Saturday 13 November 2021

SuperSizeArt & Tunetables - SuperSize Soho Exhibition

Morgan Howell & Rob Chappelhow - Photo Retro Man Blog

It's hard to believe that it's ten years ago since I first encountered Morgan Howell's fantastic SuperSizeArt thanks to a feature in Mark Ellen and David Hepworth's much-missed Word Magazine. I did a small feature in Retro Man Blog here back in 2011 and then also reported on Morgan's exhibition at Snap Gallery Piccadilly in 2013 which you can also still check out in our archive here. Ever since then I've followed his career with interest and of course, his reputation has gone from strength-to-strength with famous musicians, radio stations and celebrities among Morgan's many happy customers. The extra special thing about Morgan's bespoke commissioned artwork is that they are not purely copies of the cover art of 45rpm singles but faithful reproductions of the actual record itself, creases, price labels, stains, rips and all. For example, if I had my very first single immortalised by Morgan it would be (rather embarrassingly) "Crazy Horses" by The Osmonds complete with my juvenile handwriting of the band's line-up scrawled in biro on the blue and gold MGM sleeve. It's these bespoke touches that make the artwork so evocative and personal. Of course there are various other options - I have a set of four small size versions of The Clash's "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" in different coloured sleeves and there have been postcards and prints available too. In the gallery I saw a guitar case which was adorned with a familiar signature so I asked Morgan about it and he explained that Johnny Marr swapped his guitar for one of his SuperSize singles. Morgan has also released a beautiful book "Morgan Howell at 45rpm" which features explanations and images of one hundred of his pieces and this is available for sale at the exhibition with Morgan more than happy to sign a copy for you. Of course, you can also order the book on-line at the SuperSizeArt web-site or all the usual on-line retailers and in all good bookshops too. I just wish I'd invested in a large SuperSizeArt 45 rpm ten years ago!

Morgan Howell of SuperSizeArt - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Rob Chappelhow of Tunetables - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Sharing the exhibition space was Rob Chappelhow from Tunetables, another great idea for music lovers who also appreciate great design. If like me, you once ditched your CD's following the resurgence of vinyl and were left with crates of the unloved discs in your loft - well you can now turn them into an artistic centrepiece which also serves equally as good as a practical storage solution. I spoke to designer Rob Chappelhow and told him that his work reminded me of the wonderful display of Joe Strummer's cassette tape collection at the "Joe Strummer 001" box-set exhibition back in 2018 - where Joe's lovingly hand-written and coloured covers were on show in a display case. They were visually stunning even before you took the time to see how Joe had individually tailor-made each cover to reflect on the content and genre of these unique compilation tapes. I was pleasantly surprised when Rob told me that was actually one of the inspirations behind the idea of Tunetables, and even more so when he took out his mobile phone to show me a folder of photos of the very same Joe Strummer cassette display. 

Joe Strummer's Tapes - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Rob Chappelhow of Tunetables - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Of course, like any like-minded music fan would do...I couldn't resist taking a good look at the CD's that were in the mightily impressive flight-case coffee table and Rob's collection was packed full of a great selection of Retro Man Blog favourites such as The Specials, The Beat, The Charlatans, The Jam, Pixies, The Smiths and - as the case holds 500 CD's - many, many more! Tunetables also have options for vinyl LP's and Cassettes and are available as classic flight-cases (designed to also satisfy your inner Roadie...) or in a wooden finish and can even be personalised with your initials and date of birth. The exhibition itself is located in a pop-up gallery at 45 Beak Street in Soho close by to Carnaby Street and the Third Man Records London store recently opened by Jack White himself, which is also well worth a visit. The exhibition runs until November 21st so there's still time to visit, enjoy the stunning artwork and design on display and of course, buy a stylish Xmas present or two.

Please click on the highlighted links below for further information.

SuperSizeArt - Official Web-site, Facebook, Instagram

Tunetables - Official Web-site, Facebook, Instagram

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