Tuesday 5 June 2012

Flint and Food.


Where do we start? The week ending Friday 1st June saw one of the best experiences of our creative lives as we put together a show we never dreamed we'd get a chance to see, let alone host. Flint & Food might have been the culmination of weeks of planning, promoting, designing and organising, but it was actually the culmination of around a decade and a half of friendship, conversation and admiration.

One of our favourite artists and a bit of a role model for Factoryroad, DJ Food's 'The Search Engine', as you will know from previous blogs, was released in January to great acclaim and with an appropriate cosmic 'bang' at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, followed by a show of artwork generated by the release at Pure Evil in London. We've always known we wanted to do something creative with Strictly Kev (hitherto referred to as 'Kev'), but we never knew what shape or form it would take. Hosting a show of not only this work but a retrospective of some of this massive archive of work to date was an opportunity too good to miss, and on Friday the show opened to the strains of aeronautical bleeps and hisses, the smells of 'out of this world' food (thanks Kev for that) and the sounds of people chattering, pointing, admiring and reminiscing.

Our aim was to bring to a non-London crowd the beautifully realised collaborative artwork created for the album release, the result of 2000AD artist Henry Flint's feverish black-and-white drawings combining with Kev's considered, rich colour work, concepts and design. Alongside that, we wanted to demonstrate how long Kev has been significant in the field of design for music, a key member of the early Ninja Tune team as both artist and musician, and inspiration to us as buyers and admirers of his work and as creatives ourselves. His albums, purchased over a record-buying period spanning three decades, are rich with memories and a sense of time and place and feel like family members in themselves.

It's Kev of course to whom we owe our awareness of Henry Flint's work. We decided to make the whole of the brick wall Henry's, with pencil drawings hidden in other parts of the gallery for people to discover. The rich red rawness of the 135-year old bricks seemed the perfect backdrop for his writhing ink.


We managed to get the Zoetrope Kev had made fully working in our record corner - a beastly looking camera was aimed at the carefully-cut zoetrope platter and, using a secret combination of camera settings, frames-per-second and turntable speed, the images magically animated on screen.

We like our souvenirs as you know, and we made a take on the usual tea towel with Visor and Helmet polishing cloths, printed in gold and choc brown. Available in the shop of course!
And foil-wrapped chocolate Spacefood bars. Of course.

 The night saw a steady stream of the comic geek and the professor, the Ninja Tune fan and the space nerd, the artist and the musician along with friends, family and the merely curious. All had a chance to chat to Kev and enjoy close-up gazing of things they'd perhaps only glanced on a poster, sleeve or online.

Upstairs we enrolled family in the creation of a giant line art space shuttle in the room hosting Kev's spacesuit promotional photographs, with Bob Neely's specially-constructed soundtrack hidden and on loop behind the fearsome-but-necessary stack of toilet rolls (you can never have too many). We happen to have a robotic-looking water tank as it is, so no additional props needed there..

As always the total experience was key, and Jed the stalwart of kitchen alchemy was of course installed two days beforehand to plan his space-themed niblets of alien blood and scabs (actually a delicious crispy rice-paper chip with beetroot and chilli dip); 'chips & mushy peas' (cuboid, of course, with hand-shucked peas and deep-fried crispy pea skins), aubergine mush on tiny hand-made breads, and wild garlic and cucumber gazpacho with apricot seeds and lime. The pictures, we hope, will speak for themselves!

The pictures should speak for themselves, so it only remains to thank the people who made the event: Kev, for agreeing to let us borrow his artwork and for hurling himself so robustly into the setting up of the show and the punishing hours it entails; Henry for being so very present despite not being here; Brook valentine-Menown for being right-hand-woman and making herself indispensible in the realm of PR, promo and scalpel prowess (even though she was believed to be a pseudonym till the last minute); Jed, for traveling to the moon and back for space crisps and sci-fi peanuts; Jo C for the shuttle, Anne C for the hand-stitched tea towels; Nigel Axon for the photographs; Matt C. and Andy for enthusiastic last-minute gallery lighting installations, Bob Neely for making the bathroom ambient; and anyone else whose services were performed under the usual Factoryroad conditions of tight scheduling and anally-retentive detail.

Read Kev's review of the night too, for a report of the experience from the artist's perspective! http://www.djfood.org/djfood/flint-food-at-factory-road-2

All the merch - books, prints, helmet-polishers, Spacefood and records - can all be found in the shop. with the special edition 'Skullstronaut' print for sale from 15th.

1 comment:

  1. super blog and definitely a super evening! best one i've experienced so far. congratulations to you and leigh for organising a wonderful experience.
    can't wait for the next one.