TAITMAIL Wimbledon’s acting lesson

TAITMAIL Wimbledon’s acting lesson

Wimbledon College of Arts is turfing out its fine arts operation so that it can teach acting. In three years or so, if things go according to plan, half of the thousand students in the leafiest corner of the University of the Arts London (UAL) empire will be performers; the other half will be costume or set designers.

City scope: putting culture alongside housing

City scope: putting culture alongside housing

Last week we brought you the report of the Cultural Cities Enquiry which could shift the base of arts funding in this country. But what does it mean? Jonathan Todd, chief economist at BOP Consulting, was part of the research team that led the UK-wide consultation process and provided the year-long enquiry with its essential data

RA picks Axel Rűger as new CEO

RA picks Axel Rűger as new CEO

Axel Rűger, director of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, is to succeed Sir Charles Saumarez Smith as secretary and chief executive of the Royal Academy.

Fatoş Üstek next Liverpool Biennial director

Fatoş Üstek next Liverpool Biennial director

The new director of the Liverpool Biennial is to be the Turkish-born curator and writer Fatoş Üstek.

Making an art school for actors

Making an art school for actors

Can - should - an art school teach acting? The University of the Arts shares its plans for Wimbledon with Simon Tait

Arts ‘treading water’ on diversity

An Arts Council England report published today shows that its National Portfolio Organisation clients are not progressing enough with implementing diversity.

Darwin ‘Origin’ page may be sold abroad

Darwin ‘Origin’ page may be sold abroad

A temporary export bar has been placed on a handwritten page from Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

Laurie Sansom is new boss of Northern Broadsides

Laurie Sansom is new boss of Northern Broadsides

Northern Broadsides has appointed Laurie Sansom as its new artistic director and CEO in June this year.

TALK OF THE TOWN HALL  Council of despair?

TALK OF THE TOWN HALL Council of despair?

Patrick Kelly hears the latest municipal whispers

First steps

First steps

The National Youth Dance Company is in rehearsal for its seventh professional new production – with it seventh new troupe. Simon Tait talks to the company’s general manager Hannah Kirkpatrick

New trust to give London artists affordable studios

Private and public funding are coming together to create an independent trust to provide affordable workspaces for artists in London.

MA warns of ‘highly damaging’ No Deal

Association fears museums face substantial losses

The real Mary Queen of Scots

The real Mary Queen of Scots

A rare and frank portrait of the teenage Mary Queen of Scots goes on display at Hever Castle on Friday, February 8, the anniversary of her execution in 1587.

‘Culture key to cities’ growth’ – report

‘Culture key to cities’ growth’ – report

Investment in culture is the key to our cities’ growth, according to a report published today.

How reviving Bodies makes theatre magic

How reviving Bodies makes theatre magic

The husband-and-wife team of Tricia Thorns and Graham Cowley, who operate as Two’s Company, rediscover a forgotten 20thcentury theatre masterpieces and produce them. Their latest, as Simon Tait discovers, is a James Saunders gem

Jerwood fall-out threatens Hastings gallery

Jerwood fall-out threatens Hastings gallery

A “family” row is threatening the future of the award-winning Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, with the venue’s sponsors, the Jerwood Foundation, withdrawing its collection of British art and financial support.

Cinema audiences boom from UK productions

Cinema audiences boom from UK productions

UK cinema audiences have reached record numbers, with the second highest spend on film and TV production in this country.

Maritime museum chief steps down

Maritime museum chief steps down

Kevin Fewster, director of Royal Museums Greenwich since 2007, is to stand down having transformed the former National Maritime Museum with muliti-million-pound developments.

TAITMAIL The Grand Old Dame of York

TAITMAIL The Grand Old Dame of York

By Patrick Kelly

It’s always a privilege to watch a master at work, and audiences at York’s Theatre Royal were honoured to witness Berwick Kaler’s 40thand final season as panto dame. The season, as usual, has been a complete sell-out as theatregoers trampled on each other to acquire tickets for this last opportunity to see a superb craftsman go about his business.

Ex-BBC White City centre to be theatre complex

Ex-BBC White City centre to be theatre complex

The BBC’s former media village at White City in West London is to become a large-scale pop-up theatre, opening this summer.

Survey reveals massive council cuts

Council spending on museums, libraries, arts, and culture has been slashed by nearly almost £400m since 2010.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM    Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Beyond the Deepening Shadow, The Tower of London, November 2018, by Jeremy Selwyn

‘Their finest hour’ becomes Biggin Hill museum

‘Their finest hour’ becomes Biggin Hill museum

Biggin Hill Airfield, one of the main stations flor the Battle of Britain in 1940, is having its  timeless story told in a museum that opens today.

DEA BIRKETT     But seriously – welcome!

DEA BIRKETT But seriously – welcome!

In the latest in her series marking the 250th anniversary of the circus, Dea Birkett – the official Ringmaster of Circus250 – finds that media misuse of circus language shows disrespect of a gentle art

MY STORY Out of the shadows

From street art to being collected by celebrities such as Antonio Banderas and Ronan Keating, Lhouette has had a meteoric career as a pop artist whose work sells for thousands. Earlier this year he made the news with a solo exhibition at a five star Mayfair hotel. Now he has a new collection, Beyond

Your real name is Ciaran Robinson. Why change it and where did your new name come from?

When I left the Royal Navy 10 years ago, aged 22, some of the first works of art that I started creating were outlines of the female form in differing poses. I was quite prolific with these, but at the time I was still quite unsure of whether I wanted to put my name to anything - or whether the work was any good - so I tagged it with a pseudonym Lhouette taken from “Silhouette”. A lot of collectors think maybe I'm French. 

Have you always painted – where did you train and how did you get started?

I would say I've always been creative and had that urgency to make things. At school I excelled in art and design was told I should pursue it as a career. I did three weeks in art college but dropped out due to my difficult circumstances at the time, and   I didn't see art as viable career choice. Also, I longed to travel so signed myself over to the Royal Navy. After the Navy I had a long, hard think about what it was I wanted to do, and it always came back to the arts. I began quite blindly and modestly using old scraps of salvaged wood and industrial throw outs as canvas. I had a friend who worked in a garage at the time so he would fix me up with body shop aerosols paints. The work at the time, I guess, you would class as outsider, really surreal subject matter, little illustrated characters among elements and appropriated imagery from stencils made from an A4 printer. I didn't really have anywhere to display or showcase the work so I set about putting together a group pop up exhibition called “Jumble Fresh” in 2008 in Luton with friends that had carried on with their studies from school in various creative fields, and advertised on a few online platforms for submissions from other practising artists in the area. It was success and provided a much-needed platform for local creatives; off the back off this first show I set up a permanent studio space, “Jumble Fresh Creative Studios” in Dunstable Town where I continued with my creative practice along with hosting exhibitions and workshops.

What was it about the East End street scene that first inspired you, and what was your big break?

I spent a lot of time with my brother and friends in East London when I first left the navy. it had huge creative energy, especially Shoreditch with its pop up galleries and its street art scene around Brick Lane - huge posterised murals from the likes of Shepard Fairey had me in awe. The place was a big influence - the urban arts spoke to me particularly as being very raw and a seemingly self-taught practice executed in the same DIY mediums that I was already experimenting with (aerosols/stencils/raw canvas). Street art was my main and first major influence before the realisation that street art is in a way an evolution of pop art in terms of it challenging traditional fine art techniques and often appropriating images and commenting on popular culture. 

I guess my big break (in terms of wider recognition) came in the form of representation in 2011 from a fine art agency who helped establish my work in a number contemporary galleries which resulted in a run of successful solo exhibitions, and my association with The Dorchester Collection and recent residency/exhibition at 45 Park Lane.

But your studio is still not in the fashionable East End milieu where galleries abound, why not?

My new studio outside my hometowns of Luton and Dunstable is a cool, creative, outpost close to a nature reserve. It's a great environment to focus in and create new work. I've recently gone independent from my publisher of five years - I felt that the relationship had outgrown what they could offer me in terms of development, and after the success of 45 Park Lane that there was a pressure to over produce, so now I'm working closely (still in a conventional way) with specific contemporary galleries that have a great understanding of myself as an artist and articulate and represent the work well. However, I suppose in a non conventional way I also work with a well known London celebrity PR and marketing organisation who help me discover new and exciting non-gallery based projects.

The success of the show at 45 Park Lane was one of the driving factors that made me decide to become an independent artist and create a new studio space, mainly to safeguard myself and continue to develop as an artist without the temptation to overproduce original works, and I suppose the accreditation from such an iconic institution such The Dorchester Collection is quite a cool thing to have on your CV. It has also resulted in a few new notable collectors.

Pop art, from Richard Hamilton to Deborah Azzopardi, has been exploited over half a century. Can it develop further?

I think in its definition pop art will always be popular - consumerism, advertising celebrity still dominates many of our realities so will remain a subject for expression. There is always crossover in styles - it's whether that is intentional or not that is important, and to keep trying to develop your own ideas and the way you convey them. I think it will continue to develop. I touched earlier on how I believe street art is an evolution of pop art, and that's a significant development in style and delivery but still the same premise (maybe a little more antagonistic in its approach). Our interaction with pop culture through the digital world interests me and is probably the next evolutionary step from traditional pop art in some form. “Post internet art” is making grounds on this already.

What is the theme of your new collection, how many pictures are there and how long has it take to complete it?

Beyond is made up of a very small body of work and is more a of a tag line for the first pieces leaving the new studio, all of which have had more time allocated with focus on the application of imagery (going beyond previous works).  The two key pieces from this collection would be Tokyo Dreaming and Emergency Credit (illustrated). It took me a good few months to complete both. Tokyo Dreaming is a contrast piece based on my earlier silhouetted styling from some of my travels around the world, the familiar comic pop themes along with some more unfamiliar eastern themes, disciplined outline with contrasting neo-anarchic fill. Emergency Credit is a piece that references less known imagery and features symbolisation towards my childhood experiences as opposed to leaning too heavily on iconic themes.

http://www.lhouette.com

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