Summer/Autumn 2018

WP_20180727_001I have just got back from two weeks with the family in Limoux and Cambieure (France), and at last I can find some time to tell you about what I’ve been doing over the past six months, and also what the future has to offer. France is always a time to take stock and I enjoy drawing for myself. I start off will charcoal drawings and then re-draw in ink to create more direct images. I’ve become a rather disinterested photographer and these drawings help me remember the evocative moments I experience, and are often triggers for new ideas and future themes.

Small World Futures, Grove Residency and Poem Brut
Last year I spent a week in France with Bill Mudge and Kevin Acott. This time inspired me to work on some new ideas with Kevin and also to try and carve out more time to escape London. In June we performed together at the Crouch End Festival in the Intimate Space at St Mary’s Church Tower. We also worked on a fabulous exhibition together called Small World Futures. It was the highlight of my Spring, featuring 16 artists who had created new miniature future worlds. We exhibited on the streets around London Bridge and asked writers to create words to describe these worlds. It was such a success we published a small book (£3.70 + P&P) which you can buy HERE.

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Small World Future – Alban Low (and Kevin Acott)

Kevin and I wanted more time to work through some of the Small World Future ideas and we applied for an artist’s residency at Grove in Bury St Edmunds. We were lucky to be awarded this opportunity and are taking up residency from 17-22 September to produce some new work together. We will publish a book during this week as well as explore some ideas about film and film noir. #EastAngliaNoir
There will be a short exhibition of the work on the 22nd September at Grove.
We’ll also be showcasing some of the work for a London audience at Rich Mix on 10th November 2018 (7pm, Free Entry) as part of the progressive Poem Brut night.

small_world_future_aabenraa_1The Small World Futures exhibition has travelled to Aabenraa in Denmark where it has caused quite a stir at Eskild Beck’s gallery space. It will have a new life at the Gallery Nexus in Denmark during the Autumn of 2018.

The next CollectConnect exhibition will probably be a Money/Banknote/Coin/Currency themed show. We will put out a call in the Autumn.

Art of Caring
Once again the Art of Caring exhibition had a huge impact on my life. As you probably know we have been running it with CollectConnect for four years now, and have exhibited over 1000 artworks in hospitals and public spaces. It is really hard work but I think it is needed in our community. Since starting as a fulltime artist in 2000 I’ve seen many ‘Open’ art exhibitions disappear completely, the majority of those that remain take advantage of artists by charging them for submission and even have the audacity to reject their work once they have pocketed the entry fee. The Art of Caring has its flaws but it is a beacon for many artists and remains a totally inclusive exhibition (no submission fee, no rejection, exhibited in a public place with free entry).

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Art of Caring at St Pancras Hospital

The title for this year’s Art of Caring exhibition was Health is a Human Right, inspired by the 2018 International Nurses’ Day theme. We started at St George’s Hospital, London in May, and we were also asked to put on a special exhibition to celebrate 70 years of the NHS in July. We published a colouring chapbook for this special occasion. More info HERE.

The Art of Caring culminated with the wonderful exhibition at St Pancras Hospital (19th July – 18th October 2018), with singing, dancing and a fine array of original artwork. Long may this exhibition continue, it is now established as a unique exhibition in the Arts Calendar.

QMUL_festival_of_communities_1aCommunity Festivals
This year has seen me get involved with more collaborators and reach new audiences by working with the universities at Kingston, St Georges, Queen Mary, and UCL.

I started with the Festival of Communities at Stepney Green Park where I created a life-size Operation game with Harvey Wells at Queen Mary University London.

Over the next few months I’ll be collaborating with the Max Planck Centre and UCL at the Bloomsbury Festival (17-21 October). In November I’ll be creating a walking map with Harvey again for the Being Human Festival.

Geoff_Berner_word_4_50%Album Art and Jazz
It has been a quieter few months for me with the album art but one album that particularly stands out is Pete Lee’s debut album, The Velvet Rage, on Ubuntu Music. I’ve also been lucky enough to create covers for Ornate – Terry Emm and Two – Tumultuous Tenors.

I’ve been experimenting with a new style in my gig sketches (see right, Geoff Berner). It’s been another brilliant few months as artist-in-resident on the radio show A World in London with DJ Ritu. I love going in every Wednesday and drawing the musicians as they perform. I was even lucky enough to be interviewed when I launched by London Violins chapbook and exhibition. You can listen to me chatting with violinists Alice Barron and Richard Jones by following this link… http://artofjazz.blogspot.com/2018/06/london-violins-world-in-london-with-dj.html

 

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Winter 2018

Exhibitions
Christmas is behind me now and I’m busy preparing for two exhibitions, Small World Futures and The Art of Caring. Small World Futures will be a reasonably small group show, with around 15 artists exhibiting miniature worlds on the streets of London. Dean Reddick and I have been cultivating niches, railings, nooks and crannies around London Bridge in the past few months. We’ll be placing the worlds throughout February (1st-28th), photographing them and posting them on the CollectConnect blog. Members of the public will be able to view the worlds in situ, and even take them hope if they wish. We have also invited several writers to create poems, short stories and creative responses to the worlds. I’ll create a specific page here on my website in the next few weeks, as I’ve become fascinated by this kind of dystopian vision. Inspired by both by Brexit and the tragedy at Grenfell.

Our Small World Futures exhibition will then go onto Aabenraa in Denmark where Eskild Beck will be having his own miniature dioramic exhibition in May and June.

The Art of Caring is now in its fourth year and I’m incredibly proud of what we do to support Carers, Nurses and the NHS. It would be wonderful if you could get involved. As always we’re totally inclusive, so there are no excuses, just do it. The International Council of Nurses have come up with a powerful theme this year, so I hope that ‘Health is a Human Right’ will inspire. All the details are HERE. The exhibition will be displayed along a corridor in the Atkinson Morley Wing at St George’s Hospital, Tooting in May 2018.

The exhibition will be moving onto St Pancras Hospital later in the year, July to September. So keep an eye out. We always have a good party with Peter Herbert.

Jazz
In November this year I performed at the London Jazz Festival for the first time. Alongside the Stefanos Tsourelis Trio I sketched live on stage, using spirit ink and 6 huge canvases. It was an amazing night, one I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I’ve been sketching musicians for nearly 10 years now, and this was such an exhilarating night at a packed out Bull’s Head, Barnes.

I’m still busy sketching on the radio at A World In London at Resonance FM nearly every week, as well as plenty of gigs around London. Have a look at http://artofjazz.blogspot.co.uk/

I’m currently working on 3 album covers, for the Balagan Cafe Band, pianist Pete Lee, and for Sam Leak who is about to release an album with Dan Tepfer.

Books and Maps
In the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to have illustrated Sarah Hobbs’ new book Two Hills. This is a new collaboration for me, with a poet who is a young exciting prospect. http://www.sarahhobbspoetry.co.uk/

I’ve also worked on my wife Natalie’s new chapbook, School Run. It really is worth a read. We launched it by having a bed-in, John and Yoko style. Buy it HERE.

Don’t forget my Walton-on-Thames Literary Walking Map is now available too. As the weather gets better in 2018, find a nice day and take stroll around Walton, discovering its hidden treasures. Elmbridge Council commissioned me to create it and it was one of my favourite jobs of 2017.

It is an A3 fold out map with a double page information sheet from Elmbridge Museum that reveals Walton’s literary connections with William Thackeray, Dirk Bogarde, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Jerome Kern, Julian Sturgis, Samuel Ireland, Matteo Sedazzari, Anne Cummings and many more. Follow the 60-90 minute circular walk and visit literary sites of interest in Walton-on-Thames, including The Swan pub, Walton Bridge, Nettlefold Studio, Walton Library, Ashley Park , St Mary’s Church and The Old Manor House.

 

 

 

Autumn 2017

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).

Exhibitions
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

Album Art
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.

Instagram
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.

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.

Art of Caring exhibition call-out

Art of Caring Call-out

 

I’ve been luckily enough to be artist-in-residence at the Nursing Faculty of Kingston University and St George’s University London over the past two years. To help celebrate International Nurse’s Day on the 12th May 2015 I’m organising the Art of Caring exhibition at the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames. If you would like to contribute we have 250 spaces for artwork available. See all the details below.
If you would like to come along and visit the exhibition then it will be open from 10am-6pm daily from 12th-16th May 2015. I’ll be exhibiting my work alongside hundreds of other artists and it would be lovely to see you there.Get involved in this exciting open art exhibition at The Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames. The theme is Caring/Care and it is FREE to enter. If you would like to submit your artwork then follow the guidelines below.

Where do I send my images?

Send up to 3 Jpegs/photos of your work to collectconnect4@gmail.com
before Tuesday 31st March 2015 (Midnight).
The images should be approximately postcard size – A6 (10.5 x 14.8cm)
Include your name, title of the image/work and your website address if you have one.
The Theme
Your art/photo should respond to the theme of Caring/Care.
Feeling or showing care and compassion. Relating to professional social or medical care. To be troubled or concerned; be affected emotionally. To have regard, affection, or consideration. To have a desire or taste. To provide physical needs, help, or comfort. To agree or like (to do something). 

Or your interpretation of the theme…….

The Rose Theatre, Kingston

The Exhibition

We will print two copies of your artwork as an A6 postcard. One for the exhibition and one to send to you. Your name and title will appear beside your image.
The exhibition will be at The Rose Theatre, 24-26 High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1HL. Open from the 12th-16th May 2015 (10am to 6pm) in the circle gallery space.
The exhibition will also be part of an exciting day that celebrates nursing around the world, with poetry, live music and drawing, expert speakers on the challenges of modern nursing on Friday 15th May.
A panel of artists and Kingston University Nursing Society members will be selecting 10-20 of their favourite images. These will be printed at an A3 size and framed.Will my work be selected?
Yes.
We are working with the artists’ collective, CollectConnect, who specialise in inclusive exhibitions. We aim to include at least one artwork by each artist but if you send us 3 then we hope to include them all. We have a ‘First come-First served’ policy, this sometimes means we close before the deadline.
Keep it Simple
Send your images to collectconnect4@gmail.com and be part of the exhibition!
 Visit the Art of Caring exhibition pages Submit, Exhibition, Artists and Festival to find out more.Alban