Strong Island Co.

Cultural & Exhibitions

The Clock Face Exhibition at the Coastguard Studio

On 22nd August The Coastguard Studio will open its latest exhibition The Clock Face Exhibition.

Wesley Brown has assembled a team of local creative talent to deliver an exhibition capturing the essence of time in all its glory. The artists involved include Wesley Brown himself as well as Kirsty Herring, Oliver Nelson, Bruce Spruce, Elliot Cranston, Mark Poyner and Stefano Pollina.

Wesley describes the use of time as the theme for the exhibition, “Capturing time is the essence of all photography; every photo is simply a moment we have managed to capture and store, something that we can use to remember it visually forever more. It really allowed me to open up the exhibition to a whole range of concepts”.

As well as the exhibition there will be music courtesy of InDeep Music. Doors open on the night at 6pm and it is looking like To stay up to date with the exhibition visit the Facebook Event page HERE.

Kirsty Herring
By Kirsty-Herring
Stefano Pollina
By Stefano Pollina
Wesley Brown
By Wesley Brown
Clock Face Exhibition

Democratic Beach Paintings by Andrew Holmes Preview Event Thursday 23rd July at Jack House Gallery

Jack House Gallery will be holding a preview event on the evening of Thursday 23rd July for ‘Democratic Beach’, a series of paintings by artist Andrew Holmes. This exhibition is the third in the gallery, there’s still time to catch 16 Greenwich Printmakers, a wonderful selection of prints in a range subjects and media by the very best printmaking collective in town as well as Richard Colson’s spirited and evocative oil paintings on the fine art of fencing. These two shows continue until 1st August.

“Whether bright sunlight or overcast, the rich starkness of the figures’ forms silhouettes against the warm, pale sea and this is the most important image I hold in my emotional and visual memory. After returning to the studio in London and working from scribbles made on the beach, I wanted the drawings and paintings to reflect these figures and scenes as I saw them.” – Andrew Holmes.

Andrew Holmes will be here in the gallery on Thursday evening when his show opens from 6:30pm until 8:30pm and if you can’t make it the exhibition runs from Friday 24th July through to the 5th September.

Find out more at the Jack House Gallery website:

'Democratic Beach' Paintings by Andrew Holmes

Jack House Gallery

I WAS THERE! Musical Heritage Project With Portsmouth Guildhall

As part of Portsmouth Guildhall‘s 125th birthday celebrations the Portsmouth Cultural Trust & Strong Island, with the support of Arts Council England, will be running the I WAS THERE! project throughout August, with the aim to collect as many memories of special musical performances at the Guildhall, past and present, as possible. Were you in the audience at that unique show with your favourite band, on stage for the first time, or perhaps part of the team that made it all happen? We’d love to hear about it.

As well as collecting memories we’ll be asking people to send in photos of themselves with treasured mementos from these special moments experienced at Portsmouth Guildhall. It might be a drumstick, guitar pick, set list, poster, ticket, album, photo or even something more unusual! These photos can be sent in via email or social media (see details below) or you can be photographed at special I WAS THERE open days at the Guildhall throughout August. We’ll also be filming short interviews too for a film project.

We will be sharing the memories you have sent us plus your photos and interviews with everyone via social media, building a picture of all of the special experiences at Portsmouth Guildhall throughout its long musical history. You will also be invited to the resulting screening and live performance event as one of our special guests.

Strong Island will be at the Guildhall to receive any contributions between 1pm and 5pm on the following days:
Sunday 9th and Saturday 15th, 22nd and 29th of August.

Please send your memories & photo contributions to or to
the Guildhall’s Twitter @portsmouthghall & Facebook, using #IWasThereGuildhall

Find out more at:

Since the first official announcement of the I WAS THERE project in Saturday’s The News (as part of their comprehensive coverage of the 125th celebrations) we have already had some great memories come in! Keep your eyes peeled for I WAS THERE flyers from the Guildhall, Strong Island Co and lots of other locations around Portsmouth.

I WAS THERE! Musical Heritage Project With Portsmouth Guildhall

Danielle Gridley Photography Exhibition

This month Danielle Gridley has been exhibiting her photography in The Kings Theatre.

Danielle’s photography first came to my attention while compiling the Strong Island 2015 Calendar. Her moody shots of the Solent really stood out and had to be included.

Danielle describes “I’m not the sort of person that will sit and wait for ‘that perfect shot’, I see something that makes me smile and I want to capture it. I’m lucky to live in this beautiful location and love to see the same view change daily. I particularly like a gloomy sky and when waves crash over the promenade. I see all times of day as I’m often out walking with my dog, but by far my most favourite are sunrise and sunset.”

The exhibition runs until 18th July. To view the exhibition head down when the Kings Theatre is open to the public to take a look. The opening times can be found on their website You can follow Danielle on Twitter and Instagram @DanielleGridley

Danielle Gridley 1

Danielle Gridley 2

Danielle Gridley 3

Danielle Gridley

French Street Artists Oré and Artiste-Ouvrier In Portsmouth Over the next Two Weeks

All this week and through to the 16th of July Portsmouth will be home to two visiting street artists from France. French street artists and painters Oré and Artiste-Ouvrier will be exhibiting work, painting, creating artworks and working with young people from Pompey in the Community at various locations in Portsmouth on legacy art-installations.

This Artist Residency has been organised by the Kings Theatre Portsmouth’s Community Engagement Team (the second artists residency in as many months!), with some funding coming from individual Portsmouth City Councillors’ personal allowances, including Cllr Hugh Mason, Cllr Matthew Winnington and former Cllr Terry Hall.

Oré and Artiste-Ouvrier have been being painting murals and street art for many years. They have exhibited alongside Banksy, and their work has appeared in books, galleries and on the streets across cities in Europe and South America.

To see their work and them in action you can start by seeing the Oré exhibition opening tonight at No. 28 on Albert Road. You can also see the artists at work in their residency locations, at the Daisy Chain Festival and much more. Some key dates are below:

7th to 15th July: Oré and Artiste-Ouvrier Exhibition, No 28 Kings Theatre Portsmouth
7th to 10th July: Oré creating installation at HMS Warrior, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
7th to 15th July: Artiste-Ouvrier creating legacy pieces inspired by the city
11th July: Oré and Artiste-Ouvrier running events and activities at Daisy Chain Festival, Southsea
12th to 15th July: Oré running workshops with young people at Pompey in the Community





Portsmouth Museums now on Instagram

Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services run all of the city’s museums and care for the large city collection with everything from archeology through to fine art. To give more of an insight in to what goes on behind the scenes of the different museums and what the dedicated staff and volunteers do to curate exhibitions and care for the collection they have set up an Instagram account. If you’re on Instagram give them a follow at @PortsmouthMuseum.

Below are a few examples of the photos going up on the Portsmouth Museum Instagram:

Portsmouth Museum on Instagram (1)

Portsmouth Museum on Instagram (2)

Portsmouth Museum on Instagram (3)

Foal Arts Present BELIEF, An Evening of of Music, Performance and Art at Depozitory in Ryde

The good guys over on the Island at Foal Arts present BELIEF, an exhibition and much, much more at Depozitory in Ryde this weekend. The exhibition opens on Saturday 27th with a special preview party from 7pm and then the exhibition, featuring video, installation, painting, ceramics, and performance, is open from the 28th June through to the 5th of July, open daily from 11am – 4pm. Depozitory can be found at 23 Nelson Street, Ryde, PO33 2EZ, a short walk from the hovercraft.

“Belief is shaped from our experiences, sometimes from others and sometimes even without proof . For most it is the linchpin for existence. In 2012 we made the Depozitory, a converted Wesleyan Chapel our shared studio space and project space. We have invited 6 artists to join us and question the role of ‘Belief’ in society today.”

Exhibiting artists:

Marius Von Brasch
Karen Grainger
Chris Jenkins
Sue Paraskeva
Terry Magson
Joanne Hummel-Newell
Maya Malfatti Woods and Paradox Paul
Howard Hardiman

You can find out more about the opening party and the exhibition at:

Foal Arts Present BELIEF, An Evening of of Music, Performance and Art at Depozitory in Ryde

Doodle Clubs First Art Exhibition

Every creation from Southsea Doodle Club, from the past three year’s will be on display for one weekend only at Gallery Art Space in Portsmouth. The exhibition will include over 70 meters of doodle roll, all of which have been contributed by some of the cities finest doodlers.

Kendal James has run the club with total passion since the first meet almost three years ago and is motivated by bringing locals together to get creative.

The club has been supported by The King Street Tavern and meet up’s happen there on the first Thursday of every month. This lovely little pub has supported the club with a venue, snacks and materials in recent years and will continue to play host to upcoming evenings.

Starboard Media are kindly supplying materials for the weekend as well as some yummy beer from the Portsmouth Brewhouse. Another local attender to the club is supplying vast amounts of beer and wine to keep the weekend lubricated and friendly.

The opening night is on July 10th from 6-8pm and everybody is welcome.

Follow the event and updates on Facebook or contact Kendal James directly with queries.





Review of Portsmouth Festivities Spice Island Art Trail 2015

For the third year running Portsmouth Festivities and a small army of artists took over some of the best historic buildings in Old Portsmouth for the Spice Island Art Trail 2015. Each year sees more and more talented artists from different fields be selected to exhibit and this year saw some incredible work on display to the public for free as well as a great local schools exhibition showing their GCSE, BTEC and AS level art student’s summer work. As for the last two years judges from Aspex Gallery, Ast Space Portsmouth, Portsmouth Guildhall and Strong Island wandered around the different venues seeing the work on show, meeting the artists and finally choosing the winners.

This year’s winners, who will be exhibiting their work at Portsmouth Guildhall are:

Overall Winners:
1st – Kim Whitby
2nd – Alison Lawley
3rd – John Townsend & Margaret Marks (joint third place)
4th – Peter Nicholson

Commended – Michael Wright and Chris Wood.

Schools awards:
1st – Brandon CHoi (Portsmouth Grammar School)
2nd – Yana Trebska (Ryde School)
3rd – Laura Pullem (Highbury College)
4th – Megan Gray (Chichester High School for Girls)

The first venue I visited at 11 when the doors opened to the public for the Arts Trail was the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club. This imposing, historic building overlooks the sports fields and the Royal Garrison Church before wide panoramic views of the Solent. The artists work on display was itself surrounded by an incredible collection of treasured objects & paintings owned by the club, with groups of work on show in different rooms from the ballroom downstairs up to the library. The first artwork that caught my eye were the sketchbooks of Trudy Barber, with different figures of musicians caught in the moments of musical reverie with their musical instruments.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Trudy Barber
Sketchbook by Trudy Barber.

Working to the back of the building, past a wall of portraits for each of the clubs’ many members to receive a Victoria Cross plus cabinets of trophies for sailing, I checked out the work on display in the large ballroom space. First up was the paintings by Jacquie Woodfield, with a great mix of detail and colour. I really liked the deckchairs painting in particular.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Jacquie Woodfield
Paintings by Jacquie Woodfield.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Jacquie Woodfield
Painting by Jacquie Woodfield.

Also sharing the space was Chris Wood with a collection of different work but front and centre were some band new linocut prints inspired by Ben Ainslie Racing yachts and Southsea. We predicted well over a year ago that BAR, their distinctive yachts and the new HQ would permeate through to photographers & artists as a striking new local inspiration and Chris’ new work is really rather special. These prints are available to buy framed and unframed.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Chris Wood
Linoprint by Chris Wood.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Chris Wood
Linoprint by Chris Wood.

Another artist sharing the space was painter Mary Amos who had on display a series of landscapes of Portsmouth Harbour. Also on show were a collection of different watercolours, which I really quite liked. Something about watercolours, one of the first techniques learnt yet it takes so much skill and creativity to control the water, the mix of paint plus there is no room to fix any mistakes.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Mary Amos
Paintings by Mary Amos.

Taking up one side of the room were the large canvases of Kim Whitby, depicting views out of HMS Victory. These and other work on show were created during a residency on the 250 year old ship which included drawing and painting at Nelson’s table. Victory also featured in some wonderful, loose monochrome work plus the ship and the Dockyard also filled the pages of Kim’s fantastic sketchbooks, which not only showed the creative processes behind some of the pieces on display but could have also been exhibited all by themselves.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Kim Whitby
Victory by Kim Whitby.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Kim Whitby
Victory by Kim Whitby.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Kim Whitby
Sketchook pages by Kim Whitby.

In another room in the club were another great mix of work, beginning with the playful, detailed pencil-work by Will Stevenson.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Will Stevenson
Artwork by Will Stevenson.

The diversity of medium and subject is one of the great things about the Art Trail, with neighbours in the exhibition often having significantly different work meaning there was something for everyone. Next to Will Stevenson were the small, impressionistic paintings by Michael Wright. Each of the three paintings drew the viewer in to a what felt like the middle of a dark fairytale, with the artwork keeping the details secret.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Michael Wright
Painting by Michael Wright.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Michael Wright
Painting by Michael Wright.

The Naval club building is Georgian so all of the rooms are high ceilinged and very open with large windows, so after climbing the stairs the view out over the Solent had to be photographed before viewing the work on display by different artists, including Lyndon Richards’ Old Portsmouth houses painted on bricks. Lyndon was the artists in residence painting during the art trail.

Old Portsmouth by Lyndon Richards.

Lunch at Point by Jean Battye.

Book by Darn Funky.

Artwork by James Shreeve.

From here it was on to Portsmouth Cathedral to see the artwork on show in the Nave.

With the Sunday service completed the cathedral was busy with people now exploring the Nave and discovering the different photography, textiles, painting, ceramics and more on show. As I walked in the first work that caught my attention was the watercolour work on the pillars by Sue Colyer, a set of two colourful abstracts and a country scene.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Sue Colyer
Watercolour by Sue Colyer.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Sue Colyer
Watercolour by Sue Colyer.

Along to the corner of the cathedral where three large, striking and colourful photographs were on display by Peter Nicholson. The work is made with different coloured oils, waxes and more placed in suspension in a water tank and photographed throughout a lengthy process. These images were rich with detail and tones of colour that brought to mind Turner and the impressionist painters plus it reminded me of the large naval battle paintings in the Naval Club I had viewed earlier which had skies thick with cannon fire and the dense smoke of ships aflame.

Dark Trees by Peter Nicholson.

Also at the side of this historic building were paintings by Karl Rudziak. I’m a big fan of these detailed portrait paintings.

Painting by Karl Rudziak.

The far side of the nave was home to the intriguing & a little surreal ceramic figurework by artist John Townsend. It was great to chat with John and discover the ideas behind these wheel and then hand constructed ceramic forms, referencing back to the first photography that captured motion and movement.

Ceramic work by John Townsend.

Ceramic work by John Townsend.

Speaking of surreal, John’s artist neighbour was illustrator and painter Alison Lawley who had two incredible portrait paintings on display. The figure in both paintings was a hybrid of Alison’s friends and who was set in two different scenes relating to nature and wildlife, with surreal touches. The second painting had powerful eyes that would fix you in her gaze. Excellent work, looking forward to seeing more paintings from this new series by the artist.

Painting by Alison Lawley.

The schools artwork exhibition was in Beckett Hall, out the back of the cathedral, and was a collection of different student works from Ryde School, Highbury College and Chichester High School for Girls. Just like last year, you could spot a lot of talent on show in a wide variety of mediums, from printing to painting to 3D. This support of young artists from around the region through the Art Trail is a great way to see work normally not available to the public.

Once again the Art Trail was a great success in bringing dozens of artists and their many different works to Portsmouth and allowing the public free access to view the work, the wonderful buildings home to the exhibitions and creating an environment where you could speak to creatives from all walks of life involved in all different types of art. Looking forward to next year!

You can find out more about Portsmouth Festivities and the other great events happening throughout the rest of the month at:

University of Portsmouth CCI Graduate Show 2015 Pt. 7 – Illustration

Our final part of our review of this year’s University of Portsmouth CCi Graduate Show focuses on the exhibition of the work of Illustration graduates. As always, this exhibition is a hot house (literally as the top floor always seems very warm each year) of creative talent, pushing Illustration in lots of intriguing directions. Each graduate had a wall space and packed it with prints, designs, 3D objects, cards, toys, portfolios and much more. Another great reason for visiting each year is to pick up some artwork at the Illustration course stall where they sell work by many of the graduates.

It is nigh on impossible to go through all of the work on show in the Illustration exhibition so this review is going to scratch the surface…but that is all the more reason why you should make this course a must visit each year. So after a walk around and a good look through the different levels and style of work the first person’s artwork to catch my eye was Paige Alexis Jones. The key items of Paige’s exhibition space were a selection of intricate illustrations of creatures, revealing their inner skeletal forms.

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Paige Alexis Jones

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Paige Alexis Jones

I really liked the screen printed work by Meredith Phipps, layered colours of portaits and patterns taken from nature, all drawing you in.

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Meredith Phipps

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Meredith Phipps

Karen Treleaven had a real mix of work on show all seemingly with inspirations from the shoreline and coast: from laser etched natural forms, use of wood and weathered materials plus clean, airy illustrations of the sea.

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Karen Treleaven

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Karen Treleaven

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Karen Treleaven

Continuing the inspiration from nature, Amber-Jane Hudson-Peacock pulled together work with a feel of scientifically analysing and extracting the colour from different creatures.

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Amber-Jane Hudson-Peacock

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Amber-Jane Hudson-Peacock

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Amber-Jane Hudson-Peacock

One of my personal favourites from the exhibition were the clean architectural structures and meshes by Aline Dovlatyarian. Through the different prints on show you could see London landmarks stripped back to their base structure, using hand drawn lines and software to construct beautiful hybrid cityscapes. Other work had a sense of classical architectural design drawings. Something about the London landmark print really caught my eye, so much so I bought an A1 print of the work. Would love to see a Portsmouth inspired version.

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Aline Dovlatyarian

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Aline Dovlatyarian

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Aline Dovlatyarian

Next up was the boundary breaking print work of Dale Silvester. It has been great to see Dale’s work develop over the last year and I really liked the prints that only functioned with human interaction, these pieces used cutting edge inks and paints for screen printing. The lung print changing colour with human breath, the heart print changing colour from the heat of the touch of a hand. These seemingly scientific, almost sterile and functional forms, come to life with colour when they come in contact. Dale even used some very special electrically conductive ink for one print, with the ‘circuit’ connected by human touch. With just enough of this special ink to have two tries to screen print this piece, it showed the dedication and skill required to turn an innovative idea in to practical reality.

Dale also won the Anglepoise competition run with graduate students where different ‘scrolls’ were created, each interpreting the iconic lamps in different ways. Dale’s showed a lamp’s perspective on a journey.

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Dale Silvester

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Dale Silvester

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration - Dale Silvester

We’ll announce the final winner of a Strong Island Creative Graduates to Watch award, this one for Illustration, later this afternoon. Below you can see more photos from the show and you can see more over on our Flickr too as well as all the photos from the Graduate Show 2015.

Looking forward to next year’s graduate show already!

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration

UoP CCi Graduate Show - Illustration

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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

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 Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on from photos of The bandstand and Tennis Courts the other week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

Back before East Jet in the late 1940s, early 1950s people flocked to Southsea seafront. Check the beach huts near Canoe Lake. Dozens of them and the Paddling Pool which is now occupied by the Sealife Centre. Love the little train to the right of the picture. Click for a closer look.


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…


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

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.


Old Cycle Race

At some point between the wars this was taken during a cycle race at the Alexandra Park velodrome up in Tipner, which is still there.

Cycle Race
(Click on image to see a larger version)

Local Photographer – Diana Goss

A familiar and friendly face around Albert Road, Diana Goss is a freelance creative portrait photographer with her own studio and whilst based in Southsea is often found all over Portsmouth as well as Bournemouth and Brighton too. Specialising in both Fashion and Boudoir work (see, and going by her website ( and Flickr obviously enjoys any type of people portraiture both in the studio and outside at such events as Goodwood Revival, music shows, weddings and even equine work. Not only that but you most likely have seen a few of her common props around town, a 1960’s Bentley, a 1955 Oldsmobile in red with red leather seats and a 1960’s red Pontiac!

Some of Diana’s work is available in Albert Road in Matt Sills’s Wallspace gallery (you may have also picked up a few free prints during the last Albert Road day) and if you’re interested in any commission work such as model shoots and portfolios, event photography or are interested in modelling for one of Diana’s photography projects give Diana a shout via email.

This is a cross processed film shot Diana took of the Wallspace Gallery with her namesake camera, a Lomo Diana and below that are a few more examples of her work:

XPRO Gallery

There’s Snow Day like a Snow Day

Tom Time Waster © just put a few more photos from last months snow day in Portsmouth. Cool photos as always, but I focused on the spills and slams. We saw some kids take proper slams that day. Lots of broken tailbones for sure. Good times.

Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).

Strong Island Clothing Co.