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Interview I M P R E I N T, I r e n e A n d r e o u , P e t e M o u n t f o r d , Ly n s e y C r y s t a l , V i a n B o r c h e r t

A le sson on w hat c an’t be s een by lo oki ng in a mi rror, onl y felt. B y J osh R oy

Art for Sale Curated artworks for sale

Los t in D igi tal Sp ac e. The onl ine exhibi ti on expe rien ce. B y R ebec ca An drew

A L e s s o n o n L i f e S U B T I T L E D i n A r t. By Josh Roy Reformation, Revolution, and Resistance: A brief history of still life painting. By Jake Kendall A l e s s o n o n w h a t c a n’ t b e s e e n b y l o o k i n g i n a m i r r o r, o n l y f e l t. By Josh Roy

Has loc kdow n cha nged the way we enga ge wi th a rt forever ? B y S us an M cC ann Shine On. A revie w of N ewbur y Corn Exchange s Li ght Fest iva l. B y S us an na Rol and

Writers Jake Kendall Josh Roy Rebecca Andrew Susan McCann Susanna Roland

Editor & Director Ronis Varlaam Art Direction & Design Anastasios Veloudis Contact us

Facebook / Instagram: Art_Love Magazine

Cover artwork THE MOMENT HAS PASSED Ronis Varlaam

Artwork at the left RECORDING FRAGMENTS 13 Anastasios Veloudis

01 Interview




Irene Andreou


Lynsey Crystal


Pete Mountford


Vian Borchert


ART + TEXT 4 artists explore text and image


A Lesson on Life SUBTITLED in Art. BY JOSH ROY


Lost in (Digital) Space The Online Exhibition Experience. BY REBECCA ANDREW







Reformation, Revolution, and Resistance: A brief history of still life painting.

A lesson on what can’t be seen by looking in a mirror, only felt. BY JOSH ROY

Has lockdown changed the way we engage with art forever?

Shine On A review of Newbury Corn Exchanges Light Festival by Susanna Roland. BY REBECCA ANDREW



Curated artworks for sale

Column and artworks for sale





IMPREINT Irene Andreou Lynsey Crystal Pete Mountford Vian Borchert


IMPREINT When did you realise you wanted to be an artist? I did not realise. It just happened.

Who are the artists that influence your work? None.

Tell us about your practice/work. There is no plan. I follow my moods. I know when an artwork is finished.

How do you seek out opportunities? I don’t. To be an artist is a way of existing and that is the opportunity.

How many of the 100 most successful artists do you think will be remembered in 100 years? It is a question that does not interest me. I will not be there.

Do you think that there are great artists who have never been discovered? Sure.

What do you think of Private Views? It is just mental masturbation for the pseudo rich.

What do you like/dislike about the artworld. I like the fact that you can find creative people. I dislike the importance of money.

What is your dream project? It is a dream. I do not want to tell you.

What suggestions/advice would you give to other artists or aspiring artists? I never give advice. No one can show you the way.





IRENE ANDREOU When did you realise you wanted to be an artist? Was your family supportive? I realised that I want to be an artist just after I finished high school.

Most people say youth is a time of fantasy, and one will eventually grow out of it but my love for art had begun in the early stages of my childhood. I remember when I was a young girl of about five years old in a dusty village in Cyprus, I had no interest in playing around with others, but I would sit in a secluded place and draw. My earliest memory is of one evening when I was drawing tulips and cows. This did not go unnoticed with my family who for the most part of my early childhood supported me. Artist’s response to Waste Pollution Series 1 - Image courtesy of the artist

The defining period in my journey as an artist came soon after I finished high school. It was a very difficult period for me as I was struggling with myself for some time. There were a lot of discouraging voices and I almost fell into the temptation of giving in, but I realised I could not run away from that initial call and if I had listened to the criticism I would have had to live with my conscience. To keep my dream alive, I made the decision to fight for what I was passionate about. So, I travelled abroad to study art. This was met with heavy criticism from my father who in his good intentions did not see my future in art. But it has always been so even with great artists, take for example Vincent Van Gogh (1853-90) and Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). These are people who had great dreams and talent but were faced with heavy criticism. Looking back at it now, that criticism further fuelled my passion and dream to be an artist. To any aspiring artist out there, I would like to encourage you to follow your passions. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world. Remember, everyone is an artist.




“For me, my dream project would be one that would achieve the goal of bringing environmental awareness to the public.” More about Irene Andreou at

Describe your journey from drawing or painting (presumably) to conceptual art? The period of enlightenment in my art journey was when I joined

my undergraduate course. This was when I started to shift gradually from the technical skills of drawing and painting to conceptual art. Coming from a closed society in Cyprus with conservative views it took time for me to adjust and accept the many varied facets of conceptual art. When I was first introduced to conceptual art pieces such as the ‘Artist’s Shit’, a 1961 artwork by the Italian artist Piero Manzoni (1933-63), it was initially shocking with me but, I understood in that reaction I managed to comprehend what the artist was trying to communicate with me and everyone else. That created a lasting impact on me, and it was the beginning of my journey to conceptual art. I understood that my prior approach was just another art form in the many varied forms and that my initial knowledge around conceptual art was narrow. The three years of my undergraduate course were the best years of my life in terms of contemporary art. It was a journey that led me into a deep understanding of myself as an artist whilst also developing myself professionally. I believe that conceptual art is not just a kind of art, but rather it is a way of expression; I would say it is a combination of art with psychology. When you observe an art-piece, you are first trying to understand what the artist wanted to reflect through their art and at the same time, you reveal both artist’s concerns and aspects of your inner self. Comprehension of a conceptual piece of art differs from one person to another, and that is where the magic stands for me. While trying to see through the artist’s gaze, personal concerns are revealed, along with interests and what surrounds our subconscious mind.

Tell us about your practice/work. I consider myself as a multidisciplinary artist, and my work ranges from paintings, printmaking and photography to sculptures and installations. Throughout the years, I have been flexible, and I explored myself in different elements that enabled me to engage the public with my art. My main objective is to spread awareness on the problems that society is facing in this present era. My research reflects the relationship of man with nature, the hierarchy that prevails between the two, and the role of the society amongst them.

The common element in my practice is the portrayal of materialistic chaos that man has created and has brought destruction to himself. My work is an expression of this chaos, and ultimately I aspire to bring awareness to future generations of the importance of living in harmony with nature.

Is painting still important? Yes, I strongly believe that painting is still very important. Through painting, we can bring awareness to various issues in the society such as sustainability, racism, mental health issues etc. In every age of man’s history painting has always proven to be relevant and this age is not different.

What is your dream project? For me, my dream project would be one that would achieve the goal of bringing environmental awareness to the public. Through my work, I wish to communicate effectively to the public on matters that they are facing in terms of sustainability. I do not have yet a fully formulated idea on what that dream project would exactly look like but, all I can say is that it would be in the context of environmental and sustainability awareness.

Could you live without practising art? No, I cannot imagine myself not practising art. Art brings colour and meaning to my life. It is a way of expression for me. When struggles knock on my door, art is the only thing that keeps me going. Practising art is a way of exhaling all that burdens my soul while at the same time, it heals my inner wounds. Through art, I have found meaning and fulfilling in my life. Art acts as a mean of communication for me, for example, in 2018, I volunteered in Morocco at schools with kids of various ages. We could not communicate with words as we did not speak the same language. Art was the bridge that shrunk that gap and brought us close to manage to communicate effectively. I echo the words of Yaacov Agam (b. 1928), an Israeli artist when he said, ‘There are two distinct languages. There is the verbal, which separates people… and there is the visual that is understood by everybody. _


LYNSEY CRYSTAL When did you decide to be an artist? Was your family supportive? I was particularly drawn to creating detailed roadmaps of imaginary towns when I was a child and most comfortable in my own company creating pictures. As I got older, producing art was a form of escapism and self expression. It enables me to create fictional realities in a visual and conceptual form. I have neither been encouraged or discouraged by family, my choices have only been swayed by financial responsibilities or driven by my own inner dreams or hindered by deep seated fears.

Flight__Lynsey Crystal - Image courtesy of the artist

Tell us about your practice/work. I capture all my images in derelict urban places and natural environments which, whilst currently devoid of humans, have been touched by their presence. I am endeavouring both to show the impact of humans on the natural environment and nature’s resilience and its ability to evolve and survive despite human ecological destruction. That theme develops organically within each work. The images I choose and the way I create the collage comes from a subconscious place and I rarely finish a piece within the constructs of the original idea. There is also a sense of escapism I experience, exploring the hidden and mysterious places I find which I endeavour to portray through the fictional worlds I create within them. The miniature aspect of the work also reflects the fragility of humanity. Despite its impact on the planet, the works are designed to demonstrate its insignificance in terms of time and space.

Do you have to do other work to survive? Do you find that depressing? I work as a self-employed holistic therapist. I love working with Crystal energy and Reiki Seichem and am currently studying Acupuncture. It has taken a long time to get to a point that my work life, lifestyle and choices reflect my inner world and natural thought processes. I can feel incredibly trapped and overwhelmed when I can’t be myself and explore my passions. The fine balance between having time to make art and making enough money to support myself seems to be almost illusive at times.




What is your dream project?

Are art galleries just shops?

I feel especially concerned about Earth’s future, it is the most exquisite creation and would be impossible to imagine it in all its complexity. I feel it is a privilege to be part of this planet and to have the consciousness we have to explore it so deeply and to question the meaning of life upon it.

I would imagine that without sponsorship or funding an art gallery has to function in a way that generates enough money to be able to promote and explore new artists and also pay the rent. Galleries for me are environments that I can get inspiration from and become familiar with a new artist or concept or practice, but for many they can form a fabulous space to find and purchase the artwork that captivates them.

I am working on images that I hope will evoke this sense of wonder and also communicate the real impact of our species on the entirety of this world and what a tragedy it will be if humanity cannot avert a disaster. It would be a amazing to be part of a project that could help raise awareness of climate change and animal welfare.

What are your future plans? I have had extra time over the last 12 months to develop my art practice to a point where my work now has a solid concept, consistent aesthetic and I have a greatly improved technical ability. My aim is to produce work for both editorial and Fine Art purposes to challenge myself and to evolve into a more experimental artist. _

“I feel it is a privilege to be part of this planet and to have the consciousness we have to explore it so deeply and to question the meaning of life upon it.”

More about Lynsey Crystal at Instagram:

Paradise__Lynsey Crystal - Image courtesy of the artist


PETE MOUNTFORD What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist? I guess it’s just keeping going. Generally it works on different levels, if you’re an established artist who works with a major gallery; you tend to have a system with other people who also work for you such as Admin Managers, Studio Assistants and so on. These people take care of a lot of the issues that can derail other artists from actually focussing on the work. Having to do other work to pay bills is also a distraction and a challenge for many of us, sometimes that is channelled into adjacent areas such as teaching or design.

Do you think there are great artists who have never been discovered? “Great” is a very subjective description, I would guess there are a hell of a lot of artists that haven’t and I personally know of a lot who have been discovered that I wouldn’t call “great”.

What do you like/dislike about the artworld?

Tell us about your practice/work.

I like the buzz of working with others -both practitioners and organisers –in order to make stuff happen such as exhibitions, in a similar way that artists collaborate in other creative pursuits like Music, Theatre and Film. Unlike these professions, the solitary nature of most artistic practice – whilst being a valuable period of engagement in the studio - leaves the individual more vulnerable to being able to link with the right people. As someone whose formative years were during the emergence of Punk music in the UK the ability of these bands to make their own waves was intoxicating. Unlike this and other creative practices there are not the same easily accessible tools for visual artists to connect with the general public and by pass the system to that extent (such as making mass saleable products like CD’s and gigs, although in the modern digital world these avenues have drastically altered for musicians too). So I dislike the fact that the Art world has disproportionate power, often determined by class and money .

My work has gone through many phases of both abstract and realist themes and several points that straddle both. For instance, I used to make paintings that associated certain colours with specific numbers (based upon the system of Cuisenaire rods), and for a while I became obsessed with a landscape south of London in Surrey called The Silent Pool. Maps and topography have been a recurring theme over the years and still are. Key concepts that underpin the work include ‘system and chance’ where I enjoy the duality of having a defined structure to operate within whilst being able to, load images with different meanings, and also utilising multiple panels in a work to create a cognitive dialogue between different elements. Since relocating to Brighton in 2014 I responded to my place in the city and recorded glimpses of the environment as seen fleetingly down a street towards the sea or through a porthole. The last 18 months has seen me respond to the socio political world around us such as the so called ‘Culture wars’ created by Brexit , ‘Trumpism’ and the effect of Covid on all of our lives.




I can_t breathe_We all breathe, I can_t feel_We all feel_Pete Mountford - Image courtesy of the artist

What materials/techniques do you use? I primarily refer to myself as a mixed media artist, not least of all because in a lot of cases, when I begin a new piece - or series of pieces - I don’t actually know what media will end up in there. I work in certain cases fairly spontaneously and these decisions can just ‘arrive’ at times. I trained at College in Ceramics, and gravitated towards the more sculptural end of that genre over time, but also I stopped using ceramic colourants and painted surfaces with acrylic paint and used various varnishes to give a glaze effect. I also added elements such as collage and broken car reflector lights. After abandoning clay in 1997 I veered towards painting. But I always was reluctant to call myself a “Painter” as I hadn’t come up via that route. So I devised the phrase “I use colour media” for whenever I am asked. +


“My work has gone through many phases of both abstract and realist themes and several points that straddle both.” Which artists do you admire? Which artists influence you? How much space do I have? Seriously, there are a lot . As I’m interested in Art History (and I have taught the subject - in a modern context - from 1850 onwards) I admire many people . But let’s focus on a few that have mainly influenced me both aesthetically and conceptually. Both Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns have been - for me - identifiable angels on my shoulder for many years, for their willingness to break boundaries of mixing media and loading an image to mean different things when presented in a multitude of ways. The route from them very clearly traces back to Duchamp (particularly for Johns) , I’m not influenced by the more conceptual end of Duchamp’s output ( I think a lot of modern disciples miss his point and humour completely), but more by his life and his attitude to it and what it opened up for others. A big influence on my use of multi panels in works is Jennifer Bartlett, in particular her ‘Rhapsody’ installation of nearly 1000 panels from 1976. There are many others who I’ve borrowed or even stole elements from; the key is to disguise it as your own. I’m reminded of something Michael Caine once said to aspiring actors along the lines of “Steal any trick that looks worthwhile. If you see something stunningly effective and you can analyze how he or she did it, then pinch it. Because you can be sure that they stole it in the first place.” That’s how I kind of approach things.

How is the art scene in your area? In Brighton, there’s a lot of it being made that’s for sure. For obvious reasons a lot of the work can fall into tourist clichés and repetition of the same themes (I don’t care if I ever see another artist interpretation of The West Pier again) and when I dealt with the area/sea as a subject, I thought long and hard as to how I could avoid these potential pitfalls with my ‘sea glimpse’ series. The Brighton Open House event is a big showcase every year for artists, probably the largest such event in the UK, I hosted a couple in Hove when I lived there and am taking part in another this coming year.




PETE MOUNTFORD Do you think there are famous artists now that will be forgotten in 100 years? I’m sure there are many that will be forgotten or at least be less prominent when the world gets to that point, who can say which ones? When this sort of speculative question comes up, I often think back to that exhibition ‘At The Crossroads’ that The RA put on in 2000 which documented the big Salon in Paris exactly 100 years before. Whilst some of the big players of the day are still household names, many more are names we don’t recognise. I imagine it will be similar for the folk 100 years from now.

Notes on ‘I Can’t Breathe/We all Breathe, I Can’t Feel/We all Feel’ Mixed media on and behind 81 perspex tiles, 112 x 112 cm, 2020-2021 When George Floyd uttered the desperate words “I can’t Breathe” whilst being choked to death by a Mineapolis police officer earlier this year, it became the catalyst that struck a chord with an outraged world and the numerous protests it led to, Issues of police brutality and racism were the obvious ‘lines in the sand’ for millions of people of varying races, cultures and demographics to take to the street. But of course in the first full flush of this pandemic the fundamental issue of “Breathing” was the threat of this basic necessity of life for all of us being taken away, that held a deeper resonance for us all. Protesting was a dilemma between the desire for solidarity on the one hand and the risk of being afflicted with corona virus, by getting too close to others in crowds, on the other.

Whether its political, social or environmental. The fundamental questions were not only can I breathe? but also can we breathe? Do I feel empathy? Do we all feel pain? and so on... The core of the body of work for this body of work I ‘ve called the Culture wars project, is about those of us who identify as belonging to a rainbow coalition of progressive multi-cultural values, and those being under siege from dark and hidden forces. The rainbow of course is a symbol of hope in many cultures and countries around the world and, in this work, each of the 197 nations flag is protected by one. In the early weeks of the pandemic, rainbows came to symbolise a human collective in support of the health professionals who looked after us and bound our feelings together. _

These issues fed into my intentions for this work. I wanted to connect the individual to the world and the micro to the macro.

More about Pete Mountford at


VIAN BORCHERT Please tell us about your practice. I am a painter, when I start creating art I paint feverishly for many hours without a stop. I don’t like to be interrupted during the art process since I feel that my soul, body and mind are all connected and consumed in the production and creation of the artwork. I don’t have a specific time of starting the work – I paint whenever I feel like, it could be in the afternoon, in the evening, at night – rarely in the morning though since I am not a morning person. I have to have my cup of coffee before I start anything in the daytime. I work on a number of pieces within one setting. I aim to start from one painting and move on to another in a rhythmic flow. As I said I paint feverishly the hours away till I get tired and I can do no more. I believe when the art energy calls us to do the work, one should respond to the artistic feelings and urges. Once I produce a number of works be it two or three or more, I then stop to evaluate the work I’ve created. The evaluation can come afterwards or it is done within the following days or week of the creation of the artwork. As a professional working artist and art educator for many years I know when a painting is finished or when elements in the artwork need to be implemented and adjusted. I have to be 100% happy with the artwork on my own before I present it to the public.

How has your practice changed over time? I believe some elements or approaches have changed here and there. Yet, the feverish and energetic approach to painting has always been with me since the start. I call it the art spirit taking over my body to create the work. Some of the changes that I can think of is that I now make sure the room is well lit and I have all of the needed arts supplies such as my favourite brushes and paint tubes before I embark on the artistic undertaking.




Spectrum__Vian Borchert - Image courtesy of the artist

One thing I hate is starting with all the right energy and not having enough of the needed colour to carry on painting - that absolutely crushes me and destroys the good mood of production. Thus, I make sure before I even start painting that I have enough of what I need for the project at hand.

Do you think painting is still important? Yes, painting is very important, and I believe painting will always be important since it is a form of self expression.

How is the art scene in your area? I live in the Washington DC area. The art scene in the DC area isn’t as strong in comparison to NYC and LA which are more the art hubs within the USA. In general though, the art scene in the DC/DMV metropolitan area has come a long way partly to artists and educators such as myself who have helped since years shape the art scene and engage the communities that we live in through the arts. Besides engaging and exhibiting in galleries within the greater DC area, I mainly exhibit in NYC, LA and beyond. +

“The most challenging aspect to being an artist is to continuously do the work year in and year out without seeing the fruits of your labour.”



What do you like/dislike about the artworld? I believe the art-world itself is like a work in progress continuously evolving and changing and this is due to the art influencers, be it major galleries, museums, and current big artists making the waves. I am a dreamer and the art-world at times can be a dreamy place consequently this is an aspect that I like about the art-world. In regards to dislikes, sometimes the art-world feels like a high school where the popular kids who make lots of noise get all the attention while the other quiet bright kids are left behind – this is simply a figure of speech metaphorically speaking to some negative aspects of the art-world.

What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist? The most challenging aspect to being an artist is to continuously do the work year in and year out without seeing the fruits of your labour. I believe this is the element that can make or break an artist.




What do you think about NFTs and the prices they fetch?

One can say there is truth in that galleries are shops by which one visits them to view and purchase art. I believe the galleries that are resilient and make a difference depend on the gallery’s director and their decision making and presentation of the exhibits they hold in their galleries. I think the successful directors not only present an art exhibit at their gallery but also turn their gallery into an intellectual art center that engages and enhances the community intellectually and artistically. Some of the galleries that I exhibit at such as Lichtundfire in NYC not only do exhibits with multiple receptions and artists’ talks but also present poetry / book readings, music and performance art events within the duration of the exhibition. Other galleries such as bG Gallery where I exhibit in Santa Monica, CA have created lots of engagement with their exhibiting artists especially now during COVID-19 times by making Zoom receptions and openings besides the actual reception within the physical location. Also, bG Gallery does virtual interviews and one on one artist talks that they post on social media where I have been interviewed multiple times. Other galleries such as Alessandro Berni gallery where I have a number of paintings via Artsy send out weekly newsletters introducing the works of the artists they work with which is a good way to get the word out. Subsequently, I believe the creative methods of some of the galleries are what gives them a unique edge, and makes them more than just shops.

To be utterly frank I don’t know much about NFT, and have not entirely made a decision about it since it’s still at its infancy. I did hear that a collage by a digital artist did fetch $69.3 million at Christie’s auction house since it was the first ever NFT artwork sold. NFT seems to be all the rage at the current moment. It might be a passing fad and something new and trending in the art world. One can argue that the NFT art trend veers more towards technology while the art-world slowly drifts away from the traditional ways of creating fine art.

Nostalgia_Vian Borchert - Image courtesy of the artist

Do you think galleries are just shops?

Which are your favourite artworks? I have so many favourite artworks – here are some: Richard Diebenkorn “Ocean Park”, paintings’ series. “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci. Anselm Kiefer’s landscapes in watercolour such as “The Evenings of All Days. The Day of All Evenings” (aller Tage Abend, aller Abende Tag). Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies” the ones at the MoMA in NYC. “Whistler’s Mother, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1”, by James McNeill Whistler. “Attersee” and most of Gustav Klimt’s landscapes. “PAINTER’s Wife, Seated” by Egon Schiele. Tony Capellán, “Mar Caribe” Installation. “Port of Entry” by Robert Rauschenberg. “Orange and Black Wall” by Franz Kline. “The Laundress” By Henri De Toulouse Lautrec. “Banana” by Andy Warhol. “David” and “The Creation of Adam”, The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo. “The Sacrament of the Last Supper” by Salvador Dali. “The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer” statue by Edgar Degas. “A Bigger Splash” by David Hockney. “Spider” sculpture by Louise Bourgeois.

Is being signed by a gallery essential? Well, let’s put it this way, it definitely enhances the artist’s career and facilitates in presenting the artist’s vision and art to the outside world. _

More about Vian Borchert at Instagram: Viaborchert



November. She drives herself to the pharmacy but on the way crashes. She says to avoid hitting the other car but there is no record of the incident and no other driver comes forward. Her head that was already damaged and the reason for the trip gets banged again. Nothing is straight forward. Everything she says raised more questions, so many gaps and so many lies. The previous head injury was the result of a drunken tussle. She was screaming, she pushed her luck and pushed the other person and in her unstable, wobbling state hits her head on the wall. Her children don’t want to go to school. They are too traumatised. Social services are called and they ask her to leave the home. She stays in a B&B. The next call is from her saying her Doctor has told her she has a bleed on the brain. We tell her we will come and get her, where is she? We will take her to hospital. But she screams down the phone, a torrent of abuse. We send her money for a taxi, knowing in likelihood it will be drunk away. by Jenna Fox

Art + Text




I was looking at my mum Saturday evening at approx 5:36 whilst we were setting up for an activity at church. She was looking at her phone and I looked at her and realised that I had not really looked at her for a long time. I looked at the way she had aged, the stress lines that were left on her face, her beautiful skin, she looked at peace in that moment. The woman I called my mother was more than just that, I looked at her knowing she had goals and dreams beyond my siblings and I. She had a history, she used to dance, laugh, go out as a young woman with friends, She was once me. I felt overwhelmingly inspired by her, inspired to do more and be more. Sunday evening, NYE with my mother, after we had said a prayer together she stopped in this pose and I looked and took a picture which I felt was perfect because I saw her. by Janet Osei-Berchie Instagram: @-berchie@bwartist -

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I guess, looking back it’s easy to see how trees and woodland have influenced my work, my interests and perhaps my outlook on life. I was born in London. When I was two we moved out to live in a new 1970’s estate. The Saxons named the town but the Romans had got there first and built a temporary fort, before they moved uphill to the other side of town. Our last estate pushed up to the side of The Woods. It was “Green Belt” land. Promised to us all in all perpetuity by the government not to be spoilt, not to be built on. The Woods were mostly oaks. Bigger kids climbed up them. Hammering flat nails pilfered from the building sites as foot holds, they shinned up and left me languishing - too small, to inept at the bottom of my favorite tree. I hated the nails but yearned to join the climb into the crooked boughs. Instead I hugged the tree. My arm span barely encompassing a quarter of its girth. I pressed my ear against its bark and listened as it whisper-creaked back. My tree was my shelter on thick mud days or bleach hot days, sitting in the comfort of it roots, fingers in the dirt. All trees have a presence. I like to think most people feel this. Some times it is uncomfortable, like being observed. But I found this familiar and homely before I went on to look at the folklore, superstitions, suggesting something to be afraid of. I once tried to pull up a sapling growing sheltered by parent oaks. I wanted to take it home and plant it. I pulled and pulled but it was so securely rooted it just wouldn’t come. I began to get the feeling that I was doing some thing wrong. I was being… told off for something. I traipsed home through knee-high grasses. Empty hands welted and sore. That day I saw my first adder crossing my path going into the grove. The Woods were my playgrounds. Containing bombed out, broken houses. Plot land dreams, abandoned orchards, ruined gardens, and flooded Anderson shelters.

Art + Text

Habitats were diverse. I fished for all types of newts and for stickle backs under the shade of trees. I caught grasshoppers and burnet moths. I was bought precious “Observers” and wildlife books as presents, developing patience, watchfulness and an intense gaze. Collecting Christmas holly for primary school decorations with Dad, wrapped up in St Michaels woolens, we watched a robin red against the snow, its breath clouding out notes of clear song. I still feel when I see these animals in the wild or in an urban setting that I have been granted the privilege of seeing a mythical creature. The Council broke their promise of the green belt. More houses bulged over from the neighboring New Town. The river was encased in concrete. Roads snapped down over fields, drove through the fort and trees, housing estates sealed over the dead roots and the remains of the Saxons. My art teacher said the animals would just move on but - like the Roma people that used to visit, they never came back. My Tree was just visible from the car window if you drove along the by-pass. Like the Newt Pond it was isolated in housing. We were on a nodding acquaintance for years until recently it fell or was felled. Workmen with chainsaws hacked through the table width of its trunk. But when I draw, I draw an oak forest. There is always company. Nichola Bartlett




The institution is obscured, the studio diminished, but it is intuition that is truly artistic. Perhaps it is an underlying condition that attaches an artist so firmly to their studio. In its buzz, whisper, and agitation, there is no lull. You are never fully alone with your thoughts. It cushions you. The silence of lockdown provides a moment of contemplation, the studio can no longer be a safety net or a haven. The internal and external are blurred. The mundane becomes existential, the spectacle is now banal. It has come to my understanding, that perhaps the space that is defined as the studio, as an institution, is not what propels you forward. Whilst collective thought is inherently vital to the artistic process, the power of creative, individual thought drives us into a state that is indescribable, beyond the limits of the four walls of your studio. Perhaps this ‘state’ could thrust us into a new era of creativity that is beyond what is currently comprehensible. The lack of institution, the disappearance of fairs, biennales, shows, residencies, and anything that resembles the Art world, forces a shift. We are resting on the edge. A perpetual state of trepidation. If we fall into the unknown, then what becomes of the rest of it? Let us embrace the new. The new world of the un-curatable, the secret, the dis-ordered and the unconventional, that which defies any expectations of the logical social order of artmaking. The chaos of creation takes on a new guise and shifts from the noise of convention. Instead, it resides within the quietness of your space, revealing the truth of the self. The new noise is self-effacing but thunderous. Allow yourself to taste the release. This new chaos is unassuming. Let it take hold. Erin Shields

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On Ronis Varlaam’s SUBTITLED series of paintings. When interpreting art, it is necessary to consider how meaning is conveyed. We must consider both what we mean and how someone interprets our meaning. This space between is full of words, shapes, and symbols. But how, in the course of history, did we decide what communication should look like, and what does that mean for how we look at life and art? Ronis Varlaam’s art begins to cast some clarity on this phenomenon. Understanding the answer to these questions requires a consideration of linguistics as well as our sociological need, as people, to communicate. Varlaam’s work shows us that language and communication help us to better understand our place in the world not just because art and language allow us to express ourselves, but that this expression is heard.

Images were the first permanent way in which we began to express; this is one of the first ways meaning was recorded – by turning what we see into an image. The 10,000 year-old Bhimbetka cave paintings in India (Left) capture the human desire to record our current experience of the world in a similar way to the contemporary painting on the right: WINTER KEPT US WARM, COVERING. The paining from a series called THE WASTE LAND (inspired by the language of TS Eliot a). It prompts the question, ‘what is it about these moments in history that the artists felt they needed to communicate?’

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Part one: how did we decide what communication should look like? I cannot doubt that language owes its origin to the imitation and modification, aided by signs and gestures, of various natural sounds, the voices of other animals, and man’s own instinctive cries. — Charles Darwin, 1871. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex



Mainly due to speech’s impermanence, the answer to this question is full of theory and far more complex than a single painting could explain. It’s so full of contradiction in scholarly debate, that the Linguistic Society of Paris banned it as a debate topic. In this context, however, it is perhaps wiser to reframe the question: what can this art teach us about our need to express? One of these theories is explored in SUBTITLED. Gestural Theory contends that language originated from gesture, and the actions tied to these movements being internalised and imitated by our mouths. In this school of thought Paget (1930) suggests that in the human desire to communicate, as we began to gesticulate, these movements came to symbolise the meaning they represented, and were subconsciously imbibed, and then replicated and eventually formed into speech by the unconscious tongue, lips, and jaw. But when this meaning is encoded into a symbol, is the whole essence of what is being communicated captured? David McNeill, a pioneer in research in the relationship between gesture and language, argues that the invention, or evolution, of speech was not necessarily to communicate thought alone. It is an expression of the users place in a world full of meanings that come from their experience of the world. Here is where art, and our interpretation of art, becomes particularly pertinent. Art is capable of illuminating aspects of our lived experience that language alone is, at times, ill-equipped to express. In this way, SUBTITLED uses art, the most universal ‘language’ we have, to teach us about how we communicate our experience of the world to others and how central this is to our existence.

Here, the title, Only Love Remains, highlights the thread of meaning that exists through our experience, through images, and through words, culminating in a work of art.

Indeed, Varlaam’s art teaches us this about our need to communicate: we exist to express. Part two: to express and how we look at life ‘Painting is just the imitation of all the living things of nature with their colours and designs just as they are in nature’

A WALK BY THE SEA. Perhaps, the smaller moments of existence we take for granted are received this way because we don’t register the entirety of what’s happened. Perhaps we haven’t learnt a language that has allowed us to see this meaning. What do these symbols show us about the meaning in our words? And how does the image enhance our understand the feeling they contain?

— Vasari, Lives of the Painters

For the next section, looking at works from the series in more detail will go some way to understanding what Varlaam’s art teaches us about our human need to express – and how it takes art, in conjunction with language, to more fully find meaning in our attempt to describe existence. To find how this mere ‘imitation’ could better more precisely described as ‘representation’. Symbols alone do not do justice to the golden brilliance of the ethereal figure in the work, LOOKING AT THE ANGEL. Yet, they’re still necessary to try and make sense of what is happening before the people in the frame. We want to record moments, even if they fall short of the technicolour reality we originally experienced.


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This image teaches us that language is necessary, but art provides a layer of meaning deeper, more granular, and, in a way, more real because just to look at art is an experience of sorts. With this in mind, we might consider that we are constantly observing art because we are observing our surroundings; we are just not entirely aware of the significance of how each of our moments could be experienced. As divine as this experience might be, it remains quite concrete. The event is happening in the artwork and so it is clear what is being captured. What does this mean for the meaning that exists within more abstract moments – and can art really capture it? Take the name of the next work: THE MOMENT HAS PASSED. From only the title, there is no inkling of the poignancy the entire work contains, none of the melancholy captured in paint whatsoever. Then, focus on the symbols beneath the image. They may represent the words in the title, but each one, and even when together, remains entirely conceptual. It would be hard to feel anything from the symbols alone. Combined, however, the subject’s lost opportunity immediately becomes tangible. She appears deflated, dressed in black, with slumped shoulders; she might have lost the opportunity to tell a loved one what they needed to hear in a time of grief, for instance. While there is no clarity around what it is she is feeling this way about, we are still better able to understand what it is she is experiencing.

The lesson learnt from SUBTITLED Looking at life with art as the subtitles allows us to access deeper truths about not just how we communicate, but the parts of our lives that often deserve more attention. We try, through the very words we use, to imitate our individual realities. This could be a significant part of why language looks the way it does today. If this is the case, this art turns Vasari’s attitude towards imitation in art on its head. Here, Varlaam seems to have found that language is at once something we deem necessary to how we share our worldview, but also as something that is an insufficient tool with which to share such complexities. It is more than imitation. Be it sat in a park watching the remnants of love in two swans courting, a gentle stroll along the sea, the appearance of a heaven-like apparition being admired by the congregation, or the moment after some melancholy inducing news, it is clear that we need art. We need to know we exist, and we know we exist by communicating with each other. The next step is to listen and read, or better hear, what art has to say. We are shown how a work of art in its entirety (that is to say the artist, the artwork[s], the symbols between in whatever form they take, and the viewer) is required to effectively construct and convey meaning that is representative of the highly specific, idiosyncratic, time we’ve had so far in the world.

It is through showing all three to the viewer: the words, the symbols, and the image, that the total meaning is conveyed. In doing so, the artist has given us part of their subject’s experience that otherwise might have been lost.

Perhaps, then, what we learn from Varlaam’s art goes beyond his works alone. They contain an implication for how we look at (and what we get from) art more widely. The series empowers us to ask:

Now, the intended meaning can be considered, the space in between filled, but only because we, the viewer, are here to look at it.

What can we learn from art about the hidden realities of our own and others’ lives in a way that shatters the monochromatic lens of our individual lived experiences?

By drawing attention to our experience, the language with which we attempt to describe it, and the reality that can be captured in art, Varlaam teaches us about more than just our desire to acknowledge our own existence. We learn how fundamental art is to actually appreciating life.

Refs: Sir Richard Paget (1930) Human Speech. Darwin, C. (1871) The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. McNeill, David. (2005) Gesture and Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Vasari, G. (1550) Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects.

More about the author – Twitter: @_uajosh_


Reformation, Revolution, and Resistance A brief history of still life painting By Jake Kendall

The world’s largest oil painting hangs in the Doge’s Palace, Venice. Titled Il Paradiso, it was painted by Tintoretto at the dizzying height of the Venetian Republic. Christ and the Virgin occupy the central space. Fanning out in all directions, the full celestial cast are displayed – over five hundred figures in total. Additionally, the background positively teems with cherubs, like some sort of hellish ball-pit composed entirely of disembodied baby-faces. The painting is faintly ridiculous in scope and scale. A preposterous manifesto of Venetian self-worth and Catholic exuberance. Photographs do not do it justice. It is best to simply sit beneath it and take it all in. Il Paradiso is typical of a certain type of Catholic bombast. Excess and melodrama had been written into the DNA of the Roman Catholic aesthetic at least since Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It is an aesthetic built on immersion and sensory overload, an emotive visual language with no word for understatement. In this context, the Reformation begins to make sense; it was a reset of sorts. When Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five

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Theses to the church door of Wittenberg, he began the greatest schism in the history of Christianity. The artists that fell on either side became foot soldiers in an ideological war, their art an essential expression of the old ways or the new. Catholic art entered the period we now call the Baroque. It was a magnification of the Renaissance: greater compositional dynamism, more emotion conveyed, the art ever-larger in scope. The Churches and Cathedrals of Northern Europe, by stark contrast, were remodeled into pure and austere spaces, designed for personal thought and prayer. The stripping away of visual i conography deprived the artists of these countries of their traditional patrons, forcing them to adapt and to change. Despite the ban on religious art in churches and cathedrals, artists of Protestant nations were not prevented from making religious paintings for private display and ownership.



However, the culture around the arts was very different from the culture we know today. We treat the modern painter as the genius, their output an indulgence of vision. For the most part, the artists of the past were craftsmen. They worked within a consumer-led market. This meant that a new social class of wealthy merchants were able to become tastemakers, their money creating something new in Europe, a predominantly secular art market. The result was a great surge in the popularity of portraiture, and genre paintings depicting scenes of everyday life. Two new genres also emerged from the period: landscape painting and still life.

Still Life With Game and Fruit (1853), Hendrik Reekers

Still life is essentially a portrait of an inanimate object. You will have passed them in galleries: vases of flowers, bowls of fruit or vegetables. Encountered en-mass, they seem as if they might just be the dullest branch of the visual arts. Indeed, the genre evokes thoughts of enthusiastic amateurs, learning the craft by sketching out whatever objects they find in their own homes and kitchen. Easy subjects that do not move, complain of boredom, or take offence at the results. And yet the history of still life painting demonstrates that appearances can be deceptive, and that great intrigues can lay beyond even the most seemingly prosaic of surfaces. Still life emerges as a distinct genre during the Dutch Golden age. At that time, Holland provided the perfect conditions for the development of a new artistic culture. The state had freed itself from Spanish occupation after a bitter war for independence and established itself as a Protestant nation. The Netherlands had a fine pedigree of artistic accomplishment and culture to draw upon too – oil painting itself originated from the Netherlands in the fifteenth century. Jan van Eyck achieved expressive brilliance working with this new material. His rendering of textures and material were unparalleled at the time – so much so that van Eyck was even accused of witchcraft by some. The continental legacy of van Eyck was the permanent break with tempera paints. On a more localised level, he inspired a culture of virtuosity. The greatness of Dutch still life paintings is sometimes lost to a modern audience. We perhaps value a dramatic scene and the unique vision of the artist. Yet, understood as exercises in

sheer painterly technique, and a collective pursuit of perfect representation, the work is often astonishing. Through the skill of artists both male and female, the textures of metal, feathers, glass, petals, rind, fur, and fish scales, were brought vividly to life through oil and canvas. The audiences of the day bought them in droves, for they did not take for granted the sheer skill and craft of painting. +


The Librarian (1566), Giuseppe Arcimboldo

At times these works also conveyed messages. The flesh of ripe fruit often bulged and curved invitingly. A somewhat subtle metaphor for the fleetingness of youth, of the ephemeral nature of beauty, and the vitality of young love. Holland was also an early pioneer of international trade and colonisation. This adventurous nation had the means to bring together flowers, fruit, vegetables and animals from different continents and place them together on a table in the Netherlands. For the Dutch, still life painting often served as a proud declaration of curiosity, of cosmopolitan tastes, and of growing wealth and influence. The genre was, however, slow to catch on beyond the Netherlands. Among the grand declarations of religious identity in Italy, very few painters felt compelled to tackle still life painting. Ever the contrarian, Caravaggio painted a Basket of Fruit in return for the hospitality of an early patron, the perhaps appropriately named, Cardinal del Monte. The technical brilliance of the painting saw it attributed to an unknown Dutch painter, before the resurgence of interest in Caravaggio in the Twentieth Century. Written records discovered later not only detail Caravaggio’s painting of the work, but also the reaction of his host, the Cardinal, reportedly weeping at the sight of it. To modern eyes, privileged enough to have Caravaggio’s life and work dragged from obscurity and curated for us, his presence is undeniable in this image. His leaves are wilting, his fruit rotten, there are maggots in the apples. If the Dutch had used the process of ripening as a bittersweet allegory of age, Caravaggio’s use seems closer in effect to the traditional vanitas. He has painted not so much a portrait of a fruit basket, but a portrait of impermanence itself, of the inevitable triumph of death. Caravaggio might have only dipped a talented toe into the water of still life painting, but Italy did produce one true specialist. Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an eccentric figure who revelled in using inanimate objects to form human faces. His creations are ontological oddities, composed from fruit, from kitchenware, sea creatures and other such things. Sometimes these images were linked – his Four Seasons were a popular series reproduced and purchased by several European monarchs of the day. Other times there might be a hint of social commentary to the work; his Librarian is believed to serve as a satire on the practice of book-hoarding by owners with little intention of reading. Mainly though, Arcimboldo was probably doing something quite modern, an early pioneer of pursuing a unique vision for commercial success. He later became a cult figure to Surrealist painters such as Dali and Ernst – his appeal to them clear and obvious.

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Still Life (ca. 1732), Jean Siméon Chardin

The art world changed once again during the eighteenth century. Grand artistic institutions flourished and grew in stature. Institutions such as the Royal Academy in London, and the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris taught the correct way to paint and to think about the arts. They established canon, and set out a clear hierarchy of the worthiness of each genre. Historical, religious and mythological subjects were not only the most complex compositions, but were a celebration of Western thought, culture and achievement, and, thence forth, the obvious pinnacle. Human portraiture was ranked second. Landscape painting was ranked third, the natural world at least receiving a podium finish. At the very bottom of the pile, lowly still life painting was little more than a disdained footnote. In France, style began to surpass representation as the primary concern of the painter. A mellifluous aesthetic called Rococo developed. Rococo was soft and frilly. A rich and decadent idyll. It was European art so full of itself that its characters could do nought but lounge in languid self-satisfaction beneath wilting canopies and flights of precious cherubs, adorning all with flower

garlands. One story has the painter Francois Boucher exhibiting at the Salon des Paris. The image is typical Rococo: a woman sits upon a cow, tweaking the clothing of a nearby cherub. Around her, her companions display no urgency and little concern. Boucher was asked what this painting depicted. “The rape of Europa,” he replied. Even his contemporaries are reported to have laughed at this revelation, as if finally realising that there can be no variation in flavour if an artist works only with sugar. Against this context, the work of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin seems radical and subversive in its simplicity. Largely self-taught, Chardin did not participate in the grand pomposity of Rococo, choosing instead to focus on realist depictions of the everyday. Engravings of his work were widely circulated, and Chardin gained an audience for his work, both in the working classes and the aristocracy. His still life paintings now hang in the Louvre as minor masterpieces of French art. They were perhaps the first slight tremors of the incoming earthquake that would hit with full force during the nineteenth century. +


If secular art had been born in post-reformation Holland, modern art was created in post-revolutionary France. Modern art was a clear break from the past, a reaction to the Rococo fired by the revolutionary spirit. As a rule, modern art had no intention of promoting any type of religious belief. Chardin’s influence was clear on realist provocateurs such as Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet. In turn, they inspired a younger generation of artists based in and around the French capital. Profound change made Paris something of a liminal space around the late nineteenth century. While a grand, old European capital, complete with some of the largest monuments to the classical past, Paris was also becoming a somewhat-reluctant beacon of modernity, full of exciting ideas and experimentation, a place where intellectual and artistic freedom were becoming ever more permissible.

Change was met with resistance. Paris did not greet the advent of modernity with universal enthusiasm. It hosted a generation of ground-breaking talents, though deprived their exhibitions of legitimacy. A new gallery was opened for them, a space that became known as the Salon des Refuses. The critics and audiences of the day openly derided and ridiculed the first public sightings of Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, and Sisley. Their collective name, the Impressionists, was famously given to them from the title of Monet’s Impression, Sunrise. Yet there was also a double meaning, a mocking insinuation that these deluded painters were only capable of producing an impression of painting, almost like children left unattended with crayons. Nevertheless, brave collectors in Europe and the United States kept the artists in work during those crucial early years. Within a generation, the new modernist style became accepted and hugely

Shoes (1888), Vincent Van Gogh

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popular. As secular painters, the Impressionists found themselves returning to the same genres established by the Dutch. Through Impressionism, both landscape and still life painting became a manifesto of the modern, an exciting exploration of a radical new style. The painters of the past strove to be good waiters, blending seamlessly into perfect illusion and complete image. The Impressionists did not. Instead, they flooded their canvases with mood and feeling. They embraced colour and a rapid technique, painting quickly through short, stabbing, brushstrokes. Between them, they broke the barriers beyond repair. Painting would never look the same again. Arguably the most well-known painter of still life paintings was Vincent van Gogh. That is a statement that feels perhaps doubtful. After all, van Gogh is not particularly remembered as a specialist in still life painting, and we might consider his oeuvre as equally defined by his landscapes and portraits. Yet van Gogh has never relied on melodrama to move an audience. His Sunflowers are easily the most famous still life paintings in the world. They are not alone either; irises, crabs, bowls of lemons, and many other objects were depicted with so much feeling and charm by van Gogh that his hand seems almost as if it can give life to inanimate matter. His was a fundamentally empathetic vision. One in which even a pair of old working boots have their charm: their wear symptomatic of industry, evidence that a life was lived, a tiny, yet honest, story about the human experience. It is quite fitting that a genre with its origins in Holland’s golden age should be brought so majestically into modernity by a Dutchman. Paul Cézanne was another pioneering figure living and working in the south of France at the time. Despite exhibiting at the first Impressionist display in Paris, Cézanne’s greatest works were later developed alone, away from the noise and pressure of the capital. Cézanne was said to be obsessive and reclusive, working towards a vision in which objects were broken down into their basic geometric components. Cézanne also began to explore perspective. His Still Life with Plaster Cupid is a fantastic example of Cézanne’s experimentation. In the foreground, the Cupid acts as our anchor. It enables us to accept the image. Yet the background makes little representational sense. The line of the table is broken and does not correspond as it should. On the righthand side, the table curves impossibly upwards, creating a visual contradiction that playfully engages with the problem of space within two dimensions.

Cézanne was declared the father of modern painting by both Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. His influence on them is clear. While the Impressionists and their immediate followers had pushed forward style, it was style within the (ever-loosening) confines of the realist tradition. Matisse left realism back in the nineteenth century, his paintings a pure celebration with colour and mood. He became the nominal leader of the Fauvist movement, the “Wild Beasts” of European art, who painted the world in bright and unnatural colours. For example, grass could be bright red or deep blue if the composition called for it. Behind the Fauvist endeavour was more than just aesthetics. Matisse lived and worked in Europe during the early twentieth century. In the context of fascism and two catastrophic wars, we can even see a political edge to his work. A refusal to let the fascists paint the world exclusively in black, white, and grey. Fauvism was everything the fascists hated: it was imaginative and light; it made joy and happiness an act of defiance. Cézanne’s playful experiments with perspective were also a clear precursor to the creation of another radical style. Cubism, developed by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, was a challenging engagement with the nature of representation. Picasso applied his characteristic curiosity and endless imagination to everyday items, taking objects apart and reassembling them as visual riddles and abstracted details. Cubism could almost be described as a depiction of things at a quantum level, a chaotic and contradictory jumble of information which appears to be simultaneously true and false, a heterogenous depiction of unity. We often think of time as a progression, a process of evolution. In this way, the story of still life painting concludes here, with Picasso. Cubism had pushed representational painting as far as it could go. Beyond the boundaries established by Picasso and Braque lay only abstract art. Artists will always return to still life, however. The genre has survived periods of disdain and neglect. It has outlasted the Baroque, the Rococo, and the disdain of the academies. It enjoys a rich and varied history. In the hands of great artists, this unassuming genre has found itself repeatedly on the cutting edge of personal expression and stylistic innovation. It has also served as a much-needed grounding point for European art whenever it has tilted towards ridiculousness, and proved a deceptively sharp thorn in the side of pomposity. _

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Instagram: jakekendall88 Twitter: jakekendallox



The polka dots are an extension of what exists within Yayoi Kusama. Normally invisible, here such inner workings have been made visible. Though this is a waxwork figure of Yayoi Kusama at Madame Tussauds, Hong Kong, she is often clad in dotted dresses. (photograph: VCG/Getty Images)

It’s important to note, when looking at abstract art, that this kind of work is often depicting something that words are ill-equipped to convey. In being human, by definition, there will be things we understand but cannot describe, things we know but cannot teach, and things we do that we cannot explain with words alone. This is why words and things-we-can-immediately-make-sense-of are not always appropriate. They are merely one method of describing a profoundly complex thing: an experience that is very often abstract. It is in each of these instances, between the lines, that art acts as a vestibule for otherwise inexpressible meaning. When looking, then, we must accept that words and coherent forms are just two of myriad ways to express meaning in a way that is valuable – and they won’t always be fit for purpose. The Spirits of the Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens (2017) by Yayoi Kusama is something to be understood, known, and experienced; it is not something to be described, taught, or explained. It is something to be felt, thought about, and partaken in. Dots consume the artist and her work – a motif in its truest sense. They’re a symbol of a life distilled into a singular, obsessive, and repeated form – something is being expressed that words or sense alone cannot clarify; something is being reflected beyond physical appearance alone. In our own worlds, we could choose to interpret such repeated occurrences as our habits. The invisible actions we

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involuntarily carry out without checking ourselves, but yet the very things that, when interwoven into a whole being, make us who we are. Whether destructive or not, here, the outcome of the habit is irrelevant. It could be excessive exercise, substance abuse, artistic expression (the last made Yayoi Kusama the richest living female artist, so they can be quite useful). But, the repeated question perennially punctuating these behaviours, whether as dots or full stops, could instead be a question mark: what drives these habits? It is this that often cannot be expressed in words, because the answer lies somewhat in the unconscious. Kusama’s work can be used to show us our habituated selves. Each dot serves as a reminder of how beholden we can become to the hands of unconscious routine behaviours; were you to stand in the artwork, placing yourself before the mirror, you might feel a little overwhelmed, surrounded by swarming black polka dots, lost in a yellow sea. Such confusion demands you see what lies afloat the



centre of this oceanic muddle: you. As we remain unconscious of our habits, so we continue to choose to be at the mercy of them. Continually, it seems the artist needs to purge herself of an internal pain by plastering them everywhere and turning what could be suffering, when kept unknown, into something creative, something striking. Kusama’s polka dot pumpkins have quite a soothing message, really. While it’s true the repeated unconscious suffering that we undergo is somewhat ever-present – acknowledging it, for now, recognising it as part of you, is enough. It is enough to sit with it, to only observe. For you, what you see in the dots could be anything, such is the beauty of abstract art; it can become what you make of it. If this is the case, then why not use it as a mirror for more than just our physical reflection? Kusama’s art is an abstract reflection of the patterns that exist within us too. Maybe try to count the dots – and fail (or get bored) – and then think if such a mundane pattern exists in something you do too. What feeling, thought, or action have you had or done this repeatedly? It works best if you realise it’s something that occurs over and over, too many times to count. In this meditative space, it is not quite as simple as something like regularly brushing your teeth (albeit a healthy habit). It goes beyond the physical and visible; these are the hidden habits like preoccupying yourself with what you want to say, instead of listening to someone completely, or staying in bed for a little too long each morning because the burden of getting up appears heavier than the phone in your hand. Perhaps it’s even a pattern only evident over a longer, life-sized period. One where you sabotage relationships because of something that happened to you when you were too young to have that happen to you. These things are inexorably tied to what we see in the mirror, though we rarely make an effort to see them and know them. We might wonder when the last time was we really felt we saw or knew ourselves. By displaying them on the walls, floor, ceiling, and in your reflection this abstract work calls for you to feel them. Yayoi Kusama, ‘THE SPIRITS OF THE PUMPKINS DESCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS’, 2017, installation view at The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Indonesia

But this art is also kind. In its repetitiveness, it is not chastising the viewer into excavating pain from their past, but is encouraging them to notice themselves, beyond their basic humanoid form, and say that what lies behind it, is totally fine. The art is encouraging us to gently notice the patterns that exist within us all – specifically those hidden habits, which we otherwise ignore by virtue of them being invisible – for these are the habits that exist in the eternal cycle of feeling-thought-action that repeat time and time again, until, often haphazardly, they amalgamate to become something resembling who we believe ourselves to be. Walking amongst The Spirit of the Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens is an opportunity to notice what we’ve become. We can intercept our feelings before they make us think; we can consider our thoughts before they make us act; we can assess our actions before they entrench the feeling more deeply. Should this cycle be a healthy one upon reflection, however, then perhaps it is fine to continue dotting away; the point being, you now see more of you than your reflection alone could ever hope to show. Of course, this has all been expressed, somewhat paradoxically, though words, so will likely fall short of what such abstract expression is truly exploring. Finding out what it means, therefore, is down to you and what you feel when you next look in the mirror. _ More about the author – Twitter: @_uajosh_ 37

Lost in (Digital) Space The Online Exhibition Experience

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By Rebecca Andrew

Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, Artists and Art Lovers alike faced a unique set of challenges. Art is made to be seen. Art is communication. Viewing art should be an interaction, not a passive experience. A physical exhibition allows the viewer to participate in that interaction - to feel the space and the spaces in between and consider the flow - to be absorbed in the scale of a piece and fully appreciate the texture and the play of light. Even the smell and the echo of the room as you move amongst the artwork play into a cross – sensory experience that facilitates our conversations with each piece. As both Artist and Audience, I have tried to negotiate the voids in this conversation in the coldness of digital space. From economically produced Zine-type publications such as “Haus_ a_Rest” and the amusingly titled “Art Hole”, to Artists sending their work out into the world on sandwich boards, we have all had to think outside (or inside) the box. In the absence of huge, white – walled spaces, miniature galleries have been cropping up all over the virtual world in an attempt to give us that sense of space and movement generated in the physical one. “The House of Smalls” shows exquisite miniature works on the walls of dolls house galleries. Our experience is taken even further as we are introduced to “Little Amy”, the tiny curator, painstakingly posed for stop – frame sequences that show her lovingly unpack and hang the exhibits before relaxing with a tiny glass of wine. “A Cardboard Monkey” turns cardboard boxes into viewing spaces (complete with miniature audiences), bringing to us a variety of tiny contemporary exhibitions, from sculpture, photography and painting, to films on iPhone screens and performance pieces enacted by plastic toys. Shaky cameras and the occasional hand in shot only add to the D.I.Y. “Punk” aesthetic and child like charm.

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Even among the more static virtual platforms such as the London based “Cultivate” gallery (showing resized, digitalized works by invited artists) there is definitely a sense of Artists doing it for themselves, and each-other. Amidst this flurry of innovation and sense of community in the emerging artistic scene, I wanted to see how the established art scene was tackling the challenges of lockdown. After a range of online portfolios left me cold and virtual galleries that let the viewer navigate the space like street view on Google Earth gave me motion sickness, I settled on “The Loneliness of the Soul” – a joint exhibition of the works of Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch at The Royal Academy. You can’t get much more established than that!

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The experience begins with a slide show of the exhibition space, accompanied by a body of text describing the relationship between Emin and Munch. For those of us to whom Tracey Emin arrived with her unmade bed (“My Bed” 1998) as a ladette Y.B.A in the late 90’s, we may at first struggle to make this connection. However, if you are familiar with the paintings and indeed the context of much of Emin’s work, you will understand that both these artists use the gift of painful experience to feed their creativity.The expressive, introspective work of Edvard Munch has been a lifelong influence on Emin. She describes him as her “Friend in Art”. “The Loneliness of the Soul” is also supported by video interviews and analysis of individual images that help the viewer to contextualise the work and the choices. Now, it is important at this stage to note that the emerging artist is not afforded quite the same indepth justification (or interest) as their established counterpart. Online exhibitions and virtual tours for up and coming talent tend to be shared springboards and therefore offer at best a brief overview of the artist’s intentions. We try our best to be concise so as not to loose our audience before we’ve even won them.

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Perhaps this is also why, as my experience unfolds, the pace between the professional and semi professional tours differs so much. We want to grab the audience. Emin is happy to let them stroll through. A very professional camera at first pans around a sombre, blue space, punctuated by works of contrasting scale. Haunting, ambient music emanates from the computer speakers with a tempo matching the slowed speed of the eye as the camera guides it. +


The exhibition consists of twentyfive of Emin’s works (paintings, neons and sculptures), chosen by Emin to sit alongside eighteen oils and watercolours by Munch. At this initial glance, it seems the theme is the female form, although the expressive marks set against the mood of the walls and the music suggests an array of deeper meaning is yet to be conveyed. (Again the cohesiveness of these choices is not always an option on the emerging platform).

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As the tour continues, I am guided around the exhibition in a considered order. The autonomy I would have in a physical space is taken from me as my viewing sequence is dictated and I am led back and forth to form connections between pieces and focus on particular areas for designated periods of time. I am able to get in close to the works (not always possible in a crowded gallery, nor so in the whirlwind virtual tours on the emerging scene) and appreciate the texture and movement of the visceral, raw, expressive and essential lines that have been employed by both artists in transmuting their emotions into paint. The figures echo eachother in pose between the two artists, emitting vulnerability and sadness in their hung heads and foetal crouches. Both artists convey the female body honestly, employing elements that encapsulate atmosphere and emotion sympathetically and universally. Emin’s palette is limited, mainly to black, white and red in varying tones. This is echoed in Munch’s corpse – like “Reclining Nude” which, like the skeletal faces he portrays, hints at his experience of grief. Emin’s figures are faceless, which in contrast with the highly personal and suggestive titles, gives them an anonymity that enables the viewer to empathise with them from a personalised perspective. None of the figures are erotic. None, bar one appear empowered. The camera focuses in on a series of bronze sculptures as they lead like stepping stones toward what I interpret to be a pivotal piece in the exhibition. Munch’s “The Death of Marat” is the only piece to show the male form. Here, Munch lies physically and emotionally wounded, naked and vulnerable behind an upright, unapologetic woman (Tula). Like the titles of Emin’s works, the swift vertical and horizontal brush strokes in this piece convey anger and blame for emotional turmoil caused by outside influences. Not the vulnerable sex but the vulnerable soul, male or female, screams at us from the canvas.

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Art Report



Unlike many of the varied platforms on the emerging scene, “The Loneliness of the Soul” allows us to immerse ourselves in a fully cohesive exhibition that explores the aims and contexts of each artist and our interaction with their work and themes. Professional and carefully directed cameras give the artist another tool by which to convey their intentions by guiding their audience in time, space and detail. Amongst the zines and miniature galleries on the emerging scene, the inclusion of miniature audiences allows us to imagine these Lilliputian exhibitions as full scale, real world environments but often robs us of the opportunity to fully appreciate texture and detail and gain the full impact of the work. The sense of camaraderie combined with the playfulness and sheer inventiveness of these endeavours however is a real joy to perceive and takes away some of the aloofness sometimes encountered on the established scene, making it accessible to a wider audience.

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I for one have enjoyed the humour and the comradeship I have encountered on the emerging scene and can only imagine that the misfortune of the Pandemic has helped us to help each-other. _

With Thanks to: Cardboard Monkey Galleries - The House of Smalls - Haus-a-Rest - Art Hole - Cultivate - The Royal Academy -

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Has lockdown changed the way we engage with art forever? By Susan McCann

With exhibitions forced to close to the public, galleries decided to run viewings online. But perhaps an even bigger revolution was taking place: our engagement with art on our TV screens.

Bob Ross The Joy of Painting BBC 4

Like millions of other regular gallery visitors, for whom connection with art is an essential part of life, finding myself imprisoned by my own four walls threw me into an unexpected famine. I began scouring the Arts section of BBC iPlayer, desperate for artistic nourishment. Maggi Hambling: Making Love with the Paint (still available on iPlayer: BBC2) was an absolute hoot. Watching Hambling terrorise her interviewer made me squirm and thrill in equal measure. Her artistic process was no less intriguing as she grappled with a mysterious black canvas to grow her latest work from.

I found myself marvelling not only at the vision Hambling is able to hold in her head, but also at how the crafty old goat has made it to 75 when she practically eats cigarettes. But by the close of the documentary, you know it must be because she’s sticking a finger up at something. Whatever you think of Bob Ross and his paintings (is it a crime to be populist?) Ross’ gentle, unassuming manner in The Joy of Painting (iPlayer: BBC Four) has been a delight. Yes, his paintings often look the same; sometimes they merely re-appear in slightly different colours. But it’s an unadulterated pleasure for those taking their own first steps in painting to watch a work created in ‘real time’ by a master who knows what he’s doing. Dipping in and out of the series, I never fail to be cheered by Ross’ humanity and his ability to create something beautiful in just half an hour. The real revelation, however, was Channel 4’s Grayson’s Art Club. Fronted by artist Grayson Perry and his therapist/artist wife Phillipa (or “Philbert” as he affectionately calls her), Grayson’s mission was to unleash “collective creativity” and “unite the nation through art at a unique time of crisis.” Inspiring and inclusive, during the first series alone, almost 10,000 pieces of art were submitted by members of the public eager for the opportunity to have their work displayed on TV, and in a special Art Club exhibition at the end of lockdown.

Pictured- Maggi Hambling. Image credit- Douglas Atfield

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Hosting the show from his studio in London, each episode involved Grayson, Philippa and various celebrity guests creating art work on a given lockdown-related theme. (Harry Hill and Johnny Vegas were personal favourites – who knew Johnny Vegas had a qualification in ceramics?) But arguably the most important part of the show were his Zoom calls with those members of the public whose work he’d selected for the Art Club exhibition. The programme made it clear that it was the taking part



that counted; you didn’t have to be exhibited to be part of the Club. Of interest to those who simply enjoy art and those who wanted to have a go themselves, the swift commissioning of a second series proved that Grayson had tapped into something. Channel 4’s Grayson’s Art Club

Increased access to art through our TV screens brings us into more direct engagement with the artists themselves. This may leave less room for us to project our own interpretation onto the art; the more we know about the artists and their stories, the more we may be bound to view their work through a certain lens. Whether art should be completely mysterious is another question; whilst that would offer total objectivity, arguably an understanding of the artist and their work adds whole layers of meaning we may otherwise miss. I shall miss Grayson and ‘Philbert’. I could watch them pottering around their studio, eating lunch and bumbling around in their bottomless arts supply cupboard all day. Their easy company, along with their hearts of gold, have reminded us that art can be a medium for both solace and connection. Lockdown has given us the time and the opportunity to begin making our own art, with many feeling the therapeutic benefits of the craft for the first time. And if our television screens have helped to bring us this revelation, I for one am a convert. _

Further recommendations: Emin/Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed (BBC iPlayer) Mystery of the Lost Paintings (

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A review of Newbury Corn Exchanges Light Festival By Susanna Roland


Darkening sky cloaks the damp December landscape as my taxi pulls up outside the huge metal doors of 101 Outdoor Arts. This unique artist’s creation space is set in the former USAF cruise missile base on Greenham Common. I’m working there as a writer in residence. This is my second spell staying on-site in one of the converted portacabins on the fringes of the common. But unlike my last visit with just the cows to keep me company the place is a hive of activity with a two-week artists’ residency in full swing in preparation for the annual Winter Lights Festival. The festival is part of the Newbury Corn Exchange Outdoor Arts Programme. It draws a crowd of 3000 people each year with artists and community coming together to create a stunning light parade through Newbury Town Centre. This year due to COVID the event has been re-imagined into a free yet ticketed light trail, transforming the waterways into a magical night-time gallery. 101 have commissioned a dream team of artists to create the trail with Andrew Kim from Thingumajig, Kerith Ogden from Handmade Parade and Dave Young from Rag & Bone heading up the project. There has also been an ‘Open Call’ for assistant makers; a paid opportunity to reside and work on-site sharing and learning skills through a unique collaboration with the lead artists. I’m privileged to have been invited to live alongside the artists during the residency documenting the creative process and fabrication of the spectacular pieces.

Art Report



Alongside the three lead artists, there are nine assistant makers, plus a production team. The makers come from a range of backgrounds and hold an impressive skill set. There are sculptors, community artists, designers, puppeteers, and a tree surgeon. I meet Sascha Gilmore and Stefan Pope from the North West, Melissa Pettitt and Ben Gabel from Wales and Kezia Hoffman and Jessica Kay from the South East. I sit across from lead artist Andrew Kim to get the lowdown of the project and how it came about. He explains he met Simon Chatterton the strategic lead at 101 on a panel at a conference earlier in the year. Simon had shared his disappointment at the likely cancellation of this year’s Light Festival. Andrew told him about the training and development model they had in place at the Handmade Festival in Hebden Bridge, where makers work alongside the lead artists. The pair soon hatched a plan for the 101 residential to create a spectacular light trail with Andrew and two guest artists heading up the project. The first thing that strikes me is the overwhelming gratitude the group has for the opportunity. It’s not just the work and cash, which is a blessing in these times, but the chance to come together with other creatives and talk about art, plus the sharing of ideas and aspirations. +

As I enter the immense airplane hangar, I am greeted by an impressive assortment of giant paper sculptures that have been fashioned from withy canes and tissue. There are foxes’ hedgehogs, slugs and a carrot the size of a sofa littering the floor, and I feel like a Borrower standing in a vegetable patch. Looking up, seahorses, dolphins and jumping fish punctuate the industrial landscape, and jellyfish are dangling from the rafters of the shed. I can’t help but think of Night in the Museum as I stare at a man on a ladder as he papers the nose of a ten-foot bear, and I make a mental note to watch whose porridge I eat in the morning. There’s a warm family atmosphere at dinner as I grab my plate and follow the artists through to the makeshift dining room where individual tables have been placed in an irregular COVID-safe semi-circle. There’s excitable chatter, and a continuous stream of creative conversation about the project, as hardworking hands pile plates high with hearty food prepared by local chef Lou Glavin. I introduce myself to the team and explain that I’m writing a piece about 101. It’s not a formal interview, I’ll just be observing in the background. I’m quickly accepted into the fold and amazed at how quickly people adapt to having another person in their party, they’ve been on-site in an intense bubble for over a week working late into the nights.


Most are freelance and have had a difficult year with little to no work, and long periods of artistic isolation. ‘It’s the conversations and relationships that start in these places that are really important.’ Kerith Ogden from the Handmade Parade tells me, ‘Walking into the space you know it’s a facility for everybody, it’s not like being in someone else’s place. When you see the creative stuff on the walls and all the bits that people have left behind, you feel part of it.’ Kerith elaborates that the place seems so well adjusted to suit outdoor artists’ needs, that it’s a comfortable fit right away even if you haven’t been before. When you start working, the process is incredibly natural, like ‘picking up an tool you use every day in your hand’. Andrew points out how rare it is to access a creative space of this scale with such amazing facilities. The enormous hangar has floor to ceiling doors, large enough to build structures and drive vehicles into. There are cabins and hot food available, and then the on-site metal and wood workshops. ‘The creative thinking and problem-solving support from the specialised team like resident maker Martin West (Head of Creative Design) are a real asset,’ Andrew explains. ‘There’s really no place like it for outdoor work in the UK.’ Over the next two days, I watch the structures transform from outline shapes to stunning centrepieces. I even jump in to help varnish the night before show-day. It’s been raining solidly, so it’s important they get a thorough waterproof coating. Everyone’s exhausted.

Art Report

The temperature has dropped, and it’s near freezing as the team head to town to set up ready for the intimate audience of those lucky enough to have tickets over the next three nights. The build is complex, some pieces are just wheeled into place, but others are tricky to mount especially with the extra precautions needed due to the COVID safety. I help Project Officer Tara Williams get some hot soup down to the site, and I’m amazed at how breathtakingly beautiful it all looks. Later, the night air is atmospherically crisp as the audience gather at the edge of the churchyard and are ushered in slowly in drips and drabs. Stepping under a canopy of stars, they observe the backlit stained-glass windows of the church in awe. Ambient music lulls us toward the lights. There’s a gasp of wonderment as we turn the corner and are greeted by two magnificent bears. We follow figures who push beautifully crafted handcarts featuring ambiently lit townscapes complete with miniature windows to peer into. Along the picturesque street, the canal-side houses have illustrated silhouettes etched into the backlit windows. There’s a stunning sound and light installation created by renowned artist Mark Anderson housed within a tree. There are squeals of delight from the culture famished crowds as we follow the lights along the towpath. We take in the breadth of dazzling creatures and plants, stopping to admire a saxophonist floating on a sofa set on a pontoon, a giant Jabberwocky and a hedgerow ART LOVE CREATIVE COLLECTIVE


of homemade lanterns. The later has been crafted by school children given make-at-home lantern packs in the weeks building up to the event. The event may be free, but the capacity is limited, and you can tell people with tickets are feeling lucky. There’s always a magical quality to this kind of event at Christmas, but this year there’s a real appreciation for the artistic skill and an air of good fortune from the golden ticket holders. I hover in the shadows listening to the crowd’s delighted musings thinking how proud everyone must be. The team’s passion and commitment to get things as perfect as possible seems to have paid off.

The description of his morning ride to work squashed in a van with characters belonging to another profession is poignant, as is the sheer physical exhaustion and emotional strain he recalls. Evidently, he was so very grateful for this creative opportunity. Everyone is, as am I. I can’t believe just how enthralling the experience has been for participants and audiences alike. Let’s hope that now there will be more opportunities for sharing, artistic expression and participation and that our Creative Industries can weather this mighty storm. _ More about the author –

Later back at the base someone asks anxiously, ‘Did the audience get what that actually was?’ and another one questions, ‘Was that piece in the right place?’ There’s a discussion about audience Interaction and engagement and how different and challenging it is in these times. Everything is. Even the highly organised production manager tells me she’s forgotten the coat she always wears on show days, the one with ‘all right pockets in all the right places.’ It’s no big deal but another tell-tale sign of the times along with the steward who totters precariously near the edge of the canal as he ushers punters along. We are all out of practice it seems.

I note the creative team’s fragility. It’s been a ridiculously tough year with many freelancers forced to down tools and take up different mantles. One participant tells me how in desperation without his usual theatre work in place he’d joined his builder brother laying tarmac.


Browsing curated art for sale 10 m of Gold

by Alicia Torres, London Gold leaf and acrylic resin acetate 120 x 1000 cm £6,000 Contact_

People on an Escalator

by Imogen Perkin, Hertfordshire Oil on Canvas, 66 x 76 cm £750 Contact_


by Beth Barlow, Cheshire Oil on Paper, 28 x 38 cm £200 Contact_

I thought I had lost you

by Francesca Alaimo, London Mixed media on paper print (oil,acrylics,wax), 89 x 129 cm £800 Contact_ @francescaalaimoartist

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Outside In ll

by Linda Chapman, London Photography, 59 x 42 cm £450 Contact_


by Kate Anderson, United Kingdom Smalti/resin/vitreous glass/ceramic/other, 168 x 76 x 4 cm £3,500 + shipping costs Contact:_

Painting Paint

by Kevin Devonport, Leeds, U.K. Oils, 40 x 51 cm £1,050 Contact_ Instagram: the_art_of_no_noise Instagram: kevindevonportfineart


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Lanterns, Hope and Future

by Laura Obon, London Collage, work on paper, 50 x 70 cm £325

by Louisa Clark, Bermondsey, London Oil on Canvas, 80 x 60 cm £855 Contact_



Pie in a Green and Yellow Melancholy

by Becky Atherton, Lancashire, U.K. Acrylic on Canvas, 50 x 40 cm

by Carla Lobmier, NYC, USA Acrylic/Mixed Media on Paper 76.2 x 60.06 cm




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Daylight Fragments

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Paravane, Sediments collection 2019/2020

by Lucie Jestrabikova, Germany Drawing sculpture, 160 x 120 X 40 cm €6,000 Contact_

Horizon through a Porthole 6

by Pete Mountford, United Kingdom Acrylic, Mixed Media & Fixings on Canvas 60 cm (circumference) £390 Contact_ Facebook: petemcolourmount Instagram: @pete_mountford14 Twitter: petemartist1


by Miguel Sopena, U.K. Oil impasto on Canvas, 90 x 60 cm £900 Contact_


by Patricia Figueiredo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Analog collage on card, A4 $250 Contact_ www.patriciafigueiredo.wixsite


Howling at the Moon

by Boo21 Custom Artwork, Bristol, U.K. Acrylic and spray paint, 60 x 45 cm £140 Contact_

Stall 452

by Taabu Munyoki, Nairobi, Kenya Acrylics on Canvas, 100 x 80 cm 650 USD Contact_

The Deep

The moment has passed

by Rebecca McDonald, Newcastle Upon Tyne Micron pen, Stippling, 24 x 24 cm

by Ronis Varlaam, London Oil on Canvas, 80 x 80 cm £1,200

Prints £12, Original £80



Night Weaver

by Rochelle Asquith, West Yorkshire, U.K. Pen and Ink on paper, 21 x 29.7 cm £150 Keep Resisting!


by Jared Schwartz, Los Angeles, California Mixed illustration $400 Contact_ Instagram: jareds_sketches

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The Age of Reason

After the Rain

by Susan Plover, Manchester Mixed Media Original/Print, 21 x 29 cm

by Sophie Hardisty, Liverpool Mixed Media on Paper, 19 x 27 cm unframed

Original unframed £100 Limited edition signed print £37



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by Anastasios Veloudis, United Kingdom Acrylic paint and spray on canvas 31.5 x 39.4 x 2cm, unfraimed £700 +shipping Contact_ Facebook: A Veloudis Instagram: anastasios veloudis

Black Family Reimagined

Tijera S Williams, Irvine, CA, USA Digital Collage, 20 x 24” $350 Contact_


(The_ Charity)

Tigoung Nonma Disabled Artisans Cooperative in Burkina Faso (West Africa)

We seek to provide sustainable incomes for physically disadvantaged artisans by participating in the international fair trade movement. The existing stigma attached to disability here in Burkina Faso makes it difficult for people with disabilities to find work. It is through the production and sale of fair-trade goods that we can empower our members to become autonomous individuals, therefore enabling their participation in the socio-economic development of their country. Our artisans use natural materials along with a wide variety of recycled products. We work to limit the damage to our environment and thus contribute to the fight against climate change. We promote our work through media such as our website/exhibition, in an attempt to remove the prejudices held towards people living with a disability. Thank you for helping us to make our goal a reality.



(The_ artist)

Artisan StoriesIssouf Sebgo (Burkina Faso)

Issouf works with bronze to create statuettes inspired by Burkinabé culture. Never having been to school, Issouf became an artisan at the age of 15, and is now married with one child. He has been a member of Tigoung Nonma since 2005. Getting to work each day means a 15km journey for Issouf, which he completes by handbike. The creation process for Issouf’s bronze figures can take 3-4 days, and begins with a model made from wax melted over a log fire. The model is then covered with clay and heated again, leaving a clay mold when the original wax melts away. Bronze, which is mainly collected from local mechanics, is then heated on a coal fire at 1000 degrees for an hour to be poured into the clay mold. Finally, the clay mold is smashed away from the bronze and intricate details such as the face and hands must be refined by hand using a chisel.

Sculpture 1

Sculpture 2

Sculpture 3

Sculpture 4

Bronze 18x7 inhes £200

Bronze 18x8 inhes £200

Bronze 14.7x7 inhes £200

Bronze 17x6 inhes £200