This week, Enter Gallery is delighted to welcome Vintage Shuffle to the gallery – a Salisbury-based artist who creates intricate collages from a mixture of vintage and modern paper ephemera.
Vintage Shuffle has created a fantastic series of original works and limited edition prints inspired by one of our city’s biggest living legends – the host of the most notorious party to ever happen in Brighton (and at Enter Gallery, come to mention it) – Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim.
Given the series is named after one of Cook’s biggest bangers, Eat Sleep Rave Repeat, it seems only fitting to launch the works with a party. Join us at Enter Gallery on Thursday 24th August for a very special night, where you can meet Vintage Shuffle, experience her artworks, and dance the night away.
Spaces are extremely limited so RSVP here to secure your spot.
In today’s blog, we’re chatting to Vintage Shuffle to learn how her varied artistic experience led her to this moment, and to discover how this dream collaboration with Norman Cook came about.
Meet Vintage Shuffle
Vintage Shuffle is the moniker of Diane Hampstead – an artist who has dabbled in all manner of creative pursuits since she first set foot in Central St Martins to study for her Art Foundation.
With a degree in Set and Costume Design under her belt, Vintage Shuffle went on to work at the National Theatre, the National School of Film and Television, and “all kinds of dodgy pub theatres around London,” before adding professional tap dancer to her already impressive list of skills. Next came a stint running a gift shop, and later work in a vintage clothing shop in her adopted town of Salisbury, where she was able to marry her love of fashion, costume and history.
All of this experience has led her to where she is today, creating work that reflects her passion for film, theatre and popular culture via collages just as full of life as she is. Vintage Shuffle tells us:
“During lockdown, the shop was closed, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I was watching a lot of Grayson Perry’s Art Club, and I started creating art again. I found some deep box frames and started crafting the 3D collages that I’d always dreamed of making. I ended up with a stack of work, so when my boyfriend suggested we sell it at art fairs, I thought why not. From art college, to tap dancing, to a decade by the sea, suddenly I was making the art I’d always dabbled with, and people liked it.”
Like all great collage artists, wherever Vintage Shuffle roams, her eyes are always on the lookout for paper ephemera that could work in her artworks. Speaking of her process, and what materials catch her eye, she reveals:
“I call myself an analogue collage artist. I feel the need to specify that because lots of people do it digitally. For me, it’s paper ephemera found in junk shops and charity shops. It’s old magazines and album covers. I’ll chop up the Radio Times, I’ll chop up Heat or my friend’s old copies of Vogue. You’ll see my history in theatre in my work. I love movies, films, and over the years I’ve collected lots of song sheets. It’s a real mixture of vintage and modern ephemera. Just the other day I cut something out of the paper tray you get at McDonalds, and put that in my pocket!”
Funk Soul Brother
At her art market stall, Vintage Shuffle sold 3D original collages inspired by everything from Culture Club and the film, The Red Shoes, to Salisbury and other cities, including Paris, New York and London.
It was while being interviewed by the woman who runs the market when she first expressed her desire to collaborate with everyone’s favourite Superstar DJ. Vintage Shuffle reveals:
“It’s a very modern story. During the interview, my friend asked me who I’d love to work with in an ideal world, and my answer to that was – a musician, an artist, someone creative, and in the interview, it just popped into my head, and I said ‘how about someone like Norman Cook – he must have a lot of gig fliers, tickets and paper ephemera. Someone like Norman Cook would be really cool.
I posted a screenshot of the interview on my Instagram, and tagged Norman in it, thinking maybe at best it would get a like. But the next day I had a little message from a man with a blue tick man saying ‘you’ve got my attention, let’s talk.’
The next thing I know, Norman Cook is video calling me, padding around his house in his bare feet, going, ‘oh I’ve got something here I think you can use. I haven’t got gig fliers or tickets that I want you to chop up, but what I do have is all of my wristbands from gigs and festivals over the last ten twenty years. Could you do something with those’, to which my answer was ‘hell yeah’.”
Before she knew it, Vintage Shuffle was being invited around for a cuppa and a chat, where she suggested a few concepts for the artworks.
Cook obviously liked what he heard because he presented her with multiple ice cream tubs full to the brim with wristbands - the perfect basis for her unique collection celebrating Norman’s incredible musical history.
“When asked that question in the interview, I could have answered Boy George or Tony Bennett, but in that moment, Norman Cook struck me as someone cool and colourful who would have some paper buried in a drawer. Turns out I was right. He’s an avid collector, he hoards stuff, so he’s the perfect person to collaborate with.”
Eat Sleep Rave Repeat
Vintage Shuffle’s collection centres around a triptych of works, available as original collages or limited edition prints, that are ‘inspired by the greats you see in the National Gallery’. She explains how she came up with the concept:
“When I was doing a bit more research into his music, I came upon the Eat Sleep Rave Repeat track. I wanted to do something about his career, and this song sums it all up. It says what it is – eat sleep rave repeat, that’s the life we want to live if we’re living in Planet Norman Cook.
“I chose to name my three pieces Eat, Sleep, Rave because I wanted to leave Repeat open-ended. Perhaps the prints are the repeat, but who knows… I wanted to almost leave a question mark: Eat sleep rave ? What happens next? For some of us we eat, sleep, rave and then that’s the end. Some of us believe in something else afterwards, so the series became a cycle of life, a morning, noon and night, with EAT being the morning, SLEEP being the day, and RAVE being the night.”
All in the Detail
Rather than presenting the wristbands as the star of the show, Vintage Shuffle has cleverly woven the bands into dystopian cityscapes that not only present the circle of life mentioned above, but also cleverly tell the story of Norman’s extensive career.
“I got the feeling that he wanted the wrist bands to tell a story, or to say more than just ‘look at my wristband collection’.
I wanted the pieces to be about his music, so I tussled with whether to put Norman in. But he’s such a character, he is his music, like me – I am my collages, you can’t really separate the two. I came up with this concept of a central DJ character, because I read that Norman holds a record for the most amount of hits under the most different aliases. We all know Fatboy Slim, maybe Beats International, maybe Freak Power, but there’s also Pizza Man, Mighty Dub Cats, Stomping Pond Frogs, The Housemartins.
“For the real Norman fans, the real geeks, there are lots of hidden references and subtle nods to his career. I don’t want to over-explain the collages, because I think they exist on whatever level you want them to but if you’re a complete Norman Cook nut, every picture is curated, every piece is there for a reason. There’s a lot of his music, videos and imagery from his career in those collages but done in a slightly sideways way. Like finding a frog and making him stomp in a puddle.”
Also in her collection are a selection of 12” mixes, where Vintage Shuffle takes her original EAT, SLEEP, RAVE collages and, in homage to Norman, remixes them into something new entirely.
Whether she’s celebrating the DJs love of the acid man in EAT: Smiley 12” Mix, offering a nod to Cook’s use of Greta Thunberg’s UN speech in a track in SLEEP: Here Now 12” Mix, or capturing all of Norman’s cultural influences in RAVE: International Beats 12” Mix, all of the artworks capture the essence of a truly incredible musical career. Vintage Shuffle tells us:
“I wanted these works to look how his music feels. When you think about it, Norman’s a collage artist himself really – he takes snippets from existing songs, chops them and sticks them together, and makes something new. He’s even remixed his own remixes of other people’s songs. It’s all about layers, which is of course what collage is all about.”
Vintage Shuffle’s artworks will be launching on Thursday 24th August at 9am. Preview the collection here.