The Solaris Centre in South Shore, Blackpool, is a popular drop in point for winter prom walkers in need of a hot drink or a tasty snack. Whilst they thaw out, what many of these customers don’t realise is that there are two long corridors branching off from either side of the cafe, housing a rolling programme of art displays which are well worth a look.
‘Take Ten’ is a collective exhibition by ten local artists and is a diverse mix of screen prints, drawings and photography. The group came together by chance when Two Old Birds with Cameras (Dawn Mander and Jill Reidy), who had originally booked the space, decided they wanted to involve friends whose work was quite different from their own.
Each member of the Take Ten collective has written a short personal statement as an introduction to the exhibition:
Dawn Mander, Photographer
I was born in Blackpool, but have travelled the world with dance and theatre groups and have a huge passion for my home town and everything connected to it. For the Solaris I could not miss capturing the magic, thrills and spills of Circolombia at the Blackpool Tower Circus.
Jill Reidy, Photographer
Originally trained as a graphic designer, and with an interest in all things creative, I have developed a passion (some might say an obsession) for photography over the years. Like the other Old Bird, Dawn Mander, I was blown away by Circolombia, and was lucky enough to be able to capture images of the amazing artistes in action. The images in the exhibition are part of a larger series, entitled ‘Flying High’.
Claire Griffiths, Photographer
I started with analogue photography and come from a fine art background. More recently I have been photographing Blackpool for commercial purposes – the images have been taken over a four year period and hint at a hidden Blackpool, away from the stags and hens. They encourage the viewer to engage with Blackpool from an altered or dreamscape perspective, where anything is possible as the day light fades and the lime light lifts.
Jo Harley Hynes, Photographer
I moved to Blackpool because I always knew that the sea soothes the soul and puts many things into perspective. I used it to heal myself and found that its beauty is never the same on any two days. I could spend the rest of my life photographing this coast and be as excited as I was the first time that I did.
Monica Lelli, Artist and Photographer
I am an Italian artist from Rome currently living in Lytham. I consider art as a creation of space for thoughts and contemplation. This time, especially for the Solaris, I have created an exclusive limited edition of single prints combining silk screen and monoprint techniques, dedicated to the stunning seaside of the Fylde coast.
Robin Ross, Artist, Screenprinter
Screen printing is so very random, and all about the image. The work is all produced by hand in The Old Rock Factory studio based in central Blackpool. My Clash Show, featuring work combining the original sketches from Ray Lowry, who was described by Joe Strummer as The Clash’s war artist, has been shown in London and is currently in Blackpool and Austin Texas. 2015 is an exciting time to be an artist in Blackpool and to show work at Solaris is an exciting part of a real developing arts scene in the resort.
Sam Simpson, Artist
Dancing is my passion and it always makes me smile when I see others lost in music. These drawings show expressive movement and are of some of the young people I’ve photographed who love to dance. It’s always inspiring to see motivated, happy, connected young people.
Richard Jon, Photographer
Graduating from an interest in vintage and alternative photography, I was blown away by the sounds, the moves, and the wealth of dedicated followers of the Northern Soul scene. I record events every weekend and have photographed some of the most hardened Northern Soul lovers in the region.
I am now an established ‘Soul Brother’ and consider it an honour and a privilege to share my weekends with some of the most passionate, spirited, and dedicated people around who are brought together by their endless love of Northern Soul.
Chris Beard, Photographer
Internationally recognised as a leading landscape and wildlife photographer, my images have been used by the BBC Wildlife Unit and published in national magazines. I have also won awards and been exhibited in Salons all over the world including Argentina, America, Canada, Denmark and India as well as in the UK. I am now based in Lytham and won the accolade of the best exhibitor at the 2014 Lytham Arts Festival. Essentially a good photograph will elicit an emotional response in the mind of the viewer. Often the final, finished image is created in the mind of the photographer long before the shutter is pressed – days, weeks or even months before.
Ashley Barnard, Wedding and Portrait Photographer
I always look to create unique and interesting photographs, whether it be with the bride and groom at a wedding, out on a shoot with a model in Blackpool, or working on private portraits with children and families. Give me a challenge and I will be sure to give 100% to get the photo and create something different. I have an eye for detail, and a creative edge that makes my photos unique, inspiring and beautiful all at the same time.
The exhibition runs at the Solaris Centre, South Shore, Blackpool, daily from 9am to 5pm from 1 to 31 March 2015. All welcome.
Featured image by Jo Harley-Hynes.
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