Aug 31, 2012

Alison Brown - Walthamstow Landscapes

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
I paint my landscapes  in watercolour, charcoal or pastels, whilst sitting outside with my friends,who paint  around Walthamstow. I used charcoal to draw  a blackthorn hedge that I saw by the River Lea,the week I visited Hockney’s exhibition at the Royal Academy .Arcimboldo's ideas made Walthamstow reservoirs into a swan lady. The geese herons, ducks and moorhens at Hollow Ponds add focus tothe water or the  trees in water colour or acrylic . A heron on the Lammas lands,cried out to be represented in pen and ink  like the Yunan style I saw in “the brush dances and the ink sings" exhibition.

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
Two years ago  I was one of  “the Garden Painters”  who exhibited pictures of Vestry House Garden  in the passage overlooking it.  Last year the same friends and I called ourselves “the forest painters” and exhibited local landscapes at Pictorem.
3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
Choosing which of my pictures to leave out
4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
As a baby, the first painting I recognised was a watercolour by a South Indian artist. At primary school, I loved Arthur Rackham’s trees that were old men and Franz Marc’s red horses.  By thirteen,  my school's art teacher made me copy  middle distances from postcards of Cézanne's French landscapes  into my depictions of the Kenya countryside in front of me as the strange disjunction of continents seemed less bad than my own rubbish middlegrounds.   I preferred artists like Sam Ntiro, Grace Ibingira or Elimo Njau, which showed the world I lived in.

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
Every year as more people show their work, there is more to inspire new artists  to feel bold enough to let other people see their work too
6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
I love the multicultural world of Walthamstow.  Most of us are outsiders, so nobody is an outsider .  No need to travel from E17. The world comes to us .  There are others who grew up in the same country where we did .  We have neighbours, friends, food,  shops and stalls from every country in the world.   We have all sorts of art and inspiration.

At Pictorem gallery, first his father, then Avtar have given me advice, and framed my paintings for 30 years.  Thuso, a very local charity gives me a good use for  the profits of my paintings to  send orphans to school in South Africa  ( Thuso garden party is the Sunday after the Art Trail)

Back To Front at Wingfield Road

Yesterday the community of Wingfield Road gathered under a gazebo and waited for the mayor to open their road as the newest gallery of Walthamstow. During the Art Trail over 20 different residents of the road have become artists exhibiting blown up images in their front windows. 

An inspired project that stemmed from the 'Blue Plaques' exhibition last Art Trail, it has brought many neighbours who lived besides each other for years but never spoke together. Silvana Gambini has invested a lot of time to get the entire logistics of it on its, and along with the all the residents have made their road exactly what the Art Trail represents. For 2 weeks anyone can become and artist, and everybody becomes part of one big Walthamstow community. As you walk through the street, art finds you as you glimpse a giant cat peeking out, a life sized cut-out of a Pharaoh staring right you or a mugshot of Frank Sinatra that doesn't seem quite right...It is playful and imaginative but also every image is a representation of that households identity, even if it seems bizarre. Some example being:

David and Jacqueline at No. 4  - A frog from our pond because we love our garden and the wildlife that it attracts, the iconic album cover from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” – music is important to us and the Fairtrade Mark is an important ethical stance that we support.

Pete at No. 16  - “I chose to have my 6 year old facial features transposed onto Frank Sinatra’s mug shot (from when he was a young man) to show that we all retain the spirit of that inner scamp and tearaway - no matter how old we are!  Plus it was a bit of a laugh….”

Marcus at No. 15 -  “When David and I were both 10 years old, our fathers took us to see the Tutankhamen exhibition at the British Museum.  This coincidental event in our two young lives made such a lifelong impact on us both, that we now make regular annual visits to Egypt and I have a career in a museum.”
The mayor cut the ribbon and declared it open, so take a walk down the 'official gallery' of the street and double take at the light hearted insights into peoples homes.

Nomad at Lotolie

The Nomad collective is a group artists that wonder from venue to venue setting up exhibitions and inviting guest artists to join them. This time on the trail they have set up shop in the charming family hairdressers on Orford road, Lotolie. Geoff Gunby, Judy Clarkson, Penny Dampier and Andrew Pegram are the core artists that wonder without a set gallery home, and all have work on display but also joining them in Lotolie's is the writer and printmaker Fiona McKieth.

Andrew Pegram's prints of shop fronts and windows give a pop-art glamour to some of the structure of East End buildings. He captures them in glamorous dirt or in clean cut illustrations. These visualization of East London Landscape falls well with Fiona's lino prints of the changing landscapes in Brick Lane.

This theme of external landscape is flipped with Penny Dampier three part exhibition. She has the photographs 'Endless Corridor' and 'Traces' displayed which capture a impressionistic and dreamlike images of domestic life inside and out. These culminate in the final section which is down the stairs and in the basement entitled 'Fragments'. There is a sofa set up with a photographs being projected on the wall in front of you in a soft dim light. It creates cosey domestic setting where you observe this stills from life as mother. I was quite memorized by the whole thing. 

The final artist in the show, Geoff Gunby's work is a real interesting. He has 3 completely different typed of paintings up. A rich charcoal landscape of the Hebrides as well as more figurative and minimalist landscape. Both capture a complexity of light in different ways. However the piece I was most fascinated by was Geoff Gunby's large print 'Frankenstein Repeated'. He made this during his time as artist in residence in an art therapy institution, where individuals would come to express there problems and fears through art. It was a moving experience for him, and resulted in the 'Frankenstein' self portrait. The repetition of it in the print however lessens it's personal attachment, making it a group of nameless patients all with the same problem - having a problem. 

Nomad at Lotolie is no. 131 in the Guide.

Vincent Oyenga - LifeShades

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
This is difficult, I don't really like to talk too much about my work, I just hope people feel something when they look at it. It will be a selection of paintings mainly in acrylics. I paint lots of different subjects, it's expressions of moods and movements probably, and colour is very important to me.

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
Yes,and I don't intend it to be the last!

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
It was a massive challenge! I'm exhibiting in our flat and during the recent storms our roof leaked badly and destroyed the living room floor. We had to have a new roof fitted and other building work done over the last weeks. It all just about worked out, but there is still a big hole in our living room carpet, we didn't get that done in time. Hopefully people will look at the paintings, not the floor...This is on top of selecting the paintings to show and all the other preparation that goes with it, which I had underestimated a bit. I'm just glad to be able to do it now!

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
Consciously, it was Henri Matisse. I had mainly been doing drawings and was not really interested in colour so much. Then one day I watched a beautiful documentary on Matisse that really focused on his use of colour. By the end, when they talked about the chapel in Vence and how he changed and developed right up until his death, simplifying it all down to paper cuttings, I actually cried. It was so moving. That's when I started painting and using colour seriously. I don't paint in Matisse's style or anything, but I'm still obsessed with colour. 

5. The E17 Art Trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
It seems like it. It seems that art is everywhere here and people are genuinely excited about it, which is great. 

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
It's become my home, as simple as that. I live very close to the William Morris Gallery, and I think his spirit is in the air around here! Walthamstow is where I started to do art again after a very long break. It's given me calm and inspiration at the same time.  

Vincent Oyenga's Exhibition is no. 45 in the guide

Aug 30, 2012


Yesterday I visited the first exhibition technically to be set-up and ready for when the trail starts; Mary-Louise Plum previewed her solo show  HAPPYLAND at the Walthamstow Wine Club.

The Walthamstow Wine Club is through the garage door of 65-60 Grove Road, follow the sign and you will see masks in the window and a line of painted telephones as door stops for the venue. The masks and telephones are in fact part of Marie Louise Plum's work, and no surprise that it spills outside the door because she has so much up on display!

Mary describes her exhibition as existing in 'the cracks between dreams and nightmares', and her work does wonder and linger in between opposites; it is bizzare and twisted but at the same time sweet and cheerful. Even though I know the terrifying goblin lurking over the innocent child is probably not going to end well, the vivid colours and animated figures she creates makes me think the goblin ain't so bad, he is probably just lonely. The same goes for the huge slug man gorging on the back of girls head or a clown kidnapping a kid. This playfulness that exists in the illustrations continues to the customized display boxes of bizarre toys and figurines. There is an open suitcase full of masks that you can go on and try on and see if you feel like a creepy, voyeuristic clown or just a clown looking for a buddy.

A 'found art' weight is in a lot of her work, many of the 'canvases' she uses were picked up in charity shops, car-boots or skips and she weaves her illustrations or installations with the existing prints and shapes of the canvas or objects. There was a found fish in glass completely covered in all sorts of collected materials, but coloured and brightly matched to transform all the scrap into a pleasant site...although once you start looking closely at the individual objects in the displays you perhaps may be surprised to see a such things as a pregnant Barbie with a see through stomach.
My favourite work in the exhibit was Mary's illustrations that were done on pages from a used children's colouring books, nightmares lingering on the playful page eating up the existing identity. It perfectly captures the feel of the entire exhibition; individual, disturbing and somehow as visually pleasant as a rainbow. 

HAPPYLAND is no.159 in the guide

A Head Start with PREVIEWS

Although the launch of the Art Trail is this Saturday, there is opportunity to get a head head start on this years huge trail as venues starting to hold previews from this week. They are open to all who are interested and are really worth going to, have some nibbles, a drink, chat to the artists and even enjoy some live music as you get artistic fix. They're a real ball.  Have a look at the second page in your trail guide to find a list of previews. If your evening is free tonight even, get out and check something out.

Be-Stow: Giving, Getting and Living in E17; Amateur Art from the (H)edge of the Stow

I am really looking forward to visiting this exhibition. A family of artists will be displaying their work and ideas. It is one of my favourite aspects of the Art Trail that anyone who creates art is in the same space of professional or 'established' art, it can be seen equally. This exhibition is no. 36 in the guide. 

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail? 

We show amateur art and photographs from aspiring artist Daisy aged 11, her 6 year old sister Scarlett and their parents Nicola and Oli who are academic geographers.

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
This will be the fourth year we have exhibited in the art trail.

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
We are usually in summer holiday mode and want to keep it that way and so musn't make it like work.

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
The children have been influenced by Hockney and Van Gogh. Their parents have been influenced by maps as art and information sources.

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
Maybe because more people are seeing art as a home.

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
A sense of place: home and community.

Aug 29, 2012

112 Theydon Street - An Open House

One of the most interesting and sometimes surprising aspects for visitors of the E17 Art Trail is just how many artists open their house or personal studio space up as a gallery. It has become a distinctive feature for the trail as well as opened up new boundaries between artists and viewers that transcends the formal gallery experience.

Steven Smith will be opening his home and exhibiting for the third art trail in a row. On his first time exhibiting and opening his house, as you can imagine he was very apprehensive, I mean 100+ strangers coming into your personal space to see you would be a lot of pressure from the common sense that they are strangers to the fact that your work can't hide behind the artistic discourse of a gallery. It is an apprehension that many trail artists who are opening their houses feel. But that first trail where Steven opened his house up was such a pleasant experience that he all those apprehensions went away.

He was telling me how it becomes such a easy going and welcoming atmosphere with the space between artist and viewer so intimate, but so relaxed. People are interested and come and chat with the artist and it is equally interesting for the artist to observe people wondering through work in their garden, living room or studio even. It isn't just selective pieces of work, but they get too see a wider range, plus bits of work in progress and even artwork that isn't part of a set exhibition. For instance, Steven is also a photographer, and has his photographs on display around the house and garden any ways. The informality really creates a neighbourhood vibe, with people staying for either 10 minutes to a couple of hours, viewing, chatting and gorging on cake!

He enjoyed the atmosphere of opening his house so much that the following year he decided to host not just his work in the house, but also another exhibition from another artist and this year he has 3 different exhibitions taking place.Wonder round his garden, living room and studio and see his wonderfully crafted ceramics as well as illustrations by Michelle Doust. There will also be hand-made jewellery dotted around by Gina-Marie Agbanlog, and if weather permitting there will also be a pop-up show in the garden selling vintage homeware!

There are more and more artists opening their houses every year, in fact when Steven took part in 2010 the art trail's map had to be extended to include him! But now there things dotted all over the area, the trail gets bigger and artists hospitality increases. It is really worth checking as many open house exhibits as you can, and get round to this one to, eat cake, drink tea, see art and talk endlessly to the artists!

This venue is no. 93 in the guide

Aug 28, 2012

Amy McSimpson - Pictures from a story yet to be Written

Amy McSimpson's whimsical illustrations of imagination will be on display at venue 171 on the 8th and 9th.

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
My exhibition is a collection of illustrations made in pen and ink with elements of collage. I needed the incentive to produce a new series of pictures so decided to set myself the challenge of exhibiting in this years art trail. The pictures are quite spontaneous and represent whatever madness is going on in my head at the time!

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
I've exhibited pieces as part of the Life Drawing group at the Nags Head pub on 3 or 4 occasions but this is the first time i've had my own show. Mark (Sowden who's studio i'm exhibiting in) used to run the life drawing group so that's how we met. Both Mark and Sharow (Drew) has been very encouraging in my taking part this year.

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
I have a full time job as a graphic designer of children's books so i've only been able to work on my exhibition in the evenings and weekends. I wish i'd had more time to devote to it because i've found the process very therapeutic and enjoyable.

4. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
Walthamstow seems to be a bit of a hidden gem. In the 6 years i've lived here I've seem a rise in creative folks calling it their home and that's had such a positive effect on the area. This is in part due to the art trail, which has brought the area to the attention of artists who probably only knew Walthamstow for its market and dog track before.

5. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
Oh yes. Two artists have had the most influence on me as an illustrator. I became interested in illustration as a path from Jamie Hewlett's 'Get the Freebies' comic strip in The Face magazine when i was a teenager and i've loved his work ever since. My other great inspiration is the work of Tove Jansson (who's best know for her moomin books.) Her characters and stories continue to excite and engage me. Recently i've been amazed by the work of David Roberts, Marc Aspinall, Charlotte Gastaut and Rebecca Dautremer to name but a few. I collect illustrated picture books so have quite a collection from all round the world.

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
Walthamstow has given me some really wonderful friends and a sense of community that i didn't think was possible in central London. I love calling it my home.

Aug 27, 2012

Inky Cuttlefish

After running workshops and artistic ventures from home, Anna Alcock opened up the creative space of 'Inky Cuttlefish' for the community and it has flourished since! It is a unique collective of  all sorts of different artists, mediums, projects, and has a constant flow of exhibitions and events. The studio is right by Blackhorse Road station, no.5 Blackhorse Lane in fact and hides behind the building with  its big stencilled shutter.

Well to call it just a studio wouldn't be fair, the huge space is used as a gallery, community workshop, printmaking space, darkroom all running alongside each other and throughout the year. There is something ALWAYS on at Inky Cuttlefish and they are ALWAYS involved in some sort of artistic community project. It has become a foundation block of creativity in Walthamstow. I popped round a couple weeks ago, and there was art everywhere! Sculptures, mosaics, paintings, prints all in preparation for the E17 Art Trail, so without saying this is venue that has to be visited.

There will be so much to see here, for instance in the exhibition 'Lady of The Forest' will have 23 different artists involved. In a wonderful project that seems fitting on the back of Lady Godiva's visit to Walthamstow, project will be displaying work inspired by the myth of Godiva. This exhibit will not just consist of local artist but it is a huge collaboration between artists in South Aftrica, Sweeden and in the UK all working with there communities to create. This is just one exhibition of the 6 things that will be happening alongside each other at Inky Cuttlefish during the trail.

Lorraine Ward will have open her studio space in 'Draw4ward' where you can see her prints, drawings, mixed media installations and even works in progress, you will be able to see work from all the artists who use the printmakers studio in the exhibition 'Printers Paradise' and even get some wonderful local jewellery by Carol Zilla. The jewellery collection is inspired by the rich, varied and often hidden wildlife of Walthamstow and ethically produced using recycled silver. These pieces of jewellery are of limited edition and will only be able to be bought from Ink Cuttlefish. Also located in Inky Cuttlefish is Rachel's Darkroom and during the trail there will be an exhibit exploring photographs taken by objects made into cameras in 'Pinhole Parade'.

There will also be on display an exhibition by Waltham Forest MENCAP of various projects they have worked on during the year. Keeping with the community projects, Inky Cuttlefish has also helped create the 'Willowfield Community Mosaic' by running workshops in the school. 625 students have contributed to what will be a Chuck Close styled mosaic.

 These diverse exhibitions the will be running alongside each other just shows the wonderful creative space Inky Cuttlefish provides to professional or emerging artists and designers, local creativity and just an expressive platform for the whole community.

I can't wait to see all the art that will be there too see, and if you can't either you should book in the 1st of Sept. where there will be a preview evening (7-11pm) as well as the 5th Birthday party for Inky Cuttlefish! There will be drinks and nibbles and an open mic which will attract some fantastic local music to weave you through all the exhibitions!

Lower Ground Floor
5 Blackhorse Lane, E17 6DS

Mark Sowden - The Mutable Object

Mark Sowden opens up his own studio in his garden for a very thought provoking amalgamation of photography and sculpture. 

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 Art Trail.
I use a variety of sculptural and photographic processes to make my work. This year I have concentrated on producing photographic images. I am trying out a number of different ways to give these images a physical form and will be showing postcards, framed prints and photographs integrated into three-dimensional collages.

2. Is this the first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail Veteran?
I am a veteran.  I first open my studio in 2007 and have taken part every year since then.
3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
The challenge is always to turn a working space into a showing space. Without any change of emphasis my studio would look chaotic and confusing. The studio is a place of flux and change where objects are made, altered, arranged, photographed, rearranged. If work is finished it needs to leave the studio and make room for new work to evolve. Consequently the things normally found in my studio are unfinished and unresolved.
Most people coming to an open studio want to see finished work so each year I have a big clear out and a tidy up and try and hang a show. However my studio is too full of stuff to ever be a neutral gallery space. A viewer will see tools and materials in the space alongside work that is in progress and work that is finished. Practical considerations are important. The studio needs to be safe and accessible to visitors. I will be showing at the same time as my wife Sharon Drew who has the other half of the studio. Together we try and create a welcoming but relaxed atmosphere in which visitors can look at the work and then say as much or as little as they want.
4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist still have an impact on your work?
My father makes sculptures, drawings, photographs and furniture. I also make sculpture, drawings, photographs and furniture. The influence is undeniable and ongoing. In more recent times I have been influenced by the work of Fischli and Weiss, Tony Cragg and the photographers Lee Friedlander and Lucas Blalock.
5. The E17 Art Trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artist’s are calling it home?
Undoubtedly this is true with a noticeable increase in the artistic community in the last few years. However the veterans of the Art Trail have stayed loyal and continue to show. This is partly because Cris, Laura and Morag do such a good job encouraging, supporting and organizing the participants making it easy to take part. The Art Trail has become THE major focal point in the year for local artists. Without it we might not even know an artistic community existed in E17. Each year we visit studios as well as opening our own and consequently our feeling of being part of this community grows and grows. This is the magic of the Art Trail and I hope people new to the area or showing for the first time will feel the same way.
6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
I have lived in Walthamstow for 20 years, the longest I have ever stayed in one locality. Walthamstow’s charms were slow to reveal themselves at first although I have always liked the way it has clear boundaries with the river Lee to the west and Epping Forest to the east. I like its sense of being on the cusp of inner-city London and suburbia with easy access by bike to the Essex countryside. However it is only recently that I have felt connected to a community of people in E17. The Art Trail has been hugely important in this respect. So maybe I can finally say that Walthamstow has bestowed a sense of belonging. I have become a citizen of London E17.

Co-reviewer Kate!

I'm incredibly excited about this year’s Trail. Not only is it bigger than ever, it’s a wonderful opportunity for artsy folks to meet one another (and possibly do a little networking!) It’s also a wonderful opportunity for Walthamstow to show the rest of London that we’re a hive of creative activity, and possibly even to dispel a few negative preconceptions about our wonderful town.

As I mentioned, as well as exhibiting myself (possibly in three different locations!), I will be lightening Hassan’s (immense) workload  by reviewing a handful of events and exhibitions. Also remember that the blog is a space for all you to get involved in, whether it is sending in reviews, pictures or just general trail interest  Share you experiences with everyone through the blog! Between Hassan, me and all your contributions hopefully the blog can cover it all!

My first, hectic day will be day one of the Trail, September the 1st, when I will be taking in the 'Awesomestow Postbox' at Follyand Frill in Wood Street Indoor Market, 'Celebrating the Significant', on show in Images In Frames in Wood Street, and Walthamstow Library’s Puppet Theatre. Those of you I’ve already met may know I’m an intern at Significant Seams, who are organising the exhibition in Images In Frames. The exhibition also features one of my embroideries, not that I’ll be biased towards it in any way! I’m particularly interested in making a visit to the Awesomestow Postbox, as it’s just the kind of community arts project I love to be involved with.

I’m also reviewing the work of 'The Wandering Scribe' (if I can track down this elusive figure, they seem most mysterious!) As I did an A Level in photography and love using film, I’m very excited about the “PinholeParade” at Inky Cuttlefish – of course there’ll be plenty of gorgeous prints of all kinds to feast my eyes on too.

Finally (and perhaps a little foolishly!) I’ve volunteered to review the epically big exhibition in St Barnabus Church (no. 88). I’m most intrigued by the 'Lachrymatories' exhibit, which promises to explore the art and science of tears. Lachrymatories seems to have a nice dialogue with 'The Onion Cutters’Club', as both are about having a good old sob!

If you want to catch my “stuff”, 'The Onion Cutters’ Club' will be up every day of the Trail from 10am to 5pm, every week day, and is no. 61 in your Trail Guide. 'Celebrating the Significant' in Images In Frames is on from Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. 'Gifted' at The Mill will feature one of my embroideries (if I have a spare minute to hand one in!), is on every day except Monday , and opens from 10am to 7pm from Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11am to 2pm on Sundays. 

Aug 26, 2012

Hayley Holliday - Strangers on a Train

Hayley's exhibition will be on display at The Deli Café on Orford Road. It is no. 138 in the trail guide and her work looks wonderful!

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
I am continuing with my Strangers on a Train project. I have been drawing people on the tube and train each day and make my paintings using a selection of these images. It is fascinating to see the changes in fashion and this year there have been massive increase in beards!! This year I am crowding more people into some paintings, while some are just single people. I have been enjoying some marvellous colour contrasts and have drawn inspiration from William Morris, Egon Schiele, Frida Kahlo, Gustav Klimt and Hans Holbein. I have also included some of my original drawings in the exhibition and will be bringing my sketch pads to show 3pm-6pm each weekend at The Deli Café.
I will also be joining Artists on Wood Street outside – “Images in Frames” on the 8th Sept. for some Paris Portraits between 12 and 3. 

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?This is my 3rd Year on the Trail and have exchanged my living room for The Deli Café – Orford Road for my venue.

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
I have been a bit more organized this year but it has still been a massive rush to get everything finished.  couldn't have done it without the help of my husband, son and friends. 

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
I remember seeing Aubrey Williams an artist from Guyana. He was exhibiting in the White Chapel art gallery and he had done some paintings about sun light shining through a rain forest canopy. They showed the light moving down onto the forest floor and were absolutely magical. It must have been around 1990, I’d love to see them again.

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
I think there are a lot of artists out there and I think it is inspiring people to make work and giving them a platform to share it with others.

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
A home. :)

The Pictorem Gallery

Now there has been a big change on the Walthamstow landscape in recent years, especially since the Art Trail started. So many new artistic spaces have moved in to E17 to accommodate the growing creative community that has flourished, but the Pictorem Gallery has been established in Walthamstow for over 30 years. Currently run by Avtar and Surinder, it's a real quality, experienced and welcoming family business.

It was started by Avtar’s father in the late 70’s, he purchased what was then a gift shop and using his experience of being an art teacher and picture framer back in Kenya he transformed it into the Pictorem Gallery. But as Avtar was telling me, during the 80’s and even 90’s there was no creative community thriving in Walthamstow. The business’ clientele was mostly commercial and artists from other parts of London. But since the Art Trail kicked off 8 years ago, more and more local creative’s have became part of the gallery, as customers and as exhibiting artists. It is a really unique and insightful perspective that Avtar and Surinder have on the development and boom of the artistic community in Walthamstow, because they have been established for so long, it is worth popping in even just for this insight.

In fact the Pictorem Gallery is such a popular place for artists that during the trail every inch of wall space will be covered in artwork, not one free space. They are hosting so much, from so many artists they had to even turn a few people away because there is just no more space! All in all, there are 11 different and completely diverse exhibitions from 11 completely different artists all up alongside each other so it really is an inessential place to check out for a real cross section of local art in Walthamstow. The exhibition that will be on are:

Eight diamond shaped canvases telling a history of her life as an Elizabethan. You can find out details about the exhibition and her method here

An established artist who will also be exhibiting in The Victoria, will have up limited edition prints up.

Mixed Media ‘illustrated alphabets for two small children’.

Wonderful and imaginative paintings by artist Alison Brown covering all sorts of mediums and influenced by different artists. All the profits from sales of her work will be going to the local charity Thuso, which helps orphans with education and sustenance in South Africa.

From Walthamstow landscapes to landscapes of the Scottish Highlands in Sarah Shevlin’s isolated and delicate paintings.

Bright and rich abstract paintings capturing the seasons by first time ‘trailer’ CECILE.

An exhibition on the influential or on the fringe art form of Graffiti by photographer David Barette.

Really textured and expressive paintings of collage and oil paint.

An incredibly talented photorealist pencil artist, Kevin Okafor work of precise detail will be on display.

Alan McGrath will be capturing and elevating stills of reality into a cinematic scope through his paintings.

A mixed bag of work - Abstraction, Graphic Art and Photography

Oh and on the last Sunday (16th), there will be a wonderful henna artist waiting for your hand to work on and all proceeds from the henna will be going to Cancer Research as well as any sale of Alison Brown’s work that day.

With such a huge line up of exhibits, art poised to completely cover the wall, make sure to swing by the Pictorem on your trail travels!

383 Hoe Street, E17 9AP

Aug 25, 2012

Kate Elisabeth Rolison - 'The Onion Cutters' Club'

I am really intrigued by Kate's literary inspired exhibition. Kate's exhibition (no. 61) will be in bay window of 61 Somers Road, she will also have some work on display the the group exhibit 'Celebrating the Significant'. As well as having artwork on the trail, she will also be doing a number of Art Trail reviews for the blog, so keep you eyes peeled and follow this space! 

Kate tells us about her exhibition this year, her Walthamstow perspective and gives insight into her artistic method:

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
Last year in Somers Road I showed a mixture of deeply romantic and very cynical hand embroideries  and cross stitches. Some were on the subject of love and loss, and some on the pretensions of the art world (sorry if that ruffles anyone’s feathers!)
This year is, quite literally, a much sadder state of affairs; a number of embroideries grew out of a project on tears. The exhibition is entitled 'The Onion Cutters’ Club', and is inspired by a chapter in Gunter Grass’ novel 'The Tin Drum' (brilliant book by the way, check it out), in which characters meet in a dingy cellar nightclub to cut onions, cry, and share stories of sorrow. The story captivated me, and so I began collecting true stories of sadness and tears (though it’s not all doom and gloom – some are quite funny!)

 I stitched these stories, accompanied by illustrations, on to antique handkerchiefs which I stained with different shades of onion skin. Originally I planned on completing five or six of these, but my creative juices obviously wanted to get going on something different, and I only ended up with three!
Instead of the two remaining “Onion Cutters’ Club” handkerchiefs, I embarked on an entirely different project, that on the face of it, is charmingly (or sickeningly, depending on your tastes) twee. I began appropriating chintzily hand-embroidered and appliquéd home textiles, and embroidering them with rather unsettling messages. I derived this messages from my experiences of mental illness. But it’s not all doom and gloom there either; there’s plenty of tongue in cheek humour here, aiming to disarm the viewer and make them re-consider their preconceptions of people who suffer from mental ill health.
If I get ‘round to it in time, there will also be a couple of good ol’ (and slightly cheeky!) feminist phrases stitched up and on display too. I’m quite busy at the moment, as I’m also interning at Significant Seams, who are doing several events and exhibitions in the Art Trail, so fingers crossed I can get everything done in time!
2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
Last year I exhibited a collection of embroideries “Literary Stitchery”, which was reviewed on this blog. I got lots of really positive feedback and met many other talented artists. It really got my creative juices flowing and kick-started my third and final year at art college – I would recommend exhibiting in the Art Trail to anyone, even if they don’t consider themselves as particularly “arty”. For one thing, it’s a wonderful way to get talking to your local community!

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
As I mentioned above, juggling my internship at Significant Seams in Wood Street Indoor Market, reviewing a bunch of exhibits in the Trail, looking for paid work AND trying to set up an Etsy shop for my embroideries will be quite a challenge! It’s definitely one I’m looking forward to though, and I do like being busy.

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
Writing was my first love (my degree is in Performance Writing, which basically translates to writing about art/writing as art, and vice versa). It took me a while to grow as equally passionately obsessed about art, but I must say Grayson Perry has been a pretty consistent inspiration. I love the dense layers of detail and “busyness” of his work. My work is often pretty stripped back, apart from my recent artist’s book, “On Being Soft: A work in progress”, which was exhibited in the “Soft” textiles exhibition at The Mill. I also really admire Grayson’s nack for storytelling and capturing characters and dialogue. And of course, his studio is based in Walthamstow and his “Walthamstow Tapestry” is currently on display at the William Morris Gallery, which makes him a very apt inspiration!

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
As house prices soar and the trendy East End pushes out further and further, “starving” artists are pushed to the, shall we say, slightly less fashionable East London boroughs, such as the wonderful Walthamstow.  This is resulting in a bit of a burgeoning, buzzing hive of creativity here in the ‘Stow, as I’ve learnt from becoming more deeply involved in the crafting community. It’s slightly under the radar (but maybe that’s a good thing), and very, very exciting. It’s a good place to be as a young artist in 2012.
6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
E17 has bestowed on me a love and tolerance of all cultures (and a very deep love for the food of those cultures!) It has also bestowed a chance to explore my creativity to the full and to reach out to the local community. Walthamstow often gets a bad press, but my experience of its community has been almost invariably positive, and incredibly inspiring.  But that’s just Awesomestow for you.

Aug 24, 2012

Julie Caves - A busy Artist!

There are so many group exhibitions through the artistic community of Walthamstow that many artists will have work appearing all over the place. Julie is one of those, she will have a main exhibition but you will be able to find her work all over Walthamstow part of differant themed exhibitions. She tells us about her exhibitions and where you can find them all:

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
My main exhibition is at Blackhorse Lane Studios. I will have many new paintings displayed in my studio at the Open Studios and four paintings on the wall in the corridor in the Silent Auction I use painting to investigate colour, because you can investigate the world with art as well as with science.  I will have my back catalogue of artists’ books out to read as well.  We are no.4 on the map, on the middle weekend of the Trail.  Like last year, look for ‘clean graffiti’ directions to the studios on the pavement – chalk and stencils.

I am also participating in 8 other exhibitions and events in The Art Trail:
  • I have illustrated a gorgeous poem by Julie Ridlington for the Walthamstow Poetry Trail. The poems will be shown in the windows of participating estate agents along Hoe St. Walthamstow’s very own fine letterpress printers Paekakariki Press will publish an anthology of the poems. No.57.
  • I have a bird box sculpture in the Bird Box Avenue installation on Coppermill Lane. No.29.
  • I will be putting out art to be “picked” from the trees each Saturday morning of the Trail along with many other members of the Waltham Forest Arts Club for Art Grows on Trees. No.76.
  • I have a tiny bird painting in HideBird2012. No.128.
  • I have a painting in the Gifted exhibition at The Mill on Coppermill Lane. No.29.
  • I will be putting a piece into the Happy in Walthamstow exhibit at the Hornbeam. No.164.
  • I have four small paintings of the sky at Significant Seams in Wood Street Indoor Market that are part of their clouds-themed display. No.113.
  • I am almost finished with a sculpture that will be exhibited in the Oxfame exhibition. No.26.

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran? 
This will be my fourth year.

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
Sometimes I paint quite large and my studio is getting more crowded so space is always an issue.
The other challenge will be time – getting things finished and polished up in time and the time to go see all the other exhibitions I have marked on my guide.

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
Albrecht Durer has always been a favourite artist and I have liked Marc Chagall, 
Wayne ThiebaudRembrandt, and Odilon Redon for ages.  I guess I have been influenced by everything I have ever really looked closely at.  I love Peter Doig’s early work; it is scrumptious. Recently I have been looking at Alex Kanevsky and Frank Bowling.  And Manet’s pastels are amazing. And Jenny Saville.

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
Not necessarily.  I remember a few years ago artists talking about looking at the map and realising how many other artists lived on their street.  I think there have always been a lot of artists in Walthamstow; we just didn’t see them.  The Art Trail has made them visible.

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
Awesomestow has given me a wonderful community, that sense of fellowship that William Morris spoke of, and a big part of that has been the Waltham Forest Arts Club.