For all the indie music lovers out there, you'll know that Loz Colbert is of course the drummer from seminal 90's shoegaze band, Ride. We've known each other for years, having briefly played in an Oxford-based band together for a bit, we reconnected over our involvement with Gaz Coombes. Loz drums for him. I sang BV's for Gaz's Matatour at the end of last year. Small world, swings and roundabouts, yadda yadda yadda = it's all good how that stuff works out.
I was talking to Loz about this exhibition I'm curating with a friend this week called Violet Beauregarde's Gum and he e-mailed me a bunch of questions about it. Turns out he's interested in art and soundscapes and all sorts! So here are his questions for me... and my answers to follow. Funny to put his interview in my blog, but hey... why ever not?!
- How did you come up with the idea? I don't know anyone who doesn't love the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, do you? But there is a key moment in that book that I absolutely love, and that is when Violet Beauregarde puts the magic gum in her mouth and begins to chew. Roald Dahl describes tomato soup, roast dinner, and of course it goes dark when the blueberry pie turns her into a giant blueberry and she has to go get juiced by the Ooompa Loompas. I'm sure there's a metaphor for life in there, but this is not as deep as that, it's more just about getting inspired by food. I am working with food artist Alice Straker to curate the show and there are about 20 artists involved, including the amazing Bombas and Parr! It's great to see the many interpretations of the concept.
- Can you talk more about the link to Food / eating ? We eat every day, and it's great to celebrate the experience. This artwork captures moments in food. Some is more literal with a quirky twist, like broccoli dipped in hundreds and thousands, and some more abstract, like a bubblegum brain with music inside of it.
- How were you inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child? I read and reread this book. And the stand out moments for me were always the Violet's Gum moment and also the bit where Charlie gets his birthday bar of chocolate and savours the tiny square of chocolate melting over his tongue. Reading that book triggers the imagination and has made a lasting impression. I love cooking and feel inspired by this book and specifically these passages from the book.
- Did you get any funding or was it self motivated / funded? I applied for funding but was not successful. I think competition for Arts Council funding is tough and very competitive. I've not done an art event before, so that might have had a bearing on the outcome. I didn't feel I could abandon the concept though, so we're DIY-ing it. I'm a scrappy indie chick, so I'm accustomed to DIY-ing stuff. Hopefully next time we'll get some funding though.
- How important is / are exhibitions this kind of thing for children's imaginations ? So very important! But not just for children, for everyone, you're never too old to get inspired. It's great to allow your imagination to wander and explore the senses, this exhibition strives to trigger all the senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, sound. Life is immersive, so let's make art immersive. I am hopeful this experience will inspire people to go home and make something. Be it cheese on toast or a papier mâché pineapple or whatever it is that triggers their minds.
- Relating story of C&CF in different ways? Have you seen other interpretations of this story? I do love the film starring Gene Wilder, it's just amazing with little moments of menace in there to capture the twisted side of Roald Dahl's writing. I like Johnny Depp's Micheal-Jackson-inspired Wonka in Tim Burton's version and the added bit of backstory about how Wonka's dad was a dentist that forbade sweets, thus fuelling the passion for sugar, I thought that was fun/funny. I also went to see the West End musical version and the way they portrayed the Oompa Loompas was brilliant, I don't even know how they did the chorus lines, it was lots of fun.
- How important was the location to what you've put on for the festival ? I love that White Conduit Projects (the gallery hosting the event) is just off Chapel Market in Angel. There are so many stalls selling fresh fruit, veg, free-range eggs, fancy cheese, baked goods, penny sweets, etc... it is inspiring to just walk down the street. But it's also very old-fashioned, it's not a gentrified market and so it still feels like a bit of classic Britain, you could have gone back in time a few decades, which seems really apt given the story it's inspired by... it's timeless! We'll be buying our craft supplies from the market for the Crafternoon event.
-When will it be running from/to? The show will be hanging from the 20th-29th of July 2016, but there are a few specific events:
July 20th - Opening Party with complimentary cocktails from Chase Distillery from 7:30 FREE
July 21st - Food in Literature discussion with supper club superhero Ms Marmite, and authors Travis Elborough, Anita Sethi and Eithne Farry from 7:30 FREE
July 22nd - Edible Art inspired by the paintings, taste what you see with jelly art by Bombas and Parr, and chefs Thomas Straker, Cicely Violet from 7:30 FREE
July 23rd - CRAFTERTNOON with Craft Night's own Galia Durant, make a vegetable village and take your edible art home with you. For kids of all ages, from 2:30 FREE