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Explore the street art of Croydon at the RISEfestival 2018

Celebrate women artists and support womens’ charities with Mount Street Editions by Frieze London

© Helen Cammock

There’s a Hole in the Sky Part I 2016, by Helen Cammock, one of the artists taking part in Mount Street Editions by Frieze

Returning to the capital this October is Frieze London, a contemporary, international art fair. As part of this year’s event, Frieze London is collaborating with Mount Street to commission four leading female artists to produce limited edition prints. Throughout Frieze Week (4-7 October 2018), a pop-up customised vehicle on Mount Street will be selling 100 prints daily. The collaboration is inspired by the Frieze’s new Social Work section, which celebrates female artists who fought to be recognised in the male-dominated art market during the 1980s.

The artists taking part are:

Helen Cammock, winner of 2018 MaxMara Prize for Women’s Art.
France-Lise McGurn, whose wall painting was a highlight of the recent Virginia Woolf exhibition at Tate St Ives.
Renee So, knitting and ceramic artist.
Zadie Xa, whose work is on view at MoMA PS1 and is also presenting at Frieze London 2018.

Money raised from the sales will go towards two UK charities, Dress For Success and the Young Women’s Trust. Dress For Success economically empowers women by providing them with a support network, while the Young Women’s Trust assists young women aged 16-30 struggling to live on the poverty line in England and Wales.

Each unique commission will be revealed before the pop-up launch, with the location and timings of the vehicle being listed on the Frieze London’s social media channels. An edition of a different artist’s print will be revealed every day throughout the fair, priced at £50 per print.

Meanwhile, Mount Street’s fashion and lifestyle boutiques and stores will be supporting women in art during the fair.

  • Frieze London takes place at Regents’ Park from 4-7 October 2018. The Mount Street Editions by Frieze London will be sold in a moving pop-up on Mount Street, Mayfair, W1. Nearest station: Marble Arch or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Frieze London website.

For the latest guide to what’s on in London, click here.

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William Blake finally honoured with a gravestone at his final resting place

William Blake gravestone © James Murray-White

William Blake’s new gravestone in Bunhill Fields
© James Murray-White

William Blake (1757-1827) is widely regarded as one of, if not the, greatest artist in British history. The born and bred Londoner was an acclaimed poet, painter, author and printmaker, although never had much success during his lifetime. Nearly 200 years after his death, Blake’s canon continues to amaze and inspire people around the world. Among his more famous works include ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’, ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, ‘The Four Zoas’, ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Milton’, ‘And did those feet in ancient time’.

Having been brought up as an English Dissenter (Protestant Christians which broke away from the Church of England), Blake was laid to rest in a Dissenters’ graveyard following his death in 1827. The painter died at home in the Strand and was buried in Bunhill Fields in the London borough of Islington. As well as the location of his parents and two of his brothers’ graves, Bunhill also included the burial sites of Daniel Defoe, John Bunyan and Susanna Wesley. Blake was buried in an unmarked grave on 17 August – on what would have been he and wife Catherine’s 45th wedding anniversary. He was buried on top of several bodies, with another four being placed above him in the coming weeks. His widow Catherine died in 1831 and was also laid to rest at Bunhill Fields, but in a separate plot.

Bunhill Fields was closed as a burial ground in 1854 after it was declared ‘full’, having contained 123,000 interments during its 189 year history, and became a public park. Although William and Catherine Blake had both been buried in unmarked graves, the William Blake Society (founded 1912) erected a memorial stone to the couple in Bunhill Fields on the centenary of the painter’s death in 1927. The stone read: ‘Near by lie the remains of the poet-painter William Blake 1757–1827 and his wife Catherine Sophia 1762–1831.’ Re-landscaping in the 1960s following widespread damage during World War II resulted in many of the monuments being cleared. Although the Blakes’ memorial was one of those to survive, it was moved from its location at William’s grave to near Defoe’s memorial stone in 1965.  Read the rest of this entry

Sculpture In The City 2018/2019: Contemporary art lights up the Square Mile

A wall of colour amongst the green: The London Mastaba on the Serpentine

Photo Friday: Tracey Emin’s ‘I Want My Time With You’ at St Pancras

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Tracey Emin’s ‘I Want My Time With You’ at St Pancras International

It’s been a while since my last ‘Photo Friday’ post… admittedly the least time-consuming and the easier posts to write. This isn’t the first time St Pancras has been the focus of a such a post either. This week, I finally got to have a closer look at Tracey Emin’s new-ish art at St Pancras International station, which was unveiled in April 2018. Suspended from the famous Barlow trainshed roof, are the words ‘I Want My Time With You’ in pink lights (LED, not neon due to health and safety). Emin said the message is a love letter to Europe ahead of impending Brexit, which has divided the UK. While art critics have been non-plussed, I like the message and am a fan of neon-esque writing in general so it’s a hit with me. I also didn’t realise until I saw my photos on my laptop that you can see the iconic clocktower of St Pancras peeking through the glass roof.

  • ‘I Want My Time With You’ by Tracey Emin is on the upper concourse of St Pancras International, Euston Road, Kings Cross, N1C 4QP. Nearest station: Kings Cross St Pancras.

To find out about the nearby Sir John Betjeman sculpture, click here.

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Turner’s House: Follow in artist JMW Turner’s footsteps at his Twickenham retreat

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Turner’s House, aka Sandycombe Lodge, was built to the artist’s designs in 1813

Twickenham is home to some famous former stately homes, such as Marble Hill House and Strawberry Hill. However, there’s a rather less grand, but equally important building that recently been restored to its original Georgian splendour – Turner’s House.

Otherwise known as Sandycombe Lodge, Turner’s House is the Grade II-listed former home of one of Britain’s greatest artists, J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). In his teens/early adult life, he briefly considered becoming an architect with his Twickenham home the only one of his building designs realised in bricks and mortar. Having opened last year following an extensive renovation and restoration project, what’s left of Turner’s garden has now been completed for the spring, full of green grass and flowers to complement the stunning architecture. I went along last week with some fellow Londoner bloggers for a special tour of Turner’s country retreat.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The stunning staircase is one of the house’s most striking features

In the early 19th century, Twickenham wasn’t a part of London but the open countryside. It had become a popular spot for the wealthy to build riverside abodes as a retreat from the bustling city. While born and bred Londoner Turner had a home and studio in the capital, he desperately sought an escape from the pressure of city life. In 1807, he purchased two plots of land in between Twickenham and Richmond and started designing his dream home in a cottage style. Finally, his plans were realised in 1813 and Turner moved in his beloved father, ‘Old William’ Turner (1745–1829), who had retired as a barber and wigmaker. Old William acted as housekeeper and tended what was then 3 acres of garden. The house was relatively modest, just two bedrooms upstairs – a large main overlooking the garden and the River Thames in the distance, and a smaller bedroom in the front. Downstairs, the ground floor featured a main living room, a dining room and small parlour, with a kitchen and further smaller rooms in the lower ground. Although Turner didn’t paint at the house, he did sketch and spent time fishing and strolling along the Thames and occasionally entertaining friends. One famous pal to visit was the Regency architect Sir John Soane (1753-1837), with his influence in the design of Sandycombe Lodge clearly visible in the hallway and staircase.

Turner sold the house in 1826 to a neighbour Joseph Todd, who extended it and rented it out. Turner’s garden was dramatically shrunk in the 1880s after the nearby opening of St Margaret’s railway station saw the area transforming into a more built-up commuter suburb of London. The house remained a residential home until World War II, when it was converted into a ‘shadow factory’ to make goggles. It was during this period, the house really began to deteriorate. However, a saviour came in Professor Harold Livermore (1914-2010), who bought the house in 1947. He was particularly proud of its history and campaigned for its Grade II listed status in the 1950s. Following Prof Livermore’s death in 2010, he gifted the house to the Turner’s House Trust with the provision it should be enjoyed by the nation.  Read the rest of this entry

Street art meets conservation in Louis Masai’s new exhibition Missing

© Louis Masai

Louis Masai painting his yellow legged frog in downtown Los Angeles
© Louis Masai

A new exhibition is coming to London which blends art and awareness. British artist Louis Masai is showcasing his latest collection which depicts endangered animals. Each piece will focus on a specific continent by depicting an animal from the region whose future is in doubt amidst fears they could vanish from our planet.

Masai is known for his patchwork animals, which are created for both canvases and exterior walls. The artist uses paint, sculpting and murals to express himself and highlight the 6th mass extinction and climate change. The choice of patchwork is significant as it implores humans to pay more attention and take action to fix the planet instead of tearing it apart.

The new exhibition, ‘Missing’ follows on from Masai’s 2016 tour of the USA, ‘The Art of Beeing’, which consisted of 20 murals of threatened species in 12 cities across nine states. Each piece from this latest exhibition features paintings created from Masai’s large murals around the world.

© Louis Masai

The endangered White Rhino from Sub Sahara Africa
© Louis Masai

‘Missing’ will be an immersive exhibition, with sounds and scents of the endangered animals’ environments replicated. An animatronic penguin on a leaking oil drum has been created specially for the show, while a painted elephant will lie surrounded by an AK47 and empty shells to remind us of the price of the Ivory trade. There will also be three different sculptures of Masai’s signature bee, which has been under threat in recent years.

Describing his new collection, Masai said: ‘Climate change is in full effect, with one of the major factors being the ‘6th Mass Extinction’. Species are becoming extinct or missing in our biodiverse world. This is a real issue that we face as humans, and as an artist, I feel it’s my duty to draw attention to this issue. Through my work I hope to remind people of the urgency we face, highlighting our place amongst creatures who are a critical part of our delicate ecosystem.’

  • Louis Masai: Missing will run from 25 – 27 May 2018 at The Crypt Gallery, Euston Road, NW1 2BA. Nearest stations: Euston or Euston Square. Open 12pm-6pm. Free entry. For more information, visit Louis Masai’s website or the Crypt Gallery website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.

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‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist’ comes to the Fourth Plinth

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The latest commission for the Fourth Plinth is The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

This is the 12th work to appear on the Fourth Plinth since 1998

Trafalgar Square has been given a new piece of art amongst its fountains, lions and statues following the unveiling of the latest Fourth Plinth commission. Succeeding David Shrigley’s divisive Really Good, the latest piece is a recreation of a lost ancient artefact.

Michael Rakowitz’s artwork The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist is a piece from his long-term project to recreate 7,000 objects that have been lost forever. This particular sculpture is a recreation of the Lamassu, which had guarded the Nergal Gate of Nineveh (near Mosul, Iraq). Created around 700BC, it was destroyed by ISIS in 2015, along with many other ancient artefacts and historical sites. The Lamassu is a deity featuring a human head with the body of a winged bull. Rakowitz has chosen to make his sculpture from 10,500 empty Iraqi date syrup cans, a once thriving industry which was ravaged by the conflicts of the region. On the fountain facing side of the piece, an inscription in Cuneiform reads: ‘Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, had the inner and outer wall of Ninevah built anew and raised as high as mountains.’

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The piece is made from 10,500 empty Iraqi date syrup cans

This is the 12th work to appear on the Fourth Plinth since the programme started in 1998. The plinth was designed as one of four by architect Sir Charles Barry when he laid out Trafalgar Square in the 1840s. It was originally scheduled to showcase an equestrian statue of King William IV, but the plan was never realised due to austerity cuts. After 150 years of remaining empty, the Fourth Plinth programme was finally conceived in the 1990s as a platform for temporary artworks.

  • The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist will remain in situ until March 2020. At the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Embankment or Leicester Square.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

One side of the sculpture features an inscription in Cuneiform

For the latest guide to what’s on in London, click here.

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Harmonics in Space by Fred Butler: Lift your spirits at this multi-layered, sensory experience