FEATURE: PAINT DRAW WRITE…….Pictures and Poems | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Paint Draw Write….Pictures and Poems is a selection of images and beautifully put together words celebrating the way people put forward their innermost selves via the creative arts. We can all need to get the inside out, and creativity in whatever form is a criucial way.

With an exhibition in collaboration with Chilli Studios, there are poems from talented local wordsmiths Charley Reay, Richard Boggie and Donald Jenkins and Tom Conway of Born Lippy as well as Pam Marshall, owner of Arch Sixteen.

Opening night is Thursday 10th May at Arch Sixteen Café and the exhibition will run until mid June.

We caught up with Nicky Black to find out a little more through key influences. Over to you Nicky…

An exhibition celebrating the way in which people express their innermost selves via the creative arts. The thinking and inspiration behind this exhibition comes from a real mixture of people and places.

MAD ABOUT THE BOY……..Nearly two years ago, I met a man that I was mad about. I liked him instantly. He was like Iggy Pop! He’d open his door in his bare feet and jeans on…. As time went on, I realised there was a lot more to this man. Glimpses of a more chaotic mind. It came out one night. It didn’t put me off. I just liked him. He was funny, loved music and had the best stories. There were silences and then he’d be in touch when presumably, the going was a bit rough. He was a horror but he was safe in the knowledge that that girl over the river just adored him regardless of time lapses. No self-worth….groan… In the summer, he was in touch again regularly and then, every day which surprised and thrilled me but the silences began again. The loudest silences I’d ever heard. I’d stood up to him but regretted it almost immediately because I was worried about him and I was away. I understood then that his problems were more serious than I had ever known and being mad about the man had confused the whole understanding. I tried to contact him to no avail and within ten days of his last contact, he was gone. You can’t always save people from themselves. He was surrounded by people who loved him.
My grief for him got me thinking about people and their mental health and how many different ways there are of managing and dealing with temporary and more permanent conditions. And also, that mental health is difficult to tackle and to understand because it can be so tied up with emotions and it’s often not very evident.
I won’t forget him, his song lyric communication and his youthful outlook…

PUNK ROCK AND BADGES………..About two months after I met the man above, Craig Puranen Wilson aka Sheena Revolta made a call for photographic models. No stipulation on looks so me and my vanity volunteered. We met and just clicked over a shared love of music, the arts particularly photography and badges. We became firm friends.
He introduced me to the artist studios and spaces in Newcastle like B&D, Vane and the New Bridge Project amongst others. I’m a regular at all of them now. He fired up that interest in the arts that had laid dormant during domesticity, divorce and just generally being a working mother. Art buddy!
When I saw more of his photographs, I was surprised that he’d never held a solo exhibition of his pictures. We chatted about it. He knew my career in a former life was picture libraries and picture research. Selecting pretty pictures for a living……the best!
It was Krista, Craig’s wife, the fabulous Lady Koo, who suggested I assist and select images with Craig. So a plan was hatched on a Sunday afternoon in Quilliam Brothers over tea and cake.
GARAGELAND…..Rock and Roll Portraiture happened at Arch Sixteen café in Gateshead last October. It was a roaring success…. All local female musicians without labelling it so…..subversive feminism. Ever the agitator!
We worked well together. Enthusiasm was in abundance as well as the odd argument about grammar. It was great fun!
Craig was quite poorly by then…..the modern scourge that is the big damned C…..but living in the firm moment of now, I thought we’d be able to work together lots more on similar projects and also on more of his work. He’d already asked me if I wanted to work with him again. I was excited because I had a few ideas.
However just before critical illness took a tight hold of him, I put the PAINT DRAW WRITE idea to him and he asked, ‘Well, what about Chilli Studios?’ I said, ‘Email already sent…’ Great minds….a great friend…..good team….
Sadly Craig passed away early on 23rd April. Through his friendship, he reminded me of what I enjoyed most and that none of it had ever really gone. Just laid there sleeping. I’ll not forget that and I’ll never forget his friendship.

ARCH SIXTEEN….THE WORD NOT THE NUMBER………I first met Pam Marshall of Arch Sixteen Café through Craig when she was happy to host his exhibition. Pam is ex RAF and doesn’t have a background in the arts but her café has become a platform for emerging artists, musicians and performers of all genres. What I love about Pam is that she is broad minded. She can think on the spot and will tell you directly if there are any pitfalls in a plan. True honesty! More than that is her enthusiasm. What I also love about Pam and Arch is that there isn’t a programme policy which obviously, other art spaces need to have. If she likes it and can see that there’s a heart in the matter, you’re in! No mucking around. Added to that, if you love music and especially Damon Albarn…..she’s on side for life!

CHILLI STUDIOS……Bob Malpiedi manages Chilli Studios with Jo Burke. It’s a pretty special place. Whenever I have visited Chilli, be it on a tour as part of the Late Shows which was my first real insight, to collecting pictures and going to events like their art auction. When you first go in, you notice the real liveliness of the studios, it is a hive of industry. You’re not sure where to look first. Walls are covered with a variety of impressive artwork, shelves filled with fascinating books and then, there’s the people. There’s a friendliness about the place. Members are busy at work or discussing what they’re doing, people say hello when you’re encouraged to look around…….because there is PLENTY TO SEE! I must admit I felt quite at home. There is such a lot going on. It’s a highly motivating and creative place where people make friends and fit right in. The work produced is varied and vast. All credit to all of you involved at Chilli. It is a truly inspiring organisation and I’m so pleased you agreed to collaborate with me on this exhibition!

BORN LIPPY……..I went to the first Born Lippy event at Arch Sixteen. The nearest I’d got to spoken word was John Hegley and John Cooper Clark at a Fall gig. Oh and my grandma. She loved poems and rhymes! So at the first Born Lippy, I was open to whatever was going to leap out of mouths at me and besides the name was enough to entice me! It didn’t take long to realise this was something I was going to like….a lot. I went to the next one….it was even more entertaining than the first. What I love about Born Lippy’s poetry slams and their guests is that every variant of spoken word can be performed in one evening. Traditional romantic poetry is interspersed with the most heartfelt deeply personal verses followed by a hip hop rhyming. Oh and a lot of laughs!  It’s the brainchild of Donald Jenkins and Tom Conway. I have to thank Don for introducing me to Tom and Charley Reay who have both contributed pieces. And to Richard Boggie who I saw perform one evening at Born Lippy. His work left everyone speechless that particular evening.

A MAN LIKE ANY OTHER….EQUAL…..The words of the title PAINT DRAW WRITE were pinched from a man who happened to notice me just once and that once has left a lasting affection. Someone at ease with what he enjoys and appears not to give a damn whether you care or not….leftover from youthful defiant exuberance! I asked him whether I could use his words. He didn’t mind at all and thought it sounded good. I really hope it does!

So this big porridge pot of truly inspiring creative people motivated me to produce this exhibition. I hope by coming and seeing and reading what’s on the walls of Arch Sixteen, it’ll make you take a moment and think that creative arts can be a hugely important part of everyone’s mental health and sometimes without you even realising….

Paint Draw Write…Pictures And Poems is at Arch Sixteen Café, Newcastle from Thursday 10th May.

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