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ART FIX: when East meets West

ART FIX: when East meets West

Friday 10 September 2021

ART FIX: when East meets West

Friday 10 September 2021


A lawyer-turned-artist with a passion for traditional Japanese art forms has given a St. Brelade’s café a makeover.

Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.

Here’s this week’s offering… 

Asian invasion

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Pictured: Theo's drawings, tees and postcards are currently on display at Common Ground.

St. Brelade-based café Common Ground is celebrating the work of Theo Jenner as part of its ‘Rotating Art Wall’ project with local arts collective RampArts Jersey. 

The former London lawyer turned part-time administrator and ink-based artist specialises in detailed pieces with an oriental style - “very east meets west,” as he describes it. 

“As a kid. the only art I enjoyed was ukiyoe, which is a 17th century form of Japanese art made famous by Hokusai and Hiroshige,” he explained. “I have always been interested in Asian cultures, but a trip to Japan and visiting Hokusai’s museum before the pandemic inspired me to draw in a similar style.”

Theo, who didn’t enjoy art classes at school, describes himself as “a late bloomer”. Encouraged by his mum, he used to make hand drawn birthday cards for friends and family, up until his university days.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Theo jenner (@jerzilla_art)

Pictured: A visit Hokusai’s museum before the pandemic inspired Theo to draw in a similar style.

During lockdown, he then started drawing to cure his boredom.

“It was ideal as it gave me the opportunity to experiment and explore different styles and let my creativity go wild,” he said. “After drawing the Great Wall and the Great Wave, I felt confident about what style I have and what I wanted to do in the future.

“I realised I really enjoyed drawing and so I got in contact with Heather Brown of Ramparts Jersey, who has nurtured my confidence and invited me to various events allowing me to introduce my work to the public.”

As his work and hobbies often involve digital interfaces, Theo prefers to use his hands to create his detailed pieces. He mostly uses black ink pens, and paper to give detail to his works. 

“I also love how ink is permanent so like life you make choices and don’t look back,” he said. “Luckily with art there’s a fresh sheet of paper when things go wrong. If I am using colours, I use alcohol-based pens - in particular, promarkers, which are a more controlled version of watercolour, but still allow me to blend colours together.”

 
 
 
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A post shared by Theo jenner (@jerzilla_art)

In future, Theo hopes to travel to Japan again to learn how to make wood block prints like the ukiyoe artists who inspired him, and add new tricks and skills to his arsenal.

In the meantime, he has kept busy this summer showing his work at RampArts Jersey art and music festivals at the Seaside Café, and at an “extraordinary exhibition” at Elizabeth Castle. In addition, his Olympic-themed work is currently on display at La Bouche in the Market, while he was commissioned by Awabi to create three pieces, The Great Wall, Red Alien and Awabi Queue. 

“With the limited ability to travel due to the pandemic I like to transport people into another world for a brief moment, or for as long as they want,” he said. “I also like to mix a little humour into the serious nature of my work when I can.”

Mother-daughter relationship inspires debut novel

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Pictured: Sally published 'Just Say It' under the pen name, Tessa Barrie.

A local author drew on her personal experiences to write her first novel, a bittersweet family saga revolving around the dysfunctional relationship between a mother and daughter.

Sally Edmondson recently released ‘Just Say It’ under the pen name Tessa Barrie, which she started using at the age of 19 so that her mother wouldn’t know the “slightly risqué pieces” she was writing in her weekly column for the local paper.

Born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, Sally has lived in Jersey since 1981 and has had a lifelong interest in writing, dating back to when she won a Blue Peter badge for writing poetry when she was seven.

“In secondary school, it became a passion when I started writing short stories and poetry,” Sally explained. “The poetry morphed into song lyrics, and I wrote my first and last musical at fifteen. After I left school, I freelanced for local papers and magazines for a while, but it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I had my first shot at writing a book. It was a disaster, and after that, I found myself a ‘proper job’.”

After she was made redundant in 2015, Sally started writing again and hasn’t stopped since.

“I believed it was a sign from Cadmus, the Greek God of Writing and poured all my post-redundancy frustrations into writing a 'pantser-style' novel, with the working title of ‘They Always Look at the Mother First’, which became ‘Just Say It’.

“Despite the bittersweet element of the story, I hope the humour shines through, as that is very important to me. One review I received mentioned the word ‘romp’, which made me very happy.”

With ‘Just Say It’ released earlier this year, Sally is already looking to launch her second novel, ‘The Secret Lives of the Doyenne of Didsbrook’, a murder mystery spoof, towards the end of the year.

“It evolved from a short story called ‘An Honest Review’, which made the longlist of the Fiction Factory competition in 2019 and was about members of a writers group somewhere in the Home Counties,” she explained. “I loved the characters so much… I just kept going.”

‘Defining Jersey’

As part of the Government’s Island Identity project, which explores the different elements that define Jersey, islanders are being invited to enter a photography competition that aims to capture Jersey’s diversity and vibrancy.

For the Island Identity Photography Competition 2021, whose theme is ‘Defining Jersey’, entrants can capture photographs on any device they choose and submit as many images as they wish.

Photographs will be judged by a panel, with prizes donated by Jersey businesses, which include aerial trekking for a family of four at Valley Adventure Centre and wine tasting and distillery tours at La Mare Wine Estate.

The winning photograph will be permanently displayed in the newly refurbished boardroom at The Bridge Child and Family Centre.

All shortlisted entrants will be invited to attend a special exhibition at CCA Gallery in October, when the winner and five runners-up will be announced. All shortlisted photographs will be displayed in the St. Helier Central Market during the autumn.

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Pictured: The Assistant Chief Minister and Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey.

“Photographs should aim to capture what makes you proud to live in Jersey, particularly focusing on belonging and our special island community,” the Assistant Chief Minister and Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey, said. “Entries should capture the individuality of our island, as well as your own unique experience of what it’s like to live here.

“Jersey means different things to all of us. From our rich history to our varied sports and arts scenes and even our natural landscape, it is this diversity of our experiences that makes the Island such a vibrant place to live. The Island Identity project aims to capture some of these experiences and harness them to make meaningful changes across government. It also seeks to celebrate what we do well and foster a sense of pride in our island.”

'Island Views'

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Pictured: Islanders aged 13 and over are invited to capture something they are proud of, or would like to change about the island.

Meanwhile, the States Greffe has launched 'Island Views', a photography competition asking islanders aged 13 and over to capture something in Jersey they are proud of, or would like to change about the island.

Ahead of next year’s General Election, the competition aims to encourage entrants to consider what matters most to them in Jersey and, in turn, what they’re looking for in the candidates they will vote for on 22 June 2022.

Participants have until midnight on Sunday 19 September 2021 to submit their photograph to vote.je, where it will be displayed as part of an online gallery. Entrants can submit one image, which can be captured on any device but must be high-resolution.

During Democracy Week 2021, which will take place from 28 September to 4 October, all submissions will be displayed in a public exhibition in the Royal Square.

Members of the public will have from 28 September to 1 October to vote for their favourite photograph using a ballot in the Royal Square or, alternatively, can place up to three votes online at vote.je.

The entry who receives the most votes from the public will win a shadowing session with award-winning Royal Family photographer, Matt Porteous. The runners-up will receive prizes from Fotosound Jersey and the Framing Workshop Ltd.

“The Island Views photography competition is a fantastic opportunity for Islanders to channel their creativity, capture what is important to them in Jersey and engage with the Island’s democratic system," the Greffier of the States, Mark Egan, said.

“Entrants are encouraged to submit a photograph which encapsulates what they love most about Jersey, or which reflects the change they would like to see. We hope entrants will take advantage of the Island’s picturesque views to express their own, and that the opportunity to vote in person in the Royal Square will generate anticipation and excitement ahead of next year’s General Election.” 

Missed last week's Art Fix? Catch up by clicking HERE.

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