british summer!) and feel your IQ level rise.

PARKS. are all free and beautiful. enough said.

SIGHT SEEING. Like everywhere. seeing sights is free to do. (so long as you don’t want to go inside!)  London has LOADS. How about instead of spending lots of £££ on your Oyster Card or Travel Day pass – rent a bike. The government has a new scheme unfortunately for long periods of time, it doesn’t work out that cheap. But for less than 30 mins, it’s free to rent a bike off the street at located stalls.   I would suggest a real hire bike place : with a bit of research to what would suit you: http://www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=171  free official maps avilable here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11682.aspx.  Then enjoy the architecture, the sights, the small food places you can eat on the road and meet new people without the bustle and squeeze of the underground.

NOT SO FREE but cool.

FOOD:

A pizza place near goodge street tube stop (northern line) – you leave the tube stop, turn right, take your first right again. You continue up the street, past a Tescos and a cool Cupcake store called Candy Cakes ( recommended for those with sweet tooths, will run you £3 a cake) until the corner of Charlotte Street and Goodge.  Best italtian Pizza in the place for the best price!  A whole pizza (£3+) proper italian style- thin base, and a beer will run you only run you £5-6.   In the summer 100’s of people sprawl out onto the streets from the pub between the cupcake place and tube stop called The Fitzrovia.

If in the UK, you need to eat good indian food. Those new to this food won’t know the difference between Pakistani food and Indian. Indian is more sauce/curry – Pakistani food is more rice and spice. Brick Lane is where you’ll find most cheap-ish Indian food. But beware, most of them claim to have ‘chef of the year!’ Time Out website/magazine and online reviews will help you search out the best on the area.   Brick Lane at first looks a bit dingy, but this is its charm like a Brit vision of Williamsburg. Not too gentrified it holds many secrets.  Whilst in the area, great bakeries that do the best bagels and chinese treats will run you a nice £1-3 depending on what you buy, open until late.     Sunday Up Market as you guessed happens on a sunday and it’s a cool hip-happening place of art, funky foods and cool crafts to try.   Close to here is the ‘Vibe-Bar’ which is a bar with an amazing beautiful courtyard (pictured below)  in the summer months free live music happens. a beer will bust you about £3 – but at night you can probably sneak your own booze to the courtyard.

If you start at Whitechapel side of brick lane, head to the newly furnished Whitechapel Gallery (free and great) and end your long walk up BL at LCB surf store that combines surf and skate with great organic coffee. What a mix?

Like every Chinatown, London’s SoHo chinatown has many treats.  Chinese Bakeries with goodies to fill your pockets up for train journeys and picnics.  Avoid buffets, and go for a sit down menu meal. Depending where you go, a meal here will usually run you about £10 including drink if you don’t order starters.

Hidden greasy-spoon cafes hide behind back streets of the main streets.  The further out zone 1 you go, the cheaper and more authentic food gets.  Near Vyner Street you can grab a proper english breakfast for £3, so big and lovely you won’t need to eat for lunch.

You can’t go to London without having Afternoon teas and cakes – the stereotype of Britain.  TEA, is for all you urban folk – this place is the place for every fair-trade tea goings on. Another cool place is bob bob ricard all polished brass, buttoned green leather and booth seating – it’s just the place to hide away for a discreet nibble and chat, and it serves tea and cakes all day. The only problem is that an afternoon tea here could run you £10.

Like Seth mentioned, great markets are dotted around the city will provide you with amazing, fresh food from around the world at modest prices below £6.  Including and certainly NOT limited to Covent Garden markets.

By now you’ll probably know that alot of UK culture is on binge drinking. We love our pubs, clubs and boozey drinking offers (if near student campus’s you can find a cheap vodka and coke for £1).  One of my favourite pubs/bar is called “Venn Street Records” in clapham. Venn ST Records wants to be a cool hip rock n roll bar.  whilst it might lack the dirt n grime of a real dive bar, it makes up for  it in drinks and coolness with bonding in with the Clapham crowd. Cocktails cover twists on some classics and tongue-in-cheek kitsch with options including the AC/Daiquiri, thePina Colada.  On Tuedays its 2-4-1 cocktails, so bring a friend and on sundays they sometimes have live music (but i have no idea if it’s good live music – check it and find out!)

If you fancy wondering out to Battersby then a place called LOST SOCIETY (no joke) is said to be happening. I avoid this place on a weekend cuz it will run you £5 but it’s worth it for the cool DJ’s spinning great tunes. On a budget though, i am sure you can find the same music somewhere else for free. At the Lost Society they have created their own society full of imaginative cocktails ( a list of 60 on the menu) and this is where you can try many different liquors from around the world.  In the summer, yuppies and hipsters come out and talk pretension in the fancy courtyard.

Mason and Taylor on Bethnal Green (yep i love the East side of LDN) is a place for anyone really wanting to get to grips with the many cool beers that London (and the UK) have to offer. It’s industrial looking within but I find this intriguing. Local London beers include Kernel IPA and Meantime Raspberry while a blossoming British artisan brewing community is rightfully well-represented in the shape of beers from Marble in Manchester, and many more from Wales, Sussex and the world including American.

 

In terms of film – a movie theater within zone 1 will cost you a limb. tickets start at £10 for multiplex’s with Leister Square being the most expensive of them all (for obvious reasons). Unless you want to go to the movie theaters where the premieres happen, I would advise to avoid seeing films here.  Cineworld is a great Multiplex cinema in the UK and has a few within London starting from Zone 2 outwards. 1 ticket here will still run you about £8+ onwards (don’t see a 3D movie) but lots of leg room, and many screens to choose from including the latest releases and Hollywood’s blockbusters with the odd arthouse or limited release movie showing. If hollywood or multiplex cinema isn’t your scene,  then the  Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is a great place to go. They usually have fantastic contemporary art exhibitions on – and since early 2010 it’s now free to see them – a fantastic bookstore, and cafe/bar which doubles up as a gig/live music place at night. This place is happening and won’t even brush you a penny. The ICA has great choices of films from foreign films you won’t see anywhere else, artist films, documentaries, classics to BAFTA choices. The tickets are also priced here slightly less at £7.

If you’re a true film buff, when in London the British Film Institute is your guide to what’s happening and showing. They do various film festivals all year around with October BFI film festival being the most significant. For those of you wanting to see a 3D movie, then the IMAX complex is the place to go, pay out an extra £2 for the real deal instead of a normal cinema that doesn’t have the technology to get the full effects across to you.

GETTING AWAY FROM LONDON

If you’re in London for longer than 4 days then perhaps leaving London is a good use of your time. Actually see a bit more of the UK than what’s simply portrayed in the movies. Brighton is next to the sea and is seen as a London suburb and only an hour train ride away. Many Londoners like to get away to here on a weekend. The clubbing scene is cheaper and more openly lively. Drink in cafes that will only cost you £1 for a cuppa, or eat an ice cream on the pier. perhaps go on a ride or chill on the beach. Brighton has one of the biggest gay and lesbian populations in the UK, so come and feel the pride and enjoy the loud brash culture here!  A return ticket will cost you about £10.00

If the gay sea-side isn’t your thing, then how about Oxford. Heading further up North – a return ticket on the train will bust you between £2.50 – £10.00 depending if bought in advance or not.  The train ride is 45 mins long. Oxford is the home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Here lies even more history than you would have ever expected! Spend the day watching people train on the rivers, or seeing more bikes on the road than cars.  See a scene you can only imagine would be on Harry Potter, or go to the library that has billions of books underground!  Take in the rich green fields and the limestone architecture.

If countryside is more your thing, and you’re in the UK for more than a week. Then perhaps a MEGABUS or an advanced bought train ticket will get you up to places like Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester in less than 3 hours. The further out of London you go, the further your ££ will go too.

In short, after accommodation – London is your Oyster. (literally if that’s your main use of transport) Spending your day divided by museums, food, bars, music, and sights it’s easy to be cheap with a bit of perseverance and research. you can wander the streets and live off baked goods and fresh fruit from market stalls. You could spend your money on cocktails you’ve never heard of and see artists studios.

Oh and I forgot, you must all see if my good friend Myra DuBois has a show, critically acclaimed by Time Out London, and go. Seriously.

Because art should be made through the process of discussion (CRIT GROUP)

ANOTHER CRIT GROUP – FOR YOU!  BANK STREET ARTS, TUESDAY 12TH APRIL 2011, 5:30

ALL WELCOME.

Are you interested in art? Or are you an artist? Do you want some some critical discussions about art, sheffield art scene and/or your own artwork? Do you want to build a network of artists?!

THEN THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED.
You can bring your own art/ideas/exhibition flyers/reading materials/friends for engaging, critical and fun chats! To resolve problems you might have or to inspire your next works.

If you have a presentation coming up, bring that along. If you’ve hit a wall with an idea, or would like another voice to help you out – this is your place. Or simply have an exhibition – we can go and see it!

Anyone can bring anything to discuss.

ANYONE ATTENDING CRIT-GROUP should try and see Bryan Eccleshall’s Residency work that ends 9th April ! Find out more: http://bryaneccleshall.co.uk/

Anyone else can bring work to this months crit platform!

Any more info contact me: sarah smizz @ smizz.fo.shizz@gmail.com 🙂