The Freeborn Exchange Exhibition

Honami Nishi, Japanese Designer © Gavin Freeborn 2014

Honami Nishi, Japanese Designer © Gavin Freeborn 2014

The show is finally happening this week at Chelsea College of Arts in London. Follow and join in with the conversation online if you can’t make it in person. It would be great to hear from readers on social media via the Facebook Event page or @gavinfreeborn on Twitter.

#FreebornExchange

Exhibition dates: Wednesday 22 – Saturday 25 April 2015 

Photographic artist Gavin Freeborn trades his portraits for hospitality, skills and objects around the world.

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London based Irish artist Freeborn seeks to take you on a journey of his international adventures. Inspired by artists who barter, he has exchanged his photographic portraits for other skills, objects and hospitality in over 20 countries since November 2011.

Aiming where possible to travel free from the constraints of conventional economics, Freeborn forms spontaneous relationships in an exciting way. He has selected artists from the community of Chelsea College of Arts to show works that relate to travel or exchange.

Freeborn will also host a unique pop-up portrait studio, where you will have the opportunity to meet him, propose a Freeborn Exchange and have your portrait made. You may even get featured on his blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

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All welcome / Free entry

Wednesday 22 / Opening party / 5.30-8.00pm

Thursday 23 / Show open / 11.00-8.00pm

Friday 24 / Show open / 11.00-8.00pm

Friday 24 / Freeborn Exchange Social / 5.30-8.00pm

Saturday 25 / Show open/ 10.00-4.00pm 

Saturday 25/ Pop up portrait studio open / 11.00-2.00pm

Saturday 25/ Closing party / 2.00-4.00pm

Location / Cookhouse Gallery, Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London, SW1P 4JU.

Chelsea College of Arts is situated in Pimlico, next door to Tate Britain, a five minute walk from Pimlico underground station. The Cookhouse Gallery is just off the corner of the parade ground square.

Directions to Chelsea College of Arts

Feel free to let me know you’re coming via the Facebook Event

www.facebook.com/freeborn.co / @gavinfreeborn on Twitter

#FreebornExchange

Contact / gavinfreeborn33@gmail.com / 07814620306

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The Wood Beneath the World, A Truly Magical Experience

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Exploring The Wood Beneath The World

Before Christmas I was lucky enough to visit my old neighbourhood of Leeds, Yorkshire, in the North of England and catch up with some of Leeds most creative folk. I popped into say hi to James Abbott-Donnelly and Laura Wellington, co-founders of creative and photographic space, Duke Studios. Then downstairs from them, the lovely folk at Colours May Vary, all at the wonderfully eclectic Munro House. The My Patch exhibition at CMV was brilliant, featuring a host of great designers connected to Yorkshire, most of which I know from my eight years living in Leeds. They included Jay Cover of Nous Vous, Nick Deakin, Lucy Ketchin, Dan Mather, Drew Millward and Peter Mitchell. You can have a retrospective look at or buy their prints in the CMV online shop.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Old Christmas – beautiful set design by Lord Whitney, The Wood Beneath The World

I was super excited to hear that our mutual friends, Lord Whitney (Art Director Duo Amy Lord and Rebekah Whitney) were putting on a fantastical immersive theatre show in the depths (The Crypt) of the epic Cuthbert Broderick designed Leeds Town Hall. This also happens to one of my favourite buildings in the world. I already happened to be joining some other lovely friends at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Leeds Festival Chorus in the Town Hall that evening so popped into Lord Whitney’s The Wood Beneath The World beforehand.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Mystery and Suspense – The Wood Beneath The World by Lord Whitney

It was a truly wonderful experience, full of intrigue, fantasy and suspense! Everyone was asked not to use their phones so we could fully envelope ourselves and our senses in this world. The set was created exceptionally well and the actors played their part perfectly. The Crypt at Leeds Town Hall, which used to be prison cells really complimented the ambience of Lord Whitney’s clever narrative. Locking the intimate party of guests in between jail gates as we journeyed deep into the bowels of the immense dark building, left us in suspense. One or two guests were syphoned off from the group which had knees trembling when they didn’t return.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

The Wood Beneath The World by Lord Whitney

Soon, we were reunited and brought into a characterful room full of mystical items relating to research about the woods, folklore and much more. An old vintage formica phone and typewriter, pages of material about Celtic culture and history including Ogham stones. Coincidentally I went on a pilgrimage to find and experience the largest Ogham stone in Europe last August when road tripping with my brother around the West of Cork in my home country of Ireland. We were then armed with torches, brought into another room and encouraged to explore freely.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Celtic Ogham Stones and more – The Wood Beneath The World by Lord Whitney

Surrounded by magical trees and wandering paths, we winded through The Wood Beneath The World, punctuated by impromptu, often one to one performances by our guides. We went about discovering small rooms full of slightly eerie but charming suspenseful magic, lost in time, whilst admiring and inspecting items from a time gone by…an old text about Christmas, more information about the stars and a spellbinding display of the Milky Way. Our experience then ended with a performance by our two guides, where we felt their eyes glow in the dark, through such strong and yet light acting of their dreamy parts in this mystical world.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Discovering the Wood Cabin in The Wood Beneath the World, by Lord Whitney

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Discovering the Wood Cabin in The Wood Beneath the World, by Lord Whitney

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

The Stars in our Galaxy – The Wood Beneath the World, by Lord Whitney

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Our Milky Way Galaxy at Night – The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney

At the end I managed to catch up briefly with the lovely Amy Lord, one half of the super talented Lord Whitney. We hadn’t seen each other since the opening evening of their studios in Meanwood, Leeds just before I went off to travel the world for a year in 2011, after which I moved to London. Since then they have worked on numerous international projects in art direction, prop design and set design for the cream of the crop.

Amy Lord, Half of the Dynamic Creative Duo that is Lord Whitney - The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Amy Lord, Half of the Dynamic Creative Duo that is Lord Whitney

Their rapidly growing client list includes Missoni, Hunger Magazine, Transport for London (TFL), Tate Liverpool, London Collections, Glastonbury Festival, The Princes Trust, Computer Arts Magazine and YCN Agency. It was great to catch up with some of Leeds finest creative talent, who I can assure you will be hearing much more from in the future.

Thanks to the gloriously talented creative duo Lord Whitney for the opportunity to see this wonderful show. I’m already looking forward to your next project!

Feel free to explore their fantastic world further on Lord Whitney’s website, where you can commission them for work or just sign up to their mailing list to keep in touch with their adventures in creativity!

Brighton Photography Biennial 2014

James a Brighton local, who told me "There's a great movie on soon...Frankenstein...you should go and see it!"

Eva, Market Worker from Nelson, New Zealand who now lives in Brighton and dreams of visiting her Italian family ancestral home in Sicily one day! – Taken in Diplock’s Yard

Juan Rendon playing in the JAWS of a Shark

Juan Rendon playing in the JAWS of a Shark

James told me "There's a great movie on soon...Frankenstein...you should go and see it!"

James told me “There’s a great movie on soon…Frankenstein…you should go and see it!”

Brighton Local James photographed outside Komedia on Gardner St.

Brighton Local James photographed outside Komedia on Gardner St.

Paul & Ellen outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Paul & Ellen outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Gentleman Paul Crompton, Vintage Dealer, outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Gentleman Paul Crompton, Vintage Dealer, outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Pompoko Japanese Restaturant in Brighton

Pompoko Japanese Restaturant in Brighton

Dub Attack - Entrepreneurial use of infrastructure, advertising events at Komedia

Dub Attack – Entrepreneurial use of infrastructure, advertising events at Komedia 

Circus Street Market

Circus Street Market

A Return to Elsewhere - Digital Brighton Photography Biennial Exhibition @ Circus Street Market

A Return to Elsewhere – Digital Brighton Photography Biennial Exhibition @ Circus Street Market

Rossena Petkova, Bulgarian Photographer enjoying Brighton Photography Biennials Photobook Show

Rossena Petkova, Bulgarian Photographer enjoying Brighton Photography Biennials Photobook Show

Saskia & Georgia measuring up for the very last event at Circus Street Market - BA Illustration students at the University of Brighton Exhibition

Saskia & Georgia measuring up for the very last event at Circus Street Market – BA Illustration students at the University of Brighton Exhibition

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog

William Street Social Housing,Brighton

William Street Social Housing,Brighton

Taking the Dog for Ride

Taking the Dog for Ride

Lady Sheepskin Dealer, North Lanes

Lady Sheepskin Dealer, North Lanes

Jeweler Pete Modelling his Moustache on a Pumpkin

Jeweler Pete Modelling his Moustache on a Pumpkin

Young Brighton Busker

Young Brighton Busker

 

RIP David Redfern, Legendary British Music Photographer

My impromptu portrait of David Redfern

My impromptu portrait of David Redfern

The world says goodbye to one of it’s most talented music photographers after the recent passing of David Redfern, aged 78. It was deeply saddening to hear this news, knowing of David’s battle with cancer over the past two years. We met when David had given a talk about his life’s work, five decades of music photography including the British and American Jazz, Blues, Rock and Pop scenes. His speciality was photographing festivals such as Newport Jazz Festival, between Boston and New York, and documenting legendary music venues such as Ronnie Scotts in Soho, London where he photographed Ella Fitzgerald and many more greats.

In 1995 three of his photos-Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, and Thelonius Monk-were chosen for U.S. postage stamps. His breadth of work went from being Frank Sinatra’s tour photographer to working with current coolest of the cool bands such as Arcade Fire. A number of decades ago David set up his own photography agency Redfern and then sold it to Getty Images in 2008, reserving rights to his favourite 1000 images for sale as prints. The talk was part of the Dobells Jazz Record Shop exhibition at CHELSEA Space, London, in May 2013.

The exhibition of an archive of items from the legendary record shop contained a number of David’s images of the Jazz scene and it’s musicians from the 60’s. After the talk we went to The Morpeth Arms pub and had a great chat with David about his life’s adventures as an international music photographer. He was joined by his charming and loving wife Susy Reed fashion entrepreneur who creates fabulous textile prints with David through his images.

David Redfern at CHELSEA Space May 2013

David Redfern at CHELSEA Space May 2013

These three image were made whilst we walked the short distance of one short street from CHELSEA Space to the pub. Later on David had told me that he hadn’t had his portrait made by many people. I was transfixed by David’s spirit just as he was by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone or Johnny Cash when he photographed them. Shortly afterwards I got in touch to offer David and Susy some prints as a gift in return for the wonderful and inspirational evening we’d shared. We arranged to meet for lunch in west London near David’s home but unfortunately David wasn’t well enough on the day. I knew he was going through some very tough chemotherapy but was being ever so strong in fighting it always staying philosophical and positive.

David Redfern with Donald Smith, Director of CHELSEA Space & Chair of Chelsea Arts Club Trust

David Redfern with Donald Smith, Director of CHELSEA Space & Chair of Chelsea Arts Club Trust

We crossed paths again whilst David was showing his work at the Royal Festival Hall in London and I was struck by his determination for business as usual. Sunday lunch and the gift of my humble snaps was mentioned again but when I called to arrange it David had moved to his second home in France to take advantage of a better healthcare system there. It was there a few months after, in the gentle loving care of his wife Suzy that David lost his fight with cancer, but he lived his life to full right to the end. It’s clear from David’s summer newsletter on his website that he was still enthralled and electrified by his beloved music scene and the gift he had bestowed upon him as a photographer.

He spent four days at the Vienne Jazz festival, in the front of stage pit, shooting the great Buddy Guy and many more. Then two days in Juan les Pins, with Imelda May, Joss Stone to name but a few. David was planning travel and exhibitions right to the end. To quote him “Keep the faith and live every day to the full,  you just never know…….”

This week sees David honoured in many of the top international media including a Rolling Stone gallery where you can see his greatest photos of 1960s rock royalty, The Guardian gallery and the Under the Radar Mag feature. You can also have a look at David Redfern’s website which includes Suzy Reed’s fashion brand. You can also purchase David Redfern’s book.

CHELSEA Space at Chelsea College of Arts, Millbank, London is run by the very talented artist, curator and more, Donald Smith, also Chair of Chelsea Arts Club Trust. Thanks to Donald for organising this and many other great shows which bring such splendid culture together for celebration. My memories of the high spirits shared that evening will last forever.