ILLUSTRATING GREAT ART, MUSIC & CHILDREN’S STORIES

James Mayhew (c) respira fotografia 2017

I talked to illustrator, author, concert presenter and storyteller James Mayhew about his art. James has created books introducing children to great artworks and illustrated stories by Philippa Pearce, Elisabeth Beresford, Jackie Morris, Clara Vulliamy, Joyce Dunbar, Zeb Soanes and others. He accompanies famous orchestras by painting to music and is involved with charities that support refugees as well children’s access to the arts. James has won the New York Times book illustration award and been long listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Leslie: Can you sum up how you use your illustration skills, in books and in performance, to promote an appreciation of art & literature with children, please? Continue reading ILLUSTRATING GREAT ART, MUSIC & CHILDREN’S STORIES

IS ‘INTACT’ SUE HAMPTON’S LAST BOOK & IS IT A MEMOIR?

Sue in school with banner and books

I interviewed Sue Hampton, author of 37 books for all ages, ambassador for Alopecia UK and climate activist about her latest novel Intact . I wanted to know how far my wife’s novel draws on real-life experience.

In Sue’s words, “Intact is the story of Mags, whose husband leaves her as she is about to turn sixty… As her life restructures itself again she remembers the foster child, Georgie, who loved her but was rejected by her father because he wasn’t a ‘proper boy’. Perhaps she can find him again, and recover the person she was meant to be.”

Leslie: Intact, is about a woman, approximately your age, who begins a relationship with a non-binary, cross-dressing man, so how autobiographical is it? Continue reading IS ‘INTACT’ SUE HAMPTON’S LAST BOOK & IS IT A MEMOIR?

THE LIFE OF AN AUTHOR, ART DIRECTOR AND XR WRITER

Caroline Grebbell reading at Event Horizon. Edinburgh. June 2016.

I interviewed Northern Irish author Caroline Grebbell about her many creative projects. Trained in animation and set design, Caroline has been an Art Director in film and television for over twenty years. In 2017, she achieved an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from Edinburgh Napier University, and has since been nominated for a British Science Fiction Association Award. Her speculative novella Cala Briste is to be published later in the year. Caroline is a contributing writer for Extinction Rebellion.

Leslie: You’ve worked in writing, films, theatre, opera, photography and you’re a climate activist. What have been the tipping points from childhood onwards that pushed you into different forms of expressive activity? Continue reading THE LIFE OF AN AUTHOR, ART DIRECTOR AND XR WRITER

THE JOYS OF ILLUSTRATING CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Sarah Lodge (right) with Jane Porter (left) at the House of Illustration Summer Fair

I interviewed children’s book illustrator Sarah Lodge, who has been shortlisted for the AOI World Illustration Awards New Talent Award, asking her what goes into her artwork for books and exhibitions. Sarah says about herself: “I would get more enjoyment and purpose out of a child picking up a book I had illustrated than I would from an artwork hanging on a gallery wall.”

Leslie: How did you begin as an artist? Who and what has helped and hindered your artistic development? Continue reading THE JOYS OF ILLUSTRATING CHILDREN’S BOOKS

UNTAMED MUSIC FOR HEALING THE PLANET PART 2

Ailsa Laurel Crown. Photo by Karel Mujica,

In Part Two of my interview with Ailsa Mair Hughes she talks about working with musicians, circus performers, storytellers and exploring indigenous music.  Ailsa describes several creative projects, including her ‘Moonchoir’ and  ‘Soundmapping’ and the healing power of ‘the myths of the land where we live’ .  In all of her projects, Ailsa says that she brings with her, ‘A passion for the connection between music and nature’.

Leslie: What have been your most exciting artistic collaborations so far – why them? Continue reading UNTAMED MUSIC FOR HEALING THE PLANET PART 2

UNTAMED MUSIC FOR HEALING THE PLANET PART 1

Ailsa Mair, fire spirits, photo by Barnaby ‘Badger’ Brown

I interviewed musician and storyteller Ailsa Mair Hughes who improvises on her cello outdoors, sings, composes, and works with other artist in dynamic site-specific creative projects. Ailsa describes herself as ‘an untamed musician’ who performs ‘up trees, on boats, streets and beaches and more’.  In all of her projects, Ailsa says that she brings with her, ‘A passion for the connection between music and nature’. Continue reading UNTAMED MUSIC FOR HEALING THE PLANET PART 1

CHISATO MINAMIMURA – A DEAF DANCER’S FIFTH SENSE

Chisato Minamimura. Photo by Mark Pickthall©

I interviewed Chisato Minamimura, a Deaf dance artist who has performed in over 40 international locations working with Candoco Dance Company, Graeae Theatre Company and others. She appeared at the London Paralympic Opening Ceremony 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Cultural Olympiad. Chisato, by collaborating with cutting-edge digital artists, has created a unique style of choreography from a Deaf perspective that she calls ‘visual sound/ music’. Continue reading CHISATO MINAMIMURA – A DEAF DANCER’S FIFTH SENSE

HEATHER TWEED – DREAM ART AND TREASURE HUNTS

Heather Tweed – Anubis Installation, Centrespace Gallery. Lifesize, faux fur, mixed media.  © Paul Chapman

I interviewed artist Heather Tweed whose creative work embraces painstaking historical research, popular 19th Century entertainment, and dark & mythic dream-figures. Heather’s often teasing and evocative art has been shown in Venice, Bristol and at The Edinburgh Festival. Heather, who studied at Exeter, Leicester and City University London,  is a multi-media artist and teacher practised at using paper maché, sculpted clay, language and sewn fabric.

Leslie: What was it about your childhood and education that gave you your continuing interest in art, sculpture, sewing and books? Continue reading HEATHER TWEED – DREAM ART AND TREASURE HUNTS

Author and Poet