Winter / Spring 2019

Being Human, Bloomsbury, Brut and Bury St Edmunds

I finished off 2018 with a hectic schedule of commissioned works, walks and residencies. Kevin Acott and I spent a brilliant week with Barbara Dougan at Grove Projects creating new work. It was a precious opportunity for us both, not only was it a rare chance to work uninterrupted for 6 days but we created new and unexpected work that we presented in a exhibition in Bury St Edmunds. We started the week by creating two new chapbooks Limey and Trial and Error which were published and in bookstores like Waterstones within 5 days. The second half of our week was spent exploring Bury St Edmunds and writing songs after we stumbled across the story of Nick Cave’s time spent in the East Anglian town, and also a fun trip to the Hoo Ha Record Club one evening.

In November we took some of our work and performed it at Rich Mix in London as part of the Poem Brut series run by SJ Fowler.

I worked on a really interesting collaboration with The Rutledge Lab, at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, inviting the public to talk about their perceptions of mental health and explore how this interacts with approaches taken by researchers and clinicians. Dear World Project was an installation featuring a post box where members of the public anonymously sent postcards about their own mental wellbeing which was then be organised at a sorting office. Scientists were on hand to discuss how we use symptom categories and diagnostic labels in neuroscience and psychiatric research.

In recognition and celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS, I worked in partnership with Prof Harvey Wells and curator Richard Meunier to discover the traces of East London’s medical history. We created a guide map commissioned by Queen Mary University of London that reveals the hidden relics of the hospitals that existed prior to the inception of the NHS. The map links together the Queen Mary sites that exist today: St Bartholomew’s Hospital founded in 1123 which is the oldest hospital in England to have provided continuous care for patients on the same site, The Royal London Hospital founded in 1740 which was once the largest general hospital in the country and where Joseph Merrick the Elephant Man was treated and Queen Mary’s Mile End campus which is situated next to Mile End Hospital. We launched the map at the Royal London Hospital Museum and created a video of the walk.

Before the NHS: A walk through East London’s medical past from Alban Low on Vimeo.

Love Tokens and Bad Pennies / The Art of Caring

I’m involved in two exhibition this Spring. During the Valentine month the artists and writers from CollectConnect explore the flip-sided theme of Love Tokens and Bad Pennies with an exhibition of 34 miniature sculptures. These objects are placed in public places (#unsettledgallery), helping us to remember those who we hold dear – or cast off those who we would rather forget. Every day throughout February we feature one of these tokens/pennies. A writer will also use the art as inspiration to create something new and fresh. Find out more HERE.

I was interviewed about the exhibition by Andrew Stuck for the Talking Walking podcast. Listen here – https://www.talkingwalking.net/alban-low-talking-walking/

We’ve got an open call to artists for this year’s Art of Caring. Now in its 5th year The Art of Caring is needed more than ever to show support for Nurses, Carers, and the NHS. This is your chance to exhibit an artwork that demonstrates your passion for this theme. If this is your first time then check out Anna Bowman’s documentary film about last year’s exhibition HERE.

Album Covers and Books

I’m currently working on the album artwork for Georgia Mancio and Kate Williams new release. Also a new Juan Maria Solare album of Erik Satie compositions. For only the second time in my career my artwork will grace a new vinyl release, this time a 7″ sleeve for the new single from Firefay.

My album art appeared on the latest release from Momentum and one of my live sketches featured on the cover of Al Shields’ latest EP.

Chapbooks are still a passion for me and our publishing company Sampson Low. As the year turned from 2018 to 2019 I worked on a fabulous new series from Robin Helweg-Larsen in the Bahamas. The “Potcake Chapbook” series is named for the dogs of the Bahamas and the Caribbean – strays that live off the burnt scrapings of cooking pots. The poems in the series are a mixed bunch – but the potcake of our logo wears a bow tie to show that he and all the poems are formal. These poems are memorable in part because they rhyme and scan, as all truly memorable poetry does. We subscribe to the use of form, no matter how formless the times in which we live.

I’ve also illustrated a new chapbook from Emily Wooden, and 10 chapbooks as part of the Elmbridge Literary Competition.

Coming Up

This summer I’ll be exhibiting in the new Blavatnik Building at the Tate Modern from 10th to 16th June. Working with Harvey Wells and Kevin Acott, we’re creating a new interactive version of the Relationship Map we published for Mental Health Awareness week a few years ago.

 

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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.