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The end of Soho artist studios

August 16, 2014
artists studios dean street

The artist studios building in Dean Street, London

ENGLISH: In 2010 an organization that provides studio space for artists offered me the great opportunity to rent a studio in Soho, a very central and fashionable area in London. Beside our building had to be built one of the underground rail stations of Crossrail, the biggest construction project in Europe, which will link the west with the East, passing through the centre through a series of newly excavated underground tunnels. From my window, just at the end of the worksite, I can see Oxford Street, perhaps the most famous commercial and turistic street of London. The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square are just 15 minutes walking distance towards South, and so it is the British Museum, towards East. Also in the East, but just 10 min. away, is Covent Garden, and within the same distance are Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, towards West, and these are just a few of the many nearby touristic attractions. The same street where my building is, Dean Street, is full of history. For example, this street was regularly frequented by writer Charles Dickens, during his early career as an actor in the Royalty Theatre. In Dean Street also lived his childhood years Karl Marx, in very poor conditions, and his close collaborator Friedrick Engels. In Dean Street there was also a famous private club for artists and bohemians, The Colony Room, frequented by Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and, more recently, by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. But everything has an end, and the most central and sought after building for artist studios in London has been sold to a new company, owned by Crossrail. After receiving a very recent warning about the end of our lease, before 31st August all artists have to hand back the keys, and many of us are still looking for a new studio. For sure there won’t be any more chances to be so close to the centre, nowadays artists studios tend to be in old factories in the outskirts, but my 4 years in Soho have been a privilege that I will always treasure among my memories as an artist.

 

the Crossrail worksite seen from my window in 2010. Beyond the worksite is Oxford Street.

the Crossrail worksite seen from my window in 2010. Beyond the worksite is Oxford Street.

ESPAÑOL: En 2010 una organización que gestiona edificios con estudios de artistas en Londres me ofreció la gran oportunidad de alquilar un estudio en Soho, un área muy central y a la moda de Londres. Nuestro edificio estaba a lado de una zona de obras que formaba parte del proyecto de construcción más grande de Europa, la nueva línea de trenes Crossrail,

    The Crossrail worksite from my window in 2014

The Crossrail worksite from my window in 2014

que unirá el sur-oeste al nor-este de Londres, pasando por el centro a través de nuevos túneles subterráneos. Desde mi ventana, más allá de la zona de obras, se ve Oxford Street, la famosa calle comercial más turística de Londres. La National Gallery y Trafalgar Square están a 15 minutos andando hacia sur, la misma distancia que el British Museum, hacia el este mientras Covent Garden, siempre al este, está a tan solo 10 minutos, igual que Piccadilly Circus, al oeste, entre otros lugares turísticos famosos. La misma calle donde está mi edificio de artistas, Dean Street, tiene muchísima historia. En esta calle estaba el teatro Royalty Theatre, que frecuentaba mucho el escritor Charles Dickens, en sus comienzos como actor. En Dean Street también vivió su infancia Karl Marx, en condiciones muy pobres, y su colaborador Friedrick Engels. En Dean Street también surgió un club privado de artistas y bohemios, The Colony Room, frecuentado por Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon y, más recientemente, Damien Hirst y Tracy Emin. Pero todo tiene un final, y el edificio de artistas más central y buscado de Londres ha sido vendido hace poco a una nueva empresa, propiedad de Crossrail. Tras  recibir un aviso muy reciente, el día 31 de agosto todos los artistas tienen que entregar las llaves, y muchos no hemos encontrado todavía un nuevo estudio. Seguramente no habrá más posibilidades de encontrar un espacio tan cerca del centro, hoy los estudios de artistas tienden a estar en viejas fábricas abandonadas en la periferia de la ciudad, sin embargo, mis 4 años en el Soho han sido un privilegio enorme que quedará siempre entre mis recuerdos más entrañables como artista.

"L'Illustratrice" (The illustrator), oil on linen, 162x114cm

“The illustrator”, 162x114cm, painted from life in 2012, with the worksite visible behind the window.

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The Crossrail worksite through my windows

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Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud in Dean Street.

The creative process, 4

August 4, 2014

ENGLISH: Another complicated and long elaboration of an idea through various stages, sketches, research for places and models and finally the painting. The idea in “One of Them”, which is the title of this painting, was to portray a common girl from the middle class, who would represent a generation of young people who have been deprived of their future in the wake of the crisis in the past few years, and I see this situation of anger and impotence in my frequent travels to Spain, for example. The models are friends of mine that kindly offered to pose for me, some of them in a separate session. I found the building after a long search wandering around old industrial London and through internet, and I discovered this jewel of factory architecture in East Tilbury, it’s the old Bata Factory, which I went to visit. Curiously, the same day that I was taking pictures of my friends pretending to through stones, in a North London District, Tottenham, many young people started to actually through stones and bottles to the police, and the situation soon degenerated in what is now famously remembered as the 2011 “London Riots“, that spread across the UK main cities…

 

ESPAÑOL: Otra complicada y larga elaboración de una idea a través de bocetos primero, luego búsqueda de modelos y ambiente, fotos y finalmente la pintura. La idea en el cuadro “Una de ellos” fue de retratar a una chica muy normal y corriente que representara a toda una generación de jóvenes que se ha visto de un día a otro privada de su futuro por el estallar de la crisis, y esta situación de rabia e impotencia la veo mucho en España por ejemplo, donde viajo frecuentemente. Los modelos son amigos que se han prestado a posar con mucha amabilidad, algunos de ellos en sesiones separadas. Encontré el edificio tras una larga búsqueda por el viejo Londres industrial y a través de internet, donde descubrí la existencia de esta joya de la arquitectura moderna, la vieja fábrica de zapatos “Bata“, que fui a visitar en tren en East Tilbury. Curiosamente, el mismo día en que tomé las fotos a mis amigos fingiendo de tirar piedras, en el barrio pobre de Tottenham, en el norte de Londres, estallaron los famosos “Motines de Londres“, el 6 de agosto de 2011, donde los jóvenes emarginados se rebelaron contra la policía y el órden social, y el levantamiento se extendió por las ciudades principales del Reino Unido…

 

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The progressive elaboration of my idea through sketches

 

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The elaborate process of construction of the image for my painting “One of Them”

 

"Una de ellos" (One of Them), oil on linen, 140x200cm

“One of Them”, oil on linen, 140x200cm

 

The creative process, 3

July 31, 2014

ENGLISH: If you have been reading my last two posts, you know by now that a realist painting can be the realisation of a complex process of immagination mixed with intention.  Here goes another example. I took photos to people that I met in the street and invited to pose for me and I found the landscape picture looking through internet, as well as the pictures of each crows.

 

ESPAÑOL: Si has estado siguiendo mis últimos dos posts acerca de mi proceso creativo, sabrás  que una pintura realista puede ser el resultado creativo de un proceso muy complejo de imaginación mixta a intención. Aquí va otro ejemplo. Tomé fotos a personas que encontré en la calle, y que invité a posar para mi. La foto del paisaje la encontré buscando en internet, así hice también para cada uno de los cuervos.

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The original pictures, the sketched composition and the final painting “The Coming Storm”

"The Coming Storm", 2010, oil on linen, 100x150cm

“The Coming Storm”, 2010, oil on linen, 100x150cm

 

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I traced a pencil cross on the canvas to know where more or less each figure had to go, according to a composite image that I made in Photoshop, using all the photos. I don’t like to square up too much, as then my interpretation of the form would feel too rigid.

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The real image comes out from my painting, the drawing was just a rough guidline

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Me painting “The Coming Storm”, photo by Steve Pill for the Artists and Illustrators magazine.

The creative process, 2

July 30, 2014

ENGLISH: After showing my reference photographs and my sketches, in the previous post, now I should show you the painting process, from the white canvas to the finished piece. However I thought that a video would show better the complete stage-by-stage process of creation of a painting, so you can see everything about the painting “The Other Side” in it. I hope that you enjoy the video!

 

ESPAÑOL: Después de mostrar mis referencias fotográficas y bocetos en el post anterior, ahora tendría que mostrarte el proceso pictórico, desde el lienzo en blanco al cuadro acabado. De todas maneras he pensado que un video podría explicar mejor todas las fases de la creación de un cuadro mio, desde los primeros bocetos desde la imaginación, hasta las fases de mi pintura. ¡Espero que disfrutes del video!

 

 

The creative process, 1

July 28, 2014

ENGLISH: The other week, while I was painting in Art in Action (see the previous post), many people were fascinated by the fact that the image that I was painting was made-up, a collage from various pictures, although it looked convincing. Noticing that many are not aware of the complexities of the creative process, I would like to  publish a series of posts in the next few days where I show the original references that I used to ensemble the image that I painted on the canvas. In my painting you will see that I am looking for something more than a simple representation of something, I want to create a story, to give a message, to suggest a mood or an emotion, but I have to do it with intention. The simple reality doesn’t always give me all that I need, so I have to create a reality of my own, but that looks convincing.

I will start from “The Other Side”, a 190x300cm oil painting which I did in 2011.

 

ESPAÑOL: La otra semana, mientras pintaba en Art in Action, (mira el post anterior) mucha gente se quedó fascinada viendo que la imágen que estaba pintando era en realidad una escena ficticia construida a partir de varias fotos. Notando que muchos no son conscientes de la complejidad del proceso creativo, me gustaría publicar, en una serie de posts en estos días, mi material original desde el cual he ensamblado la imágen que he plasmado al final en el lienzo. En mi pintura busco que haya algo más que la simple representación de algo, quiero crear una historia, dar un mensaje, sugerir una emoción o un estado de ánimo, cargar una imagen con intención. La simple realidad no siempre me da todo lo que necesito, así que tengo que crear una realidad propia, pero que sea creible.

Empiezo por un cuadro especial, “El Otro Lado”, un óleo de 190x300cm de 2011.

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All the pictures that I used to create “The Other Side” painting. There are pictures from New York, London and Valencia. It took me several months to research and find all the references that I needed, and they are all photos of mine. I worked out the final composition doing a collage in Photoshop.

 

 

    These are some of the sketches that I used to develop the idea of "The Other Side". Research for locations, props and models came soon afterwards.

These are some of the sketches that I used to develop the idea of “The Other Side”. Research for locations, props and models came soon afterwards.

 

Michele-Del-Campo,-the-other-side,-190x300cm

The Other Side, oil on linen, 190x300cm

 

The most special of UK art fairs

July 24, 2014

ENGLISH: After my 2008 and 2009 participation, this year I had yet another wonderful experience at Art in Action. I am not amazed that so many people who spoke with me said that they saw me so far back as 5 or 6 years ago, in fact the public of this fair is very faithful and for sure people who come the first time are thinking about returning to repeat the experience. I found old friends artists or organizers from my previous participations, and i have met new great artists that now are new friends, with whom I have shared these beautiful and inspiring four-days of work in public, dinners and parties. Among the public I have to thank so much everyone who has had the patience to spend hours watching me painting, and especially someone that have bought a 4-days pass just to watch my demonstration each hour and each day, I was very flattered and I tried to give my best to pay it back showing all the aspects of my painting.

 

ESPAÑOL: Ha sido otra experiencia maravillosa mi participación en Art in Action este año. Ya había participado en 2008 y 2009, pero no me extraña que este año que he vuelto he encontrado muchísima gente que se acordaba de mi tras tantos años, de hecho los que han visitado la feria una vez es muy difícil que no quieran repetir al año siguiente. He vuelto a encontrar viejos amigos artistas o de la organización, y he conocido amigos nuevos con los cuales he compartido estos cuatro días muy bonitos e inspiradores trabajando en público. Entre los visitantes tengo que agradecer a todos los que con mucha paciencia pasaron muchas horas viéndome trabajar en directo, y alguien hasta compró un pase para los cuatro dias de la feria para verme trabajar todos los días, eso me alagó muchísimo.

 

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A big number of voluntary people are helping in just all the aspects of running the fair, from transporting artists tools and materials, to transporting demonstrators, to cooking, cleaning and setting things up. Here some voluntary girls are washing a sculpture before the event.

 

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I take a break from painting in the beginning of the third day. Only Three days ago this was a blank canvas!

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My stand, beginning of fourth day

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One of my paintings, “The Pier”, in the Best of the Best marquee

I had the privilege of being the first to do a drawing on Nathan Ford's participative artwork. Many people intervened on his painting and at the end he finished it in his unmistakeble and beautiful style.

I had the privilege of being the first to do a drawing on Nathan Ford’s participative artwork. Many people intervened on his painting and at the end he finished it in his unmistakeble and beautiful style.

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My drawing on Nathan Ford’s painting

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Nathan’s painting, full of drawings made by the public, in the fourth day was almost finished

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The printmaking marquee

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A demonstrator in Printmaking

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The demonstrator’s dinner, some of the painters, from down left: Daniel Shadbolt, his father, Nathan Ford, David Parfitt RI and his wife, Cheryl CulverPPS RBA, Justine Lois Thorpe, Sarah Spackman and her partner

Me in the dinner table with other painting demonstrators

Me in the dinner table with other painting demonstrators

Demonstrator's dinner: we were delighted not only by the food but also by beautiful exotic music and dance

Demonstrator’s dinner: we were delighted not only by the food but also by beautiful exotic music and dance

Girl and Dog

July 15, 2014

ENGLISH: This is the painting that came out of a chance encounter with Maisey and her dog Dopey, in the park close to my studio. I saw them walking by and I soon envisioned the possibility of a painting. I asked her and she agreed to pose for me with her dog another day, so we could get organized and i could sketch some ideas. Yesterday she came to my studio to see the finished piece and was really happy with the result, and Dopey seemed happy too, until he spotted another dog passing by and started to agitate furiously, not caring anymore for the delicate work on canvas just beside him…

ESPAÑOL: Este es el cuadro que ha surgido de un encuentro casual con Masey y su perro Dopey, en el parque a lado de mi estudio. Los ví pasar y en seguida concebí la posibilidad de pintarlos. Le pregunté si posaría para mi con su perro y aceptó, as´y que quedamos par otro día para organizarnos y preparar unos bocetos. Ayer vino a mi estudio para ver el cuadro acabado y se quedó muy contenta con el resultado, y Dopey pareció contento también, hasta que vio pasar a otro perro y empezó a agitarse furiosamente sin preocuparse del trabajo delicado en lienzo justo a su lado…

michele del campo, girl and dog,-114x146cm

“Girl and Dog”, oil on canvas, 114x146cm

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My models for the painting, Dopey and Maisey.

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This is the original setting for the painting, just outside my studio, but now with less flowers.

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