Over the past year I’ve been struggling to establish my own work amongst the commissions and illustrations I create for other people. I have enjoyed working with other people for many years but slowly the themes that interest me have been buried under a busy schedule of album covers and organising group exhibitions for ConnectCollect. I knew I needed to make a change and I feel I’ve now turned the page on a new chapter. I started in June this year with a trip away to my studio in Cambieure and little house in Limoux with Kevin Acott (writer) and Bill Mudge (photographer/musician).
Reversing the Spectator
Kevin, Bill and I spent a week together in the South Of France during the June heatwave of 2017. We didn’t have a plan about what we wanted to do, what we might create together. I slowly filled my sketchbook with vignettes of village life. Bill, suffering under the relentless sun, retreated to the night-time streets of Limoux and Cambieure, photographing the midnight cats and silent buildings. While Kevin worked on a set of short stories that had been inspired by his travels through the USA, Greenland and now France.
On the 14th June 2017 we walked from the Petite Rue du Palais to the cemetery in Rue Saint-François in Limoux. It was a pilgrimage to visit the grave of Madame Mongin, a neighbour who had died the previous year. Starting at Madame Mongin’s former home we wandered through the largely deserted streets of Limoux. Slowly we were separated along the sun-bleached route, eventually meeting once again at the cemetery.
Reversing the Spectator is a 16 page chapbook published by our family company Sampson Low and features my drawings and Kevin Acott’s words. Buy it HERE for £2.60 (+£1.20 P&P).
The Art of Caring has once again proved a huge success, first gracing the walls of St George’s Hospital in Tooting and then transferring to St Pancras Hospital for a 3 month run (closes 19th October 2017). We have exhibited 330 artworks in both locations. I exhibited a piece in the Droitwich Mail Art exhibition during August 2017, curated by Tamara Jelača. Here are a few more exhibitions that are just about to happen and I’m involved in….
Far Out (2 Sept – 1 Oct 2017) at the Galleri Nexus, Tinglev, Denmark. An exhibition of science fiction inspired artwork by international artists including a performance by Brut Interstellar. I’ve created a huge wall of imagined worlds that can be coloured-in by visitors to the exhibition.
Off the Record (1 – 30 Sept 2017) at The Quarry Theatre, Bedford, MK40 2NN. It is an exhibition of imagined album covers as part of the Conscia Jazz Festival. I have created two pieces for the exhibition, including one cover of one-line drawings from a night sketching at Kansas Smitty’s during the summer. https://www.conscia.org
51Zero Festival (27 Oct – 2 Nov 2017) where my silent film Aspic will be screened alongside live music, sound art on the launch night, 27th October 2017 in Rochester Cathedral crypt, Kent, ME1 1SX. And also with recorded sound in Rochester Cathedral crypt and in the Main Chamber, Guildhall Museum, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1PY from the 28th October to the 2nd November. Aspic was inspired by a short residency at the TANE house on the Isle of Wight. https://www.51zero.org
Over the past few months I’ve been working on album cover work for Andy Fleet, Stefanos Tsourelis and the Balagan Café Band. All these groups/musicians will be releasing their albums in the next few months. A sketch of mine also features in a new release, Transitions by the Julian Costello Quartet.
I have established a new way of working since coming back from France this summer. I try and complete a drawing in the morning before switching to emails and other contact with gallery and artists. So excuse me if I’m slower than usual to respond to you. I also try and get this drawing onto Instagram, you can find me at https://www.instagram.com/albanart/ I’m often inspired by the things I see around me, especially the strange happening in Suburbia or London’s unusual inhabitants.