Leader of Croydon Council, Tony Newman, said:
“This is fantastic news – this award is for all of Croydon and everyone who has worked so hard in our bid. From Stormzy to our very own Shaniqua Benjamin, Croydon is the home of talent, with a rich music heritage as the birthplace of punk, grime and more, and we have an exciting future ahead. We are going to make 2023 a celebration of our town’s wonderful diversity and repay the Mayor’s belief in us. This is Croydon – and we are incredibly proud.”
We couldn't have put it better ourselves! The funding will help Croydon celebrate the borough’s rich artistic heritage, creativity and diversity, and its strength and resilience as a town that always looks to the future. It's going to be built on the fantastic foundation Croydon already has for promoting inclusivity and ensuring no community is left behind.
We can't wait to see how that unfolds, watch this space!
Olafur Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist known for his striking architectural sculptures and large-scale installation pieces. Influenced by landcapes, light and weather, he brings these elemental forces inside to create a theatrical display of refracted light, movement and contrasting shadow, even using liquids and fog to surprise and displace your conviction of spatial awareness. As intriguing as they are beautiful, his creations infuse an atmosphere of calm. Groups of people wander slowly and take time to sit on the floor around intallations, taking in the scale and trying out new perspecives. Schoolchildren lay gazing upward at the mirrored ceiling admiring the mirage so carefully built to offer a slice of another reality. We so enjoyed it we walked around twice. I felt most what a world of possibility could await if only this kind of work were more infused into our working and living spaces. And perhaps the power of shared experience in structures designed purely to ignite curiosity.
This is a really fun project inspired by my neice, Amelie. We were drawing manga characters together recently, and she put together ann awesome title page, with two simple elements. She wrote her title in bold caps then again in a fluid script over the top. It looked awesome!
It reminded me a bit of 80's neon signs and bold print t-shirts, and I wanted to create something like that myself. I decided to get a little inspiration to create something channelling those vibes, and came across this amazing tutorial from Ste Bradbury Design ...
First you start off in illustrator creating simple linear type from your own hand written word. Simply photograph it on your phone & import to illustrator, then draw on top with the pen tool. Next use the blend tool to create smooth looking tubes out of 2 gradient-filled circles, then replace the spine of your type lines with these tubes, using the blend tool menu.
Add some classic blocky type, carefully arrange then use photoshop tools to mask and remove sections of the artwork to create the interwoven illusion, then add shadows to the block type.
Next add a gradient to your hand drawn type from the effects button at the bottom of your panel. Select 'Overlay' for the detail to show, and all those highlights and lowlights to glow.
Next it's back to the pen tool again, this time in photoshop. draw in the shine curves one at a time on a seperate layer, right click for stroke options set to brush and simulate pressure. Right click again to remove the path. Finally usue the 'Gaussian Blur' filter to soften the appearance.
Next I tinkered with Colour Lookup to add effects, and altered the vibrance and exposure. I then added the colour gradient to my shines to get a rich satin look. Presto! Some very juicy type! Unneccesarry extra, but for a little extra depth I added a second layer with my artwork blurred beneath the origina to hint at a buzzing neon glow. Have a play and see what you can do!
The tutorial was easy to follow, uses a lot of familiar photoshop tools and I am sure you'll agree is really effective. Tips from me are; spend time on your flowing line script, it will look so much better if those cureves flow! I hope you enjoy :) Emma x
Giving artists an opportunity to show their work, particularly those, like me, who have limited funds, seems like an awesome idea, and a great way to use what I learned over the last year in a positive way. If, like me, you can't afford endless entry costs for shows and competitions (which rarely benefit the artist) then this may be for you. It also works for those who don't want to part with large commission fees, you probably worked really hard and don't want to give half away every time you part with a piece! I don't want to charge commission fees at all, and there are ways of making it work while allowing you to keep the money from your sales. The simplest is this : You have your own artist page, with all your artwork and information in one place and a contact form so that people can get in touch with you directly through this website. You would have total control over sales, be responsible for replying to messages and delivering the goods.
You arrange the sale and you keep the money ... simple!
I will create your page, and once you are happy, the page goes public and you can share it to your hearts content. Put the link in your bio and people can view your work and contact you directly through the site. You have official representation, and our website visitors have more beautiful art to choose from. You can pitch for commissions on there, have plenty of photos, as many contact details as you're happy with, share info about galleries and shows you have coming up and I can even add a map for you, if you like! People will be added on a first come first served basis, so if this appeals please register your interest below, and I'll keep you updated on the process, and send some guides on artwork images and writing a good bio too. More info on what type of art qualifies, coming soon - the good news is - most art! And if you have any other ideas or feedback, just let me know, I'd really love to hear from you!
Croydon was cemented with the dystopian crown yesterday with the launch of Banksy's 'Gross Domestic Product" TM store opening on Surrey Street. Much to the delight of us locals it is totally free, and really impressive. Passers by awed at the new store in the long vacant Ponden Home space, and as the word spread, so did the curiosity. The main mood seemed to be, YES! Something good happening in Croydon - we need all the encouragement we can get!
Cool was the concensus, and all the ideas are just that, powerful symobolism hitting right at the heart of issues that run through the veins of this town, through this country even. Croydon is a centre for immigration, with an eclectic mix of awesome vibrant cultures and a police presence which is mostly well meaning, but not always well informed or welcomed. Stormsy's stab vest sits perfectly as the jewel in this curious crown. I was grateful for the rain, because a little boo was completely necessary. It's a very visceral message about all those desperate stranded asylum seekers we are sending away, and all those poor black boys getting hammered by poverty and racism. The theme captured the mood of croydon's tragic retail scene to perfection too, it's no surprise people didn't see the irony immediately, from a distance it looks shiny and new, all the promise of theWestfield that never was. I realise there's another purpose for this store, a defence of the Banksy brand against poachers, but that doesn't leesen the power of each statement, and it has certainly been put together with care in my opinion. But, you decide, go see it for yourself, and yeah, instagram it too, but please take a minute to soak in the meaning first - or you might totally miss something really powerful.
Get your butts on down there : https://goo.gl/maps/aJvx7hm53N5GP5rXA
16- 20 Church Street, Croydon, CR0 1RZ. Paid parking & accessible by tram, bus & rail too.
One of the things I want to say right off the bat is, I do believe there is a connection between poor mental health/depression and creativity, but in all my years, (with depression a constant shadow) my experience (my own stuggles, and others I support with their own mental health) and research (on causes, treatment, philosophy and other artists) what I believe is this :
you ARE not creative because you are depressed, You are creative because you're awesome!
Artistry is not just an impulse, it is a discipline. It takes hard work, careful planning, and even if you pare it right down to basics, you still need the life skills to aquire materials, work on a project to completion and show people what you are doing. These facts alone support wellness as an asset. Now, just to be clear, if you are not well at the moment and you can't manage those things, then don't worry. This is not going to stop you, things can and will get better, and these are really good goals, if they aren't achievable right now. But all the things you need to thrive live in the realm of wellness, so investing in getting a healthy balance can only be good.
Creativity can take a nose dive when we are overworked, so here's a check list of great ways for you to recharge your creativity and kick start those little grey cells!
1. Change perspective
This may sound obvious, but start with whatever is in front of you. Take your pick of the every day objects around you and put it somewhere different. Change the light and composition around it, and see what happens. It’s amazing how interesting an old teaspoon can look in the right light. Change the view. What happens? Can you get a shine on it? Does it cast a long or shapely shadow? Is there a way to view it so that it doesn’t look like a teaspoon any more? What happens if you pair it with something odd? Can you create meaning? You might surprise yourself and find something really cool without even leaving the room, just by changing the way you look at something.
2. Challenge yourself
Challenge yourself to work within different parameters. Decide to do something different from your usual approach and stick to it, even if it’s tricky. Change the scale of your work, try creating something enormous, or something tiny. How does that alter your approach and what would feel interesting to try in that space? Be proud of the things you master and take the opportunity to grow your skill in areas you want to explore.
3. Limit Your Toolkit
Perhaps you could try a limited palette - it’s amazing how lovely a face can look in all blues, does it alter the mood? How can you capture the light and shadow? How does a blush look? Perhaps ignore Colour altogether. What happens if you can only work with solid shapes? Can you still create light and shadow? Can you create depth and perspective? You could even try working to a really tight deadline. Speed painting can be an excellent way to get into a flow of producing work, and limited time helps you to focus on the most important features. It’s amazing what a break from your usual routine can show you about your ability.
4. Get sociable!
Get outside, hang out with friends or just go to an event and get involved! Make an effort to talk to people and listen too - even us shy creatures flourish in good company, and there is no better way to gain a fresh perspective than hearing someone else’s views. The more you socialise the more food for thought you gather, so ask questions and don’t be afraid to share your ideas too! You might even collaborate with someone and that’s sure to push your boundaries and open up new ideas. And if nothing else you’ll have a good giggle and that alone makes it worthwhile.
5. Feed your mind
You don’t even have to travel to see inspiring artwork any more. So many artists & galleries share everything online now and there’s an endless pool of creative curators sifting through the best of the rest to bring you new & exciting ideas. You also have a wealth of things to read at your fingertips, so seek out what interests you, go and discover some new artists, new writers and new music. Pinterest is a great way to collect ideas so if you find yourself overwhelmed with inspiration you can curate those finds onto different digital mood boards. Or you can just go old school and print things to stick on a physical mood board, whatever works for you. Just be sure to feed that creative engine regularly, and you’ll never run dry again!
6. Just Do It!
Sometimes you just need to kickstart the engine. Much like any other work, creative work takes time and effort so it’s important to be aware that procrastination is not your friend. Get yourself in front of the job and just get it done. It may not be a masterpiece just yet, but if you give it time and effort, you’ll get there. I believe in you!
Burnout is a bitch. It sneaks up on you so easily, especially if you are passionate. Most creative people are juggling a regular job alongside their creative projects, and when you throw self promotion and networking into the mix it’s easy for time get away from you. But if you’re not careful, all of that passion, fire and energy can quickly turn into an exhausting treadmill. So here's some no-nonsense tips on keeping sane without being less driven...
1. Create just for the joy of it.
Burnout interferes with your creativity, gets in the way of idea generation, and makes you less productive. You can be grinding away at your passion and it just feels like hard work. One thing I found that helps is to spend some time just creating for the joy of it. Make, write, paint, photograph. Maybe even just doodle - just do it for the love of it. Don’t think about selling it, sharing it on social media, or leveraging it for the business end of what you do. Allow the creativity back in. If you can create without restraint it allows your brain to roam free again. Without an audience you can do things differently, even cover it in swear words and little dicks if you like! Try it! It’s satisfying, and can really take the pressure off once you’re enjoying yourself again. It’s working smarter instead of harder.
2. Make a point of practicing self-care.
When there is always something to get done (and there is!) it’s very hard to put your needs first. Even simple things like drinking enough water, taking the time to make a decent lunch or (or making time to pee!) can easily get forgotten. But if you don’t take care of yourself you will keep struggling. You wouldn’t treat an employee that way, so make a promise to yourself right now to treat yourself with the same love and care you do other people. Don’t work while you’re eating, take regular breaks and stay hydrated. Have coffee when you make time to sit and enjoy it, not as fuel to wake your tired body. Everything will wait for you, and you will feel much more able to achieve your goals when you are feeling refreshed.
3. Think Positively
What I mean is, think positively about yourself. A tough one for some, I know! Remind yourself what you are capable of. Think about what you’ve achieved. Maybe even what you have survived. There is only one you, and your voice is unique. Life is a precious gift, and when we hate on ourselves we damage our chances of living it to the fullest. So write a little love letter or put some positive post-it notes around the place. Say it out loud if you can! It makes pure sense. People who have a stronger level of self belief experience less stress in challenging situations, and when they tackle stuff successfully, their self belief actually increases. Start small if you need to, but believe in yourself and start achieving those confidence goals and it will lift you up. Imagine how much you could achieve with all that extra confidence!
4. Give yourself a break
A proper break. The work isn’t going anywhere. It will wait for you while you have some time to rejuvenate . Have a rest, a nap, bath. Or anything that that makes you feel more relaxed. Then don’t beat yourself up for it. You work hard, you’ve earned it! And if you don’t feel better after all that then take some time to re-assess what you’re doing. We create to feel fulfilled and happy, so don’t be frightened of challenging how that works until you get the balance right. Because you only get one life, and it’s worth living well. You deserve it!
5. Get Inspired!
It took me a long time to learn this one - but it's okay to be inspired by other artists! Yes you should be looking to create original work, you don't want to be a copycat but it's actually really inspiring to see how other people approach a subject, explore new mediums and enjoy new concepts. So take time to mooch around a gallery if you can, or just browse online, there's so much out there to re energise you. Keep an eye out for my next post for juicy examples!