~ Philip Smiley presents HIVE// DreamBags JaguarShoes

East London is receiving alot of attention at the moment, one of the must see East London cool places that I have previously posted is about DreamBags JaguarShoes. The JaguarShoes Collective have previously hosted the show by Carnovsky, you can read about it here.
The summer show at DreamBags JaguarShoes is an installation from visual artist Philip Smiley.

An all encompassing, human scale ‘paper theatre’ installation focused around a theme of summer, honeycomb and bees.
Philip Smiley - Hive, Photo London Design Journal
Photo, London Design Journal
Inspired by the notion of de-individuation or the ‘hive mentality’. When an individual is thrown into a group they can sometimes take on bizarre or unnatural group behaviour. Running for 12 weeks across the summer, visitors will experience the opportunity to enter the Hive and savour the wonders to be found inside, including an extensive list of Honey inspired drinks and cocktails…

“Hive mentality is mostly unconscious and more likely to lead to mischief.”-psychologist David G. Myers.

Marking a return to Philip’s reoccurring theme of nature and human interaction the installation will include elements of set building, print design, video work and multi- media converging to form an interactive walk through landscape.
Photo, London Design Journal
Photo, London Design Journal

Photo, London Design Journal

‘Hive’ the show sees the venue consumed by floor to ceiling by a giant paper theatre installation. Focused on the theme of British summertime, there will be honeycomb structures, honey dripping from the ceiling and many, many bees.
Photo, London Design Journal
JaguarShoes Collective: Talk us through the concepts and the design approach for ‘Hive’….
Philip Smiley: “Hive mentality is mostly unconscious and more likely to lead to mischief.”-psychologist David G. Myers. This quote embodies the theme for the exhibition. I was inspired by this notion of ‘Hive Mentality’ – when an individual is thrown into a group they can sometimes take on bizarre or unnatural group behavior. I was drawn to this spontaneous, unpredictable concept and the vibrant visual imagery of the hive and it’s bees. I wanted to have a bit of fun with it!

JSC: Your work seems to highlight a recurring theme; nature with dark undertones, do find yourself constantly spotting the sinister in nature or reate to highlight the concept of natural beauty?
PS: I think I sense the mystery in nature, and within human nature and all the subtle qualities that they involve. Most of the time my images are quite intricate so like nature, it is only after closer inspection that the different elements start to reveal themselves.

Photo, London Design Journal
JSC: Geometry and graphic design seems to be increasingly present your work – is that the influence of too much honeycomb – or do you see your work moving in that direction?
PS: My focus with certain work is for the viewer to be overwhelmed and lose themselves within a piece. Sometimes its necessary to repeat shapes and patterns to give the desired effect, plus I am finding that the contrast between the delicate detailed parts against the structured graphic shapes can add a different kind of tension which is something I’m very interested in exploring.

JSC: Having made the life-altering move from Virginia to London, do you feel your work has changed or developed in reference to your geographical location?
PS: I moved many moons ago and had many stops inbetween so its been quite a gradual change. The longer I’m away from Virginia the more fantastical i imagine it to be, so I guess this helps as a starting point.  I try to retain a timeless quality to my work by not directly referencing either specifically.

JSC: Apart from JaguarShoes, of course, what are your favourite London hangouts?
PS: It used to be the occasional seedy nightspots of East London but more recently I’ve been distracted by weeding my garden and frolicking in Hackney marshes!

JSC: What’s the draw to the subject of British Summer?
PS: I wasn’t directly referencing it, but once I started to develop the idea it obviously fit nicely into a summery theme. I’m inherently more of an autumnal person so this was an interesting change for me.

JSC: In this exhibition alone you’ve covered installation, illustration, film and sculpture, do you have a preferred medium?
PS: I like to experiment and try new techniques, so it’s usually determined by the concept. In the past I concentrated on the illustrative side but now i’ve been more interested in the 3-d aspect.

JSC: What can people expect when they finally get to enter the ‘Hive’?
PS: They’ll be stepping into a life size version of my work so hopefully it will be completely all consuming.  It would help to get a bit drunk to assist with this process! Hopefully it will encourage a bit of “Hive Mentality”!

 About the Artist

PHILIP SMILEY- Virginia native Philip Smiley is a London based artist who studied his MA in Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Over the past decade Philip has explored many different mediums such as illustrative, sculptural, installations and video.

Philip’s work is inspired by the conflicts of his rural American upbringing in the mountains of Virginia and his present urban setting. The result creates a third space where nature morphs into strange anatomical and embryonic visions. The narratives and sub-narratives are woven through a web of obsessive detail some suggesting the boredom and isolation of unpopulated physical and mental space, while others create perverse meetings of nature and human interaction. Through the creation of these Philip Smiley builds elaborate images of extraordinary detail and inner portent which seem to appeal and yet unsettle the viewer.
Philip has previously worked for Comme des Garcons, Burberry, Stella Mccartney, Bstore, TopShop and Dazed and Confused to name a few. He has also exhibited his work in New York, London, and Sweden.

 Exhibition: 8th June - 23rd July 2012
32-36 Kingsland Road.
E2 8DA

philip smiley
Dream Bags & Jaguar Shoes