Thursday 28 June 2012

Westland Place Open Studios

(Above: "You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore" by Gordon Beswick 2012) Westland Place Studios is a couple of minutes walk from Old Street Tube (near The Moorfields Eye Hospital).
Gordon Beswick is one of the many artists inviting you to see where he works and what he's been up to. Why not pop along this Saturday (the 30th)from 11am until 5pm. Westland Place Studios is located right next door to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant, and when the restaurant celebrates its 10th birthday with a street party the studios will be open to tempt visitors in to discover some amazing art. There have been artists studios at 3-11 Westland Place for 20 years, making it one of the longest running creative hubs in the Hoxton / Old Street area. 21 studios, spread over four floors of this former tobacco industry factory, house the workspaces of 23 artists. Their work spans a large range of art disciplines and creative approaches making this an exciting creative environment for all working in the building as well those visiting. Each studio is as unique as the endeavours of the artist working within it. The occupants of Westland Place studios invite you to explore their workspaces, view their accomplished and varied works and be tempted to buy or commission some art.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Paul Weller records a special birthday single for Paul McCartney to help War Child

Paul Weller has recorded a cover version of The Beatles song Birthday. The track is available for one day only and all the money goes to help the War Child organisation. On June the 18th McCartney is 70 years young. Paul Weller says: “I wanted to do something for Paul's 70th, the man’s been, and still is, an immense and enduring inspiration for me. It was him and his three friends that made me want to pick up a guitar in the first place. I saw him play live recently and he inspired me just as much as ever, he was brilliant. I just hope he likes our little version, a token of my and the bands love for him and his music. Rock on Macca”. War Child are an excellent organisation. To find out about their current projects to help protect the children of Syria visit their website: To buy the single visit

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Photos from A Side B Side Gallery

Winner of The Rebel Magazine Best New Artist Award...

(More info and images to follow shortly)

In The Studio with Kate Lyddon

Kate Lyddon makes paintings, sculptures, drawings/collages- primarily working on a 2 dimensional surface, with sculpture taking a moderately secondary role. But recently she switched her attention toward sculpture while in residence at Camberwell College of Art’s Ceramic department; taking the time there to re-examine her objectives for sculpture within her wider practice. The central subject consistent to Lyddon’s work- people [or,the human figure], began to move off the canvas and onto the plinth; ultimately separating themselves from the flat plane, manifesting as brightly coloured (sometimes psychedelic) figurative forms. These figurations can stand autonomously, but, in some instances they back-track; still connected to the painting; the object returning full circle back to the canvas, taking an integral role. At other times the object is situated in opposition to the painting; shifting between a contemplative role and interrogation. The resulting installations of sculptures with paintings. The main outcome of the residency being the realisation that the sculptural element either facilitates the painting; interrupts it, or, just ruins it; and that it is also quite difficult to work out which is which! Rebel Magazine's Q & A with Kate Lyddon The Rebel: Thanks for letting me in your East London studio. Dalston has changed a lot over recent years. Do you think it's getting better and feel positive about the way it's smartening up? Or do you think something is being lost? Kate: “Both, the atmosphere changes gradually I guess. It must be awful for local people who have been here for years seeing the rent unaffordable. On the positive side lots of good cultural things are happening too with music and art, Ridley Road market doesn't seem to have changed. & there’s no Starbucks yet. Unfortunately we have already got a Nandos." Are there any critical friends or family members whose voices you can hear in your head when you're making work? "Only criticism in a good way I think. About ten years ago, my mum wrote me a long letter explaining why she thought I should stop using crude or sexual imagery, and to make things which reflected the positive and spiritual side of life. All it did was to help confirm that I was sure I had some conviction about my ideas; and even that actually I felt it was positive, so I concluded that you're never going to make work for everyone (sorry mum), so it was actually a good outcome and I am (honestly) glad she was honest. I talk about work with Michael and Keran from studio1.1, for example, and various other friends, and people who are part of a local crit group. I think it’s helpful to discuss work with anybody who’s willing to be honest and make you think. People are usually indifferent which I think is usually obvious, and then on occasion might love, or (maybe more often) hate, the work you make; some might come around to it one day; sadly sometimes people are just waiting for validation from someone else before they decide. I just prefer to think the most important thing is not exactly what people say but the way in which people's criticism can be productive." Do you think most artists are damaged goods? "I’d imagine most of the artists whose work I like have at least had interesting lives- but not necessarily damaged. The work that really gets me the most usually has some kind of dark humour lurking somewhere in it, or, an awareness and acknowledgement of some of the bleaker sides of life- with a willingness to put them forward without fear of being politically incorrect (which I suppose might be more likely to be present in a person who has experienced a few struggles).. of course there's so many different approaches to art &one work might be made on an intellectual level you'd imagine by a happy confident socially well-adjusted person, where you'd imagine the person had to be of a clear and undisturbed mind. Then there's work which might be totally chaotic, confused, angry, dark, &that might be what’s interesting about it. So maybe Damaged is a difficult word, especially if we all must be a bit damaged(in our own special ways)...I guess one person's life might look either wonderful and priveliged, or, difficult and traumatic, from the outside; but you never really know from the outside someone else’s experience. So the artists I would imagine are happy confident and socially well-adjusted might be completely messed up on the inside. (she said optimistically..") Are there any tv shows like The Monkees or daft children's shows like Henry's Cat or Scooby Doo that have a place in your heart and never fail to cheer you up? "Not really things that I would watch to cheer myself up, I don't really like to re-watch old things I liked from the past, they are probably better just left as memories in your head. Re-watching means you might get a nasty surprise, and then all you'll remember them for is how badly made they were, cardboard costumes and zips up the back etc. I wish I hadn’t re-watched the Krypton Factor, or The Box of Delights. Or the Never Ending Story." What do you think of David Hockney's recent paintings and I-pad things? "I'm afraid I haven't seen them for real because it's too expensive so I shouldn't really comment. However... based on what I have seen on reproduction is that they do look very impressive, mainly because he's getting on a bit and they are massive, and how did he manage to make them? And all that. but I do wonder if they were not so big if people would still call him a genius. In my opinion the iPod/Pad thing is a fine idea, why not, you should use whatever tool you can, it's like a different visual tool or language, and it’s interesting. It’s just (I’m too cynical sometimes) and still wonder if he was sponsered by iPod" What are you working on right now? "Three things. One actually has some links to my memory of that film I just said I’d never re-watch, The Never Ending Story. It started as a kind of straightforward cover of the etching 'Satan in Council' by John Martin but drifted into something a bit like a flying dog. I'm really enjoying that one and another one I'm making at the same time, which is made up of quite acidic colours and makes me feel happy to look at. It was supposed to be a sort of psychadelic daydream with a ceramic head on a plinth right in front, but now I’ve removed the sculptural part, and am just about to glue on an inflatable ghost. I'm on a bit of an exploration of colour at the moment, enjoying making things as wild as possible being careful not to let it become completely disgusting. My aim is that they express a kind of bedazzlement at the world (dictionary tells me bedazzlement is not a word, but it sounds right). The third is a painting with a man in a boxing ring ; I wanted to make a work about a man I met once who had at first seemed a bit over-confident, a bit vain and self-important but underneath all his posturing was just a bit pathetic and insecure, and frustrated. I’m also making a lot of ceramic sculptures which are intended to interact with some of the paintings in some way” Do you carry notebooks with you and do you use sketchbooks? "I always carry notebooks so if I get an idea write something or do a quick drawing. Sometimes its a sequence of words I heard someone say that gives me some visuals and sparks an idea; or at times it's an object i see in a shop which has some kind of aesthetic quality, colour or form I want to use. I write everything down or I forget. I've hundreds of those books full of things I never made- If I don't do it straight away when the idea arrives it just fizzles away and if i go back to it later it feels too contrived to work on. That's why I like acrylic paint, and collage, it's the not too much waiting time." Does spirituality play a part in your work? "It does in one sense, but only as an allegory for reality. I'm interested in the idea of polar opposites, heaven/ hell, good / bad, angels/ devils, winners/losers, like/dislike, love/hate and so on. By 'reality' I mean that precarious point in between the extremes; between the very positive and even amazing things people are capable of, and, the inevitability of our limitations and weaknesses; taking the approach that the midpoint is completely acceptable, even something to celebrate. A bit like a joke you know is wrong but still makes you laugh. I like the term 'anti-hero', and think the types of characters that manifest visually- that's probably how id describe them." Do you always work on one painting at a time or do you several on the go? "Usually several on the go, especially when I'm really absorbed. I should probably put the ones (I think) I've finished away, otherwise they just go on forever." How many hours do you work each day "It depends, when it's going well maybe about 6-8 hours (of actual physical work) with a lot of staring into space in between. Then theres days which are filled with stuff like writing or emails or photos. Which can be really frustrating, sometimes can feel the ideas slipping away." when did you realise you had to be an artist? "It must have been a process of elimination. It seems you need a fair amount of common sense to function in the conventional working world, but I found the more simple the job the harder it was; I probably spent too much time inside my head growing up and missed quite a lot. Really I'm still completely (mostly quite happily) baffled when it comes to what is meant to be normal and what’s not. But I did study psychology a bit and I really loved reading the behavioural and perception studies. But in my mind they got completely distorted and theatrical, the facts got lost, so they became like magical or nightmare-ish tales, and then mingled in with other stories I’d heard and other visuals. As you can imagine by the time I got to about 18/19 it was clear I didn't have many options! But I gladly found with art I could take the confusion and turn it into something productive and positive (rather than letting it develop into a big fear) which felt like the healthiest and most interesting option.." where does your inspiration come from "People mainly- how people behave and interact socially; and films (usually murder mysteries, suspense), books, art, illustration, comics, stories, newspaper headlines, music, sport, performance, comedy, design, furniture.. and spinning jewellery display cabinets, spinning disco balls, cake stands. and inflatable ghosts.”

Monday 4 June 2012

Wirral Festival of Firsts Presents MOTHERS

50 paintings from the Mothers collection (selected by Barbara Singleton) are on show in Wirral from the 24th of June until the 8th of July at the Holiday Inn, Kings Gap, Hoylake CH47 1HE Admission is free. The venue is open daily 10am - 8pm Barbara Singleton and friends have encouraged local artists, celebs and creative people to donate A5 size portraits of their mums which will be sold off in aid of good causes. (Above: The poet Jock Scot in Archway, London 2012)in 2004 Jock very kindly wrote a poem for the brochure of the exhibition... "God Could Not Be Everywhere." I felt sorry for my mother and I stayed at home too long I should never have returned from the Isle of Wight the year that Jimi Hendrx was on I felt sorry for my mother cause when my father died, he left her, on her own what a mess, what a muddle, what a riddle five girls and two boys with me stuck in the middle It was not, a lot, of fun after he was gone, so - I felt sorry for my mother and I stayed at home too long She taught me so much, did my mother like how, not, to bring up kids and it stood me in good stead she still hangs on in there just like the living dead