Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Don't Panic packs are one of the few things I can remember with any clarity from my rowdy teenage years. As I emerged bleary eyed from a night's raving at drum and bass institution the End, I would inevitably find myself clutching a Don't Panic pack containing a wad of flyers, the odd chocolate bar and, best of all, a poster. Each month the pack featured a new poster designed by a hot young illustrator, graphic designer or street artist. Many of them went on to make it pretty big. (Ever heard of Banksy?)

Fast forward a decade: Don't Panic are still going strong and I write for their online magazine. To celebrate their ten year anniversary, Don't Panic are holding an exhibition called Wild Fantasies. It will include 50 classic posters from over the years as well as ten new screen prints from: 

Mr Jago
Word to Mother
Holly Wales
Pure Evil
James Joyce 
Shepard Fairey

The exhibition runs from 24th September - 3rd October at StolenSpace Gallery on Brick Lane. In the run up to Wild Fantasies, Don't Panic commissioned an interview with each participating artist. I had the pleasure of interviewing two brilliant street artists: Parisian stencil master C215 and doodler extraordinaire Mr Jago.  Just click on their names to read my interviews with them on the Don't Panic website.


Saturday, 11 September 2010

New viral phenomenon alert! Yesterday my good mate Emily Rawson forwarded me this piece of YouTube gold which I have since watched about fifteen times. It has to be the most painfully accurate representation of East London scenesters since Nathan Barley and it gets funnier each time I watch it. Enjoy. 


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Cherie Federico is Managing Director and Editor of Aesthetica, an international art and culture magazine that addresses art within its broader cultural context. Here she talks about her career path and offers some tips on how to make it in arts journalism. 

"As a kid I always wanted to be a photojournalist working for National Geographic magazine. I did a BA in English Literature and French in New York which is where I'm originally from. I got involved with the student paper, writing for the arts section. I came to the UK eight years ago to do a master's in critical studies at the University of York. During this time I set up the publication as a bit of fun.  

After I graduated from my master's I did a postgraduate teaching qualification in English, also at York. I carried on doing the magazine as a hobby. After one year of teaching I decided to quit and do the magazine full-time. I was 25 and I figured 'what's the worst that can happen?' I'm 31 now so you can see how that worked out! I haven't ever looked back.

I put my success with Aesthetica down to having a vision and a dream. People tend to think small and feel inhibited by themselves. I think big. We distribute the magazine across the UK and in 17 countries globally. There's no secret. It's about planning, hard work and positive risk-taking. You have to be resilient and believe in what you're doing. Don't be afraid of taking decisions. Since I've been doing this lots of other magazines have come and gone. You can't let criticism consume you; you have to keep going."

Cherie's top tips for aspiring journalists 

"Pick your subject and read everything you can get your hands on. Too many writers these days lack external knowledge and only do the bare minimum when it comes to research. There's too much Googling going on. This makes for lazy writing which lacks context." 

"Start a blog." 

"Do work experience but don't expect to be doing any writing. Lots of people come to do placements with us. Occasionally they might get the chance to write a blog post or CD review but they need to realise that we have professional writers doing that for us. Even if you're just making tea, it's about soaking up the atmosphere, having the opportunity to ask people questions and hopefully getting a good reference. That goes a long way in this industry." 

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