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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 www.teaandpencils.com. Tea & Pencils can also be found on Twitter @teanpencils and on Facebook, where you can find more of Matthews work.

Cinifilms

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 www.no6cinema.co.uk.

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.

Curxes Album Launch Party At The Eastney Cellars

On the 13th May, Strong Island Recordings will be throwing a Curxes ‘Verxes’ album launch party at The Eastney Cellars with support coming from the wonderful Wyldest as well as special guests to be announced plus Champagne Justice DJs . The debut album ‘Verxes’ from Curxes released on our Strong Island Recordings label will be available digitally on the 4th May and we’ll be selling an exclusive, limited run of physical copies on the night.  The album party is also the night before we head off and host our first ever Brighton show taking place at The Great Escape so it will be a big couple of days for the label. Entry for the event is a mere £4 or we shall be doing a limited ticket bundle that comes with a digital download code of the album. More details can be found on the Facebook event here but it would be great to see some faces for one of our biggest shows yet.

album launch poster

 

Strong Island Photo of The Year Competition Week 1 Winner and Runners Ups

With the first week’s submissions for the Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition all collected from email, Twitter and Instagram (using the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015) we’re happy to announce the very first weekly winning photo and photographer, ‘Sunglasses Spinnaker’ by Alessandro Salvatore, an amateur photographer based in Southsea.

This weekly winner will now be entered into the finals of the competition which will happen in December where everyone can vote for their favourite weekly winning photos. This week’s winner was chosen because it showed an innovative new way to capture a familiar landmark of Portsmouth, capturing the city lights at night in a reflection. This image will now become our Strong Island Facebook header image for the next 7 days until next week’s winner.

'Sunglasses Spinnaker' by Alessandro Salvatore
‘Sunglasses Spinnaker’ by Alessandro Salvatore.

Below are just some of the 200+ photos we received in the first week. A huge thank you to everyone who submitted! Don’t worry if your photo didn’t win or make the shortlist, you can enter photos every week until the finals in December. You can now submit photos for this week’s weekly winner selection which will be chosen and shown next Monday. To enter simply email, Tweet or Instagram your photo that was taken in, on or around Portsmouth.


Photo by Tony Benham.


Photo by Paul-Stanley.


Photo by Zac-Austin.


Photo by Tom Jacobs.


Photo by Stefano Pollina.


Photo by Rhys Geehan.


Photo by Liam Ritson.


Photo by Kate Smith.


Photo by Johnny Black.


Photo by Jamie Thorpe.


Photo by James Henderson.


Photo by Hayley Reeves.


Photo by Gemma White.


Photo by Christopher Greening.


Photo by Chris Grant.


Photo by catspaws_22 (on Instagram).


Photo by Catherine Taylor.


Photo by Billie Cawte.

Portsmouth Beer Festival – May 2015

On Friday 15th & Saturday 16th May the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK, including a variety of pale ales and golden beers which are perfect for the summer months ahead. Not forget there will also be more of my personal favourites, the darker stouts and porters. Expect to see beers from the likes of Ilkley, Dark Star and Tiny Rebel as well as local brewers The Brewhouse, Havant and Irving & Co to name just a few.

Co organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back for a second year after the sell-out weekend in May and December 2014. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, draught beer and delicious street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

During the festival the pub games room will again be open and the Saturday evening session will feature prize giveaways as well as a traditional meat raffle with a modern twist sponsored by Bransbury Park Butchers. Keep an eye out on Strong Island next week as I will be featuring some of the great live music you can expect to hear over the weekend.

Tickets are priced at £10 per person per session (some venues subject to booking fee) and include a souvenir beer glass, programme and beer token. Tickets are available online at pompeybeerfestival.co.uk, Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse, Leopold Tavern and from our own Strong Island HQ at 12 Highland Road (open Thursday-Saturdays).

The festival is fast earning a reputation as one of the best events in the city. If you have never been before then I encourage you to get some tickets for yourself and some friends and check it out for yourself.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Beer

Portsmouth Beer Festival

Road To Blissfields 2015

We have been supporting local artist involved with Blissfields for the last three years. This year the format of the Road To Blissfields competition has been expanded to the whole of Hampshire with the heats branching out even further across England.

The event is taking place on Thursday 30th April at the Edge of the Wedge. The Road To Blissfields will again give emerging artists and bands the opportunity to compete for a chance to play at Blissfields. The successful acts performing are Dutch Criminal Record, The Family, Duveax, Jack Grace, Just Millie and not to forget there will be a special performance by Big Child Man Child.

Keep an eye out here on Strong Island as we will preview each of the artists in the run up to the event.

The winner is decided on the night with crowd reaction being taken into account, the event is free entry so make sure you come to support the artists performing. Check out the Facebook Event page for more info on the event HERE.

Road To Blissfields 2015 Poster
Poster by Daniel Cook

Blissfields itself will be held on 2nd to 4th July at Vicarage Farm just outside of Winchester. The theme for this years event is ‘Somewhere In Time’. As Blissfields approaches it’s fifteenth anniversary, the weekend will give you a chance to look back over the festivals history and more, and to gaze into the curious future of the universe, permitting your imagination to run free.

Artists confirmed so far include The Horrors, John Grant, Simian Mobile Disco, Grandmaster Flash, Glass Animals, Public Service Broadcasting, Dub Pistols and the awesome Cosmo Sheldrake. Not to forget local Strong Island favourites Big Child Man Child, Popobawa and Floella Grace.

Here is a little taste of Blissfields 2014.

Access All Areas At The Portsmouth Guildhall

The Portsmouth Cultural Trust (PCT) is delighted to announce an open evening for Access all Areas – The Portsmouth Music Experience.

Access all Areas is a growing exhibition documenting the history of popular music in Portsmouth since the end of the Second World War, exactly seventy years ago. AaA includes a range of images and memorabilia celebrating the great years of poprock, folkblues, jazz and dance. It includes a 1960s Gallery showcasing leading venues, musicians, posters and local personalities, the Guildhall Gallery documenting a history from Louis Armstrong and the Beatles, through to the Clash, the Smiths and Take That to the present day, plus the story of the filming of Tommy across the city in 1974. There is also a bijou cinema 16, and a Hall of Fame with hundreds of photographs of local acts over the whole period.

The Open Evening offers a chance to see AaA’s recently completed 16 track digital and 8 track analogue recording studio and home of AaA Music Radio, soon to begin broadcasting online with an eclectic group of presenters playing music from the last 50 years. You will also be given the chance to see the new summer exhibition, Rock Shots – 50 years of music photography in Portsmouth, featuring photographs of the local music scene by a range of local photographers.

Come and relive your memories of some great days – or learn something you didn’t know about Portsmouth and in particular, ‘Pompey Pop’.

Plus, accompanying the show, debut performances by two new Pompey acts will be playing and will include, The Southsea Skifflers who are comprised of a mix of experienced musicians and beginners who may well be the largest skiffle orchestra in the country; reviving memories of the great days of the 1950s skiffle boom and folk revival. This will be their first-ever performance with a few songs at around 7.45pm.

Scarlett Town have been rehearsing for a few months following the final gig by popular local band Reet, Petite & Gone last year. They were together for 22 years and three of their members Dave Allen (vocals), Nick Evans (lap steel & mandolin) and Denis Reeve-Baker (guitar) recruited Sue Dobbyn (clarinet & violin) for a new acoustic line-up. But while Reet, Petite & Gone performed music rooted in pre-war country and blues, Scarlett Town will perform a selection of more recent songs by some of the finest songwriters including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, John Martyn, Gillian Welch, Lou Reed, Tim Buckley and Willie Nelson.

For event details visit the Guildhall Website or see on Facebook.

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The Fuzz Tones At Atrium

On Friday 17th April the Fuzz Tones will again be taking over the Atrium (above the Fat Fox). If you get yourself down there you can expect some of the finest Psychedelic Rock, Psychedelic Pop & Soul, Garage Rock and Rhythm & Blues.

This event marks their first birthday and to celebrate they will be joined by resident DJs LongDistanceDan and Martin Horn, not to forget the special guest DJs, You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons.

The Demons have raided their record collections to bring you some of their favourite psyched out tracks, this is going to be something special. For a taste of what you can expect then check out the awesome Fuzz Tones Mix Cloud below.

Fuzz Tones Psychedelic Cocktail by Longdistancedan on Mixcloud

Doors open from 7:30pm til midnight and entry is free all night. If you can get yourself down there between 7:30-8:30pm then you can treat yourself to one of their happy hour cocktails too. You can find out more by checking out the Facebook Event page HERE.

FuzzTones

Blissfields 2015 – More Local Acts Added To The Line Up

Blissfields have announced the second wave of artists who will performing at the festival this July. Portsmouth is again looking like it is going to be well represented with the addition of Curxes, Luke Ferre, Kassassin Street and The Boy I Used To Be.

They will be joining local favourites already announced, Big Child Man Child, Popobawa and Floella Grace. Other artists confirmed so far include The Horrors, John Grant, Simian Mobile Disco, Ghostpoet, Grandmaster Flash, Glass Animals, Public Service Broadcasting, Dub Pistols, The Correspondants, Cosmo Sheldrake and up and coming Isle of Wight band the Plastic Mermaids.

Blissfields will be held on 2nd to 4th July at Vicarage Farm just outside of Winchester. The theme for this years event is ‘Somewhere In Time’. As Blissfields approaches it’s fifteenth anniversary, the weekend will give you a chance to look back over the festivals history and more, and to gaze into the curious future of the universe, permitting your imagination to run free.

For information on the full line up, how to get tickets and more visit the website at www.blissfields.co.uk. You can also follow the festival for updates on Facebook and Twitter @Blissfields.

Blissfields Poster

Here is a little taste of Blissfields 2014.

Corners & Morning Smoke At The Fat Fox For Blownzone

This Sunday at the Fat Fox, Blownzone returns once again after their killer show at The Edge of the Wedge with The Shivas and The Red Cords back in December. This time they feature the excellent Californian garage rock meets post punk outfit Corners who are currently touring Europe as well as support from one of our favourite new bands over at Strong Island Recordings; scuzzy post punk/ shoegaze outfit Morning Smoke from Brighton.

Morning Smoke will also be playing our first ever Strong Island Recordings show in Brighton mid-May which we’ll have details about over the next couple of weeks. First though they visit Portsmouth with Corners where entry is £6.00 on the door.

This is another show not to be missed from the Blownzone guys who are once again bringing over some of the finest international bands to the city as well as some of the best new bands in the UK Doors are open from 7pm.

Getting In The Mood For Summer With Ye Olde Bike Shoppe

The Sunny days have started rolling back into town and once again our city is full of vibrancy. The sun brings BBQ’s, beach lounging and most importantly bicycle riding.

Stuart Trett of Ye Olde Bike Shoppe, has been knocking up wonderful, tailor made creations for years now and with a serious motivation to give you the bike you want and will love and cherish, it is the perfect place to find what you are looking for.

Ye Olde Bike Shoppe has been described by many as a place to go for good advice, good service and great value and we are always keen to see what else Mr Trett will come up with next.

Find the bike shop on Albert Road in Southsea and pick up something lovely for the summery summer that is soon to be upon us. Getting out and about and out of your car’s is not only a great way to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors but also a fantastic way to unwind and relax and what better way to do it then in style!

Find Ye Olde Bike Shoppe on Facebook or on Twitter.

Ye Olde

Ye Olde

Ye Olde

Ye Olde

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This is the Week That Is: A Celebration of Political Satire

With the General Election looming, the University of Portsmouth are hosting a week of satire with public talks, events and screenings devoted to lampooning our dubious political elite.

The University will be working in partnership with Portsmouth Film Society and No. 6 Cinema, giving renewed credibility to the word “coalition” as they jointly host some of satire’s biggest names.

This begins on Monday April 13th with Steve Nallon, the man responsible for voicing Spitting Image’s Maggie Thatcher (among others) will discuss his contributions to satire of the 1980s and introduce a screening of the hilarious 1987 Election Special.

Full details of the schedule are available HERE. Other highlights include Laurence Marks, prodigious TV comedy writer (of Marks and Gran fame), revisits his government-baiting classic The New Statesman and its monstrous protagonist Alan B’Stard.

Alistair Beaton is one of the UK’s foremost satirists with television, radio and literary credits spanning more than thirty years (Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image and The Trial of Tony Blair to name but a few). He will discuss his experiences writing and producing satire and introduce a screening of his New Labour send-up A Very Social Secretary.

Eminent historians and film scholars Kevin Brownlow, Lincoln Geraghty and Van Norris will introduce screenings of satirical masterpieces The Great Dictator, Dr Strangelove and Heavy Traffic.

And for those of an artistic sensibility, why not try your hand at caricature? Professional illustrator Louis Netter will be running his own school for scandal and encouraging all who attend to have a pop at a politician of their choice.

“With election fever growing, what better time to celebrate the films and television programmes that have driven a comic wedge deep into the heart of the political process?” said the event’s organiser, Olly Gruner, a lecturer in the university’s School of Art and Design.

The project is supported by Film Hub South East with National Lottery funds distributed by the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). This Is the Week That Is provides a celebration of all things satirical at a time when political humour is most needed. Will it be the biggest satirical event since Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize? “You might think that; we couldn’t possibly comment.”

For further details and to book tickets, visit http://titwti.worpress.com

Political Satire Poster

Rock Shots – 50 Years of Music Photography in Portsmouth

Access All Areas: The Portsmouth Music Experience at Portsmouth Guildhall are hosting 50 years of music photography in Portsmouth from 15th April – 20th September. This photography exhibition will contain images of local, national & international bands, covering punk, rock ‘n’ roll, indie and everything in-between. Photography has been provided by the following Portsmouth Photographers: Bob Aylott, Oana Damir, Joe Watson, Steve Whale, Nigel Grundy, Paul Windsor, Tom Langford, Terry Aldridge & Robbie Robertson.

Admission is free!

Rock Shots

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival – Charity Football Match

On Saturday 2nd May a Southsea Alternative Choir XI take on a special Victorious Festival XI in a charity football match to raise money for Samuels Fund. The game takes place at Cams Alders in Fareham, the home of Fareham Town Football Club.

Afterwards,everyone is invited to stay on at the ground and join in at the after party at the ground’s clubhouse. If the Southsea Alternative Choir are still standing by then they will be performing a full live set followed by music from DJs Chip Jacks, Handsome ‘The Dave’ Rocker and Jack Hemingway.

For more information on how you can support the event and get yourself a seat on the coach service being provided just check out the Facebook Event page HERE.

Southsea Alternative Choir vs Victorious Festival Charity Football Match

Our Picks For No 6 – April 2015

If you haven’t visited the No. 6 Cinema before then we highly recommend it, it is a mix of thoughtful art house cinema, vintage Hollywood classics and new blockbusters all within the historic blockhouse in the dockyard.

March is quite a special month as the team behind No 6 are giving you another chance to catch the big winners from last months Oscars on the big screen. Be sure to check their website to buy tickets and for their full listings www.no6cinema.co.uk.

Catch Me Daddy (15) | Thursday 9th April | 7pm

Daniel Wolfe’s first feature film is a tough thriller set in West Yorkshire. Honour killings within the British Pakistani community come under an intense spotlight in this tale as 17 year old Laila flees her strict home life to live with her white boyfriend, Aaron. Laila’s family enlist the help of family members and local white tough guys, the former driven by rage and the latter by cash, to find Laila and bring her back.

Bleak, brutal and tense, Wolfe’s uncompromising take on modern tribal and gender politics presents a troubling view of British life in the 21st century.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel | Saturday 11th April | 7pm

In this sequel to 2011’s smash-hit, the Marigold’s co-manager Sonny plans to open a second hotel, but his impending marriage to Sunaina and the unexpected arrival of guests Lavinia and Guy – who may or may not be hotel inspectors – prove added strains. Meanwhile, permanent residents and hopeless romantics Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup pursue their own ambitions, both in the original hotel and amid the seething humanity of Jaipur, all under the watchful eye of Muriel, the keeper of everyone’s secrets. Numerous intriguing subplots build up to the vibrant wedding ceremony and Lavinia and Guy’s startling revelations.

Still Alice | Thursday 16th April | 7pm

Alice is a linguistics professor married to the wealthy, loving John and is secretly diagnosed with genetically driven Alzheimer’s. The deterioration accelerates, and worse still, one of her children tests positive for the same gene.

Moore’s powerful, Oscar-nominated performance as Alice holds great resonance as she tries to come to terms with her situation and remain positive, despite her fading personality. We see through her eyes and experience the disorientation she feels as the outside world slips beyond her reach. When the light of recognition dims, her family’s determination to make her as comfortable as possible is heartbreaking and inspiring.

Bladerunner | Saturday 18th April | 7pm

With his adaption of Philip K Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ridley Scott created an iconic Sci-Fi classic that has gripped audiences, inspired passionate debate and influenced a generation of artists. Graced with extraordinary sets, ground-breaking special effects, stunning costumes and photography, Blade Runner brilliantly evokes a dystopian vision of the future. Breathtaking, glistening city vistas, rain-drenched, neon-lit streets and gloomy interiors combine with Vangelis’ sweeping, sensual score to conjure an oppressive future Los Angeles. On the surface this is a cop thriller, but the real story is one that raises philosophical questions about the human condition in relation to technology and society.

Given complete artistic freedom to make The Final Cut in 2007, the 25th anniversary of the film’s release, Ridley Scott created this final, definitive version, fully restored from the original negative. Blade Runner’s re-release in cinemas in 2015 brings to a close the BFI’s Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, a nationwide celebration of film and television’s original blockbuster genre.

The Theory Of Everything | Thursday 30th April | 7pm

Stephen Hawking is a brilliant scientist whose groundbreaking ideas came into popular consciousness with the bestselling A Brief History of Time but it’s the dignified way he has lived with motor neurone disease that has helped to make him so widely admired by the public. Starting with his years as a postgraduate student in 1960s Cambridge, the film portrays his blossoming romance with Jane Wilde (Jones) who, as his disease progresses, he tries to reject in the hope of sparing her pain. Eddie Redmayne is Oscar-tipped for his stunning performance as Stephen in this profound and moving film.

No. 6 Cinema

The Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition 2015

Throughout 2013 we ran a photography competition open to everyone where each week a photo selected from the weekly submissions was chosen as the Strong Island Facebook header image and placed on our Facebook page for a week. We had some incredible images from all over the city, from landmarks such as South Parade Pier to the Spinnaker Tower, to the stormy waves of the sea, the Warrior at night…so many incredible photos we were privileged to share. At the end of the year we asked you, the Strong Islanders, to pick your favourite from all the weekly winning images, and by tallying up all the Facebook likes the winner of the Strong Island Photo of the Year was the below photo of South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor. Many of the the photos that came in were also submitted to our very successful Strong Island Calendar for 2014 too.

This year we’re running the Strong Island Photo of the Year competition, and again welcome any submissions sent to us in a variety of easy ways. The first is to email the photo to us at contact@strong-island.co.uk. Just include your name, the photo submissions, link to your website/Flickr/etc and let us know if you would like them also submitted to the calendar too. You can also submit images on Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015 and we’ll keep an eye on any photos added. You can also tag us in to those tweets and photos too but be sure to use the hashtag so we know you’re entering them. The photos can be of anything, anywhere, as long as it is within the city. You can enter as many images as you like each week and they don’t have to have been taken that week they are submitted. By submitting the photos you’re giving us permission to share them (obviously) but we’ll only share them in relation to this competiton and we’ll ensure we credit you and link back to your website, Flickr, etc. Make sure you only submit photos you yourself took and have creative ownership/copyright of.

Each Friday we’ll post up our weekly winner on Facebook as our Facebook Header and also post up on Strong Island a selection of images we really liked from that week too. Each week the winner will win some Strong Island goodies. In December the final overall winner from all the weekly winners, after all your votes, will win a big pile of Strong Island goodness including a mug, tees, prints, etc and the image crowned Strong Island Photo of the Year 2015! Not just that, we’re also have an exhibition in Strong Island Co at the end of the year/start of 2016 of the best submitted images and the winning image.

You can start submitting your photos right now!

South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor
South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor, winner in 2013.

Line up for Victorious Festival Now Includes Johnny Marr, Ray Davies, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Cast and More

Today saw the announcement by Victorious Festival of the next crop of bands and artists to perform at this summer’s festival on Southsea Common. Already down on the lineup were Basement Jaxx, The Flaming Lips, Tinie Tempah, Texas, The Magic Numbers and more but the big announcement today was the addition of The Kink’s Ray Davies, The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Cast, Mystery Jets, Wytches and The Subways. This now makes the already epic lineup somewhat mind-blowing considering all of this will be happening down by the beach. Expect also this year to see a new Southsea Common stage plus continued improvement with the kids activities and area, silent disco, beer tent, kids area and so much more.

Early bird tickets now finished but tickets are still available at www.victoriousfestival.co.uk. Hands down the biggest party this city has ever seen, right?



Primal Scream

Victorious Festival poster

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?

Yes.

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.

jackhousegallery.co.uk

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 Style Guide Films for Gunwharf Quays by Strong Island Media

Strong Island Media recently worked with Gunwharf Quays on a new series of style guide videos focusing on some easy ways of changing up your style and incorporating some of the brands located in Portsmouth. We’ve produced over 10 videos with Gunwharf Quays over the last 12 months and once again we worked with TV presenter and fashion blogger Rhiannon Duffin. The first of these new films for social media, which focuses on scarfs, is now online. You can have a watch below and you can keep up with the different media projects we get up to at Strong Island Media on our Facebook page:

facebook.com/StrongIslandMedia

New Style Guides for Gunwharf Quays by Strong Island Media

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

A Hard Choice – Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News

Throughout the running of the current exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum people get to choose their favourite items from the Portsmouth City Collection that are on show in A Hard Choice (you can see and read our preview of the exhibition HERE). Every month different items chosen by many visitors are given rosettes showing the current favourites. Strong Island, working with the Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services (with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund), are asking over a dozen different people from around Portsmouth what their personal favourite items are in the exhibition and why.

To kick off this series of articles we met up with Mark Waldron, editor of The News, at Portsmouth City Museum and after a walk around he let us know what were his own Best in Show.

Hi Mark, what, in no particular order, are your three favourite items in the A Hard Choice exhibition?

The first object is a dead mole, a bit of a bizarre one to start with. I think a lot of people when they are younger they find dead animals and insects and your immediate thoughts are to pick it up, put it in a box and preserve it. A dead mole Rosalinda* found when she was 4 years old started off her fascination with conservation and got her in to curating. I just love that this mole is so different to everything else in the exhibition, there are a lot of historic parts to the exhibition but this tiny mole preserved from way back when is an incredible artefact that leapt out at me and caught my curiosity.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (2)

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (3)

Next are the visiting cards from a certain Mr & Mrs Charles Dickens, it is the cards that they had when living in Tavistock House in London, which they occupied between 1851 and 1860. They are the actual cards they would have given out to guests at the time.

I think we celebrate and are proud of our links with Dickens and I think these really take you back to this man who is so pressed in to all our memories even 200 years later. These cards would have been in his wallet, in his pocket, and he would have been handing them out to the important guests that would have come to see him. The fact that they are preserved in this collection really adds to what Dickens is all about and what he means to this city.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (4)

This item is labelled Hippodrome Bomb and it is a bomb that fell in Portsmouth in 1941 but lay undiscovered until 1984 when there was work taking place at the Hippodrome Theatre in Guildhall Walk**. Some interesting ceramic tiles were found but suddenly everyone was evacuated because also found was this large unexploded bomb. Royal Engineers had to come in and did a controlled explosion and the remains of the bomb were donated to the collection.

So much of Portsmouth’s landscape changed during the war, obviously the city was a target of heavy German bombing. The Guildhall was destroyed and many parts of Portsmouth were changed forever. Just to see here as you walk in to the exhibition this massive bit of ordinance, the fact that it didn’t go off but you look at the size of it…what damage that would have caused…it is just an incredible reminder of what is a massive part of the history of our city.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (1)

If you could donate something from your own personal collection(s) or something else in the city or relates to the city…what would be good to add to the Portsmouth City Collection for future generations?

Growing up I was very heavily in to music and a place to be for a lot of touring bands at the time was the Guildhall. Most of the bands from the 80s would come down and I saw many great concerts down there like New Order, The Cure, The Jam, Depeche Mode…a lot of great nights out. We would get the bus from Cowplain, over Portsdown Hill in to the big city so it was always a big night out. I just remember being packed in to many concerts seeing the great bands at the time. So the tickets from those occasions, which bring back fantastic memories of growing up in a great city.

* Rosalinda Hardiman, who curated the A Hard Choice exhibition.
** The building was destroyed during the Portsmouth Blitz.

Don’t forget you can visit A Hard Choice exhibition and the rest of Portsmouth City Museum and other museums in the city for free the Easter and beyond. You can find out more about the museums and what activities are taking place at:

www.portsmouthcitymuseums.co.uk

Into The Cell Block

Into the Cell Block is a free, four day course that is being offered to help build on creative and digital ideas to help structure new businesses and promote freelance and mentoring opportunities.

The course is based on the NESTA toolkit, an interactive way of developing key skills required for viable business products.

Chloe Hood, a University of Portsmouth graduate attended the course in October last year and is now running her own business, Hoodlum Fang Apparel, a punk rock fashion brand.

Chloe said “I went into the course not knowing anything about book keeping, taxes or insurance. I knew nothing of any of the legal aspects of business and I was terrified of starting a business without any of this knowledge… The course made it all a lot less scary. I also gained a lot of support, from the mentoring and other students who were taking part on the course. I was made to feel like I could succeed and that I had a sound business idea.”

The course is running in April and June this year and will be held at the Portsmouth Innovation Space and the only pre requisite is that you are 18 and over and have an idea, no matter how quirky or out there it may seem.

The course is fully funded by Portsmouth University and places are set to be snapped up quickly due to the fantastic opportunity that the course presents.

To find out more visit the website or contact Portsmouth University direct.

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Victorious Festival 2015 – Early Bird Tickets Deadline This Friday!

You have until 4pm this Friday to get your hands on discounted early bird tickets for Victorious Festival. With tons more acts to be announced soon the line up is already taking shape nicely with the Flaming Lips, Tinie Tempah and Basement Jaxx already confirmed as headliners. Not to forget also confirmed are The Magic Numbers, Texas, Bi Polar Sunshine and Ben Ottewell from Gomez.

You can get your hands on tickets by visiting the Meat & Barrel on Palmerston Road, alternatively you can pick them up online HERE.

You can stay up to date with all things Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest

Victorious Festival

I have been lucky enough to see the Flaming Lips live twice before and they were brilliant on each occasion. I can’t wait to see them work their magic on Southsea Common! If you don’t know very much about them here is a preview of what you can expect to see.

Castle Knights At Southsea Castle

Following on from the sell out party on New Years Eve Concrete Music and Food Music will again be taking over Southsea Castle for another huge party this Sunday.

On the night you can expect music in the marquee featuring Justin Martin (Dirtybird Records), Southsea Soul Club and Concrete Music. There will also be music in the tunnel where you’ll find some of the best Disco, Hip Hop, Funk, Soul and Party tunes.

The doors open at 9pm and runs until 2am. You can buy tickets on the door but to guarantee entry I recommend picking up your tickets online HERE.

For more information check out the Facebook Event page HERE.

Castle Knights

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Common People Ticket Competition

It’s less than a month until Common People takes place on Southampton Common. Artists performing include Fat Boy Slim, DJ Yoda, De La Soul, Band of Skulls, Grace Jones and Isle of Wight’s Plastic Mermaids. As well as friends of Strong Island Dead Rabbits, Rickyfitts and The Boy I Used To Be playing the Uncommon Stage.

Rob Da Bank and the team behind Common People have kindly donated a pair of tickets for us to give away. All you need to do is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answers to the following questions before midnight this coming Sunday. The winner be contact directly and announced on social media soon after.

1) Which South coast football team is Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim known to be a big supporter of?
2) Castle Road’s Pie & Vinyl will be in attendance at Common People. Name any of the artists signed to their record label?
3) Can you name the James Bond film in which Grace Jones starred?

To avoid disappointment you tickets are available from Ticketline from £30 and reductions for children and teens.

Common-People-line-up

To stay up to date on all things Common People you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter @cpeoplefest and Instagram @commonpeoplefestival.

Strong Island Calendar 2016 #SIC2016

Yet again we were overwhelmed with the interest and success of our 2015 Calendar. I hope that you are all enjoying them and it is inspiring you to get involved and submitting your photo’s for inclusion for next years calendar.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2016 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2016.

There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth. We would love to see more submissions from all over Portsmouth not just our favourite Southsea landmarks so please share this with friends who you think might be interested in getting involved.

Along with Instagram we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

We have a couple of our 2015 Calendars left but if you are interested then get in quick as these are likely to go within the next week or so! You can get your copies from the Strong Island shop HERE.

Strong Island Calendar 2016

The Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition 2015

Throughout 2013 we ran a photography competition open to everyone where each week a photo selected from the weekly submissions was chosen as the Strong Island Facebook header image and placed on our Facebook page for a week. We had some incredible images from all over the city, from landmarks such as South Parade Pier to the Spinnaker Tower, to the stormy waves of the sea, the Warrior at night…so many incredible photos we were privileged to share. At the end of the year we asked you, the Strong Islanders, to pick your favourite from all the weekly winning images, and by tallying up all the Facebook likes the winner of the Strong Island Photo of the Year was the below photo of South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor. Many of the the photos that came in were also submitted to our very successful Strong Island Calendar for 2014 too.

This year we’re running the Strong Island Photo of the Year competition, and again welcome any submissions sent to us in a variety of easy ways. The first is to email the photo to us at contact@strong-island.co.uk. Just include your name, the photo submissions, link to your website/Flickr/etc and let us know if you would like them also submitted to the calendar too. You can also submit images on Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015 and we’ll keep an eye on any photos added. You can also tag us in to those tweets and photos too but be sure to use the hashtag so we know you’re entering them. The photos can be of anything, anywhere, as long as it is within the city. You can enter as many images as you like each week and they don’t have to have been taken that week they are submitted. By submitting the photos you’re giving us permission to share them (obviously) but we’ll only share them in relation to this competiton and we’ll ensure we credit you and link back to your website, Flickr, etc. Make sure you only submit photos you yourself took and have creative ownership/copyright of.

Each Friday we’ll post up our weekly winner on Facebook as our Facebook Header and also post up on Strong Island a selection of images we really liked from that week too. Each week the winner will win some Strong Island goodies. In December the final overall winner from all the weekly winners, after all your votes, will win a big pile of Strong Island goodness including a mug, tees, prints, etc and the image crowned Strong Island Photo of the Year 2015! Not just that, we’re also have an exhibition in Strong Island Co at the end of the year/start of 2016 of the best submitted images and the winning image.

You can start submitting your photos right now!

South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor
South Parade Pier by Catherine Taylor, winner in 2013.

A Hard Choice – Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News

Throughout the running of the current exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum people get to choose their favourite items from the Portsmouth City Collection that are on show in A Hard Choice (you can see and read our preview of the exhibition HERE). Every month different items chosen by many visitors are given rosettes showing the current favourites. Strong Island, working with the Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services (with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund), are asking over a dozen different people from around Portsmouth what their personal favourite items are in the exhibition and why.

To kick off this series of articles we met up with Mark Waldron, editor of The News, at Portsmouth City Museum and after a walk around he let us know what were his own Best in Show.

Hi Mark, what, in no particular order, are your three favourite items in the A Hard Choice exhibition?

The first object is a dead mole, a bit of a bizarre one to start with. I think a lot of people when they are younger they find dead animals and insects and your immediate thoughts are to pick it up, put it in a box and preserve it. A dead mole Rosalinda* found when she was 4 years old started off her fascination with conservation and got her in to curating. I just love that this mole is so different to everything else in the exhibition, there are a lot of historic parts to the exhibition but this tiny mole preserved from way back when is an incredible artefact that leapt out at me and caught my curiosity.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (2)

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (3)

Next are the visiting cards from a certain Mr & Mrs Charles Dickens, it is the cards that they had when living in Tavistock House in London, which they occupied between 1851 and 1860. They are the actual cards they would have given out to guests at the time.

I think we celebrate and are proud of our links with Dickens and I think these really take you back to this man who is so pressed in to all our memories even 200 years later. These cards would have been in his wallet, in his pocket, and he would have been handing them out to the important guests that would have come to see him. The fact that they are preserved in this collection really adds to what Dickens is all about and what he means to this city.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (4)

This item is labelled Hippodrome Bomb and it is a bomb that fell in Portsmouth in 1941 but lay undiscovered until 1984 when there was work taking place at the Hippodrome Theatre in Guildhall Walk**. Some interesting ceramic tiles were found but suddenly everyone was evacuated because also found was this large unexploded bomb. Royal Engineers had to come in and did a controlled explosion and the remains of the bomb were donated to the collection.

So much of Portsmouth’s landscape changed during the war, obviously the city was a target of heavy German bombing. The Guildhall was destroyed and many parts of Portsmouth were changed forever. Just to see here as you walk in to the exhibition this massive bit of ordinance, the fact that it didn’t go off but you look at the size of it…what damage that would have caused…it is just an incredible reminder of what is a massive part of the history of our city.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Mark Waldron, Editor of The News (1)

If you could donate something from your own personal collection(s) or something else in the city or relates to the city…what would be good to add to the Portsmouth City Collection for future generations?

Growing up I was very heavily in to music and a place to be for a lot of touring bands at the time was the Guildhall. Most of the bands from the 80s would come down and I saw many great concerts down there like New Order, The Cure, The Jam, Depeche Mode…a lot of great nights out. We would get the bus from Cowplain, over Portsdown Hill in to the big city so it was always a big night out. I just remember being packed in to many concerts seeing the great bands at the time. So the tickets from those occasions, which bring back fantastic memories of growing up in a great city.

* Rosalinda Hardiman, who curated the A Hard Choice exhibition.
** The building was destroyed during the Portsmouth Blitz.

Don’t forget you can visit A Hard Choice exhibition and the rest of Portsmouth City Museum and other museums in the city for free the Easter and beyond. You can find out more about the museums and what activities are taking place at:

www.portsmouthcitymuseums.co.uk

Short Story Competition – Deadline Extended

We are really excited to announce that we have extended the deadline for you to submit your entry to our short story competition. The theme behind your short story must simply involve one of My Dog Sighs tin can men pictured at the bottom of the page. There is a word limit for each age group but apart from that, everything else is completely open to your own interpretation.

The entries will be split into three categories for the different age groups, each with a different word limit.

• 13 years and under (150 words)
• 14 years – 18 years (300 words)
• 18 years and above (500 words)

This event is open to everyone to enter and you don’t even have to be from Portsmouth to get involved. For the younger age groups we are looking for teachers who would be willing to lend a hand. This will involve going through some entries and maybe they would like to invite their school or class to get involved, maybe as part of a class project perhaps.

This competition will now run until Sunday 12th April, with the winner for each category being announced soon after. The three lucky winners will receive a copy of their story created by graphic designer Sam Barclay and personalised by My Dog himself. The winning entries will also be featured in an exhibition in our Strong Island Co shop which you can find at 12 Highland Road, Southsea.

If you or your are interested in getting involved with helping judge the winner you can drop me can email to stuart@strong-island.co.uk. Submissions should be sent to the same email address, please don’t forget to include your contact details and what category this is applicable to.

My Dog Sighs has a great talent for capturing character through the expressions on each piece of art, which should serve as an ideal inspiration for your short story. We look forward to receiving your submissions.

My Dog Sighs TCM 1

My Dog Sighs TCM 2

My Dog Sighs TCM 3

My Dog Sighs TCM 5

16388750482_60b03b4078_k

Portsmouth City Collection Part 1: Lost and Found

Collecting is something that goes way back to the early edges of the modern human psychology, a motivation to draw objects together that have a sense of meaning for the collector, that can illustrate aspects of an identity through representations of places and times past. Pretty much everyone has succumbed to the urge to collect at some stage in their life, be it stamps, stickers, shells, postcards, geology, fine art, sculpture and even aeroplane sick bags and My Little Pony. Beyond individuals, other groups create collections too, from small groups and trusts through to councils and right up to nation states. Portsmouth, like many other cities all over the UK and the World has its own collection of objects that represent its past, its culture and the people who have called it home.

The Portsmouth Collection began with the foundation of the Portsmouth museum service, established by order of the council back in 1892. The Victorians had a strong tradition of philanthropy which allowed the collection to grow from inception with people donating objects and art, the collection in essence owned by the then town (we became a city in 1927) and its people. 

The collection was homed at The Market House & Guildhall on High Street in what is now Old Portsmouth, designed by Benjamin Bramble and opened on June 28th 1838. The building was the civic centre with council chambers plus an open market and even an early police station too. The building quickly ran out of space for city officials so the new Guildhall in Guildhall Square was opened in 1879. With this move the building became the city’s museum and home to the collection.

Market House and Guildhall by Calcott, published by Charpentier
Market House and Guildhall by Calcott, published by Charpentier.

During the blitz in 1941, the city suffered with a huge loss of life and much of the city damaged and broken. On one air raid on the city the museum was bombed, with much of the city collection destroyed. Around 750 objects were saved from the destruction but it is impossible to know how much of the collection was lost as well as what these objects were specifically because all records were destroyed too. Only a handful of paintings were saved and some still show signs of burn damage. These objects that survived (to this day cataloged with ’S’ numbers to signify salvage) were the basis for a new museum service in 1945 with the end of the war.

Market House and Guildhall
Market House and Guildhall after the bombing.

From 1945 the museum service looked to acquire material relating to the history of Portsmouth and the natural history of the local area but also aimed to collect decorative art and modern British art. Under the theme of ‘The History of British Taste’ a national appeal was launched for donations to the collection from both individuals and organisations.

'Outskirts of Portsmouth Dockyard' charcoal drawing by W.H. Clarkson
‘Outskirts of Portsmouth Dockyard’ charcoal drawing by W.H. Clarkson.

The Portsmouth City Collection 70 years later is now both vast in size and scope. The collection contains archaeology, art, literary history, local history, military history and natural science with many of the objects donated or bequeathed to the city. The collection can be viewed at the city’s different museums including: Portsmouth City Museum, Charles Dickens’ Birthplace, The D-Day Museum, Southsea Castle, Cumberland House Natural History Museum & Eastney Beam Engine House. Even with all of these museums and exhibition spaces no more than approximately 15% of the City Collection is on display at any one time. 

With our next article we’ll be exploring the role of a curator for the museum service. If you want to see some of the finest items on the collection be sure to visit the A Hard Choice exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum. Many items on show in this exhibition were acquired by Rosalinda Hardiman over the last 35 years during her curatorship.

This Sunday there is a free guided tour around the exhibition by Rosalinda from 3pm to 4pm. Find out about some of the stories behind the objects on show and Rosalinda’s reasons for choosing them. Pre-booking is advised.

Throughout this year you can find out more about the Portsmouth City Collection and the many works of art and objects in contains with a Twitter account, simply follow: @PortsCityCollec

Portsmouth Harbour by Edmund T. Crawford
‘Portsmouth Harbour’ by Edmund T. Crawford.

Combat by Jack Canty
‘Combat’ by Jack Canty.

Archives

Nike Football’s ‘Risk Everything’ by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust – Exclusive Interview

In the last few weeks Nike launched ‘Risk Everything’ their new football marketing campaign that features the England football team as well as other players from all around the world including Cristiano Ronaldo & Neymar Jr. Risk Everything also includes the new England kit for the 2014 World Cup with striking imagery of the players and the three lions. The artwork & branding of this vast, international marketing campaign by one of the largest brands in the World was created by Portsmouth’s very own award winning ilovedust design studio, located at the heart of the city. Established in 2003 the company and design team have grown dramatically, working with international brands as well as on local projects. Strong Island caught up with ilovedust’s Matt Howarth, senior designer, and found out more about ILD’s involvement with Nike’s Risk Everything:

ilovedust has been working with Nike for some time, can you give us a quick history of how you hooked up with them initially? Some of the past projects with them that you guys have been particularly stoked on?

We’ve been working for Nike for the last 7 years, it all started off with an illustration for a Jordan x Levis 501 project back when we were a small 4 man studio, i guess we did a pretty good job and the word spread internally at Nike world headquarters that ilovedust knew their shit! Since then we’ve grown our relationship year on year and been lucky enough to meet some inspiring people and work on some great projects along the way.

Can you give us some background on when and how you guys got involved in the England World Cup promotional branding and Risk Everything?

The initial brief for the “Risk Everything” campaign came from advertising agent Wieden & Kennady (W+K) in Portland, Oregon, over the years we have a made a few friends there and they emailed us way back in September saying they’ve got the perfect project for us! The project became so big that we ended up working directly with the Nike Football department directly.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

From what has been released already I’ve seen the mural on the Southbank of Jack Wilshire & Wayne Rooney the backdrop for the England team for their World Cup kit, retail displays and more, it is clearly a huge project, can you break down what is involved in a project of this scale?

Oh god… where to start!! Initially W+K briefed us to create illustrations for their 5 top footballers to be used in a print campaign (these will released in a couple of weeks), then Nike Football tasked us with creating illustrations for 7 different countries which Nike will be sponsoring at the World Cup, these would be used online and across retail destinations in each of the 7 countries. Since all of these have been completed we’ve been contacted by W+K London, Amsterdam, Rio and Tokyo for additional illustrations, this is where the Wayne Rooney/Jack Wilshere piece comes in to play, curated by W+K London and currently on display on the Southbank.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (5)

With Risk Everything you guys have stamped your distinct signature style all over it, what level of creative control do Dust and the team have in the collaboration with Nike?

When the brief came in it referenced a lot of our work, the client had a distinct idea of what they wanted, we took it, run with it, and made it better. Luckily we have good, open relationships with our clients, and we know a thing or two about football, so they trusted us.

As well as having your main studio in Portsmouth you have a studio in Portland, working with a brand the size of Nike and a project of this scale have there been practical issues with working with a brand on the other side of the World? Advantages?

We’ve visited Nike HQ 3 times during this project and our small studio in Portland has allowed us to work on the project in real time with the clients. We’re used to being 8 hours ahead of them everyday, and working until midnight is not uncommon, so being able to work and get feedback instantaneously was a real advantage.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (1)

The ilovedust lion is the striking backdrop for the England team in the new Nike kit in the run up to the World Cup, what design constraints did you experience (if any) with working with essentially a national sporting icon? Were the FA involved in sign-off?

This project was a fun one to work on with hardly any design restraints, and as far as we know The FA were not involved in sign-off, but as with all Nike work it had to go through legal checks, we we’re pretty safe with the 3 lions.

The lion and associated artwork are already gracing huge sports retailers’ windows plus on TV adverts, how does if feel seeing your work on this level in the UK?

It’s always nice to see months of hard work pay off when it’s released to the world – a bit surreal to see it in shop windows in your hometown!

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust

I’m assuming there is still much more to come in the run up to June and the World Cup? Will you guys be getting out to Rio?

Yes, lots more to come. The “Risk Everything” campaign will run beyond the World Cup and into next season so we have started to work on a different style of illustration for Europe’s top clubs; Barca, Man Utd, PSG, Juventus etc etc

ILD is home to some die hard Portsmouth FC fans, ever think about what you could do in regards to the club in respect to design? Maybe a new kit for 2014/2015 season?

Ha, the current kit’s not too bad but i’m sure we could improve it if given the chance!

Without letting too many cats out of the bag, what other projects are you guys working on for 2014?

Some very cool projects in the pipeline, one for Pepsi which is also World Cup related, we’re continuing to work with Microsoft for the launch of Xbox One’s Sunset Overdrive computer game in 2015, hmmm what else… lots more Nike that’s for sure, a few bits for Red Bull and a couple of top secret projects which you’ll have to wait for… sorry!

The Risk Everything artwork continues to roll out through the press and on TV, below are some images of the artwork already in the wild, be sure to keep up with the ILD website, blog, Twitter, Instagram & Behance to see more.

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (3)

Nike Football's 'Risk Everything' by Portsmouth Studio ilovedust (4)

Harbour Tour

If you’re brave enough at this chilly time of year head on down to Gunwharf and take a tour around the home of the modern Navy. With aircraft carriers, the HMS Ark Royal, HMS Illustrious and Invincible, there’s plenty to see. Oh, and they sell beer on board.

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.

Southsea Strong Island Celebrates

I just can’t find the right images for this! Strong Island is 1 whole year old this Sunday the 27th. Time surely does fly hey. Meet us for a beer if you’re out and about. I think there’s something going on Albert Road this Sunday too…

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and on another note…

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Created Local – Dan Tonkin, Adayin Design

Local cycle machine and all round nice guy Dan Tonkin recently updated his website under the design pseudonym Adayin Design. Dan has been on the local scene since forever as a skater, photographer, web/graphic deisgner and keen cyclist with a heavily growing portfolio of work. A very multi talented individual that will leave you standing in a bike race.

Check out www.adayin.co.uk and aslo Dan’s Flickr stream. Sorry I can’t make The Randonnee this Sunday mate. Really quite gutted to be honest.










Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea poster

You know we love a bit of Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea here at Strong Island. Not too much info on this one, perfect for holidays though. The flickr link states the photo of the poster was taken in Eastney, but I’m not sure where.

Via : Bob Franklin

Local Photographer – David Jacobs

Based in Chichester but a constant visitor to Southsea, Portsmouth, Hayling and all of the Chichester harbour area, David Jacobs’ photos capture the warmth of the local light and and the inspiring natural views of the local landscape and coastline. To see more of David’s photos be sure to click ‘Read More’ below and check David’s Flickr.

Southsea

Hayling

Guildhall After WWII

On 10th January 1941 during a heavy bombing attack on Portsmouth the Guildhall was hit by several incendiary bombs which heavily damaged the structure and the resulting fires quickly spread throughout the whole building, turning it in to just a shell. It took almost 15 years to rebuild the Guildhall in to what we have today, which was officially reopened by the Queen on the 8th June 1959. This photo from Stan Webb from a collection of photos collected by Portsmouth College shows how totally destroyed the building was, leaving just some of the frontage and most of the tower.

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Two for a Fiver mate…

I’m really digging this Tea Towel they have for sale down Clarence Pier. Great little illustrations of some of our more recognisable landmarks and modes of travel. A great addition to any kitchen.

TOWEL

Submarine Graveyard

Portsmouth’s Pounds scrapyard has been the final stop for the lives of many military vehicles over the years but most noticeable it has been the location for a submarine graveyard. So iconic was the sight of the submarines as you entered Portsmouth that they became the inspiration for the architect when designing the new swimming pool at the Mountbatten Centre.

Robin Hinson has a large collection of photos of the scrapped submarines here, with a few shown below.