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October 2011

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Exploring Arts, Culture, Music & Film within Bristol.

westworld

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Andy Council Afrika Eye Film Festival The People's Supermarket Zombie Walk 2011 Zion Train A Pinch of Salt Wolfgang Kristian Fletcher Featured Artist

No Comment


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Featured Artist - No Comment

AFRIKA EYE FILM FESTIVAL Ed Sharp

Our perceptions of Africa have long been shaped by the media as being largely negative; the news is often filled with reports of war and corruption, famine and disease. But have you ever wondered what life in Africa is actually like? Well, throughout the weekend of the 28th October, the Watershed is hosting Afrika Eye; a film festival showing Africa through African eyes. A weekend packed with eye-opening films; the first will begin at 8.30pm on Friday, the last at 6.45pm on Sunday.

Featured Artist - No Comment. Subvertiser, satirist and mindful vandal; street artist No Comment is drawing a lot of attention on the streets of Bristol as student protests, riots and economic recession set the scene for the birth of a new generation of politically conscious art. No Comment was raised on a diet of Tesco Value baked beans and hypnotising nights in front of Supermarket Sweep; it was no surprise that this hyperactive teenager’s health was suffering. Finally, after choking on his ready meal after a long night sniffing paint fumes, he spat out his TV dinner and detuned his television, turning down cans of Coca-Cola in favour of picking up the paint can.

Working together with Bristol street artist Criminal Chalkist, he created a piece in Stokes Croft after the riots entitled ‘Rob a shop, go to jail. Rob a nation, get a bonus!’ voicing the hypocrisy behind jailing people causing physical damage whilst rewarding those responsible for causing economic damage. Is street art changing the world or is the world changing street art? No Comment. His first solo exhibition is at the 1loveart store on Park Street at the end of January. Watch this space. www.facebook.com/nocommentnocomment

The highlight is a documentary about the rise and fall of a dictator often misunderstood by the West; Robert Mugabe. Directed by established Zimbabwean film-maker and producer Simon Bright, the film depicts how a popular leader embarked on a 30 year oppression of the people he had once been honoured worldwide for liberating. The audience will be left contemplating the title of the film; Robert Mugabe... What Happened? For a full programme of the events at Afrika Eye, full synopses of the films being shown and short bios of their respective directors you can visit www.afrikaeye.org.uk . This will surely be an eye-opening experience for all.

EDITOR'S LETTER Welcome this year's first issue of Westworld! This month is a very compact issue, but we’ve crammed it full of interesting things, such as an interview and free poster from iconic local artist Andy Council and an alternative take on the ‘Tescopoly’. The trees around us are rapidly losing their leaves, and it seems the summer is over far too soon. But this is no time to hibernate like spiky rodents. This is an artistically and culturally exciting time to be a part of Bristol. Are you inspired? Then send us your work, you talented things! Jenny Pearce westworld@westerneye.net

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Contributors Jack Brown Konstantinos Dimitriou Kelli Gallacher Matt Hoare Anthony Killick Holly Parmenter Jenny Pearce Paul Watson Special Thanks Andy Council

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Interview - Andy Council

Westworld speaks to Andy Council The reptilian crazed artist discusses everything from portfolios to pooing under scaffolding...

Interviewer Jenny Pearce Your style is very unique. How would you describe it? It's an amalgamation of architecture, structure and character, rendering intricately detailed compositions of imagined creatures composed of iconic objects. These creatures are mostly dinosaurs.

As a Bristolian of almost three years, it would be impossible not to have been wowed by Andy Council's intricate and prehistoric art-works. I first spotted his 'Brisuanadon' collaboration sculpture in with the dinosaur fossil exhibit at Bristol Museum. Its crafty intimacy and novel juxtaposition really made me chuckle. The work has since moved to Bristol's new Mshed, where he also has a large mural with Acerone. Andy's work can be seen all over Bristol such as in the PRSC (People's Republic of Stoke's Croft) gallery where he has posters depicting his 'Visit Stokes Croft' Dinosaur, and in Jamaica Street where a massive piece spans two stories. It has now even spread its scaly wings overseas.

my daily life here in Bristol is the graffiti and street art. I find it a constant source of inspiration - the letter forms, shapes, characters and colours. It has come to a point where my work is more street art/graffiti than illustration. What have you been working on recently, I hear that you have broken the LA scene?

And how would you describe yourself in three words? Big, old... dinosaur. You obviously like dinosaurs a hell of a lot. Why? The dinosaur thing kind of happened by accident. I was commissioned to do a poster campaign to promote recycling in Bristol. The posters featured a monster made up of rubbish called 'Scrapzilla'. I did a few of them and people looking through my portfolio would always comment on them. I decided to do more that were made up of other stuff, like Bristol landmarks and the rest is, as they say, history. Or prehistory perhaps? I've started studying them more since drawing them. I like basing my recent ones on types of dinosaurs that are lesser known. New types are discovered all the time, so I may never run out of inspiration. Did you go to university/college? If so, where? I went to Art College in Bournemouth where I studied Animation. It was all hand drawn on cells with no computers back then. I didn't go into the animation industry, but the courses emphasis on drawing helped me get illustration work. I think some of my work has a kind of animation cell look to it that probably comes from college days. I enjoyed my time in Bournemouth; it was nice living near the sea, going out on my BMX, listening to Jungle and getting wrecked. If you have an off day or a mental block, what do you like to do to get inspired, as there are no seas in Bristol? My two main influences in my work are Natural History and Architecture. I enjoy going to museums and looking at animal specimens or wandering around Bristol looking for unusual buildings I haven't noticed before. In this way I find visiting London and other major cities especially exciting. The buildings, landmarks and layout of places are what makes somewhere different. Its life and energy. Places have character and I try to reflect that in the animals that I make out of cities. This usually works out quite well, although recently I agreed to do a dinosaur mural of an area of London and then found out there wasn't much there of interest landmark wise. That one was a bit of a challenge. Turned out looking more like a dog too... Where do you draw your influences from? Well, as mentioned, the natural world and architecture, but generally things that surround me on a daily basis. I try to twist the mundane into something fantastic if I can - dinosaurs made out of the contents of my living room for example. I have been very lucky that one of the things that surround me in

I painted a piece for a group show in LA that had old school computer games as the theme. It was based on Sonic the Hedgehog and the Shoot ‘Em Up R Type. It was pretty weird and I doubt it will sell! I also did an illustration for a Russian magazine that was a mountain of parcels with trees growing out of the top. Other than that, I've been designing Dinosaur Graff pieces... And how does it feel to have two pieces in the new Mshed? It's an honour to have my work in a museum and was great to collaborate with Acerone on the mural. My parents are really proud. I don't know what the general public make of my stuff in there though, weird dinosaurs made out of Bristol and that... I do wonder if it is too bugged out for some folk. It is funny in a way having my work in there, it's like, where do I go now with my work? Perhaps that's why I am doing mostly street work right now. So, what is the Bristol art community like? It's massive. There seems to be so many artists and people working in creative industries here, that in itself can be quite daunting but also very inspiring. Within the scene as a whole there are sub groups which are all doing their own thing, but with a feeling of connectivity. What do you like about it? I like how within my sub group of graffiti/street art it is pretty friendly and supportive. I can turn to lots of artists within that group for advice and inspiration. Do you have any advice for students wanting to break into the Bristol art scene? That’s quite a tricky question to answer. I suppose just maintaining your own unique style is important. Getting work seen by the public on a regular basis, which could be in lots of ways - in galleries, on walls and windows. I guess joining the various collectives here and taking part in group shows is a good start. Meet up with artists who are already established here. It's a good way of getting advice. Perhaps one last thing I would say is not to base your art career solely on prehistoric animals! Where is your favourite place to spray? The places I paint vary quite a bit and have their own unique charms I suppose! I like keeping it different and engaging with the public in different places. I have painted down by the M32

in Bristol a fair bit. There's a legal spot there that is easy to get to, but I wouldn't say it's my favourite place to be. I recently painted down a storm drain by ASDA in Frome. This was a lot nicer than it sounds, as it is on a nature reserve with lots of wildlife. It was really peaceful there and I had Herons, the local youth and my friends keeping me company. What is your favourite picture that you have created and where is it? I get tired of my pieces pretty quickly and tend to just move on to the next as a development from the last. There are a few that I think really stand out though. Currently, the piece I am most pleased with is on Jamaica Street in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol. I like it as it is several floors high, big and gold. It is a really bold piece that stands out and it is near the Bell which is one of my favourite pubs. The piece was a real achievement for me as it took a lot of Masonry paint to do and needed a scaffolding tower and team of people to help create it. It was a tough job at times as it was raining, Casualty was being filmed in the street, there were lots of passing drunk people being shouty, someone did a poo under the tower and I am scared of heights too! What other artists do you like and why? I like work by a mixture of illustrators and street artists. I like Will Sweeney's work as it is detailed, has nice colour combinations and is pretty trippy. Nicholas Di Genova has a love for detailed, strange twisted beasties like me also. Drew Millward’s work has a nice style to it, it's dark and fun. Will Barras' work is amazing and it seems to just flow from him without even trying. Street artists I like include Nychos, Roa and Aryz. Their work is pretty much creature based and on a big scale. I like Solo One's pieces; I can look at them for ages, looking at all the energy and life in them. I'm lucky to count lots of Bristol’s top street artists as friends and workmates. Their work constantly inspires me. Is there anything else you would like to add? The lime and the coconut and mix it all up. If you don't fancy taking a walk around Bristol to find some of Andy's work for yourself, he can also be found at: www.andycouncil.co.uk

Turn over for a free poster of Andy's work.


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The People's Supermarket / Zombie Walk

The People's Supermarket Matt Hoare

It has been a turbulent year for the community of Stokes Croft. Well known for its artistic culture and alternative world view, it has been the setting for an unprecedented standoff between a corporation and a community struggling to make their voices heard. Now, six months on, the area is recovering and an antidote to the ‘profitsbefore-people’ ethic has been found. Opposition to the newly established Tesco store is evident wherever you go in Stokes Croft; from the groups of demonstrators that occasionally gather outside the store, to the mural on the Nine Tree Hill/Sydenham Road junction that espouses that 90% of the community prefers not to have a 32nd Tescos on their streets. Whether or not this statistic is accurate, it is clear that in a truly democratic society the wishes of the people would be held above corporate interests. This view is one taken on, not just by anti-capitalists, anarchists and left-wing radicals, but by the person who simply wishes to defend their business. As well as the debated immorality of corporate monopoly, the establishment of yet another Tesco store is sure to have a detrimental effect on local business. Cheaper prices and longer opening hours are conveniences that local businesses cannot compete with: do we really need yet another Tesco on the streets of Bristol? The night of 21 April saw the culmination of months of occupations, protests, frenzied council meetings and debates held by the ‘No Tesco in Stokes Croft’ campaign. It was a spontaneous public outburst of a community whose voices were left unheard, triggered by the arrival of an unnecessarily fortified police force intent on evicting the now infamous squat, ‘Telepathic Heights’, located opposite the Tesco store. Telepathic Heights was seen by the authorities as a hub of antiTesco sentiment and was subsequently raided by forces drawn from the Avon & Somerset and South Wales constabularies. Windows were smashed, bins were set alight, and both members of the police and protesters were injured. Violence and vandalism are, of course, in no way condoned but when all diplomatic routes have been exhausted it can be expected that tensions will boil over. The debate on corporate power was left untouched by many media organisations, which largely ignored the wider issues. Instead many sought to sensationalise the story, focusing on firebombs and stigmatising all who protested as ‘thugs’ and ‘hooligans’. This resulted in a skewed story, justifying the heavyhanded policing tactics, and mandating Tesco’s intrusion into the area. It seems that Tesco has truly triumphed, proving that corporate interests take priority over local business. Despite a sustained and vocal opposition, it has bulldozed its way into the area, whilst simultaneously claiming the contrary; according to their ‘Corporate and Social Responsibility Report’, Tesco claims to contribute to community, taking into account the wishes of the local people as soon as they identify a site. Instead, campaigners have been met with layers of impenetrable bureaucracy, preventing any kind of meaningful dialogue. Is there really nothing that can be done to escape the hegemonic clutches of the ‘Tescopoly’? How can local people restore that lost sense of identity, buried beneath a sea of discount fabric softeners and mass-produced, artificial foodstuffs?

This is where the People’s Supermarket comes in. The People’s Supermarket, a concept imported from the United States, aims to provide sustainable and healthy food, whilst simultaneously acting as a co-operative for the local people; local volunteers can sign up to work just four hours a month, and in return they claim a 10% discount on their purchases. The money generated will go towards overheads such as rent and utilities, not into a private, profit-making venture. As well as the core team who manage the everyday mechanics of running a shop, there is an advisory group, comprised also of local volunteers. This demands a little more experience in professional fields, such as marketing, legal advice and accounting. Described as “the original green chef ” by Jamie Oliver, Arthur Potts Dawson is the man with the vision of the new, sociallyconscious business model. Although he admits that the United States and the United Kingdom are very different places, he sees no reason to believe the People’s Supermarket will be any less popular over here, than in New York. “It remains to be seen whether the British are prepared to come together in the same way, but I think members of communities are starting to look to each other for strength and support and sharing skills.” He also believes that the never-ending gloom, dominating the economic horizon, will work in his favour: “It’s giving people the opportunity to take control of their own situation by giving their own time to save money, so it’s a very good way to take control of how we buy food.” At a time when food prices are creeping ever higher and household incomes are being squeezed, it seems a welcome alternative to the traditional business model. Locals can save money whilst at the same time constructively contribute something to that will surely be a prized asset of the Stokes Croft community. In a world where ‘The Big Four’ (Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s) are constantly expanding into new markets, increasing their dominance and driving smaller businesses into bankruptcy, it is a good a time as ever to begin promoting an alternative. This is clearly a main motivation of Arthur’s: “Supermarkets control how we buy food and what we eat, and they make an absolute fortune from us. I want this to be a real wake up call for people to see what supermarkets are doing to them and to show that there is an alternative model.” And nowhere in Bristol is this idea more relevant than Stokes Croft; given the events of the past few years, it has been a prime example of how corporate monopolies disregard localities to expand their grip on our high streets. When will this stop? Will we finally realise that it is time to put aside convenience, in favour of co-operation and communal integration? The People’s Supermarket aims to repair the damage inflicted by big business and bad publicity. It represents a change of values, putting communities before profit margins. By promoting their vision of an alternative consumer ethic, the People’s Supermarket might just reinforce Stokes Croft’s sense of identity.

ZOMBIE WALK 2011 Jenny Pearce

Bristol is set to be under attack again as Armageddon strikes. The dead shall walk again on Saturday 29 October. After a massive previous success, Zombiewalk shall return to Bristol. Braaiins. Some say it is just to celebrate Halloween, others say it is a stand against commercialism and corporations. Whatever the reason, it is damn good fun. Braaiins. Get your fake blood and gruesome gear ready for an event that last year, was possibly one of the best days of my life. Usual starting place is College Green, creeping through the City Centre towards the Bear pit and then finishing at Kings Square with some ultimate monster mayhem, including music by the fellow undead. Braaiiinss. The details, such as whereabouts, of this unique and spectacular walk are likely to change, so make sure you check them out under Bristol ZombieWalk 2011 on Facebook closer to the date. This free event should not be missed! Braaiiins.


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October Reviews

A pinch of salt

The Salt of the Earth/La Sal de la Tierra (1954, Herbert J. Biberman, USA) Anthony Killick

Climb aboard the Zion Train Album Review Paul Watson Finally, the long awaited greatest hits of Oxford’s Zion Train has been released and, like you’d expect from a band with such a long and prolific career, there’s plenty of amazing material from a wide range of their albums. They have come a long way from their days as a small sound-system of the Oxford underground dub/rave scene. Zion Train are at the forefront of the British dub culture, even winning a Jamaican Reggae Grammy in 2007 for their Live as One album, picking up best dub act. This is partly due to being the pioneers of mixing traditional dub elements with dance music, but also because of their exciting live shows, whether it is the full eight piece line-up or just the DJ and the beautiful vocalist Molara doing a set (as it was when I saw them). Their live shows are full of energy and the bass literally fills all of their songs and rumbles through your entire body, creating a hugely memorable experience. As for the album, there is a good mix of well-known classics and more unknown songs, which considering how much material the band have created, is no easy task. Songs like ‘Baby Father’ and ‘Dub Power’ best show the sound that the band is famous for – perfectly blending the deep slow rhythms of dub with the up-tempo high energy of minimal techno/ breaks. The mix of genres is almost perfect. For example, on the second disk, songs like ‘Kings of the Sound and Blues’ and ‘Love Revolutionaries’, which are more ‘traditional’ dub tunes, are beautifully contrasted with songs like ‘War in Babylon’ which with its heavy jungle rhythms and pounding techno bass line sounds more like something you would hear at a free party in the woods or a night at Lakota than from an ‘old school’ dub band. However, some bands are just meant to be seen live and unfortunately Zion Train is one of them. I found myself drifting out of tunes like ‘Get Ready’ and ‘Fly’ which, if were experienced live through a full sound-system are impossible to ‘drift out’ of. If you are someone who is new to Zion Train or dub music in general then this is a great starting point for you, just be sure to catch Zion Train live when they make one of their regular trips to Bristol, you will not be disappointed. Album: “Dub Revolutionaries: the very best of ” Genre: Dub, Dance, Reggae Record Label: Demon Music Group Album Rating: 4 stars

Stories of how individuals are harshly affected by the operations of corporatism are no rarity. Salt of the Earth is a case in point. After making this film the directors were ostracised by the Hollywood film industry as part of the McCarthy witch hunts. Its pro-union stance was unfavourable to the wealthy beneficiaries of multinational Capitalism, who labelled the directors seditious communists, traitors to the ‘American dream’. The film portrays the struggle of families in a zinc mining community in 1930’s New Mexico. When the miners go on strike over poor working conditions and low pay, the corporation they work for resorts to various underhanded tactics in order to force them back to work. The fact that the men are soon legally banned from striking is the films way of demonstrating how corporate interests sway government policy. In the face of this ban, the miner’s wives offer to take their place on the picket line. This gives rise to a debate within the community on equality and women’s rights. We can see, then, that embedded within the narrative of a class struggle between the miners and the corporation, is the issue of an intravenous patriarchy. Positioning the women’s struggle in relation to the miner’s strike contributes to the films dispelling of the idea that a class struggle is a predominantly male one. Sequences in which the miners are shown doing the housework while their wives guard the picket line bring into question the patriarchal definition of ‘work’, and what it constitutes. The film therefore not only highlights inequality between men and women, but maps a route towards the breaking down of the division of labour, providing us room to question the structure of the traditional family as it is defined by the dominant Capitalist ideology. As an example of this dominance we hear from the narration at the beginning of the film that the corporation has re-named the town “Zinc-town”, in an attempt to erase the traditional Mexican origins of the area through cultural hegemony. The bitter emphasis of the narrator’s voice on the initials “USA” are an allusion to the fact that the Unites States is a colonised country, one that continues to expand, with obvious present day consequences. Economic and ideological dominance is further represented as interfering at the most basic levels of existence. Every business, utility and public service in the town is owned by the same corporation who own the mines. This is a reflection of the vertical integration model of the Hollywood studio system of the 50’s, in which one major film studio would have control over the production, distribution and exhibition of films (no doubt the major film oligarchs of the time detected this allegorical criticism). In both cases we can see a monopoly on the forces of production, forces which define our relationships to other people. The film tells us a story of what happens when people refuse to let this monopoly control their lives any longer. This film was shown as part of the REEL WORLD screenings, a series of rare political films shown every Friday at 5pm on St Matthias campus, room A122.

Wolfgang rock the boat Wolfgang NME Radar Tour 3.10.11 - Thekla Holly Parmenter In the style of Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and MGMT, Wolf Gang stormed the stage at Bristol’s floating club, Thekla, as part of their headlining ‘NME Radar Tour’. The strangely simmering October heat was not the only thing keeping us warm, as this hot and current act swept the harbour side with their glamorously dramatic, yet familiarly comforting 80’s inspired electronic/indie sound. With the newly released album Suego Faults debuting on 25 July, Wolf Gang have been received well by their critics. Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian described their sound as a ‘Sunny tunefulness’. Wolf Gang opened the show with the disco-inspired rhythmical ‘Dancing with the Devil’ which certainly injected the crowd with an electric ebullience, reflecting their so-called ‘Sunny tunefulness’. The bands youthful exuberance was clearly apparent; Max McElligott’s stage persona shone through as he elegantly and emotively sang the slower songs such as the melodic ‘Suego Faults’ and the specifically mawkish ‘Midnight Dancers’. Wolf Gang, however, did not lose the crowd in a befuddled maudlin, their last single ‘The King and all of his Men’ provided a shimmering display of orchestral pop which appeared to flourish the atmosphere with a melodramatic gusto. The song’s exceedingly infectious melody and smooth production doused fans with the sheer reality that Wolf Gang are most definitely at the start of an incredibly successful musical journey ,which shall flutter to a pinnacle high within the next year. We were also presented with the band’s new release ‘Back to Back’ which oozed psychedelic vibes and a contrasting Bowieesque vocal; informing us of the band’s versatile and unusual nature. McElligott’s eccentricity was especially visible as he unstoppably progressed the musical merriness with passionate on-stage movements. 24-year-old McElligott’s flamboyant appearance and vibrant stage presence mirror glamorous rock/ pop legends such as Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Adam Ant. Wolf Gang are certainly a band to watch and their current album Suego Faults is undoubtedly a must listen for 2011. McElligott’s path to an opulent musical peak is indeed set out for him..


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UWE Prizewinner

UWE’s own wins National Drawing Prize

Konstantinos Dimitrioiu

UWE Drawing and Applied Arts student, Kristian Fletcher, has won the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Student Prize. Kristian, who is currently in his third year of studies at UWE, submitted a piece called “Lake”. His work was selected from over 3500 entries awarding him £1000 in prize money, along with priceless national recognition. “Just being there was a privilege for me,” says Kristian Fletcher. “Then I heard my name and I was literally shocked. That is the most I have ever achieved in my life.” The Jerwood Drawing Prize is a nationally famous competition that takes place every year. The entries include established artists, as well as relative newcomers and students. The winners were chosen by a judging panel that included Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery, Tim Marlow, writer, broadcaster and director of Exhibitions at White Cube, and artist Rachel Whiteread. Then they reward the best pieces with the first and second Drawing Prize, as well as two Student Prizes. It is the United Kingdom’s leading award in contemporary drawing and the selected pieces form a drawing tour exhibition. Kristian comes from North London. He worked for fourteen years in the construction industry as a scaffolder. While randomly visiting Bristol and Bower Ashton, he came up with the idea of doing a degree at UWE. He said it was a great change for him as he didn’t know anything and anyone in Bristol. He made a fresh start, concentrating on his studies, without any distractions. Kristian has always had an interest in art and geometry. Apart from his scaffolding experience, he revealed that art lessons were the only classes he would

attend during his school years. When asked to give some tips to fellow students who want to gain recognition as he did, he said: “You need to dedicate yourself, put your heart into it. If you are confident and concentrated in what you do, you will get rewarded. I would suggest submitting your work as many times as you can and get valuable feedback. Asking why can be very helpful for your personal improvement.” The former scaffolder also revealed his current and future plans. He said he is in his third year of studies and totally focused on his degree. He wants to graduate, but then his future is uncertain. “It’s quite tricky at the moment because I still don’t know where my practise lies and where it’s going to take me,” comments Kristian. He is thinking of applying for an artist’s assistant position in London, or ideally getting a studio in Bristol and working individually for a year. He also wants to expand his education with a master’s degree in the near future. He is hoping that his achievement in the Jerwood Drawing exhibition will help him get into an esteemed university to pursue his studies. Kristian describes how he came up with the idea of his winning piece, Lake. “The piece is based in Bristol, in the newly developed harbourside. This area filled me with an attractive feeling of expectation, so I revisited it during the winter months,” says Kristian. “It’s about progression. It just reminded me of where a lake could possibly be, therefore the title”. He said his tutors have been really helpful and supportive, and that they have given him “priceless advice”.

Finally, Kristian described what it is like being an artist. “It’s quite naïve. It is really hard to sustain yourself just through art,” explains Kristian. “Although there are many directions that you could follow, you kind of need to be at the right place in the right time”. Kristian’s achievement is worthy of recognition, as it is a proof that inspiration, along with hard work and dedication, are the keys for personal success.

Westworld October 2011  

Westworld is the Arts and Culture suppliment for WesternEye, the student newspaper for UWE.

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