London Illustration Fair returned to Hoxton Arches in East London last weekend, and if you weren’t there, then you missed out! This year’s theme for LIF was Tropicana – picture pineapples, watermelons and upbeat summer tunes to accompany the wonderful collection of the UK and Europe’s hottest illustrators, collectives, agencies and print studios to date. 

Spread across two rooms and two outside areas, you got to see works by the guys at Puck Collective, do some live screen-printing with the wonderful Ashes 57 (even catch a glimpse of Loefah #swamp81 if your lucky) and see live mural paintings from the likes of David Shillinglaw. There we’re many other studios that I haven’t mentioned here that you can read more about on the official LIF website.

Overall, the atmosphere throughout the fair was vibrant and excitable, with lots of opportunities for networking with like-minded illustrators. Also, if it’s there again next year, I recommend taking a seat outside and grabbing a delicious tropicana beverage from the pop-up bar.

Thanks for another great year LIF!

Last weekend saw the opening of the exhibition the digital geeks amongst us have been waiting for: The Digital Revolution at The Barbican Centre. A collection of coders, designers, musicians, game developers and artists all were represented, all of whom are pushing the boundaries of their field with the use of digital media.

Standing with headphones on, staring at the incredibly beautiful work from James George and Jonathan Minards in their project ‘Clouds’, it made me think twice about what we even class as art today. ‘Clouds’ is an interactive documentary that uses a data-driven story engine set in real-time, making every experience unique to an individuals response and their own input. By navigating your way through by gesture, it takes you on a wonderful journey through computational designs.

Pieces like this suggest code is at the heart of the new wave of digital art. Coming from an illustration background, I’m one of a wave of artists swapping their paint brushes for wacom pens… will the next step be trading Photoshop for Sublime Text 2?

After playing on Pacman for 20 minutes, feeling nostalgic for the original Sims game and having a photo taken from a 1999 ASCII Camera – I decided to stand to one side and see how other users were experiencing the space. The bigger the screen the more people were drawn to it (e.g Inception explained project), work that you could see yourself in had people queuing in line to have a go, and when music is involved, the kids are there! Most frustratingly, most people – my guess is 80% – didn’t bother to put the headphones on when faced with a screen that obviously required them.

There was one project that stood out to me amongst the rest, the one that sucked me into it’s immersive interface and game-like features for almost half an hour and left my mind rattling with new ideas and concepts. As you come to the end of the DevArt room, there’s a project by Diagne and Lartigue called Les metamorphoses de Mr. Kalia. This is an interactive story piece, a kinect-powered animation that evolves with an individuals body movements. As you stand behind the screen, each movement you make is picked up by the screen. The storyline is left very loose, which leaves you feeling like you are the narrator. We all love feeling involved when it comes to playing games, and the piece had me wondering if this could be a new way of experiencing a theatre show, where the characters appear digitally. The audience could join the cast behind the scenes, and tell their side to the story… I’m working on the details, but surely that’s the point of this exhibition? To inspire crazy ideas and new ways of creating art.

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What an amazing experience – the Steer course gave me a huge amount of knowledge in Front-end development as a beginner. The tutors made me feel confident enough to walk away at the end of the week and start my own personal projects. Not only were you learning a lot about HTML, CSS & Javascript – you we’re taught about the best reference material on the web, you’re able to network with a lovely bunch of people and feel excited about having such a valuable skill to start practising in your own work. I would happily recommend this course to anybody! It’s so much fun!

Miyazaki’s philosophy is defined by the way he responds to fear," Kosaka says. "When a normal person encounters something that scares them they might try to run away. When Miyazaki encounters something he will be very brave and very bold and try to look them right in the eye. When life is hard in reality you still have to live up to high standards, to be proud. There is a saying we have that when a samurai has no food he will still use a toothpick. Miyazaki-san has that philosophy and hates anybody who isn’t like that. He wouldn’t have any characters like that in his movies.