Art as therapy? 5 of the best art classes in London

Posted in Art Style Files by Ruth Millington on 14th May 2019

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.



  1. 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.


‘Spend your Saturday life drawing at the Royal Drawing School’


  1. 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!


‘Reduce stress through a pottery class in Peckham’


  1. 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!


“The chief aim of colour should be to serve expression” – Henri Matisse


  1. 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.


“Hampstead Heath is the perfect place for photography”


  1. 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.


“Print like a pro at Heatherley School”





Ruth Millington is an arts and culture blogger, freelance writer and art historian.

Alexandra Gallagher | Where The Surreal Meets The Bizarre

Posted in In the Studio by Bethan Street on 09th May 2019

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.


Blue Birds by Alexandra Gallagher, 2017


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.

Beyond The Veil of Deception by Alexandra Gallagher, 2018


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.


Echoes of Her Mother by Alexandra Gallagher, 2017


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



Flamingo Flowers by Alexandra Gallagher, 2017


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.


Freckled Flamingo by Alexandra Gallagher, 2016


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!



Browse Alexandra's Work


Must-See London Exhibitions This May

Posted in Inside Scoop by Hector Campbell on 30th April 2019

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.



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.


Emma Fineman, (L) ‘Dreamer’, Oil And Charcoal On Canvas, 2019 (R) ‘Liberty Lead By The Fool’, Oil And Charcoal On Canvas, 2019. Installation view at Beers London. Image courtesy of Beers London and Emma Fineman.



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.


(L) Caroline Wells Chandler ‘School Bois’, Hand crocheted assorted fibers, 2019 (R) Daniel Blumberg, ‘μg, fishing’, Silver on paper, 2019. Image courtesy of Union Gallery.



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.


 Chloe Wise, (L) ‘Tormentedly Untainted’, Oil on linen, 2019 (R) ‘You definitely lied to the right person’, Oil on linen, 2019. Installation view at Almine Rech. Image courtesy of Almine Rech and Chloe Wise.



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.


Remi Rough, ‘No Consequence’, Graphite, acrylic and spray paint on ply, 2019.

(Image courtesy of Kristin Hjellegjerde and Remi Rough)


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