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.

Advertisements

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.

shapes_lines_beauty_2_25

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).

 

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.