The In-Definite Arts Society (IDAS) is a Calgary-based visual arts organization with an international reputation for excellence. More than 180 adult artists with disabilities take part each week in In-Definite Arts’ year round programs including open studio classes, workshops and exhibitions. For these individuals, the visual arts present opportunities for self-expression, communication and independence that fosters Disability Pride.
In the IDAS studios, artists work with high quality materials to explore a variety of media including: drawing & painting, ceramics & pottery, fibre art and glass fusion. IDAS also offers studio residencies and gallery tours. This artistic experience is incubative, providing artists with the time and opportunity needed to deeply engage in their practices.
In the community, In-Definite Arts maintains an active exhibition program. We’ve placed the work of our artists in private collections, galleries and corporate and public spaces throughout the world, providing visibility for the talents of artists with disabilities. IDAS also operates two on-site galleries for community artists and administrates two visual art awards: one local and one national. Artists at In-Definite Arts are encouraged to sell their artwork, and receive a percentage of the proceeds from each sale.
For over 40 years In-Definite Arts has inspired artists with disabilities to find their voice and share their talents. This year we are excited to share the talents of two exceptional artists (Matt and Amber) with the international art community.
Matthew is an accomplished painter and illustrator at IDAS. He is currently pursuing a BFA at the Alberta College of Art + Design and also illustrates for Low Five Productions, an up-and-coming creative company focused on comic books and gaming-based video content. While his subjects are universal, Matthew excels at caricature and concept design, especially exploring themes of steam punk and/or the super hero comic genre.
Matt has exhibited his artwork in over 30 exhibitions throughout Canada.
Amber is a multi-talented artist, dancer and gymnast who loves trying new things to expand her creativity. She has won numerous art awards including community impact and self-advocacy awards from In-Definite Arts, the city of Calgary and the Alberta government. Skilled in a variety of art forms including painting, pottery and venetian plaster, Amber’s art explores key design-fundamentals such as line, color and movement to express the beauty of the world around her.
Amber has exhibited her artwork in over 60 exhibitions throughout Canada.
Images from the top: The In-Definite Arts studio in use, The studio, 'Resting' by Matthew Carberry, 'Wheelie' by Matthew Carberry, Amber Harriman with her work and award, 'Reflect' by Amber Harriman.
The latest outing of the walking group was to Govan Old Parish Church to have a tour of the unique collection of medieval carved stones that is housed there.
The group were met by Fraser who took them around the various monuments pointing out the more interesting parts and giving an insight into some of the history and theories about their origins and purposes. After spending some time in the church the group went outside to explore the cemetery which is also of great historic interest as there are many old headstones and monuments to be found there also.
The group took lots of photographs in and around the church before setting off on the walk back to the city centre taking the walkway along the river where possible.
As well as a couple of new walkers the group were joined by Adela, an intern from Paths For All, who was armed with a video camera to capture the activity and interview some of the participants. We look forward to seeing the results of her work.
Another fine day out – a good location, good chat and a good walk.
You can find information about the Govan Stones and Govan Old Parish Church at http://www.thegovanstones.org.uk/index.html The w.ebsite states that the church is currently open daily but this is not entirely accurate and it is best to phone and check for opening times or to book a tour.
More photos on our Facebook profile.
Our penultimate feature on the organisations attending the International Summit for Learning Disability Artists and their Support Studios focuses on London-based ActionSpace.
"ActionSpace was launched in the 1960's to provide stimulating creative activities for Londoners with learning disabilities, and became a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity in 1984. In 2001 ActionSpace took the decision to concentrate on the visual arts and launched the flagship Studio Project programme. We now have two dedicated art studios, in South London at Studio Voltaire and in Central London at Cockpit Arts, both well-respected contemporary arts venues.
Over the next three years we will be opening two additional studio locations, in East and West/NorthWest London. We are currently working with some 100 artists on a weekly basis. Our projects cater for a broad range of artistic talents, skills and interests, from beginners to established artists. One of our key strengths is that we work with artists across the entire spectrum of learning disability from mild to profound. The majority of our artists have high support needs, which are often misunderstood and difficult to cater for. Many have been excluded from other art projects.
Over the past thirty years we have worked with thousands of Londoners with learning disabilities. A number of our artists now have well developed studio practices and are regularly exhibiting in exhibitions of local, national and international significance. ActionSpace is widely regarded as a centre of excellence for working with artists with learning disabilities."
The organisation will show works by artist Thompson Hall, who has been a key member of ActionSpace’s Central London studio for over 15 years. He has exhibited widely with ActionSpace and presented his first solo exhibition “Postcards from Brighton” at Brighton Dome in March 2014.
Colour is very important to Hall. He carefully choses and mixes his paints to capture a visual equivalent to a particular emotional or spiritual state, rather than depicting true-to-life colours. Like his fellow Camden-based inspiration Frank Auerbach, Hall attempts to resolve the experience of being in the world in paint.
Drawing since the age of 12, Hall produced images instigated by the readily available contemporary culture around him – scenes from newspapers, magazines and television. He remembers being particularly fascinated with the disturbing dreamlike sequences in ‘American Werewolf in London’ that sparked a number of drawings. Hall’s artistic talent was first recognised by his art teacher at John Keats School in Swiss Cottage, who encouraged him to do more drawing. After attending Kingsway College, Hall was introduced to ActionSpace and ever since has been a prolific studio artist.
Thompson Hall has created a new exhibition entitled “Postcards from Glasgow” especially for the International Summit.
“Postcards from Glasgow” is a series of vibrant cityscapes depicting landmarks of Glasgow from an outsider’s perspective. Thompson has never been to Glasgow and all of his research and preparatory sketches were done from images in books and on the internet. His paintings convey what he thinks his reaction to the city will be, utilising colour, shape and texture over representation. He is looking forward to seeing the city he has painted and finding out how the actual experience of being in Glasgow compares to the impressions he has drawn from research material created by others.
Read more about Thompson Hall here.
'The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts (the Nina) opened its doors in January 2003 under the umbrella of a large disability organization interested in exploring ways to connect adults with developmental disabilities with their community through a shared interest in artistic expression. Beginning with a single artist in a rented studio, the Nina Haggerty Centre is now an independent charitable arts organization that is home to a Collective of more than 170 artists, all with disabilities.
They work alongside a team of paid professional artists and volunteers in the studios, experimenting with a range of media that includes painting, drawing, ceramics, fabric, print making, mixed media, glass, animation and dance.'
'Beyond its mandate as a disability arts organization, the Nina is committed to community development, moving in 2009 moved to its community of choice, an inner-city neighbourhood identified for revitalization. The Nina is part of the grassroots movement that is transforming this area into an arts district, serving as a busy community hub outside of its normal studio hours.
The on-site gallery hosts 16 – 20 exhibitions by emerging and outsider artists, including members of the Nina Collective, and the studios host regular free and low cost community and family art classes and programs for diverse groups, including at-risk youth, children and adolescents with autism and men dealing with addiction issues. The space is also a venue for four annual arts festivals and is regularly used by local community groups for meetings, workshops, media launches and special events.'
Leona was born in Winnipeg, one of twin girls, in 1947. The family moved to Edmonton when she was 9 years old. Leona credits her mother, an art teacher, with cultivating her early interest in art. Initially a way to relax, she now sees art as her career and an important part of who she is.
A key participant in a project involving art and human rights, Leona and her art were featured in an exhibition, art publication and documentary film.The highlight for her was an invitation to travel to Rideau Hall in Ottawa where she met with His Excellency John Ralston Saul.
Leona works primarily with acrylic paint, usually landscapes dotted with people, animals or houses. Recently she has begun experimenting with large, sculptural projects. She studies other art and develops her work slowly, committed to whatever project she is working on. She describes it this way: “It’s like I drowned, I drowned in my own art. It’s a great feeling!”
Randy was born in 1957. Family is important to Randy, he lives at home with his parents in Sherwood Park. He is a prolific artist who likes to create pictures with two very different subject matter; scenes from programs he has seen on television or landscapes from memories and photographs. Randy typically works with pencil crayons but has recently begun experimenting in chalk and oil pastels. Some of his pictures are fanciful in nature with a bright imagination. Others are gentle landscapes complete with their own frame.
Showing his art is a special treat for Randy, there is a sense of pride in knowing that others enjoy what he creates. Randy says, “I draw all day. That’s what I like best to do. I draw at my Mom and Dad’s, I draw at the group home, I draw at the Centre. I have my own sketchbook. I draw all kinds of things, dinosaurs and dinosaurs being born, people, people holding up buildings, my ex-girlfriend Katie. Ideas come from my head and from photographs. I like to fill up the page. Two of my drawings were put on t-shirts.”
Images from top: 'Have a Super Holiday' by Randy Stennes, Leona Clawson with her piece 'Lynn', Leona Clawson exhibiting her work, scultpure by Leona Clawson, Randy Stennes exhibiting, and Randy Stennes working in the studio.
This week we are very pleased to bring you an Artwork of the Week by Horace Lindezey from Venture Arts, Manchester. 'The Navy Blue Suit' is part of a series of wall-based wire drawn 'suits' on a crafted metal support annotated with a story about the origin and purpose of that particular outfit.
"The Navy Blue Suit
(2002) This was bought
with the light
grey suit at Ashton
market. I wear this
on the sabbath
but not all the time."
You can view Horace Lindezey's full suit series and other works by Venture Arts' artists at the exhibition 'It Is Now' at various locations around Trongate 103 from 4 March-4 April to coincide with our international summit event.
Venture Arts runs a range of artist led visual arts workshops for and with learning disabled artists from Manchester with a vision for learning disabled people to be valued contributors to the contemporary visual arts scene as audiences, participants, workers, educators and artists.
Project Ability is delighted to announce the launch of our Aspire publication, celebrating the artists with learning disabilities who attend our Aspire workshops.
Last year, Project Ability turned 30 and decided to mark the occasion with a publication showcasing the vibrant work and energy the Aspire artists bring to our studios. We commissionned award winning photographer Alicia Bruce to capture the essence of the workshops and our artists during a two week residency last summer.
The stunning portraits are featured in the book, alongside photos of artworks, interviews of the artists and texts by Aspire tutors. Designer Zeynep Arman edited the publication, and it is now ready to make its grand debut on Thursday 5th March!
The event will start with a talk by Alicia Bruce at 5pm in our 3rd Floor studios, and will continue with the official book launch in the Project Ability gallery from 6pm-8pm. No booking required, and there will be refreshments!
Atelier 5 is a German organisation based in Mariaberg. They are one of the ten international support studios coming over to the Summit, where they will present work by artists Romina Bafaro and Roland Kappel.
"Situated in the small village of Mariaberg on the Schwäbische Alb in Southern Germany, the studio is part of a diaconal institution which is home to 500 people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health. Created 175 years ago, the institution was the first of its kind in Germany and offers now full support, education, employment and accommodation in many different and individual ways.
The studio “Atelier 5” is housed in a former post office, where workshops began in 1997. Since 2008 the workshops take place regularly and are open to more artists. Nowadays, the “Atelier 5” is open every morning, and there are meetings in the afternoon for special projects.
Participating artists work independently and it is left to them to decide what materials they want to use, at what pace they want to work and with what purpose and objective. Assistance is given only when an artist asks for it or when there is a need.
The work produced is original and individual. It evidences an intuitive approach to artistic creation and a sophisticated engagement between the artist and their work. In the future we will offer more time and space for young adults to work in the studio. We also take part in local art nights and exhibitions more and more."
Born 1983 (Ehingen, Germany). Painterly abstracts and pencil drawn sketches document this humorous artist’s daily cable wrangling routine with technical and lyrical precision. She is interested in many, many things and loves to draw and paint them in any technique or material.
Born 1949 (Reutlingen, Germany). A construction site obsessive whose crane, digger and traffic sign opus recalls a childhood of urban renewal and his own architectural practice. A new released catalogue shows his impressive cosmic sights in building machines, traffic signs and spiritual interests.
With support from the “Karin-Abt-Straubinger Stiftung”
Images from top: Atelier 5, Roland Kappel 'Mariaberg', Romina Bafaro 'Himmlische Musik-Heavenly music', Roland Kappel ' Caterpiller', Romina Bafaro at work, Romina Bafaro 'In der Krippe, In the manger', Roland Kappel at work, Roland Kappel 'Fenny moor Quiet lane'.
Our On The Road workshops have taken us to Coatbridge, Dumferline and Kirkintilloch so far this year. Participants tried their hand at book making, and learned new skills.
If you would like an arts team from Project Ability, a professional artist and a leading learning disability artist, to come to your venue, just get in touch! It can be your centre, club or home and we will deliver a visual arts workshop individually tailored to meet your needs.
Click here for more information.
In just over two weeks, ten international learning disability art organisations will gather in Glasgow for our Summit. KCAT is one of these organisations, coming over from Ireland.
"KCAT stands for Kilkenny Collective for Arts Talent. Founded in 1999 by Camphill Communities of Ireland, following a pilot phase funded through the EU Employment (Horizon) Programme, the aim was to support individuals with different disabilities to develop their particular artistic abilities.
Today, KCAT Studio is a professional artists studio supported by The Arts Council. From an initial three artists, it has grown to the current fourteen artists. The Studio artists are supported by facilitators in all aspects of their professional development. There is a strong sense of community and mutual support between the artists and facilitators, which extends beyond the walls of the studio. Working individually, all share, inspire and motivate each other. The group has executed commissions and exhibited as far afield as Australia, Japan, the United States and a number of European countries.
Collaborating on projects with other arts organisations in Ireland and abroad is an important part of professional development. Presenting at symposia, conferences and lectures, KCAT Studio Artists fulfil an important part of disseminating and advocating their own work and that of KCAT.
KCAT Studio Group is currently involved with a European Grundvic Project called I Want to know (IWTK) 2013-2015 with 3 other European Partners, Pyramid of Arts Leeds UK. COOPERATIONS, Wiltz, Luxembourg . SKID, Überlingen, Germany. This involves artists from each Studio Group travelling to each of the other Partners Organisation to create work and take part in workshops and talks hosted by each group during 2014 and 2015."
The two artists coming to the International Summit for Learning Disability Artists and their Support Studios are Lorna Corrigan and Andrew Pike.
Moving from Camphill Duffcarrig, Gorey, Lorna Corrigan spent six years studying and developing her own style and technique at Ormonde College in Kilkenny. In 2004 she joined the KCAT Studio and her work continued to flourish. Though working largely on canvas with paint, she also sensitively handles ink and pastel on paper. Lorna embraces a range of subjects, often taken from her memory or travels to Australia, France and America. Even from the young age of 5, when she poured a can of red paint over herself and a dull grey tractor, Lorna has considered herself as an artist. Her work is sought after and widely exhibited. (Read her full CV here)
Having been a gardener for many years in Camphill Duffcarrig, Gorey, Andrew Pike wanted to pursue an artistic career. He studied art for two years in Ormonde College, Kilkenny before becoming founding member of the KCAT Studio. Andrew has travelled extensively to Holland, France, Germany, America, Australia, and Japan and these cultural exchanges inspire him greatly in his work. Though most well known for his paintings, Andrew has award-winning animations to his credit as well as co-designing the Big River Parade with Sinead Fahey and Macnas, Galway. (Read his full CV here)
Images from top: Lorna Corrigan 'Flowers in Carrick', Andrew Pike at work on his Ned Kelly tryptich, Lorna Corrigan, Andrew Pike animation in progress, Lorna Corrigan making a clay sculpture, Andrew Pike, Lorna Corrigan 'Circle painting'.
This week, we are very pleased to bring you this painting on paper by William Smith.
William is an avid member of Project Ability's walking group and his paintings originate from the photographs he takes. His paintings hold a distinctive inventiveness and allegorical charge that takes them beyond their photographic source.
Our walking group had an excellent outing last week. One of the group, George, lives in Milngavie and had recommended the group make a visit there to have a walk round one of the reservoirs and also to visit the Lillie Gallery to see the ‘Tam O’Shanter’ exhibition of paintings by Alexander Goudie.
First stop was the gallery where we were met by the exhibition curator, James Higgins. James very generously gave the group a very entertaining and informative tour of the paintings which illustrate the epic poem by Robert Burns and tell the tale of Tam O’Shanter and his meeting with, and escape from, some witches at Alloway Kirk.
After spending some time looking at the paintings George guided the group up the hill towards the Mugdock Reservoir. There was still quite a lot of snow and ice about and there was a chill in the air, but the sun was shining and the walk was bracing and warming.
After circling the reservoir it was time to head back to the train station and to Glasgow.
Many thanks to George and James for a stimulating and invigorating day!
"Kaarisilta Art and Activity Center began its operations in 1987. It can be considered a pioneer in arranging art activities for disabled people in Finland. Beside the visual arts Kaarisilta provides activities also in crafts, music, drama, sports and common knowledge. In 2003 Kaarisilta began offering vocational education for people with special needs in visual arts and music.
The guiding purpose of Kaarisilta is based on strong ethical and aesthetic values, respect for life, and each person’s individuality. Kaarisilta has organized numerous exhibitions in Finland and abroad: for instance in Italy, Japan, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. Dialogue between the artists and the surrounding world of art is considered important. Kaarisilta opened it´s own Art Kaarisilta Gallery in February 2009 in the center of Helsinki."
Two Artists from Kaarisilta are taking part in the International Summit: Sonja Salakka and Raija Raitio.
Sonja Salakka (born 1993) graduated from Kaarisilta´s Vocational Cultural Education Studies in Visual Arts in year 2014. Since then Sonja has been working as an Artist in Kaarisilta´s Art Studios. Sonja is focused in painting. As an Artist she is original and her art is colorful and visually expressive. Sonja is interested in oriental culture which shows also in her Art.
Artist Raija Raitio (born 1948) has participated activities in Kaarisilta since 1990. She is interested in handicrafts and music, but painting is her unquestioning passion. Her large and colorful paintings have been exhibited in several exhibitions in Finland, Japan, Germany, Poland and Italy.
Images from top: 'New York' by Raija Raitio, 'A tree with the turtles and jealous horses' by Sonja Salakka, 'Lamps' by Raija Raitio, 'Japanese (happy)' by Sonja Salakka, 'Deers sleepwalking' by Sonja Salakka, 'A Tree' by Raija Raitio.
Venture Arts is an organisation based in Manchester, and they have been working with learning disabled visual artists for the past thirty years.
"Venture Arts runs a range of artist led visual arts workshops for and with learning disabled artists from Manchester. Our vision is for learning disabled people to be valued contributors to the contemporary visual arts scene as audiences, participants, workers, educators and artists.
We work towards this vision by running artist led workshops in all visual art forms from our art studio in the centre of Manchester, by providing the space and capacity for learning disabled artists to make work ready to show and by showing their collective work in large scale shows in our region. We also run workshops in schools that are co-facilitated by learning disabled artists and run a work enrichment programme giving learning disabled people experiences of working within cultural environments.
A key focus for development for Venture Arts currently is to look at ways in which we can help to build the professional careers of learning disabled visual artists and the invitation to be part of the International Summit for Learning Disabled Artists in Glasgow in March is an excellent opportunity for us to be able to do this. This also represents an exciting forum for us to meet with artists from across the globe and representatives from their supporting studios so that we can exchange experiences, draw new audiences to the work of learning disabled artists as well as opening up new conversations about learning disability art and its place in contemporary visual arts."
Venture Arts will show works by three artists, Horace Lindezey, Lesley Thompson and Justin Lees, with the two latter coming over for the event.
Lesley is passionate about art and draws everything he sees. He lives for drawing. He has been drawing for as long as he can remember and particularly likes mixing text with his art to highlight the connections he makes to life through his art. He is fascinated by superheroes and collects and makes art with characters that he collects at home.
He has been a regular artist at Venture Arts studios for many years and through this has been able to extend his innate illustrative gifts into stitch, animation and printmaking. He is very fond of drawing in pen and ink but also likes to experiment in a range of mediums. His influences in his art come from comic books, music, TV shows and well known media people such as Elvis, Dolly Parton and actors from the 1970’s and 80’s.
Justin is one of our youngest artists and has been working with us since he was 13. He is a talented illustrator with a fantastic imagination. When he first came to Venture Arts Justin really wanted someone to help him make his “pictures move” and used to get frustrated that he didn’t know how make them do this. At Venture Arts he made his first animation called “Stack’s in Jail” and since has blossomed and made many more.
Justin has a unique drawing style and his stories and illustrations mainly feature his family and friends, a villain of some description and often feature himself as the main character. In addition to drawing he has a keen interest in watching animations, especially Pixar and Aardman animations, which are a huge influence on his work. Although only 18 Justin has already had some success with his artwork, gaining a commission from Children in Need in 2012 to make Terry Wogan’s 70th birthday card and having his artwork shown as a backdrop to rock band ‘Inspiral Carpets’ gigs.
Born and bred in Manchester Horace has been practising his art for over 30 years. He enjoys making a range of artworks and is a skilled illustrator, textile artist and ceramicist. He likes to explore the world around him, his local area, which is Moss Side, his family and influences from the media in his work. Horace also has a particular interest in cakes, tapes, collecting ties and getting dressed up in one of many suits for “special occasional days”.
His 30 years’ experience of making and creating means that he is proficient in lots of things but has an eye for detail and prefers to work on small and detailed drawings and textiles pieces. Many of his textiles skills were learnt from watching his mother who was a dressmaker and her friends making dresses and knitting when he was a young boy. In addition to making art Horace has a passion for music, particularly reggae tunes and has an impressive collection of tapes and records. He is not a fan of CDs. He has shown his work widely in the North West of England and has had his work published in a number of Venture Arts publications
Celf o Gwmpas creates projects, exhibitions and residencies that open up opportunities for participation, develops artistic practice and supports social inclusion.
Since 2009, Dean Warburton has been a participant in Celf’s training and mentoring programme bringing the curious and playful together in an entirely original approach. Warburton is an obsessive manipulator of the everyday. A compulsive collector of stuff and an instinctive and industrious arranger of objects and words. The artist scours charity shops, salvage yards and skips in search of materials with a previous life, another purpose and reclaiming them in his work.
Dawn Pritchard has been a long standing member of Celf and along with her developing interest in technology, music and sound, Pritchard has refined a painting practice that is vivid and vital. Possessing a unique, uncluttered and enchanting quality, the artist creates expressive and stylistic representations of the natural and animal world.
This week, we are featuring ALTAR/ER an installation from INFINITE PSYCHIC LOVE EXPLOSION! by ReConnect artist Lea Cummings consisting of several animated elements including a vibrating sheep skeleton, gold chains, bass frequency, sheep heart, and video.
ALTAR/ER expresses the power of frequency, life force energy and the vibrational nature of reality and is a continuation of some of the more live elements of Cummings work as part of transcendental noise project KYLIE MINOISE.
The exhibition continues until 14 February and will be open 6-8pm tonight for Trongate 103's First Thursday!
"This January we began work on a website showcasing the ReConnect group of artists, and thanks to their enthusiasm and input we have already seen a lot of exciting developments.
So far we have focused on documenting each artist’s work to create the visual content for the site. For this I have been working with ReConnect artist Simon McAuley, setting up a mini-studio in the Project Room where Simon is doing a wonderful job of teaching the artists how to use a DSLR camera and tripod, and the importance of good lighting. What could be a rather routine task is becoming really creative, with many of the artists now approaching old work in fresh ways, and composing sculptural compositions especially for the camera.
I have also been showing brave volunteers around Photoshop, getting their images edited and ready for showing online.
In the coming weeks we will be finding ways to speak about their artwork for the individual artist pages, through creative writing, interviews amongst the group, sound recordings and video, as well as gathering material for the blog section of the site.
We hope to launch the site in early April, so keep an eye out here for updates on our progress!"
Our second feature on the organisations taking part in the International Summit for Learning Disability Artists and their Support Studios will focus on Swedish organisation Inuti, and its artists Carina Pettersson and Magnus Östling.
"The Foundation Inuti (founded in 1996) runs a daily activity centre in accordance to LSS, the law of support and service for people with disabilities.
We work with artistically talented individuals with intellectual disabilities and individuals within the autism spectrum. Inuti has four studios in the centre of Stockholm. Ateljé Inuti on the island Lilla Essingen, Ateljé Inuti 2 with a closeby project studio, PS2 (project studio 2) in Södermalm and Ateljé Inuti Västerbroplan.
Inuti also has an art collection, Inuti Collection, containing more than 400 pieces of art.
We are a part of national and international networks, and run an outreaching programme, with exhibitions, projects and workshops.
We often work together with professional artists and artisans, art institutions and museums. We aim to interact in society and cultural life through art events, organised by us or others."
Carina Pettersson has been attending Inuti for eight years, and has seen her work exhibited regularly in Sweden and Europe.
"I have been interested in art and painting since a very young age. In many ways, this is something that my environment stimulated: my grandfather Karl Axel Pehrson was a famous artist and sculptor and my grandmother Birgit was trained in drawing in the advertisment-field. My mom Susanne has been a talented potter for many years. My first exhibition of ceramic works took place when I was 10 years old. After finishing secondary school, I completed six years of aesthetically oriented studies (4 years at St. Erik's Gymnasium-senior high school, followed by 2 years at Dalaro Folkhögskolan, college)."
Magnus Östling was born in 1974 in Botkyrka, Sweden. "I work 50 percent as an office janitor and 50 percent as an artist with mostly mosaic as my main working material." Magnus was part of the jury of the OUTsider art BIENNALE in Rackstad Konsthall, and has exhibited wildly across Sweden. "Micasa Real Estate in Stockholm AB has bought five of my mosaics to put up in the hall in Tanto sheltered house. In Swedish it is called “Trygghetsboende”: it is a place where older people can live and meet other people."
Images from top: Magnus Östling 'Metro between Alby and Fittja', Carina Pettersson 'The dogs', Magnus Östling 'I´m with the fish', Carina Pettersson 'The elephants', Magnus Östling 'Bus 96 between Stora och Lilla Essingen', Carina Pettersson 'Rainbow bright'.
The International Summit for Learning Disability Artists and their Support Studios will open in just over a month, and we are hard at work to make it an unforgettable event. In the meantime, we would like to tell you more about the organisations involved with the Summit, starting with Arts Project Australia, who just celebrated their 40th birthday!
"Arts Project Australia was founded in 1974, when artist Myra Hilgendorf noticed the drawing of her daughter Johanna, who was, in the parlance of the times, “mentally retarded”. Hilgendorf saw that, through creating art, her daughter could express the thoughts and ideas which Johanna could no longer convey through speech. These lively, vital works would be the seed from which Arts Project, as we know it today, would grow.
It was Hilgendorf's hope and vision that the works created by her daughter, and others like her, would be accorded the dignity that the work of practising, exhibiting artists in the wider community received, and preferably in settings that were geared more toward art, than disability It was at this time that Cheryl Daye joined the Committee, and the vision of Arts Project as we know it today – a studio staffed by practising artists, professional quality materials, an ongoing collection of work, and a vibrant gallery space – came to fruition.
The aim of the Studio program is to develop the creative lives and processes of the artists, as well as forging connections with the wider arts community. The role of the Staff Artists is deceptively complex and multi-faceted, as it’s vitally important that the right balance is struck: offering assistance and nurturing to each studio artist, without altering or directing the resulting visual outcomes. All Staff Artists all possess tertiary qualifications in fine art, and bring the specialist knowledge of their various disciplines to the Studio, whilst also maintaining their own art practices.
We are very proud of the span of our Studio program - drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, digital media (such as photography, imaging and animation) and a 3D program, as well as field trips, visiting artists, skills workshops and life drawing, combine to create diverse and exciting opportunities. Many of our artists exhibit regularly, both domestically and internationally, and work from Arts Project is held in significant private and public collections the world over."
You can read Arts Project Australia's full statement here.
The two artists coming to the Summit are Cathy Staughton, who has been with Arts Project Australia since 1996, and Paul Hodges, a regular studio artist since 1998.
Cathy Staughton’s passions, imaginings, sadnesses and dreams are brought to life using a vivid technicolour palette, a keen eye for detail and honest approach to her subject that is refreshingly unselfconscious. Staughton’s paintings depict autobiographical themes and she frequently portrays herself through various characters or guises. She has honed her visual language to a level that enables her to convey the rich drama, comedy and fantasy in her life. Often Staughton repeats symbolic characters such as robots and saintly figures, along with a life-long fascination with Luna Park, which she uses as a device to depict her emotional state and storytelling ability.
Paul Hodges is both a painter and a ceramic artist. Inspired by images of dancers, models and romantic works by the Old Masters, Hodges has concentrated on representing the human figure over the past few years. First looking through magazines and books, he sets about reinterpreting the imagery using ink and occasionally gouache whilst experimenting with colour and form. His work conveys a sense of mystery and dream-like transcendence of everyday life. Like his paintings, Hodges’ ceramic works are often figurative. Gentle in form, the application of soft pastel colours to the works enhances a sense of fluidity and expression.
Images from top: Cathy Staughton 'Stress see computer monitor dream’, Paul Hodges at work, Cathy Staughton painting the Drawing Wall for the Arts Project Australia Annual Gala 2014, Paul Hodges 'Working on the boat', Cathy Staughton at her retrospective in 2013, Paul Hodges 'Untitled'.
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