Wandsworth Arts Fringe: we’re in!

Featuring a digital programme of interviews, The File Style (us!!! 😊) will take part in this year’s WAF with ‘Creatives in Lockdown: In Conversation’. This is an exciting project following a year of encouraging and heart-warming interviews with creatives from around the world who shared their stories during lockdown.

Since 2010, Wandsworth Arts Fringe has been a solid platform for artists and creatives to reach a diverse community in this vibrant corner of London and beyond. In last year’s edition, WAF introduced a robust digital programme to reach everyone in their living rooms, ensuring no one missed out on the annual festival: “In 2020, WAF was transformed into WAF In Your Living Room, a digital festival showcasing 250 artists across 130 digital events that reached over 30,000 homes, and delivered creative activity packs to 2,100 local families.”

The File Style’s project, ‘Creatives in Lockdown: In Conversation’, is a series of interviews delving into creatives’ work and their personal experiences during the pandemic. A serene exploration of resilience, new opportunities and evolving as a human being.

From 3 to 4 July, we will bring live and recorded exclusive interviews in a programme especially tailored for Wandsworth Arts Fringe with creatives representing the fine arts, music, stage lighting, photography, mixed media, filmmaking and fashion.

The free online event is an invitation to be touched, inspired and perhaps learn how to build resilience during challenging times. We hope you’ll join us from wherever you are in the world.

To view the full programme, visit: https://www.wandsworthfringe.com/whats-on-2021//creatives-in-lockdown

If you’re curious about what the project will bring, here is a preview of what to expect:

SATURDAY, 3rd JULY

10am – Friends with a mission:
We will introduce the series of interviews and talk about our journey documenting creatives navigating lockdown, how it has influenced them, including new ways of building resilience. 

12pm – Andria Antoniou – singer and voice coach:
Andria Antoniou is a London-based vocalist of jazz, Latin and Greek Retro music who celebrates cultural diversity and the interconnectedness of people through music. She is also an educator and the founder of Voice Hub, a platform and community where one can find and develop his voice.

2pm – Ali Mulroy – artist:
Based in London, Ali has been painting in oils since 12 years old and says he’d been “instantly fascinated by the medium from the first moment” she used it. Awarded young artist of the year by the Society of Women Artists at the Mall Galleries in 2006, Ali has belonged to the SWA since 2007, exhibiting annually with them and the Mall Galleries ever since.  She says: “I want people to feel hopeful as they wait for dawn to break over their current darkness. If my work can help in the waiting – then that’s all I’ll ever want.” 


3pm – Janssem Cardoso – photographer:
A Brazilian photographer and art director based in São Paulo, Janssem is a native of Benjamim Constante, a city located in the State of Amazonas. He also works with audiovisual production (capture, editing and art direction). Since 2016 he has been developing a work with artistic nude photography called ‘Other Colours’ and exploring matters of inclusion, diversity and identity. 

5pm – Robbie Thielemans – LED lighting creative:
Robbie Thielemans is a Belgian engineer and creative consultant working in the LED industry for almost three decades. Behind the scenes, he designs wonders through light revealing a bright spectacle.

SUNDAY 4 JULY 

9am – Inken Sarah Mischke – camerawoman and founder of Perola Filmes:
Berliner Inken Sarah is a passionate creative who has delved into filmmaking after concluding a Master’s Degree in Latin American and Gender Studies. She says: “Essentially, making films is nothing less than telling stories that open up a new perspective on things. I was delighted to discover that this approach could also be applied to the field of design, because here the scope for creativity, quite literally, knows no limits.”  

12am – Ludwig Rondón – musician:
Ludwig Rondón, born in Curaçao, based in the Netherlands, is a performing musician, classical guitarist and educator.  He inspires and teaches the practicalities and tricks of the acoustic guitar.

2pmKelly Sue – fashion designer:
Kelly Sue is a Dutch fashion designer who, in 2016, designed a clothing line for wheelchair users. Soon after, SUE’s Warriors foundation was created to embrace all people and convey diversity, unity and equality in society. Recently, she became an interior designer to bring empowerment and accessibility for all.

3pm – Frederico Sousa – mixed media:
Born in Brighton, Frederico Sousa is a British designer currently a student at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. A great lover of unusual aesthetics and in the media arts: illustration, animation and photography. The need for life change is the inspiring source for this artist to begin his studies at 44 years of age.

#WAF2021 #CreativesInLockdown

Watch the interviews: https://www.wandsworthfringe.com/whats-on-2021/creatives-in-lockdown

*feature image credit: Julien De Salaberry

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A creative year in lockdown

Jakayla Toney @unsplash

We don’t take it lightly at all. Lockdown has truly affected everyone, including ourselves who navigated last year overcoming unemployment, Furlough and Covid itself. So, we understand it’s been a remarkably difficult time for everyone.

We also know the past year has been an exceptionally unique time. It may sound like a cliché but, we felt it was a once in a generation opportunity to reset and reconnect. When the world stood still in the first lockdowns, we decided to do something about it and got together to take this opportunity.

Two friends, graduated in Journalism, we were aware of lots of good stories around us and felt compelled to tell those stories with an emotional commitment we hadn’t experienced in a very long time. We embraced it as a truly timely opportunity that wouldn’t have been possible in the 90s, for example: these conversations were possible thanks to the accessible tools available right now such as free social media, messaging, affordable WiFi and a public willing to listen.

It’s now been a year since we started The File Style project and looking back is incredible. Thanks to the generosity of talented creatives, we’ve been able to share their unique journeys; featuring individuals from diverse backgrounds talking from countries around the world. Creatives acting in music, mixed media, fashion, photography and even stage lighting discussed an array of topics ranging from sexuality, diversity & inclusion, beauty and arts via a common thread: their experiences during the pandemic.

Covid made us all vulnerable, some more than others, we must acknowledge; but with vulnerability comes an openness that helps us to connect with our humanity a little bit more and, hopefully, have more compassion towards others. Have you heard of that expression “peeling the onion”? Well, we got the chance to peel deeper into our humanity during this pandemic.

By interviewing creatives and sharing their stories of love, resilience and positivity, we delved deeper into our own humanity. We want to thank each of our creatives who embraced the moment with us and generously showed up on our Zoom calls sharing their talents, insights, successes and also struggles.

As we start the second year of our project, we’re “expanding our tent” and embracing new opportunities, starting with a certain arts festival in London… Keep tuned for more news coming soon.

Love,

Sandra & Claudia

When a creative meets social justice

By Sandra Porto

Think what we may about Nietzche but the man did say one of the most undeniable human truths: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

This is the short story of someone who found their “why”. Juliana Oliveira, affectionately called ‘Julie’ by her friends, is a photographer with a heart for social justice, community and an acute eye for the complexity of life. She is also a well travelled Brazilian with an enhanced spiritual awareness and faith. Looking at Julie’s pictures you’d be forgiven for thinking she was born a free spirit with an innate audacity to capture any subject she desires.

This wasn’t always so. For good part of her life, Julie fought for what she believed was expected of her; often in the shape of a reliable and excellent professional, and the dutiful daughter and friend that everyone could count on. So far so good, right?

Except that this was not the full story: that was not all of Julie. Finding herself in London in summer 2010, she was searching for the ‘rest’ of her, in a deep quest for the answer to life’s question: what is your why?

It was in this transient state of thought that the answer presented itself, rudely, at London’s Southbank: “I was pushed over the precipice by a friend. (She laughs.) We were there attending a festival she was writing about. At the time, I had started, very shyly, to explore my passion for photography… I say shyly because I couldn’t accept that I was good enough to even speak publicly of my desire to take photographs as a career.”

Both friends were taking a break from the festival, enjoying an uncharacteristic London sunshine, when two guys approached Julie’s friend asking if she could take a photo of them.

”Without hesitation, my friend pointed at me and said ‘my friend here is a photographer. I’m sure she can take that for you’; and she returned to her activities, just like that, casually throwing me, in what felt at the time, the deep end for a very reserved person.”

That afternoon became a watershed moment in Julie’s life as, it turns out, instead of an abyss, she found a room for her talent. After the Southbank’s ‘precipice’ incident, Julie steadily embraced photography as her new life. She has since registered people’s profiles, fashion shows, breathtaking landscapes in Europe and her native Brazil. Building a name for herself, Julie has found not only a new career but her ‘why’: “I cannot forget that day. I’ll never forget that, never! When anyone asks me how I started my career, I say it was thanks to my friend, my ‘sister’ who saw my potential, believed in me and went on to push me.”

It was an impressive career change for the IT professional in her 30s who now gets to choose how she works and what she captures. Subjects are incredibly important to Julie and she is very particular about what her lens set to register as she believes the subject must be aligned with her beliefs as a professional and as a person.

When the pandemic hit, Julie found herself living in one of the most desirable places in Brazil, that is, by the beach with plenty of nature nearby. It was in this idyllic place that she came across her current subject – Fruto Das Mãos: a grassroots initiative driven by volunteers in her local church.

“I think I have the heart of a volunteer…. Wherever I go, I always want to get involved and help the community. When I got to my local church, on the very first day, they talked about this initiative and my heart simply burned and I wanted to get to know more and help.”

She visited the project and received such a warm welcome that she committed there and then. In her first day of volunteering, Julie experienced a moment of deep reflexion and insight into her own life: “They gave me and a group of volunteers the task to untangle elastic straps that had been formed into a ball. We were many together doing that task but, for some reason, I found myself alone doing that work and doing so with a lot of pleasure. In that moment I felt as if God was there showing me a metaphor; as if my life had been tangled like that ball of elastic straps but now it was time to untangle and unravel. I didn’t go home until I had finished that work.”

And she hasn’t stopped helping ever since, using her talent as a photographer and in any other capacity she can by documenting all the project’s development and the volunteers themselves.

The day to day seems simple: volunteers collect and prepare donations which are restored if necessary and sold at minimum prices that everyone can afford; with the money reverted to help others who have no means at all. Clothing, toys, furniture, stationery, everything you can possibly imagine is put up on sale. The initiative also facilitates courses to the community such as crochet and sewing. During the pandemic, volunteers turned its efforts into making face masks for key workers and expanded its operations to supply food to those who needed it the most. Founder volunteers Elisangela and Leila said: “Our community seeks to help others and to give people the skills to help them make a living. Today, we have expanded from a small charity shop into a full on social action.”

However, it is also a community that unites volunteers and give them purpose. For many volunteers, this is their ‘why’. It is the case of Angelita: “I think volunteering is to love your neighbour. For me, this is a blessing, because I can help more families and more people than I would ever be able to by myself. We want to help those who can’t afford to clothe themselves. You have to love what you do and help others.”

For another volunteer, Ana Lu, it was the beginning of a new life: “I was going through one of the most painful moments of my life when I had lost my will to live. When I came across this group I found so much love; they dedicated this love to me and turned me whole again. I then started volunteering and found reasons to stay alive and, more than anything, I was reconciled with my faith again.”

Registering the daily activities inside Fruto das Mãos and its volunteers, Julie is actively using her talent to contribute to others finding their own why. She spends days and nights in long, pleasurable (and often tiring) hours helping, filming, photographing and spreading the good news to others. Her talent is now in demand by other charities in the area, eager to have her expert talent but Julie sees more than activities:

“I see many volunteers arrive and the difference it makes in their lives, it’s noticeable in their faces. The effect is transformative, I see the smiles that weren’t there before…”

“During the pandemic, there was a lot of fear and many procedures to comply with such as social distancing. But, it was during the pandemic that we expanded even more and when I dedicated to my maximum. It was and it is my refuge. We help each other and help others and, in turn, it helps us. It’s a refuge.”

As the pandemic lingers, I ask Julie about her plans for the future: “I would like to be more available and help others more. I want to take good photography to those who cannot afford it. I want to make it accessible to those who wouldn’t have access to it otherwise. I treat all clients the same, the wealthy and the poor, and I want to continue to bless more people with the gift of photography.”

It sounds like the precipice had the answer, after all…

To learn more about Fruto Das Mãos, visit their profile on Instagram: @frutodasmaosstore

To see Julie’s work, visit: @julianaphotogallery

Watch on YouTube:

Kelly Sue Lampers envisions access for all, fashion and interior design.

by Claudia Falcão

Self-confidence and awareness patterned Kelly Sue Lampers’ story. With high expectations when addressing her goals as a creative professional, the Dutch designer envisions diversity and inclusivity – access for all! Lockdown provided time to rethink her perspectives on creativity; identifying her creative values.

“Love yourself, unconditionally. Realize it: nobody can tell you what is beautiful…beauty is in all colours and shapes. It is the art of nature. Celebrate your beauty. Loving yourself, it is the greatest gift to yourself.”

Kelly sue lampers

In her mood board, she pins up her vision of a society fulfilled of diversity and equality. She designed a unique clothing line for fashionable women bonded to a wheelchair which granted her winning the “Fashion on Wheels” competition in 2014.

Upon graduating, Kelly Sue launched her brand in 2016, intending to provide a stylish, yet classic clothing line for the women with disabilities. With attention to the individual and identities. Soon she acknowledged the big issue, the lack of equality, diversity and unity in the fashion and beauty industries, not to mention in our society.

She brought diversity and unity to the catwalk when she presented her collection with the slogan “Broken crayons, still, colours” in 2017 at Amsterdam fashion week, featuring all body types and beauties. They are SUE’s Warriors, the foundation Kelly Sue created to embrace these amazing women and draw the fashion industry’s attention for inclusivity. “With this foundation, I want to get awareness in the fashion industry for this particular audience. Represent them equally. Also, educate our society to be thinking out of the box; we are all equal in our differences.”

(Visuals provided by Kelly Sue Lampers – Instagram @_.kellysue._ @sues_warriors)

Her mission has forever been to raise awareness, she develops educational projects and collaborates with other foundations focused on diversity like the DMA model agency and the Diversity fashion week.


Creativity is part of her DNA.


Lockdown got the Dutch designer Kelly Sue Lampers into rethinking her creative fulfilment. “…because of the lockdown, when all the scheduled projects with SUE’s Warriors were cancelled, I got time to think clearly about my goals. I questioned myself if I was creative enough or challenged. I am a creative person, so I miss being creative with my hands, creating designs and working with colours. With that thought, I decided the SUE’s Warriors foundation needs a manager who will share its mission and get awareness. Meanwhile, I can develop my new feature, interior styling; work together with architects into creating accessible buildings to all.”

Positivity and inspiration highlighted the unique conversation with Kelly Sue. She celebrates diversity continuously.

Her latest project, joining the Miss Benelux Pin-Up contest matches perfectly with SUE’s Warriors and herself: “I entered the Miss Benelux Pin-Up contest because the modern pin-up beauty is the celebration of all body types. This is a perfect match with SUE’s Warriors and with myself. I am a vintage-style lover.”

Unconditionally, Kelly Sue empowers access for all.

“Latineando” with Sebastian Litmanovich

By Sandra Porto

The musician/producer and graphic artist from Madrid is navigating the pandemic through the power of music.

If you’re aware of your surroundings and the people occupying them, you’ve probably noticed that we all pulsate to different vibrations. That invisible but undeniable wavelength linked to someone’s being and what we call their energy, their vibe.

Sebastian Litmanovich pulsates to a wonderful vibration – the rare mix of sensitivity, talent, instinct and simplicity. Seldom do we come across someone as complete and yet so relatable, grounded. Soft-spoken, with dark curly hair and a demeanour that is both disarming and enticing, the musician is better known by his alias ‘Cineplexx’ and has composed and produced an eclectic body of work.

In a more personal level, Sebastian doesn’t shy away from life’s struggles. Acknowledging the current difficulties is something that most of us are obliged to do, but he has gone a step further in an inspiring dichotomy where, just like a balanced universe, struggles coexist with life’s beautiful pleasures, discoveries and hope for the future.

It is in this vibe that he spoke to us from his apartment in Madrid.

We’ve known you as a musician and DJ but have since discovered that you’re also a talented visual artist…

Yes, I started as a visual artist in Buenos Aires where I studied the subject – music was a bit more intuitive and self-taught. But over time, I learned that I was studying music on my own, making time for it with discipline – the exact same process I would do in a university.

I studied Graphic Design & Audiovisual Media, and finished my education in New York at the Parsons School and School of Visual Arts. I love everything visual or musical.


What was life like back then?

University was a very busy time… I was simultaneously training as a kind of professional tennis player and working in a factory to pay for my studies. It is crazy to think about it now: I’d work, then go training and attend lessons later in the day. I didn’t have a moment of quiet or relaxation.

Back then, I was still living with my family and wanted to be busy, doing stuff. My family is very hardworking and that lifestyle was all I knew. It was also a very optimistic environment, with lots of plans and always looking forward to the future. It was inspiring.


With so much going on, we wonder how did you get into music? Did you even have the time?

I always wonder about this because there were no musicians in my family… My grandmother was a piano teacher but I never saw her playing. As soon as she got married, she stopped playing as if to say: “That’s it. I’m married now – I don’t need to teach piano anymore.”(Laughs)

I think my influence comes from my father exposing me to music. I was born in the 1970s and later in the decade, I started listening to music more consciously. My grandfather introduced me to ABBA and Kenny Rogers and I’ve studied that music since I was five or six years old. I’d take a tape, go to my father’s car and listen to music – it was also a place for myself, an escape too.

I tried to understand what was going on in there that excited me so much. I wanted to understand the (music’s) secret. I never got bored and it still is my way to understand music – to listen obsessively to the same track.


That is one life-changing influence… Which other personal experiences stand out for you?

There’s a mindset that I learned when I was around 12 years old. I went to therapy to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life! There was an exercise that really helped me and it was this: imagine that you are at a dinner party, surrounded by people you like. Suddenly, people start leaving. Which one do you wish would be the last to leave and just stay with you and no one else?

This exercise still helps me when I’m confused and ask: what do you really want to do? It has helped me to focus on music because I do it regardless of my circumstances and I find more comfort in it. I understand the sound of the music more than anything else.


When you look at your career and body of work, is there anything that is closer to your heart?

This is not easy for me to answer…  When I’m working on something I really feel that’s the best I’ve done until that date because I’m evolving all the time.

Because I’m an independent musician, it means I don’t need to compromise; each work is a natural evolution. And so, I feel my latest album ‘Solo Olas’ (meaning ‘Just Waves’) is probably the best thing I have done – I learned a lot and realised many things I dreamed about such as collaborations and working with a production company for the video and a great label. I’m happy with the result.


What changed for you with Covid-19?

It’s a pity because we were ready to go on a tour with ‘Solo Olas’ and about to play at festivals. Covid-19 came and changed everything. I still hope to go out there and play with a new band I’m working with; I feel great playing with them – professional, nice people. I’m very happy with it and I hope to start over again and put the concert out. Having said that, I’m already working on a new album…

I’m used to being alone and working at home in my flat here in Madrid. It’s nothing new to me but the pandemic affected me emotionally, I’m more aware and worry about my family and friends. But I know we’re all living this.

Something that changed for me and I miss is that I used to go out every morning to have coffee, write a couple of pages in my diary and make illustrations.

I’d have this routine every day and only did it at bars, not at home. Since lockdown started, I’ve stopped writing and drawing – I lost my inspiration to do those things. I also miss the night, the music events and social activity, which is where I get my information from and inspiration too.

I also have a radio slot here in Radio 3, the most popular in Spain. I love it – I want to live in the radio! The radio segment, called “Latineando with Cineplexx”, is an informal chat about 1960s and 1970s musicians form Latin America. I talk about their stories; curiosities and play one of the songs live. I learn and get inspired by it.

I’m most active in the night but I have to wake up at 7am for this show so, sometimes I don’t event sleep… and my voice is better in the afternoon… It’s crazy but I love it.


What else are you doing to keep motivated and inspired during this time?

I suffer from insomnia and watching the sky is very relaxing to me – I even caught the Starlink train twice, which, at first, I thought were UFOs! But I have since developed this habit of spotting them. I’m also watching a lot of comedies.

Watch the full interview:

To learn more about Sebastian’s work, visit > cineplexx.net
To listen to Latineando with Cineplexx visit the YouTube channel here.

Feature image credit > Ana Montiel.