Strong Island Co.

About

Born from a simple conversation between Paul Gonella & Tristan Savage over some drinks on Albert Road, the idea for Strong Island came from our passion about where we live and the fact that we would often miss certain events, gigs, exhibitions etc and had no real source to find out about them in one place…

We launched 8 days later on the 27th September 2008 with some of our own photos and videos alongside scans of flyers we picked up and articles we dug out about the city.

Unfunded and independent we’ve managed to keep the original ethos of quite simply being a resource designed to promote, showcase and inform people about Portsmouth and Southsea’s cultural scene. Be it past, present or future we’ll do our best to keep you up to date with photos, interviews and articles about the city. However, we really couldn’t have made it this far without our readers, contributors & the people who make up this fair city. From foraging for articles to write back in 2008, to being inundated with all manner of related information now.

Strong Island has really taken off since this humble beginning, with both of us operating, maintaining, updating and writing posts in our free time outside of ‘normal’ working hours.

“One thing we set out not to do from the start is pretend we know what we are talking about with particular subjects, when we simply don’t. Due to this the team has grown and grown, with people coming in and volunteering their own time to help add their own particular knowledge on subjects yet all tied in with a love for the city and it’s culture. ”

Another principle of Strong Island is to try and not only show people what is new and what is happening with the city now but also highlight some of the city’s long and fascinating history. We also strive to create original and captivating content ourselves or with our guest writers. You can find out about who writes for Strong Island HERE.

In recent years Strong Island began to work on cultural events that brought together different aspects of the city’s culture and community in new and exciting ways. In 2011 we worked with the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council in curating and managing the Strong Island Round Tower Exhibition, which brought a local landmark back to life and saw art, design and photography by local creatives viewed by over 3,000 people in two weeks – possibly the busiest exhibition of local art in Portsmouth ever. In 2012 we held our Primary exhibition which asked local people to try and photograph their city and it’s people with their mobile phones with a theme of primary colours. The exhibition opened on Albert Road with well over 500 photographs taken by over 100 people making it a huge community arts project, certainly the biggest in recent years in regards to engagement. As well as art exhibitions we run our annual Homebrew competition with the winning beer brewed by Irving and Co local brewers and distributed and sold in Hampshire and West Sussex. In 2012 we also had our first stage at local music festival Southsea Fest, with the stage packed out for the whole day. With all of our events we strive to engage local people, seek out new and interesting ways and locations to showcase local culture and we hope that all helps make a Strong Island event something different, something special.

2012 has also seen Strong Island grow dramatically in some new directions. In January we started Strong Island Media which brings together our own creative skills and services in offering graphic design, photography, film production, web design and education/training. So far we have worked with many different clients all over the South Coast and London with M&C Saatchi, Anglepoise, Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council & Chichester Harbour Conservancy as a few examples. In May we launched Strong Island Clothing Co and dramatically expanded our clothing range and accessories with us selling online and at a range of events. We take great care in making sure all of our items are of the highest quality, created with care and craftsmanship and all have a sense of individuality, be that screen printed by hand or hand crafted accessories. In September we launched Strong Island Recordings, a boutique record label that strives to find, promote and release the best in underground guitar music. Strong Island teamed up with local DJs, label owners, promotors and A&R and as a collective work together to pull together our different skills and resources to make things happen in a dynamic new way. We’re working with local bands and bands from London and Hull and developing connections with bands from both the UK, Europe and beyond.

2013 sees us striving to grow these different threads of Strong Island but with a particular re-emphasis on making the Strong Island website grow, develop and continue to be the best cultural resource within Portsmouth. 2013 will see a new redesigned website and will also see us with our first real bricks & mortar home, in the heart of Albert Road. More on that soon…

Welcome to Strong Island.

Tristan & Paul

Interview with BBC Solent Radio about the Strong Island website

Interview with Claire Sambrook on BBC Radio Solent about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Feature on ITV Meridian News on 25th April 2011 about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Features

Strong Island Calendar 2015

You should all be well aware that over the last year we have been compiling a calendar using photographs submitted to us by you, the Strong Island readers. We are really excited by our 2015 edition, I didn’t think it was possible but the bar has been raised yet again!

The calendar again features photography submitted throughout 2014 from local photographers. The calendar is full colour printed A4 and folds out and hangs so that one side of A4 contains the month’s photos and the other side has a large format calendar perfect for keeping your important dates through the year.

£1 of each calendar sale goes to the Alzheimer’s Society Portsmouth based services. They are the UK’s leading care and research charity for people living with dementia and their carers.

The calendars are still only available as a pre-order from our online shop HERE. We are expecting to have them in hand by next Thursday. They are priced at £10 each if you collect from Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea. Postal orders cost £12 each and international postal orders cost £14 each.

I guess it’s about time we share with you some more of the amazing photographs which have been included this year.

Danielle Gridley
Danielle Gridley
Nick Weall
Nick Weall
Megan Barnes
Megan Barnes
Jay Hansford
Jay Hansford
Sam Brooks
Sam Brooks
Melanie Easthope
Melanie Easthope

New Strong Island Co Opens This Saturday!

Strong Island invites all our friends old and new to our new home in Southsea, opening this Saturday (15th November) from 10am. Strong Island at 12 Highland Road is a new shop and exhibition space, stocking all of the Strong Island Clothing Co range, a selection of high quality art prints, releases from Strong Island Recordings plus a collection of fine leather accessories from Raw & Auburn. We will also have monthly guest artists and designers selling their work too.

Our first exhibition in the space is a retrospective of some of the designs, projects and events we have worked on in our 6 year history. We’ll be having regular exhibitions throughout the year with shows by local and visiting artists, designers & photographers.

Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea, PO4 9AH.

We will be open every week on Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

New Strong Island Co Opens This Saturday!

The Strong Island Calendar 2015 Pre Orders Now Available

We’ve been working hard over the last few weeks collecting together the incredible submissions from the many local photographers who have been capturing Portsmouth and Southsea over the last twelve months. The calendar is soon to be sent off to the local printers and we are now taking pre-orders for the calendar in our Shop Ahoy online store. As per our previous years, the calendar is £10 with £1 of each calendar sale going to the Alzheimer’s Society Portsmouth based services. They are the UK’s leading care and research charity for people living with dementia and their carers.

We’re offering a few pre-order options with UK and International postage plus the option to pick up the calendar in person from our new studio/store once the calendars have arrived (due early December). All postage pre-orders will be sent out with lots of time for Christmas.

We’ve sold out of calendars before Christmas for the last two years, to pre-order yours please visit HERE.

The Strong Island Calendar 2015

Strong Island Recordings Cash Free Christmas Party For Charity At The Eastney Cellars

On the 13th December Strong Island Recordings takes over one of Portsmouth’s finest establishments being the cosy little Eastney Cellars for an all day charity party in association with The Park Studio who will be kindly supplying us with much needed gear. The event hosts 11 bands as well as Champagne Justice deejays and we’ve decided to do away with cash entry for the event and instead entry for the event is a donation of non-perishable food which will be donated to local food banks.  From a tin of beans or packet of pasta to a bag full of groceries it all helps and we can all help those in need whilst having a blast.

Now for the line up. Once again we believe we’ve curated a heavyweight eclectic line-up that features some of the most exciting and up and coming acts from across the south. Headlining the day and representing the label family will be thrashy-grunge twosome Rickyfitts, quite possibly one of the finest and also loudest bands in the U.K at the moment. Also finely representing our little label is shoegaze/psychedelic outfit Dead Rabbits and garage pop duo The Boy I Used to Be. We’ve also dragged back a few of our friends who have graced our parties before. London dreampop trio Wyldest fresh from main-staging Green Man Festival and blowing up the blogosphere play later in the evening as well as everyone’s favourite blitz-pop duo Curxes. Along with both of them we’ve brought back indie rock/post-punk outfit Fever and also Death of the Author who killed it at our Southsea Fest stage back in September when they filled in last minute. New to any of ours shows is London’s shoegaze/grunge quintet Nevermind Me playing their first ever show, drone-stoner rock outfit Verletzt, doom grungers Bittertown Mary’s and also the incredible dark twisted psychedelia outfit from Southampton, ELEPHANTANTRUM who remind us of a cross between Tame Impala and The Wytches. Get ready to be dragged into their nightmare realm.

Doors on the day open at 13.oopm so get down early as you don’t want to miss any of the acts as they’re all splendid. In the event you’re coming down please do rummage through your cupboards and ask any friends or family if they have any bits they don’t mind donating too and hopefully all of us together can help those in need whilst also having a marvellous time watching some of the best bands in the country. Check out the Facebook event here as well as below with a playlist of some of the acts playing the all day Christmas party. You can also keep up to date over on our website. See you there on the 13th December for the Christmas party in Portsmouth.

xmas party

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project

After months of planning (and crossing fingers for no rain) yesterday saw as part of the launch of the 1851 Trust our joint community art project with Ben Ainslie Racing happen down at the Camber. During this past weekend street artist James Waterfield put down a base mural of The Solent on the 100+ foot long hoarding wall of the new Ben Ainslie Racing HQ, ready for yesterday’s event. From 9am yesterday morning pupils and staff arrived from six local schools: Admiral Lord Nelson, St Jude’s Primary, Charter Academy, Park Community, Ryde Academy and Ryde School ready and prepared with designs, templates and plans for yachts and sea craft, all ready to paint. Throughout the morning over 70 pupils worked with three local street artists (James Waterfield, Luke Storkey and My Dog Sighs) on their paintings of sea craft throughout the ages, their part of the huge street art mural. As well as the young artists getting covered in paint they were also helped by some of the trustees of the 1851 Trust, the Minister for Portsmouth, some of the elite racing crew from BAR and Sir Ben Ainslie.

By the time the rain started at lunchtime the mural was covered with sea craft such as fishing boats, racing yachts with colourful sails, HMS Victory (with Lord Nelson), flying boats and many, many more. The mural will be finished up this Saturday by James and will then be on display until the opening of the new BAR HQ in May next year.

A huge thank you to Pippa, Jo and the team at BAR and ITTB, the artists, the site team at their new HQ, all the fantastic staff and pupils, Jack Daly and the local people (including sailors) from Old Portsmouth who popped down and showed so much support.

Photos from Monday shown below are by Jack Daly.

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (1)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (2)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (3)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (4)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (5)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (6)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (7)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (8)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (10)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (12)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (13)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (14)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (15)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (16)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (17)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (18)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project

For the last few months we have been working with the team at Ben Ainslie Racing devising a schools street art event that for us for the first time involves both sides of the Solent! Seventy two young people from six schools in Portsmouth and Ryde will come together on the 13th October for this community art project. They will paint images from the rich maritime heritage of the Solent onto a mural on the hoardings of the construction site at the Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters. It’s a maritime history that Ben Ainslie Racing will continue from their new base on The Camber, in Portsmouth’s Old Town.

The event is to celebrate the launch of a new charity that Ben Ainslie Racing will support through a number of areas, including hosting a Visitor Centre at their new headquarters building. The art project is being coordinated by Strong Island with BAR and we’ll be working with renowned local street artists James Waterfield and Dharma 77, and the internationally recognised My Dog Sighs on the mural design.

The six local schools (St Judes Church of England School, Park Community School, Admiral Lord Nelson School, Charter Academy, Ryde School & Ryde Academy) have been invited to get involved and paint the mural too. The school children will range in age and ability from Primary School students from St Judes Church of England School, all the way to GCSE students. The young artists will paint a wide variety of craft throughout the history of travel on the Solent including flying boats and hovercraft, both built and developed on the Isle of Wight, and the latter still carrying people between Portsmouth and Ryde. The Mary Rose, a successful Tudor warship that sank fighting the French during the Battle of the Solent, salvaged and now displayed in the city. Naval ships and submarines will be there, along with previous British challengers for the America’s Cup; Sir Thomas Sopwith’s Endeavour, built in Gosport and launched into Portsmouth Harbour. Ben Ainslie Racing’s new hydrofoiling catamaran boat will also be featured.

James Waterfield will paint the background design this weekend – and everyone is invited to come along to the Camber and see it progress. It will be a skyline and seascape scene stretching across the Solent from Ryde on the Isle of Wight, to Portsmouth…With the mural along the length of the BAR HQ hoarding wall facing the harbour, all 100+ feet of it! Dharma 77 and My Dog Sighs will then join Waterfield on the 13th October to work with the art students, giving them the opportunity to learn street art skills and techniques from these local artists.

Ben Ainslie Racing’s Team Principal, Sir Ben Ainslie commented, “We really hope people will come along this coming weekend, and on the 13th and have a look at the work the students are doing. We’re really excited about this, and we’re going to find a permanent home for the best work in the Visitor Centre at the new headquarters.”

On Monday the students will be working from 9.30am until 2pm and everyone is welcome to come along and watch the mural take shape! We’ll be photographing and filming the event and will be sharing the results soon after the day too.

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (1)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (2)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (3)

Strong Island Clothing Co.

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