I live above a very posh very council funded multi million pound "arts centre" and independent cinema. I've never seen art there. Well, they do project digital media art every now and again. As far as i can tell its a neatly clipped nice idea which has been so neatly clipped its a brutal little stub.
Around the corner is a back to basics, volunteer ran, scruffy little arts centre called Fabrika. Its easy to ignore or underestimate but if you go in i guarantee you will see what shiny stub wanted to be. It is full of not just paid exhibitions but sweet little drawings and paintings made by the volunteers who've drank too much coffee and will happily accommodate any creative idea you may already have or want to discuss. I will illustrate the inspiring glow of Fabrika by describing my first ever visit.
I was walking home from a particularly brutal morning shift thinking about sleep and a weight watchers ready meal when stretched from the door and across the whole width of humberstone gate was a roll of paper and a plethora of wax crayons and permanent markers. The lady responsible told me the reasons behind this were and i quote "i think drawings kinda cool", refreshed by the simplicity and straight forwardness i made a series of pleased noises and supplied her with a tiny scribble drawing. Before i had the chance to walk home i saw my old student rep behind the bar inside, Charlotte is possibly the most organised person you could ever meet who has particular talents in arts management and could quite easily argue down the stiffest of folk without making them feel attacked or defensive. In popping in to say hi to a sleepy looking Charlotte, who is so dedicated is working a 70 hour week for free, i met a couple of eccentric older men. One chap in particular will probably stick in my mind forever, he had spent 20 years in new york and was subsequently VERY British, had a plasticine face akin to Wallace from Wallace and gromit, and used the most extraordinary vocabulary ive ever heard. The man was there to do a screen test for an independent film but i must say i distracted him from this so the arranged screen test was rushed down to a minute of half hearted performance. After a considerable delightful conversation about art and instant, quick, stubborn production we sat down and wrote a poem together. i laughed more than id laughed in weeks and felt fully immersed in a creative environment for the first time since i left uni. I will from now on and as long as i am in Leicester, fiercely support Fabrika and suggest that you also do so.
Fabrika is not the only artist ran back to basics group/centre that has popped up in Leicester. I am proud to say more and more artists are rejecting the idea that arts and culture doesnt have a place in the recession. One by one we are all finding ways to carry on through the harder times, may i suggest Art and Company's temporary exhibition in Malcom Arcade? Here you will find my work, yes im shameless, along with quite a broad mix of artists. My highlight is the large mixed media portrait of an old lady and her dog which is visible from the window, i wish i had taken a photo but you will just have to go and have a look. This group is making use of the empty shops left behind by the recession raped small businesses that have closed down, the earthworms of the art world.
Anyway , enough words, here is a drawing of my friend as a dinosaur.