Strong Island Co.

Art, Craft & Design

Photos from My Dog Sighs Quiet Little Voices Exhibition

There is still time to make it down to Play Dead on Highland Road in Southsea to catch My Dog Sighs‘ latest exhibition Quiet Little Voices, which runs through until the 4th December. Below are photos of just some of the work on show.

Make & The Craft Kitchen Christmas Fair

Make & The Craft Kitchen are back this year with their second Christmas Fair. The Make & The Craft Kitchen Headquarters will be filled with festive stalls, handmade gifts, yummy treats and market sellers, ready to get you in the mood for Christmas.

The fair will run from 11am until 4pm on the 28th November in Cornwall Road, Fratton. The Cafe is hard to miss with a huge ‘My Dog Sighs’ mural on the outside wall of the building, making it very easy to locate. Everybody is welcome to browse or enjoy some refreshments from the infamous Make & The Craft Kitchen café and explore the Craft Kitchen and all of it’s goodies.

Visit their Facebook page for updates on the event and check out their website at for crafty Christmas design ideas.





Aspex Workshop Christmas Sale

On Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of this month Aspex Gallery will be partnering up with The Workshop Sale for an exciting festive event. Since 1987 The Workshop Sale have been running successful artist workshop sales in South London. They have been giving the public the opportunity to buy unique work, from an exciting mix of designer/makers at bargain prices.

They are offering makers, designers and artists the chance to get involved in a sales event being held at the Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays. As for everyone else I encourage you to take advantage of the bargains available! The market will be open on Saturday Sat 21st between 10am-5pm and the following Sunday between 11am-4pm.

If you would like to get involved and exhibit/sell some of your work at sale prices then the cost for one table is just £60 for two days and obviously the tables will be provided by the Aspex team. For those of you carrying a lot of stock they also have a limited number of double tables for £100 for the two days.

For more information you contact or or visit the website


Aspex Gallery Portsmouth

Never Not Working: University of Chichester Looking for a Fine Art Technician

We’ll now be posting up details of different employment opportunities in the creative and cultural sector now under the Never Not Working title, keep an eye out for jobs and please send us details of new positions in the Southsea, Portsmouth & Hampshire area if you would like to get the word out. We’ll have a Never Not Working section on our new website dedicated to these job opportunities when that launches very soon.

University of Chichester Technician – Fine Art.

Working 40 weeks per year (0.524fte), days: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
£22,685 to £24,775 per annum Part time £11,886 to £12,982 per annum.

This post will be responsible for the specialist support of print and paint as well as more multidisciplinary approaches to Fine Art. You’ll act as one of the first points of contact for undergraduate and postgraduate students to ensure the highest level of customer service to provide general technical support and practice supervision. This includes the setting up of studio spaces, exhibition set ups and ensuring the safety and maintenance of the workshop facilities, supporting the MA provision across the summer period and Graduation / Otter Gallery exhibitions.

You’ll need a passion and aptitude for supporting Students, a degree in Fine Art or equivalent relevant experience including a thorough understanding of safe working practices in relation to hazardous materials, and practical knowledge and experience of the materials and their uses for both printmaking and painting. This post will require a current valid First Aid Certificate or willingness to successfully undertake within as soon as possible.

Informal enquiries about the recruitment process are welcomed by Steve McDade, Head of Department – Fine Art at

Closing Date: Tuesday 24 November 2015.

For the full job description and details on how to apply please visit HERE.

Never Not Working: University of Chichester Looking for a Fine Art Technician

Created Local Special: Interview with Play Dead Studio in Southsea

With the start of Autumn, Southsea has seen the opening of a new creative space: Play Dead, that is part tattoo studio and part creative/gallery space. We caught up with the Play Dead crew to find out what’s going on down on Highland Road:

How did the idea for Play Dead come about?
We (Samo and Lex) first discussed the idea of Play Dead back in 2014. That’s when the search for a suitable property began and our plans for exactly what we wanted to set up started taking shape. We knew we wanted a more evolved conceptual tattoo studio, but as we are both involved in the street art scene it made sense to incorporate our love of that, and make our space a little more unique. Our mix of tastes and passions for things like fine art, character based art, vintage, music, and all things strange and wonderful have also helped to mould the look and style of what was to become Play Dead: a fine art/street art gallery, and custom tattoo studio.

What’s the team behind Play Dead? How did everyone get involved?
Whilst Samo and Lex remain at the core of Play Dead, we have carefully chosen a team of artists who are already well established in their own right. We’re very fortunate that the guys on our ‘wish list’ agreed to join us and we all get on like one big Play Dead Family:

Lex (Lex Luthor, LexLX, LexArt) : Doodler, Illustrator, Street Artist, Designer and Creative at All Caps and Supervillain. As the only member of the team who doesn’t tattoo, Lex is responsible for the look and style of the Play Dead name, and its continuous development. Check Lex on Instagram: @lexart.

Samo : Creative artist whose work encompasses painting, street art, sculpture and conceptual tattoo art. Samo uses watercolour, brush strokes, and geometry in a lot of her work. She enjoys the challenge of developing her freehand style from the page to the skin and using the body as a canvas. Check Samo on Instagram: @samotattoos.

Sam Hugh : A creative tattooer with a more traditional edge. Bold lines, heavy black and bright colours. Old school tuff stickers and tatty bangers for outlaws and reprobates. Check Sam on Instagram: @acidbathvampire.

Lou Lapin : Play Dead’s Tattoo Apprentice. With no higher education and being a single parent at a young age Lou has worked incredibly hard to forge a creative career. She started out as a toymaker and illustrator and now channels this into tattooing. Influenced by artists like Tove Jansson (creator of the Moomins) and Scandinavian folk tales her work is always sweet with a melancholic edge. Check Lou on Instagram: @lapin_lou.

What do you think Play Dead brings to the city?
We aim to be a creative space and street art hub, with a slightly darker edge. A unique combination of tattoo studio and gallery space, we are a home for creative artists to exhibit their work, buy materials or just hang out. Play Dead is somewhere that is ever evolving and offering something different to the norm.

Thoughts on the city’s street art scene at the moment?
We love how the street art scene in Portsmouth has grown over the past decade or so. From projects organised by the Portsmouth Creative Movement to art events at The Teatray, Coastguard Gallery, and Southsea Skatepark. Portsmouth is developing into a city that embraces creativity and street art. We’re very proud to be a part of this exciting movement. We believe that the Portsmouth street art scene is attracting tourists and art lovers from afar and firmly putting Portsmouth on the map.

Huge respect to all those involved in making Portsmouth and Southsea a more creative and visually exciting environment. Artists such as: Fark, My Dog Sighs, M-One, Midge, Mimic, Dharma, Morf, Higher, Monk, Leila, Mr Kemp, Berk and Los Dave have been committed to pushing the local street art scene further and attracting other renowned artists to the area. We look forward to working with these guys more in the future, on many exciting projects to come.

What sort of exhibitions do you have planned for the future?
Next for us is an exciting show by local artist My Dog Sighs, entitled: Quiet Little Voices. This will open on Friday 13th November (7pm) and is planned to run until early December. We’re really looking forward to seeing his new work for this. As well as the art on the walls, there’ll be My Dog Sighs tshirts, prints and a few other surprises.

We’re very interested in offering a different kind of art show – unique to each artist. So they are invited to take over the gallery space and use it however they wish. We’re on hand to support their ideas and realise their vision.

After the My Dog Sighs show, we have an exhibition of work from the talented stencil artist M-One. And in 2016, we have a range of artists lined-up, from street art to fine art, illustration and tattooing.

Also on the weekend of November 13th, 14th and 15th we have the talented tattoo artist Funns at Play Dead for a guest spot. Check him out on instagram; @funns

How’s life in PO4? Highland Road is a little off the beaten track to the more established traditionally thought of creative parts of the city, what are its advantages?
Yeah, it’s great. We love it here. We like being different and standing out from our surroundings. Plus, the space, the frontage, and the area was exactly what we were looking for. We like to think that people don’t mind taking an extra five minutes walk from Albert Road to pop along and come see us.

What are your plans for the future of Play Dead?
Our plans are to continue producing high quality and unique tattoos, to help showcase creative talent, not just from street art but a whole variation of art forms. We will collaborate with other creative groups and individuals. We would also like to continue developing and building the Play Dead name, through clothing designs, events, workshops, and whatever else we might think of. We will continue to keep offering the people of Portsmouth a little something different – a little darker. It’s exciting times for us.

Follow Play Dead on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates @playdeadstudio.

Chichester College Design Students Celebrate 1st Birthday of the Strong Island Co Store With Exhibition

Chichester College and Strong Island are collaborating on a show to celebrate Strong Island Co store’s first birthday. Students on HND in Graphic Design, a two year vocational University level course, have responded to their experience of Portsmouth and a short brief from Strong Island with an exhibition of design and print in Strong Island Co. As part of the 5 week project, the students visited different Portsmouth & Southsea locations and the Strong Island Co store for inspiration. Other sources of inspiration include punk rock culture artwork, roman numerals on the starboard side of the bow, and the semiotics behind them, as well as ships and quotes connected to the area. The students have carefully developed different design ideas using typography and illustration before creating their final work for exhibition.

Five students have each designing limited edition t-shirts and prints (hand screenprinted), all of which are available to purchase during the exhibition at the store. All proceeds from the sale of framed prints and tees are going to Portsmouth Autism Support Network.

The exhibition of their final work will be held at Strong Island Co from 11th to 21st November, with an artist preview event on Thursday 12th November, from 7pm to 9pm. There will be food and drink for all to enjoy, along with discussions with the designers about the history and development behind the work. Pop along and show your support for the young designers!

Chichester College Design Students Celebrate 1st Birthday of the Strong Island Co Store With Exhibition (5)

Chichester College Design Students Celebrate 1st Birthday of the Strong Island Co Store With Exhibition (3)

Chichester College Design Students Celebrate 1st Birthday of the Strong Island Co Store With Exhibition (2)

Chichester College Design Students Celebrate 1st Birthday of the Strong Island Co Store With Exhibition (1)

Chichester College Design Students Celebrate 1st Birthday of the Strong Island Co Store With Exhibition (4)

Le Cafe Parisien Affordable Art Show with Southsea Greenhouse

Always great to see different local businesses and creatives team up and put on interesting events, such as the upcoming Southsea Greenhouse Affordable Art Fair at Le Cafe Parisien on the 4th December, from 6pm to 9pm. This art sale features lots of local artists, designers, makers and more with lots of Christmas gifts to buy, Christmas card making activities and preview party evening all in one. As well as the art market local singer Harriet Standen will be performing too.

If little ones are coming with you there may also be a visit from a very special guest St Nicholas…so if you’re bringing little ones bring them a gift wrapped up and clearly marked with their name.

15 different creatives will be exhibiting their art and crafts and bringing goodies which you can buy on the night:

– Kendal James
– Zara Baines
– Norma Jones
– Wendy Brenan
– Donna Carter
– Donna Poingdestre
– Nina Moscrip
– Ness Kittenden
– Freya Perry
– Jenni Plested
– Kelly Otteson
– Ruthy Darn Funky
– Irene Strange
– Elle Stokes
– Sue Stokes

To find out more visit the Facebook event or give the following number a call: 07530913211

Le Cafe Parisien Affordable Art Show with Southsea Greenhouse

Exclusive Video Interview With My Dog Sighs for Quiet Little Voices Exhibition

Quiet Little Voices is the new solo exhibition by Portsmouth based street/urban artist My Dog Sighs opening this Friday (13th) at Play Dead in Highland Road, Southsea.

With the exhibition opening on a Friday 13th in a gallery called Play Dead which is opposite a graveyard, it seemed obvious for My Dog Sighs to explore a slightly darker side to his usually melancholic work. With his first uk solo show in over two years, MDS uses his familiar found and repurposed materials to explore and occasionally twist his familiar themes of love, loss melancholy and gently dips some of them in a marmite of macabre.

The exhibition will also see the launch of the new My Dog Sighs umbrellas too, featuring the colourful colour palette and hug characters normally only available as prints or huge on walls.

We caught up with My Dog Sighs last week and filmed an exclusive interview about Quiet Little Voices, watch below. You can find out more about the exhibition on the Facebook event too.

The music in the film is ‘Lilt’ by Life Model, released by Strong Island Recordings, available to download HERE (on iTunes) and also available as a t-shirt & download (plus free b-side) at Strong Island Clothing Co.

My Dog Sighs for Quiet Little Voices Exhibition (1)

My Dog Sighs for Quiet Little Voices Exhibition (2)

My Dog Sighs for Quiet Little Voices Exhibition (3)

My Dog Sighs for Quiet Little Voices Exhibition (4)

My Dog Sighs for Quiet Little Voices Exhibition (5)

Superrb Studio Launch Their New Website

The crew over at Superrb Studio on Hayling Island just dropped their brand new website, featuring a load of their latest web design goodness. Superrb are a young and growing team of designers and developers working with brands such as Anglepoise, Benny Gold, Golden Wolf (sister company to ilovedust) and many more. Check their new website for some some creative parallax effects and the down low on their current work, including the new website for Bored of Southsea:

Superrb Studio New Website

Superrb Studio

Jack’s View Art Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

From Friday 6th November Coastguard Studio will be home to Jack’s View, a new art exhibition by local artists Donna Poingdestre and Ross Sherrington. Both artists are painters working in a variety of mediums, including acrylics and mixed media.

Jacks View is inspired by Jack Fleming who was a remarkable young man who brought a ray of sunshine to many lives whilst coping with the ups and downs of fighting cancer. Donna and Ross are local artists and close friends of Tracey Fleming and Anthony Fleming and wanted to create an exhibition to bring people together and also raise money for a good cause close to their hearts. Throughout the exhibition a percentage of sales of any artwork purchased will be donated to Jack’s Team fundraising page in aid of Cancer Research UK. Both originals and limited edition prints will be available for purchase.

The exhibition opens from 5pm until late, pop along for an enjoyable evening of art, wine, music and laughter. The exhibition is also open on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th November between 10am and 4pm.

You can find out more about the exhibition of the Jack’s View Facebook event.

Jack's View Art Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

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Vintage Southsea Skatepark articles

Articles about Southsea Skatepark can be hard to come by, and articles from 1988 even more so. I found these on the ‘when we was rad’ website a while back. I remember having the picture of Tommy Guerrero pulling that slob torn out and on my wall for years. Sick.

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.

By The Castle

Apologies for a little self-linkage, but I’ve added some photos from a July day down by the castle on Forever Circling (a photography, etc blog I update daily).

It’s sunny today too, roll on spring and summer.

Around the Castle

Ben Schroeder Transfer

In the previous Ben Schroeder post I didn’t really describe the legendary trick very well, so I’ve dug out the photo! Ben frontside ollied out of the pool over the platform and in to the steep bank. Sick stuff.

Ben Schroeder, Transfer, Southsea (1991)

After skating…

…the boys enjoy a sit down at the seafront on a Sunday. Photo courtesy of the ever busy Quiet Corners lensman Paul Gonella. Perfect days, albeit still cold.

Southsea Ramblers Association – Watership Down

We burst the bubble again last weekend for a pretty epic ramble, or should I say hike. Taking the advice of the Guardian Newspaper we embarked on a 6 hour walk across the North Wessex Downs. Although the walk is a good 45 minute drive away it’s well worth the journey and the reward at the end is one of the finest pubs I’ve ever eaten at, the Roayl Oak. Check out my Flickr for the full set.




Old Portsmouth

I found this photo of Old Portsmouth shot form The Spinnaker last night. I don’t think I’ve seen it shot from this angle before. It almost looks like another town at first glance. Some great details. Cricket in full swing, all the catchers traps on the roof of the fish market, enjoying a beer at The A Bar, Lawn Bowls, all on a cracking sunny day. Click on the image for full size.

Photo – eNil

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 1

Jonathan & Matthew Ring recently released a book of archive Portsmouth photography that was taken by their grandparents over the years (find out more about the book HERE). As well as photographs they also found a load of footage filmed around the city and have just released their first episode of their Portsmouth on Film.

This episode has some great footage from the early 90s, including some from the Tour de France.

Vintage Southsea Skatepark

Bored Manager Tom sent us over this original Skatepark article and poster. It doesn’t get more back in the day than this really. The original proposal plan and the opening day poster. At last Skateboard Paradise. Truly amazing. The article is quite small, but I zoomed it to read back the first paragraph.

‘Skatepark plan caters for all plus band and roller skating. Fast elevated runs and steep twisting slalom – like tracks for the advanced skateboarder, are a design feature of the £60,000 skateboard arena proposed for Southsea Common’



Created Local – John Illsley

We got sent a link to John Illsley’s website recently, loads of amazing photos including many from all over Southsea and Portsmouth, be sure to check it out. Here are a few examples:

John Illsley

John Illsley

Strong Island Clothing Co.