Education- we spend around 13 years of our lives in it only to discover it’s likely, to succeed in our choice of career, we’ll need to keep going for another three. But do we really need it? From the 1st of May- 19th of May, Convent Garden’s “pop-up concept” Floral Street Goes Pop, will be opening the public’s eyes to seven artists who are not educated to degree level. Feeling that “there is no one right way of doing things creatively”, The Something Else Collective (Sascha Bailey, Lily Bloom and Conor Fitzgerald-Bond) presents The Route Less Travelled.
Amongst the artists exhibiting is Fenton Bailey who, after leaving school upon finishing his GCSE’s, previously debuted at the Imitate Modern with his show ‘Human Relations’. Following in his Father’s artistic footsteps, Fenton’s photography beautifully captures the human body in a flawlessly lit manner. Other artists include Connor Hirst (Damien Hirst’s son), who will be showcasing his objectified sculptures for the first time.
Overall, upon viewing, it’s pretty safe to say that Pink Floyd had it right- we don’t need no education. Understanding this, 1883 caught up with Sascha Bailey and just some of the artists exhibiting.
Sascha Bailey – Curator
Leaving school at 16, Sascha successfully paved his career through working at art galleries. Curating his first exhibition at 18, Sascha’s love for art has enabled him to develop opportunities for young people who seek platforms to display their creativity.
Why did you choose to create an exhibition that looks towards not needing a qualification to succeed?
I think it comes from me leaving school at 16. I always considered school to be more of a hindrance. In reality, you gain 3 years in the working world by not going to school and to me it’s all about time.
The selection of artists offer variety, how did you choose which artists to exhibit?
I fortunately have a large amount of people to source from. It came down to how many artists fit the idea for the show. .the rest went from there!
Why is Convent Garden’s pop-up concept the setting for this exhibition?
Covent Garden is a creative hub for the arts, so it just made sense to have it here.
Were there any challenging aspects to curating this exhibition?
Yes absolutely, but working with my team in The Something Else Collective has made it a fantastic experience. We can’t wait for the next show.
Johann Lester – Photorealistic Illustrator
An illustrator who defies the need for a degree through the use of a biro and a piece of paper, Johann captures what most couldn’t in “the dead of night on my lap, on my bed with headphones in.” His pieces lovingly explore the art of illusion, inviting the eye to travel.
Why have you chosen to work with pen and paper?
I love the intense deep dark tones that you can get with a biro and only wish for that with a pencil! It is not widely known or thought of as an artist’s medium but it has an amazing range of subtle strokes which are barely visible and that can be built up on top of each other. I also like the permanence of it; each stroke of the pen is stuck there.
Are there any other materials you would like to experiment with?
I have tried experimenting before with other types, but I always veer back towards my trusty biro. I will never- say- never, but it seems that I have found what works for me!
Do you create your pieces from your imagination or do you work from imagery?
All of my work is created from photos that I have taken. Some are spur of the moment snapshots that I fall in love with and others are created from an idea for a drawing with hundreds of doodles.
Rich Simmons – Street Artist
Finding fame in 2011 through his piece entitled ‘Future ***King’, which imagined Prince William and Kate Middleton as Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen from the iconic band the Sex Pistols, Rich Simmons is a British street Artist. With an appetite to deconstruct personal relationships he also plays with subcultures which pay homage to his artistic history. Clearly an artist not to shy away from displaying humour, he has previously exhibited at The Opera Gallery, London Fashion Week and in 2008, founded Art is the Cure.
Do you feel that wit can be important in art?
I think the best art is work that evokes an emotional response and wit and humour is a huge part of that. If you can make artwork that tells a story without words and can still make people laugh, smile, even feel shocked, confused, in awe and inspired, then you’ve been successful. Banksy is the expert at using wit and humour in a lot of his work and that’s what has made him so successful. He can evoke an emotion with a simple stencil because the message is so powerful. That is a big inspiration to me and something I try and do in my own style. I want my shows to be an emotional experience on a lot of different levels and wit is just one of those layers.
With this in mind, do you believe that you can sometimes have more freedom of speech in your work as a street artist?
Street art definitely allows a lot more freedom to express yourself as an artist. There aren’t any concerns over what buyers might think, what the gallery might think; you don’t have to varnish or resin or frame the work and it can be very liberating to not have those worries when producing a piece of art.
That’s the beauty of street art, it strips away all the extra concerns and thoughts that come with selling art and just allows you to produce a piece that can’t be sold and can’t be precious because it could be painted over any time.
Street art can be a very liberating experience and it’s something I miss doing. I’d love to have a break from gallery shows for a little while and go back to my roots as a street artist. I would experiment and be less precious about it as I think that way I will learn a lot of new tricks and gain a better perspective before I start thinking about my next gallery shows in 2015.
Tom Hunt – Graphic Designer
A Graphic Designer who at 16 knew that “education doesn’t end at the school gates”, Tom Hunt believes in not taking the world too seriously. Offering us art which happily depicts his view of the world, Tom demonstrates no bounds for his imagination. He is known to have been inspired from a young age from things people view on a daily basis such as cult movies and Japanese anime.
When did you start to look towards cult movies and anime for inspiration?
Animation was the focal point of my childhood, it’s always inspired me. Troma are an independent movie production company, I was always into their films.
What cult movie do you think everyone should watch?
Terror Firma – It’s about the creation of independent movies, although dramatised and very over the top, the concepts are real.
Charlie Hamey – Painter/Illustrator
Painting his way through many a canvas using mainly acrylic, this artist approaches the art world with a subject which inspiration is rarely taken from- the gaming culture. During any free time that he can grasp, Charllie paints and illustrates his pieces which are said to instigate the secrets to our being through such. His art is often related to the cubism period.
Why do you focus on mainly using acrylic paint on canvas?
I find it dries faster so I then I can work quickly and produce more work.
You’ve chosen to focus on geometry for this exhibition, what was your reason for this and where did you gather your inspiration from?
I love Picasso’s style and find his work really draws people in, so I aim to do the same. London is also a massive inspiration to me and the shapes I see throughout the city helped to inspire my work in this particular exhibition.
It is said that you find Picasso inspiring, why?
His direction was always changing but his style stayed the same and that inspires me.
Ollie Sylvester – Painter
An internationally recognised painter since 2012, Ollie Slyvester is an urban artist. With no more than an art foundation behind him, Ollie pushes the boundaries of our comfort zones presenting sharp, straight lines where curved ones would normally lie. Ollie’s work appears to stare into the soul, demonstrating the reality of his craftsmanship.
You choose to present straight lines where curves would normally be, why is this?
In 1994 I had an accident where I almost severed my right arm off which has left me with restricted movement in my right hand due to nerve damage; I then had to teach myself to paint with my left hand, and this is when my straight lined cross-hatch style started to evolve.
Your work represents emotions felt as an urban artist in London, how do you feel when you create your art?
My art reflects my current mood which can range from a hang-over etc. or be influenced by the memory of an off-key situation in my head which I have been in or witnessed. I often subtract a character or characters which then becomes my subject matter. Of course, it is a great source of escapism. It’s a buzz most of the time but very occasionally a wind-up when over cooked or not quite going to plan.
The Route Less Travelled’ curated by Sascha Bailey from The Something Else Collective will be on display until 19th May 2014 at 17 Floral Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E
Words by Hollyann Prince