‘Sub-Doodling’, press ups and Lady Gaga..

Art, Artist, Drawing, Events, Illustrator, Inspirational, Interview, Uncategorized

Becky, Cai and Emma as drawn by Joff

Becky, Cai and Emma as drawn by Joff

Cai, Emma and myself recently attended an arts conference at @Bristol, on Disability Led arts hosted by two organisations; the Bristol and Brighton Steering Groups. Designed to inform and inspire the public on disability within the arts today, the conference was attended by people nationwide.

During we met Joff, the events graphic artist who caught our attention right from the start of the day. So, we eventually managed to corner him and fire a few questions his way.

Here is the conversation we had about ‘Sub-Doodling’, press ups and Lady Gaga..

Joff, we thought you would be an incredibly interesting and inspiring person to interview, as Young Arnolfini is all about making art more accessible to young people and today really has opened up our eyes to disability within the arts.

4How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been drawing all time, the whole time.. all my life.

So are you a full time illustrator?

No, I’m not good enough to do that, I can’t draw buildings or vehicles very well!

Oh no, you shouldn’t consider those things as limitations!

Well…. I like doing my press-ups so.. wait what? Sorry what was the question?!

[There’s a lot of laughter at this point as Joff is obviously distracted as he watches people walk by that he could be drawing..]

The question was ‘are you a full time illustrator’?

Ermm I draw a lot of the time, like a lot of the things I do, I do in drawings but I’m not really an illustrator because you have to be able to draw buildings..

There’s no rules to illustration! Can you speak a bit about your work and your style? Do you think you have a particular style?

My style for these kind of events, when I’m documenting things, I’d say is actually quantity not quality! I can do a lot of drawings but a lot of them are pretty bad but as long as I can get the feeling across of what is vaguely going on at the event.


So would you say your style is fast paced and doodle like?

It’s like ‘sub doodle’..

That’s a cool description of it! So do you think that your disability affects you in any ways, positively or negatively?

Ah, that’s a good question.. Er, well maybe it makes people be a bit nicer to me! They’re more forgiving of the not very good likenesses in my drawings! Erm, I don’t know.. well, no.. I don’t know! Sometimes I’m probably a bit more messy than I would be, you know, like if I’ve got a big pile of paper, maybe I’ll drop a few more sheets than someone with a normal hand.. When I’m doing my press ups I have to put a book under my stump to make it the right height!

Do you think anyone can draw?

YES! Definitely..

Do you think everyone should draw?

Yes as well! Definitely!

Do you think thats part of where your practice comes from? From drawing everything, you just get better and better at documenting?

Yes, I love it when other people draw! In fact, Sarah did one of the drawings today, I got her to do it because I got bored of it..

What advise would you give a young person with a disability who would like to go into the arts? Especially drawing, as we have been watching you all day and you have such confidence to just approach people and start drawing them.4

Just draw. I know some of these people here, mainly because I’m a huge fan of their work.. I’m a huge fan but not really into contemporary art so much.. but I just really love people who draw! I don’t really know what I’m talking about.. Some people do really realistic, detailed pencils drawings of Lady Gaga.. what am I talking about, I don’t know..

You’re talking about really realistic, detailed pencil drawings of Lady Gaga to an illustrator who does detailed pencil drawings and portraits! Cai has actually drawn Lady Gaga..

Have you?! It’s like two ends of the same string linking up! I can’t draw Lady Gaga.. I can draw a meat dress but I can’t draw the face.. Sorry Cai!

If you could give your 16 year old self a piece of advise, what would it be?

Be nice to your mum. No I was quite nice to my mum.. I’d say don’t talk as much! Id say that to myself now too!

Have you ever experienced any discrimination?

What because I’ve got like one hand? You mean?


Er nah not really.. people are nice!

People are nice to me a lot too, I think it’s my height! I’m short and I think people pity me!

Oh yeah you are quite short!

We really loved all the illustrations Joff created, and below are only a selection of all the ones he created. There were so many, it was hard to choose! Take a look:

Thanks for reading,



Ich bin ein Berliner.



I was off galavanting between Europe and Scandinavia last week, doing speedy visits to London, Berlin and Copenhagen, taking in the culture, creativity as well of lots of fine food!

In particular I couldn’t believe the contrast between these city’s. London is renowned for being fast paced and champion of the tourist experience, with sight seeing buses chugging round the streets atone a minute. However Berlin to me was a proud and punked up city, willing to show tourists it’s underlying, underground music and art scenes, only if you were ready to look for them. Bars hidden across the vast spread city and backstreet graffiti could easily remain unknown if you didn’t do your reading. It seemed that the laid back Berliners still live somewhat on the down low in comparison to other city’s, immune to the masses of street art and graffiti and contemporary galleries like the c/o gallery sitting quietly on a street away from the centre of the city.  They have temporarily been exhibiting work in open air outside the gallery after a closure for expansion and refurbishment, due to reopen later this year.

Rich with history I learnt so much and I’ll definitely be returning to pick up where I left off, making sure to take a few wrong turns and explore the mischievous capital a little bit more. Anyone coming with me?


Young Peoples Festival of Ideas - Social Media - at the Arnolfini

Young Peoples Festival of Ideas – Class and Education Wed 22nd

Events, Inspirational, Roundup

If you havent heard of it, Young Peoples Festival of Ideas or YPFoI for short, is a series of debates on hot topics (past events have covered Pornography and Social Media). The inspiration for the event came from the original Festival of Ideas held in Arnolfini and other venues across Bristol and we’re excited to be working with the team behind FoI and Salam Shalom to create these free events. The only thing you need to do is reserve your ticket with Arnolfini’s box office (0117 917 3200).

We’re all really looking forward to the next event on Class and Education on Wednesday the 22nd of January so we decided to find out from different YA members what all the fuss is about!


A clash of ideas; that is what I am most looking forward to about Wednesday’s Young People’s Festival of Idea’s talk on Class and Education. Not because I like a heated debate but because often it takes somebody to challenge your opinion on something, for you to look at it from a different point of view. Discussing ideas freely and learning from each other is what YA aims to get from these open events.


This Wednesday’s Young People’s Festival of Ideas event is not one to be missed! The last two events have been evenings like I’ve not had before, that encourage you to think in ways you may not have before, and to think about things you perhaps haven’t considered before. This week’s event will be covering themes surrounding the necessity of university, how much of a class divide there is in the current educational system and how perhaps can we influence the education system? I’m looking forward to the atmosphere of the evening; a room full of opinionated people, all eager to share their own opinions and experiences of the education system and how class is effecting it.


I feel the YPFoI events so far have really fulfilled our aim – to give young people a unique platform to share ideologies and philosophies, particularly amongst themselves and other generations. It not only has been cathartic for myself but I feel it has also been great for representing such diverse intellect and positive connotations of young people. If anything I feel class and education is going to be the pivotal topic where strong opinions will surface to make for an incredible debate and be a real eye opener for many, so I’ll definitely be nabbing a front row seat!


The YPFoIs have been such an interesting experience for me. They have been entirely unique, and I’ve never seen anything like them aimed at young people in bristol. The past few topics have sparked interesting discussion between me and the people I go with, and they often raise issues that we might not have been aware of. The next talk – Class and Education – is something that is right in the forefront of my mind at the moment, and unlike the past topics, its something that young people have to actively think about – investing lots of time into researching it. I’m looking forward to seeing what issues and points are going to be raised in the third talk.

Charlie C-T:

What I think really makes the YPFoI events so special is the participation of the audience and the really interesting points everyone has to give to the debate. I feel like if people didn’t show as much enthusiasm as they do, then the event wouldn’t even be half as good as it is! What I’m most looking forward to about the Young Poeples Festival of Ideas event is hearing all of your contributions.

See you all there!

Shangaan Electro

Bristol, Inspirational, Music, Performance, Uncategorized, Workshop
Nozinja in Soweto, 2010 from Dazed and Confused interview.

Nozinja in Soweto, 2010 from Dazed and Confused interview.

On Tuesday Charlie and I had the opportunity to be involved in a workshop with the brilliant Shangaan Electro. Visiting a primary school in St. George, the South African group stirred much curiosity and enthusiasm among the 7 – 11 years olds bouncing around their school hall, waiting to be taught some basics of the traditional dance in their after school activity.

The regenerated music genre of Shangaan Electro has slowly enveloped the world, taking marimba beats to whole new levels of vigorous speed and movement.  Traditionally slower (but by no means slow!), African Shangaan music used to average at around 110 beats per minute, but in 2005 when jolly chap Nozinja decided to get involved with music, he upped the beats per minute to 184.

Teaching the children basic steps and encouraging each of them to make the moves their own, not one child refused to enter the middle of the circle and demonstrate their dancing, with a lot of side stepping, circling and jigging around to all angles of the people watching them.

Usually attending clubs and events, a Primary school in Bristol was not an expected choice for the group to visit. Despite this, the joyful spirit of Shagnaan Electro with its highly charged and exciting pace and rhythm was undoubtedly an incredible experience for all involved. For each child exposed to a form of dance expression that had no rules other than tempo and for every adult who was witnessing the buzz and inspiration of the children taking part, we all left that afternoon with a faster spring in our step!

A serious procrastination opportunity.

Other, Uncategorized

Feeling a little restless and anxious awaiting the looming Monday morning? Make the most of your last opportunity to burn away some boredom for another week and take a look at the link below..

The thoughts of a wandering mind.



The refreshing train journey.

Exhibition, Photography

Train journey’s are quite often spent glancing over the day’s news in the Metro, tired eyes seeing the words but minds wandering else where, or what is often the case for me, catching my breath after sprinting to the station. Either way it is not usually the environment to find yourself moved to tears over an article that draws you in so completely to its story. As the thrifty type, when I boarded I took a seat next to a pile of discarded magazines and papers, flicking the pages until I faced a black and white photograph of the enigmatic, 60‘s icon- April Ashley. Her name rang a bell, her image slightly recognisable but I knew nothing of her life.

I read the article with disbelief and sympathy for the woman who strived for the freedom to be herself amongst a culture that didn’t accept her. Subject of a new exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool, where she was born as George Jamieson, she was one of the first people in the world to undergo sex reassignment surgery. The exhibition illustrates the  battle she faced against discrimination and displays the changing social and legal conditions for all transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual people, with her own contribution to these movements earning her an MBE.

The refreshing pages I read of April Ashley’s life emphasised that the phrase ‘slowly but surely’ is wholly relevant in regards to societies changing attitudes towards sexuality and gender representation.