Tag Archive: Neil Phillips


Awesome!

Music, record shops, ants and art - all linked together in Oswestry!

Music, record shops, ants and art – all linked together in Oswestry!

If you’re out and about in Oswestry today, pop down to Outwhere Records on Beatrice St. While you’re browsing the excellent selection of vinyl, old and new, check out my print inspired by Neil “366 teeshirts” Phillips‘ band Awesome Zombie Ants, which has just gone up on the wall.

Where else but Oswestry would you find local bands, record shops, ants and art all linked together!

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Misery and Despair

How depressing...

How depressing…

Inside Out artist Freja [Limelight, Glass at the Speed of Light], Oswestry creative Neil Phillips [366 teeshirts, Awesome Zombie Ants, Supermarket: The Musical] and Shropshire band The Contact High came together last night for an evening of despondency and introspection at The Ironworks.

Gloom was billed as an evening of  musical melancholy, perfectly suited to the grim depths of February. A mournful playlist lived up to all depressing expectations, with enough dark, lonely tracks to dampen even the sunniest of spirits. The Contact High also lived up to their reputation, bringing a touch of garage psychedelia to the musical desolation. Freja’s fitful downlighting was ghost-show of shadows, trapping everyone in a lonely noir-esque web of murky flickers. At times, the band, awash with dim spills of red and blue, looked like stumbling refugees from a zombie apocalypse, their music the soundtrack to a Winter of Discontent.

The crowd of morose foot-shufflers who came to indulge their sorrows and who wouldn’t catch your eye moped around sulkily all night, finally creeping off around two. A thoroughly miserable night, as grim and bleak as everyone expected.

Let’s do this again!

Art and loud noise

Industrial electronic rock - with a local twist.

Art for “Awesome Zombie Ants”: an homage to 1950s horror comics – John Swogger, 2013.

Anyone else a fan of local Oswestry band “Awesome Zombie Ants“? Another art/music project by Neil “366 Teeshirts” Phillips. The band’s sound is probably best described as “industrial electronic rock” – with a local twist. As well as having the coolest band name ever, they’re the only group I know who’ve done a song about Shropdoc.

They perform on a semi-regular basis at The Ironworks in Oswestry – also the venue for a host of Neil’s other projects – including 366 Teeshirts, Supermarket and the People’s Vinyl Collective.

I’ve posted a lot about the 366 Teeshirt project this past year, but that’s only one element of Neil’s creative milleaux. He’s someone who manages to integrate a whole host of creative people into the orbit of his projects – Kinokulture and FilmGrade doing video and films, musicians, bands and DJs via PVC, groups like OS21 and the Oswestry Community Orchard scheme, and local businesses like BrightBeadz, Cafe Radio and Smith’s Bakery who sponsored and promoted 366 Teeshirts. Neil’s the “Kevin Bacon” of art and music in Oswestry – connected to just about every event and every musician and artist around.

I know I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record, but I’ll say it again: if the arts are to survive and grow in this inhospitable climate – whether in Oswestry or nationally – they need to be more joined-up, more connected. We need more Neil Phillips-es, ideally!

 

 

 

366 and counting…

Thursday, 26th July 2012 - Teeshirt for the day from the brilliant "366 Teeshirts". via 366teeshirts.co.uk

Thursday, 26th July 2012 – Teeshirt for the day from the brilliant “366 Teeshirts”. via 366teeshirts.co.uk

How long does your art last?

I don’t mean how long will the print or photograph or painting be around, but how much continuous time do you spend within the creative execution of an artwork. Days? Weeks? I know some of my paintings can take months to complete – but still, that’s not continuous time spent with the work. In fact, in many respects, one of the key elements of art practice is learning how not to work – when to step away from a work to marshal creative thoughts and energies.

It’s easy to dismiss Neil Phillips’ 366 Teeshirts as a naive piece of one-hit-wonder art-jam, a kind of wearable cultural heckling. But the truth is that Neil is the only creative person I’ve ever met who has – literally – spent an entire year inside his art. What came across so clearly in last night’s “An Audience with 366 Teeshirts” was the sheer daily weight of this project. Every day, he became part of whatever was printed on his teeshirt, and the consequent conversations and interactions the daily slogan provoked. Courgettes, swans, cupboards, the price of biscuits – Neil’s captured snatches of innocuous household conversations seemed to unlock days of debates about immigration, celebrity culture and local economics.

How many of us provoke this kind of reaction to our paintings and photographs on a daily basis? How many of us live inside the same artwork day in, day out for an entire unbroken year? Neil’s deadpan modesty hides an astonishing commitment – all the more so for unquestionably still living in the real world, complete with family, job and slug-ravaged garden, all of which were woven into the fabric (yes, pun intended) of his art. What’s more, as last night’s event also proved, this was an art project which drew into its interactive orbit all sorts of other creative minds, like film-makers, web designers, musicians, as well as a cross-section of some of Oswestry’s most distinctive local businesses.

I’m completely jealous of Neil and his 366 teeshirts project. This, for me, is what art should be about: something surprising and immersive, something that outlasts the obvious thing you first see, something bigger than itself that is embedded within the real world. Neil shrugged last night at the failure of his project to “go viral” – but it has gone viral. 366 Teeshirts isn’t over just because Neil’s now wearing “ordinary” shirts again; the project is spawning new ideas and new iterations – 366 the album, 366 pants (no, probably not), etc. “That should be on a teeshirt” is now part of the Oswestry creative vernacular – Neil’s original concept has now escaped the confines of his own project and is evolving into… well, who knows?

Now that’s art.

Parkinson it ain’t

Twitter or Teeshirts? Neil Phillips' 366 Teeshirts project wrap party, this Friday at the Ironworks in Oswestry.

Neil Phillips’ 366 Teeshirts project wrap party, this Friday at the Ironworks in Oswestry.

Neil Phillips is concluding his fantastic 366 Teeshirts project with “An Audience with 366 Teeshirts” at The Ironworks, this Friday.

For those of you who have been living under a rock this past year, 366 Teeshirts was Neil’s fantastic year-long art (?) project, featuring him wearing a new teeshirt every day for a whole year. Each teeshirt was emblazoned with a short message cut’n’pasted from real conversations – sometimes funny, sometimes surreal, sometimes political, sometimes poignant. It’s been an art (?) project unlike any other: a little bit culture-jam, a little bit soapbox, a sort of Face-to-Facebook – a Twitter feed from life’s laundry basket.

I say “art (?)” with the question mark, as even Neil’s not sure whether it’s “art” or not. This coming Friday, he’ll try and explain what it was all about with a massive exhibition of the teeshirts, some film, some music, a slideshow, and some impromptu interviews. Even if we never find out what it all means/meant, Friday’s certain to be hugely entertaining. See you there!

An Audience with 366 Teeshirts

Ironworks, Oswestry – Friday, January 11, 8pm

Oswestry Heritage Day – new art opportunities!

366 teeshirts installation at Hermon Chapel, Oswestry. The next exhibition here could be yours!

So many art-related things happening in Oswestry it’s hard to keep track. And now, even more art opportunities!

Spent this morning and afternoon going around Oswestry to some of the Heritage Open Day venues.

Has anyone else ever been in the Hermon Chapel up by the Castlefields carpark? It’s a fantastic old nineteenth-century chapel, full of unusual architecture. Neil Phillips was exhibiting all the tee-shirts (so far) from his 366 Teeshirts Project. The organisers of the Chapel are keen to have the placed used as an arts venue. They would be interested to hear from anyone interested in using the space for an exhibition – whether 2D, 3D, installation or performance. You can get in touch with them via the Oswestry Museum – or us here on the blog.

There’s also a great opportunity coming in November at Underhill Farm in Llanymynech. Three years ago, Underhill Farm hosted an art exhibition weekend which attracted hundreds of visitors and – perhaps more importantly – sold loads of work. This year, the Farm is hosting another exhibition over two weekends in November: Nov. 17-18 and Nov. 24-25. The farm has several indoor spaces that can be used, and a lot of outdoor space as well. Steve and Irene are also inviting artists to hold “taster” workshops and classes in the week between the two weekends. They’ve had lots of success at the Farm with their workshops – there were spinning, pottery and woodworking demonstrations there today. Later this month, there’ll be a meeting at the Farm for anyone interested in the exhibition event to discuss details, etc. Drop us a line here at the blog if you’d like to know more and we can pass on contact info for the Farm.

Finally, just a note to congratulate Kinokulture and Barry Edwards [The Griffon, Albion Hill, Oswestry] for their atmospheric showing of Bill Morrison’s film “Decasia” in the Llanymynech Limekiln (the venue where we put on Freja’s “Limelight” installation last year). Oswestry musician Barry Edwards performed an astonishing live soundtrack to the film screening – really great to see other artists thinking of innovative ways to use the Limekilns.

So, tons happening in Oswestry this weekend – and tons of new opportunities for all of us as well. Let’s make the most of them!

183 Teeshirts

Todays teeshirt – on show on Neil right now, in Radio Cafe! View the whole archive at 366tshirts.co.uk

One of this year’s most interesting art/performance projects reaches its halfway mark tomorrow.

Neil Phillips, an “Oswestry creative” is wearing a different teeshirt every day for the whole of this year. Each tee-shirt has a message on it. Today’s is Unbelievable; others have been Sometimes I am right, Are these made in China?, I’m doing nothing, just to let you know, and Learn from that, among 183 others.

The messages give you a flavour of the project: part culture-jam installation, part standup observational politics, part anti-digital/fast culture, they’re soundbite performance art, owing almost an equal debt of heritage to Monty Python, Ben Elton and Ken Kesey.

It’s a great project – and there’s only six months left. Neil’s putting on food, film and music to celebrate the halfway mark at The Ironworks in Oswestry from 8pm this Friday, 13th July.

Curiosity piqued? Then start by checking out Neil’s excellent website – http://366tshirts.co.uk. There’s a complete archive of all the teeshirts made so far, a Frequently Asked Questions page about the project with links to the project’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, and a month-by-month photo diary.

And then get along to the Ironworks tomorrow to see what it’s all about. I’ll see you there!

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