Strong Island Co.

Art, Craft & Design

Open Call for Deleted Photography & Illustration Project by Vagabond Gallery

Deleted started from the idea of combining photography and illustration, as a way of experimenting with the medium and their possibilities. Initially meant as a continuation of ‘My family album’ photography series by Oana Damir, it soon developed into a discussion about contemporary artists and individual ways of creating art, and the conscious decision of sharing it or not. Started in 2014, it is a collaboration between Kate Bishop and Oana Damir.

After the initial dialogue, the project soon developed into regular meetings at Making Space. It soon became apparent that the project would take the shape of compositions made out of multi-layering. The next step was choosing to organize an open call, so that other artists could join the dialogue, and help shape the outcome. ‘Deleted’ plans to challenge the ways online platforms allow creatives to interact with ideas, and social media as a superficial plan.

The open call is for contemporary artists and creatives, open-minded and willing to share their artwork, as well as being available for a series of discussions with Kate and Oana on the theme of technology, and creativity. Photography might play a role in the process, so they should be okay with being in front of the camera. The aim is to finalize the project with an exhibition, which would be a great opportunity for all the artists involved to gain further exposure for their practice, and also a chance for experimentation. The idea is to create an installation about physical sharing.

All creatives interested in becoming a part of the project, please send a short story about yourself, as well as the reason why you be a good fit to this collaboration via EMAIL. Do not forget to include links to your portfolio and practice, and contact details by 31st July 2015.

Find out more about the Deleted project at:

Open Call for Deleted Photography & Illustration Project by Vagabond Gallery

Under The Spotlight – Photography Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

You’ll probably remember earlier this year the Under the Spotlight exhibition held at the Coastguard Studio in Southsea, where over 50 local artists, photographers, designers, street artists and more were part of one of the largest group shows in a while. This Saturday sees the opening of a spin-off to that exhibition Under the Spotlight – Photography that, as the name suggests, places the attention firmly on photographers’ work.

This new group exhibition brings together 30 photographers who are either based in Portsmouth and Southsea or have very strong links with the area. The photographers are:

Monika Feczko-Guzman, Shaun Roster, Salvatore Alessandro, Matt Ankers, Ashton Keiditsch, Aaron Bennett, Guilhem Brandy, Billie Rae Cawte, Thomas Martinez, Diana Goss, Andrew Paul Hayward, Matt Maber, Isabel Hernandez, Elmer Maniebo, Andrew Malbon, Harry Murphy, Jon Neil, Awful Shame, Emily Whiting, Mad Johnny, Cameron Windsor, Paul Windsor, Dario Scovacricchi, Mark Persaud, Connor Warren, Jessica Bowers, Jonty Sexton, Deborah Holton, Yasmine Collins & Ali Tollervey.

If you’ve been following Strong Island for a while or have bought our calendar over the years many of those names will be familiar to you, there is no doubt this will be a fantastic collection of images.

The exhibition opens this Saturday at 5pm, find out more details on the exhibition Facebook event HERE and over at:

Under The Spotlight - Photography Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

Lyndon Richards Old Portsmouth Houses on House Bricks Exhibition at Aspex Gallery

I first discovered the house brick paintings of Lyndon Richards during last year’s Portsmouth Festivities Spice Island Art Trail where a small street of bricks were arranged in Portsmouth Cathedral (you can see our article HERE). Each brick formed a painted building or house, with people able to commission their own home to be painted. The thing that caught my eye was the Old Portsmouth buildings, with much of that part of the city destroyed during the Blitz bombing raids aimed at the Dockyard, it was interesting to see this part of the city come to life through these brick paintings.

Aspex Gallery have a new exhibition opening today with Southsea artist Lyndon Richards with the Old Portsmouth houses on original house bricks on display in the Cafe from Friday 15 May – Sunday 7 June. This exhibition of eighteen works marks the beginning of a much larger project. Lyndon is planning to spend the next 2 – 3 years painting a brick portrait of every building in Old Portsmouth’s High Street c.1860, with a view to this becoming a permanent external exhibition.

“My brick house portraits are inspired by my dual passions: Art & Architecture. When I paint, I seek to capture the very essence of a building, its beauty, character, history, and memories within. I am inspired by the complexity of architecture, its history and evolution, a collaboration of skills and trades producing works of art to be cherished and loved.

The brick houses — each of which feature a house on Old Portsmouth’s High Street — are painted to scale, ensuring balance, integrity and preservation of the original architecture. I only use house bricks from the 19th century to ensure an individuality that compliments the uniqueness of each portrait.”

Entry to this exhibition is FREE. A preview evening, open to the public and also free, will take place on tonight from 18.00-20.00h.

Lyndon Richards Houses on House Bricks Exhibition at Aspex Gallery (1)

Lyndon Richards Houses on House Bricks Exhibition at Aspex Gallery (2)

Picture Box an Exhibition of Paintings by Ben Walker at Jack House Gallery

Jack House Gallery‘s second exhibition in Portsmouth’s newest gallery is an exhibition of painter Ben Walker’s arresting figurative images. Misty and haunting, like unexpectedly retrieved childhood memories, the artist works mainly on coarse grained linen which accentuates the otherworldly qualities of these shadowy episodes. Influenced by postcard art and by an illustrative style familiar from vintage children’s books, winner of the Jack Goldhill Painting prize, Walker approaches colour in a subdued, unhurried way adding to the ethereal narrative of pictures that linger long in the imagination.

“I use photos and other ‘found’ source materials such as old children’s book illustrations for my paintings. Over the last year or so I have become interested in making representations of childhood rooted in the past, often 1970s and 80s,” he says. “It has to be a scene or composition I feel I can translate into paint and I think the act of translating the image means it becomes mine. It’s impossible to say how I choose some images over others. I like simple compositions and I try to show a lot with very little,” often leaving out something substantial from the original, “so the painted image is a simplified condensed version.”

The exhibition runs from Saturday 16th May to the 20th June and is free. You can find this great new gallery in Old Portsmouth, check their website for more details:

Picture Box an Exhibition of Paintings by Ben Walker at Jack House Gallery

Picture Box an Exhibition of Paintings by Ben Walker at Jack House Gallery

Short Courses in Screenprinting and Photography at The University of Portsmouth

The School of Art and Design at The University of Portsmouth have just announced new short courses in Screenprinting and Photography at Eldon Building, Middle Street. The courses are open to all and refreshments / lunch included in the price which is £350.

From 29 June – 02 July and 13 – 16 July 2015 there will be two short courses in Experimental Screenprinting.
An opportunity to learn screenprinting with access to specialist printmaking equipment and expertise from instructor Christian Bennett. This course will allow you to experiment with a range of techniques and develop your skills and confidence in printmaking. Each course lasts 4 days.
For further details and information on how to book –

From 06 – 09 and 27 – 30 July 2015  two short courses on Silver and Salt – Traditional Medium Format Photography. An opportunity to learn the format using equipment on location and in the dark room, using traditional techniques to develop the photographs you take including cyanotype printing. Led by experienced photography instructor Russell Squires.
For further details and information on how to book –

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show: Gig Posters from Around the World at Portsmouth Guildhall

This Summer, Portsmouth Guildhall plays host to an exhibition by Pie & Vinyl of framed works of contemporary studios from all over the world: North, Central and South America, Europe and across the UK. The gig-poster as a medium has changed over the years. From letter-pressed bills listing performers much like boxing match promotionals, to lithographed variety show paste-ups, to screen-printed works of dazzling psychedelia, the roots of the gig-poster lie in advertising – tantalising and bold they fought for your attention, with the sole goal of securing ticket sales. Punk then tore up the rules with the xerox and ransom note collage and with the economy of modern reproduction techniques came a slide in the craft of the poster, if not in their “collectability”…

…fast forward a decade or more and poster design and production began to cater for the collector – many contemporary studios design work with the goal of creating a popular culture artefact, a memento of a time and its sound and the scene growing from it – something to be taken home and treasured.

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show in both the Cafe and the Zodiac Gallery contains work including numerous styles, techniques, colours and themes and was curated by Petting Zoo. The posters are on display now and runs until Tuesday 29th September, access is during the normal Guildhall opening hours and is free.

Some of the posters are from private collections but many of the framed exhibition prints are available for sale (via the Guildhall Box Office, collection once the exhibition has finished). Pie & Vinyl are also selling multiples from their shop.

Tomorrow sees the special opening event, open to all, from 7pm to 8:30pm. Pie & Vinyl will be DJing too! Cash bar available.

Pie & Vinyl Poster Show

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show: Gig Posters from Around the World at Portsmouth Guildhall

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Show: Gig Posters from Around the World at Portsmouth Guildhall

Hilsea Lido Splash Street Art Event This Sunday

This Sunday sees a group of Portsmouth’s finest street artists, including Farkfk, My Dog Sighs, Dharma, Lex Luther and Mimic (amongst others) inject a splash of colour at Portsmouth’s Hilsea Lido. Hilsea Lido is a part of Portsmouth’s architectual and social heritage, now run by a hard working group of volunteers who took it over some years ago after a a long stretch of it being drained and closed. Hilsea Lido Pool for the People work tirelessly on little to no budget to keep it open for the public to enjoy through the summer months.

The artists will be going to work with murals on both the inside and outside walls of the lido. The painting starts at around 10am with the best views of the walls available in the late afternoon when the artists are finishing up. This event sees Portsmouth locals Farkfk and My Dog Sighs collaborate for the first time on a large scale mural on the outside back wall. This bringing together of both of their signature styles is going to be well worth the wait, they’ve been talking about it for almost 10 years.

All the work that takes place on Sunday is on a voluntary basis at the lido, with the artists giving up their own time. If anyone would like to sponsor an artist to help cover some of their paint costs then please get in contact with My Dog Sighs at

There is also talk of a BBQ too…see you there!

Photos from a previous street art events up in the city centre by Adam Reeves.

New Theatre Royal Paint Jam - Photo by Adam Reeves (8)

Photos from the Portsmouth Street Art Festival by Adam Reeves (9)

Photos from the Portsmouth Street Art Festival by Adam Reeves (8)

Omega Centre Arts Fair

This Sunday 10th May sees the Omega Arts Centre open its doors to any and all for a celebration of work by local creatives, artists and makers alongside free taster workshops in a variety of mediums.

From 11am till 4pm, the Omega Centre will be hosting an artist-led exhibition with work available to purchase and the chance to talk to the creators of each piece. Covering mediums from photography to printmaking, glasswork and ceramic sculpture, there’s something for all artistic tastes and is a perfect opportunity to pick up original art at affordable prices. If you’re looking to exhibit yourself, stands are a reasonable £15 for the day; those interested should contact the centre here.

If you’d prefer to have a go at creating your own art, the centre tutors will be on hand throughout the day advising, running mini workshops and selling their own work to give you an idea as to what to expect from their tutorials. Food and drink will also be on hand from local businesses, making sure that you’re refreshed throughout the day.

The event is free to the public with equally free on street parking for all attendees.

Creative Census – Measuring the Creative Temperature of Portsmouth

Every year, for the last five years, Strong Island has taken on a large creative project aiming to engage with people from all over the city of Portsmouth. We had the Strong Island Exhibition at the Round Tower, the PRIMARY photography project & exhibition, Creating Balance, Creative Cargo and for 2015 we’re running Creative Census.

The creative industries in the UK have grown dramatically in recent years, become a power house of economic growth and innovation in the national economy. As of January 2015 the Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy for the creative industries has increased 25.8% since 2008, with the creative industries contributing £8.8 million to the UK economy every hour*. In recent years the creative sector in Portsmouth has grown dramatically and for the very first time we want to take a measure of the sector in the city.

The first Portsmouth Creative Census aims to measures the size, shape and make up of the creative industries workforce in the city. It also aims to identify emerging trends and question what are the resource needs and funding issues that could benefit the industry by helping it to grow and flourish in the future. The census aims to look at any individual, organisation and business who is either based in the city or works primarily in the city (check the Creative Census website full details on if you can qualify for the census). We need your help to leverage local, regional and national bodies to address your issues and build a stronger creative sector.

The census aims to engage with people working in different creative sectors such as Advertising, Marketing, Architecture, Crafts, Design (product, fashion and graphic), Film, TV, Video, Radio, Photography, IT & Software (including web design & application development), Publishing, Museums, Galleries, Libraries, Music, Performing & Visual Arts and more. If you work within these different strands of the creative industries, we really want to hear from you!

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015 launches today, with the census open for contributions throughout June to August 2015. Once the census is closed we’ll collate all of the data and working with statisticians, experts in the sector and graphic designers we’ll produce a presentation with all of the information created by the census. We aim to release the presentation by December 2015.

Creative Census Portsmouth is a Strong Island project, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and the University of Portsmouth. To find out much more about the project please visit:

Creative Census

* DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates – January 2015

Portsmouth Summer Show Announcement

This morning will there was an exciting announcement from the team behind the new Portsmouth Summer Show which is to be held on King George playing field in Cosham this June. The event looks like it is going to be a fun event for the whole family with boyband Blue, Professor Green, Alesha Dixon, X factor’s Matt Cardle, Lucy Spraggan and Luke Friend performing over the weekend.

Tickets are on sale now at £7 for adults, £5 for 5-15 year olds and Under 5’s able to attend for just £1. You can get your hands on tickets now by visiting the website

You can stay up to date on all things Portsmouth Summer Show by following them them Facebook and Twitter @PortsSummerShow.

portsmouth summer show

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Hitler’s reaction to The Registry closing down.

This is just classic. I’ve seen a few others before. I think I saw one about accidentally using Arial instead of Helvetica, funny stuff. This one however is just hilarious, if you know the Portsmouth pub scene. More so if you’ve ever ben a student.

Fog Lights!

I love fog, even more so at night time because all the street lights are on and it’s like this weird eerie zombie town. People appear out of no where and even cars creep up on you before you notice them in the deathly silence of the fog. I watched, or should I say waited, as the the Hovercraft came over from The Isle of Wight. I could hear the roar of the engines for five minutes till I could actually see the craft as it pulled on to shore. Spooky.

My little point and shoot isn’t much cop in low light fog but there are a few more over on my Flickr

Google Maps – Street View

Portsmouth now has street view enabled on Google Maps, giving an interesting perspective of the city. Good to see it was a nice, sunny day in Southsea when the car drove through. Sadly no Old Portsmouth though.

Matt Saxey’s Bike Ride Photos

Head on over to Matts Flickr and check out a few more photos from last Sunday’s ride. Great photos that really help capture the event.



Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts the previous week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

The Pavilion on Clarence Pier looks amazing. No more donkey rides though. Shame.

The Fog

Anyone who was out in Southsea and some surrounding areas would have witnessed the rolling fog that made it’s way inland this Sunday. Creeping past the Isle of Wight and finally making it’s way to the beach and taking people by total surprise. Hundreds of people were out having BBQs and generally enjoying the sun when all of a sudden things got weird when you could see your breath in the air and pockets of mist were passing right in front of your eyes. It’s rare to see this during day and normally only occurs first thing in the morning, so this was pretty cool to see.



Check out some more photos of “The Fog’ over on my Flickr Photostream.

Vintage Photos

Adam Wintle recently uploaded to his blog loads of photos from an old book about Portsmouth passed down to him by his dad. Some of the photos in the book are incredible, be sure to spend some time having a good look through, below are a few examples:

Transport No. 2: The Hovercraft

Southsea seafront has iconic and familiar structures and views but ever since the mid 60s we also have the familiar sound of the hovercraft engines as it repeatedly arrives and leaves for Ryde. This hovercraft route itself was the first Hovercraft passenger service in the world and Hovertravel Limited, founded in 1965, is the world’s longest established commercial hovercraft operator. The first hovercraft was first developed on the Isle of Wight in 1955 when inventor Sir Christopher Cockerell tested out his idea for a floating/flying craft by putting a cat food tin inside a coffee tin. After fine-tuning his designs, Sir Christopher Cockerell secured funding to build a hovercraft. Saunders Roe, the flying boat firm in Cowes on the Isle of Wight was given the contract. The commercial success of hovercraft was initially huge but subsequently suffered from rapid rises in fuel prices during the late 1960s and 1970s. Since the channel routes abandoned hovercraft the United Kingdom’s only public hovercraft service is now our one operating from Southsea.

In 1972 Hovertravel’s SR-N6 012 overturned off of Southsea with a loss of five lives. This was the world’s first fatal accident involving a commercially operated hovercraft. Apart from this one incident the service has an incredible safety record and is used day in day out to transfer up to 100,000 passengers a year.

The hovercraft is a wonderful and now unique form of local transport and something to celebrate and also to actively enjoy with a trip. Booking and travel information is available at the Hovertravel website.

To discover more about hovercraft we are lucky to have the Hovercraft Museum just down the road in Lee-On-Solent which houses the world’s largest library of documents, publications, film, video, photographs and drawings on hovercraft and a collection of actual hovercraft too including the last two remaining SR.N4 craft, the world’s largest civil hovercraft.

New Book – Portsmouth from Family Archives

A new book called ‘Portsmouth from Family Archives’ has just been published. Brothers Jonathan and Matthew Ring started developing the book last summer. All the photographs included in the book were from their grandparents. They spent a great deal of time compiling, scanning and restoring slides and film from 1950s to 2006, including behind the scenes filming in Portsmouth.

The 100-page book is available online at Amazon. Bonzo Studio and Southsea Gallery on Albert Road, Southsea are currently selling it, and they hope other shops will sell it too. They are also planning to do the summer market at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth.

“It’s been great fun, and such hard work keeping it a secret from everyone! We hope everyone enjoys the book and the photos inside it as much as we did.”

Photos below – A photo of Jonathan Ring, their Grandmother and Matthew Ring; unveiling the book to their grandparents; book cover and the slides.

Facebook group can be found here:

Sneak Peek - Showing the Grandparents the Portsmouth Book

Slides - Portsmouth Book (Coming Soon)

Vintage Skatepark Photographs

I’ve been holding on to these truly amazing vintage photographs that Simon Tiller kindly sent in as we went through a pretty heavy skateboard period and thought we should chill back a little. Loving the roller hockey team photos too. The 1978 trophies photo is a epic and they were British Champions in 1973 too. Belated congratulations to you all.

This is just a small picking from the Southsea Skatepark website Check them out and if you see anyone you recognise or want to bring something to our attention then remember to add your comments at the bottom of this post.

Special props to the final photo and all the Southsea boys representing ‘back in the day’. Some young looking faces there. Rippers.

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