Taking a chance on a flyer – CHAMP

Art, Arts, Bristol, Events, Inspirational, Launch, Meditation, Music, Nature

Last night (20th June 2015) I was coaxed into attending an event by a very curious piece of advertising. Picked up at The Island, Bristol, this flyer, with its sparseness and contrast, was too intriguing to ignore.


What I found, in a small, active industrial yard, was a gathering of people brought together for a performance and a barbecue, on the eve of the solstice.

Sam, the main man of the occasion, put the event together prior to the beginning of what he described to me as an adventurous wander of survival without money, a phone or a map. The idea, to leave of without worrying about how much money you have, who you’re in contact with and where you are, is greatly inspiring as a thing to do, and the fact that there was no pretention in the attitude of the friendly, jovial crowd bolstered the moment.

The event itself is tied to a group of artists in Bristol, CHAMP, whose newly renovated garage studio is as I awkwardly put it at one point, ‘nice’. Which is what it is, a well as more valuable adjectives.

It’s the second time I’ve joined the outskirts of a group shepherded by some leader figure called Sam. The first time being the night of my secondary school prom, in the face of rejection I’d gone off to a gig instead, and while there lied to a group of guys about my age so I could feel less insecure. Sam bought me a drink but I’d had to politely decline.

This time around it was homemade wine that I was avoiding for medical reasons and the barbecue, (from which I had a grilled pepper bun) was a happy addition to the performance. A good move. The details of the performance itself is really only for the performance. That it effectively involved a morning ritual with a much heightened intensity, is enough description to honour intentions I figure.

All of that which Sam took on his sojourn of indefinite length today was lain out on the floor until by the end of the performance it was packed away into his bag. In generosity Sam also provided me and others with a free shirt for our engagement, which was a fine thing to do.

Sam, and the rest of those more of the inner circle, were at the allotment mentioned on the flyer this morning at sunrise, to wave Sam away I guess.

It’s a shame I couldn’t be there, but I was more committed to getting to my bed than hanging around for somewhere to couch/floorsurf with the group. So on this, the longest day of the year, I wish Sam the vey best of luck, and am glad that things like this happen, because, if they didn’t, then just how boring would life be?


Eden 4 Artist Lab Finishing Party

Art, Artist, Arts, Bristol, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, Launch, Painting

A few weeks ago I had the delight of attending Eden 4’s Artist Lab Finishing Party, and thought I would share some of the exciting work created during their week-long residency at Centrespace gallery.

Eden 4Eden 4

Rosie Dolton, Beckie Upton, Rachel Falber and Amy Higgins are four female artists from the south west who form the collective Eden 4.

Eden 4 aim to explore the darker symbolism behind fairy tales, myth and religion within their work, and it is evident in the work of Amy Higgins and Rachel Falber that they take inspiration from Greek mythology and Grimms’ fairy tales.

On the group’s website they write:

“We propose to make installations, drawings, sculpture and embroidery based on ideas which will challenge the viewers traditional ideas of ‘Happily ever after’.”

It is this variety of work, and the assortment of textures and materials used by the artists that create visual excitement within the space.

The work on paper is sometimes on scrap material or card, and sometimes on pristine watercolour paper. This is altered in Rosie Dolton’s textile work, which sometimes mimics a drawing, where the thread becomes the line of the pencil.

Eden 4Eden 4

Eden 4 run projects and workshops, and in this exhibition were able to invite the public to have an exclusive look at the artists’ workspace, to see how the work is made and the processes behind its production.

It is in the opportunity to look at artists creating art that the boundaries are broken between the gallery space (and resolved work) and the artist’s studio. Creation is undoubtedly the most important part of the artwork, but is left out of the gallery space, with artist’s studios and gallery spaces being almost polar opposites.

In each of the works presented in the space composition is an important aspect of them all. Each artist has made careful aesthetic judgements ranging from colour to how the work is arranged in the space.

The references the female body, sometimes spliced with animal parts or bird skulls that become new mythological creatures, are prominent, and become the most noticeable subject in the collection of work. The spliced animal drawings of Amy Higgins create a female Minotaur, which subverts the Greek Myth of the male Minotaur unnatural offspring of a woman and a beast.

Sometimes exploring the female body in their work, Rosie Dolton and Beckie Upton Both use text and incorporate slogans, borrowing the aesthetic of fashion magazines, using phrases such as lecherous which confronts the viewer and forces them to question the male gaze and the sexualised imagery seen in the media.

There are strong feminist undertones in every artist of Eden 4, which become more powerful when brought together as a collective.

Eden 4

Follow Eden 4 on Facebook or Twitter.

Or visit their website: eden4.org.uk


Wanderings – Exhibition Video

Arnolfini, Art, Bristol, Events, Exhibition
From the 15th to the 29th of October 2014 Young Arnolfini’s Wanderings was on at Be-in Bristol, and for those of you who want to know what that looked like click here…


…That’s a video link don’t you know, take a look, I love it! I did make it, but that’s not the point…

Who is art for?

Art, Article, Arts, Uncategorized

Jon Aitken recently wrote an article for Rife magazine sharing his thoughts on artist Jake Chapman’s statement that taking children to art galleries is a “waste of time“. Young Arnolfini – in case you hadn’t guessed – is a group associated closely with Arnolfini, and one of the points in our manifesto is that we aim to bridge the gap between young people and contemporary art. Statements like Jake Chapman’s are exactly the opposite of what we are aiming to do. 

‘Spike Island is currently my favourite exhibition space’

Bristol, Drawing, Exhibition, Inspirational, Painting, Photography

Bristol’s very own Spike Island is featured among this weeks top 21 exhibitions.

David Batchelor is currently showing at Spike, and to quote his words from last week’s opening ‘Spike Island is currently my favourite exhibition space’.

His currently visually stimulating and exciting exhibition, Flatlands, features drawings, paintings and photographs, all exploring colour and it’s intensity and value.



Antony Gormley – National Museum Cardiff


Opening just over two years ago, National Museum Cardiff now has it’s very own Contemporary Art Galleries. Visiting last week I surprised myself by finding this section of the museum to be one of the most interesting and inspirational.

One of my favourite pieces that is on display until January is Antony Gormley’s Flat Tree. He has taken the trunk of a tree, and laid it out in a huge spiral, starting at the centre with the top of the tree.

Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photographs in the gallery, but the descriptive piece that accompanied the work explained about Gormley’s intentions of (I wish I could remember the exact words used) rearranging the tree, and presenting it to us in a new light. We see the beauty of the tree in a new way, and also its size – with the sculpture stretching to at least 6 or 7 metres wide, at my rough guess!

I would definitely recommend a visit to the gallery, it’s free, is only a short train ride from Bristol and contains a real variety of work from some inspirational artists. Image

80pence is all you need

Bristol, Drawing, Exhibition, Painting, Performance art, Photography, Printing, sculpture

Where can you currently find a life sized wish bone, pickled onion knuckle dusters, an incense filled fish tank and a video based around KFC?

Bloomberg New Contemporaries is a touring exhibition, and this year it’s other venue is Spike Island in Bristol. The collection of 46 recent fine art graduates works features over 100 pieces and is split across two sites – there is just that much work! 8 Millennium Promenade (next to Pizza Express) has provided Spike’s offsite space for New Contemporaries and can be reached by the Bristol Cross Harbour Ferry for 80 pence.

New Contemporaries provides us with the first look at who might become big names in the art world in years to come. The diversity of the work selected is incredible. I am a Gallery Invigilator at both of Spike’s New Contemporaries venues, and having spent numerous hours with many of the works, there are many I still do not fully understand, yet that is beginning to not bother me.

Some of my favourite pieces strike a chord with me because of how they make me feel, rather than the knowledge or concepts behind them. I don’t fully understand them yet that doesn’t matter. What matters is the experience I gained from viewing and interacting with them, and focusing on why they are the pieces I chose to enthuse to others about.

So come along, and see which pieces grab your attention. Laugh at the ones you don’t understand and remember those ones that have the power to change how you feel.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries is at Spike Island until 10th November, when it will move to ICA until January 2014. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 12-5pm.

What better way can you think to spend 80 pence?