A New Way. Can You Help Some People Who Mean Alot To The World, and To Me?

Throughout our lives, we will come to find ourselves in a lot of different places.

A lot of different rooms.
A lot of different corners.
A lot of different wheres.

Those wheres will be unexpected. They will surprise us, scare us, change everything, change nothing, and break our hearts.

I’ve found myself in some pretty amazing wheres, and some pretty devastating places. But one of the constants was having the opportunity to be part of Postmasters Gallery, and to continue to feel like I am part of their huge art family.

And that’s why I am asking you to be a Patron and help support them to keep making the artworld more radical, more daring and the world a better place to be – for us all. 

Furthermore, outside of art, The Postmasters Family helped save my life… and helped me get back onto the path of trying to live my life.  See Postmasters aren’t just a normal gallery. They’re everything and more. They’re community, they’re bravery, they’re hope, they’re protest, they’re US.

Let me tell you how, and just how their Patron rewards will LITERALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE to YOU if you invest.

In 2008, I got to chance of a lifetime. I had decided the previous summer (2007), whilst working with steadfast ambitious & economically supported college-aged Americans, that I needed to catch up with my life and career ambitions. And my career ambitions was to be an artist and to live and work in NYC. Preferably in a gallery. This was no small-feat for an under confident, working class kid from Doncaster, UK (DONX!).

I worked at a bookies and at a toy-shop part-time during term-time,  whilst praying to the art gods that I’d get my artworld NYC summer. I did anything to make sure I could afford to go.

I remember exactly where I was when Magda of Postmasters Gallery said she’d meet me in person with the chance of getting to be Postmasters’ intern the summer of 2008. I was sat with my friend James Cotton in the Graphic Design-Apple suite at the old art campus. It was a super sunny day for the winter and the sun was blinding through the large windows. I just-re-read that same email, over & over again. I still have it archived even though I no longer have that email address (at hotmail.com?!).

I remember being incredibly nervous. I think I was practically mute for the first 2 weeks of being at Postmasters. But I learned so much.

I learnt around 26 years of Postmasters Show history, and art history in the making, as I was set to digitalizing their whole archive. Endless slides to be scanned, and amazing write-ups of artists in ArtForum, NYT, Art In America, et al – of still practicing, artists who have since disappeared, but a theme emerged.

These shows were often groundbreaking, urgent, courageous, some genuinely funny, ahead of the curves. New Media Art shows before new media art was accepted as it is today (though we still have ways to go with this medium). Women artists equally represented, and mostly – it still felt contemporary, and alive and represented the values that Magda and Tamas have sought to bring to the artworld their whole life.

I also learnt how to send invoices via fax (though still not into faxing), I met some of the coolest artists who continue to inspire my practice today, about art museums collections & how they buy art for them, at one point – I was left manning the whole establishment for a week?! and I learnt loads from Magda and Paulina’s experiences and ideas.

I was properly schooled that summer I was at Postmasters. I remember leaving after my last shift and I walked down to 9th Ave, and had to search for a working pay-phone to call my mom because I felt so sad I was leaving this amazing thing I had sort of been apart of for a short time.  I left that summer with my heart heavy but inspired.

I got back to the U.K. and art school felt kind of boring after that experience. I had to do something. Magda taught me that literally, anything is possible, even starting from scratch, along as you have perseverance, some people and community who can support you.

So my friends and I started our own lil’ artspace called CAKE (rebranded CAKE Everyone). We were a small space above a bar on West Street, Sheffield, UK. We lasted around 2 years and we learnt loads and had so much fun. But the thing is, I took everything I had learnt from Magda & Postmasters, and I put it into action in Sheffield – and invested it back into our local community.

I am still employing these lessons from this time into my life and practice.

Now, it would be easy to say – I became, like, an awesome artist, or got lots of gallery jobs… but because i’m not very smart or that talented, that didn’t really happen (and that’s ok!). But the year after I graduated was HARD. I nearly lost my own belief. But Magda offered hope and advise on the end of emails. That really helped me push through what I thought was a dark time…

Then things started to work out… I got a residency at SITE Gallery, I was working freelance as an illustrator, doing some university lecturing… I came over to work a summer in Boston/New Hampshire in the U.S.A.  but I had been feeling poorly for a good few months before I went… tired beyond belief, coughing up blood, endless nosebleeds, bone-pain, flu-like symptoms, drenching nightsweats.

And on the 21st August, everything changed. I found myself sitting in front an oncologist at General Mass Hospital. With my YMCA boss, 3,000 miles away from home. The doctor cleared his throat a few times and told me it looked like Lymphoma… Cancer. He told me, if it was time-sensitive and I didn’t get it sorted then I would die.

Well. As you can imagine, that wasn’t the news that I was expecting. I didn’t tell my mom for weeks (I was only 24). I felt ashamed, I don’t even know why. I thought it couldn’t be true. I googled the odds every-single-day. My boss kept telling me I needed to go home. The only person who I decided to tell who I didn’t work with — was Magda.

Because Magda was a person I knew I could trust, and always has a no bullshit take on everything but has an aabundance of empathy too.

After a crazy 32 U.S.A. state roadtrip (yolo!) Magda & Tamas put me up at their place, Magda cooked me an amazing breakfast before I left the USA for unknowns at home, not knowing whether I’d make it back again.

But the story is more complicated.

Magda nearly saw me go under. A few times.

I just had no energy. I laid in bed. Feeling sorry for myself. I was in pain. I was really sick. I couldn’t even watch Netflix. But Magda & Paulina would send reassuring tweets and emails and I slowly kept it together.

I worked harder at building my art-practice than on anything in my life, though it never felt like work. I devoted myself to it, though it never felt like sacrifice.  I am also endlessly grateful. Those years gifted me experiences, skills, lessons, and friendships. I would not be me without them.

Many forget that it’s a rare privilege to find something you care about so deeply and be able to make it your life.

I had struggled to get back, but my heart wasn’t in it in the same way.  I simply craved a new challenge. It didn’t matter why — I couldn’t lead  my life in the same way, and I had promised myself that I wouldn’t be caught without a plan if something happened to me again.

I realized I couldn’t have my old life back, but I also didn’t want it anymore.

So I decided to go into healthcare… radiotherapy & oncology! Of all things. But I’d kept all this secret from most people. It was furtive, shadowy work, and the secrets made my stomach ache.

 

But I reached out to M, and I hoped that she would still think I was an okay person.

The wild thing is, Magda still helped me through emails – giving me incredible advise and inspiration for my healthcare practice. To the point that I realized that I was still a fucking artist. I had got lost, but she never stopped helping me find the tracks back. I’m now doing my PhD combining all of my double agent status’ together. Just insane.

But here’s the thing about the Postmasters Fam., is that they don’t let you down.

Magda once said to me that we get dealt the cards that we get dealt, but we play them like they’re fucking Aces.  She has taught me that experience is subjective. We get to decide what’s devastating, what’s beautiful, and what we do next. In the books of our lives, we are both protagonist and narrator. And narrators have incredible power.

In writing this, I thought a lot about the places that shape us, and how, in turn, we shape those places in our minds. Postmasters have really shaped my life, in so many ways.

As human beings living on earth right now, we find ourselves in a very particular where.  The art-world mostly sucks, because it works for the 1%, lets not even talk about politics.

But this is something we can all help, maintain, and be a part of. Help sustain the legacy, help to make the future, help to secure a better history. Look down at your feet and decide what that means.

Instead of being afraid, I’m going to try to be brave. Instead of feeling regret, I’m going to focus on getting better tomorrow, and instead of hoping that someone else will say it or move it or mean it, I’m going to do it myself.

Postmasters has been there for us (in ways you might not even know yet!) so lets me THERE FOR THEM!

And as I’ve just shown you, the $100 or $500 a month reward will LITERALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I can’t stress enough how much its worth it.

Let’s make art, and friends, and purpose, and be good to each other. And please spread the word!

If you got this far – Thanks!

pm2

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DRAWING THE WORLD 1 BUILDING AT A TIME

I’ve found a better way to keep all my crazy street drawings all together. On what the cool kids are using. TUMBLR (i have 4 now!)

keep it locked HERE and FOLLOW ME for some crazy drawings of NYC, London, Sheffield, Boston, your street! Where ever i go! Holla!  (http://streetarchitect.tumblr.com/)

(above, no i haven’t lost my mind, it’s a drawing my mom asked me to do so she could pretend that she’s done it at work for an attempt to win a bottle of wine… some things never fail to amaze me..)

nearly a year after graduating, reflection: everyday i’m shuffling

Technically speaking i didn’t graduate until November when I officially got my certificate and that. But by transcript and exam board standards and the expiration of my  university log-in username – it has been since June 2010.   It’s nearly been a whole year!

Last night I was online stalking some of my favourite artists/people and seeing what they’re up to when I came across a blog post i wrote for debbie ainscoe’s blog http://downbythewaterfront.typepad.com/ . Debbie’s an amazing person and artist. And on read what I wrote even I was impressed with my 4 years of work at University! Ha! but suddenly i felt panicked at what have I been up to since?!  Have I fell off the bandwagon?

So it’s been nearly a year graduated.  And what have I learnt?

I have learnt that the new government coalition can kiss my ass. IT SUCKS. What little life there is left in the arts is going to become purely problematic and idelogical. Posts in today’s Guardian about cutting arts education shows just at how little knowledge people in politics have about the industry arts generates here in the UK.  the cuts within the arts council were depressing (although could have been worse) and the film council closure was just dreadful (esp after the success of The Kings Speech, which was funded by the film council) The short sighted, short term, planning of this government is killing what little economy and wellbeing our nation has.

Since graduating, I have been officially unemployed 3 times (although admittingly for about 2-3 weeks at a time).  My mom makes me  apply for JSA and I have to at least a part-time job whilst I do my commissions or other freelance gigs. It’s difficult being from a working class family because they don’t understand what freelance is.  All she  sees is me doing what I love. I’m terrible at saving and I think this is why she doesn’t believe I actually get paid to do what I do.

In June 2010 I went  back to America and did a teaching/ artist residency job. It was great but tiring. I had a great time!

Because I love teaching, i always apply myself 110%> I love to re-invent the wheel and to make people feel good about themselves. this is done by self-esteem building. i love encouraging people to believe that they can do something. I guess with my good natured team building skills and good evaluations I won a $3,000 award, which was a bit of a bribe to come back next year (I got half then – i get half if i go back the next year).  At this point i thought, hey maybe i’ll have something good in my life by then.  the coalitions power hadn’t kicked in just yet so it was only natural that i still felt hopeful on where i could go and what i could do!

After the job, i did a residency at Syracuse University in NY State. It’s this amazing program called the Art School in the Art School. It has so much relevance from its placement of being supplementary to the artschool or as part of an antagonistic  debate on the merit of art degree rewarding courses.  The people of Syracuse were very giving and generous with their time. I went away wanting to create a art-school in the art-school journal. Of which I’m about half way through putting it together and getting better and more submissions. More info on this in another post.  You can hear an awful interview with me here: (i need press training clearly) http://www.artschoolsound.org/2010/09/interview-with-sarah-smizz/

 

After the residency I travelled around the West Coast with some friends where i started to really think about LA and it’s myths and social history that’s kind of hyper-real.

 

I got back to NYC and I got some Freelance work with Time Warner for some illustrations for a bilingual kids book on cities! couldn’t believe my luck!

Institutions illustrations, by Sarah Smizz

I arrived back home signed on for the 1st time for 2weeks until late October and already had the awesome opportunity lined up to work with the amazing Sheffield Doc/Fest!

Debbie had asked whether the film councils closure had affected the great festival. The over-all answer is no. Because even though the film council was awesome, it rarely funded documentaries.  I believe that documentary film making is like contemporary art in the sense of how it’s made, how it engages with a subject and it’s audience and how there is an urgency its ideas. And obvs its lack of funds during the making of it. There’s an integrity that lies within the documentary film industry that doesn’t really exist in other art/media/film/journalism industry. Perhaps maybe it’s how Doc/Fest is structured and organized but it made me think that  there’s so many more opportunities that documentary film industry can offer, in comparison, and it seems to be one of the more accessible industries – knowledge rather than someone you know. I think this comes from its openness to co-production and collaboration in all forms from social media, games, film to even art.  But more on these thoughts in another post also.

After this amazing commissioned experience. I worked over the christmas period at Waterstones. They never kept me on but offered a job for next xmas. thanks!

So I kicked around enjoying my new found freedom. Planning a trip to NYC I was aware that if i did go in feb. I would be DEAD BROKE. so I went to Barcelona and had some drawings in a bigger show there. Which was a great excuse to go!

I came back looking for more work. signed on the dole for 2 weeks again until my friend got me a job at a candy store. Oh I know I know!   I did some small work for the Open University with the skills and ideas i had learnt from Doc/Fest.

After I finished working at a candy store (of which I quit because i’m sure they’re not legal- they didn’t pay my tax!) when we had to fill out the census, i saw that my mom had put me down still as working at the candy store instead of freelance work (which was more accurate picture of right now). So i made her change it. After all this is how I roll now.

We became super serious at relaunching CAKE (we have a new website address http://www.cakeeveryone.com) and did the first SlamJam in about a year. Unfortunately the disaster happened in Japan so we donated all money that we raised to Japan Red Cross ! something I’m proud of.  As part of an on going discussion #artWORK We have crit-group sessions,  a zine-day coming up, FEAST and an exhibition and event around Temporary Services ARTWORK: Art, economics and labour publication. This is VERY exciting! In addition to this, our new webste launch will have a launch party. so keep your eyes pealed!

 

I’m currently working freelance. I got a website commission for this amazing art conference series. And Doc/Fest invited me to come back to work with them (something I’m super grateful for and I’m gonna super make sure they get every single penny’s worth of their $$$ with me). more posts on this later too

In addition to this, I have some work in a show in Chicago and London coming up. And I’m going back after Doc/Fest to USA to collect the rest of my reward money and have a great summer (hopefully ha).  Afterwards i have 2 small residencies (both at publications – more posts later!?), a bit of work at DUMBO Art Festival in Brooklyn and I hope to visit friends around the USA including the AREA Chicago crew in Chicago and michael corris in dallas!

When I come back home in October i have another amazing opportunity to draw some talks to turn into animations for e-learning materials! And of course, if i want i have my waterstones job back Ha!

There’s some other stuff in here that i’ve forgotten but hey, if i’ve forgotten it it’s not that important ha!  what i need to do when I get back in October is to get a studio space. or travel and find work that way. i can’t tell you from month to month what i’ll be up to. it seems to happen all at once.  some months are super quiet and depressing. others are awesome.  It’s difficult positioning yourself as a graduate artist from Sheffield in a world where there’s hardly any normal jobs going, standards of living are slipping, and arts funding is becoming increasingly more difficult to get. But I have to remember what Michael Corris wrote/said in an article recently:

Artists: do not let your voices be hijacked.

everyday when i feel like i’m letting myself or my mom down, i think of this, or other inspirational advise. and everything is put into perspective. i’m doing pretty good despite the odds and i’m only 22.

London on a budget (travel)

I recently read the new post on the NYT’s frugal Traveller blog in London. Seth seemed to have gotten a bit of a raw deal. As a Northern UK person, we all know how expensive London is in comparison to the rest of England, never mind if you had to change your currency to half of it’s worth! (meaning you need double $$ to get just £). Plus our recent bump up in VAT  from 17.5% to 20% (although as an NON-EU citizen you can claim this back)

When I visit London (on a somewhat often basis for Art reasons)  I meet others from the North and the majority of conversations don’t sound like this, ” hey, did you see that amazing exhibition? or where have you been? any advise on places to go to?”

it’s more like this: “how’s it going? gosh, it’s expensive innit? i just paid £1.50 for a CAN OF COKE. It’s 60p in Sheffield?!  did you know how much it cost to eat out? how expensive it was to go to the movies?!”

I leave feeling wallet lighter and a nagging feeling that I could have got a Ryanair flight to Barcelona and stayed in a hostel for  2 days cheaper than spending a day and a night in London. But my love of art keeps me going down, despite having not bonded with the city. (Main reason why I have resisted moving down there to ‘make it’ in the commercial art world).

So this is for you all who will be attending London in 2012 for the Olympics, perhaps visiting for the Royal Wedding (lol), Gap year, summer holidays, business, ect. I’m going to save a few ££ and avoid you falling for Wetherspoon pub chains (which are ok – but you don’t go to America to keep eating at McDonalds or TGI Fridays)

First things first, when in london TAKE OR BUY A MAP.

straight up. FREE STUFF

There’s a bunch of free stuff to do in the Capital behind it’s face of expense and extortion.

MUSEUMS. In NYC you have free nights or pay-what-you wish hours, or suggested donation that makes you feel like your cheaping out the museum of $ when you only pay up $1. In London, the majority – not all – museums are free with a donation box. National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britian and TATE Modern’s collections are all free to view.  This will radicalize the way you treat viewing art. Special exhibitions, however, are NOT free.  Tate Modern for a special exhibition will cost you £10.00 a go (without concessions). So if you’re on a budget – my suggestion is to check out the gift/ bookstore and have a look at the exhibitions catalogue/book. Does the work interest you? Yes- then go ahead. No, then don’t bother.

Commercial art galleries are free too, like they are in NYC, Paris, Berlin ect. But are located all over the place. Every 1st Thursday of every month, the galleries on VYNER STREET [the main commercial area for galleries] (east London, tube stop Bethnal Green) are all open for business at 6pm with many free drinks and food. Get you art-clothes and networking hat on. This is where all the artists come out to play from all over London and the UK. Here you will probably get invited to drinks to a well known bar and find out where all the hip-cool places are at and possibly make some new friends. And not to mention you might get trashed on free cheap wine!

TOURS. if you’re stopping at a hostel, then tours are often free with the option of tipping at the end. if you’re not – Don’t fear. DON’T pay big companies to get a bus and look at stuff. no-way-oh-zay. instead just  get a free, funny and personal tour here: http://www.newlondon-tours.com.  I’m not a tour person myself, but for those of you that are: try and get a different sort of tour. Get one of the cool street art scene around london or the architecture.

BBC PROMS. In the summer the BBC puts on classical music (trust me on this) and theater on for FREE in the parks around London, bringing you the most talented people from around the world. It’s a vibe and experience you can not pass on.  You need to check out the BBC website for more details. But it is flat-out amazing. Bring a picnic and drinks, bask in the  luke warm, probably a bit over-caste weather (great british summer!) and feel your IQ level rise.

PARKS. are all free and beautiful. enough said.

SIGHT SEEING. Like everywhere. seeing sights is free to do. (so long as you don’t want to go inside!)  London has LOADS. How about instead of spending lots of £££ on your Oyster Card or Travel Day pass – rent a bike. The government has a new scheme unfortunately for long periods of time, it doesn’t work out that cheap. But for less than 30 mins, it’s free to rent a bike off the street at located stalls.   I would suggest a real hire bike place : with a bit of research to what would suit you: http://www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=171  free official maps avilable here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11682.aspx.  Then enjoy the architecture, the sights, the small food places you can eat on the road and meet new people without the bustle and squeeze of the underground.

NOT SO FREE but cool.

FOOD:

A pizza place near goodge street tube stop (northern line) – you leave the tube stop, turn right, take your first right again. You continue up the street, past a Tescos and a cool Cupcake store called Candy Cakes ( recommended for those with sweet tooths, will run you £3 a cake) until the corner of Charlotte Street and Goodge.  Best italtian Pizza in the place for the best price!  A whole pizza (£3+) proper italian style- thin base, and a beer will run you only run you £5-6.   In the summer 100’s of people sprawl out onto the streets from the pub between the cupcake place and tube stop called The Fitzrovia.

If in the UK, you need to eat good indian food. Those new to this food won’t know the difference between Pakistani food and Indian. Indian is more sauce/curry – Pakistani food is more rice and spice. Brick Lane is where you’ll find most cheap-ish Indian food. But beware, most of them claim to have ‘chef of the year!’ Time Out website/magazine and online reviews will help you search out the best on the area.   Brick Lane at first looks a bit dingy, but this is its charm like a Brit vision of Williamsburg. Not too gentrified it holds many secrets.  Whilst in the area, great bakeries that do the best bagels and chinese treats will run you a nice £1-3 depending on what you buy, open until late.     Sunday Up Market as you guessed happens on a sunday and it’s a cool hip-happening place of art, funky foods and cool crafts to try.   Close to here is the ‘Vibe-Bar’ which is a bar with an amazing beautiful courtyard (pictured below)  in the summer months free live music happens. a beer will bust you about £3 – but at night you can probably sneak your own booze to the courtyard.

If you start at Whitechapel side of brick lane, head to the newly furnished Whitechapel Gallery (free and great) and end your long walk up BL at LCB surf store that combines surf and skate with great organic coffee. What a mix?

Like every Chinatown, London’s SoHo chinatown has many treats.  Chinese Bakeries with goodies to fill your pockets up for train journeys and picnics.  Avoid buffets, and go for a sit down menu meal. Depending where you go, a meal here will usually run you about £10 including drink if you don’t order starters.

Hidden greasy-spoon cafes hide behind back streets of the main streets.  The further out zone 1 you go, the cheaper and more authentic food gets.  Near Vyner Street you can grab a proper english breakfast for £3, so big and lovely you won’t need to eat for lunch.

You can’t go to London without having Afternoon teas and cakes – the stereotype of Britain.  TEA, is for all you urban folk – this place is the place for every fair-trade tea goings on. Another cool place is bob bob ricard all polished brass, buttoned green leather and booth seating – it’s just the place to hide away for a discreet nibble and chat, and it serves tea and cakes all day. The only problem is that an afternoon tea here could run you £10.

Like Seth mentioned, great markets are dotted around the city will provide you with amazing, fresh food from around the world at modest prices below £6.  Including and certainly NOT limited to Covent Garden markets.

By now you’ll probably know that alot of UK culture is on binge drinking. We love our pubs, clubs and boozey drinking offers (if near student campus’s you can find a cheap vodka and coke for £1).  One of my favourite pubs/bar is called “Venn Street Records” in clapham. Venn ST Records wants to be a cool hip rock n roll bar.  whilst it might lack the dirt n grime of a real dive bar, it makes up for  it in drinks and coolness with bonding in with the Clapham crowd. Cocktails cover twists on some classics and tongue-in-cheek kitsch with options including the AC/Daiquiri, thePina Colada.  On Tuedays its 2-4-1 cocktails, so bring a friend and on sundays they sometimes have live music (but i have no idea if it’s good live music – check it and find out!)

If you fancy wondering out to Battersby then a place called LOST SOCIETY (no joke) is said to be happening. I avoid this place on a weekend cuz it will run you £5 but it’s worth it for the cool DJ’s spinning great tunes. On a budget though, i am sure you can find the same music somewhere else for free. At the Lost Society they have created their own society full of imaginative cocktails ( a list of 60 on the menu) and this is where you can try many different liquors from around the world.  In the summer, yuppies and hipsters come out and talk pretension in the fancy courtyard.

Mason and Taylor on Bethnal Green (yep i love the East side of LDN) is a place for anyone really wanting to get to grips with the many cool beers that London (and the UK) have to offer. It’s industrial looking within but I find this intriguing. Local London beers include Kernel IPA and Meantime Raspberry while a blossoming British artisan brewing community is rightfully well-represented in the shape of beers from Marble in Manchester, and many more from Wales, Sussex and the world including American.

 

In terms of film – a movie theater within zone 1 will cost you a limb. tickets start at £10 for multiplex’s with Leister Square being the most expensive of them all (for obvious reasons). Unless you want to go to the movie theaters where the premieres happen, I would advise to avoid seeing films here.  Cineworld is a great Multiplex cinema in the UK and has a few within London starting from Zone 2 outwards. 1 ticket here will still run you about £8+ onwards (don’t see a 3D movie) but lots of leg room, and many screens to choose from including the latest releases and Hollywood’s blockbusters with the odd arthouse or limited release movie showing. If hollywood or multiplex cinema isn’t your scene,  then the  Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is a great place to go. They usually have fantastic contemporary art exhibitions on – and since early 2010 it’s now free to see them – a fantastic bookstore, and cafe/bar which doubles up as a gig/live music place at night. This place is happening and won’t even brush you a penny. The ICA has great choices of films from foreign films you won’t see anywhere else, artist films, documentaries, classics to BAFTA choices. The tickets are also priced here slightly less at £7.

If you’re a true film buff, when in London the British Film Institute is your guide to what’s happening and showing. They do various film festivals all year around with October BFI film festival being the most significant. For those of you wanting to see a 3D movie, then the IMAX complex is the place to go, pay out an extra £2 for the real deal instead of a normal cinema that doesn’t have the technology to get the full effects across to you.

GETTING AWAY FROM LONDON

If you’re in London for longer than 4 days then perhaps leaving London is a good use of your time. Actually see a bit more of the UK than what’s simply portrayed in the movies. Brighton is next to the sea and is seen as a London suburb and only an hour train ride away. Many Londoners like to get away to here on a weekend. The clubbing scene is cheaper and more openly lively. Drink in cafes that will only cost you £1 for a cuppa, or eat an ice cream on the pier. perhaps go on a ride or chill on the beach. Brighton has one of the biggest gay and lesbian populations in the UK, so come and feel the pride and enjoy the loud brash culture here!  A return ticket will cost you about £10.00

If the gay sea-side isn’t your thing, then how about Oxford. Heading further up North – a return ticket on the train will bust you between £2.50 – £10.00 depending if bought in advance or not.  The train ride is 45 mins long. Oxford is the home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Here lies even more history than you would have ever expected! Spend the day watching people train on the rivers, or seeing more bikes on the road than cars.  See a scene you can only imagine would be on Harry Potter, or go to the library that has billions of books underground!  Take in the rich green fields and the limestone architecture.

If countryside is more your thing, and you’re in the UK for more than a week. Then perhaps a MEGABUS or an advanced bought train ticket will get you up to places like Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester in less than 3 hours. The further out of London you go, the further your ££ will go too.

In short, after accommodation – London is your Oyster. (literally if that’s your main use of transport) Spending your day divided by museums, food, bars, music, and sights it’s easy to be cheap with a bit of perseverance and research. you can wander the streets and live off baked goods and fresh fruit from market stalls. You could spend your money on cocktails you’ve never heard of and see artists studios.

Oh and I forgot, you must all see if my good friend Myra DuBois has a show, critically acclaimed by Time Out London, and go. Seriously.

Because art should be made through the process of discussion (CRIT GROUP)

ANOTHER CRIT GROUP – FOR YOU!  BANK STREET ARTS, TUESDAY 12TH APRIL 2011, 5:30

ALL WELCOME.

Are you interested in art? Or are you an artist? Do you want some some critical discussions about art, sheffield art scene and/or your own artwork? Do you want to build a network of artists?!

THEN THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED.
You can bring your own art/ideas/exhibition flyers/reading materials/friends for engaging, critical and fun chats! To resolve problems you might have or to inspire your next works.

If you have a presentation coming up, bring that along. If you’ve hit a wall with an idea, or would like another voice to help you out – this is your place. Or simply have an exhibition – we can go and see it!

Anyone can bring anything to discuss.

ANYONE ATTENDING CRIT-GROUP should try and see Bryan Eccleshall’s Residency work that ends 9th April ! Find out more: http://bryaneccleshall.co.uk/

Anyone else can bring work to this months crit platform!

Any more info contact me: sarah smizz @ smizz.fo.shizz@gmail.com 🙂

new workz coming soon, a taster & thoughts on things right now!

I’m excited because I actually have some real NEW works, that i’ve made without having a show to make them for, or getting paid to make it for someone, and they’ve evolved over the past 2 months worth of development, reading and meticulous note writing. So I’m stoked that i’m back to thinking and making … feels like i’m a student again haha!

I went to the SITE gallery talk with Guy ben-Ner yesterday in Sheffield. Seems now that spring is in the air, Sheffield’s art scene is beginning to flourish after a very harsh and draught like winter. And Ben-Ner is here to welcome us to new fruition. Why am I mentioning this talk? Because there was a few things that got me thinking.

Ben-ner’s comment ‘art is made out of constraint’ really got me thinking about how i make my work and what it’s made in relation to. The power-class-struggle, systems and value.  But then things were uncomplicated in my mind in relation to some thoughts i’ve been having, when Guy started to cover bases of Walter Benjamin’s notion of author in relation to identity and how it’s created. Ben-ner talked about how Benjamin mentions loosing the quotation marks on a quote looses its authority  and this lose extends into the authorship.  I love this idea. I’ve gave myself some extra reading of Walter’s (it’s been a while!)

So with these fresh thoughts! and new inspiration here’s a few things i’ve been working on !

How to break into the documentary film industry part 2!

SlamJam part 5: All Thrown Together

FEASTinSHEFFIELD – organizing this event part of #artWORK

Drawing

 

And other stuff. So been very busy – but brand new real art art artworks (as in like contemporary art ha) coming soon! 🙂

to mention my working class background, or to not mention my working class background. this is the Q?

So. It has been a while since I last posted a blog post moaning about the working class struggle. I guess I didn’t want to bore you all silly.

I’m still as equally, if not more, bitter about my position in society as i was a year or 2 ago. With the conservative government in, I’m finding the squeeze of the poor intolerable.

Unemployment in the UK is soaring high, with inflation scheduled to rise to unlivable highs. University will now cost £9,000 a year for tuition but with extra teaching cuts, and no extra funds (ema) to help the poorer students at school. They plan to reform the NHS to something we’re not sure what yet – but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be a shadow of its former self under the labour government. With already 1000’s of jobs cut from within the NHS i predict at least waiting times will be like they were in 1994 (too long!). And if this isn’t enough 20% VAT on top of everything is already taking its course on me.

Despite the apparent ‘ the deficit needs to be cut so grin and bare the cuts- they have to be made’ bullshit, I look to the seeming well off and the banks, and can’t help truly getting super angry. Why not tax them? Why are we allowing HUGE corporations NOT to pay tax. why must the poor pay for the greediness of the rich?  I’m not sure whether this is frustration at the system or frustration at my very own lack of agency as an individual whom is supposedly living in a democracy.

Anyways, as per usual I’m getting off my point. You may have seen from my posts of the past 4/5 years that there is nothing more that I’d like to do than the Whitney ISP. However, lets face it. I’m pretty sure they’d look at my application, maybe forward it around to collagues to have a laugh at the audacity that i have to attempt to try and get onto their course before sending out a rejection letter quicker than you can say NO. Oh dear, Working class Smizz.

Yeah. This is my problem. I’m writing the application now. And my identity and my work and view on life and intellectual interests all stem from my working class-ness and the unfair, injustice i have (and billions of others world wide) been through in my persuit to becoming a better citizen, person and artist.

I have endured homelessness (which inspired alot of work on urban planning and social architecture), the raging gap that’s created from being educated in an ex-mining, ex-industrious community, which now has nothing and it’s education and council system equally corrupt. (so i did alot of work with collectives) We were left, nehy, thrown aside and labeled as unimportant. Culturally deprived, i some how managed to clamber to get into university – despite all odds – and found that this too had its affects upon opportunities open to me.(so i set up with friends our own gallery, CAKE) Some tutors, admittedly only a very small few, treated me with disrespect because of my class background. It’s not all doom and gloom of course, i have had the chance of meeting amazing people who have given me invaluable opportunities and time; but i still get over-looked by other people within these opportunities, or other artists/writers steal my ideas (i’m not naming names) – because the fact is. I am NO ONE. a nobody. i geddit. And it is still this lack of confidence, this lack of an elaborate language code and backwards social and writing abilities that still hinder me even post-degree onwards.

my very small family has no links or connections to the better world. there’s not even normal jobs that are flexible out there to help my mission as an artist. we’re lucky if we make all the bills 2 months in a row.

my backwards writing style is STILL holding me back in my attempt to write a kick-ass ISP application. I’m left thinking, do I go on about my working class background, after all, it is WHO I AM. It is why i can see the things most people can not.  but will they care? in fact does anyone out there care about the inequalities in the labor force, how this affects your living conditions and area,  relative poverty, how cultural deprivation follows you way past your schooling.

Doesn’t it sound all too poor small westernized girl, at least you’ve not been brought up in a warzone, or at least you can read and write! I am lucky, but the fact remains. Why is class such a problem? or a ‘no-go’ area. Why can’t I bring myself to write about it in my ISP application? Am I worried that I will open a can of worms, or that it will become just a self loathing blame game of why i’m a shite artist?   Would you accept a 22 year old artist onto your prestigious course who was homeless 7 years ago, who had to keep 2 jobs down afterwards whilst doing exams to help out her mom who had cancer & on seperate occasions a victim of domestic abuse, who has had to prove a to alot of people that she is actually worth 20 minutes of their time?

I guess I will tell you after my 2nd draft. But I will tell you this, rejection is nothing new – and I believe that it helps me strive to becoming a better artist. And this is why, despite my anxiety and fear of my inabilities as a person and artist I am still applying for something I have like a 0.0000000000000000000056 % chance on getting on to. But we all gotta dream!

“Real failure comes to those who accept their status quo, who do not press against their limitations.” -Mira Schor

SHEFFIELD UNIVERSAL EDUCATION COLLECTIVE

This could become very important. It might not be the free Liverpool Art School University; but for Sheffield it has a super amount of potential. The big society indeed.

Find out more here:

http://sheffielduniversaleducationcollective.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/join-us/

Basic info on Sheffield Universal Education Collective:

The Sheffield Universal Education Collective is a recently formed body of rank and file union activists and workers in the higher education sector of Sheffield. Our aims are:

1) to provide a free and radical, and an open and democratic, education space in the city;

2) to offer sessions that both critically think about the world around us and explore means to changing the world around us;

3) to employ innovative and inclusive pedagogies.

We have been inspired by the recent waves of student protests and activism, and wish to link up with such students, and others, in a productive and creative educational exchange.

Our ambition is to include a wide layer of politically committed education practitioners in the city, from HE but also the school, further and adult education sectors.

 

SLAM JAM PART 5 (CAKE) AT BANK STREET ARTS, 16TH MARCH 2011

SLAM JAM PT. 5! Sheffield, slam poetry night at BANK STREET ARTS


It’s been a while since our last SLAMJAM. This time we are teaming up Bank Street Arts (directions on the website www.bankstreetarts.com )in Sheffield.

This is YOUR moment to SHINE.

For those who aren’t familiar with the SLAMJAM format.

EMAIL us (cake.artgallery@gmail.com) or message on facebook/twitter! for a place to do your

SLAM/
POETRY (any type)/
PERFORMANCE/
PRESENTATION/
YOUR-THING
or just turn up on the night, and be inspired by the AWESOMENESS of the nights performers & audience, as it is an OPEN-MIC format.

Some selected highlights thus far:
Spencer Hale (NYC);
James Prescott (SHF);
Matt McAteer (CHST);
Along side many other funky people. Be sure to book your space!

And of course, like all good things, there will be
MUSIC, FUN-TIMES, CHEAP-BOOZE
and lots of networking and catch-ups!

NOT TO BE MISSED. And like all great things in life, IT’S A FREE!

Thanks to BANK STREET ARTS for this opportunity.

 

CAKEEVERYONE.COM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ART-CRIT – just for you!! BANK STREET ARTS, SHEFFIELD

AN ART CRIT GROUP FOR EVERYONE

want some critical discussion or feedback on art or your practice in general?

You can’t always get what you want,
but sometimes,
you might just find
(get) what
YOU NEED!

Bring friends, your work, or ideas, or debates, or compliments, or love, or exhibitions, or whatever.

Make the it the crit group you want it to be!

WHERE?
BANK STREET ARTS
Bank street
Sheffield, UK
www.bankstreetarts.com

WHEN?
Tuesday, March 8 · 5:30pm – 8:30pm