We’re back!

After an outstanding response from the last Creative Symposium, I am incredibly excited to announce that Central St Martins have asked me back to be a part of Applied Imagination Festival 2015 on the 9th-10th December.


This time around, we will be hosted by world renowned HarperCollins Publishers. The discussion will focus on the world of books and the creative journey that writers take.


Dan Prescott (www.couperstreet.com) is a typesetter, book designer and book production professional based in the south-east of England. He has been servicing the book trade for over a decade, providing typesetting and design services for the publishing industry and individual authors alike, as well as working in-house for a number of high-profile trade publishers.

Claire Lowdon (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008102173/left-of-the-bang) Claire Lowdon grew up in Wiltshire. She read English at New College, Oxford, graduating in 2007. In 2008 she interned at the New York Review of Books before becoming Assistant Editor at Areté, where she still works. She has written for Areté, the TLS, the Sunday Times, the New Statesman and the Observer. Her first novel, Left of the Bang, was published by Fourth Estate in June 2015.

With sharp, satirical humour, unparalleled social observation, extreme sexual honesty and great empathy, Lowdon has captured the foibles, hopes and difficulties that characterise a strata of young London today. A funny, unflinching insider’s view on the generation born in the 1980s – who are often having much less fun than it seems.

Dan Richards (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008105211/the-beechwood-airship-interviews) Dan Richards was born in Wales in 1982 and grew up in Bristol. He has studied at UEA and Norwich Art School. Dan is co-author of Holloway with Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood; first published in 2012 as a limited run of 277 books – letterpress printed by Richard Lawrence in his Oxford workshop – followed by a general edition by Faber in 2013.

His book, The Beechwood Airship Interviews is a journey into the headspaces and workplaces of some of Britain’s most unique artists. At the beginning of this extraordinary memoir, Dan Richards impulsively decides to build an airship in his art school bar, an act of opposition which leads him to meet and interview some of Britain’s most extraordinary artists, craftsmen and technicians in the spaces and environments in which they work.

His search for what it is that compels both him and them to create becomes a profound examination of what it is to be an artist in 21st Century Britain, and an inspiring testament to the importance of making art for art’s sake.

Phil Levine (www.philsays.com) is an artist and creative entrepreneur who co-founded the collective Lazy Gramophone, an arts and design label that supports developing artists by running a Dylan Thomas Prize nominated publishing label, gallery and events. He works in the fashion, art and design industries for various businesses and was previously recruited to work as a Cultural Attaché for The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, London.


During the talk, we will be discussing a number of key points. Below are a list of topics that will be opened up for discussion although we will also be fielding questions from the audience and those that are posted on social media.

. The creative process and the journey an artist/writer takes when creating a piece

. Authors who want to be artists/Artists who want to be authors

 . Creative roadblocks and how to get around them 

. Working alone vs. working collaboratively

 . Space – What impact does a particular space have on creativity? Are some spaces more ‘creative’ than others, and how can we utilise this?

 . The question of art. What defines artistic practice? How does writing compare to other artistic practices?

 . Bridging the gap between arts and literature: Finding a path where the two cross over

 . The use of art in literature – Music/films/visual art used in a book to heighten events going on in the narrative


Books will be on sale at the event.

Held in ‘the street’ at CSM, this talk will be open to all who wish to attend although seating is limited so please RSVP to ralph.barker@harpercollins.co.uk if you wish to reserve a seat.

Alex Chinneck Interview for ROOMS Magazine

Alex Chinneck creates surrealist illusions on a large scale. His work seeks to provoke thought and make us look twice at the architectural environment that surrounds us. With a playful approach to sculpture, Chinneck is equally interested in exploring the possibilities of materials and innovative building practice, which often inspire his artwork and help spark ideas about future projects. Not only a brilliant artist, Chinneck also has a lot to say about the philosophical implications of his work and how the distortion of familiarity is an important factor in what he hopes to achieve. After the completion of his latest project at Covent Garden, we sat down with him to find out more about what goes into making a public sculpture possible and the artistic transformation of architectural practice.


  1. Take me through the process of completing one of your large scale installations.


When conceiving an idea, there are so many elements that need to be considered. Most of those elements are contextually sensitive. For example, when developing an idea for Covent Garden piazza, it doesn’t just begin and end with the visual experience. Using that as a case study, I knew that I wanted to do something of significant scale and sculptural impact. I largely wanted to do that because I was conscious of the footfall through the piazza and the demographic that visits there. It is a place of recreation and holiday making. It is quite a fast place and not really one of contemplation, so the artwork had to be one of significant impact that meets an Instagram culture halfway. With those objectives in mind and the length of time it would be there for (1 month), I knew we would need temporary planning licenses from the council. You have to develop concepts with those logistical considerations in mind. I immediately knew that it made sense to develop an artwork that had a visual material synergy with the architecture in the square so therefore it acts as a celebration or integration rather than something that would deter or argue with the architecture of the district.

I also knew that I wanted to deliver an illusion because illusions are something that I’m excited by, but also they offer a kind of conceptual accessibility that any audience member could enjoy. That was really important because of the eclecticism of the visitors. When you are developing an idea, you think about who is visiting it, the mood and the pace at which they visit, the cultural identity and the visual language of the area, and finally the logistics such as building regulations because it has to pass those. It also has to integrate and you have to develop a structure and a system that considers access. Our footprint at the piazza is perfectly designed around three disabled cobbled ramps that lead into the market building, and the opening is the exact width so that when looking down the central avenue of the piazza, you don’t see the artwork. This was partly to pay homage to the architecture that was already there and not disrupt it in any way, but also to negotiate inevitable obstacles like planning.

When developing an idea, despite the playfulness and seeming simplicity of the concept, a lot of consideration goes into what would work and why it would work. For example, with the hovering building, it was an impact artwork for that kind of audience, whereas with the melting house, it is on a road where thousands of people go up and down the road to work each day as a commuter passage. In that way you can conceive an artwork that is about transformation and change and one that is about an evolution of a story, because people see it every single day.

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The Creative Jedis:



Alex Chinneck – (www.alexchinneck.com)

London-based artist Alex Chinneck takes sculpturally complex routes to arrive at playful visual moments. Exploring the space between art, theatre and architecture he is inspired by the landscapes of London’s industrial peripheries. He reworks their powerful aesthetics and aims to find new and ambitious applications for everyday construction materials.

The unrefined materials of basic construction are given a second life. Removed from their utilitarian context they are reshaped and enlivened with new purpose and appearance.


Jess De Wahls – (www.jessdewahls.com)

Born in 1983 in Berlin, Jess relocated to London in 2004.

A professional stylist and untrained but passionate artist, she followed her need for creating through several disciplines, mostly involving portraiture.

Dipping into the praxis of Acrylic and oil painting,- ink,-pencil-and ballpoint pen drawing, Pyrography, -story boarding,-Tattoo design and sewing little Monster creatures out of recycled  clothing, Jess ultimately found her niche – Retex sculpting.

The subjects of feminism, gender equality as well as the environmental issue of recycling have become an integral part of her art and future exhibitions will in part serve as a platform to raise a greater awareness.

Her Solo exhibitions include shows at Soho Theatre in 2009, her sell-out show ‘Monsters and Ink’ in 2011 at the Resistance Gallery and most recently in 2014  #bigswingingovaries, the first major exhibition of Retex-sculpture which was successfully crowd funded as well as curated by Jess herself.

Major group show involvements include  “The museum of Everything” at the Turbine Hall of the Tate modern as well as Sweet’Art Show #1 at the Crypt Gallery #SEAMS at the Hoxton Arches Gallery, as well as ‘Guilty Pleasure’ at Juno in Shoreditch.


Philip Levine – (www.philsays.com)


London born artist Philip Levine started using his head as a canvas for creativity back in 2006 when he began to go bald. Using it as a form of artistic expression, Philip’s art aims to give out a social message and has inspired many men, women and children who are affected by something negative in their life to embrace their problem and use it in a positive way through art and creativity. Philip’s debut exhibition ‘Headism’, sponsored by Gillette, showcased head designs that have now become iconic around the world. This creative art form has won him a place in both Time Out’s Culture 100 and The Observer Future 500. His works have been part of Phaidon’s publication ‘Wild Art‘ and displayed in numerous locations including Somerset House alongside artists Damien Hirst, Gabriel Dawe, Hugo Dalton and Georgia Russell.

Philip’s exhibitions aren’t limited to gallery installations; he has been living art in the Victoria & Albert Museum, BBC Media Centre, Somerset House, The Roundhouse and internationally including The Art Museum of Estonia, Kumu, and Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland. Meanwhile, his workshops and talks on performance and creativity have been much in demand at The Tate Modern, Central Saint Martins, University College London and the BBC Worldwide Creative Summit.


Sasha Damjanovski – (www.orev.co.uk)


Sasha C. Damjanovski is a writer, producer and director. His credits include feature film, broadcast drama, theatre, dance and drama shorts as well as commercial work. He has won awards for both his writing and directing work, and enjoyed enthusiastic audience reactions and critical acclaim. Sasha’s first feature film was the critically acclaimed dance drama, DANCE WITH ME, released theatrically in 2010. The award-winning short comedy, GREEN PAGES, was also a remarkable experiment – a 17 minute, single-take adaptation of the phone book, whilst more-recently, the sci-fi short drama, DEFINING FAY, has also won awards and secured a development deal to be adapted into a feature film. In theatre, Sasha wrote and directed the sci-fi romantic comedy, PROJECT SNOWFLAKE, which delighted London audiences and won much critical acclaim including 4 star reviews from TimeOut and Exeunt Magazine. Sasha’s next play, THE EMPEROR AND THE LINGUIST, is a commission for a Dutch theatre company and his next feature film, an Irish black comedy, DEATH INC is slated to shoot in July next year.


Spritz Creative – (www.spritz.co)

London based agency Spritz Creative, formed in 2003, is situated in the capital’s most creative and ethnically diverse area, Whitechapel. Its employees have made the journey to Spritz from counties as far flung as Australia, Hungary, France and from Asia to work in this international lifestyle branding agency.

Spritz is the forum for the expression of creative zeal. Having worked with international companies from Denmark to Dubai, together their cultural diversity forms a rich tapestry of contemporary thinking. Thus our clients avail themselves of the international language that is modern design. Our solutions deliver clear branding and retail strategies.


Andrzej Klimowski – (www.rca.ac.uk/more/staff/andrzej-klimowski)

Andrzej Klimowski is a graphic artist and a designer of theatre, opera and film posters. He is an international illustrator of book covers and press and magazine illustrations and an author of graphic novels (publishers include Faber & Faber and SelfMadeHero). His research interests are in narrative, investigating new relationships between text and image.

Born of Polish parents in London in 1949, Klimowski trained at the Saint Martin’s School of Art before studying at the Academy of Fine Art and working professionally in Warsaw. His east-European legacy deeply influences his work. From the late 1970s he designed posters and book jackets – including novels by PG Wodehouse , Simon Louvish, Lionel Shriver, Milan Kundera and Kazuo Ishiguro – and illustrations, TV graphics and animation, following his particular of from examples of his ‘Polish School’ design.

The early twentieth century photo-collagists, Surrealism, Dada and Expressionism have been an influence on part of his work, but he has developed his own personal style with a combination of fantasy, anxiety, ambiguity and eroticism which keeps his works from becoming pastiche. He is the current head of illustration at the RCA, His work includes short films, illustrations and books, including Lo Sguardo Deviato (The Deflected Gaze), and most recently The Secret. His work has recently been the subject of a retrospective at the Theatre Museum in London.


Daniel Regan – (www.danielregan.com)

Daniel Regan is a London based artist & photographer whose work often focuses on themes of recovery, psychology and mental health. He is also an accomplished and versatile portrait photographer.

Daniel completed a BA in Photography at the University of Brighton in 2006 and completed his MA in Photography at London College of Communication in 2013 with his project Insula. He lives in London with his two cats, Pixel & Salvador.


As well as these guests, there will be input from philosophers and psychologists looking at creativity in their own field of work. They will support the flow of discussion and aim to provide ideas from which the debate can thrive.

ROOMS Magazine, in association with University of the Arts London and Lazy Gramophone Collective Presents: Creative Symposium 2015


What does creativity mean to you?


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term ‘creativity’ is defined as:

“The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness”


Is that really the best answer you can think of?


Surely, with that definition, there is little room for the more philosophical and psychological implications of the term or the more subjective dimensions that ‘being creative’ gives access to.

In February 2015, a panel of ‘Creative Jedis’ from a variety of different backgrounds will meet inside Central St Martin’s Kings Cross campus to argue this point, and what they believe it really means to create something in our modern society.

Hosted on behalf of ROOMS Magazine London in association with University of the Arts London, CS15 will be an evening of lively discussion and debate about issues surrounding creativity in society and what it means to ‘create’. Artists, directors, photographers, philosophers, performers and more will gather together to debate issues such as:


. What it really means to be a ‘creative’

. How creativity is used as a platform for social mobility

. Creative networking and the use of social media

. Cross collaboration between different creative fields




@CSymposium #CS15