hey you, artist, can you do this for nothing? You don’t need money do you?

sw_smallthorns20x20_5_1Cultivate first came together as a result of the frustration we felt as London-based artists in terms of the way we were (and still are) treated as artists.  We decided that, rather than just moan about it, we;’d do it ourselves  We continue to do it ourselves, group shows, solo shows, shows here and there, inviting artists to come be involved, you know what we’re about (well hopefully yo do). I’d rather be shouting about all the exciting art and artists, than banging on about the way artists are treated yet again, really must write a piece about Rosso and This One and what went on under the railway arch, but I a bit of a bee buzzing in my bonnet today……..

Got an unexpected phone call from a rather pushy PR person this morning, he was asking me to give away a painting to be auctioned for a charity event. Now normally, in theory, I don’t have a problem with this, but he was being particularity demanding and pushy and a little bit aggressive (I’d never dealt with him before, as far as I know I don’t know him). I asked him if his company was working for free on the PR campaign for the auction and if he was going to be giving his time for free? He was very evasive and unwilling to answer, eventually he conceded that no he and his staff “could not be expected to give up working time”, so yes, he was being paid, a “reduced fee” as he insisted on stressing a couple of times, but they were being paid. I asked him if he though that was reasonable, he gets paid for his time while I spend my time and money (on materials) on a painting?  I said I’d donate a painting if he’d donate his time for free as well, he said no and that he had office expenses and rent to pay and blah blah (of course my paint and rent is free, I don’t have any bills to pay) . I’ve given away several paintings to charity in the last few years, indeed we’ve been involved in fund raising events as Cultivate, not something I shout about, but in theory, as broke as I am, I am happy to try and do this when I can. But hey Mr PR man, don’t take the piss and don’t treat me like I owe you a living. This has annoyed me this morning, what makes a PR company person think things should work like that, he really was aggressive demanding, he said I was heartless and I well, I won’t go on…. just don’t take things for granted.

sw_smallthorns20x20_3_1Today, I should be delivering a painting to a private buyer in Luton, the train ticket is sitting here, it won’t be used now, the guy cancelled on me yesterday, he commissioned the painting last month. I’m not that keen on doing commissions normally, but this seemed interesting and fitted in with what I do anyway, we kept in constant touch, he seemed very enthusiastic until yesterday when a  one line e.mail informed me he had changed his mind… so the painting is sitting here, the unused train ticket is sitting here and you know, this is just a little annoying. Don’t take artists for granted, you wouldn’t get away with doing this to a plumber or an electrician (thankfully I did make the guy pay a small deposit, he hasn’t asked for that back yet, but…), A couple of weeks ago I got asked if one of my paintings could appear on an album cover, the record label involved was quite a big one, certainly not a shoestring D.I.Y operation, no payment involved though, apparently it would have been “good publicity”, I might have said yes if it had been a decent band who genuinely had no budget but hey….

sw_smallthorns25x25_8_1Last month I was asked to go paint live at what looks like it is going to be a reasonably big music festival, seemed like a good event, some decent bands playing, some good people involved and such, I said yes, I rather stupidly assumed I was going to at least get some expenses and costs covered, I was kind of looking forward to it. The organiser got in touch a few days back to confirm it all and to see if it was okay to add my name to the posters and the publicity and could I also start publicising it via the Organ and such, apparently, as she pointed out, I’m good at publicity. Then she casually mentioned that I’d better hurry up or I’d miss out on the early bird tickets and have to pay full price to get in. What!? Seems I was expected to buy a £70 early bird ticket to get in to the event I was being billed to appear at? Silly me, what on earth made me think that at least my travel expenses would be covered and that the cost of material would be taken in to consideration for an event that i was being advertised as taking part in?How silly of me, artists get to ride trains for free, we don’t have bills, where is my I’m an artist free rail travel card, can’t seem find it in the studio here…

sw_smallthorns5_2I know no one forces me to do what I do, no one owes me a living, and in the big scheme of things, the fight for the NHS and the the junior doctor’s strike today that we should all be supporting and shouting about and such, this expecting me to do everything for nothing is not that important, and I know that it is my choice to live like I do and live on cheap baked beans while I make art (actually it isn’t really a choice, it really is something I have to do, something I’m burdened with), but really, stop taking artists for granted, if you want me to give my time, you give yours as well, if you want to commission a painting then don’t cancel at the last minute without the decency of an explanation, if you can’t afford it then say so (it isn’t like I was charging a fortune in the first place!) and if you want to advertise that I’m painting at your big money making music festival then at least pay me like you’re paying the bands or the DJs (or yourselves). As far as I know, unless I missed the memo, we artists don’t get to live rent free, we don’t get to go to supermarket with our “I’m artist I don’t have to pay” card and take what we need to survive, as far as i know we have bills just like everyone else 9I think those things piling up over there are bills?), it might be news to some, but paint costs money (or so the man at Chrome and Black keeps telling me).

So Mr PR man, I don’t usually make a noise about these things but telling me I was heartless this morning really annoyed me, and no, I’m not buying a ticket for a festival I’ve been invited to take part in (couldn’t afford one anyway!),  and if you want to commission me from now on, then at least a hefty slice of the coldhearted money up front please. And no, I’m not giving you a painting for your album cover big record label person….  Now let me paint over this canvas that should be on the way to sunny Luton today, the thing is slightly tainted now. PR man was right about one thing though, I am heartless, they’re leaves! I don’t paint hearts, go see Jimmy C if you want a heart, he’s next door painting hearts….  (sw)



The Cultivate Spring Art Mart and a nine day solo thorny thing…

cultivate_Thorns_april2016This week the now nomadic artist-run maximalist gallery thing that is Cultivate will head back to the Fount space and that beautiful railway arch by London Fields, Hackney, London E8…

On Tuesday morning, April 12th, a solo show of recent paintings from Sean Worrall called Sometimes They Have Thorns will open. The solo show will run for nine days with a late night viewing on Thursday evening, April 14th at 6pm until 9pm, all are welcome. The show will be open 11am until 6pm from April 12th until Wednesday April 20th

Sean will present a series of recent paintings, a series that started at the Reveal show and formed a big part of his #43 show that happened on the 43rd day of the year with that one day show on the street under a railway bridge, the series that continued at the recent Debaser show over at BSMTSpace and will continue once more with new work for this nine day solo show in the railway arch at Fount.

The gallery walls will be alive with thorny growth, leaves on canvas (although some see other things and talk of leafhearts and such). Expect thorns, pruning of growth, gardening, painting on canvas, on found things and for the last time this year the bigger canvas paintings will be on sale at no more than £43 each (there will also be smaller pieces painted on found recycled vinyl or pieces of reclaimed wood, expect work priced as low as £5).

The show will evolve through the nine days with Sean (and others) working at the space (or outside the space) during the period.

And as is tradition now with Sean’s solo shows, there will be a guest wall of artists invited to take part and make use of one wall in the space (Cultivate is about getting art and artists out there, artists coming together and doing it ourselves)


And while Sometimes They Have Thorns is going on inside under the arch, outside in the yard we shall have an art mart, a small art fair….
Cultiartmart_april2016THE CULTIVATE SPRING ART MART: On the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 16th/17th April, Cultivate will present an outdoor market/art fair in the yard of Fount, (with gazebos, tables, paintings, prints, stalls and such), East London Prints will also be there over the weekend with their extensive collection of affordable prints. London-based artists, if you want to get involved in the weekend, do please get in touch for more details, space is limited but there may still be time…
Fount is under the railway, inside (and outside) an arch, right by London Fields, Netil Market and everything that goes on at Broadway Market at the weekend. You have art, food, drink, vintage treasure and entertainment everywhere….

The FOUNT space can be found under the railway arch at Westgate Street, London Fields, Hackney, London, E8 3RN

These days Cultivate is nomadic, Vyner Street is over now and we’re doing different things in different places.  In the next few months you can expect Cultivate events to happen on a boat on the Regent’s canal, in  amongst the glorious colour of a tailor’s shop in East London, in an open-air square at the foot of Tower Bridge, and just maybe in a conventional art gallery or two as well, oh and back at the Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair on Sunday June 12th, always one of our favourite days of the year  Cultivate will be five this year, five years of doing it our way, thanks for being part of it….

Keep up-to-date with Cultivate on line via

THANKS ONCE MORE, Team Cultivate


Debaser, trumpet blowing at an art show in a Dalston basement…

Some trumpet blowing cut and pasted, Pritt Stick style, from the pages of Organ

Debaser opened on Thursday night over at BSMT Space, Dalston, London, N16, the rain was pouring, the people still poured in and we really can’t be blowing our own trumpets on this one for Debaser is a Cultivate show. Cultivate is nomadic now, Vyner Street has gone, the once rather special street previously alive with galleries is now a haven to developers, to self-proclaimed “future thinkers” ripping things apart, to coffee peddlers and expensive redevelopments, our old street corner and pretty much all the galleries have gone and Cultivate now ventures here and there. in the past year we’ve ventured to East London warehouses, to the seaside, to railway arches and on this occasion, to a basement over on the busy main street over in Dalston. Cultivate and Organ, for those of you who don’t know, are very much woven together, and so to review this show is indeed to blow our own trumpets and we can’t be doing that can we?. Then again where are the so-called London art press? All these things going on and none of them ever really bother acknowledging any of it, too busy wearing red hats telling us Tracey has married a rock or Damian has had one of his minions paint another dot rather than get out there to see, and well, let’s blow our own brass wind instrument and tell you about here…

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Nadine Talalla, This One

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Nadine Talalla, This One

So Debaser opened in the Hackney rain, seventeen artists in a rather welcoming basement gallery on the main Stoke Newington High Road right in the middle of Dalston, just past the Rio Cinema and almost hidden there in plain sight amongst the 99p shops that are being undercut by the 98p shops, the closing down sales and the Turkish food shops, that and all the brilliant noise and colour of Ridley Road market, rather pleasing place to be showing some art, rather like doing things here…..

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Rosso

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Rosso

Down the stairs, white walls and bright lights awaiting, seventeen artists and some more cross-pollination, the street art flavours of This One, Charlie Mcfarley and Skeleton Cardboard comfortably sharing walls with the painterly moves of Bruce Lovelock or Joanna Georgiades, the gothic delights of Deborah Griffin, the intriguingly dark and so often beautiful mind-space of photographer and performer Agata Cardoso, actually no, Agata is a painter who uses a camera rather than a brush.

The shadow-throwing textile flavours of the ever understated Coa Ahmet, the fluidity of M.O.B, the gas masks at bus stops of Rosso, actually to pick out names isn’t fair – each contributor hand-selected and invited, picky picky process putting this show together. A whole bunch of artists once again invited to share Cultivate wall space alongside the leaves and thorns and words and shapes and collages and well I think it worked? I think it flowed? By the time the doors are open the hang has drained things, those pieces don’t hang themselves, back and forth juggling and balancing, moving and changing, this one there, no, over there, fifteen artists invited to share wall space with Emma Harvey and myself. Really pleased to have Rosso back on our walls alongside the energy and line work of Marcelina Amilia and to welcome Matt Reid to a Cultivate for the first time.

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Agata Cardoso

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Agata Cardoso

I think it went well, the night was busy, the wine flowed, people flowed, arr flowed, music flowed, paintings fed off each other, complimented each other, spoke to each other. Charlie McFarley was a little more black and white than usual, think he might have caught a few people off-guard with his two new pieces, rather like them. Skeleton Cardboard’s comments of life and “likes” and not being able to breathe without wi-fi were appreciated, Quiet British Accent have taken on a Festival of Britain 1950’s feel with their latest graphic pieces, Emma Harvey revealed a second circle painted and more beautiful moving of paint, Arina Orlova got all Hitchcock with her trademark gold, Nadine Talalla has clearly grown in confidence, a expansive canvas piece and a painter breaking out of her shell now… I think we can afford ourselves a little trumpet blowing in the rain of Dalston, think it went rather well.. (sw) .

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Emma Harvey, Agata Cordoso...

Debaser @BSMT Space, March 2016, Emma Harvey, Agata Cordoso…

Debaser opened on Thursday evening March 24th and runs until Sunday March 27th (open11am until 7pm)


click on an image to enlarge or run the slide show

Debaser: Cultivating in a basement, artists doing it ourselves, doing it on our terms…

Here’s a piece that appeared over on the Organ pages a little earlier today….

“Pass me my trumpet, I need to blow it, it is my trumpet, I can blow it if I want to! Debaser opens this Thursday, eyes will be sliced, only by the thorns though. Got me a movie, I want you to know. Slicing up eyeballs, I want you to know. Girlie so groovy, I want you to know. Don’t know about you, But I am un chien andalusia, Wanna grow… Up to be… Be a debaser! “Black wrote this song about the surrealist short film ‘Un Chien Ansalou’ created by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. He sings “I wanna grow up to be a debaser” because the film debased the art community a the time and it made him want to do the same.”


Debaser: Cultivating in a basement, artists doing it ourselves, doing it on our terms…

debaser_march2016squareThe next Cultivate event will happen this week at the rather exciting BSMT Space over in Dalston, London N16. A cross-pollinating group show curated by Cultivate the team of Sean Worrall and Emma Harvey, the busy show will open on Thursday evening March 24th at 6pm, all are welcome.

“We’re not about grand manifestos or wordy statements or cultivating a new whatever, we’re simply about proactive artists just getting on and doing it, we’re about making art happen on our terms, we’re about the artists who excite us enough to make us want to share our space with them…”

Once again, in the style of the recent Reveal and Play shows (one in an East London railway arch, the other in a condemned warehouse), Debaser will be a coming together of artistic styles, expect the more adventurous rule-breaking side of street art jousting with contemporary fine artists, print makers, painterly painters, performers and more. Expect a four day gathering of pro-active artists in a rather exciting basement art space over in Dalston. London N16.

Sometimes They Have Thorns Part 26 (SW)

Sometimes They Have Thorns Part 26 (SW)

Debaser will open on Thursday evening March 24th at 6pm (open until 9pm) and then run from 11am until 7pm from Friday March 25th until Sunday March 27th


(here may well be #43 smaller thorny SW pieces painted on wood and ready to hang on your walls should you wish, some will be at the opening, some will be painted during the show, all on sale for £5 each).

And we know Skeleton Cardboard is cooking up skulls and committing them to small pieces of affordable canvas. Emma Harvey is getting circular, Quiet British Accent are getting wordy, Matt Reid is fresh from a show at Doomed Gallery, that and creating imagery for Cleft, we have no idea what This One is painting on or what’s in these packages from Marcelina that have arrived already here in the Organ office….

BSMT Space can be found at 5D Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 8BH. Just up from Dalston Overground station, on the main high street, just by the Vortex and such…If I were you, I’d come on the Friday when Ridley Road Market was in full swing…


In the next few months. as the days grow longer, expect Cultivate events to happen on a boat on the Regent’s canal, in amongst the glorious colour of a tailor’s shop in East London, back under a railway bridge in Hackney, in an open-air square at the foot of Tower Bridge, and just maybe in a conventional art gallery or two as well, oh and back at the Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair on Sunday June 12th, always one of our favourite days of the year Cultivate will be five this year, five years of doing it our way (the Organ way)

Skeleton Cardboard

Skeleton Cardboard

Organ thing, your daily dose of music, art, underculture…


Organ is something that’s been around in one form or another for twenty-nine and a bit years now, these days Organ takes the form of a no thrills (almost daily) blog. It started life as a hand made hand screen printed zine, it has taken the form of a giant flyposter, an issue was printed on a t-shirt, several appeared as cassettes that were sold by hand at gigs and such as well as sent all over the globe via mailorder.  Organ evolved in a glossy printed magazine, it gave birth to a record label and something like two hundred slices of vinyl and CD. There was a pre-internet long-before-you-tube weekly TV show broadcast on public access television, it gave birth to hundreds of Organ gigs, music events, art events and music festivals like the Eight Day Itch, there was a radio show on London’s arts radio station Resonance FM and eventually Organ helped gave birth to Cultivate (via the Stinging Netil thing where we took over a whole East London market for a day and filled with artists, performers and bands).

Organ can be followed over at www.organthing.com, you’ll find a daily dose of underculture, music, art, paint, news, sounds. in recent days there has been features on a new outdoor gallery called Elements, on Ivan Argote’s piece hanging outside Space studio, the art in the window on the Last Tuesday Society, the new album from Gitane Demone and lots lots (lots) more, do go explore, there’s lots to discover….


ORGAN THING: Elements, a potentially exciting new East London gallery out in the elements…

ORGAN THING: Mare Street, An Idea of Progress? Space, Stik, Last Tuesday Society, Ivan Argote, The Cockney Shoe Model, the Regeneration architect, the impact entrepreneur, the futures thinker and Tony Two Vans…

ORGAN THING: The Gitane Demone Quartet go way out past the sun (again)…




The next Cultivate show will happen in a basement at the end of March…

debaser_march2016v2The next Cultivate show will happen at BSMT Space over in Dalston. The group show will open on Thursday evening March 24th, more details via the Facebook event page. We’re not about grand manifestos or statements or cultivating a new whatever, we’re about proactive artists just getting on and doing it
“Cultivate presents an art show in a basement. Following on from January’s art show in a Railway Arch, in March Cultivate will collaborate with the BSMT art space over in their basement in Dalston, London N16.
Once again, in the style of the recent Reveal and Play shows, Debaser will be a cross-pollination of artistic style, the more adventurous side of street art jousting with contemporary fine artists, print makers, performers and more. A group show and once again a four day gathering of pro-active artists”.
The show will open on Thursday evening March 24th at 6pm until 9pm and then run from 11am until 7pm from Friday March 25th until Sunday March 27th
Cultivate, Reveal @ Fount Jan 2016

Cultivate, Reveal @ Fount Jan 2016

ARTISTS CONFIRMED (with more to be announced in the next week as we pull Debaser together)

more t.b.c
This show is NOT an open call show, Participation in Debaser is by invite, there will be more open calls shows soon, open call shows are important to us. We are happy to hear from artists at anytime, do feel free to say hello and send us a link to your website, we like to hear from artists who’s work and attitude fits in with the ever evolving Cultivate family . At the moment we’re working on several shows in basements, railway arches, car parks, on boats and maybe even a formal gallery show or two… .
Cultivate @ Fount Jan 2016 - Skeleton Cardboard

Cultivate, Reveal @ Fount Jan 2016 – Skeleton Cardboard

Cultivate @ Fount Jan 2016  - Amy Elizabeth Kingsmill

Cultivate @ Fount Jan 2016 – Amy Elizabeth Kingsmill


Tales of the Art Car Boot fair, of dogs and smiles and sketchbooks and…

Emma Harvey and Velma the pup (Art Car Boot Fair 2015)

Emma Harvey and Velma the pup (Art Car Boot Fair 2015)

We do rather enjoy taking part in the Art Car Boot Fair, both the out of town events, recently in places such as Liverpool, Folkestone and last year by the sea in Margate  (I do believe the destination is Hastings this year) and of course the main event in that delightfully unique car park in Brick Lane.

We really enjoy Brick Lane, the Art Car Boot Fair in Brick Lane is where art gets to let his or her hair down once a year, a day when we all come together and do things just a little differently.  We’ve had various artists join Emma and myself in our Cultivate “car boot” during the last four or five years that we’ve been taking part, it has been our pleasure to present art and share our space with artists such as My Dog Sighs, Julia Maddison, MOB, Alo, 616, Loolie Haberdashery, Michelle Mildenhall, Carne Griffiths and quite a few more. We like to keep our boot evolving, we like to refresh things, this year  Emma Harvey and I will be joined once more by the duo that is Quiet British Accent and for the first time at the Art Car Boor Fair by Mr Skeleton Cardboard.


Last year the was dogs, there’s always a theme to the Art Car Boot Fair, Hands is the thing for 2016, last year was dogs and so we invited All Dogs Matter to come share our Brick Lane Art Car Boot space.  All Dogs Matter are an excellent dog rescue and re-homing charity based in North London and as a result of inviting them to join us at the Art Car Boot Fair in 2015, we ended collaborating with them several times throughout the year, including that excellent day at the Victoria Park Dog show in East London at the end of last summer.

Velma in her new home

Velma in her new home

So when the very much appreciated invite  from the Art Car Boot Fair organisers came in this year we of course said yes and immediately started to plot. Thoughts turned to the fun of last year, what did happen to Velma in the end? Velma was the puppy who joined us at the Art Car Boot Fair last year, she oozed cuteness and understandably stole the show, but did she find a home as a result? She was clearly going to grow in to a big big dog, would she find a home? She’d need a lot of commitment.   Sp we called up All Dogs Matter last week to find out and we’re pleased to say that as a result of her appearance at the Art Car Boot Fair last year she was spotted and homed in July 2015 to a couple in Hounslow who already had a really sweet older male Staffie. 

That’s the great thing about the Art Car Boot Fair, the days are just so enjoyable, people chat, people explore art, people meet over a painting, friendships are formed around art, names are put to faces. The cynics go on about the meat market rather than the Meet market but once the initial rush and the first mad half hour of collectors and ebay flippers fighting for treasure from the bigger name artists is over the day is always a great one. Sure, it is about buying and selling art, silly to claim it isn’t, but it is about a lot more than just buying and selling art, the Art Car Boot Fair has become a big part of the social calendar and for some the only day of the year when they do get to engage with art, you don’t need to buy anything, you just need to come and enjoy it.   .  .

Emma Harvey and Velma the pup (Art Car Boot Fair 2015)

Emma Harvey and Velma the pup (Art Car Boot Fair 2015)

The first year I took part in the Art Car Boot Fair was 2011 (or was it 2010? Can’t remember now), spent the afternoon in the sun sitting on the hot tarmac painting live as part of the Resonance FM team (the days before Cultivate).  A young girl and her mum came and sat near me and just watched, and after a little encouragement from her mum the shy girl started talking and asking about art and for advise and what she should do to get in to art school because that, so she told me. was all she wanted to do. I guess she would have been about 12 at the time, her mum later wrote me a letter (yes, a proper letter on paper and such) thanking me for help and advise and saying how when would never have dared approach an artist at a gallery and how wonderful it was that i had bothered to talk to her daughter for so long at the Art Car Boot Fair.  The advise was for her to buy a sketch book and use it every day, I showed her mine (never go anywhere without my sketch book, I feel naked if I accidentally leave home without it). The letter was the last I heard of them (there was no address to reply to) but they appeared at the next Art Car Boot Fair with a sketchbook alive with colour and every year since mother and daughter have appeared with fresh sketchbooks.  I’m not going to embarrass her my naming her, she’ll be showing art with us one day soon I’m sure, last year she was talking in excited terms about A-levels and art and of course her sketchbook was full of drawings and paintings, she had a drawing in there by Peter Blake and comments and encouragement from other artists she had talked to.. You see this is the thing about the Art Car boot Fair, you just get to talk to people, hair is let down, people walk around with smiles on their faces, artists and art-explorers, sure you can buy a Tracey Emin piece for £20 is you get in the line early enough, but the best thing is people like Sir Peter Blake sticking around to chat all day, Brick Lane is always a pleasure to be involved in, people come up and just start talking to us artists, it isn’t like a gallery, last year someone brought along a brilliant homemade Guinness and chocolate cake as a gift, we love taking part in the Art Car Boot Fair..

two parts of the 2015 One Hundred Pieced Pieces with their buyers

two parts of the 2015 One Hundred Pieced Pieces with their buyers

And I do enjoy painting the one hundred pieced pieces every year, almost become a fixture for me now, each year I say that will be the last one, but it is always so much fun to paint the hundred pieces. There’s a certain pleasure in making the One Hundred Pieced Painting piece and selling each of the hundred pieces for just £1. I love the fact that parents let their kids buy them and then tell me that its their first bit of art, I love seeing the photos of cardboard pieces stuck behind pipes above cookers on kitchen walls, on bedroom walls, these pieces aren’t precious, but the engagement is, the smiles are, the photos of people with their pieces are precious…. I love being part of the Art Car Boot Fair, I think we all do as artists…. And so we’re excited to see that it is happening again this year and we’re excited to be invited to once again part again. Making, sharing and indeed selling art should be exciting, it should engaging, the Art Car Boot Fair is brilliantly engaging, the Art Car Boot Fair is where art lets his or her hair down and smiles all day, I for one can’t wait….  (SW)