V-VIBE Record shops festival: visual art & vinyl

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V-VIBE is a grassroots visual festival which is taking place in record shops, or there abouts. Its aim is to bring a visual ‘V’ as visual art exhibitions to the window displays, or interiors of local record retailers. Hit social media and you’ll see we’ve posts saying ▼i s u a l artists X ⓇecordⓈhops #RecordshopVibes – new for 2020 (a festival in and about record shops, running 10 Oct – 22 Nov).

Such an initiative of combining visual artists and record shops isn’t so new, but in response to getting people back into physical record buying – post-lockdown – Spotters Paul Wright in Paris and Cindy Fonvig in Copenhagen got working up an idea for giving a festive ‘post-lockdown’ boost to record retail. The mechanics of this getting developed as soon as the May coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

I (Paris Spotter Paul) answered a few questions by Spotted by Locals to see how things are working out!

▼i s u a l artists X ⓇecordⓈhops?

It’s an initiative to support local businesses particularly local record retailers! And after a few swift exchanges on Instagram between record shop fans Paul and Cindy the idea began taking shape.

There’s now a website where you can see event/exhibition listings listed in a few cities – which gives a modest coverage along the lines of:

“let’s trial it this year and see how the record shops and visual artists and of course the public respond to it.”

What is involved in setting up this festival?

It takes plenty of time and patience, plus frustration and resolve plus plenty of sleepless nights, pondering over the many logistics. I mean, all the mechanics are done yourself, basically because it’s an idea with zero budget. Also:

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“if anyone is interested these mechanics include: coming up with a coherent name – there’s been three iterations, finally settling on V-Vibe; a website – a laborious task which I took on; then there’s the necessary  social media identity – this though is an evolving ‘work in progress’ as insta-stories, insta-posts and more recently insta-IGTV; plus a facebook info page which came on the launch day. Though the main challenge and most rewarding is pitching the idea to the many record retailers and visual artists.”

V-Vibe Festival: ▼i s u a l artists X ⓇecordⓈhops 

Copenhagen launch – October 10th

So we did the festival launch in Copenhagen at BEAT København V thanks to Spotter Cindy who was in touch with Danish-based avantgarde photographer Maiken Kildegaard.

V-VIBE Festival was proud to have such a high profile starting point. And read about Kildegaard’s incredible career of being in the midst of musicians and performers in the ‘V-Vibe lowdown’ profiles on the main festival site.

Photographer and artist Maiken Kildegaard installing her triptych album artwork for Danish musician and author Martin Hall in Beat Records, Copenhagen as part of V-vibe Festival. Seen also with spotter Cindy Fonvig who organised the artist/recordshop link.

V-vibe Festival website with a feature about the Copenhagen visual artist Maiken Kildegaard, written by spotter Cindy Fonvig as published on the inaugural festival launch day, Sat 10 Oct 2020.

Paris launch – October 16th

A brilliant community-minded record shop owner Jaures, of Soul Ableta record shop, in Paris then agreed to host two Paris-based visual artists.

So we’ve painter and antique restorer Christina Maximoff, whose delicately ‘gilded tinder discs’ act as the vinyls, as if removed from the robust enclosure of colourist and painter Samual Perrard’s ‘intricate kaleidoscopic canvas geometries’.

Spotter Paul (organiser of V-Vibe Festival: ▼i s u a l artists X ⓇecordⓈhops) left; with Paris recordshop owner Jaures at Soul Ableta, right; seen here celebrating the in-store launch of paintings by local Paris artist Christina Maximoff behind them.

V-vibe organiser Paul, by chance in matching mask, echoing the geometric canvases of Paris artist Samuel Perrard exhibited at in-store at Soul Ableta as part of V-Vibe Festival: ▼i s u a l artists X ⓇecordⓈhops.

Seen together in proximity, Maximoff’s discs and Perrard’s squares echo the format of music as a physical object. This is great to see, especially during a time when music is increasingly communicated digitally.

Music Avenue record shop owner Francesco, eagerly taking a picture of the artwork etching done by Paris artist Marion Chombart de Lauwe, and the sale artwork transferred to the window retail display during lockdown, late October.

Franceso at my very local – it’s actually downstairs from home – Music Avenue recordshop agreed to exhibit original work of archivist-etcher Marion Chombart de Lauwe. The Music Avenue exhibit is composed of 4 x album cover pieces which together display an industrial-proportioned vinyl printing machine.

Secondly, Franceso at my very local – it’s actually downstairs from home – Music Avenue record shop agreed to exhibit original work of archivist-etcher Marion Chombart de Lauwe. The Music Avenue exhibit is composed of 4 x album cover pieces which together display an industrial-proportioned vinyl printing machine.

The benefit of getting access to the record retailers shop window is that, even though we’re in a second wave of lockdown in Paris (30th Oct – 01 Dec), passers-by can still get to enjoy it.

brothers in arms Fabrice (left) and Cyril, (right) owners of recordshop Citeaux Sphere in Paris and painter Stephan Rouxel (far right) whose art is on display as part of V-vibe Festival during Oct-Nov 2020.

And our third exhibit in Paris is with brothers Fabrice and Cyril of record shop/restaurant Citeaux Sphere – not far from Paris’ Bastille monument. Fabrice serves-up vinyl original editions, while his brother & chef Cyril prepares the equally original tastes and cuts.

The brothers were quickly convinced that V-vibe Festival was a credible communication tool for their business, and gladly agreed to exhibit the cleverly titled ‘unpublished album covers’, a series of 30cm square canvases rendered in oils by painter Stephan Rouxel.

The festival’s main objective then?

This objective is really to revisit music as a physical format – and no better place this format belongs than in a record shop. They’re the places we can get our hands on albums quite literally – be it as vinyl, CD or, cassette format … yes, I kid you not; cassettes are not yet a dead format. I need to add here that we’re grateful that the visual artists who’ve so far exhibited as part of V-vibe employ a ‘visual language’ which echoes our objective about pulling focus on the physical format of music.

Other cities?

It’s really a question of reaching out and finding record shop fans, then, coming on board as organisers they’d need to find a bit of time to communicate the V-vibe objective to record shop owners in their respective cities.

Read the Spotted by Locals articles about what attracts our Spotters to these particular places: Beat Records, Copenhagen & Music Avenau, Paris.

It’s a social project too?

It’s interesting you know, V-vibe is probably more about community than music itself. In Copenhagen, the V-Vibe Festival artist there Maiken Kildegaard did successful ‘meet the artist’ in BEAT København V records – which was organised in part by Spotter Cindy.

I’ve enjoyed the conversation being sparked with the record retailers too, for instance that, Jaures, before opening Soul Ableta, was flipping discs from his living room.

Plus, it’s not surprising but also worth mentioning, that these recordshop owners are not strangers to one another. For example, I was told, ‘ah yes, Francesco at Music Avenue – he’s been trading in the same commercial spot for 25 years – he’s a really great bassist and also a pretty well known DJ too.’

And,l finally, dealing with the 2nd-wave of lockdown/confinement during Nov-Dec 2020?

The project is officially due to run until 22 Nov. But once lockdown/confinement is over – holding my breath – let’s think about organising and promoting a 2nd edition of V-vibe Festival: ▼i s u a l artists X ⓇecordⓈhops; for the spring.

Until then I’ve begun tinkering with some intriguing lo-fi augmented-reality software. Using it to create mini 1min30sec clips; each clip focusing on a local record shops X visual artist. They’ll be accessible and easy to enjoy and share via the project’s instagram profile @ v_vibe_festival.

As soon as is humanly possible, V-Vibe will re-emerge in physical form once again. Though, before then, remember the click and collect options! Local record retailers are embracing the tech to connect with loyal but also new clients. Boooom…, it’s not ideal, but, yep, that’s what we’re running with atm.



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