Monthly Archives: October 2016

A Storyteller’s Experience

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On the last Thursday of every month we meet up and six storytellers share their tales in front of a live audience.

Last month Sudeshna Choudhury told an inspiring and poignant story about the little things that can have huge effects on others and on the world. She felt inspired to write to our hosts – Laurel Lefkow and James Richardson – about her experience on the So, This Is What Happened… stage.

Dear Laurel and James,

Thanks very much to both of you for inviting me and organising such a wonderful event – you are both truly the quiet unsung heroes of the storytelling story!

I absolutely loved my first Omnibus storytelling event! It was a super evening and every one of the amazing storytellers were so different with a different style, yet gave us so much insight into their world and charmed us with their unique stories. There was a whole world covered within the six stories!

The venue and audience were all delightful and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my story and so glad everyone liked it! I loved all the other stories and thought my fellow storytellers were courageous and generous and such fun! And I thank each one of them for making this an evening to remember!

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I hope to see you all soon again and enjoy listening and telling more stories. I really believe proper true storytelling is an endangered species and is only slowly recovering thanks to dedicated storytelling lovers like you.

I think storytelling as an artform is not as appreciated enough, as it should be, considering it to be totally vital in our society to keep us human and connected to ourselves and others, create goodwill and love, and a wonderful source of guidance, insight, wisdom, inspiration and fun!

Think of Thomas’ deep and humorous insights into the fascinating world of law and its ethics which he experienced and battled with, Juliette’s family world of love and connection to the outside world by being less rich and trusting the universe to provide, Frederick’s humorous but very insightful world into humans being neither too bad or too good and guidance for life from unorthodox sources in a world of stag parties, banking and bank robbers, and Yaron’s moving account of his battle to understand and overcome the human condition of depression with wisdom, patience and love that is inspiring in his triumph over it. Mine was of course about the positive domino effect of proactive encouragement and praise to change people’s lives for the better globally or locally from our little corners of our worlds.

Storytelling is also important in how it connects the younger generations to the older ones especially in learning the stories of their families’ history.

Or indeed of the world of the older generations (like in Roddy’s fascinating story of the ordinary people in Estonia during the upheaval of USSR at important historical moments, but which was also about the indefatigable human spirit and hope in difficult times). So storytelling must continue to be encouraged and fresh air blown through the small fire sticks that are our current storytelling efforts till it becomes a big cheerful crackling fire to keep everyone going!

Good luck in all your endeavours and naturally I bless you all for your wonderful storytelling efforts ongoing!

Sudeshna x

Next month’s So, This Is What Happened… is on Thu 24 November.

BOOK TICKETS


Interested in telling your story? Get in touch: enquiries@omnibus-clapham.org

A Perception Fest Q & A with… Artist Femke Fredrix

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Belgian-born Femke Fredrix studied Autonomous Design at KASK Ghent, during which she took part in an exchange program with Jesko Fezers studio, Experimental Design at HFBK Hamburg. Her affecting work focuses on an interdisciplinary mix between video art, textile, performance and sound.

Where are you from?

I am from Belgium, Ghent.

How did you come to be an artist?

Ever since my childhood I have enjoyed the feeling of being surrounded by different forms of creative expression. The desire to create my own artistic work grew naturally upon me through this creative input.

What has inspired you to create this series of work?

E(u)phemeral Map is the first collaboration between Jana Pacheco and myself. The work is strongly inspired by concepts distilled from our conversations about previous work on one hand and the space and context that brought us together on the other. The latter was a one-month artist residency facilitated by Agora Collective in Neukölln Berlin.

Who is your favourite artist and why?

I’m not sure if I really have one. However, I do feel that Bill Viola’s exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, 2014, remains one of the most overwhelming and inspiring experiences I have had with a whole oeuvre of an artist so far.

What would you say to any young people hoping or wishing to create work themselves?

I fear I might have to resort to a cliché for this question but I would simply tell these aspiring creatives to stop hoping or wishing and simply start creating. Moreover, I would stress the importance of starting from a subject or action one is really, really passionate about.


 

Femke’s short film ‘E(u)phemeral Map’ will be on display at Omnibus during Perception Festival: Voyage in October. See the full programme. 

Perception Festival: Voyage

Mon 10 – Sun 16 Oct

#perceptionfest16

More information here

A Q&A with… Jon McCormack, illustrator

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Jon McCormack is an illustrator whose work is currently on display at Omnibus. His black and white prints show a mysterious and mischievous world, high in detail and significance. Find out more about him at jmcillustration.com and instagram.com/jmcillustration

 

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an Irish illustrator who has being living and working in London for the past three years. Originally I studied film and television production before going on to work as a storyboard artist. Then I started to branch out into illustration and worked on an Irish children’s book series called Vroom-Town. I enjoyed working for other people but I found that my style was really generic and nondescript. There wasn’t really any of my personality in the work I was doing so I decided to move to London to do an MA in Illustration at UAL Camberwell. The two years I spent at Camberwell were exactly what I needed. I’ve learned so much, especially from my fellow classmates who are so talented and diverse in their approach to illustration. I’ve only just graduated from the MA so I’ll be returning to Ireland for a short period to begin on some new work.

 What interests you about your chosen art form?

The best thing about illustration nowadays is that it can be found in many places; editorial, comics, picture books, gaming, multimedia, etc. There is a vast spectrum of outlets to showcase your work and the ability to have an online presence makes it easier to connect with others. When I studied film I felt very limited in terms of what I could achieve based on my passion and my skill sets but now I feel that there are many avenues available for me to take.

What are your motivations behind the art you produce?

I like to draw things that are strange and uncanny. I was always into fantasy and such and I enjoy anything that has a world and narrative I can get lost in. Film and animation are a strong influence for me and I especially like to create mood and atmosphere that give you a sense of place. Telling one story has its merits but creating a world where many stories can happen is more interesting to me.

How do you work when creating prints like the ones on display?

Humour is also a very important tool for me to endear my work to others. An absurd image or cartoon often feels more honest to me than other things I do and if it makes me laugh then I’ll put it out there. This can backfire sometimes – you don’t want people laughing for the wrong reasons!

Normally I draw and outline on paper and then scan and assemble on my computer. I used to use Photoshop a lot to create artwork before I did the MA but now I love using all kinds of drawing media and piecing them together digitally. I enjoy mixing the charm of hand drawn imagery with the efficiency of digital software. There are still many processes that I want to explore, such as printmaking, and I feel it’s very important to keep things fresh and moving in that sense.

 Which print that is on display at Omnibus is your favourite and why?

My favourite is the cat with the diamond eyes! It’s based on the Cat Sídhe from Irish mythology, which is sort of a fairy or spectre that takes the form of a black cat and steals the souls of the recently departed. I just like the attitude of it – the eyes and the stance are slightly sinister but also kind of silly. It was exactly how I pictured it in my head so I think that’s why I like it the most.

 What has been the most exciting moment of your artistic career to date?

I suppose being accepted for the MA was the most exciting moment for me as it validated the potential I had to be a working artist. Before I only really considered myself somebody who could competently draw for other people but now I realise there is much more I can offer. Now that it’s over, I’m excited to showcase more confident work and see where it takes me.

 

Pop in and see Jon McCormack’s work on display for the next few weeks!

A Q&A with… Erica Echenberg, Punk Photographer

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Erica Echenberg’s punk photographs are exhibited at Omnibus until Oct 7. They depict a fast moving and fast changing world, populated by familiar faces and interrogative stares.

Which is your favourite picture displayed in the exhibition and why?

One of my favourite pictures in the exhibition is the PUNK POGO shot. It was taken at the Roxy Club (Covent Garden) in 1977, and you can see that most of the audience have moved back to let the kids do their mid air dance. Pogoing became part of the ritual at a punk gig along with spitting (gobbing) and amazing homemade fashion. This picture shows the excitement and innocence of the time and how well the audience behaved. A young Shane MacGowan is the third punk pogoing on the right, in mid air. He later became famous as a member of The Nipple Erectors and then collaborating with Kirsty MacColl.

Do you think this type of photography could be done today?

I do NOT think that this type of photography could be done today. I think that this type of photography was unique to it’s time. There was a youthful innocence during this period that made the pictures more unique and special. It was not ‘selfie’ times when everyone wants their pictures taken and then start to pose for the shots. These were black and white years when a young new musical movement was being invented and tested for the first time and no one knew what was about to happen or what the future held. My equipment was basic and roll film was expensive so I had to try to make each shot count. Then the roll of film had to be developed in my tiny kitchen (which doubled as a darkroom) and printed from an enlarger onto photographic paper and dried on the floor! If I had enough money I would go to Joe’s Basement in Soho to get them developed and make a contact sheet to see the images in a positive format. This all took time and was not immediate as photography is today.

How would you describe the nights at the Roxy?

The nights at the Roxy were short but sweet. Only 100 days. I was lucky enough to be part of the scene and that made it possible for me to take pictures when I wanted and to record this unique time. I never experienced violence or trouble and there was a camaraderie which was very special. We were in a unique small group of kids with similar thoughts, love of music and experiences of good times.

What are they highlights of your photography career?

The highlights of my photography career are too numerous to mention as every time I went out to take photographs, some wonderful event would happen or I would meet interesting characters along the way. Working for Melody Maker, New Musical Express, Sounds, Record Mirror and later Kerrang! were wonderful times as well, as it gave me an platform to show my work and to get invited to amazing places. It was hard times too as the equipment was heavy and venues were far apart so tubes and buses were taken late at night. There were deadlines to be met which was always a challenge. But to be published and have a my name credit was a wonderful feeling when you were young and getting started.

What attracted you to being a photographer?

My father was a great photographer and picture taking was his hobby which he loved. This love of images and visuals he thankfully passed on to me. I went to Art college in Montreal, Canada and was inspired by my photography teacher there who had worked in the music business. I moved to London and started working for Ian Dickson who was a Rock photographer and became his assistant. I made contacts and was asked to take pictures for the magazines and then photography became my work and my life.

What do you miss about the Punk scene? What don’t you miss?

I do miss the innocence and magic of the early punk scene. Those were fast and furious times and I met so many amazing people, many of whom are still around today making music, taking pictures or being artistic. There seemed to be a lot of talent and freedom then and it let us start up bands, publish fanzines and invent fashion and to be who ever you wanted to be. Also women got a look in finally. We were no longer in the background but were now singing up on stage, shooting pictures and creating a special female bond and style.

Find out more: http://punk.london

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