Tallinn

Tallinn Town Hall Square

 

Sailing two days East from Copenhagen, our Capital Cities of the Baltic Cruise closed in on Estonia’s historical haven, Tallinn. 

 

Tallinn Freedom Square

Freedom Square

Gangway cleared, we hopped in a taxi to the World-Heritage Site of Tallinn’s Old Town.  Detouring, we passed the colossal concrete Freedom Square, featuring a 23.5m high glass Cross of Liberty (Victory Colum) honouring those lost during the Estonian War of Independence.

Running from 1918–1920, the War of Independence saw Estonia fight for freedom first from Russian, then German occupation, before the Tartu Peace Treaty recognised its sovereignty.

Now a selfie hotspot, the square is bordered to the East by St. John’s Church, to the South by an underground shopping center and to the West by the Victory Column.

Keen to see more, we headed North inside the walls of the Old Town.

St. Mary's Cathedral Tallinn

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Starting at the top, we entered St. Mary’s Cathedral, a sublime structure complete with many Med Evil coats of arms and a 69-metre Baroque bell tower.  After an awesome ascent we reached the best view in town, which showed Tallinn’s hidden gems shining in the sun; none more so than the golden tops of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. 

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Tallinn

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Lured by its striking sight, our next stop was to the Eastern Orthodox build. Here stately steps lead to chequered floors, fabulous frescos, chandeliers, and inspiring iconostases. Such splendor made it difficult to focus on any one feature, but soon all heads rose to the sound of the Cathedral’s bells.  With 11 bells in its ensemble, Alexander Nevsky’s tower boasts Tallinn’s largest bell, which weighs an impressive 15 tonne.


Tallinn Town Walls

Tallinn Town Walls

Seeking a quieter spot we headed away from the Cathedral, to trace the Town Walls. Giving the UNESCO site its fairy-tale façade, the Town Walls feature terracotta turrets, arches and walkways sublime for snaps. 

As well as being beautiful, these features allow Tallinn to claim status as one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval fortifications, with its structure dating back to the 14th century and 1.9 km of original wall remaining.  To further examine the walls visitors can climb up Nunna tower, but we chose to admire them from afar at the Patkuli viewing platform.

The Raeapteek

The Raeapteek

Down the steps, 10 minute’s walk from the platform, is the Town Hall Square, where modern market stalls are edged by ancient architecture, such as the Raeapteek (Old Pharmacy).

The Raeapteek’s unassuming threshold leads visitors upstairs, before revealing two rooms, a working chemist and a museum of Apothecary. The latter room holds ornate wooden cabinets and glass displays of herbs and medicine books from the Middle -Ages.

Dating back to 1422, the building is the oldest continually operating pharmacy in Europe. Its early days saw it function not just a place of healing, but of socialising, where town folk would meet for a gossip and goblet of wine.

Restaurant Troika

Thirsty for our own refreshments, we headed to the nearby haunt Restaurant Troika.  With tables overlooking the plaza, this Eastern eatery was perfect for people watching.  Once set with tankards of beer, we pondered passers-by and the delectable dishes being served around us.

Then, as musicians struck up from the restaurant doorway, our attention was drawn to the décor within.  As we entered, a stuffed grizzly bear stood arms outstretched, ready to greet us. Then, next to it, a life-sized Matryoshka doll stood, begging to be cuddled. The old eastern décor was complete with the waiting staff’s sarafan costumes and hearty hospitality.

Mercado De Flores

Reinvigorated we headed back to the ship, making one last stop at Mercado De Flores.  Just three minutes walk from the plaza, the Flower Market was well worth the detour. Bright botanical bunches assaulted our senses, with posies for every price range. Tulips, carnations and wildflowers were just some of the delights on offer. In the end I opted for a bouquet of velvet red roses, accented with cornflowers – the symbol of Estonia.

Once back on the ship we swapped tips for Tallinn travellers: bring walking shoes, a tourist map and spending money for the beautiful boutiques. 

Glasgow Goes Green

 

Glasgow Goes Green

 

Bringing sustainable living facts, fun and food is the pop up festival Glasgow Goes Green. Running 15 February in SWG3 from 5– 11pm, the event is part of UK Go Green Week.

Festival lead organiser Sarah Bacom explained: Go Green Week is the largest week of student climate action. Glasgow Goes Green comes as part of it, bringing together the city’s four universities in the common cause of environmentalism.”

Although student led the festival welcomes people from all walks of life, with daytime family activities and an 18+ after party.

Bacom said: “The festival will be running in two stages; from 5- 8pm it will be family friendly, with stalls, activities and acoustic music. Then from 9 – 11pm the stalls will close and a DJ from the IM Project will lead the party.”

The venue has disabled access and guests can book free tickets from Eventbite website.

We want the festival to show that environmentalism is accessible to everyone,” the organiser added.

This sentiment will ring throughout the day’s activities.

Bacom said: “The festival will have food, arts, crafts, lifestyle and biodiversity strands. Some people will have stalls and some will host workshops. The arts strands will see interactive sessions, such as live mural painting, where the crowd can come forward and feed into the artists’ work.

“There will be art displays that people can pass and admire, but most of the art will have an interactive element.”

Getting everyone involved is the aim of the game.

Bacom explained: “This year’s festival theme is ‘What does Green Mean to You’; so we are trying to engage with people who might not identify themselves as environmentalists and change their perspective.”

She added: “Environmentalism means different things to different people; some people think of gardening while others think of protesting. Some people are very passionate about human rights, but don’t associate this with environmentalism, however we are working to show that climate justice is social justice.”

With its food for thought the festival also brings food for sustenance.

Bacom promised: “There is going to be lots of vegan, as well as gluten free food. Some of the more unusual food will include honey from the Glasgow University Beekeeping Society. The beekeepers will even be hosting honey tasting sessions!”

Honey can also be found in some of the festival’s drinks, as it will include Plan Bee a company that flavours its beer with locally sourced nectar.

Bacom enthused: “There are so many eco-friendly start- ups, niche organisations and projects in Glasgow! This shows that Glaswegians have a real desire to make their city better and empower others too.” 

This desire was reflected in the strong turn out of last year’s Glasgow Goes Green festival, which boasted over 800 attendees.

This year’s festival looks to follow suit, with 2/3 of the tickets snapped up within the first few weeks of going live.

Bacom concluded: “Come and explore Glasgow Goes Green! We have something for everyone. You never know what you might do or who you might meet!”

Pehchaan

Pehchaan

Spicing up Scotland’s summer is the Tramway Indian art exhibition, Pehchaan. Running from June 18 to July 31, the show captures India’s new aesthetic ‘identity’.

Glasgow Museums Curator of World Cultures, Patricia Allan said: “Focus on classical art in museums and galleries reinforces a widely-held perception that Indian art is ancient and has no connection with the present.

“Pehchaan opens the door to another India – the dynamic, creative, inspirational art from today’s streets and studios – which is somehow firmly inspired by centuries of tradition.”

The collection features folk art, textiles and contemporary works, alongside material from Glasgow Museums new collection. This collection was acquired (especially for the project) with support from the Art Fund’s RENEW programme and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Bringing the project to life is creative designer Gabriella Marcella, who invigorates the art with public workshops, discussions and activities.

Allan said: “The colour and energy of Gabriella Marcella’s set design adds a buzz and excitement to the immersive event; there’s a surprise around every corner.

“Pehchaan is a fun experience, a snapshot of the sights, sounds and mystery that is India.”

Pehchaan showcases three art traditions: Punjabi painted trucks, West Bengali wax cast brass sculptures and contemporary sculpture from Assam.

Collation of the work and interviews with the artists were filmed, before pieces of the documentary were added to the exhibition.

Allan explained: “The edited excerpts of the film are an important part of the exhibition experience.”

This experience spans two continents and five years of work, shared between Indian curators, Glasgow Museums and community artists.

Allan added: “Pehchaan gives tribal, street and geographically isolated artists from three regions of Northern India a unique opportunity to showcase their skills to a larger audience.”

As well as introducing new art to Glasgow, Pehchaan attempts to introduce new visitors to Glasgow museums.

Allan said: “A key part of the project has been to use this collection to engage with communities who do not normally visit museums. We intended the RENEW collection to be a springboard for creativity, dialogue and imagination.

“Therefore, as part of the project we ran six months of community art workshops inspired by the new collection, culminating in a community event at Scotland Street Museum.”  

She concluded: “Community workshops are also part of Pehchaan in a specially designed workshop area within the exhibition space.”

Pehchaan image: Painted truck back with image of lion by Jarnail Singh, 2013.

Southside Fringe

SSF

Showing how Scots do Southern hospitality is Glasgow’s Southside Fringe. Running from May 13 – 29, the celebration includes in and outdoor events.

Co-founder Corinna Currie said: “We have an amazing selection covering live music, theatre, cabaret, comedy, spoken word, burlesque, literature, visual art, film and well being events.”

With such a mix of activities its no surprise last year’s festival welcomed over 9000 revellers.

Now in its third year the Southside Fringe has returned with exciting new features.

Currie explained: “This year we are delighted to introduce a dedicated heritage programme, welcoming on board Pollok House and House for an Art Lover. “ 

House for an Art Lover hosted the festival on May 14 with Art on the Park, the programme’s first alfresco event. Delivered in partnership with Art on Scotland, the event included an art fair, live entertainment and food stalls. 

Continuing festival firsts Southside Fringe 2016 launched its ‘legacy’ work, with the Clutha Trust, bringing activities to Castlemilk Youth Complex.

Catering to all ages the festival includes activities across 52 venues, including historical buildings, cafes, pubs and even a pool.

Currie said: “Govanhill Baths have a wonderful range of theatre events.”

She added: “Loks bar have a full programme of events from Ceilidhs, to David Bowie tribute nights. We’re also really excited to see how the open air space down at Pollokshield Playhouse will be used.”

As well as pop events, the festival will have international activities.

Currie said: “We have singers all the way from Kenya, Ogoya Nengo and the Dodo’s women’s Group, performing at the Glad Café; music from Brazil, in Nossa Bossa on May 19,, and a Traditional Eritrean Coffee ceremony, hosted by MILK on May 16.

Tastebud treats continue at the festival with a Gin and Food evening at the Salisbury and also the Spanish Tapas & Wine Tasting Evening at Bell & Felix.

The festival will conclude with a cabaret party at Loks, starring acts like Creative Martyrs, Kim Khaos and Tom Harlowe.

Currie anticipated: “With Music from the Glasgow Swing Society and the Acquiescent Orchestra there will be a party atmosphere and good measured rowdiness! “

Closing party tickets are £10 and available in Fringe HQ or online.

Currie concluded: The atmosphere at Southside Fringe is electric and full of love. We’re all in it for our love of the Southside. It’s great to feel the area buzzing during the fortnight.

 “You can grab a programme or go online and come along to Southside Fringe. You’ll only regret it if you hear how good things are after they’ve happened!”

The Labyrinth Inside 

The lab inside

Exploring inner turmoil in inner London is the modern art exhibition, The Labyrinth Inside. Running from 4 – 21 November, at Lacey Contemporary Gallery, the show features work from Katrine Roberts and Angela Smith.

Roberts said: “Angela and I met through Lacey Contemporary Gallery; we were both approached a little over a year ago by Andrew Lacey, who founded the space.

“In this instance we were selected to show alongside one another. We share a common ground in our visual language and overlapping concerns with woven, tangled forms depicting strange, abstruse creatures or environments.”

These environments are featured in paintings and an installation at the Lacey Contemporary Gallery. The works explore themes of the psyche and body, in an interactive way.

Roberts said: “The Gallery space is used as a metaphor, the materials’ movements and audience participation bringing attention to the life breathed into any space once inhabited.”

This affect is achieved by splitting the Gallery in half, with Smith’s work at the front and Roberts’ at the back.

Roberts detailed: “We chose to divide our work, to allow each of our ‘worlds’ to breathe, with a pendulum-like interaction between the two.”

Roberts’ work consists of paintings on canvas and board, as well as an installation that paints the gallery structure.

She said: “I have made a number of installations in the past, often using paint, paper and tools to cut into the walls; but each piece takes on a different form, as every space is different.”

Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in July, with an MA in Painting; Roberts first gained a BA in Fine Art Painting at London Art School, in 2011. Since then she has been working as a professional artist.

Recounting her proudest achievements, Roberts said: “I was so excited to be selected for the Catlin Guide in 2012. Then it was great being included alongside artists I admire, such as Carla Busutill, in South Korea’s Space K Galleries. But more recently my proudest achievement has been being shortlisted for the Griffin Art Prize.”

The Griffin Art Prize is a competition that celebrates the UK’s best emerging artists. Its winner will be announced at the Private View, on 18 November.

An exhibition of work by all of the shortlisted artists, including Roberts, will be held at West London’s Griffin Gallery, from 19 November to 18 December.

As well as exhibitions, Roberts has been busy founding a contemporary art forum called ArtNow.Discuss, which focuses on discussion and projects.

Roberts concluded: “Based in London, AN.D takes the form of interviews both online and offline with Artists, Curators, Gallery Managers, Project Managers, Collectors, Investors, Educators and Writers. It offers a multifaceted view of what is happening at this moment.”

RCA Graduate Show

RCA picture

Art is for everyone; and to prove the point the Royal College of Art (RCA)  welcomed the public, without fee, to its Graduate Show 2015.

RCA Head of Communications & Marketing, Áine Duffy said: “This year saw the biggest ever graduating cohort – 648 MA, MPhil and PhD students in total, across six Schools: Architecture; Communication; Design; Humanities; Fine Art and Material.

“The Show Team, led by Dean of Fine Art Professor Juan Cruz worked tirelessly on every aspect – from ensuring that each student had the right space for her or his work to delivering the online catalogue, with 648 different profiles.”

The show featured work from its latest Alumna, across all disciplines; letting viewers wander from sublime sculpture to ridiculous renditions.

While performance art contrasted with material; the show had one constant, it was thought provoking. Throughout the exhibition artists used form to reflect preoccupations such as: fetishes, science and politics.

On the ground floor a huge print loomed over guests; its black and white puffs suggested tree canopies. Yet artist, Kate Fahey, explained the ‘trees’ were actually mushroom clouds, looming over Syria. She sourced aerial pictures of explosions before layering them into a dystopian textile.

RCAKate

She said: “The gap between what we see (and our reaction to it) and the initial, functional intention of the photograph on its capture is becoming further from our grasp.

“In the fragility of the work I reference both the ephemerality of the ‘poor image’ that ‘operates against the fetish value of high resolution’ and the instability of the subject matter.

“In its form and placement within space I reflect on our relationship with contemporary images – screen based perspectives, aerial, satellite and elevated views.”

While Fahey used excess to highlight atrocity, another graduate used it to harness energy. Ghanaian artist, Nana Asafua Dawson, used his home-land’s heat as inspiration to make a (huge) magnifying- glass furnace.

Nana furnace

He said: “Back in Ghana I had worked with craftsmen who used an open- air, electric powered furnace to melt their wax and metal.

“I got to asking how craftsmen could work in an environment like this, without wasting so much fuel. So I came up with the concept of using heat conduction, conversion and rotation to harness the power of the sun.”

Dawson explained: “I bought a 1.1m squared lens; created a solar powered furnace; tested it in London; and it worked! I managed to get the lens to produce temperatures of 1500 and above. Then I used it to melt scrap metal, and create the jewelry displayed at the show.”

Nature again inspired metalwork, as artist Victoria Shennan displayed her jewellery and musical- collaboration about bacteria. The graduate first researched the quantities of human bacteria, before making jewellery that reflected its proportion and place in the body.

RCAVic

She then sought to replicate its patterns, in a musical collaboration with Exeter University Medical School Research Fellow ; Dr Linda Long, and creator of Molecular Music, Jack Hurst.

Shennan said: “The body is a landscape, host to many habitats, vastly uncharted, and part of a wider ecosystem. Through the medium of the body we experience the world.

“My exhibition asks: ‘what if you could experience the world hidden in plain view and hear the rhythms of nature that underpin existence or weigh the value of these invisible worlds?’”

Invisible forces also acted as inspiration for artist Alexander Duncan’s installation. At the show, Duncan flooded an area and added (partially concealed) machinery to create a fake tide.

RCA Alex Duncan

He said: “In this work a loading ramp becomes a slipway; somewhere intertidal and uncanny. An artificial lapping wave powered by a pointless machine.

“I’m fascinated with how people react to water; to want to be close to something potentially harmful and control it.”

Control is a theme which resurfaced in artist Yunjung Lee’s work. Her jagged jewelry showcased rings and necklaces with fangs, snakes and stilettos.

RCAYunjungLee

She explained: “I found that there are two female stereotypes: the princess and the monster. Barbie doll is an example of the princess; Medusa and Vagina Dentata the monster.

“I fused the two different representations and created something in between. Throughout the project I tried to shed the new light on the representation of women, and make the jewellery that can be part of the wearer’s identity.”

Identity formation also prevailed in RCA photographer Ruidi Mu’s work. Mu’s centrepiece was a wooden hut, papered in passport photos of similar looking people. These pictures sat behind test tubes (containing hair) in a combination that suggested cloning.

RCA Rudi Mu

Mu said: “My works revolves around the idea of ‘happening’; trying to find the boundary between art and life, and shrinking it as much as possible; using photography to recreate the environment.”

Another artist using variable environment to manipulate form was Isabella Kullmann. Kullmann’s glass vases and bowls showed clean edges that responded well to light.

RCAIsabella

She said: “This body of work is all about the glass object in its domestic environment or architectural setting- the play of light, the fall of shadows, the reflection on the surface, and the refraction of colour.

“These transitory properties stand in contrast to the permanence of the material itself. The situated environment becomes active: adding colour, movement, and light to the object, while the hardness of the glass dissolves into the space surrounding it.”

Reactive and proactive in parts, the RCA Graduate show offered something for everyone.

Head of Communications & Marketing, Áine Duffy concluded: “The RCA 2015 show has been an unmatched showcase for the talented designers and artists graduating this year.”

Merchant City Festival

Merchant City Festival

Preparations have begun for this year’s Merchant City festival and it promises to be the biggest yet. Running twice the length of previous events, the 2015 bill will span July 25 – August 2.

Festival Executive Producer, Lorenzo Mele, said: “The 2014 Festival was exceptional because it supported the Commonwealth Games, acting as the cultural centre for the programme. Last year’s festival brought the city alive with outdoor content and that will continue this year.”

The outdoor content is expected to include acting, circus performances, and of course music.

Mele said: “The festival will include lots of different art forms, but its central element will be music. We have two outdoor stages every year and this year they will host a variety of artists, playing everything from rock, to RnB, and dance music.”

The Brunswick Street Stage will have a marquee with large screen and bar area; while the Emerging Talent Stage will showcase new bands.

Indoors, the Blackfriars Stage will once again feature music acts, but this year it will also become a comedy hub.

Headline comedy and music events will be cost ticketed, however Mele explained the majority of festival events will be free.

Bargain-seekers can enjoy a variety of performances and workshops throughout the day.

Mele said: “We want the festival’s daytime schedule to appeal to as much as the night; so we are hosting a weekday family zone, in Merchant City Square, from 27 –31 July.

“The festival will have interactive workshops for toddlers and parents; music for adults; and this year – for the first time – a programme for those 55 and older.”

Mele welcomed guests from all ages and walks of life.

He said: “The Merchant City Festival is good at bringing the focus on art, but also at attracting members of the public who wouldn’t usually go to gigs.”

He described plans to attract shoppers with interactive fashion and beauty events.

Mele said: “The team are examining ways to make the fashion element of the festival interactive, with things like upcycling and accessorising workshops.”

He added: “We have a Barcelonan act coming to the festival, called Osadia. This group create fantasy makeovers, taking people from the audience and transforming their look with hair and make- up sculpture.

“Osadia performed at the festival last year and they were hugely popular, so we look forward to having them back.”

Another international act Mele anticipates being a hit, is Dutch musician-come- chef: The Screaming, Cooking Prince; whose act does what it says on the tin.

As well as international acts, the festival will showcase home-grown talent.

Mele explained: “One of the highlights will be a UK dance performance called Fragile; a world Premier show from the Motionhouse dance company. It will involve around 25 performers dancing in, on and around JCB diggers. It should be quite spectacular.”

He concluded: “The Merchant City Festival really does have something for everyone. As well as great acts there will be stalls selling food from around the world.”

The festival’s themes include: Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, and Glasgow’s Year of Green; these themes provide inspiration for organisations hoping to participate.

Organisations hoping to participate in Merchant City Festival can apply for grants of up to £500, through the Get Involved Fund.

Proposals should include specially planned activities that incorporate city space.

Open House Art Festival

Tine

Bringing visual art to the public, Glasgow’s Open House Festival returned for its second year. Running May 2 – 4; the weekend saw local art installed in everyday buildings.

Open House Artist Tine Bek said: “The festival involved almost 200 artists, whose work was spread out throughout town, in houses and public spaces; to make it more accessible.”

The festival provided a platform for (emerging and established) artists to open their practices, and sometimes homes, to new audiences. By removing art from conventional spaces and embedding it in infrastructure Open House gave a second perspective of Glasgow.

Turning heads in the Savoy Centre was photographer Tine Bek. She and fellow artist, Scott Caruth, made the ‘Twofold’ exhibition in Savoy Centre disused units.

Bek explained: “The exhibition was collaboration between myself and Scott; we arranged our space together, but as two separate shows with the common link of travel.”

In Twofold Bek and Caruth presented work developed during artist residencies abroad. Bek was ‘artist in residence’ in Buenos Aires, and Caruth was one in Modena.

Caruth mused on the legacy of the 70s Italian movementAutonomia’, while Bek examined the Baroque period and its influence.

She said: “This is a selection of images from a book I am making called the Barok. It views the Barok as a state of mind, as opposed to a just time in history. The work examines human interactions; the way people deal with space and excess.”

Bek describes the baroque as both a period in design and as a philosophy on duality. Bek’s work showed this conflating illusion and reality, light and dark and time and space.

These contrasts worked well in Twofold’s unusual setting.

Bek said: “Exhibiting in a Savoy Centre unit has been awkward, but in a good way. Working in unconventional space challenged me as an artist, and opened my work to people who wouldn’t usually see it.”

Opportunity has also arisen in her partnership with Caruth.

Bek explained: “Scott and I have been talking about working together for about three years, having both graduated from Glasgow School of Art (GSA) Fine Art photography. It has been great to finally collaborate and bounce ideas off each other.”

She added: “We are thinking about working together in the future, and possibly making a book of photography.”

This natural development of talent was the founding principle of Glasgow Open House (GOH) an artist-led, not-for-profit group, established by GSA alumna Amalie Silvani-Jones, in 2013.

Since its founding, GOH has helped grassroots artists circulate their work. This ethos was then enshrined in the Glasgow Open House Art Festival 2014.

The 2014 festival showcased 80 artists, however a year later the festival had grown and included new ‘Art Walks’, touring its exhibitions. Specially commissioned flags were made (in partnership with Project Ability and COLOUR HOTEL) to adorn Glasgow buildings, pinpointing the art.

Artist work and details of the 2015 festival can be viewed at the Glasgow Open House Art Festival website.

Galoshans Festival

GALOSHANS PIC

There’s a new UK arts festival and it’s called the Galoshans. With the Scots name for ‘guising’ it’s unsurprisingly scheduled North of the border. The exact location is however, more surprising. Unlike most Scottish festivals, it isn’t going to Glasgow or Edinburgh, rather Inverclyde.

Bringing the festival to Inverclyde is Scottish charity UZ Arts. The group works to commission, produce and distribute art in all its forms.

UZ Arts Executive producer, Jo McLean, said: “The Community Trust had been organising events as part of the Inverclyde Space programme and, in 2014, they spoke to UZ Arts about growing a festival.

“The Galoshans was an idea that the Community Trust had introduced to us. They told us it was a traditional folk play about George and the dragon. The original custom was to perform the play in spring;  but Inverclyde adapted it to take place around Halloween [alongside guising]. ”

Now UZ Arts are expanding the custom into an arts festival. The festival will still nclude the Galoshans play, as well as music, performances, and installations throughout Inverclyde.

Galoshans will run from 30 October to 1 November, with a complimentary fringe programme that ends in  Inverclyde’s firework display (November 7).

As well as this, the festival will launch with a symposium entitled Moving Out, which pushes artists and audiences outside of their comfort zones.

Using the European network IN SITU, UZ Arts will bring artists across seas to engage with the people of Inverclyde. The artists will create work outside conventional venues, reimagining iconic landmarks.

McLean said: “UZ Arts are part of IN SITU, a 19 country network, which funds international arts projects, and enables collaberations. IN SITU artists will be coming to the Galoshans festival to showcase their work.”

As well as artists, the public can get involved with the Galoshans.

McLean explained: “UZ Arts will be looking for volunteers to assist at the festival. We will also be running internships and opportunities, especially aimed at young jobseekers.

“Whenever UZ Arts run a festival we always try to make it benefit the local community.”

All visitors will benefit from the Galoshan’s reasonably priced and free events (ticket details to be confirmed).

McLean concluded: “We hope the festival will celebrate the international community, while reflecting the Inverclyde’s local pride.”

Galoshans may continue to be an annual source of pride, as UZ Arts have provisionally planned to roll it out in future years.

To get involved with the 2015 festival, visit the UZ Arts Website or email the team.

Southside LIFE Drawing

Southside LIFE2

Alison Johnston

 

Whether you’re doodle daft or a working artist, life drawing classes can provide an outlet.

Life drawing’s prehistoric roots can be traced in caves around the world. However, as the practice evolved throughout the centuries, it became an art school staple. This trend was largely set by the Carracci family, in the 1580s, as they led the Accademia degli Incamminati in Bologna (Italy). This art school had its pupils first copy human form engravings; then plaster casts, before finally letting them draw a live model.

This strict approach has mellowed through the years and life drawing has returned to the masses. It is now estimated (by the Register of Artists’ Models) there are over 2000 life drawing employers in the UK; with many classes in residential venues. One such class is Glasgow Southside LIFE drawing.

LIFE drawing tutor, Alison Johnston said: “I started Southside LIFE Drawing two years ago after the class I had attended stopped. All the drawing classes I enquired about were in the city centre, and as a single mum I couldn’t find the time to travel to and fro. I therefore decided to start up my own class this side of the river.”

Johnston, a GSA graduate and qualified teacher, has since been running classes fortnightly on Tuesdays (7 to 9pm) in Argosy Bar function suite.

The suite is set with background music, tables, and chairs.

Johnston said: “It’s a very relaxed class. I play chilled out music and there’s a little break half way through when people chat and nosey at one another’s work.  There’s also the opportunity to bring a wee drink up from the bar downstairs.

“The suite has plenty of tables, but students can bring an easel if they prefer. There is lots of room and, unlike other classes, you don’t have to fight to get a good view of the model.”

The open atmosphere is furthered by LIFE drawing’s diverse mix of students.

Johnston explained: “The class is very mixed in gender, age and ability. I have people who haven’t drawn since school, mixing with secondary school students, and very competent and working artists. The class is open to everyone.”

Classes are £10  and £7 for students (in education). Beginners can join with just a sketchbook and drawing implement. Usually extra paper and materials are also on hand, for those who fancy variety.

Johnston said: “Beginners need not worry as I’m there to give advice and help out where I can.”

“Life drawing is a fantastic way to relax! I find time disappears really fast when drawing.

“The common misconception is its sleazy; it’s nothing like that at all. I have a fantastic group of very professional life models who are posed in various positions – either standing, seated or reclining.”

Sessions usually start with several brief sketches, before going on to more in depth poses, and usually concluding in two half hour poses.

Students can build upon their skills by attending multiple classes, but Johnston explained, block bookings are not mandatory.

She said: “I’m aware sometimes students can’t attend every week due to other commitments, but they can keep abreast of all the latest session dates through the group’s Facebook page.”

The Southside LIFE drawing Facebook page also offers pictures of the student’s sketches and answers to their queries.

Johnston concluded: “Lots of people say life drawing is something they have thought about trying; so why not come along and try it for yourself? It is open to all and can be a great new skill.”