A Mental Spaghetti 2016, here’s to the future!

2016, despite its infamy as a problematic and troublesome year, brought us many positives and much pleasure in the form of large scale group exhibitions, our first ‘Spaghetti School’ residency at Free Space Gallery, and working with some of our favourite comrades on exciting new projects designed to spark debate and question closed answers.

We worked as part of the Roving Diagnostic Unit (see photo, right), for Bobby Baker’s Daily Life Ltd., which saw us carrying out performances and workshops at the William Morris Gallery, Vestry House Museum and the Wellcome collection, for the Diagnosing Diagnosis symposium to accompany their latest exhibition, ‘Bedlam’. The workshops were designed to make people think about diagnosis and what it means. Our workshop, A Diagnostic Portrait of…, had participants team up to draw large scale portraits of their patients (objects in situ at Vestry House) using only character descriptors.

Our own exhibition output last year was bumper – we had a large group show to kick things off at Menier Gallery, followed by two more exhibitions in London, co-curated with The Dragon Café and Uncooked Cultures, plus a co-curated exhibition with AIMS, at the Oxford Museum and Town Hall Gallery. Over 20o artists were promoted through these exhibitions, with many of them selling work and gaining further professional exhibitions through the exposure of our shows. To date, (since 2011), we have reached an audience of over 10,000 online, shown the work of over 200 artists to a physical audience of 1,000+, and worked closely with 10 artists to mentor and support their practice.

Workshops have covered printmaking, sculpture, collage, alternative ways of drawing, and a collaboration with artist and photographer, Catriona Gray, to deliver a series of photographic mixed media workshops at Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town. The photos below show collage work, the process of lumen exposure photography, and the final outcome of combining the lumen technique with printmaking. All workshops are free, supported by the ever excellent Kentish Town Improvement Fund and Free Space Gallery. Extra support in the form of volunteers comes from Clean Break.

Collage work by Alexandra at Spaghetti School Lumen exposure photography Lumen photo exposure combined with printmaking

2017 – onwards!

First up, January 23, we have a printmaking workshop at The Dragon Café for Broken Grey Wires. If you already know the Dragon Café, you’ll know that spaces are limited, and you must be registered with them to take part. The workshop starts at 3pm.

Next, we are over the moon to be working with the young people of Snowsfield Adolescent Unit at the South London and Maudsley Hospital. Work to start in February, and while it is only open to residents at SLaM, we will report back with our artistic endeavours.

Spaghetti School will be starting again in March, and continuing in 5 week blocks throughout the year. Keep your eye on the blog for news to come!

We’ve got loads of new artists to update you with, so make sure you are following the blog and all good social media outlets (you know the ones, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to keep up to date with who’s doing what.

Finally, Happy New Year, everyone!

Advertisements

Exhibition: Letting in the Light


Image above from previous Daily Life Ltd lightbox exhibition in Dalston.

What: Letting in the Light: an exhibition of powerful, affecting and exuberant work to light up our lives
When: 25 January – 24 March 2016
Where: Centre of Stratford

Mental Spaghetti is really excited that three of our favourite comrades – Daily Life Ltd, Outside In, Bethlem Gallery – have teamed up to bring you this new exhibition. Extra excited in fact, that two artists we’re exhibiting at the Menier Gallery next week (info here ) are also featured in the lightbox exhibition. Read on…

Outside In is proud to have worked on this exhibition in collaboration with Daily Life Ltd and Bethlem Gallery to showcase high-quality work by thirty-five artists on the subject of how art can illuminate our understanding of the experience of mental distress. Featuring work by artists with personal experience of mental health issues, the group exhibition is made up of works selected through an open call process.

The exhibition title is a reference to Groucho Marx’ line: ‘Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.’ Artist and Daily Life Ltd’s Artistic Director Bobby Baker says: “I was judged and underestimated when I had mental health problems, but when people see my autobiographical drawings it helps change the way they think about mental health. Artists like us, with unique experiences, can create work that enlightens and delights people.”

The hope is that the works, displayed in illuminated lightboxes, will lighten up the lives of passersby in Stratford during the dark, damp winter months with wit, beauty, insight and artistry.


Above, work by Bobby Baker (l) and Phil Baird (r).

Artists
Bobby Baker, Jan Arden, Liz Atkin, Phil Baird, Stephanie Bates, Jackie Bennet, Anna Berry, Greg Bromley, Lea Cummings, Kim F, Chris Gray, Lesley Greening Lassoff, Greenwoodflett, Nuala Hamilton, George Harding, Manuela Hubner, John Jennings, Jane McCormick, Tilley Milburn, Sue Morgan, Graeme Newton, Julia Oak, Helen Parker, Yvonne Mary Parker, Martin Phillimore, Daniel Regan, Sara Rivers, Kate Rolison, Dolly Sen, Tess Springall, Jasmine Surreal, Sue Trickey, Kristina Veasey, Terence Wilde, Anthony Woods-McLean.

Bobby Baker
Bobby Baker is a woman and an artist acclaimed for producing radical work of outstanding quality across disciplines including performance, drawing and multi media. In a career spanning four decades she has, amongst other things, danced with meringue ladies; made a life-sized version of her family out of cake; and driven around the streets of London strapped to the back of a truck yelling at passers by through a megaphone to ‘Pull Yourselves Together.’
Baker’s touring exhibition Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me 1997-2008 premiered at the Wellcome Collection in 2009. The accompanying book of the same name won the Mind Book of the Year 2011. Her most recent show, Mad Gyms & Kitchens, was commissioned as part of London 2012 Unlimited for the Cultural Olympiad.

Daily Life Ltd
We believe that people with personal experience of mental health problems should be valued for their strengths, insight and creativity and that when they are, everyone benefits.
Our mission is to create powerful art and platforms that change the way people think about mental health. We work to transform how people see themselves and each other, and to stimulate dialogue that builds bridges of connection and understanding. As a disabled artist led organisation, our work is founded on the knowledge that people with personal experience of mental distress are uniquely able, as ‘experts by experience,’ to make exceptional new art and provoke new ways of seeing.
http://www.dailylifeltd.co.uk

Outside In
Outside In, founded by Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, in 2006, provides a platform for artists who see themselves as facing barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. The goal of the project is to create a fairer art world which rejects traditional values and institutional judgments about whose work can and should be displayed.

Bethlem Gallery
The Bethlem Gallery provides a professional platform for artists who are current or former patients of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Exhibitions and events are programmed throughout the year presenting a wide range of media and contemporary practice. We campaign for access to the arts in healthcare environments, and engage audiences in learning and debate on the subject of mental health. The Bethlem Gallery is funded by the Maudsley Charity.

Event: Cure All Karaoke!

Come one, come all, come sing your little heart out! News is that there’s something fun for you to do this Friday, east London way, courtesy of our comrades, Daily Life Ltd. Read on, chums…

What: Karaoke Extravaganza!
When: Friday 4th December 2015, 7:30pm – late
Where: Chats Palace, Hackney, London E9 6DF


CURE ALL KARAOKE EXTRAVAGANZA NIGHT OUT!
Do you need saving from your December Blues?
Bobby Baker and the Daily Life Ltd are here to help!Friday 4th December 2015, 7:30pm – late 
Chats Palace, Hackney, London E9 6DF
GET TICKETS HERE!
This incredible evening includes:
Bobby Baker and her legendary show COOK DEMS featuring her fabulous BAKED ANTLER recipe for Survivors with Status.
Edible PRIZES for the best song! Wow!
Art Tombola and more!

Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime to mingle with some Cool Cats and Diggedy Dogs
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

 

Roving Diagnostic Unit

Mental Spaghetti has been invited to join Bobby Baker and her team as part of the Roving Diagnostic Unit at Shuffle Festival, taking place tomorrow, 25th July 2015!

Check out the details below and come and join us for investigations, tea, cake, and later, a top notch, Cure All Cabaret (tickets for both available here).

The Daily Life Ltd needs YOU!

Our friends and comrades in art and mental health, The Daily Life Ltd, led by Bobby Baker (not a man), have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for 3 new animations starring Dr Bobby, Roxy and Rudi. Together they will spread the word about their fantastic arts & mental health programme.

Can you help? Here follows a short broadcast from Dr Bobby…

And now some more information from the Daily Life Ltd. team…
Hello! Team Daily Life Ltd here – thanks for stopping by. We’re an arts organisation based in Stratford, East London. Our Artistic Director, Bobby Baker, is well known as an artist and as an ‘expert by experience’ of the mental health system. Our whole mission is to create powerful art that changes the way people think about mental health. We want as many people as possible to see surprising and beautiful work by artists with personal experience of mental health issues – and we need your help.

2e402f3aa24b1c505c628698b35c093d_large

About this project: who we are and what we do…


The Roxy and Rudi Roadshow Local Wellbeing Research Unit, Shuffle Festival (2013) Photograph: Hydar Dewachi

Having produced Bobby’s art for years, we are now beginning to present work by many more artists who have lived experience of mental distress. This year we’ve raised money to tour exciting work by a group of talented poets, performers, artists and musicians in East London.

Here are some of our amazing lineup:


Selina Thompson, Chewing the Fat (2014)


Laura Jane Dean, This Room (2015)


Simon Raven, Cool Party (2014)

We’ll also be presenting work by artists from the wonderful Outside In at Pallant House Gallery and Bethlem Gallery:

Bethlem Gallery website. Screenshot: February 2015


Outside In National, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2012) Photograph: Jason Hedges

We’re touring to East London venues like the pioneering Bromley By Bow Centre, Kingsley Hall, Shuffle Festival, and Queen Mary University, London.
Plus we’re planning another stunning Lightbox installation this autumn, building on the success of exhibition in Dalston last year – but this time in Newham.


The Expert View, Lightbox installation, Dalston Square (2014) Photograph: Andrew Whittuck

What we want to do now – with your help
The art is all sorted, as you can see, but now we need to make sure people know about it – locally and online. We’re a minuscule company, so we’re asking for your support to pay for our creative collaborators (Kate Bland, Cast Iron Radio, Pete Baynton, Radish Pictures, Bobby Baker aka ‘Dr Bobby,’) to help develop three more ‘Promo Cartoons.’

Thanks to Pete, Kate and the rest of our collaborators working with Bobby, our tiny, terrific and talented Roxy and Rudi Marketing Team have already been on the road on their mission to SAVE HUMANITY! Check them out on YouTube. As well as promoting new work, the cartoons are also a way of recording our activities and sharing them with people far beyond our East London stomping ground – Roxy, Rudi and Dr Bobby are a multitasking team!

A bit of background information

For those of you who don’t know us yet, and why we have such a passion for the arts and mental health, here’s a word from our Artistic Director Bobby Baker, aka ‘Dr Bobby:’


Bobby Baker, How to Shop (1993) Photograph: Andrew Whittuck

“Hello! I’m an artist and the Artistic Director of Daily Life Ltd. We’re a small Arts Council funded arts organisation based in East London.

I’ve been an artist for 40 years or so, making lots of work about daily life, being a woman, bringing up children, power, that sort of thing …How to change the world, basically.
Between 1997-2008 I had a period of serious mental ill health. I made lots of work about this experience. I had all sorts of treatment – some of it good – and in the end I got better. I’m now proud to describe myself as an expert by experience of the mental health system, and I’ve been Tip Top up Top for a decade or more. But there’s a lot of ignorance, fear and prejudice about mental health out there. This affected me very badly and still does, as it does others. Mental health is a subject that provokes strong feelings – people can get shouty, or boring, or bored or even more confused.

So that’s where the art comes in!

We know that powerful art changes lives and transforms thinking. We want more people to see great work by many people – many more voices, many experiences. We’d love your support to make the The Roxy and Rudi Roadshow Cartoons, so we can promote our fantastic 2015 programme to a wider audience.”

-Thanks, Bobby!


Bobby Baker, Pull Yourself Together, Trafalgar Square, London (2000) Photograph: Hugo Glendinning

Okay, folks, final word from team Mental Spaghetti – go help our buddies Bobby Baker and The Daily Life Ltd. raise what they need to animate their adventures! Thank you!

2e402f3aa24b1c505c628698b35c093d_large

Bobby Baker’s diary drawings.

In June 2009 I went to the Wellcome Trust museum to see a wealth of drawings, watercolour paintings and diary entries by the performance artist and once mental health service user Bobby Baker.

It was truly an astounding body of work; Bobby had written an entry for nearly every day of her time as both inpatient and outpatient at day centres, psychiatric wards, sometimes in therapy and sometimes on medication. In total there were 711 drawings from over 11 years, of which 158 were selected for exhibiting at the Wellcome.

Read more about the archived press release here. A book of the work exhibited is available to buy from Amazon (although you don’t have to buy it here!).

Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings on exhibition in 2011 in Amsterdam