People Stand Together – Community Mural At PST August 4th – 10th

Ok so we can proudly confirm our next community graffiti mural will take pride on walls of Birmingham’s best, and a personal favourite of ours, music venue PST, Digbeth.

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Heading up the Brum Spirit community commission will be one of France’s most notable street artists RCF1, who will work in collaboration with Brum Spirit veteran and Birmingham’s own graffiti artist HOAKSER.

These two talented artists will work to immortalise the wealth of history associated with Digbeth, and culture of the local community in the mural, entitled “People Stand Together” from August 4th to 10th.

If you have ventured out to Kings Heath you will have seen the 2013 Brum Spirit commission on Kings Heath Parade ‘Welcome To Kings Heath’ mural, which was the work of HOAKSER, and visiting Brazilian artist Ficore. The brief was to paint a community inspired mural to promote local pride in the area. The mural caused a bit of a stir, and was welcomed with open arms by local residents and business owners.

Birmingham’s own HOAKSER, whose work ranges from private commissions to solo exhibitions of which are currently held in galleries in 13 countries across five continents, why not take a look at the Q&A he did for us ahead of the collaboration.

HOAKSER will head up the mural and work alongside RCF1. RCF1 who is originally from Paris and over 25 years experience has seen his work exhibited all around the world, from Tokyo to Buenos Aires, one his careers most notable points saw his distinctive primary colour patterns called upon as part of EDF ‘Art Alongside Energy’ 2013 programme, and features on the side of the EDF power station in Rio State.

These two talented artists will join forces to paint for the first time, and will take inspiration from portraits of Highgate residents taken by Some Cities photographers Dan Burwood and Andrew Jackson, to embellish the facade of roots music venue PST with a large scale mural. With the challenge of reflecting the history and culture of Digbeth in one painting, we are calling upon YOU! Brummies let us know where/what/who you think deserves to adorn the walls of PST, help us to champion the things that you think make our unique city such a great place to live, #BrumSpirit and all that!

Nowadays Highgate is categorised by the City Council as amongst the poorest of Birmingham’s Priority Neighbourhoods. Official statistics like these do little to champion the area. The team of artists behind Brum Spirit aim to celebrate Highgate as a beacon of mutual tolerance and eclecticism, as well as getting to know better the people who live there. It’s hoped the artwork, entitled People Stand Together, will honour the neighbourhood as a cosmopolitan and welcoming area, where families from across the world have made their homes, since the city was founded by the tribe of Beorma, on the banks of the Rea, back in 700 AD.

HOW TO MAKE THE WALL: It’s easy so don’t sweat it, you can either email directly to Brum Spirit by email [info@brumspirit.org] or if you wanna’ win a lovely Brum Spirit T-shirt then head here  and answer the simple question; “where is your favourite place in Birmingham?”

Next step – tell all your friends about it and get them to enter! #BrumSpirit. 

 

Q & A With HOAKSER

In 2013 we worked with the talented HOAKSER to bring you the  ‘Welcome To Kings Heath’ graffiti mural. The idea behind the mural was to develop a sense of local pride, and with suggestions from the local community  flowing in HOAKSER teamed up with visiting Brazilian artist Ficore to incorporate all the great things that gave the local community pride in Kings Heath.

We are pleased to announce our next community inspired mural will take place August 4th – 10th and will be lead by HOAKSER, in collaboration with French artist RCF1. The mural entitled People Stand Together, will emblazon the walls of PST, on Lombard street, and will depict the history, culture and local community of  Digbeth!

We caught up with HOAKSER ahead of the collaboration to talk all things #BrumSpirit!

HoakserName: HOAKSER 

Occupation: Self employed graffiti artist

From: Birmingham

Q) Tell us about your job? 

My job varies from week to week or day to day, depending what I’m working on. I’ve spent years working on walls with spray paint and have developed my own style with lettering, wild styles and characters to become established in the Birmingham graffiti scene. That was a job in itself! I’ve been practicing graffiti for around 15 years and have been self employed as an artist for 9.

My work involves so many different aspects these days, which is why my job varies so much. Most of my spray paint work comes in the form of a commissioned piece that is designed to fit the clients needs..Large scale murals, bedroom wall artwork, sign-writing on shop shutters and teaching at graffiti workshops are just some work I might be doing.

I also sell my work online which involves photographing, documenting, and marketing my creations as and when I make them.

Canvasses, prints, custom recycled spray cans, toys and sculptures are always being added to the store on a weekly basis along with one of a kind printed t-shirts and other stuff to weird to explain.

Being self employed has made me learn lots of other work roles too… things like how to make and maintain my own website, blog and online stores meant developing graphics skills and learning how to use certain bits of software. Packaging and posting sold artwork is a skill in itself which is something I love and hate doing. The two solo exhibitions I’ve had were a whole new learning experience in terms of framing, picture hanging and organising. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still learning everything I’ve just mentioned! My job is hard work, fun, stressful, relaxing, rewarding and I enjoy it loads but sometimes hate it too.

liberty4Hoakser

 

farmersHoakser

 

Q)How and why did you get into doing what you do?

I’d always be drawing as a kid and only ever wanted to be an artist. I got into graffiti after seeing some friends doing it and wanted to try it for myself. I’d always drawn stuff and copied my favourite cartoon characters on paper but trying to tag with style or draw letters in spray paint was completely new to me. When I found out how hard it was, I just wanted to get better. Graffiti wasn’t something you could learn at school, no one had ever shown me this before and the more I learnt the more I realised how much there was still to learn. There are so many branches to graffiti. From tagging to doing murals on the sides of buildings, there’s a whole heap of practice and knowledge that goes behind that. And yet it’s still called “Graffiti”. With anything, the more you learn the better you get, but for me graffiti seems to be endless. I find it as interesting now as I did when I dropped my first tag.

 

Q) What is your professional highlight to date?

Not just because you’re doing this interview..but probably the Kings Heath mural from last years Brum Spirit ( formerly  Espirito Brum )

Having lived in Kings Heath forever, it was really cool to be given such a big wall on the main high street to paint in the place I grew up in. Working with Brazilian artist Ficore who I’d never met and who didn’t speak English was an extra added challenge, without the pressure of everyone in Kings Heath hating what we painted. The mural started coming together after a few days and the public really seemed to enjoy watching it. The artwork became a piece for the people of Kings Heath and after popular demand I included local hero “Sam the Monkey Man”. The wall then made local news and it wasn’t even finished, which was cool for us and Sam the Monkey Man..

Due to the size and location of the wall, it was very difficult to paint at times. Being a busy car park, there were always cars parked where I needed to be, which again made it even more challenging but rewarding once finished.

The response, support and conversations I kept having from the passing public also slowed things down but made it even more special in terms of achieving something to be proud of that everyone supported..

On a personal note, I met so many people whilst painting that wall…One in particular was a young kid called Tame…He loved graffiti and would stop and chat on his way home from work. Tame sadly died pursuing his love of graffiti soon after we met, which was a sad time for our scene, not to mention for his family and friends. I put his name up on that wall, which is something I know he would have liked. For me that wall has other attachments other than just being a piece of art.  Also having recently moved out of Kings Heath down the road to Balsall Heath, it’s nice to know I left something decent and permanent behind which will stay there for an unknown amount of time.

 

Q) What do you have bubbling away creatively this year?

There’s always something being cooked up in the studio… I’m about to try out some more sculpted wildstyle pieces at some point. I’ll be bringing out a limited edition resin figure of my masked man character later on in the year, the sculpt for him is almost finished. There’s the new Brum Spirit project we are working on too, that’s going to be cool, and it’s happening soon!

 

Q) What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

It’s not London in terms of prices and traffic! There’s a lot happening in the city and apart from all the obvious stuff like my family and friends being around, it’s where I grew up.

 

Q) The worst?

Can’t really think of a good answer for this. Birmingham’s treated me well so far.

 

Q) What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

Kings Heath. That’ll always feel like home, along with Selly Oak, Moseley and Digbeth, that’s where I’ve emptied most of my cans over the years.

 

Q) What makes you proud about living in Birmingham?

Putting words in my mouth now… haha… maybe not our accent. I don’t know… but keep making me proud Birmingham!

 

Q) What one thing would you change about the city? 

The lack of independent shops and businesses we have in the city. We have so many empty shops and too many cheap chicken and phone shops. I’d like to see Birmingham looking a bit more like Brighton.

 

Q) What one thing you would champion?

If I had time, more custom art toy shows in the UK. We are a few years behind some of the world with this scene in terms of exhibitions and shops.

 

Q) Where do you take your friends when they visit you in Birmingham? 

Either painting, eating or drinking in no particular order, around my favourite places.

 

Q)How do you see the city 20 years from now?

We’ll probably have even more cctv, hardly any shops. Hopefully everyone will have hover boards by then, I hope I can look back on this in twenty years and high five myself for being right…

 

If you want to know more about HOAKSER then check out his website, blog, or give him a little follow here! If you would like to make a suggestion of something that gives you pride in Digbeth  you can either email directly [info@brumspirit.org] or simply head over to our competition and tell us your favourite place in Birmingham – which could also see you winning a lovely Brum Spirit T-shirt!

100 (and ten) Swimmers

The 100 Swimmers credit Attilio FiumarellaA big #BrumSpirit shout out to all the swimmers from across the city who took part in a one-off photo event as part of 100 Swimmers to  highlighting the plight of one of the Birmingham’s most important community buildings, Moseley Road Baths.

The 100 Swimmers, by photographer Attilio Fiumarella, was the completing instalment of the community photographic project entitled The Swimmers, which we were fortunate to exhibit  as part of Muzikstan Midsummer Festival in partnership with Some Cities.

The 100 Swimmers project, which took place Sunday July 20th and saw over  100 swimmers, photography fans, city heritage enthusiasts and community supporters fill the empty Gala Pool at Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath in reaction to the news that Birmingham City Council intends to close the historic building permanently in 2015. We have a huge amount of love for this project, not only have we been champions of the exhibition, but also the nature of the story itself showcases a great example of what #BrumSpirit means to us.

The project caused quite the stir  and became the third highest English story on the BBC News website…featured on the Daily Mail and even into the Scottish press – A big #BrumSpirit to that.  

Some Cities are calling out to everyone involved,  whether you participated, spread the love online or only saw the story in the press to get back together again to see Attilio’s photograph of the event. The image will be unveiled this Thursday July 31st, from 6.30pm, at The Old Print Works, over the road from the baths, and will have  Attilio on hand to unveil his image and discuss his thoughts  behind the shoot.  As will Stephen Burke, who like Attulio, was a recipient of the Some Cities bursary. 

Also be sure to check out the Italian-born, Birmingham-based photographer Attilio Fiumarella, and also why not contribute your own images to the Some Cities social project? The remarkable digital collection taken in and around Birmingham currently sits at over 100,000 images and can be of a wealth of subject matter. If your interested in sharing your view of Birmingham, images can be sent directly to Some Cities by email [Birmingham@some-cities.com] or via Twitter, tagged with #BrumSpirit and #somecities #brumfotos, and will form part of an ongoing extensive and authentic archive of life in the city.

 

Viva Brazil – Lets have a giveaway

So to send the lovely Jota III off in style there is going to be one heck of a leaving party, taking place at PST, on Lombard street, Digbeth – and guess what? Your all invited 🙂 #BrumSpirit

The leaving party, which is aptly named Viva Brazil, will bring a whole night in celebration of the real Brazil. With J3 a.k.a. Jota IIIFevaSticky Joe and Cheshire Cat UK all coming together in a Brazilian style to bring a night not to be missed. You can expect heavyweight South American vibes, cult films and music, you can find out more on the Facebook and be sure to bag your spot!

We are also running a #BrumSpirit T-shirt giveaway, and you could win yourself one of these bad boys, as modelled by the lovely Jota III himself!

All you have to do with being in with a chance of winning one of our #BrumSpirit T-shirts is tell us your favourite place in Birmingham. Simple as that. You also have the option to enter by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter, but I mean, you already do that don’t you 😉 Winning answers will be selected at random, and not only will you be able to adorn yourself with this emblem of civic pride, but your answers will be used as inspiration in the PST community inspired graffiti mural! Pretty darn cool right?

Anyways what you waiting for kids get entering now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Q & A With Tom Peel

 

You may remember the very talented Tom Peel, who performed as part of Muzikstan Midsummer Festival, June 28th at The Old Print Works. Tom is what we would call an honorary Brummie,  he may not have the accent but he has chosen to perform his folk songs in Birmingham for the past 9 years, so we thought he would be a great person to have a little chat with all about #BrumSpirit.

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Name: Tom Peel

Occupation: Musician & Founder of northsidestudio

From: I grew up in Kingsclere, near Newbury in Berkshire

Live: Great Barr

 

Tell us about your job? 

I write and perform quirky abstract folk songs, mostly for guitar but also for archaic forms of analogue equipment including Reel-to-reel tape, VHS, and Cassette, it is also not uncommon for me to wear these machines during a performance.

As well as this I run northsidestudio which puts artists though a crowd funding process in order to fund a professional recording project.

How and why did you get into doing what you do?

I started writing and playing songs in my early teens, inspired by the words of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan – it was all about what they were saying – Bob can make 10mins of the same 3 or 4 chords into such phenomenal song just because of the words.

The vintage audio fascination was inspired by my University degree in Music Technology – I loved learning about the explosion of creativity that came about from the discovering sounds could be reproduced, manipulated, looped distorted etc. Its mind blowing that we’ve only been able to do this in the past 150 odd years. If you went back in time and recorded Shakespeare, playing it back to him would probably melt his brain, right after he’d said “naaa I don’t sound like that to I? Ugh I hate the sound of my own voice” *brain melt*

What is your professional highlight to date?

northsidestudio successfully crowd funded Samuel J Lawrence’s EP project, this was a great feeling to make another young artists aspirations of recording their first EP a reality and facilitate that has been amazing. Check out his Facebook page.

What do you have bubbling away creatively this year?

The Tom Peel Subscription Club has been brewing for the last few months, this is an exclusive song subscription service where members enjoy the next 24 songs I write as they are written and recorded. We’re currently on song 8 of 24 members also receive a t-shirt, membership card, the last Tom Peel album, personalised type written letters, etc. You can even go platinum and have a song written for you or whoever/whatever you like.

Also next year I will have been in Birmingham for 10 years so i’m currently recording a 10 year best of Tom Peel CD to be released around next autumn.

What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The love! Recently I’ve felt everyone getting involved and joining in for the love of it, there is so much more awareness for independent shops and cafes etc. Inclusivity is my all-time favourite thing and I feel that in Birmingham especially this year at the Luna Festival and The Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival.

The worst?

The recent reports of over burdened social workers dealing with kids is appalling, hopefully the recent media coverage will have provided the necessary kick in the preverbal to sort it out. Saying that there are other areas of social care that are amazing Autism West Midlands for one are a bunch of genius’

What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

My church in Handsworth! We meet at Hamstead Hall school on Craythorne avenue 11.30 every sunday. Its full of honest and genuine people, we are an autonomous church so there is no vicar or pastor, we just all chip in which makes it a wonderful place to learn and grow spiritually from each other. Is a worldwide church community that was established in Birmingham in the mid to late 1800’s.

More commercially – Peel & Stone, not just because of the name, but Carl Finn who runs it is an inspiring entrepreneur, putting people and good good food at the centre of everything he does, make sure you check out their blog too.

Culturally the IKON gallery – they’re on the button when it comes to contemporary art always provoking thought and discussions.

What makes you proud about living in Birmingham?

Its current sense of growth and adventure, rising up out of the concrete is a very real and flourishing creative industry with support from promoters and the public.

What one thing would you change about the city? 

Bring in a Birmingham version of the Oyster card! That would be so good for getting about.

What one thing you would champion?

I would champion the recording and production of talented artists with out the budget to record professionally through crowd funding programs at northsidestudio!

Where do you take your friends when they visit you in Birmingham? 

I’d start in Digbeth (free parking of course) then amble along the canals, to Brindley place and pop into the IKON gallery – its amazing I love that place! Then after a mooch about town, whisky tasting in the Whiskey Shop in the Western Arcade on a friday 4-6 – its only £12 for the year and you get to have free tastings and 10% off everything in the shop! Maybe some street food back in Digbeth. Then to Kings Heath for some music at the Hare and Hounds, or the Vic in town.

How do you see the city 20 years from now? 

In 2034…I will be 47…golly…its not my habit to look that far into the future, I put my faith in God for tomorrow and the days, months and years to come that we will all still live in safety with the freedoms we enjoy now to be who we are, also in the furthering of equality, unbiased education and justice for the neglected and oppressed. That there will be no room for corruption or partiality in our councils, institutions and businesses. That ultimately this city will be granted wisdom and understanding to allow those things to flourish and be established.

If you want to catch more of Tom, you can find him playing at the Hare and Hounds supporting Kieran Leonard this Wednesday (July 16th) –  find out more here. Also we highly recommend a visit to the subscription club  – got #BrumSpirit written all over that!

Drum Together Brum are having A Street Party!

Drum Together Drum - Street Fest - Front

Our favourite drumming group are putting on a “family friendly, free street party with proper vibes” July 13th!

We are so excited for Drum Together Brum who are hosting a free afternoon street party where the local community can get involved. These talented folk have bags of fun lined up including instrument making workshops for the little ones, which they can use through out the day in the musical jamming sessions and then can take home to practice later!

There will also be workshops for members of the local community to have a go with traditional African drums and instruments, led by Damon Wilding,  fresh breakdance workshops from Open Circles Hip-Hop Entertainment, Caribbean food and all this will be tied up with a lively performance from Drum Together Brum.

Drum Together Brum are a group of people who came together to learn a new skill whilst meeting new people, having only been together for six months they have turned a hobby into a true skill, and have performed at several venue’s in Birmingham including The Emerald Village, Brum Together, Rebel Spirit and more! This Street Party will show what can be achieved with a little bit of time and a lot of enthusiasm. Got #BrumSpirit  down this lot!

In partnership with Our Big Gig, Drum Together Brum are bringing a free musical street party on Sunday 13th July that will have something for everyone, head on down to PST on Lombard Street, Digbeth, Birmingham to learn different rhythms and try something new. Find out more here,

The 100 Swimmers – Attilio Fiumerella

100 Swimmers

Here is an idea which has caught our attention for not only being the embodiment of #BrumSpirit but also because we were lucky enough to feature the exhibition “The Swimmers” by Attilio Fiumarella in collaboration with Some Cities at the Muzikstan Midsummer Festival, which took place June 28th at the Old Print works.

The 100 Swimmers event is calling on you kind people of Birmingham, in reaction to the news that Birmingham City Council intends to close the Moseley Road Baths permanently in 2015, following the opening of a new sports facility.

As a form of dissent against its closure, The 100 Swimmers would like to gather, as the name would suggest, 100 Swimmers inside the Gala Pool and immortalise them as the Terracotta Army in a magnificent and powerful picture. It will be the last image of the photographic project “The Swimmers”, developed during the last year in the Moseley Road Baths.

The 100 Swimmers will happen Sunday July 20th from 10 AM in the Moseley Road Baths, Brummies If you would like to get involved, send a confirmation to the following email address: the100swimmers@gmail.com

Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit and stand with the other 99 swimmers!

Muzikstan Midsummer Festival: Full of Brum Spirit

We marked the rebrand to ‘Brum Spirit’ on Saturday at Muzikstan Midsummer Festival, which took place at The Old Print Works, Balsall Heath.

As you know Professional Incredibles, the team behind many of our city’s well loved cultural events announced that Espirito Brum has rebranded to Brum Spirit, if you have read The Story of Brum Spirit you will know the announcement follows a period of growth and development for our collective.

To mark the arrival of Brum Spirit, in true Brummie style we had a big party, having teamed up with Birmingham Promoters, Some Cities, St. Paul’s Trust and Celebrating Sanctuary for the Midsummer Festival edition of Muzikstan, which took place last Saturday, at the Old Print Works.

Muzikstan 20Muzikstan

The event brought our usual mantra of ‘trying something new with someone new’ to the Muzikstan Midsummer Festival, and offered attendees an event made up of two halves. Throughout the day Old Print Works resident artists provided attendees free makers workshops for children of all ages, alongside Some Cities  who exhibited interactive photography of portraits taken through out the day.

Providing the soundtrack to the day was Blue Murda, who offered a safe haven way from the rain for musicians and audience members to jam and showcase new material together. Our highlight included a special cover of ABBA Dancing Queen, which when you think about it is the perfect jam/sing-along song, who doesn’t know the words!

We were taken into the evening of Muzikstan with performances from an eclectic lineup, featuring the very talented Senegalese kora virtuoso Kadialy Kouyate, who shared his West African griot repertoire with Birmingham for the first time. Also taking to the stage was Dirty Old Folkers, who brought their folk flavours full of fun and quirks, alongside The Mistakings, Tom Peel, and inspirational community choir Voices Together led by Daz Dolczech and Ann Jones.

We were lucky enough to have the very talented Ilvars Veinbergs down on the day capturing the all the fun and frolics, we hear the short video is almost finished so watch out for us sharing the link, you never know you might got yourself on film 🙂

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We would like to thank all you lovely lot you  who came down and took part in our first official Brum Spirit event, keep your eyes peeled for the photography from the day and night which we will be adding to our Facebook over the next couple of days, and make sure you have signed up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss our next Brum Spirit event!

Next time you see something that gives you Brum Spirit, why not take a snap and share it with us via Twitter, by simply using the hashtags #BrumSpirit and #somecities 🙂