@the.art.of.beer

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Seth

Seth is a creative from Nottingham. 4 years ago he was bored and needed a hobby. After much soul-searching he had the daft idea of trying to cram 500 different beers into 365 days. That proved challenging, but he did it.

How did The Art Of Beer start?

Whilst glugging down beer and after beer, I wanted to turn that hobby into something a little more rewarding and make it an ownable project. This is the point I started to illustrate every beer I downed. This was the start of The Art Of Beer. As this journey has unfolded on Instagram I've made lots of new connections - from across the world. It’s been really exciting to talk my 2 loves - ART and BEER with a wide range of people.

What kind of art were you creating before beer?


I'm a Creative Director by day at a Nottingham design agency. I specialise in beauty brands - quite a fetch from beer. I get to be hand-ons less and less, so when I first started The Art Of Beer it was because I was looking for another outlet to continue to finesse and improve my design skills.



Where do you get your inspiration from?

Life. Everything and anything. My pictures are naive and simple - they aim to communicate words - without words - in the simplest form. As well as make you smile. And they should look nice too.


Have you ever had days where you lose inspiration

At times, you can struggle and fight with an illustration - but the joy of being a creative is the problem solving. If it was easy it would be boring - no-one wants boring.  


Have you ever worked on a piece and hated it?

It took 300 illustrations to really find my signature style. There’s been plenty of ropey illustrations - you'll see many have been deleted in shame. I’m not sure I will ever say any of my illustrations are finished. As soon as you send a piece of work to print its out-of-date - I will always want to polish and tweak and play with work that little bit more. Striving for the ‘perfect’ visual (even though it doesn’t exist) is a healthy obsession.



How many beer brands do you think you have tried?

I drink quicker than I draw. To date, I've illustrated 750+ beers - half the number I’ve drank. Thank goodness for UnTapped.



What keeps you going when you feel stuck or lost?

The project has become an integral part of my life. I've not stopped - and won’t stop, because its become a medicine. I struggle with depression, so the daily illustration has become a great way to keep the mind busy in the evenings.

Best advice you have ever been given?

Be brave. Make mistakes. Best way to learn.



To see the visual beer diary visit @the.art.of.beer on Instagram, or to buy a print visit theartofbeer.store

 

September at The Pistonhead Foundation

Fruit Factory x Concrete Music - Photo: Brynley Davies

Fruit Factory x Concrete Music - Photo: Brynley Davies

Summer was a busy one here at the Foundation, but the events only continue as we head into Autumn! Here are all the awesome things we supported during September:

CWRW Bar Opening Night

Carmathen in Wales lost its main independent music venue six months ago, but in September it reopened with a new name, new look, live music and lots of delicious craft beer. We love to support independent venues at the Pistonhead Foundation, so we sent down some of our own craft beers for everyone to enjoy at the CWRW launch! It was a successful opening night, complete with pizza, music and beers. If you’re in the Carmathen area, be sure to check them out.

You can find CWRW Bar on social @cwrwbar

CWRW Launch Night

CWRW Launch Night

Rawsound TV

Rawsound TV are an online channel showcasing the best in live music, particularly unsigned artists. They’re totally self-funded, so we sponsored their shows throughout September, supplying beers and t-shirts for the bands and crew.

Watch the latest episode on their YouTube here

Imperial Wax & Rawsound TV hosts enjoying a Pistonhead - Photo @rawsoundtv

Imperial Wax & Rawsound TV hosts enjoying a Pistonhead - Photo @rawsoundtv

Gallery Society Presents September Exposure

Gallery Society put on physical retail events to showcase the best emerging online brands. Their September pop-up was launching a host of new collections from upcoming designers, including fashion brands Piilgrim, SCRT and KROST, jewellery collective Motley London and natural skincare Drifter and Bowe. When they asked us to sponsor the launch night on 10th September, of course we agreed to supporting these breakthrough artists. It was a busy evening filled with music, shopping and lots of beer from us!

Keep up with Gallery Society’s events on their social @gallerysociety

Gallery Society had a successful pop-up in Soho

Gallery Society had a successful pop-up in Soho

Fruit Factory x Concrete Music at Rye Society

Fruit Factory started last year as a mates’ get together in South London. After three sell out parties, they decided to partner with Concrete Music, the electronic event collective close approaching their 9th birthday. The end of summer party took place at the new Peckham rooftop space, Rye Society, and was another sunny sell-out day with plenty of disco and Pistonhead Lager.

Follow @fruitfactoryldn & @ryesocietyse15 on social

Fruit Factory was a sunny end to summer - Photo: Brynley Davies

Fruit Factory was a sunny end to summer - Photo: Brynley Davies

Albie the Artist at Krazy Horse

Albie Espinola is London based biker artist. On 26th September, he hosted a special exhibition of his latest artworks at Krazy Horse, the motorcycle shop in Welling. It was an awesome showing of Albie’s amazing handcrafted pieces, artwork of custom builds, vintage motorcucles and colourful characters from the biker community. Plus, the exhibition was fuelled by Pistonhead Lager!

Read our interview with Albie here and follow him on social @albietheartist

Albie and his art at Krazy Horse - Photo: James Catley

Albie and his art at Krazy Horse - Photo: James Catley

Does your event, exhibition, collection or gig need sponsoring? Get in touch with us and we’ll do what we can to help: www.pistonheadfoundationuk.com/support

 

Mind over matter: why people in music are now looking for alcohol alternatives

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Celebrating with bandmates, enjoying a few at a gig, getting the creativity flowing… drinking alcohol is often seen at the centre of working in the UK music industry. However, according to the latest British Lifestyles report by Mintel, 20% of UK adults now don’t drink and of those that do drink, 47% have cut back.

This is now translating into music, as artists, producers, A&Rs and more are reacting against the peer pressure to drink. They’re prioritising a clear head over hangovers, to allow them to be as creative as possible, work hard and move forward successfully in the industry.

We spoke to three key figures in music about why they think drinking alcohol is declining amongst their peers.

Stuart Drake is the lead singer of rock/indie band PEAK. After getting bored of alcohol being his go-to remedy, he decided to get his head clear. Although he’s only been sober a short while, Stuart thinks it’s positively affecting his creativity. “It’s easier to sit down and spend a lot more time writing ‘cause I’m not an hour in, nearly a bottle of whiskey down and ready for bed!”

Stuart thinks more people in the industry are drinking less because society today is more “health conscious”, which is a good thing. “Drink is so easily available, it’s the legal medicine… but it’s a thing now to be healthy.”

Does he think there’s peer pressure to drink in the music industry?

“Definitely. It’s a social thing, and if you tell people you’re in a band and you don’t drink it ain’t ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ is it. The bible says you gotta go mad at it! I loved a drink man, and I haven’t HAD to stop, but since stopping people are shocked, some people actually find it so out there that I haven’t touched a drop and don’t plan to return.”

Stuart’s band PEAK has just released an EP - Photo @peakband

Stuart’s band PEAK has just released an EP - Photo @peakband

Mark Piddington is Founder, Producer and Director of Rawsound TV, an online channel showcasing the best in live music. He thinks there’s always been pressure to conform to perceived standards within music “especially amongst the younger and more influenced people”, which is perhaps why drinking got so out of hand in the industry in the first place.

He chose to stop drinking as it didn’t suit his lifestyle anymore. “It has had a really positive effect on me and my work. Alcohol always had a negative effect on creativity for me.”

Mark believes his peers are realising now there’s a whole world beyond drinking. “People generally are drinking less or giving up completely due to more research into the negative effects of heavy alcohol consumption and alternative lifestyle choices.”

However, there’s not enough choice of non-alcoholic drinks in venues. “What is usually on offer is full of sweeteners and extremely overpriced.” On a night out, he ends up just drinking “coffee or water”.

Mark Piddington works for RawSound TV - Photo by Danielle M Clarke Photography

Mark Piddington works for RawSound TV - Photo by Danielle M Clarke Photography

Mark Davyd is Founder and CEO of Music Venue Trust, a charity which acts to protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music Venues. Although not tee-total himself, he thinks there’s a problem with excess drinking in the industry.

“We not only have large amounts of time in which we are waiting for things to happen (waiting for the soundcheck, waiting for the doors, waiting to go on), but we have also created immediate access to frightening amounts of alcohol while that waiting is happening.”

He does think that people in music are becoming more aware of the negative connotations of excess drinking though, partly due to a generational change. “Many people now entering the music industry have never drunk. There’s been a lot of conversations in the industry about managing health and wellbeing.”

He agrees with Mark Piddington that there’s not enough choice in music venues for people not drinking, because they’re not sure it’s financially viable yet. “Most venues have limited areas in which to sell drinks. Each square metre of stock matters, so the commercial question is, what level of that square meterage can you dedicate to non-alcoholic?”

He would like to see non-alcoholic beers being offered in venues, something he sees as an obvious choice. Mark believes we’re well behind Europe in our offerings of alcohol free in music venues.

“A recent visit to Budapest, for example, showed most venues offering more than 20 different [alcohol free] drink options, many of them carefully prepared as almost cocktail style options. The price of the drink itself has been maintained, it’s only the alcohol that has been removed.”

It sounds like whilst sobriety in music is only increasing in popularity, venues are sticking to what they know: alcohol. Here at Pistonhead, we offer a non-alcoholic version of our cult lager, Flat Tire, which works as an excellent introduction into the alcohol-free lifestyle. It tastes the same, just without the hangover! With more alcohol free options coming on the market all the time, hopefully music venues can soon catch up with the booming sober movement in the industry.

Pistonhead have a non-alcoholic version of their Flat Tire lager

Pistonhead have a non-alcoholic version of their Flat Tire lager

Many thanks to our contributors for helping us with this article.

PEAK’s debut EP has just launched, find it on Spotify or it’s available to buy at HMV Manchester

Or follow PEAK and Stuart on social @peakband

Catch Mark Piddington presenting RawSound TV here: rawsoundtv.com/

Or follow them on social @rawsoundtv

Check out Mark Davyd’s amazing charity Music Venue Trust here: musicvenuetrust.com/

Or follow them on social @musicvenuetrust

Are you a venue or creative looking for support? Perhaps you need non-alcoholic beer for an event? Get in touch via our website www.pistonheadfoundationuk.com/support

If you’re in the music industry and suffering with an alcohol or drug addiction, Music Support is a charity that offers a 24/7 helpline www.musicsupport.org/what-we-do

@albietheartist

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Albie Espinola

Albie is an artist born and bred in London to Filipino parents, he grew up in Notting Hill, a special area of London known for its diversity. Albie’s life is just as diverse, in a day he would be teaching boxing to his Irish traveller extended family, mingling at a VIP event, hanging out in Portobello eating yummy street food, riding around town with biker friends, and in between all the activity, feeling inspired and creating artwork.

How would you best describe your art?

I celebrate motorcycles and the people who ride them.

My hand crafted pieces are of custom builds, vintage motorcycles and the colourful characters from the biker community. The art is printed in various sizes on Heavyweight Paper and Metal, shipped worldwide.

What were you doing before you became an artist?

Before I became a full time artist, I used to help run nightclubs in Mayfair and Chelsea. The kind of places where celebrities and VIP’s would hang out and party. It was a great time. 

When I got my Harley-Davidson in late 2014, everything changed. All I could think about was bikes - reading about them, studying the history, buying loads of parts to customise my H-D, learning basic mechanics, meeting up and riding out with fellow bikers, and of course creating motorcycle inspired art pieces.

In January 2015, I made the bold move to quit the party industry and become an artist. My girlfriend Holly (who also rides) likes to party, so we go out now and again when in London. Gotta have balance, you know.

I knew I was on to something cool when Back Street Heroes magazine wrote about my first biker painting. Since then, I’ve been written about in books and magazines, had numerous exhibitions, and my art has homes all over the world.

Do you miss working with oil paints and marker pens?

What is most important is that I create. It doesn’t matter whether working in oil paints, pencil, metal, I just love to create.

My partner Holly and I (along with our doggie Arty) travel back and forth from London to our home in West Sussex a lot, so finding time to do an oil painting in the garage was a challenge. It actually hindered my creative process as layers took up to a week to dry. Commissions would sometimes take months to complete which is not ideal.

With marker pens, the situation was a little better as I could create anywhere and the markers dried instantly. However, this meant carrying a massive bag of 200 markers with me and rolls of paper. Working this way wasn’t kind on my back!

My art is now digitally drawn with my iPad Pro, and suits my lifestyle where I can get ideas down relatively quick. The time taken for a piece is still 12-20 hours, which is the same amount of time as working on a painting.

For one-off commissions and Metal prints, I will now be offering the option to hand embellish pieces with paints and mixed media, for a truly one-of-a-kind artwork.

What do you love about working on art digitally?

There are many advantages. I can work from anywhere without carrying any materials, nor do I have to worry about the drying time of paints.

Although the iPad Pro is the size of an A4 piece of paper, I calibrate the digital canvas to A0 which is sixteen times bigger. The prints are super sharp and beautifully detailed.

Do you work on anything else aside from motorcycles?

I do love portraiture and often feature people in my work. Landscapes and cityscapes would be exciting to explore too.


What kind of obstacles have you faced during this journey?

The biggest obstacle is definitely the business side. The question that needed answering was, how can I give value to customers so I can continue to do what I enjoy?

I’ve found that selling prints of my work makes it much more accessible for people to purchase my art. The art comes in various sizes and materials to suit people’s budget and space (available from my website www.AlbieTheArtist.com)

The best compliment you have ever received about your work?

A couple of magazines called me the “Motorcycle World’s Artist-In-Residence”. That was kinda cool, and a massive honour!

 

Tell us what you have got in store for your art exhibition at Krazy Horse?

On Thursday 26 September, we will be celebrating motorcycles and the people who ride them through art.

20 biker art pieces will be on display amongst the Indian, Norton, MV Agusta and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Make your grand entrance to the show! Bikers are welcome to join the ride out to the exhibition from Central London. We are meeting at 5pm just behind Tate Modern (The Gallery, Unit R1, Bankside 1, Southwark, ENG SE1 9TG). We will depart 5:45pm sharp and All About Holly will lead the way to Krazy Horse London.

I will be taking pictures throughout the evening of people and bikes, so I could use for my next art pieces.

And of course the night will be fuelled by Pistonhead Lager.

RSVP via my Facebook Page “Albie The Artist”

@albietheartist

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@kholmes_art

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Kelly Ann Holmes

Kelly Ann Holmes is a self taught mixed media artist living in Nottingham with her two poodles. Kelly only really started her artistic practices back in 2012. Prior to that, she worked for about 15 years in the hospitality industry, covering everything from restaurant work to festivals, guesthouses and pub management.

How did this all start?

I came to art relatively late in life, I was 35 before I even considered it as a hobby, let alone a serious one, and the idea of ever making it into anything even resembling a career was ludicrous. But, 7 years later I have just been accepted onto a Fine Art degree at Nottingham Trent University, so I am very excited about what the future might hold.

For the most part I use recycled materials to create my pieces and my signature material is the good old beer can, used of course.

Why cans?

The use of can came from surplus materials I had around me, a love for upcycling and generally being a bit quirky.

This may sound a bit romantic, but it was while working at Glastonbury one summer. One thing you see there is a tonne of empty cans, the idea just kind of came to me. It seemed a bit of a long shot for someone with zero artistic background to be able to cobble together a portrait out of used beer cans, and there certainly aren't any lessons for such a niche subject, so I set about teaching myself how to do it.

The first one I ever made was probably well beyond what I was expecting, which gave me the motivation to crack the hell on and get good.

There is an army of artists in this country who use recycled materials, but as much as I tried, I couldn't find anyone doing it with beer cans, so the fact that it would set me apart from others was also a bonus.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from pop art, popular culture, a real passion for upcycling and from characters I find interesting. The reasons I find them interesting are probably a bit darker than why most people are attracted to them. Many of the portraits I do are of people who have had troubled lives, whilst at the same time balancing on a ludicrously high pedestal. I think it comes from an interest in mental health and addiction issues.  

I also draw a huge amount of inspiration from my peer group and the wider art community in general, there are some incredibly talented people out there, creating daily masterpieces, and they inspire me just as much as any famous artist you may have heard of.

What are the difficulties with using cans?

Using cans has its own unique set of difficulties. The deconstruction of them, taking the top and bottom off with a Stanley knife and a pair of scissors, is not only laborious, but pretty grim given that beer turns to snot like gunk in the bottom of a can in no time at all.  

I have often sat and lost the will to live whilst realising why nobody is daft enough to put themselves through cutting up hundreds of cans and developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Needless to say, I have a massive stack (about 2000) uncut cans, stored down the garden, waiting until needs absolutely must.

Everybody asks if I cut myself, the answer being no, well maybe twice in 7 years. However, I hit my thumb a lot as I hammer the pins in. A lot!

 

Have you ever doubted your own work? 

I constantly doubt my own work, which is absolutely to do with my own confidence issues. For the most part I am proud of it, but with every single piece I find fault and have a crisis of confidence. 

That might sound like I'm a bit of a Debbie Downer, but it's not like that. It's really hard to articulate actually. I have bursts of self confidence , feeling really enthused and motivated but that can all be shattered by 5 minutes of self doubt. And then to go on and tell anybody that you feel like that, in turn makes you feel like you're fishing for compliments. You you’re your work's good, but it's not good enough for you. 

So yeah, I doubt my own work plenty.

 

The best compliment you have received about your work?

I guess the best compliment I have ever received is when I have been commissioned to make a piece and been told to make what I want. I think that's a huge amount of trust and confidence to place in an artist. On the few occasions that I have been asked to do that, I have enjoyed it so much, and been really happy with the results, as were the clients.

I have had so many amazing compliments about my work, both in person and online, I never take any of them for granted and they really do mean a lot, I see it as someone taking time from their day to give you a confidence boost. That is not to be taken lightly.

@kholmes_art

August at the Pistonhead Foundation

And so, the summer comes to an end, as does another busy month of activities for the Pistonhead Foundation. Here’s what we got up to…

Keep Hush August Gigs

Keep Hush is a members’ club across London, Bristol and Manchester. They put on weekly electronic music events and stream them live. It's free to join and free to go to the events: the inclusive community platform is dedicated to putting their members first. We love what they’re doing for underground music, so were pleased we could support them across three events in August: Sherelle on 8th August, Mr Phomer on 15th August and Moodswing Takeover on 21st August.

Become a member to check out the next event: keephush.net

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Follow Keep Hush on social: @keephushuk

Roadkill Records Summer Festival

Roadkill Records is a DIY label based in London. They look after a number of amazing artists, mainly from the garage, psych and surf rock genres. As a fast growing label promoting a host of exciting emerging bands, we were happy to support their free summer festival at The Victoria, Dalston, a venue renowned for supporting up and coming artists. The annual weekend put together one of their biggest line-ups yet, with the likes of Two Tribes, After London, Murmur, GURU and special sets from DJs such as The Sly Persuaders and Saint Agnes.  We can’t wait for the next all-dayer!

Find Roadkill Records on social here: @roadkillrecords

Image: Keira Cullinane

Image: Keira Cullinane

Devolution Summer @ World of Echo Music

New record store World of Echo Music hosted a month of in-store performances at their site on Columbia Road, East London. We sponsored the final three events, a live performance from J. Mcfarlane’s Reality Guest, a DJ set from Nik Colk Void and another live performance from Modern Nature. It was great we were able to support an independent record shop, along with these emerging artists. Beautiful music and plenty of Pistonhead Lager, what more could you want.

World of Echo are on social @worldofechomusic

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Does your event, exhibition, collection or gig need sponsoring? Get in touch via our website and we’ll do what we can to help: www.pistonheadfoundationuk.com/support

Five Emerging Music Talent Competitions to Enter

So, you think you’ve got talent? The creative world is a hard one to break. Entering a competition to show all the right people what you’ve got to offer can be an excellent career launch pad. Here’s our pick of the best, get entering:

Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent

The most notorious of emerging talent competitions, it gives new UK and Ireland based acts of any musical genre the chance of a lifetime: to play a slot on one of the main stages at Glastonbury Festival. It’s free to enter for one week only every January, so now’s the time to get prepared for the early 2020 intake. Winners are also awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize, and two runners up a £2,500 one from PRS Foundation to assist in taking their acts to the next level.

Simply supply a link to one original song on SoundCloud, and a video of you performing live (even just in a bedroom) and you could be narrowed down to Michael and Emily Eavis’ shortlist of eight artists. The live final takes part in April in Pilton (and the last four years, all eight were offered a Glastonbury slot). Stay tuned to the Glastonbury Festival website for announcements. www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

Image: Crack Magazine

Image: Crack Magazine

Green Man Rising

Another festival competition, Green Man Rising has been running for 11 years supported by Green Man Trust and Arts Council Wales. It gives entrants the chance to open the Mountain Stage at Green Man Festival as the winner, as well as an opportunity to shoot a live video session. Runners up perform on the Rising Stage at the festival and even the finalists are given an opportunity to perform. This is at The Lexington, London in front of a panel of music industry insiders. It opens early 2020 and closes in May. Keep an eye on the website for updates: www.greenman.net/rising/

Open Mic UK

The biggest search for unsigned music artists, this competition holds open auditions all around the country. Every year, starting in August, more than 10,000 people enter: singers, songwriters, rappers, vocal groups and more. All genres are welcome, and acts can perform covers or originals. If you get through to the live shows, you’ll perform to a huge audience and music industry judges in venues such as The NEC and The O2. Last year’s competition featured judges from Modest Management, Universal Music and Sony.

The overall winner will receive studio time to record their debut album, a video for the best single and extensive media promotion from a PR company. Plus, there’s thousands of pounds worth of other prizes up for grabs, including free photos/film of performances and recording studio time. There’s still time to enter for this year, check your nearest audition here: www.openmicuk.co.uk/auditions/

Image: Keira Cullinane

Image: Keira Cullinane

Soundwaves

A new competition for this year, this talent search is all about the live performance, one of the biggest aspects of the industry. The competition takes to Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham and London (the biggest band and singing contest in these cities) to reach one overall national winner. Something different about Soundwaves is they have a fully staged A&R segment with a management and events promotions arm as part of the competition. It’s an unprecedented opportunity for new acts to experience this support.

Finalists get the chance to perform in prestigious venues to music industry executives. The overall winner receives a UK tour, radio exposure and slots to perform live on air, a chance to develop and sign alongside partner label Subwaves and press exposure. The competition is for acts of all ages, formats and genres. The first stage is applying online, then sending a video. Next, you could be asked to take part in a live audition festival near you. The best from this are invited to perform at The Checkpoint Stage. Finally, there is a national final. 2019 has now closed but you can start entering for the 2020 competition already here: www.soundwavemusiccompetition.co.uk/entermusiccompetition

Tramlines Apply to Play

Grassroots Sheffield based music festival Tramlines hunt for an up-and-coming band or performer to play at the festival each year. There is no fee involved, and alumni include the likes of Imi, Kadija Kamara, Little Grace, Polo, Saint Petersburg, The Golden Age of TV and Universal Tree.

Entrants just need to fill in a form and send in their music, and the shortlist will be judged by BBC Introducing Sheffield, friends of and performers from Tramlines. Find more information here: tramlines.org.uk/apply-to-play-2019/ and keep an eye on their social media @tramlines for when the 2020 competition is launching. 

If you’re an emerging act looking for support, get in touch with us at www.pistonheadfoundationuk.com/support

 

@Florenceleeandco

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Florence Lee

Flo is a Bristol based Artist, primarily focussing on Portrait and Figurative artwork, but she remains open minded about where her journey might take her in terms of subject matter.

Tell us about yourself?

I was somewhat thrown into the deep end back in 2018 after being made redundant from a corporate career of 13 years. I studied Art at a younger age, but as soon as my study finished so did my art practice.

In 2018 I challenged myself to create a unique piece of Artwork each day, I succeeded and created over 365 pieces.  It really helped me to develop my confidence and developing style- I would highly recommend it to anyone.

 

How would you best describe your style?

 My style is ever evolving, and sometimes determined by the materials I use. However, I am fascinated by being able to see the inner structure of an artwork, so that you can see the journey a painting has taken. I leave brushstrokes clearly visible and expressive, I leave areas of paintings intentionally underdeveloped – The Artist Steve Huston said, “Art is not a Lecture, it’s a conversation” I love to create both to convey an idea but also for pure aesthetic pleasure.

 

When did you start getting into art?

I have always loved creating, from a young age. I don’t remember a start point, it is always something I have just done. To this day my mum hasn’t let me forget that I drew spiders around my childhood home in permanent marker pen.

I studied Art throughout my school years, went on to do a foundation degree and then a diploma, but never went on to university.

My Art then just remained as a hobby until early last year.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 At the moment I am mainly inspired by portraiture. There are amazing resources out there to use for reference images, so sometimes I am simply inspired by a pose, angle or shadow on a face. However, I am sometimes inspired by memories, inspirational people or even by just a single word.

 

The longest time you have spent on a project?

I am a mother to a young family so my art practice has to fit around school runs etc. I could spend a week on a piece, but only spend a few hours each day creating it.   I am a fast worker and never time how long I spend on a piece. I am also very decisive, so if a piece just doesn’t feel right, even after spending hours creating it, I do not find it difficult painting over it, and starting over.

 

How do you pair colours together, what goes through your mind before your decision?

I experiment lots! Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!!

I like to combine what would be considered realistic colours with bright and contrasting colours, I like to make it interesting. I often have a set idea with the colours I would like to use, and this can be influenced by an idea behind a painting, but throughout the process I have to remain open minded. It often happens that my original colour ideas before I set paint to canvas or paper, are different to the final result.

How do you seek opportunities?

I use social media daily and have built an amazing network of friends through this. We all share opportunities we have heard about, whether it’s an open call, café looking for work or an Art trail. I love helping others as well, so if I am approached by someone for a commission, and I don’t think I am the artist for the job, then I will happily recommend others.

I network regularly with people who are passionate about interior design, whether that be in their own home or as a business owner, using Instagram and Linked in.

Word of mouth is very powerful and have completed commissions and had sales off of the back of my work being seen in other people’s homes. I try to be guided by creating what I love creating, not to try and create to sell, or to second guess what people will like- I think this honesty in turn will bring the right opportunities.  

What challenges have you faced?

The main challenges I have faced have been completely self- created. I am highly motivated, and genuinely never find it difficult to create each day or push my art career.

However, challenging this, is self- doubt, handling rejection, understanding your path or niche. I would doubt that my work was good enough, that my work was not worthy of a certain price tag. Rejection always feels very personal and feeds the self- doubt.

As a mum, needing to provide for my family, there has always been the added pressure of creating an income from my artwork. As much as I love creating, unless it continues to create an income, I will not be able to continue. Therefore, another challenge has been to create a sustainable career from what I do.

More recently I have learned to trust my journey, to keep creating, keep pushing and not worry about having it all figured out yet. I am getting better at not comparing myself to others, as ultimately, I would end up viewing my work as interior or not “as good”.

Staying positive, practicing mindfulness and yoga as a part of my Art practice has helped endlessly, taking time for myself.

 

Best compliment you have ever received about your work?

Maybe not the best compliment, but best reaction has been someone crying when they received a piece of my work. I never imagined I could create a piece of artwork that would induce such a physical reaction in someone. I feel privileged that I get to do something I love every day and blessed that through this I can lift others.

 

@komikamo

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Ali Kamara

Ali Kamara is a south London-based digital Illustrator, animator and musician. Ali is always looking for creative ways to blend all these things that he is passionate about to make quirky, epic, high-concept work. 

How would you best describe your style?

My art is very concept-driven. I'm always trying to find the grey area between lighthearted fun and darkness, that's the general theme in my art and music. So I'll blend some playful childish imagery with dark fantasy or hip hop/punk aesthetics, or bridge the gap between smooth jazz chords and hard rock in my music. I'm building a world based around all of that. Also I like making funny or cool references to pop culture and bringing it into my world. 

Which one do you prefer? Black or white, or colour?

Colours are more fun, I'm a little obsessed with colour schemes. I did a short series a while back where I was buying colour matching meals from Tesco consistently everyday and posting pics of that online. That being said, so far this year black and white has been the vibe, just to allow me to focus in on building the world and style rather than fiddling with colours. Switching back to colour sooner than later. 

Aside from art, it looks like you create your own music, how did you get into that?

I've always been obsessed with music since hearing Tony Hawk and WWE video game soundtracks as a teen. I got into composing and beatmaking much later though, when I was like 20. I would be on bus rides home daydreaming about visual narratives when listening to instrumentals or my favourite producers as a teenager, so that's the fuel right now. 

Have you always focused your art around artists?

For a while I've been trying to develop my visual style and world-building enough to where it's really recognisable on its own. So I made it a point to avoid drawing pop culture figures/other musicians for a certain time until I could get to a point where, when I do draw these individuals, it would be in my unique way. This year I got to that point where I understood my style, so I started creating stuff around artists like Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, Tyler the Creator. I only really draw artists I enjoy, and they're all big inspirations. I'm getting into original character design at the moment though. 

Who is your biggest inspiration?

I've got quite a few, a lot of them are new age digital artists though. I've always loved Loish's work, a French artist called Moon, Dirty Robot, and Jor.Ros. These guys really have a dope way of designing their characters and creating a universe around their art. Life-wise, a whole heap of hip hop artists - Eminem, Tyler the Creator, J Cole. 

The best compliment you have ever received about your work?

Not sure about the biggest compliment I've received, but a few years ago I was doing a daily drawing challenge on Instagram and someone decided to give that a shot too and said I inspired it. That was probably the first moment that really let me know you never know how you're positively affecting people by just doing what you love.

Music

@Komikamo

 

July at the Pistonhead Foundation

And so, another month comes to an end. Where is this year going?  We supported two amazing events this month at the Pistonhead Foundation, here’s more about them:  

Mr. Greg Bartlett Debut Exhibition

We were pleased to be able to support Mr. Greg Bartlett’s debut exhibition as an emerging photographer: “A Ghost Walking Amongst the People of the Streets”. The ethereal collection took three years of shooting on film to produce, resulting in a beautiful array of everyday life from around the world. The exhibition took place at the AMP Gallery, Peckham on 18th July, to great success.

Check out Greg on Instagram @mrgbarlett

Image: Mia Bartlett

Image: Mia Bartlett

So Young Bristol All Dayer

We’ve had a winning partnership with So Young magazine for some time now. Both of us are committed to supporting emerging musicians, artists and independent venues, so we work towards a similar cause during our projects. We were more than happy to support their All-Dayer in Bristol, presented by Wax Music at Rough Trade Records. A range of exciting bands played: The Rhythm Method, Lady Bird, Holiday Ghosts, Talk Show, Italia 90, Katy J Pearson, Swallow Cave and Some Bodies. Naturally, there was plenty of Pistonhead to go around!

Keep an eye on So Young’s events on their Instagram @soyoungmagazine

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Does your event, exhibition, collection or gig need sponsoring? Get in touch via our website and we’ll do what we can to help: www.pistonheadfoundationuk.com/support