Top3Tuesday: David Bellamy

© Karl Rogers

David Bellamy is an artist, scientist, designer, environmentalist and nonhumanist; currently focusing on purposefully designed textiles from his Cape Town studio where he produces textiles sold in his shop, bbellamy & bbellamy. The two members of the eponymously named enterprise are himself and his now deceased canine companion, Clive. David graduated in Fine Art and Critical Studies from London’s Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design in the first years of this century. He established an art-hotel in Riebeek Kasteel- the first in South Africa; hosting exhibitions and funding the non profit making space by selling textiles.

I wanted to be able to show the work of artists I believe in, or work that isnt saleable – I needed a bread and butter machine…. We’ve evolved a lot from that point, now we have developed a name for our labour intensive, artist’s textiles that are printed in low toxicity, water soluble inks, on biodegradable base-cloths, usually linen”

Here are David’s picks for this month’s Top3Tuesday

3Darwin’s Glass House

Darwin's Glass House

This is a photograph of Charles Darwin’s glasshouse that he had erected in the gardens of his home, Down House, that I visited last year, 101 years after his birth. He designed the glasshouse to maintain specimens of plants from around the world (including South Africa), so that he could study them, to establish his theory of evolution. The structure itself, in the lee of a red brick wall, is very beautiful. The slated roof throws stripes of light onto the plants below, to great aesthetic effect. This is a clear indication that the great rationalist equally had an eye for design. In addition, in the grounds lie his looped thinking path, the circuiting of which enabled his conclusions to crystallise in his mind, as he strode. It was so joyful to stride in his footsteps myself.

2Hawaii Fabric by Josef Frank

Josef Frank Hawaii Wallpaper

Josef Frank was a Jewish Austrian architect who was forced to leave his busy practice during the Nazi period. He fled to Sweden, where in 1934 he met Estrid Ericson; the founder of the Swedish Department store, Svensk Tenn. Ericson offered him a job and a home, starting a new chapter in Swedish Design. An inspired team; his gloriously modern textile designs have, to my eye,  never been surpassed within the contemporary Western canon and they are as fresh and interesting now as they were in the 1930’s. What is so inspiring about his work, was that it emerged out of a terrible period in human history, and although a refugee, he managed to transcend, retaining his joie de vivre. Although I find pattern in my home difficult, I could certainly live with a wall covered in Hawaii… in black.

17000 Oak Trees by Joseph Beuys (1982-1987)

Joseph Beuys

This is a keynote artwork of the German Fluxus artist, performer and educator, who like Josef Frank, lived through the Nazi period, but on the other side – as a Luftwaffe pilot. In this process work of reafforestation  and eco-urbanisation, Beuys and volunteers planted the trees throughout the city over a number of years; a long engagement with environmental  and habitat restoration and repair. What is interesting to me here is that the artwork served and serves to design human perception – for me this is the most important realm of design, and one which any made thing can and should consciously address