Something special has come to Liverpool this weekend. The first gathering of Liverpool artists of its type in this haunting old building, the exhibition includes artwork, sculptures, photography and even performance art. Every kind of artist is represented here in this great community-based event, from established artists to emerging ones and even local students. Newsham Park Hospital itself is an inspired setting for an exhibition and it’s wasted old halls and wards (some filled with ominous looking equipment) provides an extraordinary backdrop for the work on display.
I caught up with artist and organiser Anna di Scala on the opening day and asked her how the whole thing came about. She told me how she and friend Angie had used Facebook to get things organised. Anna told me, “We wanted to organise an event for the whole of Liverpool. We noticed that galleries were taking artists from other parts of the country and pushing Liverpool artists out, so I did as much as I could to get Liverpool artists on board – and children, of course.”
About the building, Anna said that it was pretty straightforward after Angie asked the owner. Unbelievably, the whole event was put together in just six weeks. “The building itself is something to see before the artwork, so everything you see is a piece of art in itself. Every artist who’s set foot through the doors has been inspired and there’s new art being created on the back of it” Anna would love to run further events and would love to bring in some of her artist friends from Italy and Spain. She told me, “I hope this is just the beginning of a big art venue.”
I was thrilled to see a wide demographic of people all dressed up in their winter woollies who’d come to see the event and this was reflected in the artists whose work was on display, from children to pensioners. I talked to a couple of the artists who had work on display. Mark Sheeky, whose Dali-esque work sits next to Anna’s in the main hall was enthusiastic about bringing art to the community and would love to see more of it. Mark told me, “Considering it’s over 60 artists in quite a short amount of time, it’s quite an achievement.” And I couldn’t agree more.
I also spoke to Hope University student Andrew Trimble who is exhibiting for the first time. Andrew’s work is nestled into an old hospital ward cubicle and he said the space had inspired his choice of work to display.
I was so excited about the exhibition that I even bought my own piece from one of my favourite street artists Love ArtUK.
The exhibit ends today, Sunday 9th November, so get down there if you can. If you can’t, then lets hope the next exhibition in the amazing space is with us really soon.
Click on an image for a larger view
“Coffee and creativity go hand in hand” Coffee Commandments Inc.
The hugely successful National Coffee week and its Liverpool based fringe put the spotlight on coffee and creativity. As part of the London celebrations, Liverpool-based Coffee Commandments Inc took part in the Coffee Art Project at London’s Old Truman Brewery which saw the work shown in the capital for the first time.
Coffee Commandments Inc are Anna Di Scala and Sebastian Gahan and the duo’s work celebrates cafe culture with a series of they jointly refer to as commandments. The series melds the classical forms of pencil and ink strokes and the modern art of digital manipulation to produce fine art images that are truly unique.
Sebastian tells me that the idea for the series began over a semi-serious conversation about the Ten Commandments of coffee in a small cafe on the back streets of Liverpool and soon the art was flowing producing more than the traditional Ten Commandments could handle.
Their artwork, freshly returned from that there London, will be on display for a short time from Monday 6th May at Unit 51, Jamaica Street, Liverpool L1 0AH.
I’ve recently been engaged in an ongoing conversation with a group of my friends on the topic of girl crushes. You know, the women you look at as another woman who make you go, “Oh, yeah.” I’m also involved in an ongoing debate with my fellow Culture Champion, Ray, about what constitutes art.
I’d say that art is anything that moves you; that provokes a reaction, whether it’s good or bad. Well, Anna Di Scala’s Vibrant Eyes exhibition, which launched last night certainly provokes a reaction. All of good from what I saw last night. And if it’s possible to have a girl crush on a painting, then boy did I have one.
Heading to the basement of the Bellini bar on Whitechapel, I was greeted by the exotic sight of be-feathered showgirl, Ishtar and Anna herself, who led me round her wonderful pieces.
Self taught after raising a family, Anna evokes the spirits of Modigliani, Picasso and the gorgeous curves Reubens among others and has brought to life the most beautiful, erotic nudes I’ve ever seen. Painted in bold yellows, which stand out against blacks and dark greens with splashes of vivid red to highlights mouths and nipples, this series of burlesque inspired paintings is both beautiful and sensual.
Highlighted with what turned out to be a vajazzle kit (I wasn’t expecting that!) these images evoke the erotic power of a woman’s body. I’ve got to admit, I came away pretty flustered. In a good way.
So if you fancy celebrating the female form – and these felt like real women – then get down there while the exhibition’s still on.
Find out more about Anna Di Scala’s work at her website