Strand Pool Mural Workshops – 16th and 23rd June 2019 – Rainham Riverside Park

Join artist Natasha Steer in designing artwork and stencils for a new mural on the side of The Strand Pool, Gillingham, which will be situated in the Commodores Hard slipway area (see photo).

This free session will involve sketching estuary plants and marine wildlife as well as helping to design stencils for use in creating the mural. All materials and inspiration will be provided and the workshop will take place in the Education Room in the visitor centre.

Suitable for adults and also children over the age of 5, should families wish to attend.

The mural is being created in collaboration with Medway Council and the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership.

Book your place at

http://creatabot.eventbrite.com

Valuing Arts and Culture In Medway and Kent – 22nd February 2018 – Gillingham

Valuing arts and culture in Medway and Kent-daytime workshops

Supported and funded by Medway Council’s Arts Development Team in partnership with Look Kloser Performing Arts Company. 

A day of creative workshops by some of Medway and Kent’s best practice arts led projects for health and wellbeing with and for the community.
22nd February 10am-4.15pm 

Suitable for students 16+, graduates, artists, and those interested in the role of the arts for the health and wellbeing of the community. An opportunity to experience current arts led projects available in Medway and Kent. 

When: 22nd February 2018, 10am-4.15pm

Where: Woodland Arts Centre, Woodlands Road, Gillingham, ME7 2DU

Birch room 

10-11- Natasha, Creatabot. Community focussed visual artist.

11.15-12.15 – Lance, Physical Folk. Using all art for all abilities, ages, cultures to share stories and skills.

2-3- Chris and Wendy, MESS ROOM. The MESS ROOM hosts artist led projects in partnership with local communities and beyond.

Ash dance studio 

11.15-12.15- Laura, Look Kloser. A workshop exploring how to make performing arts inclusive and open to all.

12.45-1.45- Georgia, Loop dance Company. Contemporary dance workshop.

2-3- Luci, Edna. Edna explore innovative and inclusive dance, music and movement activities for older people in the community.

3.15-4.15- Rebecca, Active Armchairs. Dance for older people in residential and daycare centres.

To book onto any of the workshop and for any queries please contact Laura King, lookkloser@gmail.com, 07809641214. 

The Dismal Time Machine – Medway Fun Palace 2015 – How It Was Made and Why

The Medway Fun Palace took place on the 3rd of October at Nucleus Arts in Chatham. After a lot of thought about what I might be able to contribute, I decided that with the impending Back To The Future II date in mind ( 21st of October 2015) I would create a Time Machine.

You see the problem already don’t you? For many weeks I was not quite sure how this was going to work. But I knew I would need a lot of boxes, due to the lack of a flux capacitor. In one of the Fun Palace meetings we spoke about lighting, a smoke machine, audio…within some type of large card box! 

Then one day, as I walked past a local greengrocers, I discovered tomato boxes. They are strong and they stack, and I have hot glue! What more could I need? Ah yes a helping hand!

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The boxes piled up in the Nucleus office!

Queue some workshops! Thank you to Stephen Bartholomew and family, Laura Fisher and family, Debbie Crow and Ben Boardman for supporting this crazy idea. Also Nucleus Arts for supporting the Time Machine project by providing space!

I soon realised that there was something missing as the machine started to take shape. It was lacking some comedy based around the fact the machine was made of tomato boxes. Then I realised, here was a strong connection to the absolutely incredible Dismaland, which I had been to within the first 3 days of opening may I add because…I am impatient. I started to plan how I could include an edge of Dismal to the experience for those who hadn’t made it to the real thing. I was so pleased when Esther agreed to be my fellow miserable colleague, to open the Time Machine to visitors.

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One of the installations at Dismaland – by Paul Insect

The machine took around 10 hours to finish, there was (did I mention?) tomato boxes, packing tape, gaffa tape and a lot of hot glue holding the machine together! We probably used around 100 small sticks of hot glue!

Once the ceiling had been secured, which mainly meant flat cardboard being securely taped to the box walls, the machine was surprisingly strong! This really is a great way to build an art installation.

Time Machine frame complete!
Time Machine frame complete!

We covered the inside of the machine with VHS tapes and weird vintage photographs, one was of a woman, Florence Priscilla, on an electric scooter in 1916.

Florence Priscilla
Florence Priscilla

I just had to make some finishing touches on the Saturday morning, get the fog machine going, and most importantly play the Power Of Love by Huey Lewis & The News and the Back To The Future Theme on a loop (I didn’t once get sick of it!). 

Someone brought their own mini installation of vicious, dangerous My Little Pony models, which were displayed to a backing track of “Only The Horses” By Scissor Sisters.

As our willing tourists came in they were handed an old Nokia mobile and given instructions to have a good time, but not too much of a good time. They walked through the machine to then be “greeted” by my assistant who told them there was a range of activities including climbing through a box, that went to no where, or taking a photo in the selfie hole.

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She explained though whatever they chose not to tell her as she didn’t really care. Anyone who touched the My Little Pony models were firmly told to not touch them as they were wild savage beasts. 

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They then got a text saying ” Now Get Out”.

Now I can’t really explain why…but we have over 100 people come through the Time Machine, some people even came back a second time. So that makes this my most successful exhibition yet. I didn’t have to smile once, which was great as I was ill. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but laugh quite a few times due to my assistants amazing improvisation, which at one point consisted of her telling visitors what happened to the last person that touched the ponies. She also told people to keep moving through the machine otherwise there won’t be a future for them to go to.

The entrance!
The entrance!
Inside the Time Machine
Inside the Time Machine

It really was a great day, we confused a lot of people, one lady left before she even went in (see, ‘actual’ time travel) one child cried. Definitely a success.

By Natasha Steer

natasha@creatabot.co.uk


On October the 3rd and 4th 2015 Fun Palaces took place across the UK. Fun Palaces are about creating and making together: they are a space where arts and sciences, fun and learning meet, working alongside and working together. See www.funpalaces.co.uk for more information. 

Medway’s Creative Spaces

Medway is lucky enough to have multiple arts spaces that each have something unique to offer. If you would like to book a days tour (for a small donation to the Creatabot project) please contact Natasha on natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Nucleus Arts

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Nucleus Arts is the Award Winning flagship arts organisation founded by the Halpern Charitable Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Hilary Halpern and it was his dream to promote the Arts in Medway and Kent. Nucleus Arts has become the cultural and creative heart of Kent & Medway over the past 12 years and focuses on affordability, accessibility and excellence in the Arts. They run multiple workshops, events and training programmes.

The main centre is at 272 High Street, Chatham, where the gallery, conference room and main artists studios are based. The artists open studios are held here every 1st Saturday of the month for all to attend for free.

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Nucleus Arts also have creative studio space in Military Road, Chatham, Rochester High Street (which also includes retail space) and Lower Stone Street, Maidstone. All spaces have a lovely cafe managed by Cafe Nucleus.

Nucleus Arts are working in collaboration with multiple local charities on their Arts Inclusive programme to make sure the arts can be accessible to all.

Sun Pier House

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This Community Interest Company was formed in 2012 to support and promote the best of Medway’s talent, providing a base for established and start-up businesses in the creative sector.

Within the building, there is a large exhibition gallery, tea room, events space, hire rooms, artist studios, open plan creative office space with hot desk facilities, all enjoying a glorious panoramic view of the River Medway.

Sun Pier House CIC actively promotes the businesses working within Medway’s creative community, encouraging them to grow and develop to their full potential. Sun Pier House is right next to Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham.

POP Creative Space

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POP is an abandoned shop turned into a Creative space in the heart of Chatham, Medway. The shop has been funded by EU and Recreate and hosts various free events and exhibitions throughout the year. POP is at 64 – 66 High Street, Chatham.

Unravel and Unwind

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Unravel and Unwind are working to develop a “country cottage” style craft drop in centre for crafters of all abilities, ages, background and culture where they can come and craft while they socialise-practice-teach-learn.

Their aim is to create a friendly open environment,”a crafting home from home” ) where local crafters & families can practice, learn, teach and sell their crafts. A place where skills can be shared and new ideas encouraging community engagement, increasing social well-being, removing isolation and possibly mentoring transitions into employment. They are based at Intra Arts, 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Intra Arts

intra

INTRA is a Medway based arts venue, hosting creative events, classes, activities and studios, and offering one of the best collections in Kent of specialist arts equipment accessible to the general public – especially specialist printing equipment.

The not for profit company Intra Arts Ltd. was formed in 2014 when they took on the former Spemco building in Rochester High Street. This Art Deco fronted, Victorian building is much loved in the historic area of ‘Chatham Intra’. Their aim is to provide an arts programme, creative opportunities and education in a space that welcomes people of all ages, abilities and circumstances. They are based at 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Featured Creative: David Faltrego – Surreal Artist

les citroen

I love surreal art, Dali is one of my favourite artists in fact. So when I discovered David Faltrego’s work at Medway Open Studios last year I was excited to find a local artist creating surreal artwork. I thought everyone would be interested to find out more about David, who lives in Medway,  so here is a little interview with him…

So David, tell us more about your background and how you ended up creating surreal artwork?

Just prior to leaving school I was briefly interviewed by a recruitment representative from Maidstone Art College who wasn’t impressed. I had insufficient supporting grades, my portfolio was apparently of an unexceptional calibre and my “bolshie” attitude probably sealed my fate! I seriously doubt I would have lasted the course anyway as I don’t listen or rather I take on board only what interests me.

Today I paint whatever I please, as and when I please…

Other than an “A” Grade O Level, I’ve no further art qualifications. I have no awards and since I never submit to competitions I never will. Paradoxically my greatest delight in winning any award would be in politely declining it!

As a surrealist it can be a struggle both selling work and gaining acceptance into a gallery, since this particular genre is generally frowned upon and receives little credibility within the art world, particularly in the UK. Never the less I continue to plough a lone furrow quite simply because this is what I enjoy.

cattle of an udderworld

I began painting as a hobby, doing quite a lot of commission work throughout the 1980’s. However, by the end of the decade I’d become thoroughly bored with it all, I never really enjoyed commissions – but it funded some travelling at the time. This coincided with several galleries declining to show my work, leaving me totally disillusioned with the Art world. It was a further 12 YEARS before I picked up a brush, following persistent badgering from an ex work colleague who was into the “arts”. This time I was determined to do it differently – No more commission work and no appeasing others tastes. Self-indulgent? Absolutely!

I gradually amassed a small body of work to compliment my older material. By chance in passing, I stumbled upon the Nucleus Gallery in Chatham and I asked if I may hire their gallery for an exhibition. For the very first time I received a positive response without the stuffy, elitist attitude.

I had my first solo exhibition in May 2010, followed by two more in 2011 and 2012 and the feedback has generally been very good. Of course I cannot hope to please everybody, after all art is essentially subjective. You wouldn’t expect an opera lover to attend a punk rock concert but it’s still all music of sorts.

magic roundabout

Is your art your main income?

I know I’ll never make a living from painting, therefore it has always remained something I do in my spare time because I enjoy it. To pay the bills I have always worked in the printing industry as a Finisher, for a number of different companies in Kent.

Who inspires you both locally and universally?

Locally I would have to say several people connected with Nucleus Arts who have offered me encouragement particularly at the shops in Rochester and Maidstone.

On a much wider scale – since much of my work makes references to my childhood growing up in the 60s-70’s then my parents must take some credit. We certainly never had the material things but we did have everything that really matters, resulting in some of the best times that live on in my memories and sometimes resurface in my works.

Anything that messes with the logical way of thinking, the absurd, random thought process, etc – that’s what fascinates me!

Inspiration maybe stretching it but my art tutor at school could take some credit for allowing me virtual carte blanche to express myself rather than push me into the “traditional” route as he did with most others – although I’d have probably done as I please regardless! Universally, Artists I admire – Dali and Magritte (obviously), also Brueghel, Bosch and Vermeer who weren’t surrealists.

The music of the Beatles (post 1967) and Pink Floyd has influenced my thinking certainly. I’ve long since found inspiration from the surreal humour of Python and more latterly Eddie Izzard as well as the dark tales of the Brothers Grimm. Anything that messes with the logical way of thinking, the absurd, random thought process, etc – that’s what fascinates me!

serving the master

What are your plans for the future?

The future?, who knows. Currently I’m nearing completion of a whole new set of work due for exhibiting in August 2013 at Nucleus Chatham. Ideally I would like my work to be acknowledged with more credibility but I won’t hold my breath. A wider audience would be nice – that’s all.

Are there any other skills you would like to learn?

Other skills – not really. I’ve already discovered what I enjoy most and indeed what I do best. I simply wish to continue improving on what I’m already doing. As long as I have the ideas and desire to paint I will do so, but if or whenever I feel my standards are falling or I become disillusioned again, I will stop.

Are there any website you enjoy looking at?

I view Deviant Art, Red Bubble and Saatchi Gallery from time to time.

Thank you so much David for talking to us, we are really looking forward to seeing more of your work at the exhibition in August!

toys in the attic

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Lucia N°03 – The Lamp Of Inspiration – By Natasha Steer


 
They say everyone is creative. I believe everyone is born creative, but that if you let go of it, it is much harder to get back. Those who are non-creative are known to be more rigid in their thinking; they like rules and like to stick to them. Those who are creative are more spontaneous, like to be different and break the rules – us creative’s have issues with “walls”.

Recently the UCA Pop Up Gallery in Chatham was host to a visit from Lucia N°03 and it’s creators: Dr.Dirk Proeckl – a neurologist and psychologist, and Dr. Engelbert Winkler – a psychologist and psychotherapist.

Dr. Ernst Mussmann also joined them in the Gallery with his newly designed Vibrating chair.

Lucia N°03 is a lamp that contains white strobe LED lighting, when you sit in front of it with your eyes closed it stimulates the pineal gland and causes your brain to create a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns. The flickering LED light is controlled by a computer programme, which can be adjusted to suit the participant.

I read recently that those with more serotonin in their bodies tend to be more creative, whilst those with more dopamine are the non-creatives, as described above. Lucia N°03 not only stimulates the pineal gland but also the release of these hormones.

I asked one of the lamps creators, Dr. Winkler, whether older people found Lucia N°03 had little influence in comparison to younger people. Interestingly he explained that older people had the same results as younger people because they were more relaxed and had less pre judgements. He informed me that the most close-minded people couldn’t stand the results of the lamp and would want it switched off immediately.

We had some very interesting discussions that day, I am fascinated by the mind and having the opportunity to ask these doctors questions is something I won’t forget. We spoke about how the mind is resistant to change, and how there are those who know their life is going a certain way, that it is playing a certain story. I asked “But can they change that story?” One of the doctors replied, “You can” he paused “But, most people do not want to”.

Being someone who happily did change their story some time ago, you can imagine that I was happily the first to volunteer for a session with Lucia N°03.

An area of the UCA Pop Up Gallery had been sectioned off, and behind a black curtain was a comfy lounging chair and Lucia N°03. The chair had been created by Dr. Ernst Mussmann to help the person in it to relax. It emits sound by running the vibrations of frequencies through your body. I lay down and wooden “shoes” were put on my feet. I also laid my hands on wooden panels; these emitted the sound in a soft way to my body. The feeling this is supposed to reproduce is of being back in the womb, the brain is therefore relaxed, safe and your experience with Lucia N°03 will therefore be stronger.

Mussmann explained that the sound currently being played was the noise of the rotation of the earth, sped up. Amazingly he also informed me that if you were to put the frequency of this sound to a colour, it would be green. The Doctors have also been working alongside an aroma therapist, so I had some natural oils put on my hands to inhale and again, help me relax.

I was told that at first I would have a soft session for 2 minutes to check everything was okay. I had headphones put on, was told to close my eyes, and then I waited. I was very relaxed. The light switched on, and to start with I felt like I was laying in the sun. But what was strange was that it felt like the light was changing colour, but I knew it wasn’t. After a 2 minute test run the Dr started a 15-minute soft programme. He said it was very soft, and added to this the sound level I had chosen to have the chair set at was also low.

Again, it felt like I was laying in the sun to start with. Then after about 4 minutes, something happened. Everything started moving, and there were suddenly colours and patterns everywhere. As I moved my eyes around the pattern would move and change even more. It was like looking through a kaleidoscope, with the patterns ever changing. I had a short break between each experience, which I assumed was to give me a rest, but it turned out it was just a softer point of the programme and not everyone gets a break. I was told I could have a stronger session later on in the day.

Each persons experience is unique to them, for some reason my brain appears to love triangles. I spent the day drawing what I saw on my first session, so that you can see for yourself.

The stronger session later in the day was indeed stronger. The sound levels were made higher and the programme was stronger – more strobe patterns. I saw patterns and colours again, but this time with no breaks in between, the patterns just moved and changed continuously. I felt so relaxed. I wondered whether I could control what I was seeing though, so I tried to, I told my brain I wanted to see flowers. What happened? All the patterns stopped! As soon as I was not relaxed and just letting my brain enjoy the experience the patterns and colours were weaker. So I realised that this lamp was an amazing relaxation aid. In order to have a stronger experience I had to relax. It was something that I took away with me actually, I have learnt from it what “relaxing” actually is, that feeling of emptying your mind.

For this reason (and some unexplainable others) the Austrian doctors have found the lamp to help those that have certain issues in changing their life. It helps them to see themselves in a different perspective, which then helps to adjust their thinking and help the brain organise information better. When you are fully relaxed and enjoying the colours and patterns, you see your problems from another point of view, and it can help you to make some changed either mentally or physically to make things better. 

The mind is an amazing organ, and we will never understand the depths of it. One of the doctors spoke about how light and consciousness are so similar, neither can be fully explained and our understanding of them is so small.

The lamp makes someone who maybe isn’t creative; think in a more creative way. And for those who are creative, well it is inspiring and really gets your creative juices flowing.

 To find out more about Lucia N°03 visit: 

www.gesund-im-licht.at

UCA Pop Up Gallery: www.ucapopupgallery.co.uk


 

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Networking Vs Making Friends – By Natasha Steer

Networking can be quite a scary word to a lot of creatives, it evokes the thought of dressing up smartly and becoming someone they are not in order to secure business. Often at organised networking events you swap business card with potential clients and are asked awkward questions like “so where do you work?” and “how do you make money?” rather than the more interesting question of “what are you working on at the moment?”.

3 years ago I started going to a monthly event in Rochester, Kent, called Tuttle 101 – a relaxed event with a collection of various types of people focused on inspiration, collaboration and learning through doing. First held upstairs in a local pub the event now happens once a month in a local coffee bar. Yes this one single event opened up a whole new world to me, and through it I have made friends, not “contacts”.

Tuttle 101 lead on to the majority of us converting an empty bank into a co-working space, called coFWD. Here we work on our own personal projects, and similar to the ethos of Tuttle 101, we bounce ideas off one another and help each other to do what we do even better. This is not an office space, we even hung balloons from the ceiling to prove this. It is a community space, we hold various events for the local area, and we do things together socially as well. I describe it as working in a place where you have chosen all the people you want to work with.

 

So when did people start thinking that a networking event would encourage creatives? As a creative I can speak for most of us and say that often our motive is not money, it is to make a difference in the world. We want to earn a living yes, but do we want to start discussing how much money we make? No, our inspiration does not come from money, it comes from projects, people and places – to name a few.

I have yet to meet a creative who enjoys “networking” events, however I know many creatives who are happy to meet up for a coffee. Yet people continue to try and connect with creatives by arranging fancy meetings and networking events or workshops with the aim of “expanding business” and “making profit”. A huge majority of the time these type of events never really connect with the creatives invited.

Maybe some money minded people think they are helping a creative by convincing them to become more business orientated. I can tell you now, it isn’t going to work, our whole life’s ambition is to make things much more important than money. So if you are a business reading this, think about how you can help them make a difference, not make money. As Albert Einstein said “Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.”

By Natasha Steer

@natashasteer

natasha@creatabot.co.uk

The next Tuttle 101 event is on Monday 17th September 2012 at 9.30am at the Deaf Cat Coffee Bar, Rochester, ME1 1LX

If you would like to know more about coFWD please email me at natasha@creatabot.co.uk

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No Bell Prize 2012 – 14th September – Rochester – Kent

Creatabot presents an evening of invention, ideas and science. Many of us have had a crazy concept for a gadget or some type of aid for life. Yes most of them worryingly ended up on Google patents, but maybe you have one that you are not afraid to share.

The No Bell prize has only one rule for your inventions…a pretty obvious one. If you want me to spell it out…it mustn’t have any bells!

Creatabot will be picking 3 winners for the No Bell prize 2012, who will then be presented with a certificate and a round of applause.

Please bring drawings, prototypes and ideas to the evening – which will be held at 161 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1EH on the 14th September at 7.30pm.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

Please book via www.nobelprize2012.eventbrite.co.uk or www.facebook.com/events/177018619099647/

Please note, our venue (http://coFWD.org/) is a very old bank building that is being slowly shaped by a community of individuals for long-term Community Interest. Sadly the startup project is in its infancy and being run on limited funds so the building currently has some accessibility issues. If you have specific access or disability requirements and would like to attend an event or activity please let us know at least 5 days before the event date so that we can do our utmost to resolve any potential problems to accommodate.

Area: South East

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull Inspired Art Exhibition – UCA Pop Up Gallery – Chatham – 14th to 28th July 2012

The UCA pop up gallery in Chatham has a new exhibition between the 14th and 28th of July. The exhibition is inspired by the book “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” by Richard Bach. The story follows the tale of how a seagull becomes tired of his seagull friends who continuously squabble over food and decides to instead concentrate on his flying skills. As a result he is outcast by the other seagulls and becomes a loner. He soon finds though that his brave, rebellious move has made his life more worthwhile and embarks on a whole new journey in his life.

 The artists exhibiting work inspired by the novel include Adam Piper, Sarah Wright, Kyveli Anastassiadi, Christine Hall, Alan Monk, Carolyn Birchall, Clair Archer, David Bradley, Eleanor Macfarlane, Layla Moore, and Richard Curtis. Natasha Steer is also exhibiting her unique interactive piece entitled “To Be Carried Out”. The canvas contains over 30 positive quotes from various historical figures including Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Henry Ford. The quotes are written onto cards signed by Natasha which can be taken away to keep, but if so must be replaced by another positive thought.

The UCA pop up gallery is in the upper level of the Pentagon shopping centre, Chatham.

Area: South East

Putting the Spark Into Education

As we move into the future more engaging ways are needed to educate, support and inspire todays youth. Enter Sparky – a puppet from another planet. Originally created for the project “Imagination Our Nation” Sparky takes a unique role in encouraging young people to actively engage with their creativity.

With the direction of co-producers Ciaran McKay and Charlie Ralph, a team of creatives take Sparky to visit schools in the Medway area and run workshops with the pupils. The goal of the workshops is for all the pupils to collaboratively hold an annual event involving Sparky for the local community in Medway.

The workshops begin with teaching pupils how to animate Sparky in a way that mirrors their own movements. The class then develop their ideas for the theme of the community event, often using various art mediums and creative writing.

The way Sparky engages with children is unique and this impresses the teachers as much as the children. Discussing the positive effect Sparky has, Ciaran responds by saying “Sometimes you go into a class and there are children who lack so much self-confidence, but by the end of the workshop these quiet children are the ones most involved! Sparky puts so many smiles on children’s faces and I really love the joy that brings to all involved”.

The theme for the 2012 event is “The River” and this year it will take the form of a parade that will be held during Medway’s “Fuse Festival”.

Sparky and his more recently created brother Magma are just two of a family of 20 puppets that were created to represent different regions of the UK for “Imagination Our Nation” – a project devised by international carnival design group Kinetika.

If you would like to find out more about Sparky, Magma and the rest of their puppet family please contact:

Ciaran ceem@live.co.uk or Charlie charliecookdesign@gmail.com

By Natasha Steer

Review – Blackbird Blackbird – 15th May – Brighton

One man, one Macbook and one Akai controller. The sounds of Blackbird Blackbird leave you imagining a full team of sound engineers with various decks and controllers, but Blackbird Blackbird is just one man, Mikey Maramag, and a whole bunch of musical artistic talent.

Demonstrating what can now be achieved through a small amount of modern technology, Blackbird Blackbird’s work can only be described as art in sound version. Creating layers of audio using electronic, drum, vocal and keyboard samples along with various other sounds (including owls on the track “Heartbeat”)  this gig left me inspired, and brought to my attention real sound engineering talent.

Watching Mikey “perform” is unique. Similar in some ways to a live DJ using various decks to remix audio, Blackbird Blackbird adds to the set by adding some live vocals and by becoming part of the music visually. You feel while listening to his creations that you become part of the sounds that he hears personally to himself in his mind. Like the greatest artist that visually expresses what he see’s in his mind so perfectly onto a canvas for all to see, Mikey Maramag does so with sound into a room for all to hear.

This was Blackbird Blackbirds first gig in the UK and he brought something quite new with him from his home of California. Inspired by the likes of M83, he sets out to add his own touch to the genre of chillwave music and express himself personally through what you hear.

Personally I think chillwave is a genre that is going to grow extensively in the next few years with access to the tech needed to create this type of sound becoming more and more accessible. Each artist will set out to express themselves through their own samples and sounds. What is great with Blackbird Blackbird is that through hearing the music you get to hear Mikey expressing his personal edge of creativity. Seeing Blackbird Blackbird perform live adds an extra layer to the sound that you don’t get through headphones, so I highly recommend that experience.

Details of the Blackbird Blackbird tour can be seen at 

www.blackbirdblackbird.bandcamp.com (right hand side of page)

and you can listen to his music through Spotify.

By Natasha Steer

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A Medway Vision 4 – Blues Misadventures

You probably think you know what blues music sounds like.  You’ve probably seen lots of bands in pubs with a blues-based sound.  You know the sort of thing, tribute acts; white men with a love of the blues singing about what it’s like to be a poor black man in 1930’s America.  You’re absolutely right.  It sounds good but it’s not REAL blues, music of genuine pain, anguish and hardship.  Happily, real blues does still exist.  And not just with that Detroit genius Jack White.  It’s right here in Medway too.  And this being Medway, it’s rather unique and somewhat brilliant.

Sounding like a blues singer from the Deep South, Stuart Turner has one of the most distinctive voices in music.  Straddling that fine line between Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, Tom Waits and out and out ‘man deranged’, Stuart brings new meaning to 21st Century Blues.  And it’s the first time I have ever heard blues sound scary.  Seriously, the combination of the man’s voice and the anguished lyrics take you to places you never thought blues could.

It has been said that to sing the blues you need to have suffered.  Well in that case Stuart qualifies.  That voice is not just an impassioned howl of feeling.  Stuart recalls, “I was diagnosed with cancer in my throat and had fairly extensive surgery leaving me with an interesting singing voice and a lot of things to write about.”  Many people would have given up.  Turner used this misfortune to his advantage.

After finding his voice again and working how he could use it he began gigging and met with Kris Dollimore (ex Godfathers, Dammed, Del Amitri).  They became friends and Stuart went on to produce Dollimores first blues solo album (’02/01/1978′) and helped him set up his own Sun Pier label. In return he offered to put out an album of Stuarts ‘A Gallon Of Water Makes A Mile Of Fog’.  Stuart now sees the album as “too long, too odd, too sweary, it got some great reviews, but sold badly” A second solo album, (File Under Carnal Knowledge’) sold better, and he was getting known around Medway as well as gigging all around the country. Stuart met Robbie Wilkinson from Medway band Theatre Royal who became his live lead guitarist, then writing collaborator, then half of the ‘Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society’.   Robbie and Stuart wrote and arranged a set of songs and produced ‘Gin and Bitters’ the first STFES album. Released by Medway based Brigadier Records, they then recruited Ray Hunt and Dave Sawicki and gigged the album, recording half a follow up as they went. “It sold modestly” said Stuart “but we got some radio and a good live reputation.”

Photo taken by Phil Dillon – www.phildillon.co.uk

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society are not just a blues band though.  Their repertoire covers rock-a-billy, indie and pop.  Not to mention the sax on their last album ‘Gin and Bitters’ sounding a little like the soul of Dexys Midnight Runners.  Oh, and did I mention he plays ukulele live too?  But it’s the bluesy chug that works best for them, especially when mixed with indie-inspired pop dynamics.  Listen to ‘Essex’ from ‘Gin and Bitters’, simply the best 3 minutes Stuart has committed to record so far; it’ cocky, it’s raw, it’s bouncy, it’s all you need from a song.

However, as brilliant as that album was, the curse of the blues musician seemed to be hitting the band hard.  Stuart recalls how “Mark Lemar quit his radio show just as we were negotiating a session, gigs got cancelled from under us, ill health forced Dave out 

of the band and his replacement Jez, while a good player, never gelled as well and there was a personality clash with Ray”   Problems over?  Stuart wishes.  “Then there were a series of Jez-drunk-and-incapable gigs, Ray quit, just after we finished recording the as-yet-unreleased album ‘On the Brink of Misadventure’ and just after we were really getting a strong live following.  At the very next band gig Jez had to be carried from the building during the support act and I was forced to fire him.”

Bad luck indeed, but thankfully Stuart and band are raring to go and ready to put their new superb album out.  It will be out in April and if this album does not sell by the bucket load then there’s something wrong with the world.  The usual combination of urban distress, bouncy blues and indie attitude makes this a great record.  Listen to a sneak preview of the track ‘To The Nighthouse’ here:

http://soundcloud.com/stfes/to-the-nighthouse

With gigs lined up, Stuart says “this is a point of flux and anything might happen, it really is worth fighting to get this album heard” Perhaps, and most remarkably of all, Stuart accepts that this is what he HAS to do.  It’s that Medway Vision again, that desire to create.  There’s no giving up for an artist like Stuart, the music is in his blood and if fame comes then that’s a bonus “if I only ever play the Man of Kent a few times a year, but those gigs continue to be rammed, then in some way I have an ongoing achievement. Hopefully though we can go on to do more than that.”

I’m a big fan of Jack White and when I saw Stuart Turner for the first time I had that similar feeling of wonder, that feeling you get when you know you’re seeing something special, someone who means it, someone who is singing from the soul.  Jack White is, famously, a fan of Billy Childish and his raw rock and roll.  One suspects that if Jack had the pleasure of hearing Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society he would have another favourite Medway band.  This is not karaoke tribute blues as witnessed in so many bars up and down the land.  This is as real as it comes.  Stuart Turner has lived a life, he’s seen the bottom and because of that he’s breathing new life into the blues.  Once again we’re seeing a Medway Vision, an artist who makes the music because he has too.  His bad news is good news for the rest of us.

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society release their new album ‘On the Brink of Misadventure’ on Brigadier Records later this month.

For more information visit: http://www.myspace.com/stuartjamesturner

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye


Area – South East

A Medway Vision 3 – Authentic Legend

Every now and then you hear of someone who should be more well-known than they are. Medway painter and poet Bill Lewis is one of them.  I’m not talking about seeing some ones work and thinking, ‘oh that’s quite good’ rather, I’m talking about someone who, once you realise what he has done, you realise he is a legend.

Bill Lewis is one of the founding members of both The Medway Poets and The Stuckist Movement of painting.  The Medway Poets were founded in 1979 by Lewis along with those other Medway legends Billy Childish and Sexton Ming.

Stuckism was founded in the 1990’s by Bill and 12 others (again Billy Childish) in response to the post-modern ‘event’ art of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.  In fact, the name ‘Stuckism’ comes from a conversation Emin had with Childish.  During a phone call, Emin mocked Childish and his painting friends for being ‘stuck, stuck, stuck’ in the past.  And the name, well, stuck.  Bill Lewis and the other original Stuckists, or ReModernists, decided that this new art lacked authenticity.

When asked if he still considers himself a Stuckist, there is little doubt he knows that he will always be one of the founding members of that group, “but I’m more interested these days in the wider aims of the ReModernist experiment. The integration of spirituality into art and the attempt to avoid slipping back into post-modernism”.

When asked about his painting style Bill says “some people have called it Magical Realism but I’m not sure that fits. My paintings are like a magic mirror that I hold up to see what I am like inside. The imagery in them often takes years for me to decipher. Sometimes I never fully understand them”

“Some writers and artists tell me they have no influences but then humans have a great capacity for self denial. They think they are being original. Nothing is original. The best we can hope for is to be authentic. Authenticity comes from love. The things we love influence us the most”

I have always made pictures but I did not start writing until I was at school. I used to draw on everything as a kid and after covering the wall next to my bed my parents bought me sketch books to stop me drawing on the rest of the walls. But poetry and fiction are my main artistic outpouring.

For me, his paintings are fascinating.  One in particular reminded me of the Inuit art I had seen from the Canadian Arctic when I was making my first feature film, East 3. However, it’s his writing that appeals most of all.  It seems that this is where his true voice is.  Looking at some of the poetry on his website www.billlewis.co.uk it strikes me as very honest.  It carries that element of all great poetry in that it seems to speak to you personally without ever knowing who you are.  It carries a beat to it that is often missing from modern poetry, Bill notes “we have lost the music in our poetry. Poems should sound good to the ear as well as work on the page”  This is probably why his work sounds so good when performed as his YouTube clips testify.

If there is indeed, a Medway Vision, a new spirit of independence and artistry then Bill Lewis, quite simply, is one of its godfathers.

A new book of poetry “In The House Of Ladders” by Bill Lewis is out now and published by Greenheart press (an imprint of WOW Medway magazine). Price £10.

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

A Road of Marvels – Talk by Philip Kane – 24th May 2012 – Chatham Library

Myth and folktales are the subject of a talk by Chatham-based author, poet and storyteller Philip Kane at Chatham Library on the 24th May.

The talk entitled “A Road of Marvels” will argue for the continuing importance of myth and folktale to our imaginations and to our everyday lives.

Philip, who is the author of The Wildwood King, and a founding member of the London Surrealist Group, will give an engaging talk, interspersed with retellings of several traditional stories.

The talk is on Thursday, 24 May at 7.30pm at Chatham Library.

Places are free, but booking is essential.

Phone 01634 337799 or email chatham.library@medway.gov.uk

Local Artists From The Past Exhibition – Strood Library – May to July 2012

Medway libraries in Kent are hosting an exhibition about forgotten artists of the Medway area during May and June. The exhibition covers the work of artists between 1850 and 1950 including Richard Dadd, Henry Hopper, Charles Spencelayh, Donald Maxwell, Frank Algernon Stewart, Henry Hill and Evelyn Dunbar. 

Their lives were as event-filled as they were varied, as two of the artists worked during war time and produced war inspired by their experiences. If you were thinking that there were no artists in the Medway until the 1970s, this exhibition proves otherwise! The exhibition will be at Strood library during May and will move onto Wigmore library at the beginning of June where it will stay until mid-July. 

If you are interested in exhibiting your own work, Strood library is one of three libraries in Medway that holds an exhibition space that is available for use by local artists for free. These are Strood, Wigmore and Rainham libraries. If you have any questions about this exhibition or the exhibition space, please call Strood library on 01634 335890  

Area – South East

Where to Find Creative Jobs and Commissions in the UK

Keep an eye out on the artist wanted section of Creatabot https://creatabot.co.uk/category/creative-artist-wanted/

 

Without a shadow of a doubt the jobs section on the arts council website should be your first point of call when looking for jobs and artist commissions. http://www.artsjobs.org.uk/

Another place to look is on the Guardian website –  http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/jobs/arts-and-heritage/

The Stage Newspaper and Online is not just for actors and actresses –  http://www.thestage.co.uk/recruitment/

Creative Boom have a jobs section – http://www.creativeboom.co.uk/jobs/

A smaller site – http://www.periscopeuk.com/

For film and production – http://www.filmcrewpro.com/uk/jobs.php

This is an open article – please add where you also find is useful in the comments box below.

Californian Based “Blackbird Blackbird” To Play In Brighton – 15th May 2012

Blackbird Blackbird (formerly Bye Bye Blackbird) is the moniker/musical outlet of San Francisco, California guy Mikey Maramag.

His reverb-laden musical collages tend to lean towards anthemic, inspirational, and dream-driven themes. Maramag’s influences range from various ends of the musical spectrum. Blackbird Blackbird often tweaks nature-samples and mixes electronic textures with organic instrumentation (guitar, drums, synths, vocal-harmonies). Ghostly female vocals are chopped and screwed, spun around a paint-splattered collage of sound.

Maramag’s deep, textured, and hypnotic pop songs pay homage to the psychedelic pop that the Beatles could have imagined but cannot make today. Blackbird Blackbird’s music is made with the warmth of analogue instrumentation spliced with digital bells and twinkles.

Blackbird Blackbird’s debut album Summer Heart was self-released by Maramag in July 2010, and was really just a collection of his past EPs: Happy High and Let’s Move on Together. His standout singles “Pure” and “Hawaii” received the most attention, and his single “Ups and Downs” helped Mikey capture the ears of Pitchfork, Transparent, Prefix Magazine, The Fader, Brooklyn Vegan, and other musical tastemakers.

Support from Us Baby Bear Bones and English Bore.

 15th May 2012 – 7.30PM –  At Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, 9-12 Middle Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1AL // Map

£7 advance // £8 door

TICKETS // WeGotTickets // See Tickets

Facebook Event

Source – Tea Concerts

www.blackbirdblackbird.com


Area:   UK   Britain   East of England   East Midlands   London  North East   North West    Yorkshire    Scotland South East    South West    Wales   West Midlands

Coventry and Warwickshire Society of Artists Celebrate Centenary Year

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This year, Coventry and WarwickshireSociety of Artists (CWSA) will be celebrating the organisations one-hundredth anniversary. 

Founded in February 1912, by the Mayor of Coventry, Colonel William Wyley, CWSA’s history has been studded with many successes, as well as many frustrating trials and tribulations. Disheartened by the fact that so little was being done for the visual arts in Coventry and the surrounding area, Wyley proposed to expose the wealth of talent in the region by founding a society and an art gallery and museum for Coventry and North Warwickshire.

 

The beginning of this initiative was marked by CWSA’s debut exhibition at the Corn Exchange (no longer in existence), where a good 354 works were displayed.  The then President Solomon J. Solomon RA, sent a large painting entitled ‘Eve’ which had to be delivered by carriage as he was unable to attend.

 

The society worked hard to secure an art gallery in Coventry and was eventually rewarded when Sir Alfred Herbert, a philanthropist and local manufacturer, offered to fund the project.  However, despite enormous efforts, together with the advent of World War II, this dream was not fulfilled until 1960, sadly after the death of Sir Herbert. But, this fortune was to be relatively short lived, and, despite a lengthy campaign to save their hard-earned exhibition space, the society were forced to seek alternative exhibition spaces.

Today, the Herbert Art Gallery’s permanent collection still contains a significant number of works donated by members, patrons and other people who were involved with the CWSA, and the actual existence of the gallery is certainly thanks to the early endeavours of the society’s members.

 A number of highly distinguished artists have supported CWSA over the years, including the first woman President Dame Laura Knight, David Shepherd, Sir William Orpen, William Roseblade, and the watercolourist Herbert Edward Cox, whose paintings of old Coventry (1930s) can be seen in the Herbert Art Gallery.

 In more recent times, a number of CWSA members have received awards, including Sheila Fitzgerald who received The Chancellors Medal for her outstanding service to Warwick University and Vivienne Robinson, who won the Warwick Business School Logo Competition in 2011.

 Initially, CWSA was an extremely selective organisation, open only to artists, but over the years the organisation has adapted to the ever-changing times, collaborating with a variety of arts organisations, museums and galleries on a national and European scale, opening its doors to artists and art lovers alike. Today, the original spirit and objectives of the organisation continue to live on, and, to mark their centenary, CWSA will be holding a variety of exhibitions and events in the local area.

 The celebrations will commence this summer, when the society will be exhibiting in the MOSAIC Art Trail, in May,  Art on the Edge2 in June, and “The Tiltyard” in August, under the umbrella of BRINK, where the society will be presenting a special anniversary showcase. But, the most exciting event will occur in October, when the CWSA will hold their centenary exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery.

  “This is a very important and exceptional year for us. We are absolutely delighted that we will be able to hold our Centenary Exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery in October and it will be an incredible opportunity to showcase the wealth of local talent that exists in Coventry and Warwickshire today. To date the CWSA has 93 members, many of whom will be exhibiting at the Herbert in October.  The artists and our committee are working very hard in preparation for this event, which will be feature painting and sculpture by both past and current members” states CWSA President Jane Powell.

You can find out more about the events that will be happening this year at www.covwarsocart.co.uk

By Musing On Spines

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Information On Images –

1 – Consortium Exhibition: The Tower, hand-built in ‘Freckled Stoneware’ clay by Sheila Karran is frost proof, so ideal for the garden.  It is constructed in four parts, fitting together rather like Lego with embossed and engraved embellishments.  In one window sits a small bird gazing out on the world around.
2 – CWSA’s Christmas Exhibition at the Library in Kenilworth 2010. 
3 – This was CWSA’s Annual Exhibition 2011 and shows the Mayor of Solihull and his wife flanking Exhibitions Secretary Jacqui Smithson who was awarded the Ralph Brassett trophy for her quirky ‘Pots and Grasses’Acrylic on paper and Cynthia Chandler who was presented with The Silver Salver for her superb oil painting ‘Amboseli Reserve’.
4 – CWSA’s Christmas Exhibition at the Library in Kenilworth 2010.  Wendy Cook is shown talking with Rik Middleton.  This was opened by renowned playwright Andrew Davies and his special award went to Susan Moore for her painting of Humph.

Area – West Midlands

A Medway Vision 2 – Spontaneous Soundscapes

Since my first article I have been absolutely overwhelmed by people recommending talented creative people to me, or people agreeing with me about the Medway independent scene.  It does indeed seem that I’m onto something here.  Medway is on the march.  So let’s continue with our list of its artistic generals.

This week I have been introduced to the sound work of a band known as Hand of Stabs.  A band?  Like a rock band?  No.  Not at all.  Imagine a soundtrack to a surreal film.  Or a soundscape to an evening walk in the woods where you THINK you’re alone but you’re not sure.  Hand of Stabs are avant-garde, yes, but don’t let that put you off by thinking that the music is impenetrable.  It has a beat, but it’s the beat of nature, the beat of darkness, the beat of Medway.  For that reason alone, this is essential listening.
Mind you, they probably won’t thank me for calling them a band.  They call themselves a ‘sound art collective’.  Hailing from Rochester their site-specific improvised work is recorded at points of significance around Kent and the South East providing a connection to sacred history and landscape. Inspired by regular, often night-time explorations through these spaces, they are creating a series of ‘aleatorical’ soundworks.  In other words, much of their work is left to chance.  Spontaneous.  Improvised.  Directly from the soul if you like.

Hand of Stabs are called, intriguingly, Captain R. Standish, Jocelyn von Bergdorff and James Worse.  Standish and Worse have both been active in a number in bands and von Bergdorff was active in the cassette underground during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The idea of playing together came together around year ago.  Their work is influenced by the writings of the historian naturalist and engineer, William Coles Finch (1864-1944), Resident Engineer of the Brompton, Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester Water Company and his vivid descriptions of Edwardian Kent in his books ”In Kentish Pilgrim Land” and ”The Medway River & Valley”.   Their sound is a reflection of the significance we place upon our surroundings.

One recent performance at the Hulkes Lane Brewery came about because their friend’s great-great-grandfather a storeman at the Brewery in 1863, hanged himself there. He had been barred from the Brewery’s social club over some minor infraction and the ignominy was too much to bear. His death meant that his wife and nine children, who lived in a two-roomed tied-cottage on Hulkes Lane, were made homeless and sent to the workhouse. The feelings that these stories evoke allow Hand of Stabs to create their soundscapes.  Less story-tellers, more mood-tellers.

Other performances so far have included, the open air at Kits Coty and at the studios of Turner Prize nominated artist Yinka Shonibare as part of an installation by Luke Otteridge.  Hand of Stabs are continually looking for opportunities to play in interesting spaces to interested audiences and are very receptive to suggestions.  Think about your favourite places and now imagine it with the emotions of the location played out in sounds.  Like a dream.  Or a nightmare.  Powerful stuff.

With two CDs already out “The Geometry of Dust” and “Aktion #2: Hulkes Lane Brewery”, this year has just seen the release of a lathe-cut vinyl LP featuring Hand of Stabs and a collaboration with Medway legend Sexton Ming in his alter-ego of Jude Hagg entitled ‘Old Bluster saw the Beauty’.

Two weeks in and we have discussed two new groups, both creating dark sounds.  Is this a theme of Medway?  Exploring the dark side of life?  It certainly appeals to me as a filmmaker.  But as I’m finding out, that’s the great thing about the Medway Vision.  It’s diverse.  The dark side of life is there for sure, but as we shall see in the coming weeks there is also a lighter side.  Keep listening because darkness needs light.

“The Geometry of Dust” and “Aktion #2: Hulkes Lane Brewery” are out now priced £10.  For more information on Hand of Stabs contact: spoon-unit@blueyonder.co.uk

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Area – South East

A Medway Vision: Words and Sounds

Let me explain myself. I’m an independent filmmaker living in Rochester. Over the course of, well, however long they allow me to write these articles, I’m going to highlight one of Medway best kept secrets. One at a time I will focus on a local artistic talent within the Medway towns.

There seems to me something brewing around here. Whisper it, but it might even become a ‘Medway Scene’. Filmmakers like me, poets, musicians, visual artists, photographers, writers are busy creating. That, taken on its own, is nothing new. But there is a buzz, a real sense of artistic change in the air. The Fuse Festival is fun but this is something else.

I have lived in a few places, big places like London and Birmingham and for a little while now I have felt something unique about Medway. The art that is being made around here feels raw, exciting. It’s an independence of spirit and a DIY ethic. The NEED to create. It feels like Medway means it. It feels like Medway has something to say. A Medway Vision. Over the coming weeks I hope to prove that…

First off, let me introduce a group of beat poets I have been working with. There are three of them, they call themselves, perversely, a trinity. I can’t tell you their names. They work in secret. Determined to only write poetry and discuss nothing else, they asked me to produce their first CD of poetry. The go by the moniker of 7th Adventure Recordings and mix a surreal and dark set of words to an even more surreal and darker set of beats and noises.

I have worked with one of them before, secretive even then, he went only by the name of Polarghosts. He provided soundtracks to three of my short films. I liked his style, dark and dream-like, nightmarish really. When he told me about his interest in beat poetry my ears pricked up. He had grouped up with two others who shared a passion for beat poetry and together they wanted to redefine what poetry and beat poetry was. Beat poetry came out of the post-war USA in the 1950’s. Using music, often jazz, as a backdrop the poets usually performed stream of consciousness writing to a hip crowd. The legacy lived on but transformed and the melding of music and spoken word paved the way for rap music in the 1970’s.

Beat poetry in its own right kind of fizzled out. But the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg are still revered. 7th Adventure Recordings are presenting, what they call, beat poetry for the 21st Century. The music is still sometimes jazz in form, but it’s all electronic minimalism and has more in common with techno music. The words are not about 50’s America and the post-war lost ’beat’ generation but do share the stream of consciousness feel that those earlier poets had. Even the sub-title of the new CD ‘Poetry for the Blank Generation’ conjures images of the original beat poets but repackages it, Generation X-style, for a new generation of misfits.

Their new CD is something of an ‘EP’. 8 short poems with distinct identities, 9 minutes running time. Their words strike to your very soul. It’s like listening to a character in a dream. You can hear them and understand but you are never quite sure what they mean. Partly scary, partly uplifting, the CD is unusual in that it looks and feels like a new EP from a band including cool artwork. But it’s poetry. This really is poetry with a difference.

I have seen poetry performed a few times. It was ok but pretty dull and bourgeois. I was always attracted to beat poetry as it contained a raw energy. And who can resist the romantic image of the beat poets from 50’s America, travelling, drinking, free to create and thereby define a generation. Ok, I’m guessing that this bunch of Medway beat poets won’t be defining a generation, but if you want to explore a dark and surreal underbelly rather than listen to poems about funny people on a train or how the pretty the countryside is then this group might just become your favourite new poets.

7th Adventure Recordings seem destined to remain secretive and have no plans to perform their work live. That seems a pity, but, as with so many Medway artists currently at work, their vision is what makes them tick. Their vision is what makes them vital. Their vision is what is making Medway bubble with ideas and passion. And we wouldn’t want that to change.

Their new CD by 7th Adventure Recordings, ‘Curious Fascinations – Poetry for the Blank Generation’, has just been released and is available from www.themoontheeye.co.uk or www.7thadventurerecordings.tumblr.com priced £3.

Mr Young
Independent Filmmaker
www.themoontheeye.co.uk
www.twitter.com/Mr_Young
www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Interview With Rebecca Crosbie – Photographer

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If you know me well, you will know I love abandoned places, I love urban exploration and I love photography of anything linked with either. That is why I was really excited when I stumbled across some small images by photographer Rebecca Crosbie in Wow Kent magazine. I had to find out more so got in touch with Rebecca and asked her some questions to find out why this subject also appealed to her, as well as finding out more about her creative background…

Hi Rebecca, tell us more about your creative background and how you got into photography…

I have grown up in a creative environment from a very young age, with a father who specialises is scale drawing and design and a mother who started as a dress-maker and upholster and now practices as a potter and porcelain jewellery maker. My mother was always a keen photographer and from a young age I became interested in photographing my surroundings. Having grown up on a farm I became an avid explorer recording my every discovery.

Throughout my school life my interests seemed to revolve around fine art and resistant materials, and in my spare time I was fascinated by philosophy, Foucault in particular.  I went to Kent Institute of Art and Design, Maidstone (now UCCA) for six years, studying a Foundation in Art and Design, NCFE Creative Craft and then followed on to complete a BA Hons Photography and Media Arts and was awarded a scholarship for  MA Artists’ Film, Video and Photography which I completed in January 2011.

What other career paths have you taken?

Despite the fact I am only 25 I have had many jobs. I like to keep busy and learn new things.  I am particularly interested in people and have had lots of jobs working with people. On and off I work as an in house photographer for the metropolitan police and have done work for various charities, and for some time was a carer for the elderly. I then spent a year living in Belgium photographing various locations and making a living being a nanny for a new born baby. I now reside in my local 400 year old pub (Drakes Cork and Cask, Maidstone) where I live and work part time whilst writing my book (philosophy based about peoples perception of space) and collating my photographic works.

Who inspires you both locally and universally?

Much of my inspiration has come from French philosopher Gaston Bachelard in his writings ‘The Poetics of Space’ and the memorising photographic work of Francesca Woodman.

If you could explore and photograph any building what would it be? Past and present?

If I could explore anywhere it would be North Brother Island a 13 acre forgotten island on the north river in New York.  The island is home to a hospital which opened in 1886 to treat contagious illnesses becoming famous in the 1900’s for being home to Typhoid Mary.  The clocks were stopped on brother island in 1962 when the city pulled the plug on the island.

What is it about urban exploration and photographing abandoned places that you love?

The thing I love about urban exploration is being able to watch and record the way nature takes hold of what we have forgotten and is always more powerful than the man made structures it takes hold of. The decay of the structures I find endlessly picturesque, so many new textures are born through the weathering and neglect.  I am also curious to see what it is that man has left behind and the impact they have had on the architecture over time.

What is the most unusual or bizarre things you have found whilst on a photography expedition?

Not necessarily bizarre to the location but unusual for me to find at this time of modern medicine was a straight jacket in one of the asylums I visited.  To see such an object which used to be used to frequently opened a new reality to me regarding the practices which took place in the hospitals in the past.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

My aim for the future is to keep exploring and recording these places. I would like to, in the future, create a series of publications sharing the beauty of these buildings.

Can you recommend a creative website you love?

My favourite website which I love to keep up to date with is a local blog. It looks at everything from fashion, furniture and art, to food and lifestyle. http://lot316.blogspot.co.uk/

I am also very fond of the site HypeBeast

Thank you so much for telling me more about yourself Rebecca, I really look forward to seeing more of your work and will probably be investing in some of your work one day to display on my walls! If only I lived in a abandoned theme park…

You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccacrosbie.com

If you to love urban exploration then the website 28 days later is a MUST.

All images belong to Rebecca Crosbie – permission must be asked for use.

Area – South East and Nationwide

Win an Illustration by Ben Cameron – Closing Date 7th May

Ben Cameron has a competition running to win his illustration “Bugsy Alone” drawn in black ink on 230gm acrylic paper.

We think it is a lovely piece of art and anyone would be lucky to own him.

All you have to do is Tweet about the competition and make sure you include a couple of things.

1. Ben’s Twitter name @ben_cameron needs to be in the tweet, not right at the beginning though.
2. A link to website strangepaul.com

He will accept RT’s as entries too. They’re sometimes a bit tricky to monitor but he said he will do his best!

If you are not on Twitter then email your details to bencameron@me.com

He will pick a winner at random from a hat/bowl/human skull on Bank Holiday Monday, the 7th May.

The prize will be posted (or hand delivering if you’re local to Medway) in a nice tube, 1st class the day after the comp ends.

If enough people enter he will try to sort something out for a runner-up(s) too.

Any questions or feedback, please get in touch.

If you’re not in UK but still want to enter, please feel free to do so if you’re happy to pay for the postage.

Find out more about Ben Cameron at http://strangepaul.com/

Introducing a New Creatabot Contributor – Jack Bulmer – Game Designer

We like to include all types of creatives in Creatabot which is why we are really pleased to have Jack working with us. Jack is a game designer from Rainham in Kent. We wanted to know more about how and why Jack got into game design so ran a few questions by him…

So Jack, have you always been creative?

Well, my Mum always said I was born with a pencil in my hand so I guess it started from there, although to be fair it was probably a few years later before I actually picked up that pencil and did useful stuff with it. I’m pretty sure she’s still kept a load of my old drawings, that’s embarrassing. I sort of pottered around until I left school, not knowing what path to take.

How did you end up working in game design?

I studied Art and Design at GCSE and enjoyed it, but it felt more restricting than creative. Its more luck than anything that I fell into games. There was a course in Games Development just starting that year at Canterbury College, so I did that instead of going to Sixth form. This just naturally led onto Games design at degree level. I won a design competition at university that allowed me to work on and publish a game, so in five years or so, I went from no experience just leaving school to being a published game designer.

What other career paths have you taken?

I had a brief stint where I wanted to be a teacher abroad, but apart from that, I’m pretty focused on becoming a Game Designer. It’s a competitive industry, so I think I’ll have to put my all into it to really succeed. I’ve toyed with things relating to game design, animation, computer art and 3d modelling. I think I would be happy doing anything creative really, but I suppose my dream is to design games that are fun to play and carry a message of some sort.

Who inspires you both locally and universally?

It’s cliché to say, but you can get a good idea from anything if you think hard enough about it. For example there are a load of pieces of paper in front of me, you could take the properties of paper (foldable, light, stackable, you can draw on it) and apply this to something completely un-paperlike like, a man, and hey presto, you’ve got the basic idea for some sort of origami warrior videogame. You can couple this with any combination of other objects for interesting results. It makes the world a lot less boring when there are potential characters and game mechanics everywhere!

Locally, I think Medway is good because it is varied. In ten minutes I can be sitting by a river or be in the middle of a busy town. It’s certainly a good place to get a change of scenery fast!

What would you like to achieve in the future?

I’m working on a game right now with a team spread around the world. I’d like to see this project to completion and release it for free in the near future. My dream is to own my own game development studio and create games that are fun. I think the best work comes through collaboration, so I’m always looking for people to work with!

Can you recommend a creative website you love?

I have two! Polycount is the first one, it’s a forum for game art, mainly. Specifically if you want to begin creating game art and have no idea what to do, it’s a great starting point. I think just being exposed to it has passively improved my skills. They run competitions and tutorials so you can improve yourself, and the whole site is forum based so it’s designed for you to post a piece of work and ask for critique.

DeviantArt is another favourite. It’s really popular, if you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically an online gallery where anyone can upload anything. You can sort by category, so if you need some inspiration, it’s perfect.

We really look forward to reading articles by Jack and seeing how his work progresses.

You can keep up to date with Jack through Twitter.

Area – South East and Nationwide

Contemporary Art and Craft Fair – Henley on Thames – 22nd to 24th June 2012

The organisers of The Craft and Design Experience are once again staging their contemporary craft fair in June at The Henley Showground within the Hambleden Estate, near Henley on Thames. 

The Craft and Design Experience has earned an enviable reputation for selecting only the very best professional designers, artists and craftsmen and, with the resurgence in interest in designer crafts, the event is expected to be as popular as ever.  Visitors are able to shop for unusual contemporary items in a relaxing atmosphere, view a wide range of demonstrations or take part in various craft related workshops.  For children there will be a storyteller, a make and take area and lots more.

Work will be on sale from exhibitors working in many disciplines including furniture, textiles, jewellery, leatherwork, glass and more.   Design of the exhibitors’ products must be of the highest standard to be selected, and must show true innovation and originality ensuring only the very best in UK design is represented. 

Opening times are 10 am – 5 pm each day.  Advance tickets are now on sale at a reduced price or purchase on the door at £7.00 for adults, £6.00 for over 65s or children 5 – 16 £1.00.  For further information and advance ticket sales contact CDE Ltd on 01622 747 325 or visit the website at www.craftexperience.co.uk

Area – South East 

Evolution Of Consciousness – Exhibition – 1st April to 31st May 2012 – Chatham

 

The UCA gallery in Chatham is holding a collaborative exhibition that explores how if we want to survive as a species on this planet we desperately need to develop our consciousness.

Artists featured include Allegra Ally, Augustinas Neslenas, Carolyn Birchall,  Curt Wilhelm Ostlund, Dane Horsley, Helen Butler, Joseph Webb, Luka Lukasik, Michal Janowski, Michael Turley, Natasha Steer, Philip Kane, Simon Pruciak, Vesko Nickolov and Winifred Baker.

The exhibition also features a short film by Mr Young called “The Moon The Eye”

Here is a sneak peak of the exhibition!

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The UCA pop up gallery is on the upper level of the Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham.

Area – South East

Artistic Solutions – Exhibition – 28th May to 2nd June 2012 – Historic Dockyard Chatham

Artistic Solutions is an exciting showcase of artworks by University of  Kent Fine Art students in their final year of study. The debates brought to issue show that this is just the beginning of the artists creative explorations. Through installation, film, sculpture, painting and drawings, they exhibit contemporary arguments and re-examine older ones, which narrate our 21st Century culture.

For more information please visit any of the following links –

Tumblr page is http://kentdegreeshow.tumblr.com/

Twitter page is https://twitter.com/#!/Kentdegreeshow

Area – South East

Celebrate Medway’s Creativity On 23rd June 2012

Medway is the centre of a flourishing creative community and on June 23rd the Nucleus arts centre in Chatham welcomes everyone to join them in the celebration of their 10th anniversary. The day of celebrations will run from 11am to 11pm throughout the town centre and will include a mixture of exhibitions, open artist studios, street performers and live music.

The Nucleus arts centre in Chatham, which resides next to the Trafalgar centre on the high street, opened its doors to a variety of artists in June 2002. Since then over 400 creatives have used the valuable work space to produce their work as well as exhibit to the local community.

10 years ago local sculptor Hilary Halpern found there was a limited amount of creative working space available in the Medway area. After speaking to local artists it was established that there was a great demand for such a place and this evidence was taken to Medway council and the arts council. These authorities gave the go ahead and Hilary found 272a/b in Chatham High Street which was the perfect building for the concept. Previously used for a number of businesses including a health food restaurant, bakery and even a builders yard, Hilary and his daughter developed the building into artist studios and exhibition space. A month after opening the Nucleus cafe was opened at the same site which added a social and community dimension to the studios.

Since then Nucleus has extended its studios in Chatham and also runs a shop in Rochester and Maidstone. In the future Nucleus want to hold more workshops and educational projects which can support more people within the community. They are also planning to involve themselves more in media such as You Tube and hope to soon have an online store for their artists.

See you on the 23rd of June for the anniversary celebrations!

About The Day

On the stage at the art centre there will be local bands playing for you for free until 8pm. They have a fantastic Stones tribute band, a Jazz band, Acoustic and Folk bands and alternative rock to keep you entertained throughout the day. They also have comedian Nigel Adams and book readings from Wolf Howard and Jim Hill at the Centre. There will be arts and craft stalls along their driveway and portraiture/cartoon drawings as well as face painting and Henna/glitter tattoos for the children.

The Rochester Coffee Company will have food and drink to keep you refreshed including an outside bar and a scrumptious BBQ!! 😎

Along the High Street at various times there will be performances by Circus Street Performers Jugglez and Street Theatre too.

In the Central Theatre between 1pm-4pm they will have the Kent County Choirs and Musicians, Walk Tall Theatre Group, Force 10 and dance groups Dance Alley and Medina Belly Dancers. All of these acts will be performing for you and the whole of this event is FREE.

Finally, upstairs in the Pentagon there will be theatre and dance acts from the Central Theatre performing for you between 1.30-4.30pm.

Here is a slideshow of how the Nucleus art centre has developed over the last 10years.

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Area – South East

Weald Of Kent Craft Show – 5th to 7th May 2012

Held in the beautiful surrounds of Penshurst Place & Gardens, near Tonbridge, this inspiring show will offer some of the finest handmade crafts to spruce up your home and garden.  

Over 250 skilled crafts people from all over the region will bring you the very best in handmade gifts and treats. With unusual wares you wouldn’t often find on the high street, there’s something for everyone from ceramics and glass to jewellery and paintings.

Craft experts will be offering a series of Family Craft Workshops including pencil making, woodturning, paper making, decorative ceramics, drawing and pyrography – there will be something for all of the family to take part in. 

For more details please visit www.ichf.co.uk/outdoorcraftsalive/

Those wanting to exhibit please visit www.ichf.co.uk/exhibitor_zone

Weald of Kent Craft Show Information

Open 09.30 – 17.30

Tickets:

Adult £6.50 (Advance £5.00) Senior £5.50 (Advance £4.00)

Child under 16 free if acc by parent – otherwise £3

BUY 10 ADULT OR SENIOR TICKETS Get One Adult Free (In advance only)

Combined Weald of Kent Craft Show and Penshurst House & Gardens

Adult and Senior £10.00 (In advance only)

Buy tickets online at www.ichf.co.uk or phone Ticket Hotline 01425 277988

Area – South East

Editors Look At “Craft Central Gets Hitched” – 22nd to 25th March 2012 – Central London’s Handmade Wedding Fair

Unlike your average wedding fair this little gem offers a look at the main elements you are going to need for your big day. Due to the exhibitors being craftsmen and craftswomen most items can be tailored to your personal style and ideas. A major advantage is you get to meet the crafters face to face instantly so can discuss personal requirements.

Amongst those showing their work are a number of silversmiths and jewellery designers, some who even hold their own studios in the Craft Central building itself.

Examples of delicious cakes and unique wedding favours are on show to give ideas on how to make your guests happy.

Photographers have samples of their work on display so that you can make sure your special day is brought back to mind with happiness. And of course a number of designers have samples on show to give examples of dresses you could be wearing.

I can’t express enough that if you want your wedding day to be unique this is the most vital wedding fair you need to go to, so make sure you take a look! The venue is inside the Craft central building, easily visible on the corner of St Johns Square, London, EC1M 4DS. The nearest train and tube station is Farringdon but it also isn’t far from Chancery Lane. For more info see our previous article.

Area – London