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Created Local

Created Local with Aerial Photographer Chris Brunnen

Photographer Chris Brunnen is a local professional photographer who works commercially under CJB Photography and provides a wide range of photography services, including something a little different, Chris specialises in aerial photography. We spoke to Chris to find out more about how he got in to photography and in to this particular specialist field:

Hi Chris, how did you first get interested in photography?
I was introduced to photography when I was about 12 by Neil, my friend and neighbour. He was a few years older than me and was taking lessons at his school when he came home one day with an envelope of black & white prints he’d made and it completely amazed me. I couldn’t comprehend how it was done, I thought the process had to be done in a factory or by a huge company, I had no idea this was something that could be done at home in a darkened room. From that day, I remember the feeling so well, I was hooked, I wanted a camera. I begged my parents but they weren’t about to buy me an expensive piece of kit at that age so they gave me an old Box Brownie. Yes really, that was my first camera! Fortunately Neil’s mum worked in a chemist and knew how to load the camera but he would take the films to school to process them. We would set up scenes in the garden and photograph them, we even re-created the moon landing with Acton Man.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (2)

A few years later photography became an option in art lessons at my school and I started using the school’s 35mm cameras and lenses. I learned to process and print them myself and went on to take ‘O’ & ‘A’ Level exams, that introduced me to the practical, theory and history sides of the subject. I also studied art, technical drawing, physics and chemistry, all essential subjects in this field of work.

I went on to study Graphic Design at Art College. I’d originally intended to study Fine Art but I had a falling out with one of the lecturers on the pre-degree course…so I went to Graphics, a department next door to the photographic department where I ended up spending most of my time. The training as a designer I found very useful in photography, composition and layout are similar skills, again very useful background work to becoming a photographer. I find many people get too hung up on the camera, expecting to get great results from buying a big expensive piece of kit, they won’t, any more than buying a Stradivarius will make you a concert violinist. It takes more than that.

What got you in to taking aerial photos?
My first job was at a design & photography firm, I was behind a drawing board one day, behind the camera the next. As that firm grew I found I was spending more time taking photographs than designing and eventually left, with their backing, to set up my own photographic business, CJB Photography, in much bigger premises with a huge studio. Studio work has always been the main stay of my business but aerial photography is my USP.

What was your first experience of taking photos from the air?
A designer client of mine was working for IBM and needed aerial shots of their site at Havant and asked if I could do it…. I said yes. Fortunately they had a significant budget for the job so I hired a helicopter and off I went. While I was up I took a few other shots around Portsmouth and later showed them off to my clients. They met with a great deal of interest and since then, 1987, I’ve been flying virtually every month.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (2)
Rare colour aerial photo of Portsdown Park.

Can you describe your go-to camera kit for aerial photography? Any specialist equipment?
With aerial photography it’s all about resolution, the higher the better. Remember the first time you went on Google Earth, I’m betting you went straight to your house and zoomed in as close as you can. Aerial photos are the same and unique in the way they are viewed, make a big print and people just want to get closer, you don’t view portraits or landscapes like that, you’d step back to admire it. With that in mind I use a high res Canon with a wide ranging zoom and image stabiliser, your average DSLR isn’t going to cut it.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (3)
Southsea Show from some years ago.

On an aerial shoot are you able to take photos for yourself in the time in the air?
Most of my work is on commission but I do take advantage of my time in the air to build up my Aerial Photo Library, to be found on my web site, where there are now thousands of images for sale.

Any near misses?
The pilots and helicopters I use are all on an Air Operators Certificate for commercial flying and as such subject to strict maintenance schedules and safety regulations so ‘near misses’ don’t happen but I was in a heli with engine failure once, just as we were coming in to land at the airfield so the pilot set it down on the end of the runway, could’ve been worse I guess. Funny thing is, this wasn’t a working flight, I was being taken out to dinner at a hotel by the operator with their other regular clients. All a bit embarrassing for them really.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (4)
Close up view of the Spinnaker Tower.

What sort of clients do you work with and where do your photos end up being used/shown?
I’ve been involved with some amazing projects. The construction of McLaren’s HQ at Woking, St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton and recently the Thames Gateway Project. Most other jobs are more mundane but it still gets me up in a helicopter on a regular basis.

Which do you prefer, helicopter or aeroplane?
I don’t use fixed wing, although cheaper, they have wheels and wing struts that obscure the view and are much more unstable. There are some companies that use them but they really are inferior, sorry about the cliché but you get what you pay for.

You can see lots more of Chris’ photography on his website and Facebook page, which he often updates with aerial photos challenging people to guess the location. All photos with this interview are copyright of Chris Brunnen and used with kind permission.

www.cjbphotography.co.uk

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (5)
North End from the air.

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Low tide in Langstone Harbour.

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Chris Brunnen.

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb

Personally, there is something really special about sketching, creating a personal interpretation of a place, a location or even a person through pencil, pen or even on a tablet. The lines flow through a quick look of the eye, straight to the paper, with a real sense of what the artist is perceiving, channelled thought their unique creativity and for many artists done almost instinctually, without being bogged down with second guessing and over thinking. Add to this flourishes of colour with washes of watercolour paint, giving a sense of light and perspective you have an image that captures the location and the moment all through the particular eye of the artist.

The local area has a strong lineage sketch and watercolour artists, over the years including the likes of Gosport’s highly regarded Martin Snape, the very popular nautical scenes of William Edward Atkins and in recent years the striking work of students and locals such as the Portsmouth Scrolls of Arran Mackintosh and the many different sights of Portsmouth captured over recent years by the talented Deane Clark.

Now joining this long and talented list of sketch and watercolour artists is Chris Webb, who’s wide and varied work includes a rather wonderful collection of Portsmouth sketches, awash with colour. I first became aware of Chris’ work very recently with a scene of the old Savoy building on Southsea Seafront but have really enjoyed seeing the previous and new work on Chris’ Urbansketcher Facebook page.

Chris’s work is created either on location or inspired through vintage photographs and Portsmouth itself looks to be a constant inspiration. Many of the original ink and watercolour works are available for sale. Chris updates his Facebook page constantly with works from his sketchbook and much more, be sure to give it a Like, look through the many great pieces of work and get in touch directly if you are interested in buying.

www.facebook.com/urbansketcheruk

Below are a few of my favourite recent works:

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (1)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (2)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (3)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (4)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (5)

Created Local with Sam Brandon

Sam Brandon is a 23 year old local illustrator who grew up in Spain and recently last year came to live in the UK, in Southsea, for the first time. Sam currently works as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer with ideas to try to help promote local business, community and culture. Most of Sam’s artwork is completely hand drawn, using a pencil for sketching and then fine line pens or Posca pens for inking and colouring. Serious skills!

You can see some examples of Sam’s work below, including his ‘Keep Southsea Weird’ artwork and you can see more at the following:

Facebook: facebook.com/sam.lewis.brandon
My instagram: @skever
My twitter: @SamuelBrandon

Created Local with Sam Brandon (1)

Created Local with Sam Brandon (3)

Created Local with Sam Brandon (2)

Created Local with Sam Brandon (4)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang

Chloe Hood is a Portsmouth born and bred punk girl who recently finished her degree at the University of Portsmouth in Fashion and Textiles with first class honours, specialising in digitally printed textiles, jersey garments and pattern cutting. Chloe gets most of her inspiration for her textile design from urban sports especially roller derby, skateboarding and BMX. More than just an inspiration, Chloe is also currently a member of the Portsmouth Roller Wenches Fresh Meat, getting involved with Roller Derby. The Roller Wenches and the friends she has met through them have been a huge support throughout her course, graduation and the launch of Hoodlum Fang.

Chloe creates leggings, skirts, shorts, sports dresses and tees, each piece is handmade with love by Chloe personally in her little studio in her home in Portsmouth. All the companies she works with to create these pieces are UK based too. It is awesome to see someone create a brand that is utilising new technology with digital textile printing and making more than the basic garments like t-shirts.

Hoodlum Fang is currently available through an online shop, but Chloe is on the look out for shops that would like to stock the garments, and also selling at local Roller Derby bouts.

Hoodlum Fang is having a 30% flash sale starting today and going through to Sunday 5pm in celebration of getting to 300 likes on the Hoodlum Fang Facebook page.

To check the full range and buy Hoodlum Fang visit:

hoodlumfang.bigcartel.com/products

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Dominic Smith
(Photo by Dominic Smith)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Dominic Smith
(Photo by Dominic Smith)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Dominic Smith
(Photo by Dominic Smith)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Justyna Kloch (2)
(Photo by Justyna Kloch)

Created Local with Dan Choppen

Dan Choppen is a local photographer and filmmaker from Havant who spends much of his time exploring around Portsmouth with his camera and getting involved up front capturing local bands hard at work too. Below are a few of Dan’s images, be sure to keep an eye on Dan’s blog to see more:

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Created Local with Dan Choppen (1)

Created Local with Dan Choppen (2)

Created Local with Dan Choppen (3)

Created Local with Dan Choppen (4)

Created Local with Dan Pease

Dan Pease is a talented young local designer, illustrator and filmmaker and a final year student at the University of Portsmouth. We asked Dan a few questions about his work:

What brought you to Portsmouth originally?
I never knew much about Portsmouth until I came and actually lived in the city. It was one of my choices for uni as I thought it offered a good course. I had a look around before arriving for my first year and it seemed so alien and scary but after living here nearly 3 years I don’t see it as anything less than home.

How has your work developed in the last 3 years?
I have never had a set way of working, I think that is part of what the course offers, the chance for you to really understand how you work and the style in which you work. I have used a lot more software over the past few years for designing t-shirts and creating logo’s. But I still love going back to paper and just drawing. The resources at Uni are massive, so I have done everything from etching to welding, but right now my style could be rendered to any request.

You have worked closely with clothing brands, who have you worked with and how have you developed your designs to suit their brand identities?
I have done a lot of work with clothing brands. Me and my house mate started out own company which is called Idols and Anchors. We decided to do it last year and it was really fun so a lot of the digital designs that I do are for that. My other house mate recently started a brand called Co-Conspiritors and I did the first design for that which was fun and something new as he wanted it in a completely different style. So naturally I had to change my normal way of working and work to how he wanted the design.

What personal projects have you been working on?
Personal projects are such a big part of 3rd year at Uni. I have been doing live projects, some of these include a mural at the Southsea Coffee Co, an Armed Forces brief portraying being away from home and designing logos for another Uni project. I also enjoy filming in my spare time so I film a few of the locals at Southsea Skatepark and make them edits.

What inspires you locally and further afield?
A lot of artists inspire me but also things that are less obvious like a normal situation but with characters and different mediums. I love watching a really well filmed and edited video, but I also love seeing a really amazing piece of artwork. My Bike has always been something which inspired me and probably led to me having an interest in filming and editing. So the BMX scene in Portsmouth is huge and that gives me a lot of motivation to get out and film but seeing other artists artwork has to be the best for wanting to create. Feeding off all the other practitioners in the world is the best motivation there is.

What do you aim to do once you graduate?
After Graduation is a big question at the moment, my dream would be to work in London and live in Brighton. I just don’t want the last 3 years to go towards nothing and waste what I have learnt and accomplished within them. Possibly working in Portsmouth if the right job came up but to be honest its not something I have given a lot of thought towards at the moment.

Visit Dan’s Facebook Page to see more of his work.

Created Local with Dan Pease (1)

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Created Local with Dan Pease (6)

Created Local: Linsey Sinclair

The 10th Hole is a local institution famous for it’s amazing food and in particular…the cakes. In recent weeks though you may have noticed their new t-shirts with an eye-catching piece of design. We spoke with Linsey Sinclair aka Linseymouse about her background and how this design came about.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and Linseymouse?
I first came to Portsmouth for uni and studied video production, but after graduating chose a career in catering and have since managed Rosie’s Vineyard and more recently, The Tenth Hole. After writing countless chalkboards over the years I felt I needed to explore the idea of doing something creative again and so linseymouse was born.

Linseymouse is a relatively new hand-lettering, design and illustration paper goods business based in Southsea. I do a little bit of everything from bespoke gift tags, to on trend greeting cards, wedding stationery, and where it all began, chalkboard writing.

How did the design for the new t-shirt come about?
Since the beginning of the year, The Tenth Hole set out to raise £10’000 for Macmillan cancer support. They’ve offered various fund raising events and staff challenges since January and wanted another way of reaching their target. They came up with the idea of selling a Tenth Hole ‘tee’ and asked me to design an image.

What inspired the new design?
Having worked at the tenth hole and loving it for more than just its cakes! – I wanted to design something that would represent the place in all its glory. I was thinking quirky, coastal and something that would connect with the southsea scene.

Will the tee be available for customers to buy?
Yep absolutely! It’s on sale now at The Tenth Hole. £7 a tee, with all proceeds going to Macmillan cancer support. Only 100 were printed so stock is limited. It’s a get it whilst you can kind of thing at the moment! Hopefully they’ll sell like hotcakes and we can think about continuing the trend!

You can find out more about Linsey’s work on her Twitter (@linseymouse) and on her Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/linseymouse

10th Hole T-Shirt by Linseymouse (1)

10th Hole T-Shirt by Linseymouse (2)

Raw & Auburn at Victorious Festival

Raw & Auburn is a new Southsea based company specialising in hand crafted designs using raw and unique materials. Each item bears it’s own individuality and is different than the last making your purchase all that more special. Using traditional techniques, every product is finished to a high standard and comes with it’s own Mill Cloth bag and they are all finished with the Raw & Auburn signature cross stitch.

If you’re heading down to Victorious Festival this weekend by sure to head over to the Smugglers Market for a browse and check out the amazing products on offer. If you’re looking for something a little different from the norm that’s sure to impress you’re certain to find something that suits over at the Raw & Auburn stall. If you can’t make this weekend you can purchase many of the items over at the Raw & Auburn shop rawandauburn.com.

Raw & Auburn (1)

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Created Local with Photographer Paul Edward Renshaw

Local photographer Paul Edward Renshaw has been out and about in the last few months documenting the different landscapes and people of Portsmouth, with the photos finding a home on his Facebook page. Below are a few examples of Paul’s work, you can view more on Paul’s Flickr or at:

www.facebook.com/perenshawphotography

Created Local with Photographer Paul Edward Renshaw (1)

Created Local with Photographer Paul Edward Renshaw (2)

Created Local with Photographer Paul Edward Renshaw (3)

Created Local – Roo Abrook

I’ve been a big fan of Roo Abrook’s work for ages, in particular her recent work which incorporates vintage printed pages as an in keeping backdrop for her print designs. Roo has been a busy creative within the city for a long time, with work appearing in loads of local places and shops. You may also have seen some of Roo’s work late last year featured in the national press and if you like to find art and gifts that are off the corporate high street but you still want to shop online you may well have seen lots of Roo’s work on the very popular Not On The High Street website too. You can also pick up one off originals and prints direct from Roo at her personal online store too HERE. All the prints are particular awesome and really reasonably priced.

If you too are liking Roo’s work you might also want to Like Roo’s Facebook page as you have a chance to win a print every month of the year, visit Roo Abrook Art Facebook Page for more details.

Find out more about Roo’s work at her personal website below and have a look at the following images showcasing some of her work. You can also find out more about the ‘Queen of Collecting’ with Roo’s interview on the Roost Living blog HERE.

rooabrook.com

Roo Abrook (1)

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Roo Abrook (2)

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Features

Photos from Head Jam 2014

For the second year running Head Mens Hairdressing, Strong Island and My Dog Sighs (this year with Lex Luthor) put on the Head Jam street art event on Albert Road in Southsea. The yard out the back of Head and the Strong Island HQ had last year’s artwork covered during last week and Saturday saw local artists My Dog Sighs, Los Dave, M-One, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Stu Linfield, I am Posy, freakSTATIC, Midge and Samo get involved with new artwork on all of the walls plus the new sculpture too. Extra artwork is also being added today by My Name is Leila. A huge thank you to all the artists and to everyone who popped by throughout the day.

Check some of the photos from the day below, you can see a load more on our Flickr (which is a growing archive of our photography over the last 6 years) or on our Facebook page and if you want to pop in and have a look visit Head at 53 Albert Road.


































Southsea Comedy Festival Competition | Win Two Tickets

The first ever Southsea Comedy Festival opens with Eddie Izzard performing his most recent show ‘Force Majeure’ on 31st July and 1st August. We have a pair of tickets to give away for the Thursday 31st July performance. All you have to do to win this prize is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answer to the following three questions.

1) What is the name of the character voiced by Eddie in Cars 2?
2) In which American city did Eddie begin his 2014 tour Force Majeure?
3) For which charity did Eddie run an incredible 43 marathons in 51 days?!

The deadline for entries will be midnight Monday 21st July with the winner being announced Tuesday 22nd in the evening.

If you don’t want to risk missing out then Southsea Comedy Festival tickets are available by calling 0844 847 2362 and online at www.southseacomedyfestival.co.uk. You can follow the Southsea Comedy Festival on Twitter @SouthseaComedy.

Eddie Izzard Southsea Comedy Festival Logo

Southseacomedyfestival

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection

We’ve been exceptionally busy over at Strong Island HQ for the best part of 2014 so far and the latest Strong Island Clothing Co range has been in development for some time. We are now proud to announce the launch of our latest line of tee and crew designs for the Summer. This is the biggest run we have done to date and we wanted to ensure it was a really strong range so didn’t want to rush it.

We have a wide range of new colours and designs including our first 2 colour print on the popular Refuse to Sink and a return to our second tee style back in 2010 with a backprint (this time in navy) in the classic Strong Island logo. We also have a seriously strong collaboration with University of Portsmouth graduate and award winning letterform designer Andy Lethbridge AKA Hand Type. These are something truly special and we’re really stoked how they came out, the detail in the print really reflects the brush strokes of Andy’s work. We will have more on Hand Type and the development of these designs on Strong Island soon in a full interview. We also have pocket tees with the new Down the Hatch design which form part of something we are keeping under our hats for bit…some old favourites have been revisited too with new colourways and 2 new graphic tees as well. Our latest crew retains the same quality as before featuring ribbed side panels, a back neck loop, deep cuffs, a double v-insert on the neckline and raglan sleeves but with new striped cuffs. With a more contemporary and slimmer fit than most sweatshirts it’s certainly a more premium line. As always all our tees and crews are hand screenprinted in East London by the mighty Lovenskate, including the anchor signoff on the back and detail on the inside neck.

We have a few more mini launches coming up over the next few weeks including more tees, something for the cyclists out there, some very special hand produced items from Poland using original 1940′s techniques and also something to lounge on in summer and keep you warm in the winter. Not to mention another very special artist collaboration too.

All of the tees and crews from the main, initial drop will be available this weekend during Head Jam at Head Hairdressing, 53 Albert Road, Southsea (weather permitting). They will then go online in Shop Ahoy next week.

For now please enjoy our latest Lookbook shot by Strong Island Media over at Dell Quay, Chichester. The perfect day to go for a wander around the marina, fields and woodlands with a few cheeky beers at the Crown & Anchor.

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (1)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (2)

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Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (11)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (12)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (13)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (14)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (15)

Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection (16)

Strong Island, Lex Luthor & My Dog Sighs present Head Jam 2014 – Saturday 19th July

Last years Head Jam was such a resounding success with some of the nations best street artists that we eagerly began talking about the following year before the paint had even dried. We discussed how we could run the event again and where to do it, but the answer was simple and literally looking right at us. We hold it in the same place again. Make the courtyard at Head Hairdressing the centre of an annual event where the outcome is available to view for the year, then return, white wash the previous artwork away, and do it all again. After all, street art is an ever changing and developing media in it’s own right and in it’s usual environment where it gets ripped down, tagged, covered in fly posters, lost to demolition and built on, the artists have no fear of their art being lost. It’s part of the job so to speak…

Rick from Head Hairdressing at 53 Albert Road (just along from the Wine Vaults and next to Southsea Gallery) conceived the idea of having the courtyard to the rear of the local barbers transformed in to a permanent giant art piece. From precision multilayered stencils, through bubble gum cutsie to surreal illustrative mayhem, Lex Luthor and My Dog Sighs have hand picked some of their favourite artists to produce the ultimate street art dreamscape courtyard…again!

Head Jam will run all day so feel free to pop along, take a look, have a chat, hang out, meet the artists and enjoy the atmosphere. There will be music on all day, a BBQ turning over in the background if you want to stick a burger on (not supplied), and please feel free to bring along a beer too. Everyone is welcome, so bring the kids so they can see some of the finest street artists working together in this unique environment.

Attending artists include: MyDogSighs, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Fark, Nova, M-one Art, Los Dave, Stu Linfield, Morf, Freakstatic and Ooberla. Wow, this is going to be amazing! If you pop along please be sure to tag the event on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #HeadJam and we will put up a series of your photos from the day.

Strong Island Clothing Co will also be launching their latest range of tees and crews before they go online the following week. So if you want to get in there for an exclusive purchase before anyone else head on down and check it all out. Everything will be out to view, and there is a sneak peak at the end of this post (the full look book will go up this week). Also all of our PFC tees and crews are on offer, bargain. We look forward to seeing you all.

Old paint on a wall

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (1)

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Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (3)

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Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (5)

Head Jam, photo by Paul Gonella

Photos: Matt Maber

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Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer and Grace Aquilina – Day Three

Despite the effects of the night before, those who have arisen from their partially soggy tents and dared to walk through alcohol and rain sodden hay look forward to listen to live music at The Wild Stage and in The Hustle Den at midday. In keeping with the wildlife theme the crowd was littered with all sorts of animal themed costumes, and what I can only expect was a stag party of monkey’s.

Burning Beaches took to the stage at 12:00pm in The Hustle Den, where sleepy eyes were literally opened in awe of the band’s soft rock sound. Heavy bass woke even the most sluggish and grungy vocals perfectly complimented a latte. The vocals echoed around the tent, emphasising the roughness and fervency.

Blissfields is without a doubt well-deserved of it’s reputation for finding and nurturing local artists and upcoming talent, and this year was no exception; Saturday brought with it the chance for discovering yet more new artists, one of which being Australian singer-songwriter Ry X. His hazy almost whispered vocals drew comparisons to The xx and Blissfields favourites London Grammar, and Ry X transfixed the audience throughout his set with his soft tenor tones. His track ‘Berlin’ is well worth a listen.

Later on in the afternoon, Floella Grace wowed her audience in The Larch to complete silence and a dream-like-state. Her dreamy, sobering vocals accompanied by fellow string player Gareth and two silvery-voiced backing singers made for an awesome and enlightening performance. The ukulele was played sweetly and harmoniously with the slightly more robust guitar; the entire performance being one of sincerity courtesy of her unvarnished, honest lyrics.

After Floella Grace’s soothing and lulling performance, the audience was re-awakened with the The Boy I Used To Be’s garage pop sound. With breathy, low vocals and slightly metallic guitar riffs, the band’s ‘sun-drenched’ sound ironically complimented the gloomy Great British Weather.

A personal highlight of Saturday was the chance to catch Laurel in the Hustle Den; she has truly developed her own distinctive style, although it is easy to see why over the last year she has been compared to Lana Del Ray, Lorde, and Laura Marling. On stage, she mesmerises the crowd with her sultry and coquettish presence, and switches effortlessly between softer and louder tracks, such as the lead song from her Blue Blood EP, which showcases the depth and richness of her voice.

By now sky was taken over with cloud but with temperatures still high anticipation grew for the headliner, 2ManyDJs, the semi-incognito side project of prolific 90s DJs Soulwax. The Dewaele brothers’ experience was evident throughout their set, with their ability to bring the crowd effortlessly through highs and lows, and build the sweat and alcohol fuelled festival-goers into a frenzy. However, while there were certainly some sore heads as Sunday morning dawned, there were plenty of wide grins too.

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Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Cosmo Sheldrake @ The Hustle Den
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Beans On Toast Presents… At The Larch Stage
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Chlöe Howl @ The Wild Stage
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Laurel @ The Hustle Den
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014 Laurel
Laurel @ The Hustle Den

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth – Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’

We continue with our co-published history articles with aspex Gallery, researched by Laura McLean-Ferris who has recently been crawling through the Aspex Gallery archives and has produced a series of articles for aspex about their 33 year history. We’re very happy to partner up and cross post their aspex history blog posts here on Strong Island, you can see the original aspex blog post HERE. This fourth article in the series today looks at how aspex worked with Cornelia Parker in the late 1980s, and how Art Space Portsmouth & aspex became separate organisations.

Now in the Tate collection, Cornelia Parker’s Thirty Pieces of Silver (1988-89) is an installation of over 1000 pieces of silverware that the artist had flattened by a steamroller. Each is suspended from the ceiling using copper wire, hanging a few inches above the gallery floor in clustered puddles, forming a kind of grid. The work transforms domestic items, such as cigarette cases, trophies, and tableware, into pure elemental material, and yet each flat silver disc contains within it the ghost of a former life. Silver is commemorative – and many of the items are suggestive of occasions such as birth, retirement, engagement, triumph or memorial. The work displays Parker’s interest, around this time, in acts of material violence that expand the viewer’s engagement with the objects and materials around them.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (1)

Les Buckingham, then director of aspex, recalls seeing 30 Pieces of Silver at Ikon Gallery and being particularly taken with it, and so approaching Parker to invite her to show the work at aspex. ‘I knew the director of Ikon, Antonia Payne’, Buckingham remembers, ‘and she agreed that I could approach Cornelia about a second showing. The piece was installed at Ikon in the basement and was smaller than intended. When I talked to Cornelia she jumped at the chance to show it in a large and high space. The installation was the most complex of my career, filling the entire gallery, (1600 sq feet), and involving three weeks work and miles of fuse wire. Six to ten people worked on the project with the artist and the results were spectacular.’ Amusingly, there’s a note in the aspex archives which details that the height for suspension was ‘One toilet roll plus a piece of hardboard’.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (2)

In contrast to the way the work is now shown, visitors were able to walk between the pools of sculptures. Following a visit to aspex by the Arts Council the work was selected for the British Art Show. The artist discussed the time-lag that it took for the work to make an impact in a recent interview with The Guardian. ‘I made Thirty Pieces of Silver for the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and it didn’t get a single review’, she says. ‘It wasn’t until it was shown at the British Art Show at the Hayward a year later that people noticed.’ The work was purchased for the Tate Collection in 1998.

aspex was also going through changes during this period. Following several years of working as an artist-run space, the threat of climbing rents compelled the organisation to transform to its status to a charity, which meant transforming the structure of aspex. In an effort to protect the gallery and studio artists from high rents, the decision was made to seek charitable status and Aspex Visual Arts Trust was formed. Buckingham remembers this as a complicated period of transformation for the organisation, which essentially split the studios from the gallery, but it was one that was necessary to secure aspex, as a resource that would continue to exist after its founders were no longer involved. Though the two are now separate entities, the Trust continues to work together with the artist founders at Art Space Portsmouth.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (3)

All images courtesy of the Aspex Visual Arts Trust Ltd. and the artist.