To increase the reach and scope of the Thurrock Art Trail, this year we hosted an artist development programme! Three artists (Jen Farrant, Brad Rumble and Arooj Khan) were mentored by Lata Upadhyaya, a local artist with a wealth of experience in community arts practice. They used these mentoring sessions to develop workshops, through which they create a series of artworks with local community groups. The work created was displayed as part of the Art Trail at Thameside Theatre, with a private view on Tuesday 25th July from 8pm, followed by local artist John Gathercole’s monthly arts variety night, C.U.L.T!
Lata is a visual artist that specializes in contemporary sculpture and has completed masters in fine art in both India and the Slade School of Art, London. Her work is held in private collections throughout Europe, Middle East and Asia. Lata’s work reflects upon her own life, the experience of migrating from the East to the West and the impact on identity. Lata has been a key activist in establishing an artist’s community in South Essex and has established her studio at Acme, High House Production Park in Purfleet. Lata is mentoring artists as part of this year’s art trail.
Arooj Khan is a creative researcher and a doctorate student at the University of Birmingham, studying Urban Geography. She is working towards legitimising the use of creative research methods as a mainstream tool for use in collecting experiences from hard to reach individuals. She works under the guise of Artem et Populis and is currently working with young residents to develop a Thurrock specific Monopoly board.
Jen Farrant is a writer, photographer and arts consultant. Her photography is focused on portraying Thurrock in a positive light.
I am Brad ‘mrshoeshineman’ Rumble. I approach my creations with a sardonic eye for social commentary aswell as urban decay and attempt to create work that represents how I feel about these particular subjects. My visual style is hugely influenced by cartoons, illustration and the online world leading too a vibrantly striking art style that is playful yet melancholy.
Given the strategic regeneration that Thurrock is currently undergoing, and the fact that the area has been touted as the ‘most profitable area of England’ by Lord Heseltine, I am currently looking to facilitate a workshop with a group of 6-10 young people in order to gain their input in designing a Thurrock specific Monopoly board.
The contributions made by the young people during the workshop, and the areas in which they choose to ‘invest’ in during the course of the game will all serve to inform my wider research, which looks at how regeneration affects young people’s perceptions of the wider community and how it also affects their civic identities.
The workshops will focus on what Thurrock means to each person in the workshop –what they like about it, why they live here, as well as what is important to them in their life. I am interested in how living in Thurrock forms their lives, through looking for the beauty in the everyday details.
The workshops will consist of a series of brainstorm exercises and discussions, before moving on to getting the best photos out of your smartphone, this will be through demonstration and practical exercises.
We will discuss how to capture what is important to them in a series of three photographs.
I will be holding art workshops aimed at improving the self-confidence and well-being of participants. During the workshop I will highlight some of the techniques and thought patterns I use to develop an idea and how our emotional state can determine the outcome of the visual language. I found I was able to pour a lot of my inner conflict onto the canvas or page whilst simultaneously nurturing an extremely therapeutic and useful skill-set that has earnt me commissions for book illustrations, toy design, tattoo design and a level of happiness I never thought I would aspire to.