Just before Christmas I called Essex County Council to see if they could advise me on how to achieve my goals of facilitating artists to exhibit in the local empty shops both to liven up the town and to enable more local artists to exhibit I was invited by the council to hold an exhibition at the Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich where I live as part of the 'Summer of Art' in Essex. The exhibition was to be themed 'A Cinematic Celebration'.
This seemed like such a wonderful opportunity I accepted without question. I asked artists via email through various groups and people that I already knew. I managed to get together 15 artists with very different styles so that I could achieve an eclectic exhibition where there would be, 'something for everyone', from traditional to conceptual.
The Electric Palace is the oldest running cinema in the country. It's patron is Clive Owen the actor, whom I have invited to be involved, although at present I have not received a reply. It's so exciting to have such a unique venue for an art exhibition but I felt I wanted extra room to allow the artists to exhibit more of their work and so have also booked another space next door to the cinema. A local gallery, 'Bodgeners' have now also agreed to take part in the exhibition and all work is to be themed around the cinema. Along with the 'Bodgeners' artists there are now over 20 artists.
Any money raised from the exhibition will be put towards setting up the next projects for filling the empty shops in the town and also for an art workshop for young people in one of the empty shops. I do believe it will be difficult to achieve registered charity status but think perhaps it would be possible to work with established charities in exchange for commission raised by the sale of artists work.
Artists exhibiting in empty shops along with the workshop will raise morale both for young and old by making the town a more vibrant place which in turn will create a stronger sense of community. In these difficult times I believe art has a strong part to play, especially where many people are out of work with time on their hands.
My main problem at present is raising funds to pay for the current exhibition. It has proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. I need to pay for the venue fees and for the hire of boards etc but am very optimistic that with the help of the County Councillor I will raise the money needed successfully in the time that I need it. I am putting so much energy into this project and am very excited about the work that I am producing for the exhibition.
The possibilities for expressing the associations I have with cinema are immense. I have so far produced 2 completed digital images and a diorama. I often use digital media to sketch with and will work from some of the ideas I have produced using more traditional media such as oils. I will just let the work develop and grow.
I never seem to run short of ideas. Quite the opposite I never have the time to carry out all of the ideas I have. So far I have researched the history of the cinema and became interested in George Melies after watching the film Hugo. I produced a few pieces of work inspired by him, '20000 Lieux Sous les Mers after Georges Melies' and the surrealistic diorama 'Funambulesques after Georges Melies'.
The first painting I produced was an iconic piece of Vivien Leigh in 'Gone With the Wind'. I find her face so beautiful. She is perfect to portray the archetype of the heroine. Beautiful, strong and independent and her face along with her acting ability portrays this perfectly, particularly in her facial expression in this image. Her whole portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara was so very convincing that it has remained prominent in my mind whenever I think of film or cinema.
There is much to do, both for the exhibition and for my work. So far, I am enjoying every minute of it.
You can find out more about the exhibition at http://larainperr6.wix.com/harwich-art and more about my work at http://larainjp.deviantart.com/ and https://www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/larain_briggs_2 I am still developing the website for the Harwich Art exhibition.
I began painting when I was a child and have never stopped being an artist whatever else has been happening in my life. Sometimes I can work more than others but the love of art and the desire to create never leaves me.
One of my aims is to investigate the unconscious through the language of art. I enjoy studying Carl Jung and love his writings, thoughts and philosophies on the psyche, particularly 'Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious'. Very often archetypal images appear in my work and fantasy is a style I enjoy.
I love to experiment in many other ways with mediums, genre and styles. My work intends to tap into the psyche and resonate with the unconscious mind of the viewer. I admire most the ability to evince emotion in any visual way that proves to be effective. Perhaps that is why I have so many different styles and work in such different ways. I very rarely plan work I just let it develop and take its own course although often I have a particular theme or inspiration.
Some time ago due to ill health I had to give up teaching. I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when I was studying for my fine art degree at Camberwell Art College 23 years ago. I have managed this relatively well most of my life and even managed to take a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Goldsmiths College, University of London as a single parent. When I started having physical problems everything became too much and I had to give up work.
This gave me the opportunity to spend more time painting but after a few years I felt that I wanted to do something for other people more directly. I missed teaching. I felt like a gardener without a garden. I made it my goal to exhibit my work again as I had previously achieved some success in London exhibiting in prestigious venues such as the Business Design Centre in Islington.
To help others I decided I wanted to set up something for young people where I live. Having worked with children with emotional and behavioural problems as a special needs teacher in London and studying art therapy, I felt that I could perhaps use these skills as well as art and set up a workshop in one of the unused shops in the town. I also want to help artists exhibit in empty shops in the town and have plans for this also.