Amy Exton of GlitterGun$ LDN

Amy Exton

Photography Alex de Mora. Set: Glittergun$ LDN for VICE Magazine

LONDON, United KingdomAmy Exton has a lot of time for inflatable flamingos. In fact, she is mad about anything bright, glittery and garish as long as it is portable and available in large quantities. The 26-year-old set designer and creator of unique furniture pieces, is on a mission to make fashion fun again with her label GlitterGun$ LDN. While her props consist of things that many of us would consign to a fancy dress box, Amy is fast making a name for herself as the Queen of Kitsch, transforming staid studio spaces into carnivalesque colour capsules where energy bounces off the walls.

Having graduated from London’s prestigious Central Saint Martin’s College with an art degree in sculpture, Amy’s ‘ready-made’ realm of plastic birds, astroturf, fabric flowers, toy guns and holographic foil decorations may seem like a giant side step into a kind of anti-art, but this could not be further from the truth. Amy acknowledges she is less concerned about concept than she is about pure aesthetics. She admits she creates things for the love of it, but that should not deflect from her artistic drive, which is always finely tuned and labour intensive.

For her final degree show at St Martin’s, Amy created what she describes as a giant disco, a 16-foot high structure made of glitter curtains that took up much of the university’s central space. She had to take it down to make room for the famous end of year fashion show, only to rebuild it the next day for guests, on her own and using scaffolding. As for the materials themselves, I would argue that Amy is bringing integrity and beauty to ‘throw away’ products that normally leave the factory floor with zero artistic merit and eventually added to landfills. She gives them soul when they are seemingly soulless.

Amy’s work has featured in a variety of cool fashion magazines including Vice and REVS Magazine, as well as music videos for Marina and the Diamonds and MTV’s fashion channel. Her time is split between set design and injecting life into vintage furniture and her own plaster casts. Glitter is definitely her thing; she has perfected the art of covering pieces in the stuff and varnishing them so the sparkle does not budge. They are the Las Vegas showgirls of the furniture world. So what does this glitter pro have to say about her journey so far?

Amy Exton

Photography Charlotte Rutherford, set Glittergun$ LDN for REVS Magazine

What was you first big break? What started this glitter explosion?

Someone asked me to rebuild my installation from my graduation show for their set; it was for an LCF [London College of Fashion] promotion video. It sort of took off from there. It is a path that fits nicely with my furniture because some people borrow it for their sets as well.

Amy Exton

Photography Charlotte Rutherford, set Glittergun$ LDN for Crack Magazine

There is a hint of Tim Walker in your work, I find. Lots of props, super colourful, a touch of the absurd…

He is definitely an influence. There is also French artists Pierre et Gilles. I love all their Eurotrash videos, they are so elaborate. When I have more budget for props, that is the sort of stuff I would like to do.

How did you enjoy Saint Martin’s?

I am glad I attended it, but I did struggle at times. I had loads of ideas but then I was told to give a context to everything. I would start to question myself all the time. Why am I using a flamingo? Why this and why that… It meant I ended up feeling stuck. I had a lot of support from my peers and less so from my tutors. I did not really care because I felt people would enjoy my work. I try to make my installations as accessible to as many people as possible. So for my degree show, I built a huge structure that was basically a ginormous disco! It took so long to build and so much money, but it was fun. I kept seeing people leave it with a flamingo under their arm! Some people left their kids in there while they looked around the exhibition. I was on the side-lines nervous but my friends said: “Well look, people are enjoying it.” In a way, I wish I could have filmed the build and the destruction of my work! At the end of the day, I had rather people did that, than just stand there perplexed, silently contemplating it.

Amy Exton

Photography Alberto Albanese & Stefano Colombini. Set by Glittergun$ LDN

So how is fashion compared to art?

I am not massively into fashion! I just sort of fell into the fashion world. I do not know much about it but I find it much more open than the art world. All the people I have met and worked with so far have been super supportive and kind.

Who is the most exciting person you have worked with so far?

Charlotte Rutherford. She is an amazing photographer and director. She is only 21 and incredible. I was obsessed with her work and I happened to be on a shoot with her. She came up to me and said: “Oh, I have wanted to work with you for ages,” which was a huge compliment. I was so taken aback. It is hard to describe her style. It is a lot like Pierre et Gilles, sort of hyper real. Most people would recognise her style from all the work she has done.

What does your studio look like?

It is very messy and covered in glitter!

Seeing as it is Christmas soon, describe your dream job…

I have been doing music videos and I think that is what I want to focus on. There is more freedom and better budgets to really do what you want. I also love working on my furniture. It is less social but I really enjoy the quiet time, in the studio, on my own. Luckily the two things work well together. Obviously, I would love to take over the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern too. It would involve something loud, definitely not minimal!

Finally what is next in store for Glitter Guns London?

I am working on glitter and neon statuettes for my online shop and also I will be selling at the Hackney Wick Christmas Market. It is an alternative Christmas market not like those traditional ones. This year it is being hosted by transvestites. They are calling it the ‘Trashy Tranny Takeover’. I think Jaime Winstone is DJing. Anyway, I do not know what to expect but it will be fun, if a little crazy!

Amy Exton

Photography Alberto Albanese & Stefano Colombini. Set by Glittergun$ LDN

Courtesy of: Amy Exton | Website: www.glittergunslondon.com
Alexandra Zagalsky About the author

A born and bred Londoner, Alex is a lifestyle writer with 17 years experience in publishing. After five years spent in Paris developing English language guides and magazines, she returned home to a colourful online career, specialising in fashion and beauty.

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