Thursday evening and there we were at Arts Club East a members club that is the brainchild of legendary Shoreditch host, Gary Fairfull.
ACE shows a broad programme of events including exhibitions of work by members and other invited artists. Black Eyed Susan is a show of paintings that I was invited to exhibit throughout October and November. The work is shown alongside pieces from the permanent collection at the club
The club is a haven of quiet sophistication punctuated by raucous revelry when the situation demands.
The opening night of BLACK EYED SUSAN demanded both and the visitors were not disappointed.
Cocktails and conversation flowed, arts discussed and legs shaken.
The show continues until 21st November Tuesday-Saturday 4pm-1am to members or by appointment to non members.
Arts Club East is to be found above…
The White Horse, 64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
Well what a weekend that was. I arrived on Wednesday to begin setting up downstairs in the gallery underneath Hantverk & Found’s fabulous seafood restaurant, the brainchild of chef Kate de Syllas. Kate has been open for around two months and is bringing something new both as a restaurateur and as a curator, to the regeneration of the old town, close to Margate’s sweep of English seafront.
The opening night of the show was a great deal of fun with visitors to the gallery persuaded to look through the eyes of The Invisible Woman, including having their photos taken, wearing the green eyed mask of visibility. The resulting photographs will be on show and added to the installation at the gallery throughout its run.
Hantverk & Found is just around the corner from Turner Contemporary, which shows an impressive array of internationally recognised artists. At the moment Grayson Perry is showing his Provincial Punk range of pots, puns, industrial sized tapestries and a couple of flickery films celebrating Claire’s (Perry’s alter ego) pinkie in the air brand of suburban sophistication. It was very busy when I went, as it was the weekend that the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair Charabanc parked up behind the bike sheds of TC. The VACBF is formerly a London based institution that over recent years has loaded up it wares and taken its caravan to the coast. This is a fair where traditionally, artists of every kidney open their metaphorical handbags to clean out the crumbs to sell the contents.
There were dancers in knitted cozzies, jigging like disco mad deck hands, as well as artists wearing stick on ‘taches, a dog in a tutu, a man sprawled in car boot, serenading passers by with his mimed siren songs, heard only by those who listened carefully, all showing alongside the art world workhorses, those that lure the flippers and welcome the families. The queues five deep waited nicely for their fistfuls of potential dollars, in the form of limited edition prints and covetable knick-knacks, as well as all sorts of glamorous ‘what have you’s’, that maybe one day will pay to get the kids through college.
Then there was the beacon of all that is new, exciting and black and green, that is, Hantverk & Found. The stall featured work by four artists, there was Sam Simmons with his SAMZINE, a monthly publication by Sam who is a local poet and reviewer of all that you need to know about the arts and music scene in Margate. Much of SAMZINE is hand written and appears as a free flowing train of thought mixed in with some intimate poems that give an insight into waking up after the night before, when the bands played and the reviews were written. Jason Pay is a photographer who lives in Margate and the work he showed was a series of ethereal Polaroids, deftly catching the moment where the sea and the sky become one massive fluid canvas, set in a 2×3 inch print. Tom Swift brought along his collection ‘Container’ prints and T Shirts that give the viewer a glimpse of the ever-present container ships anchored just out of reach on the Margate horizon. His work mixes the fluidity of gouache with a wry black lined commentary of life on the Kent coast. His work is next up at Hantverk & Found, opening at the end of September for a month. Illustrator and music lover, Angela Federico‘s collection of the named, shamed and feted faceless, iconic hairdo’s of ‘Stars Without Eyes’ appeared on a range T Shirts, mugs and bags, were popular with the queuing throng. Finally, I took along some ‘Fido at the Lido’ A4 drawings that featured kittens in cups and dogs not allowed on the beach, accompanied by Saucy Seagulls Scoffing chips. By four o’clock it was all over bar the shouting and we retreated en masse to be served buckets of mussels with white wine, supplied by our hostess Kate. Karen Ashton organiser of the VACBF turned up at H&F in a whirl of post boot fair excitement, already making plans for next year.
This also gave me a chance to show more folk around The Invisible Woman, in the basement gallery, talking them through the frieze of over 250 6 x 4in High Street printed photographs, all bearing the flashing green eyes of The Invisible Woman, she who empowers the unsung and appreciates the unrecognised heroines and heroes, contemporary and historical. The eyes are all taken from one photo and are applied with care to each subject, highlighting an aspect of the story of each chosen subject . There is all too often a quick visual gag, but always with a point to make or a story to tell.
I didn’t leave until Monday, when the heavens opened in true seaside style and back to The Smoke I came.
The Invisible Woman show runs until Thursday 24th September at Hantverk & Found, 18 King Street Margate CT9 1DA
It is a hard world for little helpless things. For the wandering child, for the furred small rabbit on the river shore, crouched helpless before the owl’s feathers murderous fall.
Davis Grubb / Charles Laughton – The Night of the Hunter
On a sad day when the media is filled with dreadful images of a toddler’s lifeless body washed upon the shores at Bodrum, Turkey as he attempts to escape the mindless destruction of yet another senseless war I have chosen to write about my show at Angus-Hughes Gallery which took place in July this year . It seems fitting instead to pay tribute to Aylan Kurdi and his brother Galip as well as to their parents Rehan and Abdullah, as well as to pay my respects to the countless other children who live with the results of their terrible, fruitless odyssey in the certain knowledge that the world is failing them.
The concept behind the show explores the notion of how children bear, with great fortitude, the pain and responsibility wrought by the sins of an adult world, one in which they hold no power. Now these poor benighted children, running from war and destruction in Syria have become symbolic of the strength of they who must carry on, as they are forced to flee from the wrath of those that have created this shameful situation, with scant regard for the inevitable human cost. It is also about the love and desperate support that the parents showed for their children, to put them into such terrible danger and for the trust that the young must have to embark on such a perilous course. How, as children they must abide and endure their fate and suffer at the mercy of forces beyond their control.
I am finding it hard to write about the images contained in the show or about the work itself it seems as nothing compared to this real ever unfolding tragedy, to witness, daily the consequences of ‘the owl’s feathers murderous fall.’
Today marks the first anniversary of my ongoing performance piece Tragedy Responsibility Injury Pain. I launched TRIP in Walton in the North of Liverpool as I wished to take this innovative work to the regions before bringing it to capital. It began with me dashing myself onto a normally busy road folding my right arm into my body as I flew. This resulted in the initial crack of my left kneecap, followed swiftly by my body weight landing onto my right wrist causing it to fracture in the shape of my ribs. I lay there unable to lift myself from the road waiting for a car to come, with two women urging me to ‘GET OUT OF THE ROAD’. Fortunately I had an ambulance on standby fifty yards down the hill whereupon my ‘assistants’ carted me off to Fazakerly Hospital. Involving the NHS has been very important to this performance and has included many participants from Nurses, Doctors, an Anaesthetist, Tea Lady, Cleaners, a bunch of old ladies, my niece Stefanie Cinnamon Young and sisters Philomena Young, Stella Halpin and my old Ma of course. I then brought the piece to London in the back of an ambulance wearing my signature leg brace and plaster. This stage of the performance took me to Homerton Hospital where I worked closely with the Fracture Clinic and Physiotherapy Department over four and a half months. An evaluation of this stage of TRIP allowed me to take my work to a wider public and medical professions, including my local surgery.
Part two of TRIP was again staged in Liverpool on 27th December by me sliding very slowly on an iced up metal grid at ten in the evening, breaking a bone in my right wrist. The participants included my sister and my dog. I felt it necessary to include canines as an under represented minority that has little or no access to performance art. I took the piece back to Fazakerly Hospital and moved it consequently to Homerton in East London. This stage of the performance took place over six weeks involving bone specialists, bus drivers and blood clinics.
The final performance of TRIP took place on 30th May again with my launching myself onto a busy road this time with a taxi hurtling toward me. With a participant shouting STOP THERE’S A LADY IN THE ROAD’ the taxi driver didn’t stop but I managed get scraped up off the road just in time. This event was taken the next day to Homerton where I engaged medical professionals, X Ray department and Hospital Porters. I came away with a broken ankle, broken bone in my hand, a wooden walking stick and an air boot. Participants in this piece included friends with cars and food.
I feel that TRIP has been vital in engaging both the public and the medical profession in an interactive piece that has taken performance art to a wider audience Throughout the year I have taken TRIP to a Wedding, three Memorial Services, a New Year’s Eve party and a Fortieth Birthday Weekend where it has been received with much success. TRIP can be seen at Sunday’s Art Car Boot Fair with The Outside World All Stars.
TRIP ends in two weeks time with the binning of the boot and taking the stick to The Scout Shop. The performance will not be repeated in the near future.
Thanks to everyone for your support and for the pledges on 10th May, for my two forthcoming multimedia exhibitions, Children Carrying Heavy Objects. The shows celebratethe strength of the young and their indomitable will to survive.
For those who didn’t make it to the fundraising launch, you can still pledge using the PayPal button below. You have until July to make your donation for which you will receive a reward based on the amount of your gift.
Continuing my longstanding tradition of collaboration with artists, designers, performers and musicians I am pleased to announce the brand new line up of The Outside World All Stars or TOWAS if you like. The All Stars comprise some old favourites such as music maestro Mat Ducasse AKA Matty Skylab, those letterpress lotharios Pixel Press Julieta Hernandez Adame and David Vassie, as well as some new and exciting collaborators including the woman of a thousand voices, Fenella Fudge and choreographer to the stars Dame Vanessa Fenton. There are also guest spots from photographers Claire Lawrie and Alixandra Fazzina, along with the tiny dancers ‘The Little Things’ AKA Georgie & Elvis Wallace and many more.
Mat Ducasse and I have worked together on many projects over the years and this new work is the culmination of ideas that have been buzzing around The Outside World since at least 2011. We are both equally fascinated by the seminal 1955 film The Night of the Hunter and have spent many hours picking over the bones of the story and of the making of the film itself. So when it came to creating this new exhibition it seemed natural to ask Mat to work with me to create a brand new score to accompany a libretto in the form of a reading of the book of the same name, to be narrated by Fenella Fudge.
Fenella Fudge although a very experienced radio presenter having being ‘best known as one of the calm voices of Radios 2 and 4’ as well a voiceover and voice actor, is a new member of the TOWAS team. I am happy to say that she will be working on the show, demonstrating her vocal versatility telling the story of The Night of the Hunter, by Davis Grubb for a contemporary audience. Here she is reading from Louis de Bernier’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
The wonderfully talented Vanessa Fenton danced with The Royal Ballet for thirteen years as well as with the Ballet Nationale de Marseille, Roland Petit, with The English National Ballet and with Wayne Sleep at The London Coliseum, before she decided to run away to join The Outside World All Stars to choreograph a piece for the show. I am very excited to be able to be working with Vanessa as she directs and The Little Things (Georgie & Elvis Wallace), in a performance based on the underlying concept of the show ‘Children Carrying Heavy Objects’.
I have worked with Julieta Hernandez Adame at The Outside World since 2010. She has realised many of my ideas as graphics and publicity for shows and events over the years. Julieta first showed her work as a typographer and printmaker at the gallery making provocative verbal challenges through the written word throwing down the gauntlet and the velvet glove all in one searing phrase. For this show she is working with David Vassie at Pixel Press to create the visual identity for It’s A Hard World For Little Things’, with beautifully wrought letterpress editions as well as designing all of the publicity material. I am so pleased to have them back in TOWASland where they belong.
Claire Lawrie is a portrait photographer who has has collaborated with me on photographing some of the young subjects for the show. I have used these as a basis for subsequent drawings.
Terri by Claire Lawrie
Alixandra Fazzina is an internationally renowned photographer who works in often under reported conflict zones highlighting the humanitarian consequences of war. She is graciously allowing me access to her archives to source images from which to create a new drawing.
The Flowers of Afghanistan by Alixandra Fazzina.
There are many others involved in the show who form part of The Outside World All Stars and who are playing vital roles in the production of the show, including Craig Hunt, Rucksack Cinema and The Bhopal Medical Appeal. This is a very exciting moment for me, bringing together this wonderful group of people to work on the first ‘solo’ show of my drawings since 2011.