Let’s Get Creative August 10, 2010


Sheffield Top 5 - February February 10, 2010

Oh my days, there is a lot coming up this month. Once again, sorry for this blog post coming up late. We try to be on it. Anyway, better late than never. Here’s Article’s Sheffield guide for February.

1. Love Bytes -  Sonic Materialities

The city wide festival of digital arts kicks of this month. There are all sorts of interesting treats of varying geekyness to look out for. In particular, Friday Feb 12 the Millennium Gallery will see sound art perfomances by artists Francisco Lopez, Russell Haswell, and Mark Fell. Oh, and its free. Check their website for more.

2. Dead Ends - The Moor

If you’ve walked up the Moor any time in the last year, you will have noticed the empty shop windows being used as exhibition spaces. A new installation on the Moor is by photographer Theo Simpson. Dead Ends explores the position  of unemployment by looking at slips thrown down at the Job Centre.

3. Bloc Projects Presents: Bloc International Billboard: Peace Near the Black Sea

Turkish artist Ipek Yeginsu, Peace Near the Black uses photography to “pay tribute to the lost fishermen, to the lonely hearts missing their beloved ones, and to the Black Sea’s grandiose past full of heroic myths.”The billboard is up until the 28th of February.

4. Nocturnal by Brown Owl

Showcasing the work of poster designer Brown Owl, the Nocturnal exhibition at the Forum will feature a limited edition screen prints. Check it. Boom.

5. Kid Acne South Yorks T-Shirt

Stand up, be proud. Like most men in their early twenties, we love t-shirts designed by street artists. This is no exception. Sweet.

6. A Mapplethorpe Response: Toilet Tour

Not sure what this is, but I think you get to graffiti the toilets of the following places on these dates:

The Lescar- Tuesday 16th February

Varsity- Wednesday 17th February

Corporation- Friday 19th February

More info on the link

Please forward anything you might think should be listed to: [email protected]


January - Sheffield Top 4 January 7, 2010

Hey everybody. Happy new year . January is always a bit of quiet month, what with everyone being broke and the entire student population plagued by exams. No worries, here’s our monthly preview of what’s going on this month around Steel Town.

1. Girls Exhibition - Lord Bunn - The Old Sweet Shop

T-Shirt mogul and illustrator Lord Bunn is having a solo exhibition at indie art destination the Old Sweet Shop in Nether Edge. Called ‘Girls’, the exhibition will feature canvases of bearded men, as Lord Bunn famously can only draw men. I presume girls are what they lust after. Starts the 13th of January 

2. Prism 5 - Bank Street ArtsThe last Prism went off like a shot. THE place to be for any aspiring culture vulture. Showcasing the best work of up and coming artists in video and visual arts. With an emphasis on discussion and interactions with the work, Prism is a unique and valuable event. Plus, there is a cheap bar!

Friday 29th January, 8pm onwards, Bank St Arts, 32-40 Bank St, £2 entry.

3. DQ Rebrand

Please excuse a bit of self-promo. We’ve been branching out of the world of magazines, to give our favourite club a little bit of facelift, with some spiffing new flyers. Look for ‘em around town. God knows we printed a few. The artist featured on them is Photographer Theo Simpson. He’s got an exhibtion coming up. But we’ll save that for February! The flyers should be coming out with listings each month, and will feature artwork from different local artists. 

4. Kid Acne

New murals all about the place. Check out the new one on the Moor.


2012 (selling the apocalypse) March 27, 2009


Sony Pictures’ new film 2012 imagines how the governments of the world would prepare six billion people for the apocalypse. It’s conclusion? They wouldn’t. The film takes it’s inspiration from a number of prophesies which posit that the world will end (or at least undergo some kind of monumental environmental or spiritual change) on the idle Friday morning that is December 21st 2012. Lending particular credence to this prophecy is the Mayan ‘Long Count Calendar’ which, having been counting for over 5000 years, abruptly comes to an end on this very date. Evidently, for the Mayans, this is not merely a matter of nipping down to Tesco and getting themselves a new 2013 calendar: this really is the end. Read more ⇒


Take Me Away #1 March 8, 2009

They are ubiquitous. They are innocuous. They are horrible! And it seems like ten come through my door every week. Take-away menus are a black hole in graphic information design. Stock photos of greasy chicken burgers and cans of Pepsi matched with bright colors and horrendous fonts, the menus more often than not are all selling the same thing. The challenge is thus to make a menu that stands out. How do you do this? One tactic is to use as many photos as possible. Another is to use offensively bright colors. And then there is the choice of fonts, and themes. Sometimes the menus even go as far as to put personal touches, such as photos of the men who slave over grills and use electric kebab cutters to create perfect strips of rubber-band like meat. However, it seems that the best way to make your establishment’s offerings stand out is to use every technique available.

I will be examining more as they fall through my door. Here is just a taster menu.

Read more ⇒


Gorilla Marketing February 18, 2009

“A Gorilla, drumming, to Phil Collins, extreme close-ups, purple everywhere!” The madman rantings of a fraught ad agency creative who has finally cracked under increasing pressure to find new and fresh advertising forms, right? Wrong.

You’ve all seen the ad. Some of you YouTubers may have even been so lucky as to have seen the drum and bass remix, the Rugby World Cup England special, the Pudsey bear cameo or the titillating Wonderbra spoof. But following the launch of Cadbury’s latest spot, the question on many people’s lips was, ‘What in God’s name does a Gorilla playing the drums have to do with chocolate?’

The answer A Glass and a Half Full Productions spun us was that “it just seemed like the right thing to do. There’s no clever science behind it - it’s just an effort to make you smile, in exactly the same way Cadbury Dairy Milk does.” How tenuous a link; no doubt a desperate backronym contrived to appease the sound-bite-hungry industry press, or convince their psychoanalysts they hadn’t actually lost the plot. The real answer: nothing. 

The advertisment’s distant cousin - the product - has long been disowned and is rarely even seen at the most special of family occasions. Fact is, you’d have to be a sucker not to have noticed its departure. Hands up those who remember Flat Eric’s endorsement of Levis’ jeans. How about Honda’s Fischl-and-Weiss-inspired ‘Cog’ spot. Not to mention Budwieser’s frogs, Guinness’ horse-crested ocean waves, and Sony Bravia’s ‘Balls’ (Jean Cabrel directing both this and the Cadbury’s spot). In each, it is not the product which is being sold, but some abstract quality or image. 

Big time Madison Avenue moneymaker and industry expert Jerry Della Femina pin points the ad which marked this paradigmatic shift as far back as 1949. This ad, for Volkswagen, simply said, ‘Lemon’. The copy for ‘Lemon’ basically declared that once in a while we turn out a car that is a lemon, in which case we get rid of it. We don’t sell them. And we are careful as hell with our cars, we test them before we sell them so, chances are you’ll never get one of our lemons. For the first time, a company was being honest in admitting error. It was telling people what it didn’t sell, rather than what it did. A dangerous strategy ultimately paid its dividends. But the question still remains, what forces lay behind this shift? 

Some point to postmodernity as the sole perpetrator; the age of consumerism in which the signifier no longer corresponds to the signified, the object being created in the image of our desires, Cadbury’s confused message telling us more about our confused culture than it does chocolate. But while this semiological explanation sounds plausible, and is in many cases an accurate insight not only into advertising, but many aspects of our present day lives, it grossly overstates its case. Besides, when have I ever ‘desired’ Phil Collins?

The nature of the changes occurring in the advertising industry at present gives rise to a simpler, more probable explanation. All the afore mentioned ads have been successful, not in selling us the product on its own merits (the age of the product demonstration now long dead, save for the somewhat parodic Barry Scott), but in simply getting us on their side; positioning themselves not as a rude interruption to our viewing, but as light entertainment, a friend who tells a good joke. Not only does Cadbury’s effort gain allies on the basis of good humour, it is passed around like a virus – hence the name viral - through countless ‘touch points’ (as the zeitgeist has it) like YouTube. So, when we come to the point of buying, and are confronted with a range of brands, the idea has it, that we will pick the one we remember having put something interesting on our screens. The brand is built.

If you need further convincing, simply look to one of Honda’s latest spots in which they piece together a giant car from jigsaw pieces and claim that they love solving problems. The car advertised in this ad is not currently available in the UK, so what is the point in advertising it? No doubt, the idea is that we see Honda, as a manufacturer, in a good light (an energy efficient light at that), placing all Honda’s models under one warehouse roof, so to speak.

Should we be up in arms about this new model of advertising? Is it taking advantage of our good nature? Preying on the easily amused? I think not. Instead, it is making those inconvenient ad breaks not only easier to swallow, but in some cases preferable to the main program (take the now famous Super Bowl commercials for example). The buyer must have their wits about them, that’s always been the case - but what we can be thankful for is the creativity and entertainment this new model brings to our screens. After all, who can say they didn’t break a smile the first time they saw the Cadbury’s gorilla?