We’ve featured many local artists, photographers, filmmakers, designers & makers under the Created Local series for many years (over 100 in the last 6 years), profiling work touching on many, many different subjects. Immy Smith’s background, artwork and working environment is something a little different.
Immy Smith is a rare creative, working in what initially might be thought of as two different worlds: one foot in science, the other in art. With a PhD in Pharmacology plus a strong arts background Immy has recently been working in the Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories at the University of Portsmouth on a 10 month residency which looks at how to foster better and more creative working relationships between medical science and the arts. The residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims specifically to create a sense of collaboration with not just laboratory staff but also the patients effected by brain tumours, which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
“The project I’m working on here at the Brain Tumour Research lab is a Leverhulme artists residency where I work in the lab making art alongside science researchers. Our project aims to tell the story of brain tumour patients, scientists and clinicians, through art. We want to make these stories accessible and share the unique challenges of brain tumours with a wider audience to help raise awareness of this devastating disease.” – Immy Smith
Working within the laboratory environment sees the research staff and artists working in a shared space, with artwork becoming a part of the laboratory environment. The relationship allowing for artistic insight in to the latest treatment research and the scientist an appreciation of creative processes and different patterns of thought. The project has included workshops with scientists as well as patients, collecting stories and aiming to “fill the gap in understanding”; having perspective on cancer analogies, unique sensory & cognitive effects of these tumours due to their location in the brain and patterns of cells and diagnosis & treatment. The creative work aims to engage with all and to broaden the horizons and enhance the skills of both artist & scientists, through this particular interdisciplinary research.
Immy’s work includes ‘Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity’ which explores heterogeneity between brain tumours, through making art at the lab bench. The ingredients used are primarily inks – ultramarine and magenta. Other constituents include water and lab filters. Every filter contains both colours. From this limited palette of ingredients are made an array of unique patterns – more than 120 of them. The components are few but the outcomes are complex, heterogeneous:
“The cellular components of your brain are primarily neurons and glial cells. Neurons get a lot of the limelight, however glial cells – including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – play a crucial role in brain function, and neurons are lost without them. Other constituent cells include pericytes and endothelial cells in the brain’s blood vessels, microglia (immune cells), and ependymal cells (which line brain ventricles). From a limited palette of cellular ingredients, all the fascinating machinery of your brain is created.” – Immy Smith
Another part of work produced during this pilot project are Immy’s Ugly Objects experiments:
“Some of the scientists here expressed a wish to depict brain tumours as something ugly – rather than using images of cells which are often quite beautiful. While this project is about using recognisable or non-exclusive imagery (so I wouldn’t use scientific images of cells anyway) it raised many interesting ideas. I previously discussed the scientists feelings of the dread and awfulness, that they associate personally with brain tumours as cancers. Another interesting idea was; what is ugly? Is what we perceive as ‘ugly’ in any way universal? What are common features in people’s descriptions of ugly? Can we use this as something recognisable, something not exclusive to science or art, with which to communicate about brain tumours? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know it’s harder to draw ugly than you might think.” – Immy Smith
Immy is working towards an upcoming public exhibition, with permission to use the event to fundraise for the charity Brain Tumour Research. We’ll let you know more details on the upcoming exhibition and the work included soon. For now, if you are interested in finding out more about Immy’s work you can visit her websites below:
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.
Here is a preview of the extremely limited edition poster by Petting Zoo Prints & Collectables that’ll be printed by hand for the launch of the Jack House Gallery on the April 4th. The print itself will be available in three colours however there will only be fifteen in the edition.
Jack House Gallery is a new art space at 121 High Street, Old Portsmouth. The first show will feature Amartey Golding. Keep an eye out here on Strong Island to find out more, or you can find out more yourself by visiting www.jackhousegallery.co.uk. To stay up to date on all things to do with the gallery check out their Facebook and Twitter @JackHouse.
Daniel J Cook a.k.a Scruffyhightops, 32 from Portsmouth is a local man who has contributed much to the local art culture. Working in animation, film, art and illustration he has just held his first exhibition at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.
Being part of the Portsmouth Creative Movement (PCM), Daniel has often described himself to fellow PCM goers as a ‘Pop Culture Blender’. He admits that this passion came to be after years of growing up with Star Wars, Star Trek and video games, all of which encouraged a highly imaginative and creative nature.
Daniel’s art work could be described as momentary in that he does what he feels or what comes to him at that moment in time. He tells us ‘ If I felt like drawing Godzilla then I just would. I don’t really have a prebuilt agenda or a signature image.’
A big inspiration in local music also inspired Daniel and he has recently worked on a project with Pilot Promotions called ‘The Dug Out Sessions’. They took three bands, SomaHigh, Electric Arms and The underground Pilots and filmed short sessions, collaborating them into a final piece of short films.
Daniel is up to all sorts this year and will be working on lots of local projects which can all be found on his social media. He can also be spotted at the infamous Southsea based Doodle Club where he admits he spends much time enjoying drawing nonsense and catching up with other local creative personalities. He can also be bumped into this year at London Super Comic Con, as well as the same event in San Diego and the MCM expo.
Daniel was also behind the UFO hoax that made it’s way onto Buzzfeed and say’s his proudest moments have been when he met William Shatner and Lance Guest and when a piece of his artwork was signed by Stan Lee, one of his heroes.
At the end of last year Strong Island proudly opened up our store, studio & exhibition space at 12 Highland Road in Southsea. So far there have been a few wonderful exhibitions in store but our label arm over at Strong Island Recordings has yet to have a house warming party so to speak. After much discussion we have decided to change that and on the 28th March between 6-8pm we present to you a free, bring your own booze party with full sets from Strong Island Recordings own Melt Dunes and our good friends Death of the Author taking place instore at Strong Island Co. Capacity for the show is obviously limited so be sure to head down early.
We’ll also being doing some amazing one-off in-store deals on label tees, vinyl, tapes and more, more details on that soon. See you there!
We’re incredibly delighted and excited to announce that we’re releasing the incredible ‘Verxes’ the debut album by CURXES on our Strong Island Recordings label. It’s no secret we’ve been long time fans of the guys and their frenetic, blitz-synth pop/ post-punk stylings so we’re delighted to not just have the guys on the roster but also being able to release their album. With releases recently on our label coming from as far Glasgow to Tasmania, it’s great to release an act we love who are from our hometown of Portsmouth. ‘Verxes’ by CURXES will be available from the 4th May and we have some exciting live shows to accompany the release with that will be announced at a later date so keep your eyes peeled for that. We will also have news of the lead single ‘What You Want’ a huge sounding synth-pop meets acid house banger that screams summer anthem. We can’t wait until the ‘Verxes’ drops and we’ll have more information soon but in the mean time check out ‘Valkyrie’ & ‘Spectre’ below that will be on the album. You can also preview the fantastic artwork from the album below too.
At the turn of this new year a new Southsea based clothing company Death Marks launched with their first drop of garments ranging from beanies through to tees, hoodies and coach jackets. We caught up with owners Sian & Iiona to find out more.
How did Death Marks begin and what are your backgrounds? Death Marks UK started when Iiona looked through Sian’s sketch book and saw the R.I.P Rabbit design. Sian said how she would love to take her sketches and make a clothing line as it was a dream of hers. Iiona has always had a passion for graphic design and wanted to support her partner Sian and experiment her skills in different medias.
Sian studied graphics design at Portsmouth college and had 2 years experience working for a design agency called Design Image as a website coder.
Iiona had studied graphics from GCSEs to A-level and now works as a multimedia designer creating animations, illustrations and interactive content.
Who creates your artwork and what inspires your designs? All our designs are created in-house. Sian comes up with the designs and draws them up rough. Then either one of us will digitalise the design and after Iiona goes through each design so that it is perfected and final. Iiona will take the design and create and animation to help tell the story behind it.
We are inspired by the tattoo industry, alternative music scene and other clothing lines such as Drop Dead clothing, Doomsday and Honour Over Glory.
What do you have planned for the label in the coming months? Over the coming months we have south coast events planned in Portsmouth and Southampton. We have a gig at the Edge of the Wedge in April that we are working with Eyeless Promotions, another independent company who have also just started up this year. In May we have a festival in Southampton called Messtival where we will have a stall, in June we are releasing our summer range. Currently we are organising an event with Southsea Skatepark in the summer with Archie Cole, a world champion scooter rider.
Check the photos below of the current Death Marks range, you can find out more and buy items from the Death Marks website at:
Over the last 18-24 months more and more bands from Portsmouth have been starting to make more weird and wonderful music finding not just acceptance locally but going on to gain acclaim from national press. One of those bands played their first show just last year in the Cellars and since then they have mainstaged Green Man Festival, were picked out of 100’s of bands to play the Fake DIY all dayer with the likes of Hinds, Jaws and Blessa as well gain airplay on BBC Radio 1 and press from NME to Telegraph. They are of course dreampop trio Wyldest. Today saw the release of their debut single, self released and recorded by Guy Fixsen whose CV is rather astonishing where he was one of the 16 engineers used by Kevin Sheilds on the classic ‘Loveless’. It’s fair to say the guys were in very capable hands during the recording of ‘Cruel Dusk’ which is a gorgeous, whirling dreampop gem which you can listen below.
One of the things we love most about having our shop on Highland Rd is being able to put faces to names and meeting people we would otherwise never be able to; Harry Maguire is one of those people. When Harry dropped by a couple of weeks ago, he off-hand mentioned that during his time as a sailor in the Royal Navy he had developed a penchant for making ships in a bottle, a craft gleaned from a fellow shipmate during periods of down time. Over the years, Harry has modelled various types of ships from small schooners to historic frigate warships, working from single photographs or just his own memory to build intricately detailed craft complete with full rigging and sails.
Of particular note is the model Harry made while on active duty in the Falklands conflict, a complete scale replica of Portsmouth’s own HMS Warrior. Lacking any reference to work from, Harry sent the Warrior Preservation Trust a letter requesting a photograph to which they dutifully replied to with a handful of images. Upon his return, Harry presented the model to the Warrior Trust who were so impressed with his work that it was put on display in one of the Officers’ Quarters aboard the ship – a spot it still resides in to this day.
Raw & Auburn began life early in 2013, the Southsea based company specialises in hand crafted accessories using raw and unique materials. Each item bears it’s own individuality and is different than the last. Using traditional techniques every product is finished to a high standard and comes with it’s own Mill Cloth bag and they are all finished with the Raw & Auburn signature cross stitch.
Raw & Auburn have kindly donated one of their leather envelope wallets for you to win. You can find Raw & Auburn on Etsy and Facebook.
Laura specialises in hand made contemporary jewellery inspired by nature, sympathetically composing pieces made from found objects combined with precious metals while exploring the natural qualities of the materials. She has recently created a set of jewellery inspired by Portsmouth and its nautical images.
If you would like to win all of the prizes on offer then all you need to do is email your answers to the following questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entries is midnight on 19th December. We will announce the winner on 20th December. Good luck!
Day One – Made By Burbs Print
Q1) The map shows Hilsea Lido but when did the Lido first open?
Day Two – x2 No 6 Cinema Tickets
Q2) What Disney movie are they showing over he Christmas period and why is this showing different to normal?
Day Three – Angela Chick gift cards
Q3) In metres how long is the HMS Warrior over all?
Day Four – Magpie’s Lust Jewellery
Q4) What is the Latin name for the common Magpie?
Day Five – Caleigh Ill coasters
Q5) The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin but were a designed by who?
Day Six – Bread Addiction Bag
Q6) What year was the first bread slicer sold?
Day Seven – Meal at the Wave Maiden
Q7) In Norse mythology The Wave Maidens were the nine daughters of Aegir, the undersea brewer to the Gods. Name any one of the nine daughters?
Day Eight – Mia Mai framed Print and Christmas cards
Q8) Which of our local theatres has Mia Mai most recently used for a photo shoot to showcase her latest range of lingerie?
Day Nine – Meal and drinks voucher for the Marmion Pub
Q9) The Marmion has been nominated for one of the annual Guide Awards, but under what category? (Please note we are looking for the full title of the award for a correct answer).
Day Ten – Strong Island Calendar
Q10) On what date did Portsmouth win their first FA Cup trophy?
Day Eleven – Custom made animal toy by Ooh La Lapin
Q11) Lapin is the French translation for what animal?
Day Twelve – Raw & Auburn and Laura Bennett Jewellery
Q12) Raw and Auburn has recently collaborated with Illustrator and artist Megamunden. What form of art inspired Megamunden to create his recent colouring book?
Many of you will remember the once iconic Submarines at the Harry Pounds Scrapyard on the way in to Portsmouth. We even featured a few photos by Robin Hinson back in 2010.
Although I never got to explore the sub aquatic giants myself I was lucky enough to find this little gem a few weeks ago. Although I can’t remember where, so sorry if I nabbed it and forgot to mention you.
Watch the video for a unique view of these “Uk, Admiralty Standard Range Diesels 16 Cylinder V mechanical supercharged monsters!”
The Hiscock Gallery on Stanley Street behind Waitrose has some interesting new vintage style prints in stock by local artist David Thompson. They are a series of digitally drawn images reflecting upon 1930 – 1950s style advertising posters, enhanced with modern techniques. A really nice simplistic approach highlighting the main features of the subject, yet still very technical and intricate in places. The front of The Victory is awesome.
All reproductions are genuine giclée prints, printed with pigment based inks on 180gms Canon Matte paper, fade resistant for 100+ years. These “Poster” Prints are all personally signed by the artist. Head on over to Davids Gallery and take a look for yourself. Nice stuff for sure.
Righto chaps, keep that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.
You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.
Head over to our MoSpace if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to www.uk.movember.com and sign up to personally raise money.
The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.
Cat from the Inksquatch collective has some of her prints available for purchase in The Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. They should be in and ready for sale this weekend, 3rd July. Some nice little illustrations as always. Go and grab a local bargain.
Richard Baker grew up in Portsmouth and Southsea with many happy memories, but limited funds. In the 1960s Richard was studying at The Portsmouth College of Art and was lucky enough to be able to print off some wonderful black & white photographs. 40 years later he dug them out from hibernation.
The series captures people in the city going about their daily lives. Shopping, resting, having fun. Great candid shots from a simpler time. Check out the huge Pick & Mix on display at Woolworths along with the rest of Richards photographs over at his Flickr.
Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, the Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben and has already established itself as a national icon for Britain. Get yourself down to Gunwharf Quays and check out the panoramic views over the city and the Solent. Don’t forget your camera. Oh, and if you’re a Portsmouth resident you get cheap entry if you provide proof.