Art: Eyes Wide Shut
Written by: Violet Myers
“I’m not trying to distort them, I try to get everything in the right place, they just come out funny” Emma explains, looking at the series of odd characters she has created by drawing with her eyes closed. “A lot of the time the facial features don’t even end up on the faces. This is just a fraction of what I’ve done, a lot of them end up getting chucked in the bin and my room is full of piles of scribbles.”
If it weren’t for the title you wouldn’t know Emma Dinnage, a local Manor House artist, had created her entire collection ‘Eyes Closed’ without so much as glancing at her paper. The series of portraits are warped and some are a verging on eerie, I think it’s the crooked eyes, while others have a caricature quality, that’s even a little sweet.
I’ve always really struggled drawing people, there’s so much pressure to get it right. I found while drawing with my eyes closed I’m not worried how they will come out at the other end, it’s more about the feeling of drawing and thinking, rather than just trying to get things in the right place.
But how did she discover she had this unusual talent for blind drawing?
“I first did it at University as one of those creative exercises and they came out really cool. I’ve suffering from artist’s block recently so thought I’d give it another go. I’ve been drawing and illustrating for a few years now and was trying so hard to get everything perfect, it was taking the fun out of it. With this it’s very relaxing.”
Emma’s drawings are being exhibited until late December at New River Studios, where she also lives. It’s a huge, bright space, perfect for an art show. It’s also home to hundreds of local creatives working, living and collaborating. “The evening of the exhibition was nice, we had music, drinking and eating. It’s a great community for artists, there are a lot of opportunities to get involved, like market stalls and events all throughout the week. I drew all of my drawings here, it’s a good space”
And what’s next? Drawing without hands? Drawing from another room? What else is she planning to challenge herself?
“I’d really like to continue drawing portraits, I love drawing older people, they have such interesting faces and stories. What I’d love to do is go draw at an old people’s home and release a series of portraits as a way of making some money for Age Concern charities.”
And will she carry on drawing blind?
“Definitely I really enjoy the process!”
Emma’s work will be exhibited until the 28th of December at New River Studios N4 1DN
Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.
Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.
Recent times have seen an unnerving surge in right-wing politics. President Trump’s campaign to ‘make America great again’ saw him make the audacious promise to ‘build a wall’. France saw the uneasy ascent of Marine Le Pen’s National Front in its general elections and Germany’s AfD, (the first openly nationalist party in almost six decades) celebrated an unprecedented third place victory in its recent elections.
Summer is officially over. We're not sure it ever began in the first place. I guess that's one of the few downsides of living in London (other than crippling debt, tube strikes and Boris Johnson), but I digress... Magic Roundabout Old Street is raising the bar for winter, transforming the site into a tented, heated, 'Decades' inspired wonderland.
Guess who’s back, back again. Fat Macy’s back, tell a friend. No, really. Tell everyone about it. Fat Macy's supper club came back into our lives and this time around they had their Middle Eastern Feast on at the cute as a button Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington, with a menu inspired by Ottolenghi and the #CookForSyria campaign.
Getting shouted at by a burly prison guard with a buzz cut and an offensively loud American accent isn't usually the way one wishes to begin one's night. Nevertheless, as I clamber into a very large (cheers guys) orange jumpsuit, the guard shoves a bottle of Conkers Gin wrapped in a thin towel (no fluffy Egyptian cotton here lads), into my now somewhat clammy hands. Whispering hastily at me to not get caught by the warden I'm ushered off in single file into the depths of Alcotraz.
If you haven’t heard the news yet, the world’s first black bookshop is back. Yes, after months of campaigning for funding and volunteers, New Beacon Books has reopened after threat of closure with a brand new refurb to boot. Established in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, New Beacon Books is the UKs longest running independent bookshop specialising in African-Caribbean literature, cards and artwork.
London cocktail week is upon us. To be honest I can think of nothing worse than strapping on a wristband, carrying around a guidebook and queuing up for something that just needs to be brought to my sorry, tired old lips immediately. Apparently this year however, Drink Up London have released an app that eliminates all of the above nonsense. Get your ticket, download the app and get enjoying your £6 cocktails all week long. Just remember to flash your digital pass to the bartender first.
Garage and psych rock fans rejoice - The Psychotic Monks are stopping off in Camden tonight as part of their European tour. Roughly translated from French (GCSE stylee merci very much), the psych rockers describe themselves as “noise, fury, music impregnated .. with life impulses” finding a balance between “neurotic madness and contemplative melancholy”.
A bubble tea place in Finsbury Park? That also does a bangin’ teriyaki chicken rice box? Uh, hell yeah. This little gem quietly opened up last March on Wells Terrace. Y’know the spot where folks bumble off the most crowded bus in the entirety of London and damn near break a hip scampering for the tube round the corner? Yeah, that little pocket of Finsbury Park.
According to a recent Provident Personal Credit survey Londoners still remain at the bottom of the friendliness scale scoring just 6.44 out of 10. Begging the question, how could anyone be possibly proud to be a Londoner? A city where its inhabitants revel in their ability to remain as cynical and isolated from the outside world as possible. A shallow group of people who are far more interested in Instagramming their brunch then saving money to buy houses or giving back to the community.
A series of talks taking place this November shines a necessary light on mental illness in boys and young men. Speakers will gather at Finsbury Park’s Arts and Media School to raise awareness and help advise on a variety of topics including substance misuse, eating disorders and suicide.
Staying in a hotel one mile from where you actually live feels strange enough, but doing it on your own is even stranger. These photos are a visual record of me wandering the lonely corridors of a new boutique hotel between the hours of 10-12pm. I would describe the decor as handmade but not cheap, minimal but not clinical. It has the feeling that money has been spent on the things that matter.
The rumours are true: a cheese festival exists and it’s coming to North London. This Sunday. Be there or be … cheese-less I suppose. But you’ve gouda get there early: If you’re as keen as brie and one of the first fifty fromage fondlers to show, you’re in the running for a free bottle of Black Cow’s pure milk vodka. Traders will be setting up stalls along Islington’s Chapel Market: from the Raclette Brothers and Mac to the Future to La Fromagerie and The Cheese Truck.
Dream Talk. It’s like Dream Phone, but not at all. Artist Emma Alonze and musician Andy Becker have joined forces to collaborate on a (possibly prophetic) new sound art project. Londoners are invited to take a moment out of their daily commute, routine or journey and immerse themselves in a narrated collection of dreams. Taking three years worth of forty winks, Alonze has gathered and narrated a chosen few to be set to an ambient soundtrack by Becker.