All posts by Leslie Tate

THE ART OF PUTTING THE TRUE SELF OUT THERE

I interviewed Charise Sowells about being a multi-disciplinary, highly creative, mixed race person in the USA. Charise is a scriptwriter and songwriter who also produces, directs, and composes, among other things. Her play An Ocean In My Soul, about being mixed in the USA, can be watched in full at the end of this interview. Charise runs  Unabashed Productions ‘…an arts and entertainment company that supports people who not only think outside the box, but live there’. Continue reading THE ART OF PUTTING THE TRUE SELF OUT THERE

METAPHROG & THE ART OF GRAPHIC NOVELS Part Two

Part Two of my interview with graphic novelists, Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers covers the period when Metaphrog created subtly adapted versions of classic fairly tales. John and Sandra also talk in depth about the tradition of the graphic novel as an art form.

Metaphrog were winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 Best Visual Artist; they also have three nominations for the Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comics). Continue reading METAPHROG & THE ART OF GRAPHIC NOVELS Part Two

METAPHROG & THE ART OF GRAPHIC NOVELS Part One

Photo of Metaphrog, aka John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs, by Bob McDevitt

I interviewed two prolific graphic novelists, Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, who are Metaphrog, Together they have been creating comics and graphic novels since 1996.  Metaphrog were winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 Best Visual Artist; they also have three nominations for the Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comics).

In Part One, Sandra and John talk about the techniques and creative methods that led to their early successes, including linkups with music.

Leslie: What lies behind the choice of the title ‘Metaphrog’ for your graphic novel work? Continue reading METAPHROG & THE ART OF GRAPHIC NOVELS Part One

FROM SPEAKER & VIOLINIST TO TESTING SOFTWARE

Jess Ingrassellino

I interviewed writer, speaker, musician and software expert Jess Ingrassellino  about her self-taught skills, her thirst for knowledge, and how creativity has helped her link up the various fields she works in. Jess says, about herself: “I am open to new conversations and new experiences, as I am still writing my story, and it is writing me.”

Leslie: Can you give a brief overview of your activities, please, highlighting the common themes?

Jess: I started my professional life as a private violin teacher when I was 19. It’s how I put myself through college. I grew up in poverty, and had no support of any kind, financial or otherwise, from my family after I left home at 17.  So, I took any jobs I could find, including waitressing, teaching piano, even teaching English grammar. Continue reading FROM SPEAKER & VIOLINIST TO TESTING SOFTWARE

BORN OUTSIDE THE BOX

I asked author Peter Street to speak about his extreme experiences as a gravedigger and talented, autistic poet. What follows is a shocking, surprising, expressive record of survival against the odds.

Peter says about himself: “I left school barely able to read and write. I have very little logic which has held me back lots of the time, but it’s also given me a kind of freedom. It has separated me from the rest of society – I don’t feel a sense of failure or fear. I keep saying I was born outside the box.” Continue reading BORN OUTSIDE THE BOX

WRITING FEMINIST MAGIC & HOPEPUNK URBAN FANTASY

Karen Eisenbrey

I talked to Karen Eisenbrey  who, in her own words: “Writes fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as short fiction in a variety of genres and the occasional poem if it insists.” Karen also sings in a church choir, plays drums in a garage band, and wrote songs for her debut YA novel The Gospel According to St. Rage , a finalist for the 2016 Wishing Shelf Book Awards .

Leslie: Starting from childhood, how did you develop as a writer? Continue reading WRITING FEMINIST MAGIC & HOPEPUNK URBAN FANTASY

DISABLED-LED THEATRE NOW

Vici Wreford-Sinnott standing against the U2 grafitti wall in Dublin. She has short blond hair and the artwork on the wall is of a large eye.

I talked to Vici Wreford-Sinnott,  Artistic Director of Little Cog, a disabled-led theatre company and Creative Lead of a disabled-led arts programme called Cultural Shift. Both are based at Stockton Arts Centre.

Vici, who has written, directed and toured numerous plays, says of her work: “Anyone working in socially engaged work, in work that is a call to arms for equality in the arts, and particularly anyone working in Disability Theatre feels both a sense of responsibility to ‘get it right’ and also to create a piece of work that stands on its own artistic merits. Anyone making theatre does so because they want an audience to have a fantastic experience, and to see an exemplary piece of work. Even 27 years into my career, it always feels like so much rests on the work. Broadly in wider arts, there is an unspoken fear that disability work brings extra risk with it – ‘will people want to see it, will it be any good, does it have a place in our building’.” Continue reading DISABLED-LED THEATRE NOW

MINDFUL IMPROV & FUGUES

Ben Comeau at Daylight Music 229 in the Union Chapel 9th February 2019. Photo by Paul Hudson

I interviewed musician Ben Comeau about his innovative combinations of classical, jazz, pop and world music. Ben, who graduated top of his year in music from Cambridge University, UK, won the 2011 Northern Ireland International Organ Competition. He has performed his compositions in the Royal Albert Hall, the Wigmore Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall as well as on BBC Radio 3. Ben has improvised live soundtracks to several silent films and is a committed environmentalist. In his own words, Ben is: “Always looking for ways to connect music to important social and political issues of our time.”

Leslie: Could you sum up in a nutshell, please, for someone unfamiliar with your work, what they’d hear if they came to a concert of yours? Continue reading MINDFUL IMPROV & FUGUES