Highlights from our London Mini Break

Jon and I ultimately planned to go to Wales or Bristol for a few days as a belated Birthday mini break for me. However due to his work schedule he was asked to be in London this Sunday to photograph Kobe Bryant, not wanting to miss this opportunity he asked if I wanted to come along and we’d stay an extra day just to enjoy some of the sites of London. I agreed because it had been a while since we’d had a city break and it would be a nice change of scenery, considering most of our destinations have been in nature and I really fancied seeing some art!

We were up at 5:45am to be on the road by 6:30am. Arriving in London at 11:30am, Jon rushed off to the venue where the event was being held and I spent 3 hours walking around Oxford street and leisurely lounging in a cafe over hot chocolate and reading a short story collection. Jon met up with me at 3pm in the Lululemon store and we had a bit of fun with their photo booth! The rest of the day involved locating our hotel, having an evening stroll around China town and the river front watching street performers and nosing in late night open book shops.

I can see why people adore London and in fact I particularly loved how active and cultured the children were. Parents seem to encourage their kids to go for walks, visit art galleries and spend time choosing books in book stores. It’s deemed normal to be cultured and I saw families in restaurants from around the world- teaching them to use chop sticks or try oriental dishes. People here have plenty to do and want to appear busy being productive which is really refreshing considering where I come from (Blackpool) and where I now live (Plymouth) societies seem to be rather closed minded and live very simple lives, maybe not all but it is quite normal to work all day then sit on the sofa all night watching crap and eating crap. Londoners will work all day then take their kids out to the theatre or evening walk along the river to watch street performers or meet up with friends to savour a hot beverage and deep conversations.

On the second day we ventured to the Tate Modern and spent about six hours soaking up so much contemporary art, I was in heaven. A few favourites include some beautifully, bizarre botanical photography, an exhibition on Black culture and slavery, an installation using ropes of human hair and a wall projection of chemical reactions. The type of art I tend to enjoy is organic or has raw emotion, whether its a collage, body movement, plant-life or biological forms, I just love it. Jon tends to lean towards sculptural, clean forms, kinetic sculptures, photography and nightmarish, abstract paintings.

Being in the Tate ignited my creative passions. I suddenly wanted to go home and continue work on my illustrated poetry book which also has a film photography project linked with it also. I remembered how I felt back at Uni, feeling like what I had to say or make was important, that it needed to be brought to the surface, to be manifested as a real entity.

For years now I’ve felt that a lot of my creativity is worthless, perhaps because of the current life situation I am in and the people I am around making out that what I do are just hobby’s and that I should be spending more time on earning money or cleaning the house than anything else. I want to turn the tables on this now, the Tate has rejuvenated me and reminded me that art is important, even if you think its bad art, it doesn’t matter, if it’s inside you and wants to be born, it must be in order for you to continue to grow.

Here is a short clip of the tower, click on the link to watch it: Radio Tower Installation

Here is a short clip of a strange little robot: Robot Video Installation

One of my absolute favourites was a wall projection of chemical reactions by gustav metzger it was just so beautiful and magical. I found it interesting that adults stood back against the wall to watch for a moment before walking away however kids would interact with the space by rolling on the floor, making shadows against the projections and getting closer to the colours on the walls to touch them, some people working at the Tate would also walk in and make shadow puppets with their hands (they knew it was meant to be an interactive room installation). It inspired me to play in the space too. Jon did say “do you think this is appropriate?” In a shy, embarrassed tone(Which is a normal response) And I said “yes of course, when we become adults we’re conditioned to be restrained-sometimes for the better, but when did we lose that innocent sense of play? This room has been purposefully set up for people to interact with the space, there are cushions on the floor and I’m sure the artist wouldn’t find me disrespectful of his art for being inspired to be moved by it.”

I’m not damaging the equipment or film, I’m not being loud or obnoxious. I was experiencing the art through my body. I was tapping into my inner child and being unafraid of other “adults” judging me, it was liberating. Art as a whole is meant to be interacted with- whether with your mind by looking at a painting or with your body as you move around or through it and sometimes you are allowed to touch it. Be moved by art, be free in yourself, break away the chains of restraint of what’s socially “appropriate” as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, breaking anything or disrupting the environment then what’s the problem?

A short clip of me doing a quick yoga-dance in one of my favourite installations: Yoga at the Tate

The last clip is a silly one of me interacting with a quirky orange carpet wall: Carpet Dancing

I thoroughly enjoyed our short stay in London, it made for a nice change and I’m super stoked we got to immerse ourselves in art. That is one thing I love about London, there are so many art galleries, museums, theatre and dance performances, street performers, spoken word poetry gigs, open mike nights, workshops and many more. I could live here for the creativity, I’d go as far as to say I would give up my love of nature just to be a practicing artist again. I visualize myself teaching yoga during the day and performing belly dance at night and on my days off I’m working non stop on my poetry, illustrations and photography to be exhibited in a quirky exhibition. I could see myself living such a life, perhaps once my wanderlust has calmed down in a couple of years, I’ll perhaps think about moving to Bristol first before I head to the big smoke.

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