@2tontony_j

Tony Jaycott

Tony is an illustrator based in Liverpool. He was introduced to watercolour crayons in high school when he told his art teacher that he like drawing but can’t traditionally paint. His art teacher recommended watercolour crayons to him, and since then he has never stopped using them

 

 Where do you get your inspiration from?

Plenty of artists, but often other things inspire my drawings too:

 • Art Nouveau - Alphonse Mucha etc.

 • Surrealists, like Magritte, Dali…

• Edward Hopper.

• Toulouse-Lautrec.

• Old newspaper satirical cartoons.

• Old fashion illustration, the sort of thing that was in old Vogue magazines.

• Film noir, 1960s kitchen sink cinema, David Lynch films.

• My Granddad was a tailor, and because of him I’ve always had an interest in suits. I don’t really like to draw men without making them wear a suit.

 • Graphic novels by people like Daniel Clowes. I like to create pieces that look like they are one panel isolated from a graphic novel.

• Victorian clutter.

• Various songwriters, writers, poets, thinkers. 

• History, and an affection for the culture on both sides of my heritage: English & Italian + A penchant for Italian American culture.

• There was a video game in the 90s called Grim Fandango, it had a very unique and beautiful style.

 • Obsessed with boxing, and like to weave in references to that sport in a lot of my drawings.

 

What distinguishes your work from other artists? 

Style wise I think I’ve developed something quite unique - A sort of combination of O.C.D organisation, and ‘romantic’ impulsivity. It’s a bit Jekyll & Hyde, but somehow the combination pulls together nicely.

My love for watercolour crayons is a bit unusual. I don’t really ever come across practicing artists who use them. I think I use them in quite a unique way in conjunction with the fine ink lines. People are usually surprised to find out what my medium is, assuming the colour was some sort of ink or even digital.

  

How has your work differed from when you started to now? 

I learned how to use all the modern technology (Adobe etc.) when I started college. I don’t hate it or anything, and I see plenty of work that I love that was probably drawn on an iPad. Personally though, at some point during university, I started to really miss making work without using a computer, and started to pick up my watercolour crayons again. I have ended up with one style for which is digitally coloured. Another style for which is entirely done with my watercolour crayons and fine line pens. The two styles differ, but I think you can still see that the same pair of hands are responsible for both.

 

What do you love most about working in this industry?

I’ve never had a more passionate pursuit than simply drawing pictures. I’ve been doodling since before I could make a sentence. I can’t imagine backing away and letting anything else take over.

 

What don't you like about this industry? 

I could do something about this myself, but I’m not much of a ‘networker’, and it obviously really helps to have that ground covered.

There’s also still the cliché of people who ask for things in a style you’ve never displayed, or ask for work at short notice for little return.

It’s probably been said a million times now, but with technology and the internet a lot of people have lost the sense of value in creative endeavours.

 

How has most of your opportunities come about? 

I’ve had quite a few jobs from people seeing the gig posters I’ve made.

Social media has yielded some results. Instagram seems to have become the best option.

I have work on some portfolio websites, I forget I ever published there, and I’ll get an email through those occasionally.

 

Have you ever worked on a piece for a really long time and not been happy with it? 

I’ve had some exhausting projects that didn’t inspire me very much, and I did personally notice the quality taper off as I started to become jaded, wanting it to end. In those cases the idea is to figure out how to hopefully make yourself enjoy it and still fulfil the brief. The outcome doesn’t suffer if you can do that.

 

The best compliment you have ever received about your work?

Someone I know noticed how I had started drawing so much again after life had gotten in the way a bit, and then I started getting decent opportunities. She’s a successful painter and decided to work towards going full time. She said I had inspired her to take that leap. It was actually much more meaningful than any nice comments about my work!

 

Other

I plan on having a solo exhibition somewhere when I’ve created enough personal pieces. I’m challenging myself to have a ridiculous amount, so that the exhibition can look overwhelmingly “cluttered” like an old Victorian house, rather than a few pieces spaciously placed around clean white walls.

@2tontony_j

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June at the Pistonhead Foundation

Another month has passed, filled with busy but exciting activities here at the Pistonhead Foundation. Read on for what we got up to…

Dr Martens x The Who Launch Party

Dr Martens have teamed up with The Who to launch a limited edition collection and campaign. On 6th June, they hosted a launch party for this at their flagship Carnaby Street store. As well as a chance to see the collection for the first time, the party hosted a charity silent auction in partnership with The Teenage Cancer Trust. Guests were treated to the DJ skills of Radio 1 DJ Matt Edmondson, and of course cans of Pistonhead Lager!

Buy the collection here: www.drmartens.com/uk/en_gb/c/the-who-collection

Image: Dr Martens

Image: Dr Martens

No Fun All Dayer at Drop the Dumbulls

Liverpudlian venue Drop the Dumbulls is a recently renovated pub heroing the local music scene. On 15th June, the put on an all dayer, with 11 great bands and 2 DJs. The Dumbulls provided the bands, Howl at the Moon Hot Sauce provided the food, we provided the beer! There was lots of amazing music from the likes of HAMER, Ohmns, Leather Party, Uncle Jane and many more.

Check out Drop the Dumbulls here: www.facebook.com/DropTheDumbulls

Deadwax TV Launch Party

Deadwax TV is a brand new music platform. Their aim is to bring fans closer to their favourite artists in a way that a usual interview setting wouldn’t be able to. They want to share new music and visual art with the world, instead of celebrated mediocrity.

Pistonhead love to champion new music and anything alternative, so when they asked us to sponsor their launch party, of course we said yes. It was an amazing all day gig at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on 16th June. Bands playing included Mother Engine, Kurokoma and many more.

Find out more about Deadwax TV here: www.deadwaxtv.com

Music on the Farm for Martha’s Trust

Martha’s Trust is a charity providing inclusive, lifelong care for people with profound physical and learning disabilities in Kent and East Sussex. Every June, they host a lovely family friendly festival to raise funds, on Solley’s Ice Cream Parlour farm in Ripple, Kent. We were pleased to be able to sponsor such a worthwhile cause.

It was a sunny, successful day on Sunday 30th June, and the charity managed to raise nearly £25,000!

Donate to Martha’s Trust here: www.marthatrust.org.uk/how-to-help

Image: Martha’s Trust

Image: Martha’s Trust

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

@si_mitchell

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Simon Mitchell

Simon Mitchell is an illustrator and street artist currently living in Cambridgeshire. He has produced artwork for Green Day, McFly, The Midnight Beast, BBC, E4, YouTube, Mountain Dew and many more.

How would you best describe your style of art?

 My artwork is comical and colourful street art influence and a lot of character. It’s hard to explain I guess but I want it to be fun and a tiny bit tongue in cheek. I also love to paint on all surfaces and the bigger, the better!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 My inspiration does come from anything and everything but mostly comics and street art/graffiti. I guess daily life changes my views and also juice me up for making the next bit of work.

Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of

I have a few. For me at 12 I wanted to work with Green Day (at the time I was a drummer and I guess that was the way I thought it would go) however, I never knew how it would happen that way. So, as I got older, I got into art and finally got the opportunity - that blew my mind and I was very proud that the guys I adored so much as a kid got to know (kind of) who I was.

The other thing was winning the UK illustration championships in 2017/18 which was crazy, and I still to this day don't understand how I did it, especially with the amazing talent that I went against in the competition but I guess anyone enjoying my work and appreciating what I do that makes me so so so so so so proud.

 

How do you seek out opportunities?

It's a grind, some occasionally land on my lap which is amazing, but most of the time it is looking for opportunities. Though sometimes it seems the more images I put online the more interest I seem to get which is something I should do more often but life gets in my way and I have to focus on the jobs I have.

What challenges have you faced?

Life being the main thing, I've had many ups and many many downs. I've learnt to learn from my mistakes/upsets/wrong turns and sometimes I've trusted the wrong people, but it's made me cautious and I believe you have to go through that to help you in the future.

 

How has your art changed from when you first started to now?

So much! I've had to understand and grow as I have journeyed. Getting my own style was my most important thing, it took me ages to understand that but one day it kicked in

What advice would you give to other aspirational artists?

Get your own style and use the artists you wish you could be as inspiration.

@Si_mitchell

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Advice from a Band Manager: All You Need to Know

So, you want to become a band manager, or your band is looking for a manager. Where to start? Music can be a confusing industry to navigate at the best of times, so we’ve decided to make it a little easier for you by giving you an All You Need to Know guide.

To create this, we enlisted the lovely Jamie Ford from Concrete Management, who kindly agreed to help us out. Jamie is the band manager of not one but TWO incredible bands: Hotel Lux and Mystic Peach. Read on for some comprehensive advice from the man himself…

How did you get into artist management?

It was just one of those things I randomly fell in to and started doing myself. I’ve been in bands for quite a few years where I mostly booked our shows and self-released music. After that I started putting on shows, working in-house at a venue and then leaving to create my own live promotions company and label. I found a band I loved and it seemed fitting that I get involved and help!

How did you find the bands you currently manage?

I found Mystic Peach through a close friend. They were just starting out and only rehearsing and putting new songs together – said friend sent a demo over and I was intrigued from then on. They’re locally based to me in Southampton which is great - and has meant I’ve been able to get really involved in the development side from day 1.

My brother began managing Hotel Lux around the same kind of time – I knew them as they’re originally from Portsmouth which is just down the road. As I really love Hotel Lux and have the same music interests as my brother it made sense to join the dots, birthing Concrete Management. It’s a great dynamic between us.

Hotel Lux | Image: Rhi Harper

Hotel Lux | Image: Rhi Harper

Is it good to get a contract with them?

It’s good to get a contract mainly so both parties are clear on what they can expect from each other. I suppose it’s one of those things where for a brand new manager, they may take a while to put a contract in place because they want to prove themselves to the band/artist. A contract is definitely good early on and protects all involved!

How do you help secure shows?

We have a booking agent for Hotel Lux who is really great, though we booked shows for them up until late last year. I book all shows for Mystic Peach currently and it mainly comes from having good relationships with other promoters (as I’m a promoter in Southampton/Portsmouth too). The more you play good shows in other cities and release music, the more demand naturally comes in from other promoters. So I do a lot of reaching out to promoters and sometimes management about support tours, but you also get a good amount of demand come to the inbox.  It’s important to target the right promoters and/or support shows.  

An element of this is also on the band – it can help if they’re a social bunch and make friends with other bands. That can lead to good shows. We managed to get some European tour dates for Hotel Lux with Shame last year thanks to that.

How do you help promote artists/tours?

Based on the schedules for announce we get set by festivals / support shows or the announce we set for our headline shows, it’s all based on social media really. It does depend on what the tour is and whether we have any new music releases around it as to how we promote it (i.e. if it’s accompanied by our video or artwork visual). Both of the artists I manage are quite different on social media, Hotel Lux are brilliant at being regular and posting funny things on Twitter on Instagram stories – and Mystic Peach are a bit more secretive and ‘mysterious’ I suppose. I guess you change socials strategies over time and depending on their genre and tone of voice.

Do you need to study to become a manager or is work experience best?

Having some background knowledge wouldn’t do any damage, but it’s all subjective based on the artist and their commerciality / genre / ambitions. Sure, I could read up on how to get a record deal – but it’s never the same journey for any band so that would be false knowledge almost. It’s all about work experience and getting to know your artist – knowing exactly what you want to do and don’t want to do. The best thing in terms of study is to know different areas of the industry: how publishing works, what kinds of record deals labels are now offering, looking up promoters and venues you’d like to work with, knowing when it’s worth having a press person on board etc.

What are three qualities that make for a good artist manager?

Persistence, passion (for what you do and more importantly for the artist(s) you work with), and finally just be friendly – it goes a long way in this industry! It’s easy to be remembered or known for being a dick.

What’s the difference between artist management and tour management?

In artist management you’re managing and guiding an artist’s career – making decisions with them, coming up with a timeline / plan / strategy. Tour management is what it says on the tin really: managing a specific set of tour dates and making sure the band are there on time, are looked after in terms of catering and being paid and often doing the driving too. I always try and manage tours for both of my artists and that reinforces my relationships with promoters at shows.  

Mystic Peach | Image: Mix It All Up

Mystic Peach | Image: Mix It All Up

What’s the best thing about being a manager?

It’s really exciting. You get to craft a team around you over time who more often than not want to really help the band succeed. One thing I love is being part of the development stages of music; hearing a new song and then watch it be worked on by the band, structured, taken to the studio, mastered, video made, sent around and then finally released and watching all of the great feedback come in on socials, email and at gigs. A lot of work goes in to a release and making sure every part of the puzzle is in place, so it’s very rewarding when it’s out to the world.

What’s the worst thing about being a manager?

Struggling to answer this one really. I’m lucky that this hasn’t happened but I guess the worst thing would be any internal bust ups between the band members which you’d have to try and settle.

There can be a lot of pressure when a release is coming up making sure all the plans are in place with label / royalty collection / tour dates / travel booked / video / press etc. but it’s usually rewarding after watching all the feedback come in from fans.

Do you have any advice for becoming a manager?

The most important thing is that you and the artist are on the same page. Be realistic in what you can offer but make sure you really love that band/artist’s material. It can be demanding but really fun too. It’s good to have a line in the relationship, but also good that the band can see you as a friend as well as a manager. It’s your job to have more contacts (and awareness of the industry) than the band so get out there and don’t rely on just email.  

Do you have any advice for artists looking for a manager? 

Make sure they’re the right fit for you. Sharing the same vision and actually have a passion for your music. Think about whether you need a manager yet – there’s so much you can do yourselves in this day and age to begin with. Be persistent but friendly, go to your local venues and meet the promoters and venue staff.

Thanks for chatting with us Jamie!

 

Follow Jamie on social:

Twitter/Instagram: @jamietheford

Hotel Lux:

Twitter/Instagram: @hotelluxband

Facebook: http://facebook.com/hotelluxband

Mystic Peach:

Twitter/Instagram: @mysticpeachh

Facebook: http://facebook.com/mysticpeachh

 

If you’re a creative looking for support, get in touch with us at www.pistonheadfoundationuk.com/support

@dvowen

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Dylan V Owen

Dylan V Owen is a Games Design graduate from Leeds Met University. Following his studies, he took on a 9-5 job in a non-creative field, as a creative, he found it a real uphill struggle.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF ART?

The main style of my art is comic book inspired high detail, fine line pen work. I specialise in fantasy & horror characters inspired by classic monster movies, the Tolkein & Dungeons & Dragons universes in particular.

What inspires you to keep going?

There is no greater feeling than looking back on a completed piece that has presented a challenge to undertake, that feeling of achievement makes me pick the pen back up and revisit old works. Looking on classic comic artists like Steve Ditko's works, or newer artists like Phil Winslade or Dale Eaglesham, really makes me want to keep honing comic book techniques and better myself one piece after another.

 

When did you discover your passion for art?

My father has always been an artist around other jobs, my mother always has a creative project, of one sort or another, on the go. They nurtured my creative streak from an early age, and admittedly I spent too many hours laid back in classrooms sketching on maths books and English anthologies.

What kind of role does an artist play in this kind of society?

An artist's role in society is to stop people in their tracks, to have them imagining the characters or settings of a piece in motion. Particularly with comic art, people should be imagining the heroes living not just between panels, but from one issue to the next. Artists can make people think about questions or subjects that they wouldn't want to read about, protesting issues that some people may not realise exist.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

In 5 years time I see myself with an independent comic book published, a body of work I know I could not have creating without taking that initial risk and an art-style fully honed, that someone can see my signature in without me having to sign.

Have you ever reached a time when you wanted to give up on something you wanted to do? 

'Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again' - Henry Ford - There have been times over the last 5 years in particular where I haven't touched a pen and pencil for months, juggling time between work and life. There were times I felt like giving up on my creative ambitions. Finding the time to doodle on a till receipt or scribbling whilst on a conference call would always reignite something in me, to the point where I knew I had to make changes to prove to myself it could be done.

 

What's the best advice you have ever been given? 

The best advice I have been given and would give to others is that 'If you can take a risk before it becomes a regret, take that risk.' Then you'll go through life without regrets of what could have been, instead, with memories of when you've tried.

@Dvowen 

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@Stokeandbear

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Jet Bailey  

Jet Bailey is a freelance fine artist based in the South West of England. She specialises in painting and have focused on creating art around her passion in motorcycling.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?

In my paintings I try to capture as much detail and realism as I can of the image I am working with, but I would also describe my style as bold and colourful. I like to try and make images that pop when they are on the wall or in a frame. I like to try and focus my paintings on different aspects of motorcycle culture, and the people involved in it. 

 

ASIDE FROM MOTORCYCLE ART, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LIKE TO PAINT?

I really love painting portraits, and learning more about the people behind the bikes, so I hope to incorporate this more into my work in the future. I am always up for a challenge and in the past have done landscapes, animals and other types of paintings too. 

 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PAINTING MOTORCYCLES?

Painting motorcycles has really enabled me to combine my two passions naturally, but I have also really enjoyed learning the unique stories and creativity of owners, builders and riders around the world. I have found that my paintings have enabled me to meet and speak with so many incredible people, and it is so refreshing to see their passion and interest in their motorcycle and the motorcycle culture. 

IS THERE A STORY BEHIND THE NAME STOKE AND BEAR?

Not really an interesting one! There are two sides to Stoke and Bear - the art and also building motorcycles, so I needed two names in one! 

 

WHAT DO YOU FIND DIFFICULT ABOUT THIS INDUSTRY?

I guess I can find it difficult to keep to a good routine and need to remind myself it's OK to have some down time. It's important to take things at a pace that feels right, and sometimes it can be difficult to consistently make work! I have found that there are so many incredible artists out there that it is important to have a good network around you. 

 

WHICH PIECE OF WORK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Probably the recent Motorcycle tank I painted. I hadn't ever painted a tank before, only canvas, helmets and skateboards. I was really pleased with the result and it pushed me to challenge myself more. 

WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING?

I think what keeps me going is the continued support of those who follow my process and work. They have always been so supportive and that really helps in making me want to keep creating new things. I also think that art is so powerful, it can impact people in so many different ways, as well as being very therapeutic. My love of art definitely keeps me going.

 

BEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR WORK?

Someone once said that they had studied my work as part of an art exam they were doing! That was a pretty amazing compliment! 

@stokeandbear

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May at The Pistonhead Foundation

May was full of photography, fashion and bikes for the Foundation, as we sponsored a number of amazing events from a host of creative brands. Read on to find out what we were up to…

Haven Studio Launch Party

Haven is a new creative space, studio, production team and more based in Ealing. They’re the place to go for big ideas, creative, creators and innovators, building a community of like-minded collaborators, high-end studio equipment and amazing coffee! We were delighted to sponsor their launch party on 9th May, so everyone could enjoy a Pistonhead beer whilst checking out the brand new space. Find out more about Haven here: https://www.havenstudio.co.uk/

Haven Studio Launch Flyer

Haven Studio Launch Flyer

There Are Still Good People Event

This fashion brand initially launched in the bright lights of New York, founded on a concept of starting conversations around mental health, specifically proactive suicide prevention. Luckily, it’s now made its way to the UK. To release their Spring/Summer collection, There Are Still Good People hosted a pop up in Shoreditch during Mental Health Awareness Week, on 9th-11th May. There was a pop-up store with the coolest of clothing, workshops on various wellbeing topics such as avoiding burnout and realising potential, and of course beers from us at Pistonhead! Read more about There Are Still Good People on their website: https://www.stillgoodpeople.com/  

Image: Haven Studio

Image: Haven Studio

Rebels Alliance Mc Co. Bike Shed After Party

Rebels Alliance Mc Co. is a store in Shoreditch born from a belief to produce desirable, well-made items that they, as members, would be proud to wear and own. These range from motorcycles, to skateboards, to punk music, to rag trade, to graffiti, born from their involvement in these subcultures, the spirit of ‘doing it yourself’ and doing it differently. This year they decided to throw the afterparty to Bike Shed 2019, the biggest Motorcycle event in London, on 25th May. There was mini-bike racing, live music, food trucks and Pistonhead Lager supplying the bar. Check out Rebels Alliance website here: http://rebelsalliance.com/

Are you an up and coming, independent creative, musician, artist or designer? 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

@goblyncrew

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Dan Robinson

Dan Robinson AKA Goblyn Crew is a freelance artist, illustrator and full-time chef who is currently living in Manchester. The creativity behind his Goblyn characters stems from his childhood, where he would always create weird characters with his friends.  

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I draw inspiration from so many different places. Skateboarding, video games, music, lyrics, film, nature, architecture, other artists etc. I would say that creativity inspires creativity. If I see someone doing something original and exciting, it inspires me to also create new and fun things.

Who are your favourite artists?

I’d like to give a shout out to some of my favourite artists and some of my inspirations. 

Mark Gonzales 

Mark “Fos” Foster 

Richard “French” Sayer 

James Jarvis 

NeckFace 

Ed Templeton 

Craig Gleason 

Has art always been something you wanted to do since you were young? 

Yeah, I always remember in primary school me and 2 friends had a spare work book that we used as sketchbooks, we created so many weird characters. I would always draw characters from games and send them to the magazines too. I used to wish that was my job. 

 
What’s the story behind your goblyn characters? 

There’s a loose story I made up, but I try to keep it pretty broad otherwise I think I’d lose the creativity of it. The idea was that Goblyns came from the sewers, grown from mutated avocados that were dumped in the sewer, their ultimate plan is to discreetly take over the world by killing humans and wearing their skin. 

What difficulties have you faced during this journey?

Self doubt and crippling anxiety. These things make it very hard to have the energy and courage to create work, meet people, and put work on show to people who will judge you. The best way to deal with it I found is to just do it. What’s the worst that can happen. 

Most memorable response about your work? 

Being told “You’re one of my favourite artists” it really blows my mind when there’s so many amazing artists out there and people choose to like my work as much as I like some of my idol’s work. 

Advice to other aspirational artists. 

Grind away at your craft, perfect your style (although I like to change it up sometimes), keep pushing and keep creating. If you’re passionate enough you’ll do great things. 

@goblyncrew

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5 Places You Can Apply for Creative Funding

Image: Haven Studio

Image: Haven Studio

The arts: it’s a tricky space to be in, especially when you’ve only just begun trying to make it in the business. Becoming an artist or musician is only getting more expensive, and funding to start out or support an ongoing project is dwindling. We’ve done the hard work for you and found five great places you can apply for the all important funding and support from:

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the biggest arts funding body in the UK. It awards a multitude of funds for arts and culture projects courtesy of the Government and National Lottery. Their funding is for artists, libraries, museums, creative projects, dance, drama, music and many more. They invest in art and culture for a lasting return. Find out more and apply for funding here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding

PRS Foundation

This is the UK’s leading funder of new music and talent development and they’ve been around since 1953. They aim to support songwriters and composers of all backgrounds to realise their potential and reach audiences across the world. PRS have plenty of ‘Early Career’ funding opportunities to apply for. These range from very targeted initiatives such as the Lynsey de Paul Prize for solo female artists and songwriters, through to our Open Fund. Find out more and apply here: https://prsfoundation.com/

Pistonhead Foundation

Of course, we had to include ourselves! We launched this initiative earlier this year, dedicated to supporting emerging musicians, artists, and independent venues across the UK. We’re a support network for creatives and aim to alleviate costs such as providing much needed stock for an event, exhibition, collection or gig. Get in touch via our website and we’ll do what we can to help: www.pistonheadfoundationuk.com/support

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Help Musicians UK

This charity was founded way back in 1921. Now, they help hundreds of emerging musicians every year to develop their talent and get their break. They invest more than £600,000 a year on this! Their funding is delivered in two main ways: tailored schemes offering funding directly to individuals and group, and development opportunities offered by partner organisations, funded or part-funded by Help Musicians UK. View all their live opportunities here: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/creative-programme/current-opportunities

The Elephant Trust

If you have an art project in mind or have started one and can’t finish due to funds, this is the one for you. This was created in 1975 to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the fine arts in the UK. Trustees meet four times a year to consider applications, and grants are usually up to £2,000 (some up to £5,000). You can apply on their website here: http://www.elephanttrust.org.uk/docs/intro.html

@joelburden

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JOEL BURDEN

Joel burden is a British visual artist and illustrator based in Leeds. Although Joel has been mainly working on digital based works, his style is always evolving and is currently interested in moving towards more tangible materials such as paint and clay.

How difficult is it when it comes to working with colour rather than black and white?

Colour has always been my default, something that I am drawn towards, like a bee to a flower, so for me it comes more organically than a line drawing. Not that I always have, or do know, which colour should exist where upon first look, but I have always I think sub-consciously visualised things in colour. By that I mean when a piece of work presents itself in some kind of form inside my brain, fuzzy edged and lacking clarity but a beginning, it will most certainly be in colour, or at least I perceive it that way. Naturally then, making things in black and white, is something that doesn’t immediately happen. 'I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for’ - Georgia O’Keeffe. Recently however I have been experimenting with black and white line drawings. There’s a directness to them, and a clarity, which can be unforgiving if done wrong, but beautiful when done right. That part I still have a long way to go with. Ultimately, you follow where the piece wants to go, and if that means it takes you into areas you aren’t as comfortable with, you owe it to yourself and the image to at least give it a go. 

How do you get inspiration for your work?

Recently I’ve been exploring themes of shyness, vulnerability and sensitivity, through simplified visual metaphor. In other words I guess I’m experimenting with trying to say a lot by showing very little. I’ve been interested in work by Georgia O’Keeffe, Ellsworth Kelly, amongst others. I’m also reading a lot of novels by Haruki Murakami. The way he describes subtle human interaction and emotion makes them almost tangible. I find it really resonates with something in me. I’m also finding myself moving being more and more interested in abstraction, which is something I imagine I will explore further.

What role does an artist play in this kind of society do you think?

Big question! The kind of question you could write your thesis on. Art has so many different roles and responsibilities, it’s hard to say. In a world that feels more and more divided of late, maybe it has a responsibility to remind people they aren’t alone. That whatever you’re feeling, going through, striving towards, the big and the small, there are most certainly other people who are just like you. There is a magic moment when you look, hear or read something that stops you where you are and makes you think ‘that’s exactly how I feel.

You have worked with some big clients, how did those come about?

The majority seem to have found me via social media, especially Instagram. It stresses the importance of self-initiated work. The power really is in your hands. Make for yourself, share, and hopefully others will connect with what you’re doing. 

Any obstacles you have faced?

Of course, a spectrum, all of my own creation! Self-doubt, anxiety, depression, large intervals of lacking in motivation/commitment/confidence. I’ve spoken to many people who have echoed those sentiments. Who knew doing something you loved could be so hard at times! Luckily these are all things that can inspire and inform the things you create, it’s just about giving them the time and space they deserve to materialise. 

 

How did that affect you?

These things can be hard to put into words. It affected my sense of self, who I was and what I was doing here. You need to create to feel purpose, yet you haven’t the energy or confidence to do so, which in turn makes you feel worse, and so the cycle goes on. Speaking about being a shy child, and needing that outlet to express yourself, I’m not sure for me that changed fundamentally going into adulthood, and so you almost feel mute, and unable to share the parts of you that matter most. A fog envelops you, and for that moment you are within it, you cannot see out. In my experience, it is never really overcome, there is always a risk of it returning uninvited, but you do your best to make it feel unwelcome, and you learn methods to disperse it. Ask yourself what is making you feel this way, and do your best to make adjustments. It’s almost like creating your own escape roots, and once you know where they are, you feel some control has been restored. Then ultimately, you find that purpose again, and you wallow in it as much as possible. You put yourself into your Art, and suddenly things seem clearer, and you realise the fog has lifted. In my Art, I don’t directly reference the experience, but subtlety it can show through. Whether that be someone obscured from view, a snarling tiger or a falling glass, maybe we all consciously or sub-consciously draw from our own history. 

 

What advice would you give to other aspirational artists?

In many ways I still consider myself an aspirational artist, but I’ve learnt many things along the road so far. Make work that interests you, and put the time in. A lot of time. Be obsessed with what you do, do it as much and as often as you can, whenever you can, and be patient with yourself. Nothing will happen overnight. Don’t be drawn into doing things for likes, it will leave you feeling hollow and unfulfilled. You have a lot to say and give, value your own opinion.  

@Joelburden