Are You A Photographer?

Photograph: © Guy Roger Thomas

I have the strangest notions that if you love taking photographs, have invested in a semi-decent camera to nurture this love, and if you have “an eye”, then you are indeed a photographer.

I remember trying to convince my flatmate of this after seeing some of her amazing shots and also a close friend of mine in the US whose photographs will soon be shown in a gallery.

Many people I know have never taken a lesson in photography in their lives.

As my friend Guy put it, ‘If you have a good eye for shots, all you have to do is read the manual for your particular camera.’

Of this, I have no doubt. So much of taking photographs, after all, is based on luck.

Photograph: © Matt Taylor

I’ve taken amazing shots by accident because despite my clumsiness, the lighting was perfect, or my reaction was quicker and more knowledgeable than my conscious thoughts.

That isn’t to say that there isn’t a high level of knowledge and preparation that goes into taking photographs.

The Fruits of Study

In fact, I have seen the results of studying in the field by way of another friend in New York, photographer Corren Conway, who takes incredible photographs of performers while sometimes dealing with huge concert crowds.

Another friend based in London, the incredibly multi-talented Matt Taylor, also seems to have benefited a great deal from study. His shots are crisp and dynamic, always giving the subject so much character.

Yet, photographer Guy Roger Thomas creates a professional finish to his photographs as he seems within them to study light, aesthetics and the micro-world of things we take for granted.

Photograph: © Nancy Elser

It may be important to remember exactly what photography is about, especially as people on the street with mobile phones are taking the place of photojournalists, who cannot be everywhere at once.

Anyone can snap pictures at a kid’s birthday party, and that’s fine because it does exactly what it sets out to do – record memories.

Yet, photography is a field in which one often wants to capture the world through a lens in order to present the way they see the world. ‘See this sunrise the way I see it, ‘ says the photographer.

Thanks to Adobe Photoshop, quite often the message is ‘See the world the way I’d like it to be.’
In this way, the photographer becomes a painter or a maestro conducting an orchestra.

If you are picking up that camera to capture the world through your eyes, you are indeed a bonafide photographer.

Off the Clock: From Assistant to Artist

Saturday night, ALISN – an artist-led organisation – presented ‘Off the Clock’, an exhibition featuring artists, who have assisted other well-known artists.

An upclose shot of "Quercus Condido Pt. I-III" by Matt Blackler

The works in ‘Off the Clock’ included paintings, illustrations and sculptures.

Yet, the main focus of the exhibition seemed to be the artist’s assistant, a role typically obscured by the fame of the main artist.

‘Off the Clock’ takes notice of the lack of recognition of artist’s assistants.  In fact, it is done rather well – in part – by a display of emails framed in wood, of responses from major artists.

ALISN reached out to artists whose former or current assistants were asked to exhibit works in ‘Off the Clock’.

Some of the emails actually praised the assistant.  There was, for example, a direct quote from Sir Anthony Caro lauding Gary Doherty for his ten years of assistance.

Other artists, however, responded via employees of the gallery or organisation in which they worked.

The Exhibition

Many of the pieces in ‘Off the Clock’ relayed a common theme of desolation.

Benjamin Deakin, who assists winner of the 2002 Turner Prize, Keith Tyson, created an illustration of a jagged hole in the ground.

By looking closely, one can just see the faded stencilled words that read ‘DEAD ARTIST’.  The drawing depicts an open grave, and ghostly figures seem to dance in and out of the detailed illustration.

A section of "FP 12:16" by Gary Doherty

Gary Doherty’s large drawing depicts a loan woman looking over a city that she seems very much disconnected from.

However, the second image of her in the illustration that appears at the end of a tunnel-like hole indicates that she is somehow watching herself rather than the city.

Reuben Negron’s painting was of a half naked woman alone in a room.  His use of watercolours and gouache were interesting, giving the painting a graphic novel feel.  The images come to life, creating a certain measure of intensity within the loan figure as she pleases herself in bed.

Yet, perhaps the most obvious feeling of desolation was the painting by Allison Edge, who assisted artist Jeff Koons.

Part of her Magic Forest series, Camp Thunderbird, oil on canvas, depicted a campground scene with several tire swings hanging off of a rope.

"Camp Thunderbird" by Allison Edge

Edge’s painting has a magical and eerie feeling, and one is compelled to ask why no children or people inhabit it at all.

Yet, the pieces, which depicted certain ghostly characteristics, were offset by some equally interesting sculptures.

Daryl Brown’s Mother and Cat was a sort of Escher-esque sculpture of wood.

With Brown’s recent Judo Series in mind, it is interesting to see how the artist continues to play with gravity.

The sculpture, though seemingly heavy on the top is held up by a single metal pedestal, which disappears into the bottom of the piece.

Brown has assisted artist Gereon Krebber, who won the Jerwood Sculpture Prize in 2003.

Another sculpture, which evokes discussion, is Alison Gill’s Stray Object. A model of a tiny brown bird with a broken wing is in the centre of a large cube.

At first, one may think of a bird within a cage, except that the large box-like cube has holes carved in varying sizes, allowing the bird to escape once he is mended.

One side of "Stray Object" by Alison Gill

Gill’s approach asks viewers to contemplate the bird’s circumstance and the bird’s fate.

Gill has assisted YBA member Gavin Turk, who, in a strange turn of events, will assist her on a sculpture in one of the upcoming exhibitions.

Matt Blackler’s work with wood seems to speak loudly of nature.  The round wooden pieces, at first look, seem like slices of a tree – something a lumberjack would produce.

A closer look reveals that the wood has been manipulated in such a way that perhaps alludes to one of its former states.

Blackler, who assists Gordon Cheung, often works with wood, creating sculptures that require a great deal of physical work.

Other artists whose work will be shown in ‘Off the Clock’ are Rachel Beach who has assisted Roxy Paine, Jason Bryant who has assisted Kehinde Wiley, Sy Hackney who has assisted Eamon Everall and Jenny Morgan who has assisted Marilyn Minter.

The ‘Off the Clock’ series, sponsored also by Like the Spice, will continue in both London and New York as follows:

9 to 17 October, The Magnificent Basement Gallery, 128 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3AP

14 October to 14 November, 92Y Tribeca Art Gallery, 200 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

4 November to 6 December, Like The Spice Gallery, 224 Roebling Street. Brooklyn, NY 11211

4 to 17 November, Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Grove Road, London, E3 4QY

Kathyrn Stockett: An Intuitive Look at Race

I have to admit that I find it almost amusing that critics have worried more about the connotations of white author Kathryn Stockett writing in a black woman’s voice, then about the subject matter of her book.

The Help, an incredibly intuitive novel, takes the reader on a journey to Jackson, Mississippi during the 60s when segregation was still forced by law.

Stockett doesn’t hold back in her prose, which is something for which readers can be eternally grateful.

Instead, the author gets inside the minds of Southern women during that time period, black and white, in order to explore the divisions and connections between them.

The novel inspires readers to re-evaluate the often one-dimensional interpretation of those horrible times by supposing, quite rightly, that there were people on both sides, who bridged the gap between races.

Stockett’s story doesn’t demonise the characters, but shows a delightful three-dimensional side of the human experience.

Ambiguity

If anything could potentially be learned from reading The Help, it is that the ambiguity of characters is not an easy thing to accomplish in the type of story that usually promotes religious agendas of good versus evil.

Stockett’s novel doesn’t set up camp within a comfort zone, but instead explores a higher truth by depicting white Southerners, who are just as trapped as their oppressed black maids and blacks, who live life freer and braver than any other characters in the book.

This is the strength of the novel, its unwillingness to conform to a preconceived notion about segregation in 1960s America.

No doubt, the author drew from her own experiences as a daughter of Mississippi. We can only imagine that her characters are based on people she knew growing up there.

The Help has moments of tenderness and connection between people that are surprising and beautiful, showing the strength of all women despite the hardships of those times.

Stockett’s novel is filled to the brim with human problems that are anything but black and white, which makes it an important and timely book for Americans and those, who wish to understand the culture in light of its slow but progressive changes in regards to race.

Carrie Haber: A Maltese at ease

Carrie Haber

Carrie Haber has devoted her life to music, which is not at all extraordinary for a young singer/songwriter.

But what is unique about the Malta-born artist is that she hasn’t spent the past few years doggedly searching for a big break.

She, in essence, goes where the wind takes her.  Yet, despite her relaxed attitude about her career, opportunities seem to have fallen into her lap like overripe fruit.

The artist received a free offer to have her video filmed by a producer in Malta, who kindly decided to take her on as a project for his marketing company.

She also received vocal lessons, which gave her the skills she needed to become a vocal coach in her spare time.

Performing Right Society

After earning enough money to produce her own EP, Haber attended a Performing Right Society meeting for artists in Malta.

The organisation, created to make sure artists get paid royalties for commercial use of their music, had drawn an interesting array of people.

When one of the attendees asked Haber to loan her keyboard to him for a show he was doing later, she agreed.  The artist was none other than British music promoter Tony Moore.  He was so grateful that he asked Haber to open his show that night.

“He invited me to come to London and perform in his venues.  I was coming over regularly at first, for a week at a time and then a month.  I made the decision that because things were happening for me in London, I should make a move.”

Haber’s move to the richly diverse and cultural city of London caused her fans to develop a greater respect and recognition for her as an artist.

Carrie Haber at The Bedford

The Malta Music Awards

In 2009, she won Best Songwriter and Best Female Artist at the Malta Music Awards.

By 2010, after living in London for just over a year, the talented singer/songwriter had already attracted some influential people in the music business.

“I’m working with Sting’s producer, U2, and Peter Gabriel.”

But while Haber’s good fortune is seemingly a windfall, it is her attributes as an artist that is undoubtedly the secret to her success.

On stage, her humility is as much a part of her energy as the songs she belts out with incredible self-assuredness.

“I’ve improved so much,” admitted the singer, later on.  “I received a lot of constructive criticism.  I had one to one’s with Tony Moore that have opened up my mind.  I have a better understanding of what talent scouts are looking for.”

Backup

Like any young artist, 25-year old Haber has difficult moments in her career.

“I have moments of worry, but nothing ever happens when I panic.  It’s also about having a backup.  I live music.  I breathe music.  I teach music as a backup so that I can be around it all the time.”

Almost every decision Haber makes is based on self-improvement, not only as an artist, but as a person.

“I studied psychology in university because I wanted to understand myself and others a little better.  It opened my mind a lot.  I check in with myself often and ask questions like, ‘Why am I going through this?’ and ‘What’s going on with me?’

Her willingness to self-improve has made it easier for her to make vital connections in the music business.

Her magnetism is obvious to everyone in the room, even if it isn’t to her.  Over coffee, Haber’s cheerful disposition infects another singer and friend nearby.  The two begin to giggle like schoolgirls.

Animated, Haber continues to talk about self-therapy.  And even in this, her philosophy of letting inspiration find her comes through.

“You don’t have to go looking for whatever your spiritual muse is, just stop and look within.”

Her face a bit more serious, Haber warns against musicians being unclear about their art.

“Artists tend to focus on the business side of things too much.  If you forget about the spiritual and the passionate side of music, you’ve lost the plot.”

When asked if she had any advice for young artists out there, she simply responded,

“Lie on the grass and just breathe. Be inspired by quiet moments.  There’s a difference between someone who’s writing from the heart and artificiality in songwriting.  Don’t do it if it’s not who you are because things won’t connect that way.  You’ve got to be genuine.”

Daryl Brown: Portrait of an artist

The smell of wood was unmistakeable.

'The Judo Series' - No. 3

The space was filled with bits and bobs, an old table, a repaired wooden chair, a u-shaped tangle of wires suspended from the ceiling, orange-handled saws hanging from the wall and clean make-shift white pillars that displayed tiny spherical sculptures in orange and brown.

In many ways, it seemed perhaps the average work space for any young artist.  But it also had character – the mark of one particular sculptor.

Like the artist who works within, this studio is – in part – tucked away and not easy to find, but expressive and creative, a treasure on the east side of Hackney.

Daryl Brown is the quietest figure in the room.  His knick knacks all speak loudly, but his voice is gentle and unassuming.  He talks about his work with a sort of understated humility.

I explain to him what I’m working on and he responds with a series of sympathetic head nods letting me know that he is willing to join the  myriad of hard-working and passionate young artists I’m writing about.

The Judo Series

He describes the motivation for his recent works, the Judo Series.  The pieces are inspired by a book on Judo – an ancient martial art.  And like the figures that move within its pages, Brown’s pieces are organic, flexible, creative forms.

At his exhibition in the Magnificent Basement, the pieces sat under light, which highlighted the taut muscular bend of the wood as it seemingly defied gravity.   The light bounced off of the reflective surface of the slick blackness of his cradled figure.

Inanimate or not, there’s something human in each of them.  Brown’s pieces breathe as if they were alive.

And in and around the sometimes austere display, the artist was as undisturbed then as he was sitting before me in his studio.  I wondered not for the first time if, ironically, he was recreated by his pieces.  Had his work somehow defined him even as he left them behind to explore a new idea?

His experiences as an artist in London derive much from his encounters as a student.

'The Judo Series' - No. 6

“I did feel like I was a bit in a wilderness,” he said about leaving art school.  “I was wondering around a bit, not really sure what to do, convinced that I couldn’t afford a studio.”

But his desperation caused him to go back to the University of East London, where he received his degree, to use the space in order to continue creating.

After being independently approached from students at university, he was asked to be a part of a show.

When Brown likened his experience during that time, working with another artist, as an apprenticeship – it was no surprise.  Brown’s whole demeanour speaks of modesty.

ALISN

He lauded ALISN – an artist led initiative – for the consistent support they’ve given him, especially in regards to his exhibition at the Magnificent Basement, which they sponsored.

“I was very much championed by ALISN,” he said, warmly.

He contemplated for a moment when I asked him about the artists who inspire him.  Surrounded by sculptures, I didn’t expect him to mention painting – but he revealed a soft spot for the art in his slight smile. A big fan of Francis Bacon, his modesty again showed no bounds.

“I was doing my GCSE’s when I did a painting, which didn’t look like one of Bacon’s – let me make that clear.  But I like his work.  I look at paintings quite a lot.  I like Caravaggio.  I also like the sculptor Phyllida Barlow who’s bold style has played a big part in my work lately.”

'The Judo Series' - No. 7

Yet, despite his unassuming nature, Brown has very strong feelings about the type of artist he wants to be.  Working as a technician at Havering College and paying £110 a month for studio space, he isn’t always certain about the future or even about his own evolution as an artist.

“Ideally, I’d like to believe it’s about getting the work to a certain standard.  But that’s probably a very idealistic point a view.  I still feel I have a long way to go, but I’ll probably always feel that way.”

Brown says this with a smirk, as if he’s just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  It becomes clear that despite the hardships, he finds creating art worth every minute.

Some of Brown’s current work will be exhibited this coming Saturday, 9th October at the Magnificent Basement in London from 7:30pm.

Lizzie Ball: From violin to vocals

Photographer: David Redfern

In a place alive with the faith of worshipers, where stone walls and wooden pews reign supreme, a small ensemble of musicians play beneath a stunning glass window.

A bass player caresses his instrument like a man in love.  The nimble fingers of a pianist dance across the keys like a card shark hiding the magic number.

A woman enters in a white, sleeveless summer frock that fits her slender physique like a glove.  She seems a tennis pro, who suddenly decided to put down her racket in exchange for a microphone.

When she sings, her voice is smooth and sultry, and tells her story.  Her name is Lizzie Ball.

Before long, she switches instruments – from voice to violin, from violin back to voice back to violin again.  All eyes in the crowd are on her.

And while this humbling scene is one the audience might expect to see again and again, they would be wise to always imagine Ball at the centre.

There is an air about her that fills the room.  She is magnetic, immensely talented and down to earth.

The Orchestra of Life

One of Ball’s greatest mentors is Nigel Kennedy, who recently chose her to head his Orchestra of Life.

When Ball was ten, her mother took her to see the well known Kennedy in her local town of Sheffield.  Ball was rooted to her seat.

“I remember gripping the rail in front of me from the balcony and looking at this crazy guy, with his hair and facial expressions and just thinking, He’s amazing!

About 15 years later, she met Kennedy at Ronnie Scott’s and decided to tell him how much he meant to her as a role model.

Kennedy and his wife eventually developed a friendship with Ball and asked her to fulfil the role of leader of the Orchestra of Life, a musical ensemble which Kennedy put together earlier this year.

“It was an amazing moment, because I think it felt like karmically it was the right point for us to work together.   So I was really delighted when he approached me.  It’s been just great.  Every minute you work with him, you learn something new.”

Violin with vocals

No one ever pushed Ball into becoming a violinist.  It’s something she wanted from the age of seven.

After obtaining a music degree from Cambridge, she began making a living by playing the violin.

During a jam session, one night, with friends, Ball began to sing accompanied by a guitar.   Everyone was surprised at her natural ability and urged her to pursue it.

“To me it was something that I had always done in my own time, in the shower or with my Mum.  Strangely, I never considered singing as a career move.  It just hadn’t ever been an option for me.  Eventually, I took it a bit more seriously by trying to get to a similar level as I am with the violin.  It’s helped me to think very differently about the violin as well.  Suddenly there’s a new aspect – everything is broadened.”

The Lizzie Ball Band

Ball’s father is a jazz pianist, so she grew up listening to Herbie Hancock, Julian Joseph, Ella Fitzgerald and other greats, which explains in part, why the classical violinist has gravitated so strongly toward jazz.

The vocalist also attributes her love of jazz to her mother’s eclectic taste in music and the fact that they lived near Sheffield during a time when the town was ripe with Northern bands.

Playing in various bands from quite a young age, Ball performed with orchestra members and also joined them when they played in their own bands.

“I was probably about 15 years old, in a pub that was a really cool venue for music in Sheffield.  I remember walking out and being nervous, but literally just going for it – throwing myself in the deep end.  From there, I continued trying to improvise a bit.  And during my lessons I was told to transcribe jazz music, which is a really good way to get those colours and flavours in your harmonic language, so you’re not thinking in a straight classical way.  Jazz is a blank page; it’s just amazing.”

Ball’s eclectic background caused her to eventually create a band of her own.  The Lizzie Ball Band is made up of a skilled and diverse group of colleagues from Ball’s classical background and regular performers at Ronnie Scotts, including jazz guitarist Nick Meier, pianist James Pearson, drummer Chris Dagley, percussionist James Turner, and double bass players Rory Dempsey and Sam Burgess.

Staying grounded as an artist

Ball believes that it’s important to stay positive and to engage in activities that improves one’s outlook on life.

Photographer: David Redfern

The artist works in projects designed to help stigmatised children channel their energies in a healthy and rewarding way.  One of them, Britten Sinfonia’s project, sponsors a live gig in which the children perform.  The young students also get the opportunity to work with Ball and other artists on music projects, improving their self-confidence.

Self-confidence is an important aspect to being an artist, according to Ball.  The violinist warns against self-deprecation, which she often feels is present in England.

“There has to be a certain amount of humility, but always a pride in what you do.  It’s important for artists to get outside of England and experience other things in the world.”

As a violinist, vocalist, and leader of a band and an orchestra – music seems to permeate every aspect of Lizzie Ball’s life.  Yet, this seems as much a labour of love for the artist as it is a career.

“I think it’s very important that music still retains its true nature and we don’t get completely motivated by business.”

With incredible focus and self-discipline, she continues to embrace the world of music she was introduced to in her childhood.  Music lovers would be wise to watch out for Ball over the next couple of years.  Her dynamic personality and unwavering passion has already secured her status as a principal player in the genres of jazz and classical music.

Lizzie Ball will be performing Bachs Chaconne for solo violin with 4 vocal part accompaniment with New York Polyphony in Oslo Cathedral on August 7th at 7 30pm.

She will also be performing with the Urban Soul Orchestra in London and the South of France on the 2nd, 4th, 20th, and the 27th through the 29th of August.

‘Over the Edge’ debuts at the Barbican

Last night at the Barbican, the dance show ‘Over the Edge’ debuted to a packed audience.

A diverse group of young performers entered the stage with what was sure to be a delightful display of raw urban talent.

After all, hot new street dancing groups have become more well-known to the mainstream public ever since Diversity won ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ last year.

Yet, while Over the Edge was without a doubt a flawless exhibition of technical ability and talent, it lacked passion.

Though the audience applauded vigorously after each segment of the show, it was painfully apparent that the crowd’s enthusiasm seemed based upon each dancer’s ability to krump and pop with the best of ’em, rather than an ability to engender any emotion at all.

So what happened?

The show was an interesting array of choreographed segments that seemed orchestrated to tantalise the audience.

To some degree, this attempt was highly successful – especially in segments like ‘My Alien Abduction’, which used lighting and a large projection screen to create the illusion that the players were on a spaceship being forced to move in unusual ways.

These segments were the perfect formats to feature abstract dance moves that are often associated with various types of street dancing.

However, like a lot of street dancing, so much of the show seemed focused on profiling individuals rather than the group as one fluid moving unit.

Yet, the more obvious problem was the lack of connection to the audience.  It was clear that this talented dance troupe was having a great deal of fun on the stage, but the audience wasn’t included.

The lack of passion in the music is perhaps partly responsible for the lack of passion in the dancing.  A techno-jamboree, it certainly was – but the music wasn’t the least bit emotive, which strongly affected the entire show.

Though it might be interesting to see what this young and talented group might be like after several more performances, Over the Edge is – at least for now – coming up a bit short.

Over the Edge is a production of  Boy Blue Entertainment and will be shown at the Barbican until 25th July.

George H. Choat: A young actor’s positive approach

When George H. Choat sat down in front of me in a neighbourhood coffee shop, I knew that I was about to have an experience. 

If star quality does indeed exist, Choat has it in considerable abundance.

Twenty-seven years old, dark-haired and with a Brooklyn accent so distinct that I half expected Joe Pesci and Bobby De Niro to come join our table and buy drinks for the house, the young actor carries himself with a hefty amount of self-respect.

My questions about the struggles of a young NY-raised actor living in the competitive city of London bounced off of his chest as if they were bullets and he was Superman.

‘You could say there’s a certain amount of competition out there, but you have to focus on you.  I know and except that with massive action comes massive results. It’s counter-productive to focus on competition all the time.’

Choat finds the inspiration to do what he does through his great passion for the arts.  Having had utilised his skills musically for a while, he was told by friends and family that he had a proclivity for acting.  It wasn’t long before he made the decision to change direction.

Staying positive

As a young actor in London, Choat seems to have none of the angst or fear that others of his ilk are often inundated with. Instead, with piercing brown eyes and squared shoulders, he relayed the aspects of his life that allow him to maintain an incredible attitude of positivity and confidence.

His inspirations are not surprising. 

‘The day Michael Jackson died, the world came to a stop for a week.  It was a massive lost. He was the personification of doing something at its greatest level.’

Denzel Washington is also one of Choat’s most respected mentors because of the star’s respect for his craft.

‘He has such a good energy as an actor.  I find him such a great inspiration because in all of the roles that he has played, he studies the art deeply. He becomes emotionally involved with his characters.”

So much of the ‘good energy’ that Choat attributes to Washington is mirrored in the composed, intensity of Choat himself. Still, he doesn’t ignore the nuts and bolts of the acting business.

Choat thinks it’s important for an actor to look out for what’s new, like casting websites, so that it isn’t necessary to rely solely on an agent.  He also believes in the importance of surrounding himself with positive people.

‘Words are important and I believe that words have sometimes boosted people or held them back. In order to combat a negative environment, you have to develop positive habits.’

The young actor builds up his defenses with healthy eating, exercise and relaxation.  With an almost Zen-like quality, he seems ready for anything.  I have no doubt that the term ‘watch this space’ was created with people like Choat in mind.

To learn more about George H. Choat, click here.

ALISN: A resource for young artists

No one expects to leave university with an art degree and immediately land a place in a major gallery.

Anna Bleeker, Jordan Dalladay-Simpson & Iavor Lubomirov

In London, one of the most art-focused cities in the world, there are far more artists than opportunities.

Yet, through a combination of open-mindedness and insight, two artists were motivated to look outside of the art world for a little help.

Iavor Lubomirov and Jordan Dalladay-Simpson, frustrated with the political framework that had become a consistent part of the art world, began knocking on the doors of property developers.

“When you live in a difficult world, it’s easy to forget how much joy it can give a property developer to join in the journey,” said Dalladay-Simpson.  “In a way, a property developer is an artist too.”

ALISN was born

Their persistence paid off and ALISN inevitably was born.  ALISN, which stands for Artist-Led Initiatives Support Network, is an organisation, which focuses on arranging

Iavor Lubomirov's work with paper

exhibitions for students and recent graduates of art school.

This collaborative effort is non-profit and encourages a sense of community by focusing on the art and the artist.

“For us,” said Anna Bleeker, one of ALISN’s coordinators, “art is about getting together with friends.”

This is achieved mainly through the donating of a space by the owner of a property after and, even sometimes during, a refurbishment.

Lubomirov, who believes that there simply aren’t enough people creating opportunities outside of the art world, sees these donations and collaborative efforts as an essential part of the process.

“How do you continue as an artist and keep Bohemian principles?  There are many collectives around London, squat spaces, cafe’s… Exhibiting art does not necessarily mean being in a gallery.”

Stephanie Batiste's 'Light Fitting + Bulb'

An exhibition of paper

One of ALISN’s most recent efforts, was on 26 June, which showed the works of Stephanie Batiste and Lubomirov himself.

Lubomirov, working solely with paper, combined his knowledge of Mathematics with creative vision.  The precise detail in his works gives an added dimension and depth. The way the flat sheets are combined, forces the viewer to consider volume.

Stephanie Batiste's 'Radio + Plug Socket'

Batiste’s works are equally compelling.  Her three-dimensional models are so accurate that one of the visitors of the exhibition couldn’t understand why the light hanging from the ceiling wasn’t turned on, until someone explained to him that it was made entirely out of paper cards.

The exhibition was a testimony to the level of creativity and talent that exists amongst young artists in London.

This joint intellectual effort continues in upcoming exhibitions like Daryl Brown’s ‘The Judo Series’ at The Magnificent Basement located at 128 Farringdon Road on 24th July from 7:00pm to 9:30pm.

If you are an artist or someone interested in art and wish to meet other art enthusiasts, ALISN urges you to get in touch by visiting http://www.alisn.org

Short Film Showcase at the Prince Charles Cinema

Overtime, a short film debuted for one night only at the Prince Charles Cinema Friday night.

The night at the Charles paid homage to the brilliance and creativity of young film graduates, who were given the opportunity to show the best of their work.

Yet, no one owned the night like young Director / Screen Writer Chris Smyth, who’s short film was the last to be shown, but certainly not the least.

Overtime is the story of an office worker, haunted by images of his impending death.

In true short film fashion, Smyth managed to tell a story using very few words.  The visual images, though set in the darkness of an empty office at night, were sharp, well-angled and appropriately gloomy.

This edgy rendition of a psychological thriller places Smyth categorically as one to watch for.

Other Notable Films in the Showcase

Film still from Chris Smyth's 'Overtime'

Other notably well done shorts were Ashley Walker’s My Hands are My Voice, a short documentary about English actress Caroline Parker’s fight against stereotypes associated with disabled people in Britain.

Une Clope, by Sean Phillips, was also a nicely shot, humourous piece.  And Chloe’s Dollhouse by Yasra Jaleel and Bonnie Kim had a surprising surreal quality.

The new age and often exotic sounds of Torfinnur Jákupsson’s music was a lovely edition to the showcase’s interludes.