Interviews: FDC Artists and Makers

Candice brings you back to the FDC Young Designers Award in October. Two up-and-coming designers competed for a chance to win the title of The Radical Designer of the Year 2019 and showcase their collections in New York! The evening was also filled with amazing creatives, makers, and industry professionals looking to network and connect. Candice chatted to some of them on the night.

DAMIAN SIMON – BASR BILLION ART

About Damian

For myself, before I could even remember, I’ve always drawn. I know everyone does that as a child, but I just didn’t stop. I tell you the truth, my love affair with art began with comic books because as a kid at seven, people were buying sweeties with their pocket money. I would save mine and buy my comics, and I would literally sit there and redraw the drawings. Hour after hour after hour after hour… After a while, the skill would just develop and become a part of you. Practice, practice, practice.

About the Creation Process

I’m a visual artist. I create my art primarily using a biro or a brick pen. Once I’ve created the image, if the image is strong enough at that stage, then I’ll stop. If not, then we’ll add some colour.

About Ministry of Art

With Ministry of Art, we’re a collective of artists that are particularly are black and ethnic minority. At the Goldsmith exhibition last week, we had Turkish artists, Columbians, Jamaicans, South Africans… just all over the world to try and give a platform to people who don’t normally have the platform to exhibit in a beautiful place like Goldsmith, and we want to do more in the future. I did an exhibition at the Goldsmith Academy University last week with lots of other exhibitions coming up.

E9 HACKNEY MAKERS @E9MAKERS Founders: @lisadevaney; @fi_rbackhouse; @sturgeonadorn Member: @leavalleyart

About the Team

L: I’m Lisa Devaney, and I’m with the E9 Makers of Hackney’s Homerton. I’m a painter, and my colleagues are with me today. One is a photographer, jewellery maker, and another painter. E9 stands for our postal code, and it’s geographically where we’re all based, met, and create! We originally met through our children who are enrolled in the local schools. We came together and realised that we’re all creators and making things individually and decided to form a group to empower us and show our work around the community.

F: We’re like Mega Mums. Mumpreneurs (mums + entrepreneurs). A more balanced lifestyle is how we see it. There are times where we’ve done workshops or pop-ups where they join or help us. My name is Fi Backhouse. I’m part of the E9 Makers collective. I do photography, and I use my photography as part of my product line whenever I do the arts pop-up. I also run the E9 Makers workshops. We do art based mindfulness workshops to remind people to take time out, slow down using art to refocus and align.

About E9 Makers

L: Fi provides monthly workshops at the Hatch in Homerton, which is a cafe, and we do drawings and paintings. We usually hold it on the third Monday of every month. The workshops are £10 with all materials included, and we sometimes have guests artists to teach and share. It’s Mindfulness and Art, and it’s just a good morning. That’s something Fi came up with.

F: We’ve been using local areas and cafes and community spaces to run our workshops. We try to keep it average pricing so anyone can afford it. We use tools from collage to fabric, paint, photography, and lots of anything that are easily accessible. We call it Monday Motivation. It’s really early in the morning to start you off. You focus on a style of art. It’s a challenge and a new skill. Stepping away from the everyday using art to re-energise. It runs for two hours.

About the Future of E9

F: I love taking pictures of people. I did lots of gigs and events. It came to a point where I wanted to create art-based photography. One of the reasons why we came up with the collective was to create more art. We still have our day jobs because we obviously still need to make bread and butter. Haha!

L: My main goal is to keep on making! To not drop it and keep up with it. Work with my colleagues and continue doing pop-ups and workshops. The biggest thing is to bring joy into the community because it’s a great way to bring positivity into the world.

MUSICIANS: HANNAH LEDWIDGE – COFOUNDER OF AD-LIB MUSIC

CLIVE LEDWIDGE – BROTHER TO HANNAH, PRODUCER AND CO-FOUNDER OF AD-LIB MUSIC

About the Team

C: I’m Clive Ledwidge from Ad-lib Music. We put on events and teach music. I deal with background and organization stuff.

H: I’m Hannah Ledwidge— musician, producer, and director of Ad-lib Music as well. We do music, tuition, and music events. We’re based in East London.

C: We liked music from an early age. With us, we grew up in church, and that was a big influence on us. The background where we’re from, there’s a lot of music, so my brother’s into music. Just a lot of music really, and that’s both of our interests and how we started.

H: We grew up in a family where we always had music going on. We could play at church, and that’s how I learned. I literally just got on the drums at church and was like, “Oh, okay!”

H: I play percussion, guitar and piano, and I produce music. It all comes together.

C: I play a little bit of drums. Haha!

About Ad-Lib Music

C: Going around, seeing lots of potential and wanting to work with them. We thought about having a platform for them to be able to express themselves. We saw their potential and knew how hard it was to get on in the music industry, as well, so we wanted to offer our services in terms of teaching. That was the idea behind the two things coming together.
H: Building something that was bigger than ourselves and wanting to help others along.

C: We’ve done quite a few things. The first thing is teaching. We teach one to ones up to groups. At the moment, we’re working with a church group where we’re teaching keyboard and drums. We’ve been in it for more than a year now with this particular group. We got there and do groups of two every half hour. The other thing we do is a showcase every month giving our students and tutors opportunities. It’s escalated and evolved now. We’ve even got local musicians coming in and volunteering to play now, so that’s something else that has tied in and is part of our big picture.

H: Yes, yes. We’ve done music events and teaching, drum workshops, mentoring… a full spectrum really.

C: The Jager in Dalston is where we hold the showcases once a month. The format is really where the tutors perform, then students, and local musicians. It’s a real night for music lovers. Giving the musicians a platform. H: We’ve had ticketed and free events. It’s really open to everyone, and we’ve had loads of people come through.

C: We’ve even had our first open mic, as well. It turned out really well, so we’re gonna do another one hopefully in December. People just came on the night and came up and started to sing.

H: Yeah, it was pretty cool.

C: A whole spectrum. “From streets to the stage” is our big idea and what we wanna see.

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