Meet the Artists
Ahead of meeting artists out and about on the trail, here are a few short films and portraits sharing some of the diverse stories of artists involvement in the E17 Art Trail over the years.
Tony is a visual artist who specialises in making hand-folded reliefs out of drafting film and photographic lighting gels. The E17 Art Trail led to a chain of events that had an extraordinary impact on him as an artist: “I first became involved with the Art Trail in 2015...I ended up turning the house into a gallery. We were open for two weekends. We had about 200 people come through the doors. It was absolutely amazing. Very rewarding. It’s funny, that initial Art Trail in 2015, the impact it had on my career...I’m kind of living my dream as a full time artist. That chain of events would not have happened if I hadn’t taken part in that 2015 Art Trail”.
Nancy Willis is an exceptional artist whose work includes painting, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media and moving image. Throughout her career she has sought to express her particular view of life and experience of disability. In her work, Nancy creates a place where complex emotions can be explored without feelings of shame. Disability arts has provided a supportive environment for her art to thrive, it is from this place that she explores the universal themes of love, loss and human vulnerability.
Veronica describes herself as a “jack-of-all-trades artist... I might paint, draw, sew even. I just love learning new things all the time, and, above all, one of the other reasons I’m an artist is the sociability of it. I wasn’t very confident about launching an exhibition, and I didn’t necessarily know how to go about it. The Art Trail gave me the confidence and then the rest is history, because once I participated once and really enjoyed it, I carried on from there on. I think it is a very sociable event, and it’s good for a lot of people”.
Tim is a cartoonist and illustrator. Of his experience of the E17 Art Trail he says: “I did the Art Trail in the library two years ago. I wanted my workshops to be free, and I wanted them to be accessible. Accessibility is very important to families from all walks of life. I would encourage people to take part in the E17 Art Trail. The Art Trail is an opportunity for my art to evolve. Do take part. It’s a great opportunity to be a part of something much bigger, to celebrate culture and find exposure”.
Lloyd Ramos is a photographer, of the E17 Art Trail he said: “I like how embedded art and creativity is in Walthamstow, it’s something I’ve grown to appreciate.” Two of his recent photos were selected for the Taylor Wessing Photo Prize at The National Portrait Gallery and are part of a series he has been working on and which he plans to exhibit at the E17 Art Trail “The series is focused on and around the act of shopping on the High Street amongst the backdrop of Covid-19”.
Jim Jack first came to Walthamstow for an interview at Walthamstow Art College, way back in 1975 to study painting, within a few weeks he had moved into Sculpture which has been his focus ever since. His work is inspired by the variety of forms he finds in Nature. “I have been taking part in the Art Trail for many years. The Art Trail has enabled me to connect to a very diverse and rich creative community, and I am sure this is true for all the participants. It has been a difficult year for everybody and the Creative Sector like everything else has suffered, with the Art Trail back on the Calender I am sure we will get our sense of community back.”
Sba is a textile artist. “I use the E17 Art Trail to explore and experiment aspects of my practice, where I use textiles as a medium to create art. The E17 Art Trail has actually kept my passion alive and allowed me to grow as an artist. I do rather enjoy the networking aspect of the E17 Art trail, I meet like minded individuals that may be cross-disciplinary as well as being from a different background, who are willing to collaborate on projects”.
Sam creates playful products, artwork, activities and workshops. Of his first experience of exhibiting in the E17 Art Trail in 2019 he says: “For me, everything about the experience was positive. Through it, I met quite a few local artists which really opened my eyes to different ways to make work and a life in art. And having an open house show meant I spoke to pretty much everyone who came which made it really meaningful and memorable. I also found it validating – people really seemed to enjoy the work. Another thing that I found powerful was seeing that I had a body of work. It's hard to grasp that when your work is filed away. That gave me a lot of confidence”.
Yaarit Mechany & Tom Baker
Yaarit is a product designer focusing on conceptual furniture and home accessories. She also makes hand made collages. Tom is a writer and musician. Says Yaarit: “When we first heard about the Art Trail I was about 9 months pregnant with our second child. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work with our family expanding, but as we are both creative and live in Walthamstow, we thought it was an opportunity not to be missed. The experience was truly amazing. It is interesting as you have to put yourself out there in more ways than when showing your art in a gallery or a museum. You are the artist, the curator and the hostess, and your home becomes the gallery.”
Rasheeqa Ahmad/Hedge Herbs
Rasheeqa Ahmad is a trained herbalist and is looking forward to Art Trail visitors enjoying the Community Healing Garden she has been working on. Rasheeqa has led herbal walks on the E17 Art Trail in past years, “I have usually done these walks on the marshes, as it’s obviously a great place of abundance for loads of different healing herbs. Through 2020 I couldn’t do that, and so it led me to shift my gaze to the plants that are growing in the streets around us.,,the resilience of the plants, growing through the cracks and from the kerbs and under lampposts. And also peoples’ gardens!”
With thanks to filmmaker Natalie Sloan of Little Ren Hen Films, and photographers Jane Sharp and Laura Martinez.
Artists Open Houses Online 2020: Connecting During Lockdown
A project produced by Artillery CIC together with Waltham Forest creatives. This film is made from a vivid collection of virtual open house events transporting you into artists' workspaces during May-August 2020. It is a very special record of the challenging new circumstances of living and working through Covid-19 with many artists unwell, or shielding, adapting to working from home, or relocating to wherever they had caring responsibilities. We are hugely grateful for their generous act of sharing their personal experiences.
Special thanks to curator Penny Rutterford, film producer Orlando Capitanio and Arts Council Emergency Response Fund.