Summer 2017

As ever it’s been a busy and varied 6 months looking after my own work and organising exhibition for other artists. The Art of Jazz exhibition at the Robert Phillips Gallery in Walton-on-Thames (January 2017) was a real success with a good number of visitors and a fabulous launch night with the Stefanos Tsourelis Trio. Thank you to everyone who came and for those who bought some of the original sketches to take home.

Samuel Eagles’ SPIRIT – Ask, Seek, Knock

Album Art
Album covers still play a large role in every working day and there seems to be no end to the varied projects I’m getting involved in. Recently I’ve finished work for Samuel Eagles’ SPIRIT, New York Standards Quartet, Yana, Collective X and George Colligan. In the next few weeks I’ve got an interesting new project by Juan Maria Solare called Sombras Blancas (White Shadows) and then something really new to me from the Balagan Cafe Band.

The Art of Caring
In May 2017 we opened the Art of Caring 2017 exhibition at St George’s Hospital. It had an immediate and favourable response from patients and staff at the hospital as they walked past our display of postcards and haiku pill bottles.  330 artworks from 150+ artists and authors is hard work to organise but worth every minute when you consider the Carers, Nurses, NHS and patients who need our support. We also had a important visitor, Jane Cummings, who is the Chief Nurse at NHS England. She viewed the whole exhibition and enjoyed the diversity on the work.

Chapbooks
Several of these little 16 pages gems have been published since the turn of the year and they continue be well received. They include Colouring Walls by Stella Tripp, Christina’s Moon by Jill Hedges, Altogether Elsewhere by Jazzman John Robert Clarke, Theatre of Rages by Francesca Albini, Villiers Path by Lucy Furlong, 5 chapbooks from Debbie Chessell in a new series for the Confronting Rape Culture group and another new series for Kevin Acott as he travels round the world in pursuit of the poet inspiration.
I recently did an interview for Sphinx Poetry and Pamphlet Review website – Read about it here.

CUBE Live Performance
In March I performed at the Shaw Gallery in Croydon with Bill Mudge on keyboard and sound effects. We were contained within a 2 meter square paper cube. Cut off from the audience I created a drawn narrative using spirit ink that leached from the inside of the box to the outside. This gave the appearance that the drawings were coming from an invisible hand. As I drew Bill created improvised sounds and we spent a particularly surreal 40 minutes engrossed in a game of cat and mouse with the gallery visitors. If you would like to see what it looked like we’ve made a film. Watch it HERE

A World In London
I still sketch every week at live venues, getting out to gigs and finding new music and performers is part of London’s charm. I spend most Wednesday’s at Resonance FM in Borough where they transmit A World In London with DJ Ritu. It’s been one of the highlights of my year so far, each week I discover new musicans, new music and wonderfully varied cultures. You can see all my sketches on the Art of Jazz blog.

Stepping Out
There are several interesting projects on the horizon. I’ve been commissioned to create a Walking Literary Map of Walton-on-Thames for the Elmbridge Literary Festival in November 2017, which has meant several enjoyable trips to Walton, scouting out nuggets of interest and meeting people from the local area. I’m hoping to be part of a Science Fiction exhibition in Denmark called Far Out in September, organised by Eskild Beck. I’m in the early stages of organising a Secret Art Sale for the Charley Paige Trust that will be at Squires Gallery in Shepperton in September 2017.

AL.

Winter 2016/2017

The Art of Jazz exhibition
I don’t need to tell you it’s been another busy year and the next 12 months looks equally challenging. I always hope to condense my artistic activities but I am such a creative magpie that I cannot resist a new opportunity. Through my work with CollectConnect I spend much of my time working with other artists but the first few weeks of 2017 allows me time to concentrate on my own work. On the 13th January I launch The Art of Jazz, an exhibition of my album cover artwork at the Robert Phillips Gallery in Walton-on-Thames. It’s rare for me to have original drawings, sketches and painting for sale and even more unusual to show the development of these album covers. I have been working for 6 years on album cover art with nearly 50 albums released, with most from London’s burgeoning young Jazz scene but other from further shores like Bremen, Barcelona, Buffalo, Berlin, New York City and Denmark and France.

invite_outside_v_50The Art of Jazz
Private View – 13th January 5.30-7pm (Free entry with refreshments)
Robert Phillips Gallery
Riverhouse Arts Centre
Manor Road
Walton on Thames
Surrey
KT12 2PF

To help celebrate the opening of the exhibition there will be a concert afterwards from the Stefanos Tsourelis Trio in the gallery from 8pm onwards. Tickets available here (£12/£10)
It would wonderful to see you at the opening of the exhibition and concert. I’ll also be holding a ‘meet the artist’ day on Saturday 21st January 2017 from 12-2pm. The exhibition closes on the 22nd January 2017.

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Shapes and Lines of Beauty exhibition

Shapes, Lines, Beauty and British Shorts
Until the 17th January I’ll be exhibiting my Jazz sketches at the Shapes and Lines of Beauty exhibition in the The Arts Project gallery which rests within St Pancras Hospital.

Kevin Acott and I will be showing our film Nonstops at the 10th Lichtspielklub Short Film Festival exhibition in the Sputnik Kino, Berlin from 12-16th January. The film is an animated version of the Relationship Map we created for Mental Health Awareness Week. The film was first screened at the Façade Video Festival in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Retrospectives, postcards and awards
We’twickenham_film_festival_2016_c_25ve just closed a large retrospective of our work at CollectConnect which brought together the work of 1200 artists, over 4,000 artworks in 25 exhibition with the gallery at Kensington and Chelsea College. It was a massive undertaking but worth it to see what we’ve achieved over the past 6 years. Thank you to Bryan Benge, Dean Reddick and Stuart Simler who I love working with on these inclusive exhibitions.

We also organised a very successful exhibition at Kingston University called Postcards to My Future Self. 150 people wrote postcards to themselves and I’ll be mailing those back to them in November 2021.

I collected an award at the Twickenham Alive Film Festival in October at Twickenham Stadium (right).

Album covers and Chapbooks
I’ve just finished the album cover for Kelvin Christiane and Sam Walker’s Tumultuous Tenors album and am working on the debut album for Stefanos Tsourelis.

After a hiatus at Sampson Low Ltd were back in the swing of chapbook publication with several editors producing chapbook series, these include Maartens Lourens with Poetry WTF?! (#1 Combed Thunderclap, #2 Howie Good and Dale Wisely), Francesca Albini with her Dreamtime Chapbooks (#1 Garden) and Lucy Furlong with her seethingography series (The Seethingographer #1).

 

Summer & Autumn 2016

This year has been the busiest ever for work and the balancing act of commissions, illustrations, exhibitions, film and publishing pushes me all the way. Luckily I’m back from my annual holiday in France and raring to go for the last few months of 2016.

AOC16-900px-097

Art of Caring at The Rose Theatre. (Left to right) Peter S Smith, myself and Robin Hutchinson MBE

Art of Caring
One of the cornerstones of each year is organising the Art of Caring at the Rose Theatre gallery space in Kingston-upon-Thames. It is an open exhibition that is organised with CollectConnect and supported by Kingston University as part of their International Nurses Day celebrations. This is our second year and it proved to be very popular with both artists and public alike. 330 postcard sized artworks were exhibited by 180 artists from all over the world, including many student nurses from Kingston University.

The Art of Caring has now travelled to The Arts Space, St Pancras Hospital where it has been transformed by curators Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay. It has breathed new life into the work, with larger format original work being exhibited alongside many of the postcards. It is open from 21st July to 13th October 2016 at THE CONFERENCE CENTRE, ST PANCRAS HOSPITAL, 4 ST PANCRAS WAY, LONDON, NW1 OPE. It is open Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm (TRAVEL/BUS 46/214 TUBE/KINGS CROSS). Free Entry.

Chapbooks
WeResilience also published a chapbook with Sampson Low Ltd for International Nurses Day called Resilience (Chapbook 14)which features 28 poems alongside my illustrations. It made it to the number 1 position in the UK Chapbook Charts and has travelled the globe to chapbook collectors who also want to show their support for carers and nurses.

As a director at Sampson Low Ltd I’m proud to have instigated our new Chapbook series. We have published 17 chapbooks in the past year including my own for the Threshold Festival in April called The Gift (chapbook 13). Authors we have published include Kevin Acott (chapbook 1), Giovanni Cerbiatto (2), Natalie Low (3), Carole Bulewski (4), Francesca Albini (5), Stella Tripp (6), Peter S Smith (7), Bryan Benge (8), Simon La Brea (9), Wayne Sleeth (10), Eskild Beck (11) and David Bushell (12).

We have also started working with the free thinkers of Seething, who are a community of global community activists. We have published two Seething Chapbooks with them, Pasta Prose and Glovewatch 2016. I have also started a chapbook series with Maartens Lourens and/or The Combed Thunderclap at WTF?! Poetry, the first in the series is currently available on Amazon for modest a £1.

ST_pancras_9

Art of Caring at St Pancras Hospital

Exhibitions
With the press of other commitments (publishing and album art) I’ve had less time to exhibit but the year started with a small group exhibition at the MINE Gallery in Carshalton that celebrated the photography of Bill Mudge. The Threshold Festival in April in May was really special and I love getting out of London for my annual trip to Liverpool. The months ahead include a film at Twickenham Alive Film Festival, the Secret Art Sale at Heath Robinson Museum (Pinner, UK) and Lines of Beauty at The Arts Project, St Pancras Hospital.

This year I worked with poet Kevin Acott on a new exhibition for Mental Health Awareness Week. We exhibited and published a map of relationships at Middlesex University with the help of 50 contributors. READ MORE

Album Art
I’m very lucky to have London as my playground in the evenings and nothing excites me more than indulging myself in the swings and roundabouts of the capital’s Jazz scene (and other genres too). If you never visited before have a look at my blog at the Art of Jazz.

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Michael Chillingworth – Scratch and Sift

It has been an exciting and busy year as an album artwork artist. Every album is different and I love working with some of the freshest and most exciting music being released at the moment. My relationship with new label Two Rivers Records has been particularly fruitful. 2016 has seen me working on 18 releases so far including Samuel Eagles’ SPIRIT, Andre Canniere (The Darkening Blue, Whirlwind Recordings), Will Gibson (Facets, Pathway Recordings), Musson/Edwards/Sanders (Bibimbap, Two Rivers Records), Tony Kinsey Big Band (Embroidery Suite), SAWA (Two Rivers Records), Melange (Via Maris, Two Rivers Records), Jason Palmer & Cédric Hanriot (City of Poets, Whirlwind Recordings), Nautilus (Infrablue, Two Rivers Records), Patrick Cornelius (When We Were Very Young, Whirlwind Recordings), Michael Chillingworth (Scratch and Sift, Two Rivers Records), Kenneth Dahl Knudsen (We’ll Meet In The Rain, Two Rivers Records), Juan Maria Solare (Himmelsrichtungen, Janus Records), Clemens Christian Poetzsch (PEOPLE & PLACES, Two Rivers Records), Firefay (The King Must Die), Diane Taber and the Sunspots (Serve with a straw) and Robert Menzel (Alchemy, Two Rivers Records).

 

 

Threshold Festival 1/2/3 April 2016

T6_VisArtsTeaser_3840pxIt is an honour to be selected as one of the visual artists exhibiting at this year’s Threshold Festival in Liverpool. The 2016 exhibition is entitled “Alchemy: Materials & Transformation” and will feature in 9 venues across the Baltic Triangle, with over 40 participating artists from Merseyside and across the UK.

I’ll be exhibiting my work at the main Visual Art hub, The Gallery Liverpool [Stanhope Street] but the exhibition will continue across established venues and emerging spaces in the Baltic.
Visual Arts Curator, Jazamin Sinclair said “We have over 25 people working together in our visual arts team to curate, plan, install & pull together our full exhibition programme this year. All the ideas and planning means that things are now really starting to take shape and we are really looking forward to working together with the artists to install the exhibitions across the 9 venues!”

You can pick up Threshold weekend passes for £20 (just £10 for students) via Skiddle. If you’re quick, you may still be able to grab a cheap pass via Party For The People, but don’t delay. And for the traditionalists, you can pick up paper tickets from official Threshold stockists, Dig Vinyl and made-here.
Threshold Festival takes place from 1st-3rd April, 2016 across numerous venues in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle.

After publishing several chapbooks for other artists this will be my first publication of my own work in this format. The chapbook will called The Gift and will be free for exhibition goers to collect. Read a little more about the exhibition and project below.

The Gift

If the traditional definition of Alchemy is the magical transmutation of base metal into gold then gambling must be the modern version of this art. Nothing can place golden nuggets faster in your pocket than going into a betting shop in the morning and leaving that same evening a millionaire.

It is just as magical (and possibly confusing) looking at the betting card with its information including form (races run), fitness, jockey, trainer, weight, age, breeding to name just a few. Horse racing is a visual feast too with the luxurious jockey’s silks, the bookies’ legendary tic-tac sign language and all the colour and excitement of a day at the track itself.

It sounds so simple to pick a winner and turn your original stake into pure profit by merely sitting on your backside. In reality deciphering all the race information is totally confusing and very few punters make a profit from betting. There is an answer, a creative solution, if we view the basic information in a graphic form then it is easy to see the horses who are worthy of a bet. Our eyes merely have to see the anomaly in the pattern to pick the winner. There will be those who have the gift and those that don’t. Do you?

Value BettingHistory
For my 21st Birthday I ask for and received a present that changed the way I worked as an artist. This wasn’t a palette, paintbrush or new type of paper, it was a book. This publication was by a tipster and journalist Mark Coton and called Value Betting. It didn’t tell you how to pick which horse would win but how to look at information to suit your own needs. It required the reader to play the long game, to win over a season rather then walk away from each day with your Midas touch intact. I applied this approach to my life as well as my art, and since then I have been a compulsive systems maker. I devise and create patterns of working, exhibiting and creating in my head and then go out into the physical world to apply them.

Art
These diagrams are both art and information. Each horse is assigned a counter or token image, this is changed in size and location through its application to a specific system. It is the viewers choice as to which token catches their eye, this is the one they can bet on. The art will take the form of a book (published by Sampson Low Ltd specifically for the Threshold festival) and contains the answers/results in the back pages so the reader can see if they have ‘the gift’ and could make a profit by betting in this way.

Race_1_250_AYR_11_19_2015 copyLiverpool and Threshold
Not only is the Threshold Festival a fertile ground for trying new ideas like this but Liverpool is its home. Aintree (Liverpool) hosts the most famous horse race in the world with The Grand National happening just one week (7th April) after the 2016 Threshold Festival(1-3rd April). This would be the perfect opportunity to test the theory that we can identity the winner through the power of Art.

Winter/Spring 2016

Alban_low_BuntingThe Autumn and Winter of 2015 was as busy as ever with trips abroad and exhibitions keeping me occupied. I was commissioned to create/draw the bunting for Twickenham town Centre by BID Twickenham during the Rugby World Cup 2015. I was very proud to help my home town in such a way and it inspired a whole series of commissions for rugby fans throughout the world.

Clemens_album

Clemens Poetzsch

2016 is proving to be an exciting year with several album covers already under my belt and many more to come. These include NYC alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius who will be releasing his new album When We Were Very Young in the UK during February 2016. New label Two Rivers Records have been increasingly present on my drawing table with imminent releases from Clemens Christian Poetzsch (PEOPLE & PLACES), Robert Menzel (Alchemy), Dave Kane (Mysore mornings), Kenneth Dahl Knudsen and Michael Chillingworth. On the independent tip I have already completed US singer Diane Taber’s latest album artwork and Firefay’s The King Must Die which will be launched in London on the 12th February 2016.

33%_Florence_Flyer_2_vectorHere’s something for you to get involved in. I’ll be organising the Art of Caring again this year. Last year’s exhibition was a massive success with 252 artworks by 130 artists exhibited at the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames. Well were at it again. Submit up to 3 images to collectconnect4@gmail.com on the theme of Caring or Care and we’ll exhibit them in the exhibition, which starts on International Nurses Day (12th May).
Full details here.

Deadline 31st March 2016.

 

Autumn Exhibitions 2015

33%_French_Days_PV_card_front_4 copyFrench Days
After a really busy start to 2015 I needed my annual getaway to the South of France over August. As always it was a mixture of sun, wine and good living. Like previous years I did one drawing a day to help me to remember those sunny moments when the dark days of England are heavy on the heart. To help preserve that bit of summer for many more months to come I’m exhibiting a collection of these drawings at T&T, 106A Alexandra Park Road, London, N10 2AE from 19th September to 11th October.

We’re having a big party to celebrate on Sunday 27th September from 12-3pm, so come along, see the drawings and have a glass of wine. http://www.tashandtanya.com

3rd Annual North Texas Recovery Conference
I’ll be presenting a paper on Art and Recovery alongside psychotherapist Harvey Wells and poet Kevin Acott at this popular conference in Denton, Texas, USA. They’ll be a ‘live’ art display to entertain the delegates too.

33%_Life_of_endings_PV_Card_front_3 copyA Life of Endings
Earlier this year I had the exciting opportunity of sketching in the Dissecting Rooms at King’s College London. I’ll be exhibiting my drawings in the Gordon Museum of Pathology on Thursday 10th September  2015 from 6-8pm. On the night there will be a live performance from Bill Mudge (music) and Kevin Acott (poetry) in the museum itself. We’ll be publishing a book to go alongside the exhibition and releasing the sound narratives that Bill and Kevin create.

For further information contact Bill Edwards, Curator, The Gordon Museum of Pathology at william.edwards@kcl.ac.uk or Harvey Wells at Harvey.Wells@sgul.kingston.ac.uk

 

 

Summer 2015

This has been one of busiest periods of my life with an explosion of exhibition, films and album covers.
Here’s a whistle stop tour of some highlights and a few pictures before I have to get back to the drawing board.

Lesley Christiane and Trevor Baylis

Lesley Christiane and Trevor Baylis

Twickenham Film Festival Award
I picked up an award alongside Kelvin and Lesley Christiane of Twickenham Jazz Club in June for our short film – Twickenham Jazz Club Sketchbook.
It was a wonderful night on Eel Pie island as we rubbed shoulders with some inspirational characters like inventor Trevor Baylis.

Alen Ilijic outside the Lepa Brena apartments in Nis, Serbia

Alen Ilijic outside the Lepa Brena apartments in Nis, Serbia

Stone Upon Stone Festival
In April I flew out to Serbia to be artist-in-residence at the inaugural Stone Upon Stone festival in Nis. It was my first visit to Serbia and I was well looked after by my hosts Dejan, Alen and Milica Ilijic. I sketched for three nights at the festival and captured 6 different bands/groups. It was an opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to discover new music and explore another country and culture. The highlight was being able to stay amongst the local people in the ex-communist Lepa Brena apartment block on the edge of town.

Magna Carta Suite - Alex Hutton Trio

Magna Carta Suite – Alex Hutton Trio

Alex Hutton and Partikel
Over the past couple of months two of my album covers have been featured on new releases by Alex Hutton Trio and Partikel.
This is my second album for Alex Hutton. His album ‘Magna Carta Suite’ celebrates the 800 anniversary of the charter.
The new Partikel album is a cracker. They have composed and recorded and album with a supper talented string quartet, featuring one of my favourite musicians Benet Mclean.
It is my third album cover for Partikel and once again they release on Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Label.

Onstage at the Rose Theatre Kingston

Onstage at the Rose Theatre Kingston

The Art of Caring and Nursing’s Got Talent
A massive organisational headache but well worth the extra effort. In May 2015 I organised the Art of Caring exhibition that brought together 255 artworks from 133 artists on the theme of Caring and Care. The exhibition helped celebrate International Nurses’ Day 2015 and we had submissions from all around the world. More info – http://www.artofcaring.org.uk/

As part of this week of celebrations I worked alongside Kingston University to organise a day of performances at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. I was last on stage drawing live on large paper canvases, beside me was talented Duncan Eagles (saxophone), Max Luthert (bass), Chris Nickolls (drums) and Bill Mudge (Keys).

Walk Exeter Random

Walk Exeter Random

Walk Exeter Random
Never one to be pigeon-holed I took to the streets for something a bit more subversive at the NOSE 2015 festival in Exeter. It’s fast becoming one of our favourite platforms for testing out the freshest of ideas and artworks. Last year Harvey Wells and I placed magnetic images of one-sided conversations on the cities streets. This year we made the city centre of Exeter into a giant maze. Harvey and I armed ourselves with cameras and a dice, fate was our mistress for a day. We also commissioned a piece of random inspired music from long time collaborator Juan Maria Solare called ‘One of these dice’.

Aspic film poster

Aspic film poster

Wellington Underground Film Festival
May was an exciting month as we also premiered a new film called Apsic at the Wellington Underground Film Festival in New Zealand. Apsic was made as part of mine and Bill Mudge’s trip to the TANE house on the Isle of Wight. It has a brilliant score that is part written and part improvised by experimental trio Toy Rokit.

Disordering Chaos at Fringe Arts Bath

Disordering Chaos at Fringe Arts Bath

Disordering Chaos at Fringe Arts Bath
I exhibited Murder Minutes 1 and 2 at Fringe Arts Bath this year in their excellent Disordering Chaos show. The exhibition looked at systems of order in art and the wider world, the show presented works which utilise or disrupt ordering, cataloguing or organisational systems. There was a little bit of excitement as my work Murder Minutes 2 was stolen from the exhibition. It was returned a day after with a full annotated solution its Agatha Christie puzzle, put it is still mystery who the light fingered code cracker was? Curated by Mark Fearbunce.

Piers Green portrait at Twickenham Jazz Club

Piers Green portrait at Twickenham Jazz Club

Musicians in Motion Exhibition
Thank you to hosts Lesley and Kelvin Christiane at Twickenham Jazz Club and all the staff at the Cabbage Patch for putting on our Musicians in Motion exhibition in June. What a fabulous day as part of the Twickenham festival.

Dr Adebayo Alade

Dr Adebayo Alade

Dissecting Room
It is an experience that changes the way you think about your own body and those pressed tight against us as we go about our daily lives. In April I was given the opportunity alongside poet Kevin Acott to enter the inner sanctum of King’s College Dissecting Room. The days before were full of visions of unimaginable deaths that spawned in the mind, for this was my first encounter with a dead human body. Hopefully we’ll have an exhibition of the work later in the year.
Watch this space.

Alban