Although many students at Falmouth University may not know this, every now and then ‘Garage Sessions’ are set up to promote the talent and skills of certain courses at the university.
This time it is a collaboration of four different courses from Falmouth; Music, Photography, Radio and Drawing.
Tonight was a special session though, as the theme was based entirely on the blues-rock duo ‘Hydroshima’, who had to put on an exhibition for their course. For those who are not familiar with the band, they are Jacob McClennon and Tyla Haigh, an up-coming duo studying popular music; you can usually catch them playing around Falmouth.
It was hard to imagine how many different artistic pieces there could be based around one band, but on entering it was obvious that the exhibitors were talented and imaginative enough to create an individual piece based on them. Each one relating to the band differently. All the work brought out different aspects of the band, whether it be: influences, style, instruments or the guys themselves.
Tonight isn’t just about visuals though, as the guests are treated to a specially made radio show, supplied by George Evans from Radio, which is played in the background throughout the night. The show consists of ‘Evans’ talking about the band’s history, among playing several of the duo’s tracks, songs which have influenced them and interviews with the boys. The show brought some humor with it, which really set the mood for tonight’s event.
The first piece that I noticed, among the chilled atmosphere, were three charcoal drawings placed against a wall. They depicted the band’s rehearsal area, which also turns out to be their garage. The attention to detail was magnificent, especially because of the fact that they were done in charcoal, and, as I was later told by an enthusiastic Thea Hickling of whom the pieces belong to, they also included some spray paint. What really stood out was on one which showed McClennon’s guitar, at the bottom the ‘KILL’ sticker which he has on it was in red acrylic, and is the only part of colour on the drawings. That sticker has become a part of the band. So having it, crossed with the grey tone, shows the sombre feeling, with the occasional explosion, which the band give off.
Right next to these is a piece which accentuates the bonding between these two Yorkshire lads, whether that be a sexual bond is for someone else to decide. A slightly tipsy Lucy Isaacs leaps over to explain how she created her work. Starting off with a photo which had been taken at this years ‘Masked Ball’. She drew the picture out in pencil, then put acetate over the top and drew over the lines in marker. Then for that extra jazzy look, she added green and red spray paint behind either side if the piece. That’s not all though, underneath are the bold lyrics “Grab the bull by the horns, I’m the feeling you can’t describe”. From ‘Close To The Bone’, giving viewers a slight insight into ‘Hydroshima’s’ song lyrics.
She then explains her feelings for tonight, “it’s exciting, you can feel the buzz. It’s something that you wouldn’t normally expect.” Before talking about what the exhibitors are getting out of tonight. “This should happen more often, the courses collaborating together. We’re helping one another out.”
Moving to the other side of the garage, I am greeted to a projection on the wall which is influenced by the band. George Baldwin is responsible for this silver glistening show, which is constantly changing between the name Hydroshima, McClennon’s face and Haigh’s face. The images are made up of small dots which dance around as they form the shapes, though it is hard to see with the sun shining. However once it gets dark, it looks quite mesmerising.
Although tonight is a much smaller turn out then the band had hoped for, in some ways it seems better because, as spectator Emma Collings puts it, “it’s better when there’s less people, you can hear the music and see the work better. It’s not as dark as it would be.”
Moving back to the work, on the same wall are pieces by Joel Hayden and James Gordon, both show the feeling of Hydroshima’s music through them. ‘Gordon’s’ dark, gritty images link to the industrial and raw sound which the band create and could definitely be used as an album cover or as part of a music video. His work also presents faint circles, something which the band have had in previous images.
‘Hayden’s’ work was completely inspired by them as he worked with the band for a project in first year. Once again the feel of the explosive duo’s music style comes across in his images, with a mushroom cloud being present in each. One which suits the band so well, shows a mushroom cloud made out of tape emerging from a cassette.
After some slight socialising and a few ciders, I wander over to the last pieces for this evening. The first I come to are from Laura McHugh, she has done three pieces for this evening. With the first one, ‘McHugh’ had the boys play for her, and then she drew them at different stages, first in pen and then in marker. The second piece is more elongated, sort of rectangle shaped, and “is a documentation of the movement, like a music video”. It seems to focus on a part of each member and then show them frame by frame. ‘McHugh’ explains her third piece, “the third one is from what I know about them, I made sure to get all their qualities and personality in there, such as Tyla’s cheeky grin.” She’s not wrong, if you know the band then you can see everything that goes into these guys is in this bit of work. Whether it be the ‘boozing, boozing, boozing’ sign, the ‘Big Dog Rivers’ t shirt, their names, the lyrics to four of their songs (Neutral, Uranium Fission, Mexican Death Song and Close To The Bone) or the fact that the drawings of McClennon and Haigh show them in their juju (The point when they’re truly being one with the music). The entire work screams Hydroshima.
A small piece by Molly McBreen is next. It is a drawing in pen of the band, and, even though it is small, it still captures the essence of the lads. As it is from one of their most well known images.
Last, but not least, I get to the photography work of Annukka Havukumpu. Who has captured the duo, like Laura McHugh did, in different ways. Firstly there is a large image which was taken on a 35mm film camera at their first London gig, whilst they were bringing the thunder. The picture looks quite grainy, which goes well with the band’s raw image. ‘Havukumpu’ has also presented four polaroid photographs, one of McClennon, two of Haigh and one of a cat. The way that the polaroids look give a slight vintage tinge to the picture’s. How they are taken and what is in them shows the band for who they are. These guys aren’t trying to pose for the camera. It’s about the music, and if photographs get taken, then that’s a bonus. The white boarders of the polaroids also go with the large white sign in the bigger image.
Tonight has been a real social event, not just to get people out to look at other’s work. Also to chill out with your mates and meet some new people, and that is what Charlie Jones, the man who puts on these Garage Sessions, wants it to be like. “It’s a good place where you can socialise and have a drink. There’s more enjoyment about it, as oppose to going to a gallery. You can socialise much better.” He then eagerly adds his hopes for the future of the Garage Sessions, “Friday is going out night, we want to get people into the loop of having Wednesday as the exhibition night.”
An enjoyable night which promoted talent from Music, Drawing, Radio and Photography.
Keep an eye out for more of these Garage Sessions, they happen every now and then and always showcase brilliant work.
For more information on Hydroshima and the exhibitors, click the links below:
George Evans – Radio
Lucy Isaacs – Drawing
Laura McHugh – Drawing
Thea Hickling – Drawing
Molly McBreen – Drawing
George Baldwin – Drawing
Annukka Havukumpu – Photography
James Gordon – Photography
Joel Hayden – Photography
Joel Hayden Photography