the ART of CARING 2020

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Welcome to the Art of Caring 2020 exhibition. This is our 6th year of inclusive international art that celebrates Nurses, Midwives, Carers, and the NHS. Due to the lockdown situation here in the UK we will be showing a selection of artwork online this May (instead of in St George’s Hospital, Tooting).. Every day in May we will publish the work of 4 artists here on the Art of Caring blog.
We hope you enjoy the exhibition.
Alban, Dean and Bryan (at CollectConnect)

We are delighted to participate in the Art of Caring 2020 exhibition, the year which the World Health Organisation designated as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and the bicentennial year of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Any year would have been timely to celebrate the attributes of our highly skilled, multi faceted professions, which make up the largest proportion of the NHS workforce. But with the world facing a global pandemic, it is apposite that in this, of all years, we pay tribute to the contribution and sacrifice made by our colleagues worldwide and offer them our sincere thanks and gratitude.

The theme for this year’s exhibition, ‘Ingredients for a healthy life’ takes on new meaning and poignancy in such unprecedented times. Many images in our exhibition reflect this, appreciating the gifts of comfort and kindness which bind us together. We are indebted to our Artist In Residence, Alban Low in organising our first ever ‘Virtual’ exhibition and hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

http://artofcaring.org.uk/

The Great Leveller Virtual Exhibition

Sweet’Art- The Great Leveller Exhibition.

I am thrilled to be part of this response by Sweet’Art.

The exhibition is a first for Sweet ‘Art, responding to social distancing guidelines while not neglecting our mission of hosting inclusive and accessible art exhibitions that explore important social issues from intersectional, feminist perspectives. Held in a virtual Sweet ‘Art gallery, accessible to anyone on a computer or phone, or even experienced as a 3D space using VR, selected artworks explore ideas of strength and support from being part of a community and ways of reaching others during social distancing. Also included is art based critique of ideas surrounding isolation, solitude and enforced joining-in, political critique in response to the societal inclusion/exclusion of marginalised communities at this time, and the potential stresses of having others beamed into your home daily!

The Virtual tour works exceptinally well, there are many talented and diverse artists on display. A guided audio tour is available.

Show runs until May 28, 2020.

Go to the virtual gallery to the  full Children of the Quarantine piece.

Go to the virtual gallery to the  full Children of the Quarantine piece.

 

Artist Neeq Serene will be exhibiting a photographic response to themes of isolation and loss with her piece A Matter of Time, while sculpture by Mia-Jane Harris comments on the protective roles of parents during the pandemic. Using visual cues from board games such as Risk, artist Jake Francis will exhibit Odds, wittily critiquing the circumstantial ‘worlds and territories’ families are currently experiencing in their daily entireties; dependent on location, ‘class’, and income. With Children of the Quarantine artist CW Stubbs critiques western points of the crisis including the environment, the virus itself and mental health. Although a virtual exhibition, Sweet ‘Art have endeavoured to carefully select artworks that explore the social complexities of the current climate, curating a visually powerful and conceptually challenging show.

https://www.artsteps.com/view/5e9edad88901e00d770c96d8

https://www.wearesweetart.com/

@wearesweetart

@cwstubbs23

The World Is Yours

krodinlucha

Growing up, my only real knowledge of wrestling came from the cathode screen on Saturday mornings with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper. They were pajama heroes with comrades such as the A-Team’s Mr.T , He-Man and the insatiably clever McGyver.

However, when recently discussing the perils of the artistic pursuits and external validation with a friend of mine, she told me about her brother who was an artist, and also someone who was actively pursuing their dream of becoming a professional wrestler.

And thus, the lack of professional wrestling as being a part of my life, ceased to exist.

On his Instagram feed, @thatsgottaberod, @lostentertainment Krod showed the journey of a man who had rebuilt himself. A man that was willing to be vulnerable in the public domain and cast aside any ideas of toxic masculinity that pro wrestling or any professional sport may deem to wear as a cape. After a period of depression and weight gain, he visually documented his journey to physical fitness and mental prowess through the power of wrestling.

I was deeply moved by his honesty and decided to paint him.

I have never really tried to paint from real life, scary cats and brain scans were much more my cup of tea. However, I am constantly trying to improve my technical talents and artistic abilities and thought that a man, dressed as a super villain in a full-face mask, might be the stepping stone I needed to improve my technical talents as well as inspire a new direction with my work.

So, I began.

After the first piece was complete, I contacted K-rod. Trying my best to not sound like a creepy on-line stalker was the first step, but having a fan do fan art is apparently something people are able to warm to. He was thrilled and delighted and proved to be an excellent and willing subject. After the first 3 acrylic pieces were complete. I decided to tackle another angle, this time using oils for the first time in 20 years.

I soon learned that there is a reason I stopped painting in oils. I have a fairly violent reaction to turpentine and white spirit. I had forgotten that I had given myself industrial poisoning  20 years ago and just the mere sniff of turpentine makes me vomit. However, not one to be easily unnerved  I installed an extraction fan in the studio, bought some latex gloves and got me a proper fancy chemical-solvent face mask and carried on.

mefacemask

I was fortunate enough to attend a @chrisguestartist painting workshop in early December. I adore Chris’s work. He has a controlled fluidity in his work with vivid and dynamic colour schemes. Plus he paints beautiful tattooed women, scantily clad, so what’s not to love. Chris’s workshop focused on values on tones. Apparently using value and tone as a guide in art work are the key components to making  eye pleasing work. This was absolute news to me and not to mention an absolute game changer to how I now consciously visually interpret and explore the work that I create.

chris guest tutorial

My attempts at painting at Christ Guest workshop.

Painting from pictures is fine and all, but I now I needed to go and attend a proper wrestling match and to actually meet K-Rod in person.

The Lucha Brittania show totally blew me away. It championed any childhood ideas I had of wrestling and made it all that more glorious. However, it could be that Lucha is a cut above the rest and completely inimitable. It was jaw dropping, cringe filled with energy and one of the most pro-women, pro-sex appeal, all strength and vitality shows I have ever seen.  A full-on embodiment of positive self-actualization in a theatrical display of good versus evil. From the comperes that drive the show’s narrative to the intermission acts that uphold the madness and beauty of it all. The show is larger than its parts and felt like a living breathing organism, a talisman for creativity and strength. Oh, and there was lots of wrestling.

lucha by lucy

There is something to be said for men (and a few women) of all shapes, sizes and strengths running around in barely there sequined costumes, battling it out in a wrestling ring and sometimes being thrown from it, that truly gets you feeling alive. It was an absolute joy.

Lucha Britainnia is a unique experience and one I would fully recommend.

So now I got to meet KROD and really understand what it was about, it gave me a whole new appreciation for heroic intensity of Lucha as well as the huge mental and physical health benefits that wrestling and training to be in the ring has. Lucha had a real sense of community, although I went on my own, everyone was very friendly, like you were walking into a family who have found each other through their passion and wanted everyone in on the fun.

I completed the oil painting, I have a few things to learn about painting tattoos on flesh, but it’s not a bad start. Next, I’d like to do a larger scale piece. Also, am thinking of the logistics of what it would be like to have a drawing class ring side. Moving on from the stoic stillness of painting nudes, would it be possible to live draw wrestlers?

krod web2

 

Meeting Krod was an absolute joy. A really lovely bloke in the flesh. On our second meeting, I was able to gift him in appreciation a print of top 3 painting I had done of him. Prints I may sell on the website at some stage, with a percentage of going either to Lucha or a charity in the community of their choosing.

krod prints

Krod’s mantra is THE WORLD IS YOURS. The openness to possibility, to attain great heights is a lesson we may all benefit from, whether that height is from the top of a ring rope or not. Persistance is all.

Lucha Britannia homes itself at the Resistance Gallery 265 Poyser Street, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9RF, a body slam away from Bethnal Green tube.  Each third Friday of the month they stage an explosive show, 10,000 volts of sexy mayhem to be precise. On top of their monthly extravaganza’s they hold space for London Lucha School, 3 weekly wrestling training classes for beginners, intermediate and athletic level sessions.

https://www.luchabritannia.com/

UK COLAB launch party.

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I am thrilled to be one of the 20 artists to be included in the UK COLAB  2020 launch show at the Vinegar Yard.

UK COLAB is a new artist gallery run by artists for artists, they are launching a huge new collective and collaborative space.

The 2020 launch night, will have some of the best established and emerging artists in the contemporary UK art scene, as well as food, cocktails and music.

20 pieces, by 20 artists with a limited run of 20 prints for sale each.

Please register your interest at: https://www.facebook.com/events/2451526808511025/

The Vinegar Yard is a short walk from London Bridge Station, exit for the Shard and turn left,

Vinegar Yard,

72-82 St Thomas St, London SE1 3QU

https://www.vinegaryard.london/

Launch night is Thursday April 2nd,  6:30-10:00, free entry. 

Resonance FM tonight.

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Tonight on Resonance 104.4 FM at 10:30pm join me in an episode of ‘Art Then and Now’ titled ‘Nasty Women’. An interview with yours truly about my artistic process, the fallacy of the perfect mother, internalized misogyny, mental health and of course protesters and pussies.

It’s a little bit raw.

The radio website is: https://www.resonancefm.com/programmes and just click ‘Art Then and Now’ to live stream at 10:30. It will be available to stream anytime after January 20th.

@annagammansart and @resonancefm @cwstubbs23

The official blurb..

A discussion of art from the past and the present with Anna Gammans. This week: Nasty Women. Anna interviews artist Charlotte Westmoreland Stubbs about the female experience and the importance of making art that documents all facets of it. Plus there’s some ‘Art in the News’. To view any images discussed or to get in touch visit facebook.com/theartthenandnowshow. [Repeated Monday 2.30pm.]

CALM

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The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Join the campaign to take a stand against male suicide and get the tools you need for action.

CALM Homepage

Art Against Living Miserably: Get involved

Last year my lovely friend M took his own life.  I saw him a few weeks beforehand. He was looking well, revitalized from a recent trip to New York and getting ready to launch his new album. We discussed photographic ideas for the cover.

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M was not only a top notch humanitarian and all round super guy but also was a massive put money where your mouth is supporter of my art work.  He and a friend would pop round the studio, where our sessions would be more like the dirty grips of counselling than love fests, but always authentic and meaningful. Michael did loads of proper work for charity as well as working and being a regular gigging musician and poet.

He often suggested that he and I collaborate on starting group sessions^drop ins for high functioning people with depression. It wasn’t something I had the time, energy or inclination to do. But now, one year one and  being in such a different place (no more high stress shit job, retraining to be a psychotherapist etc) it’s a different story, but hindsight’s a bitch isn’t it.  He was an active supporter of the charity CALM. M didn’t talk about his struggles with many folk.

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Maybe the stigma, maybe just wanting to keep whatever strings were holding it together as strong as possible, I don’t know. We’d been friends for several years, before he witnessed me during an explicitly bad crash and burn period and from there the honesty and compassion grew in our friendship. We suddenly both had a friendship bonded by all the shit we kept to ourselves.

But that was then.

He worked really fucking hard at maintaining positive mental health. When he died, I was in absolute devastating shock. But also, thought, if he who did all this therapy and mindfulness succumbed to it, what fucking chance do i have?

In 12 hours, the contract I was depending on financially ended, M took his life and the hat trick of some questionable behavior by my OH raised its head.

Cue 3 months of self medicating wine drinking. Which led me to my decision to take a year off everything and get my shit together. Because I was miserable.

Michael Painting

I painted this. I tore it up, taped it, plastered it back together and then painted it some more. I’m going to submit it to CALM for their art thing. It doesn’t quite meet their brief, but you don’t get if you don’t ask.

When I’m ready I am still going to recreate the neon ghosts photos for the album. It’s taken a year and I still think of him. His memorial is coming up in a few weeks.

Just need to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.

Drone War Babies

Stubbs_DroneWarBabies

Three children; one in awe, one quizzical and one staring with penetrating gaze are surrounded by a swarm of camera drones. The painting depicts a climate of mounting fear and misinformation, of chem-trails, privacy violation and false truths normalised for the next generation.

A return to colour.
dwb v2
A flash of melted red wax baby faces came dripping fully formed to me in a dream. A combination of 1950’s post war chocolate advertising and the apocalypse.
Finally with my sober streak under my brush and the fear of creation in a clean slate challenged, I set to prove that I could create without the altered state.

Kiss My Art and the return of MOJO

Kiss My Art UK, created and invigilated by the lovely Marina and Carlotta is a full-on immersive art event. They curate 10 artists to compete in a live painting competition.
Rationally speaking, painting while being watched with banging music in a dark room all while being on a strict time limit shouldn’t really work, the sheer ideological hipsterness of it could make it implode on itself. However, as it is run with such passion, support and genuine care it really has created something unique on London’s art scene.

Kiss My Art and London Drawing  10 artists battle it out in two rounds of life drawing and YOU DECIDE THE WINNER. There will be performance poetry, open mic, deejays and special guests and surprises. The night is housed in the supper stylish surroundings of the Tanner&Co warehouse with exemplary cocktails and snacks available. The emphasis is on fun, inclusive and arty night out. Support emerging London artists and give something back to the community, maybe go home with a piece of art work.

After four years with a proper studio and half a dozen shows under my belt, I’d run out of mojo.  No matter how much I flooded myself with the fermented grape, galleries, and shoving sage crystals up my nose, I just wasn’t feeling it. Except skulls, holy crap, I could paint skulls, and more skulls and skulls. But nothing beyond that.

 

Maybe it was a working in a job I found ethically unrewarding, that was sucking the life force out of me, maybe it was the abrupt death of a good friend who was one of my top art support team, maybe my mental health was no longer hell bent on a diabolical streak of self-destruction…who knows.
I was miserable and uninspired. A few mental health red flags were appearing on the horizon,  Everything was fine.
So, I decided with about 1000 different reasons to stop drinking for awhile. Something in my life needed a dramatic shake up, and nothing else was working. No amount of going to the gym, talking therapy, clean eating, being social, external and internal validation points were cutting the mustard. The ticker tape of self-loathing had cut its deep fangs in me again. So now I had been forced to confront all things that scare me and all things I used to numb with booze. I wanted more from life, so it was time to really do something about it.
I read Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Both books about living a creative life, albeit from different extremes. I followed those with The Unexpected Joy of being Sober, I could easily relate with the author. The very definition of functional ‘alcoholic’, sure I was functional and I won’t classify myself as an alcoholic, but there have been times where  I have definitely cut it to the quick.

In the last five years, too many old friends and acquaintances have overdosed or thrown their lives away, implicitly or explicitly, slowly or abruptly and it’s not a path I wanted anything to do with anymore. Although my life gleams very differently externally, internally it felt like the pathway to destruction and I’m too damn old to live hard and die young.

I had>have to find new ways to use my time, new ways to get creative, new ways to fill the void and new ways to wrap my head around what it means to live a fulfilling life. Go me!

I could face not drinking with friends, (…ahem) but for as long as I have lived, getting a little bit fucked up and making art has been my top ten, (top one, top two favourite) ways to pass my time. But the whole drunk ‘suffering artist’ in studio cliché had run its course. I mean, I had to apologize to a big show’s curator’s girlfriend last year for the ungraceful way I drunkenly handled a discussion about the definition of feminist art. Burn useful bridges, burn….
I was about 173 days sober on the night of the competition. (March 2019) I was pretty surprised that I got in, delighted even, it was totally out of my comfort zone and as the time came closer, I really started to question what the hell I was doing. For starters, figurative painting is not by bag, nor is realism, (but it wasn’t Picasso’s bag either as a good friend pointed out) nor is being around people and here I have signed up for all three being held in a big fancy cocktail bar.
Marina and Carlotta of Kiss My Art were supportive and inclusive. They digitally promoted me and my work, (punk rock grrl) above and beyond. A good majority of the competitors were not just women but women with children, which was good. I will not get into the too old to be an emerging artist and too young to be dead handling of women and the arts.
http://londondrawing.com/events/kiss-my-art-competitive-painting-event/

So, there I was, out out, in a full-on bar, about to make an ass of myself and put my skills on display in public.

But you know what. Fuck it. I was there, I showed up and I did it. The best bit, was having a big group of friends there supporting me and my demons. When my name was called out, for the first time in a long time I heard a chorus of cheers, and that felt great.
Did I win> no. Did I come close> no. Was it fun> no, it was terrifying. However, focusing like that was great, the vibe was a craic. It was an absolute amazing rush. I didn’t hear the music, or notice the people.


The models were incredible, dark and twisted faceless beautiful creatures. It was an absolutely great experience. I’d gotten my mojo back.

I am loving being sober, having spent a couple of decades not, it’s a whole new world.

But enough of that for now. x It was a superb experience.