Debris from the past by Amy-Leigh Bird

About the work:

I studied Painting & Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art and recently graduated from my MA in Creative Entrepreneurship from UEA. Since moving to London I have been making work which explores the ideas of time and place. Walking along the Thames I have been collecting objects and finding ways to use them in my work. From the debris of the past I have been particularly drawn to the many old bones that are found along the foreshore, and I have been finding ways to incorporate them into my practice. I have also been seeking ways of making new work under lockdown by repurposing and up-cycling old work and using the resources I have to hand. Coming from a working-class background has meant that the work I create has usually come from using the scarce resources and material available to me. I have experimented a lot with natural materials in my work, recently creating a sculpture of found bones, Thames clay and scraps of old wood found on my street. Earlier on in my practice I made a curiosity cabinet of found items from the river Kelvin in Glasgow which was later used as my degree show piece. I have always been attracted to the unwanted, discarded material that I find around me, finding ways to repurpose it and bring it a new life.

A little bit about the author:

Amy-Leigh Bird graduated from the Painting & Printmaking BA Hons at The Glasgow School of Art in 2017 and in 2019 graduated from her MA in Creative Entrepreneurship at The University of East Anglia.  Whilst studying Amy-Leigh lived and studied in Jerusalem, Israel at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and has taken part in several group and solo exhibitions including her first solo show at The Anise Gallery, Shad Thames, The Other Art Fair and at The West End Centre. After her graduation she was selected for Aon’s ‘Community Artist Award 2017’ and awarded the ‘Artist in Italy Residency 2018’ where she spent ten luxurious days walking about the Tuscan landscape collecting inspirational material. Since graduating the award-winning artist has exhibited alongside Christian Boltanski at the Apple and the Lust Gallery in Edinburgh, at The Edinburgh Art Fair and at An Lanntair in Stornoway after taking part in a two-week sailing residency with Sail Britain. This year she will be exhibiting at the prestigious and highly regarded No20 Arts gallery in Highbury and Islington and developing her research on the bones found on the Thames foreshore. She is currently living and working in London, developing her research on the psychology of collecting and the emotional significance of objects and place.

Find more from Amy-Leigh Bird:

https://mybestzine.bigcartel.com/

Younger Interviews- An Interview with a Young Artist: Peter Davies

E: So, I’m joined by one of my amazingly nerdy friends Peter (yes that’s a compliment to him), we’ve known each other since Primary school but we really only became friends again after going to see ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ about almost a year ago now. I think we bonded cause we both hated it, but hey friendship. Like me Peter is a fellow amateur artist but for him, it is the art of words.

E: First off how are you doing in Tier 3 which has just been introduced?

P: I’m not having too bad of a time; I feel being indoors allows me to concentrate a bit more. Sometimes there are things that distract me ( like we all feel sometimes) but it helps me think things. The limitations of being indoors, it almost makes you feel more creative, at least in my experience.

E: That’s a really positive way of thinking about it, So what kind of work do you do?

P: Well, I do a lot of fiction writing, I do a lot of short stories and long novels

E: What are you working on right now?

P: A big series, I’m almost finished with Book 1, it’s mostly doing editorial stuff but I’m also starting to work on a short story

E: What’s that about?

P:You’ll find out.

E: Oo, mysterious. Why did you start writing?

P: I’ve always been interested in creative writing, the idea of putting something together like stories has always fascinated me. I’ve found it easy to make things up but also I feel I can convey things through stories. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I like the idea of sharing that with people and keeping it to yourself is pretty boring and you think ‘What if other people would want to see it.’

E: I definitely agree with you there, that’s why I do what I do and just get it out there for the world to see. Coming that perspective of conveying things in stories, why do you think it’s important for young people to be involved within the arts?

P: Well, it’s important for people, both young but also older people too to be focused in creative things because in a way it’s something we’ve lost a bit as well as gained. I think being creative and especially now adays when the world’s a bit bleak, having a creative outlet is more important as you have a place where you have some sort of control over is powerful as it’s something that people need right now. In a way creative defines us

E: Definitely especially if sometimes you feel invisible when you do when your  young and you feel unrepresented, speaking of Have you felt misrepresented as an artist before, particularly as a young person?

P: In some way I have had some opportunities, when I just start secondary school, I got to take part in a creative writing book called ‘around the world in 80 words’ and I wrote a short story for it.

E: Do you think that inspired you in a way, to keep writing?

P: A lot yeah, starting secondary started the interest.

E: Do you think, though it’s good to have these opportunities, not all people have had things like that. Have you ever felt like that in a way, particularly professionally?

P: Yeah, in some ways once you get serious about it,  you have a responsibility of topping your work and if you feel you can’t then you’re not living up to a potential, there’s a lot of pressure there in all creative people really and I think it’s mainly due to how difficult it is to get into the industry, sometimes it’s easy to get in due to more independent things but the main thing is people want to feel stable so there’s worry about that and because of that I feel young people feel pressured to not pursue it because it’s not going to get me anywhere and that’s a sad thing.

E: What you like to see a standard for the arts once Young people take over in the future like getting rid of these misconceptions?

I think what needs to happen is to allow young people more control of the content that they produce in the future, to allow them to actually have a voice not controlled by a older generation.

Take my own field of publishing, traditional publishing has some good aspects of being able to get yourself out there, but the problem is you have less creative control and you may come out with a product you wanted in the first place because of how corporate it is now  . Same with how it feels all the films recently are just parts of big franchises with big names attached rather than give people a chance.

 That’s why self-publishing has become more popular but that can also have it’s faults as some people won’t take you seriously because of that. Allowing more trust to young people should be the way to go, trust our voices and our stories instead of limiting it and it may surprise you.

E: It doesn’t help when you email and then they Ghost you!

P: Yeah, just tell me what I can do and what I can do better, give me a chance rather than feel like I’m wasting my time.

E: I agree with that. Finally, what advice would you give to people our age trying to get involved in the arts?

P: Keep making lots of things and be broad with the things you do make. If some tells you that you’re wasting your time just do it anyway because they don’t know what they are talking about. Though you need to be determined as the creative arts is something you must keep ramming yourself at to get through so keep going no matter.

Happy Holidays to all of you

Em x

Meditations on solitude

About the work:

These works are all meditations on solitude in some way. Solitude has a thousand faces: it can be experienced in all kinds of states and situations. Sometimes solitude is a blessing, because it can allow for artistic self-reflection and self-representation, as my Self-Portrait suggests. But solitude can also comprise of moments where anxieties or fears jump out at us as in Study in Blue.

Self-portrait
Study in Blue

A little bit about the artist:

Beatriz Santos is a 23-year-old artist based in London. She has a BA English from Clare College Cambridge and a Graduate Diploma in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her practice is mainly two-dimensional and figural. Beatriz’s love of literature leads her to populate her works with characters, metaphors, and delicate visual ironies. Her visual practice is centred on the similarities and the misalignments between narrative, poetry and visual image. She is fascinated by how people use paintings (in galleries, in campaigns, at home, on social media) to tell their own stories. The importance of telling new stories is something her works actively promote, with their enigmatic yet mundane characters. Derived from song lyrics or poetic fragments, they are representations of nobody – but hopefully everyone can use them to question, to reflect or to remember.

Untried realities by Zula

About the work:

Untried Realities is about a personal experience of social separation during Covid-19 in East London. Through self-portraiture, I bear the feelings of solitude, craving for human contact, and need for nature. I live in an urban and concrete part of London, without any outdoor space and I started this series on the day of Boris Johnson’s self-isolation announcement in response to the situation. I use mundane household scenes to create a new “reality,” one which is physically in my flat, but one which hopefully visually transports the viewer into a parallel world. I make use of shadows and light to create humorous moments and temporary escapism from my current situation and to facilitate a sense of detachment.

A little bit about the artist:

Zula Rabikowska is Polish-British photographer based in London. Zula was born in Poland, grew up in the UK and worked in France, China, South Africa, India, Palestine and the Caribbean. Her practice is influenced by her own experience of immigration and in her work she explores the themes of national identity, displacement and belonging. Zula often works with digital and analogue photography, and incorporates archival images and documents to challenge conventional visual story-telling norms. Zula has obtained an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from London College of Communication. Zula also works as a freelance photographer and as a photojournalist for SOPA Images in Hong Kong.

Find more from Zula:

https://mybestzine.bigcartel.com/

Painting in Isolation by Zoe

About the work:

‘Symbolism is a big part of the process and as life is surreal and, at times mad, so are the paintings… ‘

Funny, crude, and surreal imagery help to bring dark humour to the work, acknowledging its’ obscure, psychological nature.

A little bit about the artist:

Zoë uses art to process times of physical and mental vulnerability from relationships with others and herself. These personal ‘thought pictures’ give a feeling of ownership of the stories she tells; reinforcing a sense of security and identity to the viewer. The relationship between the body and mind is always in the forefront of Zoë’s artistic exploration. The fragility and feral nature of what it is to be human, mentally, and physically. Zoë is also a strong believer in art therapy and hopes to encourage others to go forth and get creative in the name of well-being.

Find more from Zoe:

https://mybestzine.bigcartel.com/

Camden by McGowan

About the work:

Some of McGowan’s work has strong political links with regards to historical and social contexts of, for example housing and the class system. Her identification of factors within socialism creates a consistent aesthetic that allows her work to develop through subjective parallels of architectural space and engages personal association with urban environments. 

McGowan however has no interest in creating an argument within political ideologies yet attempts to make her focus’ easily identifiable to create discussion and bring forward a range of perspectives.  

A little bit about the artist:

McGowan uses a multi-disciplinary approach when it comes to art. Focusing on photography, sculpture and installation, she questions the separation between territories regarding memory and the realm of physical experience. McGowan captivates viewers’ attention by maintaining a state of equilibrium between subjects throughout her conceptual practice. Her work questions the clarity of the state in which we live and how the modern world allows us to thrive and exist. 

Her work urges a renegotiation to the format of traditional photography, it becomes responsive and volatile when commenting on often disregarded parts of obtrusive environments in which we have constant contact with. These new conditions of objects and locations are questioned within her work through abstraction. These valuable tactics of modification permits a development of dual interpretations. The public dominion acts as her stimulus specifically public space, however she believes momentary interactive and unanticipated components make up the systematized way we live, whether that be in a public or private arena. Her understanding is that architecture of private spaces is usually more economically monotonous in comparison to the public realm.

Find more from McGowan:

https://mybestzine.bigcartel.com/

Challenge what you think is the norm

Being an Artist for me has changed throughout my life, from studying in a school wearing
there were constant rules and you couldn’t touch anything dicey to college wear mastery of
technical skills would lead to amazing artwork to lastly university to where everything can be
used as inspiration and you were the sponge, you chose what you absorbed. What you
squeezed out would be the art you made.

Being an Artist means to me what I create in response to what I am feeling, what I’ve been inspired by and causes close to me. Creating something that has meaning beyond the superficial level but into the mind, challenging what you think is the norm.

Welcome to the art student’s world!

“Street Bird” Maria Krupa 100×150 2018

In high school my art history teacher gave me one advice that totally changed my mindset. She said: “Kid, if you want to get somewhere, get involved in the projects, voluntary work and internships during your college days”. I really took this advice to my heart. One might wonder : Why is it so crucial to do additional art related projects? Won’t it be enough if I just get my degree? Well, no, not really. Don’t get me wrong guys, I don’t encourage you to have no life and overwork yourself. As many things in life it’s all about balance. The most important thing that these collaborations give you is a contact network. One thing I learned through these amazing three years of my art education is that art creations need audience. What would happen if we would never be able to see Millais’s “Ophelia” or “Portrait of Madame Matisse” by Henri Matisse? The thing that these two artist (and many other) have in common is the fact that they were members or artistic groups.

You see here what I’m trying to say? You just never know who will pass on the good word about you or if this exhibition won’t be the one on which your painting will be admired or sold to a buyer- a friend of the person who organised the event. This story happened to me. I was on plain-air with my friends, we were hanging out by the lake, painting. The weather was beautiful so I decided to put my painting outside so that it could dry. Then the strangest thing happened. A lady that had a house nearby got completely mesmerised by my (my!) painting and she decided to buy it. You see, I’m writing here about many “firsts” today. It’s because your actions, the initiative that you take, your first email to someone might be just what you need to fulfill your dream about being a full time artist.

Here I give you the top three places to look for art opportunities:

  1. Instagram and Facebook. Almost everyone of us has an account on these websites. Follow many artists, galleries, events. Take initiative, dm someone and ask if maybe they’d like to do some collaboration. Put yourself out there!
  2. Open Call sites. There are so many of them! Take the chance, send your works. Just remember about few things. It’s better to take five titles, write deadlines in your calendar and give it a shot. Don’t take too many. Doing works by the given subject might put you off track of your own creations. Pay attention to participation fees (if there are some) and read all terms carefully.
  3. Your local galleries, coffee shops, newspapers. Don’t be afraid to ask! Face to face contact is very important. Maybe someone needs a new logo for their place? Or possibly some newspaper is looking for illustrations? Always carry your portfolio with you on your smartphone. You never know when it will come in handy!

Let’s not lose these chances, let’s say the word “yes” more often to the opportunities we come across.

Stay tuned, stay healthy, stay inspired.

Maria