Debased, back to that Dalston basement again….

debaser_bsmt_marchCultivate returns to Dalston and that beautiful basement known as BSMT Space in late September.

In March it was Debaser and slicing up eyeballs, on September 22nd it will be Debased. Another gathering of pro-active artists and a maximalist exercise in cross-pollination. A room alive with contemporary painters, so-called street artists, performers, print makers and more….

Watch this space…. Opening on Thursday evening and then a short sharp shock of a show through the weekend and closing on Sunday, no messing about, just artists, walls, people and doing it ourselves and our terms.  Artist line up coming soon, watch this space….

Cultivate is still very much about artists coming together and making things happen rather than being exploited at art fairs and paying endless fees just to e.mail an image that might if you’re very lucky end up with you maybe actually taking part in a show. Cultivate is about creating an alternative environment for both artists and those who enjoy exploring art

Had an interesting series of e.mails from an artist last night (that carried on this morning), complaining about some kind of ridiculous exploitation at an art fair and I guess kind of expecting us to shout about it while he keeps his head down and carries on paying fees just to submit an e.mail and argue that it is all part of the process for an emerging artist   Don’t ask us to do your shouting for you if you’re not prepared to say no to these things, I really don’t see why I should be the one blacklisted by galleries and curators while you go on working with them, there really needs to be a loud and vocal united stance against these things and every single time an artists takes part in one of these things it adds to the problem. If you’re willing to take part in these artfairs who charge you £40 just to plug in a light or these so-called competitions and opens that require you pay a fee just to submit an e.mail or to be in a book called something like the Hundred Hottest Emerging Artists in London or some stupid thing like that then you can’t complain when they dream up there next way to exploit you….

Debased will be the follower up to March’s Debaser group show, we’re inviting fellow artists now and yes those of us actually physically taking part in the show with art actually physically hanging on the actual walls will come together and share the costs on a non-profit making basis (gallery rent needs to be paid). This particular show will be by invite only, a carefully curated show, this it is not an open call show. There will be more open calls shows from Cultivate later in the year, and yes open calls do have a valid place, one thing we will never ever do is charge people a fee just to submit an image to a selection process via e.mail.  Frankly if you are willing to pay those fees then you are part of what is a major problem.  Artists need to unite and make things happen themselves, they need to unite and say no, they need to come together and put on exciting shows that people want to come to.. See you in the basement in September…. watch this space.  (sw)



Cultivating at the seaside, the Hastings leg of the 2016 Art Car Boot Fair….

And so we went, off to the Hastings leg of the Art Car Boot Fair, theres a piece about it along with a bag load of reviews over on the Organ magazine pages, head over there via this link for the full story and the seagulls and the seaside and….

“Hastings then, off to the seaside for the second leg of this year’s always keenly anticipated Art Car Boot Fair adventure. The tradition now is to follow the main event down East London’s Brick Lane with an Art Car Boot Fair day trip, in past years the destination has been to take part in the Biennial at Liverpool, the sea front at Margate, the key Folkestone, the opening of Olympic Park in London, this year it we were off to the East Sussex coast and (hopefully) the sunshine of the Hastings seafront.  Off on the first train out of Victoria, (encounter onrushing members of the MCC coming the other way, correct tie, stripes just right, must get that seat, straw hats and the third day of Lord’s test match). We’re off out of the city, off South East, off for a Sussex adventure, off to the seaside. Off on the train, escaping the city, rushing through green fields, galloping through the morning sunshine, the clouds are gone, warmth on our faces, we’re feeling hopeful, is summer finally here?  Past the Longman of Wilmington,  head past Easbourne and out along the coast, train full of people heading for the same destination as is, sea almost lashing as we head through St Leonards. Southern Rail running on time, off to the seaside and the sunshine with big (big) bags loaded full of art, off to meet the rest of the Cultivate team and the…” further reading


Landing on the aircraft carrier that is Cultivate, a quick reminder…

This is the news page and blog feed for Cultivate, mostly the thoughts from gallery curator Sean Worrall (and sometimes the contributions of co-founder Emma Harvey). This blog feed did come direct from the corner of the street where Cultivate physically existed for a number of years. Cultivate existed as a physical gallery right in the middle of Vyner Street, East London for some three and a bit very very busy buzzing exciting years until they took our corner back and before they forced all the artists and galleries out and knocked it down.



When we first moved in to the beautifully unique thing that was Vyner Street there was something like fourteen working galleries and functioning art spaces, it was a destination for people from all over the world, it was special (most took it for granted until it was too late).

We were given two weeks to get out at the end of 2014, the building was knocked down and as with most places and spaces in East London, the corner is now the site for some over priced flats than no one from around here can afford to live in Last time I looked down the street there was a couple of the bigger commercial galleries hanging on while the property developers were busy turning everything else in to expensive housing to sell to overseas investors who then rent it back for as much as they can make ouut of those who can actually afford it, that and the coffee peddlers and the laughable self-declared “future thinker” rich kid who’s mummy bought him a big slice of the street to take over and destroy (he claimed ir was in the name of art, he was nothing more than a property developing wolf in expensive sheep-like friend-of-the-artists clothing, you mostly finding him talking about himself at Ted Talks and such, there’s some further reading here .


These days Cultivate is a nomadic thing. We do things here, there and everywhere, shows in conventional galleries, in car parks, shows under bridges, in railway arches, warehouse spaces, shows in London and shows beyond the city. Some times the shows will be invited group shows, now and again we host open call show, sometimes solo shows or two people shows, sometimes with months of notice and build up, sometimes with just a day’s warning and a guerilla raid…

Some of the many open calls at Cultivate

Some of the many open calls at Cultivate

When Emma and I set up Cultivate as a permanent space at the end of summer 2011, the idea was to have a space that was run by artists and on and artists terms. We were fed up with the outrageous prices gallery owners were charging artists to use their spaces, we were annoyed by the cynical way artists were being treated by those who make their more than comfortable livings out of exploiting artists rather than working with artists in a fair and reasonable way. The idea was for artists to come together, to be strong together, to work together, to stand together and to create an alternative together – to support each other, help each other, to give as well as take. And it still very much what Cultivate is about.


And so here we are in the middle of 2016 (tomorrow is mid-summer day), Emma and I are still finding spaces and places, pulling events together. Some artists are really getting it, some artists just land on us and take take take (and then have hissy fits when they don’t get invited back), while others get that it is a collective effort and they do have to roll their sleeves up and share the commitment and the workload.

Almost five years now, we’ve learned a lot, we’ve made some mistakes, I’d like to think we’ve got a lot of it right. We’ve put on something like 150 art shows, we’ve shown the work of well over a thousand artists, we’ve been excited by artists, we’ve been disappointed by artists, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve shouted about artists (occasionally we’ve shouted at artists), we’ve fought to survive, we’ve met loads of great people, (some great dogs as well, dogs love art galleries), we’ve made some great friends, we’ve made one or two enemies. We’ve watch artists who got their first gallery experience via our walls go on to great things, we continue to be excited by new artists, we still see artists being exploited, we still see a cynical London art business looking to fool new young artists in to parting with their cash, some indeed try to silence us when we speak out about their cynical ways…

Mostly we’re just artists trying to do things the right way, do it on our terms and if you’re thinking is on the same wave length as ours (and your art genuinely excites us) then we’re happy to work with you. park your ego and your attitude outside and come say hello, come and work with us, but do remember, support is a two way thing, in needs to be about give as well as take, and to slightly misquote something someone else once said, we are not here as some sort of aircraft carrier for you to land on and then use to take off from without a thought for the welfare of the carrier… we are not just your stepping stone, we’re not here to be tossed aside and dismissed when you think you don’t need us anymore and you’ve used us for what you want, this is not a one way street.  .

Cultivate, September First Thursday, 2013

Cultivate, September First Thursday, 2013


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The 2016 Art Car Boot Fair, the view from the Cultivate boot

The London leg of the 2016 Art Car Boot Fair happened last weekend, here the Organ review and the view from the Cultivate boot…

ORGAN THING: Last days of Shoreditch? Nah, I loved being part of the Art Car Boot Fair yesterday….

If these are to be the Last days of Shoreditch then the East is going down defiantly. The London art Calendar highlight that is the Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair happened yesterday, the gods threw their worst at us in the form of torrential rain, gazebo-threatening wind and whatever else they had to hand, art won though, art most definitely won the day here in East London yesterday..



The Art Car Boot Fair is now twelve years old (or is it thirteen?), one of the last links to the YBA generation and the first days of Shoreditch when no one else really gave two hoots about the beauty to be found in the wreckage of no-go zones of East London. Times have changed now of course, everyone wants a slice and so many of the artists bringing their colour to the fractured cobbled Brick Lane car park to life yesterday had to travel in from their retreats of Kent, Sussex or wherever else they have been forced to move out to. These are the evolving days of Shoreditch, things are changing, art is being forced out, rents are up, places to create just don’t exist anymore, we made it exciting, now they don’t want us, we’re not going quietly though, and yesterday art triumphed in Shoreditch.



And things are changing at the Art Car Boot Fair as well. Yesterday was about fresh art, new artists, people making their first appearances alongside some of the more familiar names and faces of previous years, lots of exciting new art at the prestigious event, fresh blood, fresh energy and a whole load of new things to be explored and enjoyed.

Of course, being a participating artist almost stuck in your boot (or behind your stall) means you don’t get to really explore everything, you miss half the art and the spontaneous events as you spend time meeting people, chatting, exchanging views, answering questions, asking questions (and yes, selling art, we artists need to eat as well, those greedy landlords and estate agents want their pound of flesh, especially those of us still hanging on in East London spaces and studios).


ART CAR BOOT FAIR, LONDON, a Faust and a clown…

Me? I love taking part in the Art Car Boot Fair, I wake up like a kid on Christmas morning, I count down the days, I love meeting people from all over the world, I’m honoured by the interest, the questions, the people who want their photos taken with the artist (although, the art itself might be a little better looking), I love meeting new people (and old friends made at previous fairs), it really is a day when art gets to let down her hair (is art a she, or a he? A day when art get to let down that sometimes messy multi-coloured sometimes out of control sometimes perfectly sculpted transsexual hair).

I love painting the hundred parts of the (now annual) One Hundred Pieced Piece and seeing the enthusiasm as people young and old pick out their pieces with such concentrated delight, I love the engagement that that piece of work brings, it isn’t about me, it really is a about those kids taking their time and buying their first pieces of art (and in one case one smiling little girl, haggling on price, way to go girl, four for the price of three because she’s run out of pocket money, brilliant!). Some artists (and critics) might get all sour-faced and sniffy about it, some might think it beneath them but I love it to bits, I love the chance to engage like this, I love it to bits.



Really don’t get those “collectors” who line up, rush in, grab what they can from the big names and then leave again almost as quickly as they rushed in, what is all that about? Rushing off to flip it on ebay? They miss out on so so much, I love the kids throwing foam pies at Kunst the Clown (who might have something to do with painter Paul Sakoilsky), I love that various members of Faust and such suddenly started playing on the small music stage, and that Kevin Rowland was as stylish as ever, shame the rain put off so many, it really was awful weather, I love that so many people did make the effort and did join in.

ART CAR BOOT FAIR, LONDON, 2016, Jimmy Cauty

ART CAR BOOT FAIR, LONDON, 2016, Jimmy Cauty

And there was so much good art to explore yesterday (damn, lot of competition here this year!), I rather think, in terms of the art to be found in corners on stalls, the paintings elbowing for attention, the art from artists who names you probably haven’t heard of yet (surely it isn’t all about waiting hours in the line outside just to buy yet another Ben Eine print and then leaving again?). In terms of the art this was probably the strongest year so far, to pick out names really isn’t fair, there was so much to see and so much we didn’t get to see properly from our space, so many things we would have loved to have bought, this really isn’t the time to start picking out names (although Jimmy Caulty’s Riot container is a must see). No, this was not the year for name-dropping, this year really was about the event and feeling as a whole, the one big thing, the various strands of the art community coming together, the creative elements entwining, the smiles in the rain, the heels on the cobbles, the gin and the paint, the knitted swimsuits, the performance, he spray paint, the screen printing and the gloves, the hands, the smiles and the cars (Vauxhall do deserve a mention for their constant support and their classic cars, love the Victors, love the F type, it’s a childhood thing, I love those two-tone Victors, I grew up in one). To pick out names of artists is wrong, it was about the day and the whole, the whole brilliant thing that is the Art Car Boot Fair. .



So the rain did everything it could, the wind blew, the sun battled to break through, the Band of Holy Joy added to the day again, Keith Levine was apparently doing something (missed whatever it was), Peter Blake was a gent, Pam Hogg smiled, there was fresh art tarts, skeletons (a thorny leaf or two), there was type, there was people enjoying, there was kisses and smiles and people enjoying. The day was great, the people were great, the kids were great, the dogs were stylish and art was he winner. These aren’t quite the last days of Shoreditch then, these are changing days, there’s an evolving, there’s always something evolving, something new, ever-changing. Joshua Compston would have enjoyed strolling around his legacy in a his white suit and somehow the defiance in the rain made the 2016 Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair even better, last days of Shoreditch? Nah, East London still has lots of creativity to offer, art is alive and exciting, a great day was had, loved it, loved being part of it, loved watching it evolved, exciting times, these are still the fine days, singing in the rain, I loved being part of the Art Car Boot Fair, big thanks everyone…. (sw)

ART CAR BOOT FAIR, LONDON, 2016 - Sean Worrall

ART CAR BOOT FAIR, LONDON, 2016 – Sean Worrall

And here’s a flavour from our boot, by no means did we see or capture everything, impossible to get it all. Click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show… (all photos Sean Worrall or Marina Organ)

The Art Car Boot Fair is this coming weekend, we’re excited to be taking part again…

The Art Car Boot Fair season is upon us again, this year, the twelfth year I think, there are two official Art Can Boot Fair events.  The London leg is this coming Sunday June 12th, and next month we’re all off to the seaside and Hastings.  London is always the big one of course, and one of my favourite days of the busy art year, we’re excited, six days to go…


Once again Sean Worrall and Emma Harvey (Cultivate founders) will be joined by a couple of selected guest artists, this year we have the pleasure of inviting our regular collaborating duo of word-smiths Quiet British Accent and London’s rather buzzing contemporary street art flavoured social commentator Skeleton Cardboard. The Four of us (five if we count QBA as a duo) with share the Cultivate “boot”, Cultivate has always been about bring through new names, so we are particularly pleased to introduce Mr Cardboard to the Art Car Boot Fair crowds.

Emma Harvey

Emma Harvey

Sean Worrall will be producing a series of 43 small canvas pieces, a numbered series of paintings called “Sometimes They Have Thorns (Small Ones)”, each an original painting on canvas, each one numbered, signed and on sale at £10/£20 each and each one featuring the evolving ‘leafheart’ tag that is Sean’s signature.  Once again there will be what has now become the traditional One Hundred Pieced Piece for the Art Car Boot Fair from Sean Worrall. A One hundred Pieced Piece has been produced exclusively for the Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair for the last four years, a piece painted in one hundred parts on recycled pieces of cardboard, each piece numbered and signed and on sale at £1 a part with the intention of the art being accessible to everyone, especially to kids experiencing buying original art and encountering artists for the first time (the Art Car Boot Fair is all about interaction)



Emma Harvey will have some of her recent series of hand painted beautifully detailed vintage 78rpm record sleeves at the fair. We believe the Art Tart might well make an appearance with her delicious art tart cake paintings, badges and more again this year. The Art Tart cream cakes and jam tarts only ever come out for the Art Car Boot Fair (and she might have something to do with Emma Harvey’s slightly mischievous alter ego? We can’t confirm that though).


The full artist line-up for the 2016 Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair has been officially announced this morning. Always one of the best days in terms of the ever busy London art Calendar, a day when art let’s down his or her hair, smiles and engages in a great big Brick Lane car park full of artists, colour and some (very affordable) creativity, looks like another exciting line up for June 12th….


“This year our theme is The Hand and we have lain down the gauntlet to bring you the most eclectic hand picked line-up ever… So here, at last, are the players. Brick Lane Yard is once again our stage and we welcome you all to join us to make it the most amazing Art Car Boot Fair to date

Art Car Boot Fair - hand...

Art Car Boot Fair – hand…

Join our street party in a carpark at midday on June 12 and raise a glass to 90 years of our fabulous handwaving Monarch to boot!  Peerless commemorative pieces to match no other, from Sir Peter Blake, Christian Furr, Keith Coventry and many more, plus lots of hand-made art…handwaving, clapping, palming and shaking…with added spanking, boxing and a multitude of other hand gestures. Come early, the gloves will be off for the first hour then relax and enjoy an afternoon of art, frivolity and fabulous entertainment.



The Artists:

Sir Peter Blake . Tracey Emin & Emin International . Gavin Turk . Ben Eine . Pam Hogg . Rachel Howard . Marcus Harvey & Turps Banana . Keith Coventry . Pure Evil . Charming Baker . Vic Reeves . True Rocks & Polly Morgan . Darian Leader . Camille Phoenix . Bob & Roberta Smith . Art on a Postcard with Topolski, Tabby Costo & MoYou . Christian Furr . Colin Self . Moniker Projects . Jealous Gallery . Nina Fowler . Cob Gallery . House of Fairytales . Schoony  Jessica Voorsanger . Artlyst Allstars . Tracey Neuls . Beaconsfield . Cate Halpin & Julia Riddiough . Kristjana Williams . Richard Strange & the Daylight Cabaret . The Idler Academy . Ellie Popp . Holly Allen . Ian Dawson . Kate Knight . Wildcat Will . Bert Gilbert . Paul Hodgson . Simon Bill . Cultivate with Sean Worrall, Emma Harvey, Quiet British Accent and Skeleton Cardboard . Stine Goetrik . Boo Saville. Alice Herrick . Jeffrey Disaster .  Darren Coffield . Galerie Simpson . Keeler Tornero . Ben Oakley Gallery with Ray Richardson, David Bray, Guy Denning . Trolley Books . James Birch . Bumble & Earwig . Helen A Pritchard . Paul Stolper Gallery with Sarah Hardacre, Kevin Cummins & Susie Hamilton . Nick Reynolds . Vanera Obscura . X-Ray Fog . Cliff Pearcey . Ric Blackshaw & Scrawl Collective . Swifty. The Fabulous Binnie Sisters . Marty Thornton . Coriander Press . Jeff Towns and Dylans Mobile Bookstore . Matt Rowe . Anna Smithson Gallery . Cullinan & Richards . Mark Jones. Paul Sakoilsky . Joseph Gibson, Maria Teresa Gavazzi & Julia Maddison & India Roper-Evans, Misha Milovanich. Nina Saunders & Red . Outline Editions . Ivan Black . David J Batchelor . Jake Clark . David David . Paul Kindersley . James Unsworth . Silvia Ziranek . Jessica Wilson and friends. Nicole Mollett & The Kent Cultural Baton feat. Bridgette Ashton, Nicole Mollet, Frog Morris, Sarah Sparkes, Hazel Stone, Duncan Ward, Jeanine Woollard and Paul Westcombe . Kelly-Anne Davitt . Dan Chilcott & Knitted Swimsuit Troupe & Resort . Dion Kitson & the PBAs: Lauren Jetty, Scott Perry, Daisy Madden-Wells, Jonathan Chan . Richard Clegg . Deborah Bowness . Tony Beaver . Artlyst . Art Club of Soho . Leigh Clarke and Crate . Limbo with Krztian Borst, Paul Hazelton, David Price, Gavin Toye and Sara Trillo . Lucy Sparrow . Nick Walker. Mr Bingo (tbc) . Simon Lawson and Wortonhall Studios . and special guests……you won’t believe your eyes!  Plus! Delicious and excitingly presented drinks and finger food from Artists Behind Bars . Longflint Cocktails . St John Bread & Wine . Bean About Town . Hamish McGlue  And WELCOMING BACK! Richard Strange’s stranger than ever Cabaret Futura including the returning to the carpark BAND OF HOLY JOY! Oh! Standfast and the extraordinary Geraldine Swayne and friends, Kunsty the Clown and much much more!”

Here’s a bit of flavour of previous years from the Cultivate boot and such, click on an image to enlarge or rum the slide show….


The Cultivate on-line shop has been restocked…

The Cultivate on-line shop has been restocked yet again, the shop is being constantly re-stocked, (of course viewing art on line (or indeed buying art on-line) is never the same as viewing it in the flesh, but collecting art and enjoying it in your own space and in your own time can be a pleasure. The Cultivate shop is restocked all the time, mostly with smaller affordable pieces, if you are looking for bigger pieces or indeed any of the work from the artists we regularly work with please do ask. The link will take you to the shop, I expect quite a few of the pieces currently on sale will be gone after next Sunday’s Art Car Boot Fair (June 12th, Brick Lane, East London), that will of course make room for more (if you prefer, we do make some of the art available via ebay as well). If you do with to know more than please do ask, is where you find us (and yes are can be viewed of collected by arrangement here in East London).


Scenes from an East London tailor’s shop….


Wall And Jones, on the very busy Hackney Road, an old tailor’s shop on a street corner (just over the street from delightful fragrances of the Hackney City Farm and a stone’s throw from the flower pushers of Colombia Road). The two floors of the unassuming old shop has been the home, gallery and work studio to a small group of rather strong creators and designers for the last three or four years now. The place always looks good, you don’t get much of a clue from the outside, from the outside it looks like any other slightly upmarket East London shop, look in through the usually open door though and the space is immediately alive with colour, with Victorian treasure, with vintage textiles cleverly fashioned – wonderfully fashioned – alive with handmade jewelry, with dressmaking, with wall hangings, giant flags and all kinds of found pieces of, well there is no other word than treasure, the two floors are alive with treasure.

Emma Harvey at Wall and Jones

Emma Harvey at Wall and Jones

We’ve been wanting to get in here and do something for ages, Emma Harvey and myself that is, Harvey and Worrall at Wall and Jones is on this weekend, two (mostly) painters, two artisrs, Emma Harvey and Sean Worrall in there with all the treasure for a weekend, in there with the work of the in-house designers, in there in the space, artwork spread over the two floors. There’s four in house designers right now, brilliantly creative dressmaker Ali Jones (she uses her found fabric so gloriously well), and exquisite jewelry makers Halo Jones, Odette and Rosita Bonita (the three of them, indeed the tour of them, compliment each other, as well as the space so deliciously well), the four of them in a brilliant “old tailor’s shop that has been transformed into a cabinet of curiosities, housing the two designers’ latest collections in an aesthetic of Victorian tatter”.


Harvey and I had been wanting to get in here and do something from the moment curiosity dragged us both through the inviting open door, and this weekend we got to. They did offer to clear some space, but no that would defeat the object of the exercise, what we wanted to do was almost hide our pieces of canvas and such in there to be discovered in with the almost forgotten objects and the vintage artifacts, the textures, the postcards with the old messages on, and the textiles, the colours and the feathers and the old suitcases with the 1920’s stickers on and the distressed frames and faded hats reborn and the furniture and flags and flowers and the wonderful jewels…


The show was to happen over a weekend, a Friday opening followed by a Saturday and a Sunday, a collection of recent artworks, mostly paintings, some needlework, from the two of us, artworks hidden over the two floors in the cabinet of curiosities that is so so alive already. Harvey’s circles, be them paintings, old 78 records in freshly painted sleeves, red-stitch embroidery, my thorns and leaves and recent layers of growth. We’re half way through the weekend right now and loving the reactions of people coming in for the first time and exploring the space, coming in and finding all kinds of treasure (and some of the art). The exhibition ends at 6pm on Sunday, May 29th, do let curiosity allow you in should you be passing, curiosity never did kill the cat and the three designers in here are creating some very beautiful things… (sw)

Click on an image to enlarge and run the slide show, I’m sure you can work out which pieces are Harvey’s, which pieces Worrall and indeed which pieces were there already…