Did you know that art can improve your well-being? Throughout history, artists have used art as a therapeutic outlet for their mental health issues. Today, GPs are prescribing art classes as a means of overcoming anxiety and depression. Whether you want to be more creative, find a new hobby, or make space for mindfulness, an art class could be the answer. Here are 5 of the best art classes in London.
- Saturday Life Drawing in Shoreditch
Every Saturday the Royal Drawing School runs a life drawing class. It’s open to all levels, and you can attend during the morning, afternoon or all day. There will be a different model each week with a variety of poses, both long and short. It takes place in the School’s Shoreditch Studios, with a tutor on hand to give you guidance.
- Pottery at The Kiln Rooms, Peckham
If you haven’t picked up a piece of clay since school, it won’t matter at The Kiln Rooms. You can take part in a 5-hour taster session or a 4-week beginners’ course where you will learn all the basic techniques, including throwing on a wheel. Bring an apron: it gets messy!
- Colour painting at the Royal Academy
The RA’s ‘Colour through acrylic and watercolour’ class takes place over a weekend. It gives you the chance to experiment and express yourself through colour. It concludes with a drinks reception at the gallery – classy!
- Hampstead Heath photography workshop
Want to up your Instagram game? This one-day workshop allows you to snap nature, wildlife and the spectacular setting of Hampstead Heath. You’ll learn about contrast, tone, texture, and composition. The class includes editing and printing tutorials, so you’ll leave with a print of your work.
- Printmaking at Heatherley School of Fine Art, Chelsea
Spend your Saturdays learning to print. This 12-week course covers etching, aquatint, drypoint, woodcut, lithography and silk screen. Taught by practising printmakers in a custom-built studio, you’re encouraged to develop your own direction and creative style.
Ruth Millington is an arts and culture blogger, freelance writer and art historian.
Alexandra Gallagher is a British artist whose work celebrates the surreal and the bizarre. Her thought-provoking paintings and collages explore the realms of dream, memory and the imagination. The artist allows her imagination to run in any creative direction resulting in visually appealing works that are evocative of the Surrealists while offering a contemporary take on both the materials and the subject matter. We ask the artist 5 questions about her work and life as an artist.
Your work explores the realms of dream, memory and imagination. What inspires this?
I think because I work organically with nothing being planned, my work is more towards the surrealist way of working. Like tapping into that space behind the mind. It’s all from my subconscious and I use a lot of symbology. My work isn’t based on the real, on what you can see right in front of you, it’s root concept is on the human mind.
Can you tell us about your process?
My main tools are found in imagery and photoshop. I use both to create organic sketches to paint or to produce collage prints. I accidentally found this way of working and found that it fits perfectly with the way I think. I’ve found that if I plan and sketch something out in the traditional way, it loses some sort of spark and just doesn’t work. Like it’s all been over thought.
What project are you most proud of?
Oh wow, that’s a tough one! I learn so much from each project I do, so they all feel special in some sort of way... and to say I’m proud is always a tricky one for me personally, as I’m probably my worst critique, so I always end up feeling like I could do better. I think though the project I loved the most was the Symphony of the Seas Cruise ship mural project. They were huge and painted onto canvas panels that were then stuck onto the wall of the ship. There was so much gold leaf! I created four murals for the ship in total and I absolutely loved the challenge. I love anything that challenges me and pushes my boundaries as an artist
If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would it be?
There’s so many! I’ll pretty much collaborate with anyone, to be honest, as again I feel I learn something each time. Jenny Saville is probably one of my most favorite artists and I would love to work with her on a large loose piece. Totally different from how I currently work, but I do actually love painting loosely and expressively.
What are your ambitions for 2019?
This year my goal has been to create more originals, to push my work further and experiment a little. I also hope to do more murals and learn more about painting at such large scales... mainly how to speed it up!
Our Curator at Large, Hector Campbell, has been scouring every corner of London to find the best up-and-coming artistic talent. Discover Hector's highlights below and if you're in London over the next few weeks, pop by to see these exciting shows in person.
1. EMMA FINEMAN, MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?, BEERS LONDON
Hot on the heels of her successful solo exhibition ‘Realms of the (Un)Real’ at Public Gallery a few months, Emma Fineman brings a thematic show of harlequins, clowns and circus tents to Beers London gallery in East London. Recent Royal College of Art MA Painting graduate Fineman puts a satirical twist on self-portraiture as she depicts herself as the 19th-century pantomime entertainer Joseph Grimaldi, famed with popularising the use of whiteface makeup within the clowning community. Fineman inhabits the mythologised persona of The Fool, allowing her to cunningly question contemporary society and the current state of political unrest rife in both her native America and her adopted home of the United Kingdom. Her co-option of the clown character is also used to critique the proliferation of social media, and the concept of a performed personality; as evermore, we share the most intimate details of our lives in the most public of forums. ‘May I Have Your Attention Please?’ runs until May 11th.
2. CAROLINE WELLS CHANDLER, STORYBOOK LIFE & DANIEL BLUMBERG, UN-ERASE-ABLE, UNION GALLERY
For Union Gallery’s latest duo presentation, curated by William Gustafsson, Caroline Wells Chandler takes over the street level space with a host of colourful crocheted characters, while Daniel Blumberg occupies the basement with his autobiographical silverpoint drawings. Chandler continues his exploration into queer identity and gender ambiguity, creating a crochet community of bike riders, spaceships, human-horse hybrid and even his artistic heroes David Hockney and Rose Wylie. The show's centerpiece, ‘School Bois’, immortalises when British boys wore skirts to school for the day in protest again stringent and antiquated uniform rules, an important cultural event that highlighted social issues such as gender fluidity.
Downstairs Blumberg employs the often neglected medieval medium of silverpoint to create drawings on paper chronicling his life as a touring musician, songwriter and artist, it’s permanence and portability an important factor for the man on the move. His prolific output of micrograms, as described by celebrated curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, not only gives us a glimpse into the exciting life of an avant-garde artist but also highlights the unavoidable mundanity of everyday existence. ‘Storybook Life’ & ‘UN-ERASE-ABLE’ run until May 11th.
3. CHLOE WISE, NOT THAT WE DON’T, ALMINE RECH
For New York-based Chloe Wise’s first London solo exhibition she presents a new series of painted portraits, depicting her attractive and aspirational inner social circle in a number of staged scenes that recall both a social media influencers feed and a forced family photo opportunity. However, behind the vibrant, Instagram-filtered surface and the emotionless stares of the sitters, uncleanliness and sordidness is suggested by the inclusion of tissues, hand sanitiser and cling film into Wise’s carefully constructed cliques. This implied impurity is further emphasised by the sculptural works that inhabit the gallery, which act as both functional benches and tissue dispensers for visitors. ‘Not That We Don’t’ runs until May 18th.
4. HAPPY HOUR, KRISTIN HJELLEGJERDE
For the second show at their new London Bridge project space, Kristin Hjellegjerde presents ‘Happy Hour’ a group exhibition, curated by EKCO London/Roberto Ekholm, celebrating the communal, the collective and the blurring boundaries between business and pleasure, vocation and domesticity. Highlights include the first exhibition outing for Richie Culver’s sculptural series of ‘Roadman Artifacts’, Remi Rough’s site-specific wall mural painted in his signature style of geometric abstraction meets graffiti and the downstairs bookcase, transformed into a Cabinet Curiosity of Melior Place by the curators request that each artist create a small work for the collection. ‘Happy Hour’ runs, by appointment, until May 25th.
The Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) entitles artists who have produced an original work of art to a royalty (payment) each time their art is re-sold through an art market professional or auction house.
Heidi Thompson was born in Vernon, Canada. After graduating high school she moved to Europe to study. Her extensive education includes a degree in photography from the University of Art & Design in Zürich and some time at the Hungarian State University for Fine Art. We catch up with Heidi to find out more about her process and the philosophy underlying her awe-inspiring art.
Meet Philip Vaughan, the artist behind the landmark 48ft tall Light Tower which sat above the Hayward Gallery from 1972 to 2008. Philip has been involved for the last 10 years or so in an effort to restore the Light Tower. It was a rare example of a large contemporary kinetic artwork on the streets of London but it was never returned after it was taken down from the roof of the South Bank gallery for renovation.
Our Curator at Large, Hector Campbell, has been scouring every corner of London to find the best up-and-coming artistic talent. Hector's recommendations take us to Annka Kultys Gallery in Hackney, Freelands Foundation in Primrose Hill, Assembly Point in Peckham and The Dot Project in Holland Park.
The design trend we’re most excited about this season is ‘biophilia’, the affinity of human beings with the natural world and living things. Discover 5 artists whose work will breathe new life into your interior this Spring.
As the month of March has become an international celebration dedicated to women and women’s rights, here are some inspirational women making an impressive impact in the art world.
Joe Hesketh’s paintings are dynamic statements about the human condition. We ask her about her experience as a woman in the male-dominated art world.