A rather curious and delightful little exhibition has sprung up in Dalston, involving around 400 hand-made noses. The Nose Show is housed in the cult coffee shop slash curiosity space – Tina We Salute You. Tom Jennings – the artist/illustrator/designer has adorned the walls of this tiny, yet perfectly formed, shop with a mixture of noses (of course) prints, medicine boxes, spoons, plates and a even a tablet. It’s a happy little show, light hearted and slightly obscure, here I have a little chat to Tom about his noses.
So what was the inspiration for the Nose Show?
I was messing around with sculpy, making three dimensional versions of my drawn characters using white china plates as a work surface. As I was working on the nose it struck me as quite a surreal image, this nose floating in a white space. I added a couple of eyes with a marker pen and found it to be pretty good. Maria liked it too, she took the nose off the plate and stuck it on a telephone, that was pretty funny too, so it just continued from there. The first orange was a birthday card for my friend James, it’s nice that just cutting a mouth and adding a nose gives the fruit a character, you can imagine the sort of voice they might have if they were to talk. Its simple and fun. Kids seem to like it a lot which is a good thing, kids aren’t shy about telling you if they don’t like something.
With photography a large part of the show, why noses and fruit?
The fruit photographs were made in my studio in New Cross. I’ve not really done much studio photography before so that was a bit of a learning curve. I basically went to a shop and bought their most interesting fruit and then selected coloured backgrounds which would really enhance the fruits – i think the pineapple was particularly successful in this respect. The photos on the screen are mainly submissions from friends, I’ve been giving away noses for a while now and people have been having fun with them. Its great to get emails with new images that people have created with the noses. They’re pretty well travelled.
What made you choose Tina We Salute You?
Tina’s is great for coffee, food and people. Steve and Danny were really into the Nose Show idea, and were super accommodating in letting me do whatever I wanted there – which is obviously fantastic and quite inspiring. I think this kind of space is perfect for art as well, particularly this sort of art. It’s a place where people go to chat and enjoy themselves so it makes sense to have some nice stuff to look at. I hope it helps to create a cheerful, fun atmosphere.
So how many noses did you actually make and how many do expect to be left at the end of the show?
It’s hard to say how many noses there are, I couldn’t really be bothered to count them. I would guess there are around 400. I did weigh the box before I brought them up to the show and it was around 4kg. 4 kilograms of disembodied noses! I’ve no idea how many will be left. I imagine a few of them will go missing but that’s ok, I can always make some more. I’d be very happy to see them around the streets or to get photos back for the screen.
And what’s next for you and the Nose Show?
There’s a gallery in Singapore interested in having some of the prints, I would like to make another show somewhere and the response so far has been great so that might not be a bad idea. I’d like to make some larger photographs as well, the colours come out so beautifully and the details on the fruit probably deserve a bit more scale in order to get a proper look at them. Im really keen on the photographic aspect of the show. I’ve also been meaning to do some stop motion animation with the fruit for a while but haven’t got round to it yet. I spoke to a friend at the show about a possible music collaboration, with maybe an orange performing the vocal parts in a video so that could be good. I tried to make a choir of kumquats a couple of weeks ago but that wasn’t so successful really, I’ll look into that. A graphic equaliser made of bananas would be pretty cool as well.
The Nose Show is charming and odd, it’s avant-garde which works wonderfully in the glass-fronted corner shop that is Tina We Salute You. Surrounded by vintage furniture, beautiful lighting and top notch coffee it’s really worth a visit. Tom’s show is on until 30th September, so if you do pop in, try not to steal the noses… but if you do, make sure you send him a photo of the nose in-situ.