Sara Pope

Photo Portrait of artist Sara Pope
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

When we walk down the road and smile at a stranger, or sit in a coffee shop sipping on hot coffee and talk to our friend sitting opposite us.  We don’t necessarily think about our lips, maybe only to apply lipstick or to moisturise them when they are dry.  Actually our face has a significant amount of information in every detail, how our faces communicate is what fascinates contemporary artist Sara.  She has narrowed it down though and is concentrating on just lips.  We may notice those lips, when you watch the news reader discuss the topics of the day, or the musician on stage as their mouth touches the microphone, or that sensuous excitement the moment you stare at a someones lips just before you are about to kiss them.  Her pop art style entices the very essence of the mouth.  Beautiful sumptuous full bodied kissable lips, mischievous lips, shy lips, nervous lips, sexy, deliciously glamorous and erotic lips.  In flamboyant reds on gold, sparkling diamonds on pinks, baby neon blues and black there is something devilishly dramatic in her art, with a sophisticated edge.

Neon lips artwork by Sara Pope
LIT by Sara Pope
Contemporary Neon lips artwork
MIAMI REALNESS by Sara Pope

When I first meet Sara, it’s almost obvious that she would be the artist, as I enter the Turner Barnes gallery in the affluent Brentwood.  Standing tall and elegant amongst her rainbow of red paintings displayed on the fresh white walls, she brings me some water as we sit down to talk.  Her lips are painted red and I am immediately looking at them as we start to chat about communication.  She started her first collection about ten years ago, her fascination with the human face are her inspirations.  Her portraits of elderly women in New York resonate that desire to transform ourselves, next a series of distorted paintings of glamours women with applied make-up, particularly resonate the influence of Francis Bacon.  Expression, it all comes through the face she explains, you don’t even have to say anything, “it’s the curl of a lip!” and Sara demonstrably curls her lip up.  She is equally fascinated with how people modify themselves.  How make-up and dressing changes the way you feel, it’s transformative, and we discuss a time when this was the only way women could express themselves and communicate, especially with each other.

Lips artworks by Sara Pope
BOSS by Sara Pope
Artwork by Sara Pope in CAKE
APHRODITE by Sara Pope

Sara grew up in the industrial town of Stoke on Trent near Manchester, not a visually striking place as she describes it, and although she loved to draw from a young age and had a love for fashion and make-up.  She went on to have a very academic education.  School was terrible for art, where she grew up, dry and boring, is how she explains it.  However Sara was particularly excellent in maths and she has a degree in Mathematics.  Her mother was a teacher and her father a computer scientist who headed a computer firm, ahead of his time, leading the way in the computer science industry.  They retired at 50, moving to Spain.  She tells me how when she visited Barcelona at 21 that she decided her path was in the creative industry so she made the choice to live in this beautiful city and applied for a short course in Graphic and design.  Always fascinated with how people dressed and expressed themselves and how it changes the way you feel.  Sara returned to London and started working in the magazine industry as an Art Director and designer.  Addressing her passion for fashion, she became an avid collector of Vintage shoes and clothes and then created a vintage shop with parties selling her precious finds. Then she met a fashion designer who invited her to design a collection of shoes.

neon artwork of lips by Sara Pope
SPOILER ALERT by Sara Pope
Modern Lips artwork by Sara Pope
PSYCHO CANDY by Sara Pope

This incredible turn in her life led to a degree at the London College of Fashion graduating as a shoe designer, drawing shoes and working for many years in the industry, for designers such as Paul Smith, as well as projects for brands like Zara designing for catwalks, in Spain and Paris.  As she talks to me about her career in shoe design, I am thinking to myself, this has got be the perfect job, however Sara didn’t feel she was fully expressing herself.  She secretly started dabbling in her own art, “I felt compelled to start painting” so Sara started teaching herself how to paint, working with oils and acrylic, diluted, blending and reapplied to create a smooth effect, that in some cases her lips look so realistic you think it’s a photo.

Artwork of lips by Sara Pope
SCARLET STARLET by Sara Pope
Contemporary artwork of lips
VILLANELLE by Sara Pope

Inspired by perfection of the finished image, she works with models, taking photographs of her subjects expressing themselves, then amplifies the mouth, it’s super slick, ultra polished all creating an illusion and influenced by working in the magazine industry.  It becomes even more fascinating when you look at the mathematics behind of what is regarded as beauty or perfection, some plastic surgeons work with the theory of the symmetry of the Golden ratio. Arguably some may disprove this notion of what is beautiful, but it’s interesting nonetheless.  There is equally another theory of the ratio between things the Rule of thirds, this applies to the composition of paintings, photography or graphic design. Don’t forget Sara is also a mathematician. Then she quotes Galileo “Nature is written in the language of maths”.  Sara may no longer work in the fashion industry, she has made a name for herself an artist, exhibiting in galleries around the world.  A current project with Tiger Heart Creative, is taking her to another dimension, an Artificial intelligence (AI) experience.  A large scale hologram of lips and viewers can have a conversation with these AI lips, and the conversation can go anywhere.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Photoshoot location and cakes courtesy of Turner Barnes Gallery

Photography by Antoinette Haselhorst
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

portrait of artists Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Anne’s artworks are so interesting in that her collage is ultimately a personal journey in time, combined with an almost fixated observation of human behaviours. Exploring the attic of her grandmother’s old home and discovering old photographs from the 1960s and 70s. They represent a modern timeless quality in as such that our society at present has almost shifted into a nostalgia of the simplicity and elegance of this period; which makes Anne’s works so captivating.  Much of her collage cut outs are a Namibian history lesson of a time in our society, it has that resonance of the old colonialism of young Europeans exploring their new conquests, learning to integrate in their alien environments, embracing the new and marking their territories with a naïveté and youthful arrogance.  You can imagine what it must have been like, the excitement and challenges.  Depicting a time when we were free to rebel and pushed forward new ideas, how we changed the world without knowing the consequences in our vigorous candour. That real time is what Anne manipulates, it is to create art so controversial it will raise your eyebrows.

collage art by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Lets Take a Dive by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Homeland collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Giraffes and Dirt Roads by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
collage art Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Hanging on a Dream by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

It’s when she discovered her grandmother’s old photographs, she started creating her collage art, capturing moments of her life in Namibia, juxtaposed with her life in London. It’s the comparative of the then and now.  Her observations of two alien cultures trying to exist together.  What fascinates her is people’s responses.  How some from the different countries react to her works, a Londoner being shocked with an artwork of a hyena with a woman in her mouth and Namibian shocked by a woman exposing herself.  Most of her work is unconscious, 85% of her time cutting out all sorts of images and in a meditative state the artworks come together.  Anne always appropriates things, making weird combinations of the little resources in Africa, that you use everything and then Anne draws reference, how poor people will find old tins cans, plastic bottles, lids anything and create artefacts which they sell to survive.  We talk about mass media and how it’s only relevant for five minutes, but she gives them another lease of life.

Homoerotic/Homeland Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Homoerotic/Homeland by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Daydreamer collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Flower Girl by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

Born and raised in the harsh Namibian landscapes in Otjiwarongo, which translates into ‘where the Cattle graze’.  She did grow up in the centre of nature in the middle of a cattle farm, where she was taught to hunt antelopes, in an environment where death was different.  You learnt to hunt your meal.  She recalls she once killed a Kudu with a gun and she can still remember the feeling of guilt she felt.  All the meat was used, it fed 30 workers. This relationship with nature and how taking a life to feed is treated with respect.  This reality of life combining the wilds of natural Africa, living with indigenous people from this part of the world, within the time of European integration.  She remembers the Chagall painting hanging above her parents bed.  Her mother was a Goldsmith and her father a designer and maker of fur coats. Both her parents, creative hippies, as she describes them, until they moved to run her grandparent’s cattle farm.  Anne attended the University of Stellenbosch, in Cape Town were she studied Fine Art and graduated with Honours.  Her works in Sculpture, installation, photography, and video work, are what inspired her at the time, “I couldn’t draw, or paint”  Anna sighs.

collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Sheep for Sleep by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Shy Wild collage art by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Ball Games by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Day Dreamer collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Farmers Hangover by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

After Anne’s fine art degree, she decided to come to London, she came to do a gap year 13 years ago, and fell in love with the energy, there is always something going on, she explains.  Eventually moving to the UK permanently, her graduate work was just video art at the time.  She started work as a runner for a film production company in Soho, then junior editor, before long she was editor for the film company for three years.  She was always interested in storytelling, however she felt the work was too commercial and not very creative working on day time television programs and decided she didn’t want to sit in a dark room any more.  So Anne applied for an MA at Central St Martins, and after one year of courses across the board, she applied for a job posted at the University and started teaching Media Techniques; in adobe photo shop and other media softwares.  She loved the teaching Anne emphasises, but then explains how she became disillusioned with the politics and began to focus more on her own art.  Anne has a business mind and as a freelance artist she bolsters her income with mobile network apps for summer music festivals and then she tells me of a business making fake snow for film and TV.  They dress huge areas for film sets, including the renewal of the film Murder on the Orient express.

collage art Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Colonial Kid By Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Homeland collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Gagging the Outlaw by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

Then Anne expresses how African artists influenced her, it’s how they see things she exclaims, and we talk about the Shona Sculptures carved with Soap stone, the modern art movement originally from Zimbabwe and how these carvers took their skills to other parts of Southern Africa, many European artists including Picasso and Matisse were heavily influenced by these artists as well.  Anne resonates, that Southern African artists have a political agenda in their work, it reflects their society, huge aspects of humour in their approach to art.  This is what is essential to Anne’s work, it’s controversial, non mainstream, with somewhat humorous topics, from random dark fetishes and ideals, to the psychology behind people and what makes people different.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Photography portrait of artist
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Androulla Theokle

Portrait of artist Androulla Thoekle
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Andi’s recent artworks of water painted on canvas originate with her fascination with this element. Our blue planet is 71% water, it is what makes up about 65% of our bodies, depending on our weight.  It is the compound we most depend on.  It is the most ordinary but yet one the of the greatest mysteries, it takes us into the darkest secrets of the oceans, the curiosities of lakes with monsters and stories, it seduces us, as it dances with light in every change of the day, it’s blue and turquoise, white and black, this odourless almost colourless and tasteless compound. This magical matter has been photographed, filmed, and documented, and this is what Andi’s recent collection of paintings represent, she paints abstract versions of water.

artwork by Androulla Theokle
Hartwell by Androulla Theokle
artwork by Androulla Theokle
Liquid Gold by Androulla Theokle

Her artworks that explore the sunrises and sunsets in her skies in Africa and landscapes of cities or mountain ranges, which hint on the Chinese ink wash, as she blends the delicacy of water and ink on canvas. Or her artworks on the human form in motion, some with splashes off colour, resonate the deep emotions of passion and love. This intensity is still present in her recent works, It’s how she sees the dance of light on what she calls ‘the mirror to the world’.  Water the only place where she can relax, but she confesses, to me she can’t swim. Being thrown into water as a very small child, is something she hasn’t got over, yet.

artwork by Androulla Theokle
Serpentine by Androulla Theokle
artwork by Androulla Theokle
Majestic Sky by Androulla Theokle

Andi, as she prefers to be called, is a North Londoner, she grew up in Cockfosters with her traditional greek family, raised to be a wife and have children.  Even though Andi’s educational path was accelerating, her parents were not willing for her to move away and study.  However she went to Manchester metropolitan university to gain her independence and forge a career.

artwork by Androulla Theokle
Majestic Sky by Androulla Theokle
artwork by Androulla Theokle
Sinai by Androulla Theokle

Andi’s foundation tutor advised her career choices to continue her studies as an interior designer, but to never give up on art.  During her dissertation work she traveled to Canada and North America, studying Henry Moore and Barbra Hepworth, 70% of Henry Moore’s work is in North America, she informs me. Her work was published and placed in the Henry Moore foundation in Bishops Stortford. “I blagged my way to stay longer” Andi confesses, and an intense three month round trip from Toronto, New York, San Diego, Vancouver Andi was always sketching and painting architecture whilst travelling.  She continued to the Iberian peninsula, this was her first collection of works; ‘Iberian impressions’. The sketching and painting continued, Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid and Naples.  Her first art show was on Frith Street, Soho, her works hanging for two months.  She was 23 at the time, her next show titled Origins, narrate the topics, Greece as the Motherland, Cyprus as being her roots, London her home. The exhibition comprising 3 sections and 42 pieces.

artwork by Androulla Theokle
Wednesday by Androulla Theokle
artwork by Androulla Theokle
Vertical London by Androulla Theokle

At 26 she decided to take a break from interiors, so she took a sabbatical and headed to Cyprus, and created her next body of work, `The Human Form and Movement Collection’.  The collection that followed was Man made natural world which was a departure from painting and sketching as it focused on digital manipulation of photography.  A combination of nature and architecture, the ‘paintings’ were one off prints of abstracted digital montage. This was followed by her photography and painting artworks, traveling to Egypt and Jordan for inspiration. Still working internationally as an interior designer.  Meanwhile, winning awards, she won the BCO award for interior design 12 years ago for Network rail, for their HQ in Manchester.  She designed the famous Sky Garden reception area and won a BCO for Gartner 2018.  Her show in 2017, titled ‘90×65’ paintings of Cyprus and Jordan made up of 2/3 or five  65 x 90 sized canvases, nearly sold out over the course of two weeks, including the biggest piece she ever sold. “I was awestruck, I thought I had won the lottery” she tells me beaming, and was able to place a deposit and buy her second property.

artwork by Androulla Theokle
Iberian Montage by Androulla Theokle
Artwork by Androulla Theokle
Entwined by Androulla Theokle

The reflection on her face then takes slight turn, she looks at me with a teeny bit of sadness, not everyone is happy for others success, but what she wanted was to give the message to others, “If she can do it so can I”.  For the mother of a little girl herself, nothing could be more profound.  We as women can facilitate and liberate ourselves from those shackles by which many of us have been conditioned by raising each other up. “I have always been fascinated with reflection” she tells me when she describes one of her first sculptures made with glass.  This reminds me of a saying I heard a long time ago, ‘Our children hold the mirror to us’ and if our children can learn anything today, is that we are equal no matter what sex we are.

Her next show will be 14 November at Herman Millar, 61 Aldwych, Holborn, London.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Portrait of artist Androulla Theokle
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

 

Simon McCheung

portrait of artist Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Simon’s fine art photographs are defiantly contemporary, surreal, extensively complex, yet with this etherial simplicity.  The elegance of his compositions highlight a drama in the cleanest of formats, using himself as the subject matter.  Some people may refer to his artworks as self portraits and in a way they are, however he manages to convey the political and personal message with his intelligent art direction using himself as a model rather than a portrait of himself.  This is what makes his work so interesting.  This self awareness that Simon has, in that he recognises the advantage of his photogenic and adaptable persona, his face is able to characterise the narrative so well, with a subtle ingenuity that anyone who gazes at his work can slip into the identity of the spirit he projects.  His artworks are both courageous and unique with an affable flair that makes them completely different.  In some cases the photographs are taken in separate settings, he uses his animation and photoshop skills to combine the images to create a separate piece of art, the result; an award winning image, ‘Underwater Spell’ of the man in his pyjamas sleeping as he floats under water.  Then there is, his Cat as a Hat, the forest of broccoli as lungs, or man on top of the Chinese house.

artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
An Underwater Spell by Simon McCheung
artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
The Grand Hotel by Simon McCheung
artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
Lulu & I by Simon McCheung

The communication of Simon’s work addresses topics with relevance and political savvy.  His most recent works represent the inner antagonism of his sisters struggle with autism and how he projects the conflict that she encounters in her daily life.  Simon explains the spectrums of Aspergers, and that communication is hard for his sister.  She can write to express herself however signals to her vocal cords is limited.  He explains to me the emotional traumas she endures in public, when people stare at her when she makes a sudden noise when she vocally expresses herself with excitement at something she may have observed.  Or her sensitivity to sound and how excruciating certain sounds can be.  This series of works covers all areas of her life, as he tries to engage with the frustrations she feels, using his body to express this empathy in these photographs.  What he cares about is making his sister integrate into society and empower the public with knowledge what an autistic person feels.

artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
Autistic Expressionism by Simon McCheung
artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
I Can’t Wake Up by Simon McCheung
artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
Interstellar/ The Other Side by Simon McCheung

All of Simon’s works cover conversations with current affairs from climate change, to consumerism, population, retirement, you name it he addresses subjects that you will talk about daily.  Thinking with the brilliant lateral thinking that is the pulse of the diversity of London life.  Simon was born and raised Grimsby by his Chinese parents who run a Chinese takeaway.  He was sent to a Chinese language school in Grimsby, however when he was six years old, in the 1980’s, his parents sent him to a catholic school in Hong Kong for two years, when they still had corporal punishment.  This, so he could learn to speak Cantonese fluently.  Simon talks to me about not being conditioned in one culture or the other, and how his experience of learning another language is in the subtly; he explains to me that Cantonese has many puns in its language and how just the slightest change in tone, the word can have a completely different meaning.  That sometimes Cantonese speaking people would laugh at him when he spoke.  His wife Yumi who is originally from Hong Kong is fluent in Cantonese, and this is helpful.  However his charming use of Cantonese is what attracted her in the first place, he claims, smiling at me.

artwork by Simon McCheung
Turned On by Simon McCheung
artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
Impressionist by Simon McCheung
artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
The Dream Beyond Sleep by Simon McCheung

Simon is a self taught photographer, he spent two years teaching himself, taking portraits of himself as practise.  The more he took the more self expressive they became, he tried using models, however they never captured the expression he wanted to express, and whereas with himself he has all the patience in the world.  Now his face has become his Brand.  This intelligent thinking has its roots.  He does have a Foundation in Fine Art as well as Degree at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, he studied animation, went into Digital advertising at Ogilvy and Mather and is a pro with flash animation.  He additionally works in Soho London designing and creating computer games.  His artwork, Underwater Spell, has become famous, the curator at Saatchi Gallery contacted him about using his image, as it appeared on their website and Facebook page.  Additionally he has been published in the desirable and exclusive Italian Vogue Magazine.  He has just finished directing his first music video, and is already working on another one.  He recently started a project 365 days, took a photo every day, most of them self portraits, exploring elements of the surreal, he likes to tell stories and capture viewers imaginations and place them into a sense of disbelief. Then he tells me Yumi is expecting their first child and they will be parents this autumn.

Interview Antoinette Haselhorst

artwork by Simon McCheung featured in CAKE
An Artist’s Struggle by Simon McCheung

Paul Robinson (LUAP)

Portrait of artist Paul Robinson in CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

There is something wonderful about children playing, from the sound of their laughter and squeals and interactions, to the inventiveness they display, striking a relationship with imagination and reality in a world of pretend. Climbing trees exploring abandoned places.  We all are familiar with being children, from our own experiences to being a parent.  This imaginary world is encapsulated by Paul’s most recent works of The Pink Bear in a realistic and fictional environment lost or wondering, sometimes taking us into a more political storyline of the world as it is today.  His compositions of the bear in various situations, from sitting in a tree like a boy is both beautiful and curious, it illustrates the alter ego of the artist or even our own.  Painted from his meticulously orchestrated photographs.  The Pink Bear, appearing in different situations or events.  Isolated amongst melted ice caps, or on a beach eyeing a woman, or appearing lost in a forest at dawn as the sun’s shafts of light gleam like razors through the trees.

Artwork by Paul robinson
I ♥ Day Dreaming by Paul Robinson
Artwork by Paul Robinson
Tempest by Paul Robinson

Paul narrates the adult topics of climate change, the exploitation of our environment as well as our current affairs, through the eyes of innocence. These artworks come in themes, I used to be a Polar Bear, representing the idea that the Polar Bear may become a mythical creature in our future, where nobody will know whether he existed or not, as well as Pink Bear, Bed Time Stories and Pink Bear Is Coming To TownIt is renascence of childhood, loss of innocence and those lost moments of happiness that we all encounter within the realms of family.  His bear inspired by an old photograph, of just that, family life with his mother, father and brother, as they meet a Care Bear in the 1980’s. The patterns that Paul uses in his paintings, is the metaphysical layering of wallpaper that his mother painted over many times in the home where he grew up.  His love of trees; as his father chopped down the apple tree to make room for a swing, when he preferred the real tree.  The good intentions of parenting and the true effect it has on our innocence.

contemporary art by Paul Robinson
Rainbow Bright  by Paul Robinson
Contemporary art by Paul Robinson
Rarer than a  Unicorn by Paul Robinson

When you meet Paul a tall man with a strong athletic build, one can easily forget the gentle soul that resides.  A highly successful driven student, he accomplished A levels in Art, Design and Technology as well as Maths and Physics.  He bought his own dark room as a young teenager with money he earned, then studied A level Photography, and completed a foundation course before applying to Goldsmiths.  He didn’t get in, he tells me grinning.  After studying Fine art at Canterbury, Goldsmith approached him to talk about his Pink Bear artwork. Oh the irony!

Pink Bear art by Paul Robinson
Solar Rise by Paul Robinson
Contemporary Art by Paul Robinson
Naughty Step by Paul Robinson
artwork by Paul Robinson featured in CAKE
Recollection of Innocence by Paul Robinson

If you are thinking to yourself that he was privileged; he grew up in Grimsby, made famous by channel 4’s benefit street.  Paul was an academic scholar though, always top of the class, as well as being an accomplished athlete.  His determination did not deter him even after his parents split when he was 16, he was already showing his artwork by then “They supported me with anything I wanted to do.” Choosing Art because it gave him the freedom to explore.  His father is also an artist, a sculptor, however he spent most of his life working on the oil rigs in the North Sea to support his family, and now he is retired he does what he loves.

Pink Bear artwork by Paul Robinson
Wanderlust by Paul Robinson

After Uni in 2005, Paul moved to London.  So he could pay the bills, he worked as a Creative Director for prestigious advertising agencies and charities.  He is very cautious, treading a careful line, he doesn’t want to have nothing.  We touch on the subject that some successful artists have the advantage of having wealthy parents to allow them the freedom to be artists.  Business acumen is what has become a necessary part of many modern artists today.

Contemporary Art by Paul Robinson
Followers by Paul Robinson

His artworks do create debate and are subjective, he was recently challenged by a woman at one of his shows at the art fair, who appeared a bit aggressive, as he tried to explain the artworks are about human trafficking.  This conversation between humans through artistic mediums is so essential to our lives.  Paul’s painting decorates a wall in the exclusive Belgrave Hotel, alongside legendary artists Andy Warhol, Banksy, Damien Hirst, Joan Miro, and Mark Chagall.  His work has appeared in 35 shows from every corner of London from Mayfair to Spitalfields, and around the globe from Dubai to Hong Kong.  He is currently working on his next show, large canvases that he meticulously layers, that leave you to gaze for a long time.  I heard a quote recently by a famous collector who said “You Gaze at art, gazing is much nobler than just looking”

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Portrait of Paul Robinson Luap
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Mark Sloper

Portrait of artist mark Sloper with his work in CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

If you can picture yourself in Soho London’s red light district back in the 70’s with the neon lights, the Punk rock era of the Kings Road, the Sex Pistols, Vivienne Westwood together with Malcolm McLaren, down at the Worlds End. The whole nostalgia of those rebellious times in the UK, where everything was put to question and a revolution was taking place against the establishment.  It still remains however, it lingers like hangers on at the end of a party, you see dribbles of it trying to make some form of rhetoric, in fashion, in film and in art.  Mark Sloper’s work is a slap in the face.  It’s nothing short of a journey in history taking us way back to where most recent revolutions began.  I am standing in front of one of his artworks, it’s the American flag with only 48 stars, the original flag going back to 1908, the words in neon represent what the flag stands for “ Hardiness and valour, Purity and innocence, Vigilance and Justice”.  It is a welcome to all the immigrants coming to the USA.  Mark’s work embodies everything he loves combined with everything he stands for.  His recent commission a series of work, titled ‘Heaven Sent.’

Artwork by Mark Sloper in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Neon
Artwork by Mark Sloper
Heaven Sent by Illuminati Neon
Artwork by Mark Sloper featured in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Neon

These artworks narrate the topics of Anarchy, the Illuminati, with images of Queen Elizabeth II, William and Kate, to Marylyn Monroe, and his recent artwork of Donald Trump embodying a Nazi officer in front of the American flag, illuminated by the bright pastels of the neon lights reminiscent of an amusement park, but nothing amusing within his narrative.  His artworks are beautiful to the eye, the bright pastels and primary colours.  However as with all good art, the messages runs deep and evoke the emotion within us.  As I try to explore a bit deeper with Mark, it proves difficult at first, it’s hard to get a word in, as he is so busy explaining everything and is super confident, however I want to know a bit more, and for him to reveal himself.   Art is about what the artist is trying to represent, but often it’s not what he is trying to get us to see, but what is actually being said.

Artwork by Mark Sloper featured in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Neon
Artwork by Mark Sloper featured in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Neon

Mark was raised by his Aunty Janey who was a religious lady and head of the Salvation Army, his father had left the family and his mother often tackling with depression struggled raising her son.  The community in Cornwall, surrounded by sea is a breathtaking part of the United Kingdom, famous for its Pirates of Penzance and the Minack theatre built into the cliffs by the Atlantic ocean as well as very famous artists.  Mark is a proud Cornish man whose heritage goes back to the 12 century, the Cornish being more English than the English, with Celtic origin he clarifies.  As a South African myself, I was unaware the Cornish actually having their own language like the Welsh.  Mark explains growing up in St Ives, with a family of artists including his adopted uncle the painter Eric Ward, whose work is still displayed at The Tate.  Mark’s early education was amongst these artists such as Terry Frost, Alfred Wallace and John Christopher, as well as the Head of St. Ives Art School.  However revealing that as a boy, he used to think, ‘How boring is Art’ as he was completely surrounded by it.

Artwork by Mark Sloper featured in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Neon
Artwork by Mark Sloper in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Neon

The bright child eventually won a scholarship to a prestigious private school. However was obsessed with Punk Rock, watching the Sex Pistols at the age of 12 already, eventually becoming friends with drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones.  He attended an Art Foundation in Bath and then followed on to the Psalter Lane Art College with is now Sheffield University.  Although he initially wanted to be a pop star, Mark had a career in Film and Television and set up a successful business, 400 Television ltd.  After graduating from University, studying art and photography but actually finding photography dull, so he became a film maker instead.  Working with the BBC as well as producing and directing his own films, making films for the Sex pistols, as well as The Final Cut with Jude Law, Ray Winstone and Sadie Frost in 1998, which was really successful.  Other legendary productions followed such as, Small Time Obsession in 2000; Sid!  By those who really knew him in 2009.  Along with Superbiker: Day of Reckoning, 2013 then there is Superbiker II, III and IV as well as Billy Fury – The Sound of Fury,  and this year he released, Speed is my need, which Mark sold to Netflix.

Artwork by Mark Sloper featured in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Leon
Artwork by Mark Sloper featured in CAKE
Artwork by Illuminati Neon

Mark’s work as an artist is more of a recent acquisition, it’s what has taken most of his passion recently, he started taking it seriously six to seven years ago.  His work appearing in the Saatchi Gallery this September, with best emerging artists in the world.  It has the dynamics of his films, energetic and temperamental.  He is already creating a following as he is the only one doing what he doing with neon.  His influences like Chris Bracey, who said,“There is a light that never goes out ” he was the king of neon Mark informs me.  “He was the man who lit up Soho.”  Marks artworks may light up a room or a gallery, however there is the ultimate double entendre, and it’s there for a reason, you are supposed to see the supposition and that is what English contemporary art is, the references to something else.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

contemporary artist Mark Sloper featured in CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Tim Christie

Tim Christie portrait in CAKE
Photo: Katie Christie

When you think of the perfection of symmetry, what comes to mind? The way a sun sets across the straight line of a horizon, the face of a tiger with perfect proportions, the lines around her perfect almond shaped eyes and her triangular nose.  Maybe you consider perfection the angles and structures of the Sydney Opera House or maybe the Contemporary Art Museum in Niteroi.  Do you think of mathematics when you stare at a human face?  The perfection of symmetry and proportion when you look at a flower or the repetitive patterns in nature as Alan Turing started to explore, when he connected the mathematics to nature.  Tim Christie’s ‘MONOMOKO’ artworks series, explore the idea of symmetry and perfection, encapsulated in an Op art style combined with the elements of De Stijl.  The stripes making up the artworks of human faces and animal’s faces, it’s abstract and monochrome, it is modern art at its ultimate.  Originally conceptualised on his Macbook whilst on holiday in Scotland.

Artwork by Tim Christie
Life Saver by Tim Christie
Artwork by Tim Christie
Mr Mistoffelees by Tim Christie

Now his artworks are meticulously painted, the metallics and colours creating a more 3D effect of what is almost 2D art.  Initially when gazing at these works you don’t quite understand what you are seeing, when you realise that it is Anthropomorphic, dogs heads, cats or bulls on a human body wearing spectacles or just a straightforward artwork of two rams locking horns or the majesty of a Stag or a bull.  Then there are the human faces.

Artwork by Tim Christie
Wolf Of Wall Street by Tim Christie
artwork by Tim Christie
Cat Walk by Tim Christie
Artwork by Tim Christie
Rucking Rams by Tim Christie

Born in Wellington New Zealand, Tim enjoyed art from a young age and excelled in art at school.  He attended Design School for four years majoring in visual communications.  After graduating he landed his first job in an ad agency in Wellington, working for Red Rocks for two years which eventually became Ogilvy & Mather, before embarking on the trip of a lifetime.  In his own words it was probably one of the best experiences of his life as he traveled overland through Northern Pakistan, the Himalayas, driving through deserts, visiting places like Nepal, Thailand, Syria, Iran and Egypt often travelling on the back of a pick up truck with the wind in his face breathing in the dust of the desert.   With serious encounters along the way, including his passport, British visa and money being stolen by some friends he thought he had made whilst exploring Turkey, only to be kidnapped and robbed, scuppering his plans to work in London.  Along with other close encounters whilst in Amsterdam, being held hostage by a two-faced landlord whilst his brother had to return with money.  Tim, clarifies that he had been over confident after his travels and some of these confrontations humbled him.  He decided to return home.

Artwork by Tim Christie
Professor Pink by Tim Christie
Artwork by Tim Christie
Golden Lab by Tim Christie

Once he was back in Wellington, he started work as a design specialist for Clemenger BBDO where he remained for six years before being head hunted by another ad agency.  In 2008 during the financial crisis Tim was made redundant and he leapt at the opportunity to freelance full-time, to build his own client base and explore other opportunities.  He developed a palour game ‘Flatulate’ after meeting the inventor at a dinner party.  After much teary eyed laughter Tim knew she was on to something and so they established MHO games.  When they created an online shop for the game he and the web developer saw a business opportunity and they set up storbie.com – an e-commerce platform for people to create their own online stores.  However Tim’s journey as a fine artist only started to evolve around 2009, with a small exhibition on large canvases replicating the tire treads of mountain bikes, titled ‘Treadmarks’ the response led Tim to enjoy the idea of switching from the design world to Fine Art.

Artwork by Tim Christie
Non Binary by Tim Christie
Artwork by Tim Christie
Coexistence by Tim Christie
Artwork by Tim Christie
Giraffe in Scarf by Tim Christie

His latest epiphany came whilst traveling with his family on a five weeks break to Scotland, stopping over in Dubai and taking in the architectural culture of this extraordinary place, when he conceived MONOMOKO.  He had been wrestling with the idea partly in his subconscious he explains, the idea of facial systematic and linear geometric styling.  Refining the key characteristics of faces whether it be human or animal, and focus on shape.  His first design of a polar bear materialised the abstract thinking into something tangible. Producing really large prints on canvas, he realised how the bigger they were the more abstract they became.  He first exhibited at the New Zealand Art Show where he sold out on opening night and it snowballed from there.  Sydney was the first place he displayed massive pieces, where people walked past utterly transfixed, at first none of them realising what they were looking at, until they moved back for the perspective.  After 20 years in the design business, being thrown into a world doing something so personal and the freedom he enjoys, as well as his success, that he has created this incredible momentum.  His work appearing at the Turner Barnes Gallery and currently with Castle Fine Art in Chester and then Castle Fine Art in Westfield Stratford London from this Friday 2-23 August 2019  as well as Art Fairs in the UK, Sydney, Wellington and Hong Kong.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Portrait of artist Tim Christie
Photo Val Buckland

Jana Nicole Conway

Portrait of artist Jana Nicole Conway by Antoinette Haselhorst
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

The bright yellows, pinks and blues trick you when you look at Jana Nicole’s work, purely for the reason that they resonate an instantaneous feeling of being happy.  Until you look closer, in this illusion lies the complex, because the beautiful is in all its variety.  The femme fatale almost invisible inside the tiger or the temptress lurking within the zebra, she explores the power of womanhood within the gentle realms of innocence.  Don’t be fooled by the birds of paradise the colourful butterflies and flowers.  Jana Nicole tours the role of femininity, the narrative is powerful, and tender, for as well as being a warrior, it is about surviving and nurturing.  As a lioness hunts for her kill with all the ruthless stealth she can muster, she returns to feed and lovingly nurture her young.  Jana Nicole explores the conversation of war, survival, grief and family in her unique mixed media artworks.  I read a quote recently that said, ’To Live is Art.’ 

Collage artwork
Animal Attraction Georgie by Jana Nicole Conway
Collage artwork by Jana Nicole Conway
Animal Attraction Nakoda by Jana Nicole Conway

Originally from Chicago, then moving to Ohio, Palm Springs in California, then a boarding school in Arizona, riding her horse in the Verde Valley amongst the Indian burial grounds and red rocks of the American country.  The quintessential rebel American hippy cowgirl.  Her work reflects the heartstrings of her home country with the international spirit of the modern woman.  Jana Nicole is familiar with a world of being raised by her mother after her parents parted, spending holidays with her father, where she was sent to art collage with 18 year old students whilst she was 12, to keep her busy.  The women in my family were very creative women she explains.  Having a close relationship with her mother who ran a business as an interior designer, she says; “Who was there to guide not lecture”.  Jana Nicole’s time in boarding school was geared to what you wanted to do, classes in art and ceramics . 

Mixed Media artwork by Jana Nicole Conway
Boats Razzle Dazzle by Jana Nicole Conway
Mixed Media Artwork
Land of the Three by Jana Nicole Conway

At 16 she moved back to Ohio, as she describes, a young punk to live with her father and stepmother.  The independent child suddenly amongst the preppy community of Cincinnati, Jana Nicole struggled within the strong house rules and conservative community.  She developed a close relationship with her Art teacher, and made contact with old friends she had known during her reception years at school.  Jana Nicole then followed her passion and went to University in Los Angeles to the American college to study art.  This University also took her to London as part of her degree.  When she returned to Los Angeles, she moved in with friends, James Hickox whose mother is legendary Oscar winner Anne V Coates, in the film industry; “Living with the Brit Brat Pack” Jana Nicole explains.  She started her career path working in wardrobe for Horror Films, as well as painting and making sculptures in her spare time. Making money creating costumes for low budget films, including ‘Return of the Living Dead 3’ which won an award for wardrobe.  She met her husband, film producer Richard Conway, during this time.  We were friends and flatmates at the time, she clarifies.

Collage artwork by Jana Nicole Conway
Animal Attraction Betty by Jana Nicole Conway
Collage artwork by Jana Nicole Conway
Animal Attraction Suki by Jana Nicole Conway

A career in wardrobe no longer seemed financially economical, so Jana Nicole became a personal assistant to Madonna, working for Freddy DeMann, she smiles as she tells me that her primary job was sorting through fan mail.  Some of it completely crazy she explains, a lot of the mail went to Gavin de Becker, all part of security.  All this time whilst her finger was on the pulse, Jana Nicole kept on painting and sculpting.  Already ahead of her time, she went onto become a gaming designer for computer games for Fox media.  Working at the time with computer programmers whilst she worked on the creative side, for games such as Mr Jeeters, Junkyard Dog and the Power Rangers.  She was fortunate to be able to move to London because of this job. 

Mixed Media artwork
NC Games by Jana Nicole Conway
Collage artwork
A to Z of Cereals by Jana Nicole Conway

In 2000 Jana Nicole married her husband Richard.  However, when she became pregnant, she was made redundant.  The industry had changed Jana Nicole explains, designers were now computer programmers as well creatives. Her time during Motherhood, also became an opportunity for her to concentrate on her own art.  Exhibiting in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Brighton, Lewes, Soho London, as well as the Art Fairs.  Raising their three children, the family eventually moved out of London, and settled in the countryside in the South Downs of England.  Jana Nicole found the perfect location for both her and her husband to work and raise a family.  It’s all about space.  They live in an eclectic home, that itself has a creative history in literature and politics. The home once owned by Admiral John Godfrey, has had very interesting visitors.  Ian Fleming who resided in the house to write his James Bond novels.  Winston Churchill visited as Operation Mincemeat was being orchestrated, by the secret service during World War II.

Sculpture Artwork featured in CAKE Contemporary Art Keen Enthusiast
Three Figures The Tribe by Jana Nicole Conway
Mixed Media Artwork by Jana Nicole Conway
9/11 by Jana Nicole Conway

It all ties up when you peruse Jana Nicole’s work, every detail, from her 9/11 artwork which is covered in human ash to her Cereals, the mystique of her work is tied up in the playful.  The toy soldiers, the games, the colourful packets, the elements that fool us to believe all is bright in this world and that it is just a game that we earthlings are playing, and yet the price can sometimes be somewhat earth shattering.  Then we pick up the pieces and start all over again. 

Interview; Antoinette Haselhorst

Portrait of artist Jana Nicole Conway by Antoinette Haselhorst
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

  

Emily Kirby

photo portrait artist
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

There is something infinitely unique about African art, it’s a combination of so many cultures, diverse but always with this thread of the semi abstract running through.  Emily’s work references to all this, with an edge all of her own.  Whether it’s the way she uses colour or her brush strokes, that convey that expression in one simple swift movement.  It’s Fauvism and Africa, because of the emotion her work portrays, in the depth and choice of her colours along with the abstract.  Her portrayal of the unobserved, the mystique of what is a portrait.  Her works convey the emotion of earth, and sunset, drought and flood, the heat of what it is to be African, once you have been to Africa, its in your heart and it never leaves you.  There is something so unparalleled and unique about this continent’s art, from the Spanish and Arabian influences up in the North to the more tribal wood carvings from central Africa and the earlier ancestors from the sandstone art created by the Bushmen on rocks in the southern part of the continent.  These energies are reflected in Emily’s Polar bear artwork, with the hues of a pink sunset, or her rhino in the light of the early morning, or the woman whose emotions are reflected in the contrasting colourful earthy hues.

painting artwork polar bear
Between Your World and Mine by Emily Kirby

 

Abstract painting art
Zambezi Dancer X by Emily Kirby

Emily was born in Zambia in a missionary hospital, it was during the time when Zimbabwe was going through a civil war effecting neighbouring Zambia, that her mother often had to hide baby Emily in a basket in the car.  Her father from Zambia and her mother from England, the family decided to come to the UK when Emily was three.  They moved to a chicken farm in Sussex.  However Emily’s dad, did not get on with England, Emily explains, and her parents parted whilst the rest of the family stayed in the UK with their mother, moving to a house outside of Brighton.

Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Emily started a degree in sports science, initially afraid to pursue a career as an artist, the rest of her family are academics, so she thought it would be a tough career choice, even though she was always passionate about it.  Her father and grandmother are artists, so Emily eventually changed her mind, took an Art Foundation and pursued her career as an artist.   She met her wife Laura, a midwife in 2007, and they both decided to travel together, bought a van and adventured around Europe.  Then, dumping the van, boarding a plane and heading off to Ethiopia.  Here she went to see the tribes in the south of the country, iconic images resonated of people in warm reds against the ochres and warm greens.  That collection formed the basis of a lot of her work.  The two of them then traveled on to Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, where they both settled on the island off Zanzibar for a short while, and Emily set up her first studio.  She exhibited at the 37D Gallery in Lusaka with renowned artist Pam Guhrs – Carr, this being one of the highlights of her career, Emily informs me, beaming her sparkling smile.

painting art abstract
Nude by Emily Kirby
abstract painting bird
Hornbill by Emily Kirby

 If the travel bug was not big enough already, Emily and her partner are fortunate they can travel and live anywhere, her partner is a midwife, so they can both freely move about.  So following their educational experiences in Europe and Africa.  They decided to leave Zanzibar and moved back to Brighton briefly in 2008, and Emily made her first major collection of work. Emily mentions her Stepmother Radu Tesaro; emphasising the enormous impact she had on her career, just a couple of years older, along with being a huge mentor and friend, enabled Emily to have her first joint exhibition in Prague.  This is where her career took off and she sold a lot of her work.  Then taking another leap, the jet-set couple, decided on a move to London and a studio in Hackney for five years, and then jet set off to live in Spain, three years in Madrid, with a huge studio, near the Plaza Mayor.

painting abstract art
Zambezi Dancer VIII by Emily Kirby

 

painting abstract art
Boy from Kochi by Emily Kirby

The art scene in Spain was not as nurturing though and with a stronger collector base in the UK they decided to head back to Brighton for the next chapter, a few months in and Emily has already exhibited at the The Other Art Fair at the Truman Brewery in London and held a joint exhibition in Shoreditch with South African Artist Peter Mammes.  To date Emily has exhibited in Dubai, Lusaka , New York, Prague, London, Bristol and Cambridge.  

Abstract painting wildlife
On the Edge by Emily Kirby

Emily’s cosmopolitan lifestyle shows in her work, she is an observer, taking a quick snap with her camera, without the person knowing.  Then painting the portrait, it is the photographing the person when they are unaware, it’s not that she is not interested in who the person actually is.  She prefers to work with the energy they convey and likes to use the abstract to convey this.  She will layer up, but leave the abstract underneath.  It’s her own interpretation of energy, she emphasises to me.  Passing on an impression of a moment, that objective of an artist to project their interpretation.  In the beginning you are the one with the power, and then it starts to take a life of its own, she explains. 

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Portrait photography artist
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

 

David Millidge

portrait photo cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

If you imagine an Egyptian queen, or a monarch of the future in a galaxy far far away.  Or, another universe next door to ours, or closer to home, every religion depicted at a dinner table, including the atheist.  Or, maybe visiting deep into oceans below, to the gentle flow and movement of the tentacles from living coral.  All this created in David’s ceramic artworks.  David’s sculptures are the breathtakingly unordinary, so powerfully different, yet encapsulating the smoothness and elegance of ceramics like you haven’t seen before.  His sculptures are; as he describes sometimes a pastiche, taking inspiration from things like, car crash dummies, wooden artists models or puppets. They resonate mathematics, science, nature, sci-fi, religion and history.  A horse made with 22 separate pieces, the intricate saddle alone decorated with over 800 coloured and glazed ceramic cubes.  Each artwork created by individual and separate ceramic moulds.  Sometimes his work using cubes, ball shapes, halos, the effect reminding me of subatomic particles, in gold, royal blue and molten red.  His busts make me think of Queen Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Aphrodite or alternatively, Star Wars and Blade Runner, it’s sci-fi and history and everything else in between.

ceramic Sculpture artwork
Heather Yellow Cubes by David Millidge
sculpture ceramics cake
Red Faced Man by David Millidge
Ceramic Artwork CAKE
Reef ‘Flesh’ by David Millidge

David is from Essex and tells me he has an east end accent.  He is surprised I haven’t detected it.  He graduated from a degree in Sculpture at Central Saint Martins at 21, however he didn’t consider a career as an artist at the time but started a business as a market trader selling shoes.  With this business he continued, eventually importing and building a successful company working with the likes of Vivienne Westwood.  He used his creative skills in marketing he tells me.  Then 45 years later after raising his family and retiring from the business world of shoes, his life took a different direction.  He dabbled in photography and then worked on some paintings, which are brilliant, by the way.  He explains that he doesn’t believe he has a particular talent as a painter but rather a patient one.  I beg to differ.  His painting of Jesus looking like a Kurt Cobain is particular striking, although it was not intended to be a look alike.  However, he decided to embark on a local ceramic class, which he still attends, and he was hooked.  Now he has his own studio and kiln.

Ceramic Sculpture CAKE
Rene Blue/ Pewter Hair By David Millidge
Ceramic Sculpture CAKE
Rene Red/Cream Necklace by David Millidge
ceramic sculpture artwork
Heather Gold by David Millidge

His artworks, are not small, ‘The Last Supper’ measuring 205×60 cm and each figure depicting a different faith created with 24 separate pieces for each of the 13 figures present.  As we talk about this artwork, the sculpture that often gets most of the attention; David explains, how he joined a christian art group when he started out in ceramics, purely for the reason that he finds religious art very interesting. “But I am an atheist,” he exclaims, “an atheist who is fascinated by religious art”.  All the figures in his Last Supper represent the  faiths including Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Atheism.  This piece of artwork is the one that has generated a lot of interest because of its narrative.  His other works in the same style all encapsulating a very different conversation, the kneeling man, Jesus in the arms of his mother, the lovers kissing.  Then there are his beautiful busts of women, all sculpted from models, photographed from different angles, the same mould used for several separate artworks, the unsymmetrical effect of the glazes creating a unique effect each time.  Some of his works, David emphasises, are simply one or two shapes that evolve into something complex. He doesn’t decide what it’s going to look like, the finish is always a surprise to him.

ceramic sculpture artwork
The Last Supper by David Millidge

 

ceramic Sculpture artwork
The Kiss by David Millidge
Horse by David Millidge

In the five years that David has been working as an artist, he has exhibited at Braxted Essex, Hatfield House and Mayfair London, including The Art Fair at the Truman Brewery.   He tells me of the joy and pleasure he feels in customers’ faces when they purchase his works, as they hold the artwork like a baby and how happy it makes them.  Regularly selling smaller pieces, however he did sell the centre piece of his solo show for £4,500.00.   We talk about other artists and concept art which is trending for a while now, nevertheless as with all art there will be a narrative.  David regularly visits galleries and exhibitions, often travelling abroad.  It takes his attention to a different level, and there is great creativity going on, he explains.  He noticed that in Hong Kong they have a different approach to art exhibitions.  It’s a family day out, relaxed and enjoyed, whereas he thinks in the UK it’s more stuffy middle class.

Ceramic sculpture art
Reef Sculpture by David Millidge
sculpture art ceramics
Red Matrix 3 by David Millidge

David is knowledgeable in every way, when it comes to artists from Grayson Perry to Jeff Koons and Tracey Emin.  Maybe it is time we felt more relaxed about art and creativity and that it isn’t just about being part of an exclusive club, but about enjoyment and buying what you love.  David’s work is contemporary in every way, after all his creativity had been laying dormant, we are in for a treat.  His three sons have all followed their father’s footsteps, all of them are artists, a musician, a 3d artist and his eldest, an indie app designer who recently won a BAFTA  Breakthrough Brit award for a computer game. David may have been a business man raising his family, however creativity clearly being an essential part of who they are.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Photography portrait artist
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst