It has been a complicated six months balancing life’s ups and downs while keeping my my art activities moving forward. One of the newest developments has been my work with St George’s Hospital Charity. In October 2019 I spent 3 days at St George’s Hospital working with patients (and poets) for National Poetry Day, and then with actors for the annual St George’s Hospital Micro Panto in December. In 2020 I’ll be working with patients in neuro-rehab.
Health and mental health has long been a theme of my work and this February I’ll be part of an amazing exhibition at the Stour Space, Hackney Wick, E3 2PA from 20th February to 3rd March. I have been working with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuro-imaging for some time now and the Dear World Project exhibition is my opportunity to work with research about mental health diagnosis, and the use of labels associated with feelings and emotions.
The Art of Caring 2019 ended it’s 3 month run at St Pancras Hospital with another insightful film from Anna Bowman in October, view it HERE. This year, 2020, we are needed more than ever to show support for Nurses, Midwives, Carers, and the NHS. We are looking for artwork that demonstrates your passion for Care and/or Caring. Your artwork will be exhibited as part of a worldwide celebration of the World Health Organisation designating 2020 as the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife.’ Our theme for entries this year is ‘Ingredients for a Healthy Life’. Follow the instructions via the link to take part.
I’ve been lucky with collaborations over the years, with my most prolific partnership being with Harvey Wells (Senior Lecturer in Medical Education, Barts and the London School of Medicine). We exhibited together at the Tate Modern (June 2019) and also at the Humanising Medicine exhibition (November 2019) at Barts Pathology Museum.
This year has kicked off with a rush of exciting album covers and imminent releases. I’ve been working on album artwork for Kelvin Christiane (Dreams May Come), Aaron Liddard, Chris Rand’s Gathering, Fabrice Quentin. One album that has been released in the last few days and is a departure from my usual Jazz fare is from Goldbringer (see image).
CollectConnect had an active year and we had our big exhibitions the Art of Caring and Love Tokens and Bad Pennies. Amongst these we started trialling smaller shows, that included two or three artists. This gave us an opportunity to experiment and be more nimble with placements and selections. As you probably know all already we try and exhibit outdoors, in public places , leaving the work to be collected by artlovers or swept away by the weather, animals or street cleaners. What If was our first trial, and included myself, Bryan Benge and the young artist Sam Tout. We exhibited posters at Tolworth Railway Station and imagined future/alternative worlds. The Tolcake Heroes exhibition was with Dean Reddick and Sam Tout. We wrote poems that were engraved on brass effect plaques and placed on benches along Tolworth Broadway. The plaques celebrated personalities from Tolworth and the excellent cakes you can eat in the local shops. Our final CollectConnect trial exhibition was Impossipebble with both Bryan, Dean and myself. Art was created using pebbles and placed out in public places in Devon and Somerset.
Amongst the commissions and exhibitions I have continued my research into musicians from the 1930s. The project was inspired by my ongoing connection with the radio programme A World In London on Resonance FM with DJ Ritu. Every week I spend at the radio station sketching musicians and it always opens my eyes to London’s rich musical flavours.
So over the past year I have taken my two original 1930s handbooks of musician’s addresses and pounded the streets to find the homes of banjo players and clarinettists alike. I’ve documented these journeys in little chapbooks and made films with my wife Natalie along the way. So far we have walked around Richmond, Twickenham, Whitton, Tufnell Park, Barnes, Mortlake, East Sheen, Hammersmith, Victoria and Pimlico. I’m currently researching the areas of Crouch End, Highgate and Lewisham. I’ve loved discovering the music through the old shellac records and learning about the musical history of our city.