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.