Staying true to your practice

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The leaflet pile next to #DicktatorDon you see in the photograph shows  how to apply for one which is my art practice, that of collaboration, co-creation and interconnectedness. 
I was asked to supply a limited edition of #DicktatorDon, my interactive felt, fabric effigy of Trump.  The offer came from Sarah Staton  and her super cool,  SupaStore The premise of #DicktatorDon is that he is not for sale, or at least had not been up to the point at which Sarah approached me. I loved the idea of him being in  SupaStore , which artist wouldn't? However, I also wanted to inform people of my art project and continue with it.    Sarah Staton was kind enough to hear about my art practice as I explained that #DicktatorDon was not something that I had intended to sell. It was her suggestion that I send the gallery a  leaflet that they could print off in the USA, explaining my project, I bore in mind that the USA  have different paper sizes and so made the design files in accordance to their requirements. I didn't get confirmation back that they had been able to print the leaflets out but  when I next looked on the gallery's  blog they had posted a picture of  #DicktatorDon with the leaflets sitting next to him. I am Supa grateful to the Supa Sarah and her SupaStore.

For more information about he show look here.

Private view photos - "Bad News"



It was a great night, A huge thank you to Newspeak House for allowing us to have their amazing space as a venue and thank you to Eva Pascoe, at Cybersalon not only did they host a great speaker event afterwards which brought in a huge crowd for us,  but they also paid for all the wine which was a super lovely and much appreciated gesture.

Private view

Private view

"Bad News" - Private View


The exhibition of mine and fellow artist Hilary Champion is up. Please join us tonight at the
"Bad News"  private view. Cybersalon are also hosting their event the same night, Human or Machine and so you after the opening you might like to join them

Bad News
Newspeak House, 133 Bethnal Green Road, London
7th to 20th December 2017
7th December 2017 6pm to 8pm
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street.

LONDON, UK:  The fictitious ‘Office for Global Improvement’ shouts messages in an attempt to micro-manage you. A small interactive effigy of the ‘orange one’ sits on a shelf with a set a pins with which to stab him, whilst another sculpture, taking its feed from Twitter comments on the suspected Russian interference in the US presidential elections. This art exhibition is certainly Bad News.

In this pop-up art exhibition, Artists Dd (Deborah Davies) and Hilary Champion explore, with more than a spattering of humour,  various themes relating to power, politics, representation and conversation.  Exhibiting at Newspeak House, in Shoreditch, London, UK, home for a community of political technologists, it is the ideal venue for the exhibition that runs from 7th – 20th December 2017.

With a long standing interest in American politics and her passion for combining art with technology,  Deborah Davies (Dd) is exhibiting two pieces of work:
Faded Glory and #DicktatorDon: ‘Making America Great Again….One Prick At A TimeHilary Champion is exhibiting one piece of work:

Messages From The Office For Global Improvement. This work critiques the bombardment of the public by a constant stream of over-zealous advice, warnings and veiled attempts to micro-manage many aspects of people’s lives.

Dd’s Faded Glory represents the ebb and flow of conversations on Twitter around Russia’s suspected interference in the USA Elections of November 2016 and the subsequent fallout, such as the congressional hearings and the Mueller investigation.  Taking its feed from the live Twitter API the conversations are simplified to a positive or negative statement about Russia’s alleged interference.  The more negative the conversations, the stronger the Russian flag shines through the Stars and Stripes until it eclipses Old Glory completely. Combining textiles using a devoré technique to distress the fabric the work is combined with LED’s and electronics and a twitter feed.

#DicktatorDon: ‘Making America Great Again….One Prick At A Time’
This hand-made effigy of the ‘orange one’ is designed to be humorous in that you can literally poke fun at the 45th President of the United States of America. It invites participants to work out for themselves where they should prick him if they want to make his eyes light up. Throughout the last six months Dd has been sending a limited number of #DicktatorDons to those who apply for one online through the website. Some results of their interactions with #DicktatorDon will be on display in the exhibition.  You can even apply to own your own and be part of this interactive and particular art work when visiting the gallery. This work is another example of how Dd’s art practice explores representation, empowerment, conversation and feedback..

In Messages From The Office For Global Improvement,  Hilary Champion demonstrates her strong empathy with Noam Chomsky who believed that governments increasingly keep their populaces preoccupied with small questions so that they will not think to ask the big questions. In particular she critiques the bombardment of the public by a constant stream of over-zealous advice, warnings and veiled attempts to micro-manage many aspects of people’s lives. The warnings, enthusiastically disseminated by both conventional and social media, cover a plethora of topics. This includes the health risks posed by over-cooked chips, arsenic in rice and the threat to air quality posed by the methane produced by cattle. Working under the guise of the totally fictitious ‘Office For Global Improvement’ she produces hand-made screen-prints to satirize this relentless stream of pronouncements from armies of faceless bureaucrats. Gallery visitors will be encouraged to add their own experiences of spurious advice to those amassed from her previous showings of this work.

BIO:  Deborah Davies (aka Dd)
Dd is an international exhibiting artist. She works in a variety of mediums from sculpture to installations, from soft-circuits to video and textiles. Many of her pieces are responsive, reacting and changing in response to participants’ engagement. She leans towards working with light.

In the early 90’s, Dd studied  for a BA Hons in Photography at West Surrey College of Art and Design, UK.  More significantly in her graduation year, her work was selected for the highly prestigious John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award. After graduating she had a successful career as a TV Producer/Director/Broadcast Journalist for a variety of broadcasters including the BBC. Having built up a body of artistic work, she left television when offered the position of Artist in Residence at the University of London’s Centre for Creative Collaboration (C4CC) in the UK, in 2010.  During her time at C4CC, she became interested in wearable technology. Her views on this subject appear in the book “Designing with Smart Textiles” (London: Bloomsbury/Fairchild written by Sarah Kettley released, early 2016). Dd’s work has been included in London Design Festival, BetaHaus, KunstHaus Kule and KunstHalle Platoon in Berlin, Germany.  She has also exhibited large scale sculptures at  Burning Man in 2013, 2014 and 2016 with StarWay and interactive sculpture.

From 2016 – 2017 StarWay was installed in Playa Park, a public sculpture park in Reno, Nevada. #DicktatorDon is to be  included in Sarah Staton’s SupaStore Human- We are the product at  The Dikeou Collection, Denver, Colorada, USA in December in 2017.

BIO: Hilary Champion
Hilary Champion has always been interested in using her practice to critique what she feels are major issues.  Reflecting her South Wales heritage, she began her career by devising sculptures and installations highlighting the involvement of Welsh plantation owners in the slave trade and sugar industry. Subsequently her work was a manifestation of her dream that one day all conflict and violence would have ended. In her latest practice she uses her experience of working in the advertising, PR and press industries and her interest in writers such as George Orwell , Noam Chomsky and Dr Ben Goldacre to critique fake news and the manipulation of the media by those with secret, vested interests. Her work was recently shown as part of Statement in Bloomsbury, The Waiting Room in Wandsworth Common Mainline Station ( where she exhibited a customized No Waiting Sign) and an exhibition at Brighton's Jubilee Library.

For more images and more information, contact:
Artist: Dd (Deborah Davies)
Twitter: @debbiedavies
Instagram: dddaviesart
Artist: Hilary Champion
Twitter: @oforgi

Information about Newspeak House can be found here in a Guardian interview from June 2017
Opening Hours for Bad News:
7th December – 20th December
Open: Wednesday to Sunday from 12noon to 6pm. Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays
Late Opening: Wednesday 13th  6pm- 10pm

Private view:  7th December, 6pm to 8pm please email: contact@dddavies if you would like to come.
HASHTAGS #DicktatorDon # FadedGlory # BadNews # newspeakhouse


Trying new exhibtion layouts of work


I have been looking into alternative ways to show Trump and it was suggested to me by my MA in Fine Art tutors that I show the making of him. I turned up to a crit having failed to make all 280 of him with him in zip lock see though bags. Each bad denoted how far he had gone in the process of being made. He has half dressed in some and missing eyebrows in the next. He looked ridiculous. He looked like some bit a merchandising, the whole set up demeaned him in some way. It was suggested to me that I exhibit him like that. So I did.  I must say I was deeply upset thought because people were stealing him from the table, not appreciative of the fact he was part of an art installation and not some free hand out gift from the convention. There were too few invilgilators too which did not help with security issues. I even had one woman (I was told this) sit and make eighteen of him at my workstation thinking she was helping. She did indeed make them very well, they are quite fiddly to make, but she did indeed make them incorrectly. 

I will know for next time but I did enjoy exhibiting him in this way.


#DicktatorDon at FiLiArts 2017



Exhibition visit: KennardPhillips- Review

The Dadiani Gallery in Cork Street, is showing May Not a Peter Kennard in collaboration with Cate Phillips exhibition of photomontages. Just being here, seeing the style of art that addresses themes including the inequalities of wealth and wealth distribution in this venue, feels like an act of subversion. The gallery window shows a skanky white blank canvas, a far cry from the widow displays in this exclusive street in Mayfair lined with expensive, commercially owned galleries.

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Project: Faded Glory

I have been working on a new piece that is at the moment called FadedGlory. It is an American flag that has been distressed through a technique called Devoré which I have mentioned in an earlier post.

I have been looking for some way of representing the feeling that American has been damaged or lessened because of the interference of the Russians in the American Election process.

My initial experiments focused on how much I should devour the material and how to construct the image in such a way that the fabric still held together despite the removal of significant portions of it.

After several days of playing around with design files and leaving the chemicals on for various periods I came up with a balance that gave an ephemeral and almost ghostly feel to the fabric.

Now I just have to work out how I want to display it. Hanging? Framed? Stretched?

Workshop: Devore Textiles

Devoré comes from the French verb dévorer, meaning literally to devour. I used this technique on the project Faded Glory for this exact reason, that the USA is being devoured and its constitution being destroyed by the new administration.  However, in this blog post I want to focus purely on the technical aspect of working with this process, but the project Faded Glory can be found here.


Devore is sometimes called 'burnout' where you burn away a design or pattern. In short,  devoré is a chemical paste that is applied to fabric, it then literally eats away at the material to create patterns and designs. It does not work on all fabrics for reasons I will explain and different fabrics will create different effects. This technique is often used in the fashion industry on velvet fabrics, as velvet does not fray and responds to the technique surprisingly well. 

The general consensus is that it was developed in C17th France as a means of creating a poor man's lace - a quick and spontaneous method developed as a short cut to lace type effects. At this stage it is likely that caustic pastes were block printed onto fabric, being washed away once their work was done. Yet this is where its connection with the inferior ends.

The 1920s brought devoré velvet into the mainstream, no longer a cheap tactile alterative but a luxurious and desirable fashion fabric - many vintage examples are still available. Further developments in fabric construction and fibre combinations fuelled a resurgence of interest in devoré velvet in the 1980s and 1990s when fashion garments flooded the market. Designers like Joseph Conran and Georgina Von Etzdorf revived the 1920s fabric with florals, swirls and brocade designs made into scarves and dresses in deep rich hues.


It does not work on all fabrics and the reason is that it only eats certain kinds of fibres, those refered to as cellulose. These are all non-animal fibres, so it won't work on suede or leather or wool. Below are photos of my test results using different fabrics.

Which artists have used it in the past and to what effect:

Lesley Richmond

In a future post I will be covering how my tests worked and how that effected what I did with FadedGlory. I also hope to cover something of the craftsmanship aspect of the process and how it compares with the technological aspects of  FadedGlory. I will also talk a bit about what I would like to do with the technique in the future.

Other references;

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