Strong Island Co.

Art, Craft & Design

Common People Festival 2015

The multi award winning team at Bestival, present to us the Southampton based Festival, Common People. It will be held on the 23rd and 24th May 2015.

Taking place on the bank holiday weekend on Southampton Common, the two day, metropolitan festival will bring the spirit of Bestival away from the Isle of Wight and into the heart of the city.

Rob Da Bank, curator of the festival, explained that Common People is the first new venture since Camp Bestival seven years ago. He went on to tell us that this festival isn’t a camping show, its not tents and wellies, it’s a two day show that has easy access and is open to all ages. A festival packed with experiences that is reasonably priced, it was designed to allow everybody to enjoy good music and fun activities along with cultural highs including art and delicious food.

Fatboy Slim, DJ Yoda, The Cuban Brothers, Jaguar Skills, De La Soul, Band of Skulls, Plastic Mermaids, SomaHigh and Clean Bandit are just some of the many artists that will perform over the weekend alongside activities including, crazy inflatable bundle madness, face painting, brass bands, trapeze lessons and much, much more.

The weekend is set to be an enormous success and tickets are on sale now. To get yours visit ticket line or buy your tickets directly from a range of local locations which can be found on the website.

To follow festival updates and announcements follow Common People on Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and on Instagram.


Fat Boy Slim



Berlin Festival 2012

An Up And Coming, Talented New Artist Presents FACE

Olivia Abdul, 21 from Southsea is an incredibly talented local artist who works with a range of mediums and in a range of styles.

Describing herself as a Painter, Printmaker and Photographer she works with passion and a drive to offer people pieces of art that they will love.

Olivia will be taking part in a local exhibition called FACE (Fine Art Collective Exhibition) and will display her work as an upcoming and emerging artist along with several others.

The exhibition has been put together by Olivia and her fellow students to form part of their professional development for their University courses. The opening night will be held on 24th April from 6-8pm and is invite only but the work be be available for public viewing from 25th-30th April between 12 and 5pm and will be held at the Bargate Monument Gallery.

Olivia will be showing a selection of her print work from when she was at her family home in Bangladesh. She describes her work as being an exploration of both sides of her identity with post colonial undertones. Her intrigue with colour and form is beautifully expressed in her work and is extremely dynamic. This relationship with her work has lead her to a fascination in using different materials and seeing how they come together.

The FACE exhibition will be a fantastic collaboration of some wonderfully talented young people and is a real reminder of the hard work that students put in, offering brilliant outcomes for us all to enjoy.

To find out more about Olivia follow her on Facebook or see her work displayed at FACE.

Olivia Abdul

Olivia Abdul

Olivia Abdul

Olivia Abdul

Olivia Abdul

Today Have A Hard Choice Exhibition Tour With Rosalinda Hardiman

The Portsmouth City Museum‘s hugely successful A Hard Choice exhibition continues with many different talks, tours and displays over the coming months. Today you can join Collections Manager Rosalinda Hardiman for an introductory tour of the exhibition A Hard Choice. On the tour you can learn some of the stories behind the objects on show and Rosalinda’s reasons for selecting them for the exhibition.

The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and is free. Give the City Museum a call 02392 834744 to book or ask at Reception.

Rosalinda Hardiman

Portsmouth City Museum

Crafts In The Tower Exhibition

‘Crafts in the Tower’ is an exhibition by artists, designers and crafts people from in and around Portsmouth. It takes place in the Square Tower, a 15th century naval fort on the seafront in Old Portsmouth .  The aim is to promote high quality individual designer makers and artists who are appealing to a contemporary market and the quality and prices of products are reflective of this.

Several new exhibitors will be taking part in the event including, Jane Athron and her fascinatingly surreal paintings. Collage artist Lorna Apps-Woodland, who will exhibit some arresting pictures made from a wide range of materials and sources. Printmaker Pam Lake, who makes screen prints and lino prints in vivid colours.  She will also join regular printmaker Sue Meredith, who specialises in scenes of Portsmouth’s streets and historic sites.  Kelly Hickman is similarly inspired by her surroundings to create gilded images of Portsmouth’s famous naval vessels.

They will join regular favourites Katherine Webber with her contemporary jewellery and Gary Renouf with his beautiful and intricate designs in wood.  Photographer Jan Fowler will also be in attendance and there will be a welcome return for glass maker Cherie Lubbock, who has been busy extending her techniques at West Dean College.

Ceramics will be represented by Bernice Hughes with her delightful illuminated cottages and castles and Maggie Ambler who has some new designs in painted tiles.

The upcoming exhibition is being held on April 19th from 11am until 4pm and admission will be free. The vintage tea room will be open all day, selling home made cakes, savouries and drinks and it will surely be a pleasurable and artistic day.

To find out more about the event see the ‘Crafts in the Tower’ website.








Caleigh Ill

Regular visitors to Strong Island will already be aware of Caleigh Ill. The local artist creates the most beautiful animals and beast, as well as being known for incredible Russian Owls.

From midnight tonight she will sadly be closing her Etsy shop but you still have until then to get your hands on the stunning gifts on offer, including the coasters, tote bags and art prints. Take a look for yourself by visiting her Etsy shop HERE.

You will still be able to find on Facebook, Twitter @caleigh_ill and her website

Caleigh Ill

The Narwhal Pickler Caleigh Ill

Caleigh Ill Etsy

Tea & Pencils ‘Cinefilms’ at No.6 Cinema

On a recent trip to the No 6 Cinema in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard I noticed some fantastic illustrations featuring some of my favourite movies in the foyer. The posters featured movies such as Kes, Jurassic Park, Labyrinth, The Big Lebowski and the Goonies.

Tea & Pencils 2

The posters were created by Matthew Anstee aka Tea & Pencils. Matthew’s on-going collection entitled ‘Cinefilms’ was first exhibited his hometown of Winchester but has since been featured in various independant cinema’s across the UK.

Prior to his time illustrating, Matt describes on his Facebook how he spent four years as a freelance music video director and editor, but in 2012, feeling creatively unfulfilled as a filmmaker, he reconnected with a lifetime passion for art and design through sketching, and subsequently a new career in illustration. Finding inspiration in an eclectic range of visual mediums – from Will Eisner comics to David Lynch movies, and many things in between – his work combines the organic feel of hand-drawn sketches with digital post-editing. Matt’s diverse spectrum of interest manifests in a very particular style of graphic-visual storytelling, peppered with detail and nerdy references.

Matthew will be at No.6 Cinema this Friday from 6:15pm to host a small ‘meet and greet’ before the screening of Blade Runner. There will be more artwork on display plus Tea & Pencils freebies!

The posters are available to purchase via the Tea & Pencils website Tea & Pencils can also be found on Twitter @teanpencils and on Facebook, where you can find more of Matthews work.


Exhibition runs until the 30th of April during No. 6 Cinema’s opening hours (The box office opens one hour before each screening). Find out the No.6 Cinemas opening times by visiting

Shichinin no Samurai
Shichinin no Samurai

Depiction5 New Exhibition at Atelier in Castle Road

Pete Codling’s studio and gallery Alelier, located in Castle Road Southsea, will be host to a new group portrait exhibition entitled Depiction5. The exhibition draws together original artwork by five of Portsmouth’s leading contemporary figurative artists including:

Pete Codling
Colin Merrin
Clif White
Karl Rudziak
Agata Wojcieszkiewicz

There is a private view on the 17th and then the exhibition is open daily from midday to 6:30pm.

Depiction5 New Exhibition at Atelier

New Painting by Collin Merrin for Depiction5
New Painting by Colin Merrin for Depiction5.

Exclusive Interview with the Curators from Jack House Gallery: Rebecca Crow and Anna Burdick

I recently visited Jack House Gallery, Portsmouth’s newest gallery located in Old Portsmouth, to see the progress before the opening day tomorrow (4th April) and to catch up with Rebecca Crow and Anna Burdick, co-curators of the gallery. With the opening exhibition Amartey Golding: Drawings (a series of striking, large drawings with Ruby Tandoh as the muse) launching the gallery tomorrow, it was a great chance to find out more about this new gallery in the city. We’ll also have an exclusive interview with artist Amartey Golding next week.

Hi Rebecca, can you let us know the history behind Jack House Gallery?

I did my fine art degree in Portsmouth many, many years ago so I knew the place. Subsequently worked in London, my first job was the Fine Art Society and then worked for several other London galleries. Then I went to live in the Middle East, I worked in Bahrain,Muscat (Oman) and Dubai. I came back to London and I’ve just finished working for a gallery in Dubai where I met Amartey Golding.

In the mean time my husband (who comes from Portsmouth) and I bought Jack House in Old Portsmouth in 2009 and we were coming back every 2 to 3 weeks and then this shop next-door came up for sale. We were “Wow we’ve got to have it” because I’ve always wanted to own my own gallery. I’ve always worked for other people and sometimes sold work I haven’t particularly liked. If you’re lucky you work with a gallery owner that has a similar mind set to you or allows you to run with some ideas but it can be frustrating working with someone else’s ideas and tastes. So this was an opportunity, we’re close to the Cathedral, why not have a gallery in Portsmouth. There are people here who are interested in art which isn’t just seaside themed, the sort of art that you can see in places like London, Brighton or Bath. There are people who want to look at good contemporary art in a contemporary gallery. Not sky high prices too.

I love Portsmouth, I have got a thing about Portsmouth, it is an ideal city size, by the sea, close to London…Portsmouth has got everything I like about a city. Our opening day is 4th April and we’re working towards that.

How has the first exhibition come together?

Amartey, who I worked together with in Dubai at another gallery, we’ve remained in contact and friends. He fantastically agreed to exhibit for the first (solo) show. It is a big thing for an artist to commit to doing, in a completely unknown gallery. Gratifyingly we (myself and Anna Burdick, the gallery’s co-curator) have been in contact with a lot of artists and have been amazed at how good the response has been. Artists who are happy to show outside London, in a new space, all based on our ethos, ideas and website.

What sort of art do you like?

I like art that tells stories, that you don’t necessarily know what is going on, but you ask questions.

That draws you in?

Yeah, it draws you in, and you can put your own interpretation on it. It has to be well made too, that is a very important thing. Art is about feeling good.

Amartey Golding - Women and flamingos

How do you see Jack House Gallery fitting in to the city’s art & cultural scene?

We are a commercial gallery, we will be exhibiting art but also have to be a business. My ideal situation would be that this area becomes more interesting for art, with things like the ARTches project down the road and hopefully that will be best for everybody if there was more to see. Ordinarily in a cathedral area you get that kind of hub of creative businesses, such as Bath, Canterbury or many other cathedral cities. I think Old Portsmouth is lacking in commercial businesses too, there is not enough going on over here and there is a danger of it becoming too residential.

This could be a place where more people feel they should come and visit. You can walk anywhere in Portsmouth, that is one of the great things about it. It would be lovely if people come to this area to go to the ARTches and then maybe come to Jack House Gallery and then we can send people down to them. It is all about working together. Aspex Gallery too, would be good to work together somehow.

Have you had anyone come by during the building process and comment on the new gallery opening?

Yes, while the work has been going on there has been so much curiosity. Feedback has been great!

Is there anyone in particular the gallery might be aimed at?

It is so important to get people in to the gallery, to get through the door, to break that spell, “Am I allowed in?”, which I hope we can. Working in a gallery you hear people ask “Can I come in?” and I don’t want that to happen, that forbidding white space, people hiding behind their desk, their computer…talking on the phone…no eye contact. I really don’t want that to happen, anyone can walk in, everyone is welcome. It would be great if younger people could walk in too (from the schools near by).

Will the gallery be doing anything more than exhibitions?

I would love it if we could something in the gallery space in the way of classes. That would be a temporary thing (relating to particular exhibitions) but it would be great to get local people in. This is something that is going to develop, definitely. Something I also really want to do at a certain point is to take exhibitions outside of Jack House Gallery to other exhibiting spaces. Not necessarily gallery spaces, but empty spaces. Maybe in other parts of the country.

Amartey Golding: Drawings at Jack House Gallery

What other exhibitions might you have lined up?

One of the things we are going to do is is have quite a broad range of work. The next exhibition is going to be entirely different to Amartey’s paintings, a massive group show of printmakers, the Greenwich Printmakers from London. A massive variety of work all really well made. Etchings, Linocuts, Lithos, priced with something for everybody. Everything fine art made.

There is always a question with a gallery, is there a balance of should a gallery represent artwork from the local area or should they be a means of bringing artwork in to a city that would not normally be available to it? How do you see Jack House Gallery working?

I would not call Jack House Gallery a ‘local art’ gallery because the (upcoming exhibitions) aren’t from here, but if the work is good and it comes from Portsmouth it could have its place in the gallery, for sure. I am not prepared to compromise on quality, because it is local. I’ve worked with artists in the Middle East, Syrians, Iranians, I would love to bring them over… primarily it is quality, art I enjoy, artists I enjoy working with… which is very important. I am a great believer in the gallery and artist relationship being a collaboration. Working with artists that perhaps enjoy developing something for the gallery.

Anna and I go out and about looking [for artists] as often as possible. Looking for artists and contacting them. So far all (for all the exhibitions) the artists are people we have contacted. We do have an open submission policy at the gallery, so anybody will be able to send us work to be looked at and considered.

The gallery will change every time. I want to surprise people, I hope I will surprise people and I hope that when people come to the first show and the next show people go, “oh, okay”, maybe they are unsure for the first or they may go, “this is more comfortable” for the next. The next show will be different again and again and again.

A creative journey?


Amartey Golding: Drawings at Jack House Gallery
Preparations for hanging the artwork at Jack House Gallery.

You’re a collector of art yourself, is that right?

Art is a luxury. A sofa for say £2000 and you can justify it by saying you can sit on it, etc. If things become tight financially, you think ‘I’m still going to buy my sofa, my washing machine, etc’ but a picture? It is a luxury. My feeling about art is you buy a picture this year you’ve still got it in 10 years, in 20 years, 30 years. It has still got its value. I don’t talk about investment art as it isn’t something that interests me but art keeps its value and your sofa doesn’t. The art also keeps giving. This is a big joke with my husband, he can see it when I see something I like. My heart starts racing. That is how much art excites me…and if you can communicate a bit of that to somebody…

Thanks Rebecca. Hi Anna, so how did you and Rebecca meet?

Well I met Rebecca about 10 years ago when we both worked at a little, commercial gallery but we had very touristy stuff and very commercial. We spent many hours spent thinking what better art we could exhibit and sell. We used to talk to each other and say “We aren’t going to sell this and that in our gallery in the future”, so we basically had these dream gallery. We got on really well and have been friends ever since. We’ve always talked about about the gallery and it has become more and more real over the years and now here it is.

So as co-curator, what is your role at Jack House Gallery?

I’m Rebecca’s creative partner with the gallery, I help with the branding, the website and I am involved in the selection of artists. Because I’m based in London I go and see the artist, check the work, etc. It is a real partnership, I do all the geek stuff!

What are your thoughts on the exhibition as you are just about to open?

Oh, I just think with the scale of the actual drawings is just beautiful, really beautiful. His lines are so precise, clear, confident. Even without the fact that it is someone familiar from the TV’s face, they are really beautiful pieces.

What are your thought on the future of the gallery from this open weekend?

We’re going to carry on after this exhibition to do a different show every 5-6 weeks, lots of variety, sometimes group shows, sometimes solo like this one. Then we’re also going to develop exhibitions off site, take the shows and put them in pop-up spaces in London and maybe up North. Plus maybe some gallery collaborations too. I am very excited about the future of Jack House Gallery, it is going to be really fun!

Jack House Gallery is at 121 High Street, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HW. Find out more about Jack House Gallery at their website below our on their Facebook or Twitter.

Anna outside Jack House Gallery
Anna outside Jack House Gallery.

My Dog Sighs Bank Holiday Treasure Hunt

The lucky ones among us have a nice long bank holiday weekend to look forward to, and local artist My Dog Sighs invites you to spend that time on a treasure hunt. He has painted thirty one paintings based on the lyrics of his favourite tune and pasted them up across Southsea.

Your task is to find all thirty one and take a creative photo of each. The first person to find and photograph them all will win a My Dog Sighs hand painted tin can with two runners up winning one of his a tee’s. To enter you need to tag My Dog Sighs to the photo on your chosen social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and send him a message to say you were successful including a link to the photo’s.

My Dog has been kind enough to give you a few clues with an image of each painting on his Facebook page, which you can find HERE.

We do ask that you please don’t try and remove the paintings. The paper is 60 years old and very brittle. It is unlikely you’ll get it off in one piece. Not to mention that you will spoil the fun for everyone else! If for any unfortunate reason any of the paste ups are removed, a photo of the location will suffice.

Happy hunting!

MDS Treasure Hunt 1

MDS Treasure Hunt 2

MDS Treasure Hunt 3

New Exhibition at Space: Between Craft and Code – Making Sense of Data

The Space Gallery in Eldon Building is host to a new exhibition of research and artwork that explores how we now live in a world of data. We use data in many areas of daily life – to monitor progress, status, detect changes, and as a basis for decisions on further action. The fields of life this is useful to range from the macro – political, economic, ecological, to the micro – the very personal, as can be seen in the trend to measure ourselves literally every step of the way with wearable fitness armbands to measure weight, health and energy consumption.

This project is part of this culture, seeking to utilize data in order to make movements in the shipping industry more efficient. More specifically, the data collected for this exhibition uses sensor data to predict catastrophic engine faults, which when undetected can leave a vessel stranded at sea with huge costs in time and money and endanger the lives of the crew and passengers.

The Centre for Intelligent Data Solutions based in the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries University of Portsmouth has teamed up with a consortium of 8 companies and developed a £1.4m project with funding by Innovate UK to develop an advanced automated condition monitoring system for diesel and electric engines, to predict and prevent catastrophic faults in a timely manner. In order to ensure the on board interface, which is the first point of call / alert, is as user friendly as possible, the team enlisted the expertise of Art & Design lecturer Dr. Simone Gumtau, who is working on visualising the data into and easily perceivable form, and allows non-experts make sense of the information.

This exhibition is showcasing the work in progress through prototypes and specially commissioned artworks – a set sample of data from a live industrial context in various manifestations, including data from the food processing industry and . The concept brief involved a set of instructions, akin to an algorithm, which determined the rules as to how 3 individuals with different skillsets responded to the data sample.

“It has been fascinating to access and interpret this data from large industrial machines, which is often unseen and inaccessible. There would seem to be a surprising commonality between man-made data and that found in nature. This work reflects my exploration of the data and works towards manifesting it in a tactile form”.
– Artist, Simon Kunath, who created the DataDrum

The data visualisation currently works around the idea of intuitive perception of errors. Drawing on theoretical ideas of Gestalt theory, embodied metaphors and image schemata, this process harvests pre-linguistic user understanding – enabling a lightening of the cognitive load, a quicker response time, less room for error and increasing the accessibility of the data. It not only widens the audience that can make sense of the data, but also possibly makes into a more intuitive and therefore more pleasant process.

The exhibition runs until Thursday 30th April at Space Gallery, Eldon Building between 9am and 5pm (Monday to Friday) and is free!

New Exhibition at Space: Between Craft and Code – Making Sense of Data

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Irving & Co. Local Brewery

Seeing as Portsmouth has such a rich history for pubs and naval culture I thought i’d bring your attention to something that combines the both.  Irving & Co brewers are situated at Railway Triangle in Farlington and have their doors open for tourists as well as turning out a fine range of real ales to a huge number of pubs in and around the Portsmouth area.

Irving and Co brings the welcome return of brewing to Portsmouth and a brewery to excite the taste buds of drinkers in Hampshire, Sussex and beyond. The company aim is to produce the highest quality traditional cask beers supplying the local market within 45 miles of Portsmouth.

Malcolm Irving ably assisted by Mark Doswell bring together 29 years of combined brewing industry experience to produce beers that they thoroughly enjoy and about which they care passionately. It’s not just a job, it’s definitely not just beer, it is a way of life.

Southsea Show 1970

Image: eBay

Southsea Typeface

When ever possible I like to do the odd piece that’s just for me, just for fun. This came about off the back of something I was doing for work. Messing around with pens and pencils, then putting it through the computer. Maybe I’ll tackle Strong Island at the weekend! Oh, and for those that know him it’s Borneos birthday this Friday. KST then on to Albert Road. Be sure to check my flickr photostream to see the carnage.

Click the read more link to see a whole variety of colours.



The now defunct Brickwoods Brewery was Portsmouth’s largest local brewer before it’s final demise in 1983. Many old pubs (and many houses that are converted old pubs) still have tiles and signs with the old brewery’s name on so in a way, it still lives on, just in the city’s background. Keep your eyes peeled. You can find out more about the company here too.

I came across these amazing beermats via Google, some interesting designs. Notice the sun motif…


Ben Schroeder Skating Southsea

Back in the 80s and early 90s Southsea would regularly be on the list of skateparks visited by American skaters as they toured the UK and Europe. Sometime around 1990ish the pool was built to replace the old reservoir at the end of the slalom and not long after American pro skater Ben Schroeder came through and (figuratively) destroyed the new bowl and the halfpipe, so much so that his frontside ollie transfer out of the bowl, over the platform and landing in the steep bank is legendary.

To cut a long story short Ben got in contact recently with some footage from the day. I’m going to go through the old skate magazine archives and hunt around for photos but for now, here is that footage. To find out more about Ben check out his Juice Magazine interview.

Transport No. 1: Portsmouth Trolleybuses

With Portsmouth’s long history and particular geography it’s public transportation systems have been varied and have changed dramatically over the years. Over the next few weeks we are going to focus briefly on some of the more interesting ones, starting with the Portsmouth Trolleybuses.

The Portsmouth Trolleybus service provided by the Portsmouth Corporation was first introduced on the 4th August 1934 and covered most of the island and up to Cosham. The trolleybuses themselves were like normal double decker buses but were powered by overhead power cables like trams. The power lines for the trolleybuses criss-crossed overhead above the roads with routes and these wires became a constant in the city’s skyline, much like modern San Francisco and Vancouver.

The Guildhall (buildings in the distance are where the council buildings are now)

The trolleybus service continued until the 27th July 1963 and then sadly the wires torn down and almost all of the trolleybuses scrapped, today only two of the trolleybuses survive. No. 201, which was in Portsmouth’s transport museum before being moved, now lives on display in Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. No. 313 was the very last trolleybus to run but now is in fully restored working order and running at East Anglia Transport Museum (see it running here).

Ready for scrap (with the old airport in the background)

You can find out about all of the trolleybuses and see more photos here and watch below to see them in action with super8 footage from the 1950s and 1960s. Still looks strange seeing traffic through Guildhall Square.

P.S. Will the Portsmouth transport museum ever find a new home?

Local Photographer – Pompey Shoes

I’ve been following Pompeyshoes on Flickr for a while now, yet somehow missed this great shot of a sunset down on the seafront. Be sure to check his Portsmouth & Southsea set for more great photos and interesting perspectives.


Sunny Southsea

I went for bike ride today to take advantage of the nice, albeit cold, weather and take a few photos. Check them out over on my Flickr photostream.


Snow, Snow, Snow

Snow hit Southsea pretty hard last night and it snowing again this morning. Good luck to everyone battling the elements to get to work, college, school, etc today. Here are a few photos from last night, if you have any please pop a link to them in the comments, we would love to see them.

Adam Wintle (see more here):

Adam Wintle

Adam Wintle

Elizabeth Bick (see more here):

Elizabeth Bick

Elizabeth Bick

Created Local – Carl Partridge

Portsmouth’s Carl Partridge is a local artist and photographer currently studying MA Communication Design up in that there London at Central St Martins. As well as all the awesome artwork on his website we particularly liked his Lomo Diana photos from round Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Be sure to look through the good work over at



Strong Island Clothing Co.