Pet Portraits at RMG

A heartfelt commission request from my colleague Diane to honour her beloved dog Harvey. Up until now I’ve avoided taking animal commissions (for fear of fur) but who could resist that face! Composition took a little coercing but solved it in the end. Just returned from professional framers, for the finishing touch.

If you’re interested in commissioning a portrait you can find more examples and guideline pricing here, and you can get in touch via my contact form.

 

 

An Evening with Helen Sharman

19 Nov 2019 marked my last big event of the decade, and it did not disappoint. 600 guests poured into the National Maritime Museum for a special astro evening with Dr Helen Sharman, Britain first astronaut. This Saga event couldn’t come at a better time with two space themed exhibitions open at the NMM for the first time – Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 and The Moon, an exhibition celebrating our relationship with our nearest celestial neighbour on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landings.

300 winning Saga Possibilities members arrived at 6.30 with their guests, many of them young children and teenagers to wander around the galleries, setting the stage for the grand finale awaiting them on the Great Map. Meanwhile we scrambled upstairs clipping together 600 conference chairs on the Upper Deck – the largest theatre arrangement ever in the space at the NMM. After their tasters of space exploration the audience ascended to the newly formed auditorium and were inspired by the story of Dr Helen Sharman, first Brit in space who grabbed her place in history after hearing an ad on the radio for hopeful astronauts.

At 9, as most people filed out into Greenwich, 40 lucky guests lingered behind – specially selected in a draw to meet the woman herself. A once in a lifetime opportunity.

Big thank you to Lauren Poacher at Saga for masterminding such a fascinating and uplifting event, it was a pleasure to work on. Also to old friends Palette for serving drinks and sourcing (and placing) 600 chairs for the evening and to SLX who provided impeccable production throughout. Special thanks to my colleague Anna Bunn, who supervised load in the NMM until midnight the night before the show since I was hiding out managing another event!

 

Christmas Commission 2019

A Christmas miracle – my first painting commission in years! Festive elf Claire from IADT worked her magic and secured me a commission with an old acquaintance from Dublin. Maria wanted something special for boyfriend Ian and this sunny picture of his family was just the thing.

Painted over three weeks sitting cross-legged on the couch in Camberwell I battled with a totally new type of composition. I can’t remember the last time I truly painted figures in context, not floating in some dark gloomy space. Regardless it reinvigorated a passion for painting and was my priceless cargo, hand-carried onboard the plane home.

Thanks to Claire for thinking of me, and to Maria – not just for the commission but the spark I needed to keep on painting.

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Commission – The Murphy’s

A touching commission from for her husbands birthday. A double portrait of his dearly departed mother and her late husband, from a photograph taken on my aunt and uncles wedding day – where although being a flower girl, I’m too young to remember.

I knew his mother so I felt it was really important to do her and her husband justice, showing the full aura of vitality and love that surrounded, and still surrounds, that family.

Shortly after posting it to Ireland I was sent a photo (below) of the work framed and hung, I hope I did the family proud.

Beverly Knight at the Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark came alive on 5 June 2019 with a special concert by Beverly Knight and her band for lucky Saga Possibilities members. The 100 winning entrants and their guests were treated to a tea themed evening with bespoke cocktails and hearty bowl food by Palette caterers. Starting with a reception on the decks of the Cutty Sark, Saga members retired downstairs for a blistering performance by Beverly with hits like Shoulda Woulda Coulda and Get Up! Big shout out to the CS front of house team who relinquished their mess room for the artists green room! With her copper hull the Cutty Sark is a unique but unforgiving venue to produce the sound quality worthy of a West End performer, but museum favourites SLX Production rose to the challenge and got the audience on their feet. Thanks to Natasha and David at DMP promotions, Chris Griffith and the team at Tour Management and Lauren Poacher, events programming genius at Saga Possibilities.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE  – Filmed by Saga Possibilities Team

Images courtesy of Matt Blythe

 

Euronav Reception @ Cutty Sark

On 20 June 2019 I had the honour of managing a Euronav reception on Cutty Sark celebrating outgoing CEO Mr Paddy Rodgers and his retirement (or so we thought). The evening was extra special, as it had recently been announced that Mr Rodgers, long term Patron and supporter of Royal Museums Greenwich, is taking the helm as Director after 12 years of stalwart service from Dr Kevin Fewster, AM.

After 18 years leading the largest NYSE listed independent crude oil tanker company in the world, Mr Rodgers didn’t just want a party, but a vehicle to translate his style of management and vision for the future of merchant shipping. Curators Dr Hannah Stockton (Cutty Sark), Dr Laura Boon (Contemporary Maritime) and Lucy Dale (Assistant Curator); worked alongside Mr Rodgers and the Euronav team to craft the narrative of People, Propulsion and Profit (the three tenants of successful shipping) with the help of Andrew Ashmore & Associates actors, Andrew himself (Captain Woodget), Kate Hart (Mrs Ray) and Paul Hurstfield (Jock Willis).

Guests arrived by chartered Thames Clipper and were split into three groups with colour-coded messages in a bottle containing crew notes on shipping, from the RMG archive. Each group circulated through the decks of the ship in unison (all thanks to the best visitor experience team ever assembled) to hear an in-conversation on one of the three teams, with actors providing a historical perspective and curators bringing the issues into the modern day. Dr Stockton and Jock Willis discussing Profit in the Dry Berth, tracking the changing economics of shipping from 1869 to the modern day, Ms Dale and Mrs Ray discussing People on the ‘Tween Deck, embodying the experience of a mother with a son on high seas and how technologies both helps and hinders the experience of crewing in 2019, and under the sun on top deck Dr Boon and Captain Woodget regaling the crowd of Cutty Sark’s recording winning days as a sail-ship in the blooming age of steam and how contemporary shipping need adapt in a world gripped by climate crisis.

After the crowds descended into the dry berth surrounded by archival images of The Sark and spectacular photographs taken by crew on board Euronav vessels they were drawn to two screens running loop of Villiers ‘Peking rounds Cape Horn, (1929) alongside Euronav latest films looking forward to a new era of shipping, complimented by a Vice short on sustainable shipping propulsion solutions. The message was not lost on the gathered shipping elite, we must look to the past to secure our future.

Finally, it was time for one last oration by Mr Paddy Rodgers, passionate and enthused not only by his tenure at Euronav, but what that experience can bring to Royal Museums Greenwich, a museum not only close to his heart but at the cutting edge of science, maritime and environmental issues and research. One last cheer broke out after speeches alongside the tune of Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier.

It was a pleasure to produce this event alongside the indomitable Deborah O’Brien, Office Manager at Euronav – who despite her protestations of this being her first event, pulled off some of the most complex planning I’ve experienced so far. Thanks also to Palette Catering and SLX Production for their work, and a special thanks to RMG tech ops technician Harv Matharu for simultaneously running tech on two decks – and save me from myself fiddling with the PA system.

 

Camberwell Arts Festival – The Art of the Party!!!!

Every events manager knows that the weeks leading up to a big project can be torture. On the morning on 15 June I was sitting with a group of my festival volunteers explaining its what I imagine having a child is like, the tension builds for week, the process itself is usually painful and you say you’ll never do it again – BUT as soon its all over you get a flush of endorphins and say it’s not that bad, and maybe you could do again after all.

A fresh faced volunteer turned to me and said ‘Is this the baby’, and I said, ‘yea Patrick, this right here is the baby!’. Now of course it doesn’t always work like that for everyone – but I think its a good analogy of my experience with the festival. Its all worth it when the collective community starts pouring onto Camberwell Green and you see your neighbours gravitating to the thing that you made!

In 2019 the CAF arts market was sponsored by Peabodys including 45 traders, from old hands to first year Camberwell Arts College students and from all works of life. We wanted everyone to share in our birthday feast, an idea that came to life with the help of Tanith Lindon who sourced donations from 20+ cafes, restaurants and supermarkets to feed over 250 people for free.

The stalls and market were augmented by bucketloads of free entertainment – balloon emojis and a pinata by Frog Morris, SEND inclusive sensory art workshops with Kat Durrant, music with Camberwell Choir School and Camberwell Recorder Players, dance performances from Theatre Peckham and Party Games with Blue Elephant Theatre.

There was also free childrens singing workshops with Camberwell Choir School, African dancing with Inci Turan, African drumming with Jahdiafolila and Interactive Camberwell Mapping with Kimbal Bumstead.

Crowd favourites were the Remakery geodesic dome and sustainable practice workshops and the insanely popular Dog Show , the brainchild of committee member Matthew Cuffe, – gathering dog-lovers across South East London and electrifying the festival crowds.

Commisions including the dome, special upcycled tables from the Remakery for the community feast and an exhibition suspended on helium balloons by Aidan Dabet AKA Daylight Robbery

Sincere thanks yous to all our amazing volunteers who gave their time to help us celebrate the Life of the Party (which is a much harder job than its sounds) – Aidan Fincham, Ali Kirby, Dilsah Kondakci, Francesca Gallo, Freya Gronow, Fuensanta Soriano, Jenni McGowan, Jiwon Park, Laura Furner, Laura Mullins, Lauren Johnston, Lilla Hargati, Menna Jones, Nadia Papaefthymiou, Patrick Lewis, Rebecca Pereira, Ruth Beddow, Silia Vitoratou, Sonia Sawinska, Tanith Lindon, Yuting Yang.

And also to my colleafues on the CAF team, Kelly Blaney, Kelly O’Reilly, Matthew Cuffe and Nuala McLaren but most of all to market queen and Camberwell legend Debbie Allen – the brains, spirit and passion behind the CAF19 flagship event!!!

Big feast supported by our generous friends at The Pigeonhole, Mike & Ollie, Falafel & Sharwarma, Pizza Organica, Fernando’s, Daily Goods, The Hill Bakery, Sophocles, Mono, Morrisons – Butterfly Walk, Latin House, I Go Chop, Co Op – Denmark Hill, Caravaggio, Caffe Pronto, Reem, TFC Supermarket

Camberwell Arts Festival Art of the Party was kindly sponsored by Peabodys estate agents. Camberwell Arts Festival was lead sponsor is Respublica property developers and Southwark presents.

Photo’s by Chun Yue Chou

and Silia Vitoratou

Camberwell Arts Festival Open Studios 2019

On 22 and 23 June Camberwell Artists opened their doors to the public marking a historic 25 years since the first Camberwell Arts Open Studios programme and the birth of Camberwell Arts Festival. 2019 was my first year as Summer Open Studios manager so I had a keen interest in making it to each and every of the 43 artists spaces – which I managed with minutes to spare and some blisters developing!

Each studio complex has a unique character, where by design or nature and only by experiencing them all do you get a real feeling for the breadth and depth of the creative industries in Camberwell.

Vanguard Court, the hulking complex hidden behind Peckham Road is brimming with accomplished makers, jewellers, painters, carpenters and potters. Each artist finely tuned and commercially savvy creating gems for the discerning consumer market.

Graces Mews is awash with colour! This tucked away corner of Camberwell bosts not only Speos Photography School and Grace Westerdales’ workshop studio but a unique hosting space by CAF committee member Debbie Allen. Each year Debbie invites a selection of artists to turn her architectural wonder-house into an exhibition, and always with homemade treats to boot!

Warrior Studios is the avant-garde leader of Camberwell, just on the border with Brixton. Their space is not just a studio but a way of life, a treatise on nature of art-making. Entering through an unassuming alleyway under Loughborough bridge you encounter a collective underpinned by the ethos of alternative but sustainable art practice.

Denmark Place is a painters paradise full of sumptuous edible canvasses. Its the most ‘traditional’ studios space from the inside but to find it you need to locate the red door behind the Baptist Church. A special treat is Martin Masterson’s gothic enclave – a dark and brooding space within a space.

Empress Mews is a masterclass in mixed-use space with many artists living above their studios in this purpose built complex. These clear modernist studio pods inspire the artists engagement with the programme with both Gabriela Szulman and Kip Perdue offering craft workshops alongside their studio displays. The artists in 2019 all showed small but inspired craft works.

Special mentions deservingly given to three more studios who took part as single entrants into the programme – Art in the Park, Clockwork Studios and the Remakery. Art in the Park is home to a group of artists, but also functions as a working community space – this year inviting local children to collectively create a large canvass under the caring insturction of Ange Museka. Clockwork Studios celebrated their communal practices with a weekend long exhibition of studio artists work in their enviable courtyard space. And the Remakery – the home of upcycling and remaking in South East London – invited the public in to witness their artists in situ in their expansive and well tooled workshop.

I’m deligthed to say that 2019 was also a blockbuster year for artists pop-up studio spaces, with Marie Lenclos in Daily Goods, John Yabrifa in Theatre Peckham,  Rachel Kay in Blue Elephant Theatre and Silvia Righetti in Blue Turtle Oasis.

 

Photo’s courtesy of Silia Vit & Francesca Gallo

 

Camberwell Arts Festival Preview Night 2019

Camberwell Arts Festival 2019 marked its 25th year in Summer 2019, and to help us celebrate we commissioned some artists to respond to the theme of The Art of the Party. Artists Darren Ray and Andy Webster, in partnership with The Remakery, came up with something extra special – a geodesic dome on Camberwell Green.

Its primary purpose was to host workshops and talks from Remakery Artists on upcycling and sustainable making, we couldn’t pass such a perfect spot for a party!!!

On the sunny evening of 14 June Camberwell Arts gathered their nearest and dearest for the CAF19 launch party inside our own special art installation. Security came in overnight and a tired legion of committee members and volunteers marvhed onto the green from 6am to throw Camberwell a party it would never forget!

Camberwell Arts Lead Sponsor is Respublica property developers and is supported by Southwark Presents. Life of the Party exhibition supported by Hunters estate agents, Art of the Party on Camberwell Green supported by Peabody estate agents.

 

Images by Silia Vit & Nuala McClaren

Insight Investment Astronomy of the Year 2019 Awards Ceremony

On 12 Sep 19 Royal Museums Greenwich celebrated the launch of the 11th edition of the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition with an Awards Ceremony in the National Maritime Museum. The competition is the worlds leading astrophotography exhibition, receiving 4,602 entries from 90 in 2019.

The evening began at 7 as 200 guests filed in the Stanhope entrance for a drinks and canape reception. The guest-list was a mix of entrants from as far away as China & Australia, as well as museum guests, Insight Investment staff, judges and astro VIP’s. At 8, when twilight finally fell the guests ascended to the Great Map for the awards led by comedian Jon Culshaw and judge Tom Kerss. After a few quick words from RMG Director Paddy Rodgers and Insight Global Head of Marketing David Chellew the prize-giving began.

The ceremony began with the Young Winners, followed by Aurorae, Galaxies, Our Moon, Our Sun, People and Space, Planets, Comets and Asteroids, Skyscapes, Stars and Nebulae. Next was the last prize for Robotic Scope, which going forward will be replaced with the Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation. Chris Bramley of BBC Sky at Night presented the Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer and finally László Francsics was awarded overall winner for 2019 for ‘Into the Shadow‘, depicting the 35 phases of the 21 Jan 19 total lunar eclipse.

After the ceremony the exhibition gallery opened to guests, as the RMG marketing team live-streamed interviews with judges, winners and contestants including a father and son Rob and Tom Mogford, both shortlisted in 2019. Huge thanks to the marketing team as well for running #astrophoto19 so you can track guests enjoying the awards! Shout out too to Alysia Calderwood and exhibition project management team, and to Palette for the catering and to SLX for the world-class event production.

Finally a huge thank you to Insight Investment for their continued support of the museum and of astrophotography.

Photos by Greg Allen and © National Maritime Museum 2019
Additional photos by Matt Blythe