Monday, 2 December 2013

Art in Rure Showcases Local Artists at Specsavers

Art in Rure presents an exhibition of works by established and emerging local artists at Specsavers Solihull.
Showcasing a varied selection of original paintings, limited edition prints and photography, the exhibition features the work of Hasret Brown, James Callaghan, Elena Cecchinato, Jan Gay, Paula Hamilton, Paul Jordan, Angus Kaye, Nick Logan, Roy Meats, Julie Robertson, Barbara Shackley, Mark Skirving, aka ‘King Pleasure’, Tim Southall and Mark Tilley.

All the art works on display are available for sale and a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to Northleigh House School, in Hatton, which provides educational facilities and support to secondary school children who have been victims of bullying, and Solihull Fairtrade, a group that promotes fair-trade products and ethical trading throughout the borough.

Launched at John Lewis Solihull in September 2013, the event is the third in a series of cultural initiatives to promote the Art in Rure Fest, scheduled to take place throughout Solihull during the school summer holidays of 2014.

Local businesses, members of the local Fairtrade network and artists who would like to get involved in the up-coming festival can contact Sarah Silver on 07971-022369 or visit for further information.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Art in Rure: Meet Director and Animator Kirsten Lepore

Kirsten Lepore is a young director and animator based in LA, with an MFA from CalArts. She was recently featured as a rising talent in Shots Magazine, Animation Magazine, Focus Features, and named one of the 50 most creative people of 2011 by Creativity Magazine. With a client list including MTV, Yo Gabba Gabba, Newsweek, Whole Foods, Toyota, Facebook, Nickelodeon, Nestle, and Glamour Magazine, her work has been featured on TV, the web, and at various international film festivals

Animated on location at a beach, in snow, and underwater, the stop-motion short, on show at John Lewis Solihull, details  a transoceanic conversation between two characters via objects in a bottle.

Watch the making of the film here:

To see more films by Kirsten Lepore visit:

Friday, 11 October 2013

Art in Rure: Meet Artist & Printmaker Tim Southall

Tim Southall working in his studio in Spain
Tim Southall is a painter and printmaker, who graduated at the Northumbria University and the Royal College of Art.  

His favourite mediums are oil on canvas and paper, etchings and silkscreen, and most of his work is created at his studio in southern Spain. The London Print Studio and Birmingham Printmakers are his points of contact when in England. 

As a figurative artist, his work is a response to the world around us, with a particular interest in both the urban and rural landscape. From the initial sketches and thoughts, his ideas then spread out into whatever medium seems best to transform them into a piece of art. All of his work is informed by drawing and a strong use of composition.

The artist is concerned with colour, fluidity and the vibrancy of the brushstrokes, expressed through the landscape. In screen pint, with its process of colour separation, he takes advantage of the opportunity to make more graphic works. In his etchings, where he uses the medium in a highly technical and traditional way, he explores his interest for history, satire, portraiture and other traditional artistic narratives.

Tim with one of his oil paintings
Tim has exhibited in various national and European exhibitions, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2011, and also has works in various important collections, such as BP International, in Brussels, Northern Arts, Darlington Museums and Art Galleries, and Gateshead Libraries and Museum Services.

Works on show in the Art in Rure exhibition at John Lewis Solihull:

The Middle Bridge, oil on canvas (64 x 78 cm)

On the Tow Path, silk screen print (60 x 80 cm)

Prowling Cats, etching/aquatint, 34 x 37 cm

Strowling dogs, etching/aquatint, 34 x 37 cm

This exhibition has been organsied and curated by Bastian Contarian in collaboration with Solihull Fairtrade

Part of the proceeds will be donated to Northleigh House School, in Hatton, a school for children who have been victims of bullying, and Solihull Fairtrade, who promote fair and ethical trading throughout the borough.

All images are copyright of Tim Southhall.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Art in Rure: Meet Artist Laura Adkins

Demonstrating mixed media at a Stratford-Upon-Avon Art Society exhibition 
Born in Birmingham in 1967, Laura Adkins has always had a passion for writing and art. After her A Levels she took a foundation course at Bournville Art College, later going on to study graphics at Brighton.
Throughout the 90s, Laura worked as a designer, creating advertising, magazines and exhibition graphics and learning to use computer design software. She also worked as a marketing assistant and studied a Postgraduate Diploma in History of Art at the UCE (now Birmingham City University), before leaving employment in 2002 to look after her daughter. 

A peek into Laura's studio
Arrow Slit stoneware relief work on show
at John Lewis Solihull
During this time, she began to take various painting and life drawing classes at Solihull College (taught by Jan Gay RBSA) and creative writing at the Midlands Arts Centre. In 2006, she had a children's story published by Scholastic. Later going on to study an M. A. in illustration, with a view to becoming a children's book author/illustrator. And, although she later changed career course, she won the Macmillan Prize for her illustrations in 2009.
Feeling the need for a new expressive outlet, Laura joined a ceramics class, led by Stephanie Redfern RBSA, at Bournville School of Art, where she began experimenting with clay and acrylic paint to create mixed media works. This opened her mind to possibilities she had never considered before. 
She also took up photography, successfully holding an exhibition of her work in 2010. 
Since then Laura has been exhibiting and selling through galleries and art fairs across the Midlands.

Art in Rure exhibition: Small Rock pool pot with seaweed

Works in the Art in Rure show: Arrow Slit & Ivy mixed media and acrylics
Laura takes her inspiration from her surroundings, the natural world, landscapes, gardens, seaside locations and local history, exploring  textures and the passage of time, such as seasons, tides, day and night, and the effects of the elements on stone. Influenced by her background in illustration, she has a great passion for detail and narrative, often working from her own imagination.

Laura states: “I enjoy being inventive and combining clay modelling and other materials with acrylic paint. At times, I also work exclusively in acrylics or in ceramics, either for a change or to explore the medium. As well as being a pleasure in itself, photography plays an important part in my work. These photographic references help me to develop the ideas for each creative project"

Since 2010, the artist has been a regular volunteer at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery. In 2011, she did an apprenticeship with Solihull Arts Complex to learn about leading children's art workshops, now holding classes for both the Solihull Arts Complex and the RBSA.

You can view Laura's work in the Art in Rure showcase (on the top floor), at John Lewis Solihull. Other artists works can be seen in The Place to Eat Restaurant (floor 1) and in the television department on the basement floor.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Centre of England Arts Opens Door to Public

A watercolour class at Centre of England Arts.
From 5th-6th October 2013, Centre of England Arts (COEA) will be holding its 4th Art Exhibition at Patrick Farm Barns, in Hampton in Arden.

Situated in a beautiful, converted barn, the two-day event will showcase art works and crafts created by COEA students, and will also provide the public with an opportunity to meet with the various tutors.

Founded in October 2010, COEA is a not-for-profit company and registered charity that provides a rich and varied programme of day and evening courses, including watercolour, acrylics, oils, drawing and pen and wash. The centre also runs one-off art and crafts workshops for people of all ages.

Artist and COEA Founder, Julie Hyde said: "We like to offer a range of skills for people to try. To come here for just a few hours and take home something they have created, using skills they never knew they had, is a satisfying and thrilling experience for people. The aim of the centre is to enable everyone to appreciate and, more importantly, enjoy the arts.”

COEA will be opening its doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday, from 10.00am until 4.00pm, at Centre of England Arts, Patrick Farm Barns, Meriden Road, Hampton in Arden, B92 0LT.

For further information on the centre’s courses, visit, contact Julie Hyde on 01676 523357 or email

Monday, 29 July 2013

Art in Rure Debut Exhibition at John Lewis

Bastian Contrarian presents Art in Rure, the first in a series of art exhibitions 
featuring the works of local, national and international artists.
Frontier Spirit by James Callaghan . Copyright James Callaghan.

Bastian Contrarian present Art inRure, the first in a series of exhibitions that will be held at John Lewis Solihull from 12th September until the 31st August 2014.

In collaboration with John Lewis Solihull and Solihull FairtradeArt in Rure will be showcasing an eclectic selection of original, contemporary oil paintings, acrylics, etchings, wood cuts, silkscreen prints, photography and video art by established and emerging artists from the UK, Europe and the United States.

The show, which will be held in the John Lewis Place to Eat and various other locations in the store, will feature works by James Callaghan, Elena Cecchinato, Wendy Cook, Jan Gay, Paula Hamilton, Paul Jordan, Angus Kaye, Nick LoganRoy Meats, Kathryn Pettitt, Alan Ranger, Julie Robertson, Barbara Shackley, Mark Skirving, Tim Southall and Mark Tilley
The video works include ‘Unbelongings’, by London-based Gulab Chaggar; the award-winning ‘Bottle’, by Kirsten Lepore, and ‘Returning to Eve’, by contemporary dance artist and choreographer, Amy-Louise Watson.

Managing Director of John Lewis, Julie Blake said: "This is an exciting exhibition and we are delighted to help showcase these talented artists. Supporting our local communities is absolutely key to John Lewis, and this is a great way of not only doing that but also giving our customers an extra special experience when they come into our shop".

All the art works on display are available for sale and a part of the profits will be donated to Solihull Fairtrade, a group that promotes fair-trade products and ethical trading throughout the borough, and Northleigh House School, in Hatton, which provides educational facilities and support to secondary school children who have been victims of bullying.

The inauguration, which will be officially opened by the Mayor of Solihull, will be held on Thursday, 12th September 2013 from 5.30-7.30 pm.

This event is the launch of the Art in Rure Fest, scheduled to take place throughout Solihull during the school summer holidays of 2014.

Local businesses, members of the local Fairtrade network and artists who would like to get involved in the up-coming festival can contact Sarah Silver on 07971-022369 or visit for further information.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Solihull Fairtrade and Bastian Contrarian Launch New Cultural Initiative

Solihull Fairtrade, a group that promotes fair-trade products and ethical trading throughout the borough, and Bastian Contrarian, a local agency that provides PR, co-branding and curatorial services to businesses, galleries, artists and not-for profit organisations, have joined forces to launch a new and exciting cultural event.

Due to launch in the summer holidays of 2014, the Art inRure (AIR) art trail will consist of numerous indoor and outdoor art exhibitions, workshops, live performance, sculpture, installation, photography and video art by local, regional, national and international artists.

The aim of the Art in Rure art trail, which will involve a broad section of the local community, is to increase awareness of the Solihull Fairtrade network and local businesses, but also to raise the cultural profile of Solihull and provide new opportunities for the thriving but often ‘invisible’ art community in the borough and surrounding area.  

Solihull Fairtrade and Bastian Contrarian are calling all local businesses and organisations who can offer an exhibition space or their support, however big or small, for the six-week event.

If you are a company or organisation and you would like to be involved, contact Bastian Contrarian on 07971-022369 or download the information pack here

Artists who would like to submit their work for selection or propose a site-specific project, can send an artist statement, CV and images (including dimensions) of their work to

To find out more about the Solihull Fairtrade network visit:

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Seeking Artists for Bi-monthly Showcase in Solihull

Deadline: On-going

We are currently looking for artists for a bi-monthly showcase in a prestigious and busy location in the centre of Solihull. 

We are particularly interested in landscapes, portraiture and photography. 

Please send a CV, images of your work and prices to and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Exhibiton fee: free of charge
Commission: 30% 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Thought-provoking art from Iris Berger and Josh King

The New Year opens at Gallery150 with two thought-provoking shows by Iris Berger and Josh King.

Auschwitz by Iris Berger
In ‘Empathy and Reflection. Anne Frank.’, Iris Berger takes us on a journey into the harrowing reality of the Nazi occupation and the horrors of the concentration camps. Inspired by her own personal response to the young girl’s diary and a visit to the house in Amsterdam, where the family hid from the Germans for two years, Berger explores Anne Frank’s inner life, thoughts, feelings and the circumstances surrounding the Holocaust.  With this series, the artist, who uses art as a vehicle for engendering empathy and compassion, investigates the duality of hope and despair, stating: 

This opposition is the dynamism which forces the collective memory's responsibility to the present and future. It can do this because there exists a past whose tragedy is internalized through remembrance. In this sense my paintings constitute a form of ‘narrative painting’. As such, the works expressionistically represent the temporal experiences of human consciousness, through memory, anticipation, despair, fear and hope.
The ‘Anne Frank Series’  of paintings invites us to imagine, and to empathize with, Anne Frank’s feelings - her sense of fear, her desperation, being trapped yet dreaming, hoping, longing for her own and her family’s freedom.”

Photographs of the paintings on show at Gallery150 are now part of the Anne Frank archive and the artist’s works will also be included in an educational package, directed by Dr. Batya Brutin of the Beit Berl College, School of Education, Holocaust Studies Programme, which will be used in schools in Israel.

Jim by Josh King 
Local photographer, Josh King, presents ‘On the Street’ a series of moving and intense works, which explore the very topical theme of homelessness. Since 2011, Josh has been taking pictures of homeless people in Leamington. But, his interest in working with the homeless began five years ago, when he got talking to a busker who was living rough in his hometown.

Josh King said: “I was struck by the similarities between his early life and my own and I realised there was nothing separating me from his situation except luck. I decided then that I wanted other people to see it too. Every person on the street is an individual with a history of their own. It’s important to me that I meet the person first and take photographs second, so that hopefully my images share a little something of their story.”

This series of thought-provoking portraits and street scenes, which aim to raise awareness of this often overlooked issue, depict people from a broad range of circumstances, who, for various reasons, including mental health, martial breakdown and financial difficulties, have found themselves without a home. Donations will also be welcomed on behalf of the Leamington Way Ahead ProjectSalvationArmy.

The private view will be held on the 22nd January and both shows will be run until 10th February 2013.

Situated at 9 Livery Street, in Leamington, Gallery150 is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am - 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 4pm.


Friday, 4 January 2013

Last chance to see the Gallery150 Xmas Artist Showcase

If you haven’t done so already, then don’t miss the last few days of the ‘Xmas Artist Showcase’ atGallery150.



The exhibition, which closes on Sunday, 20th January 2013, is an eclectic and colourful display, featuring the works of a good thirty artists and photographers, from all over the UK and beyond, including: Paul Cheshire, whose sultry Pre-Raphaelitestyle paintings, featured in the first episode of the BBC’s ‘Show me the Monet’,  in 2012; Leamington Studio Artists (LSA)  Chairman, Clive Engwell, who presents a series of works inspired by Pop Art and comic books; David Lewis, the highly regarded  local landscape painter, who supported the appeal for the Linden Arches, restored to its former glory early last year; Souren Mousavi, Iranian artist and activist with her intriguing works, focused on the female world and the human condition; Gallery150 Trustee, Gerry Smith, and his fascinating photograph’s that take the viewer on a voyage around the world, as well as the works of Libby JanuaryKit LeckNeil PhillipsHilary RobertsPam SmallshawKhaled TownsendLeslee Woodard, and many more.

From 22nd January until the 10th February 2013, the gallery will be hosting a controversial double solo show called ‘Holocaust’, featuring the works of Iris Berger and ‘Homeless’ by Joseph King  22nd January - 10th February 2013.

Situated in 9 Livery Street, in Leamington, Gallery150 is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am - 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 4pm.