I’m a little bit in love with Bort, a street and studio artist from Austin, Texas. Bort’s work is funny, tragic, engaging, desperate, political and human. She spans spraypaint, posters and legal street art, drawings, photo transfer, prints, wood and canvas in the studio. Her themes are consistent, and because of that, are amplified in their message. I especially like the Vote Bort campaign. Here she is in her own words…

“My street work focuses on my imaginary friend, also named Bort, and the attempt to make Bort others’ imaginary friend as well. Bort has helped me feel less alone. Bort’s been there for me through so many bad days, and has helped me grapple with my past and present problems with mental illness and self destructive behaviour. Without Bort I don’t know if I would have made it through. Bort’s my closest friend.

My studio work focuses on me wanting to die, and the various means to achieve said goal. In the marginalised area between me being a transwoman and my art focusing on my experiences with mental illness, anorexia, and addiction, past and present, I can’t find a place that is interested in with working me. On occasion I can find some group shows, when I’m selling myself as a street artist, but that’s just due to the novelty of that work I guess.

When I started doing studio work a few months after starting the street work, I found art to be extremely helpful with working through, understanding, and coping with my experiences. I had never spent extensive time trying to understand my past, I had actively been trying to avoid it, but this work has helped me shine a light on it and begin to move on.

I don’t think I’ll ever be out of this stuff, I’ll have lapses, possibly relapses, I’ll have depressive episodes, I’ll have long lasting dissociative states, but I’ve begun learning how to address them. I have people I can ask for help and I’m starting to recognise my own behaviours.

The studio work has helped me a lot with all this, so I hope it can help others. There’s often a lack of representation with regards to mental illness, addiction, anorexia, and what little representation there is, is often romanticising issues, problematic or is not visually accessible.

I try to keep my work clear cut, often just a blunt focus either attempting to present an emotional state or a behaviour. I want it to be easily relatable to those with similar experiences.

I have work available in a wide price range, in my online shop. I make sure to have pieces that are monetarily accessible (or accessible as possible, since art is a luxury good). If you’re interested in work, you can email me the price range you have, and I’ll let you know what I’ve got, or if interested in a piece in particular just lemme know and I’ll give you the details. <3"

Bort’s website can be found at There’s also a good interview to check out, over at Why We Love Austin.


Artist Information, ‘No Man’s Land’, exhibition in association with Mental Spaghetti

What: Group Exhibition – Simona Pesce, Bill Daggs, Terence Wilde
When: 23-26 November 2016. PRIVATE VIEW, 25 November, 7-9pm, all welcome.
Where: Islington Arts Factory, London

Mental Spaghetti is proudly supporting the work of Simona Pesce, Bill Daggs and Terence Wilde, in their new exhibition, No Mans Land. Mental Spaghetti art assistant, Simona, is a thoughtful, politically-minded artist, who we’ve built a relationship with over many years, following her journey back into her art practice to working with Mental Spaghetti, to the emerging artist she is in the present day. She also introduced us to the thought provoking work of Bill Daggs, with his installation, ‘A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE TOILET 1981 – 2016’ at AVA Gallery, UEL end of year show, 2016.

Simona contacted us recently to see if we could arrange for them to put on this group show with one of our favourite artists, Terence Wilde. Terence agreed, with apparent enthusiasm, making this his tenth exhibition this year. Search ‘Terence Wilde’ on our blog to see his varied output, it’s all excellent.

Read on to find out about the idea behing the exhibition, and more about each artist. We hope to see you at the private view, this Friday evening.


“In ‘NO MANS LAND’ we are forced to question our identity, to ask ourselves where we stand, where we come from, and where we will go. Sculptures scatter the landscape like relics hinting at the collapse of a past civilisation, or objects of an uncertain present, as if placed in a time capsule and left as a warning of how intolerance and fear can split a society in half.

Bill Daggs and Simona Pesce are two artists whose life experiences enable them to be open to diverse cultures. Bill Daggs, who was born in North West London, has been surrounded by different communities all of his life while Simona Pesce, was born in Italy where she studied, moved to Germany at a young age and has lived in London for the past 20 years. With these backgrounds and their sense of pride in London’s culturally rich communities.

Bill Daggs and Simona Pesce are preoccupied with the outcome of the 23rd June 2016 EU Referendum and the migration crisis of 2015. These two events have forced the artists to question the place they call home and where they stand in a society that they have described as a destructive social wreckage. With these events in mind ‘No Man’s Land’ was conceived not only as an exhibition but also a beginning of a collective which aims to invite other artists to discuss the situation of our life now.

Terence Wilde, British artist and pottery instructor within the Occupational Therapy Department at The Bethlem Royal Hospital, has been invited to be part of the exhibition. His approach to the emotional wasteland and social wreckage reflects experience of loss and rejection felt by the other two artists.”


Uncle Mac’s Coffin, 2016 ©Bill Daggs

Bill Daggs’ work contains multiple references to distant cultures, remote in time and space from his own upbringing in 1990‘s London. By mixing imagery from these cultures with reference to his own past he suggests that culture and community can endure despite the hardships and challenges placed on them. There is a suggestion that these sculptures may be archaeological relics that have survived thousands of years in spite of their humble materials. Somehow they have withstood the advancements of technology and the perils of erosion and handling to survive as informative objects. The mythology in his work is playful and reminiscent of childhood games, influenced by super heroes and comic book worlds and remembers the masks we may have worn ourselves while lost in our own imaginations.


Untitled tryptich, 2016 ©Simona Pesce

In the last few years Simona Pesce’s work has developed ideas through sculpture and installation, but she also makes paintings and prints. She uses a range of traditional materials such as plaster, bronze and steel, as well as natural, found and recycled materials such as soil, wood, leaves and wool. For Simona, process is as important as the final outcome of the work because the process informs the work. Influences of Arte Povera are evident in her choice of material and minimalistic approach towards the work. Her work offers the chance to question and reflect on the bizarre duality of human solidarity and hatred, as well as the legacy that modern society is leaving to future generations.

Family Tree, 2015 ©Terence Wilde

Terence Wilde produces detailed pen drawings using black and white as his main palette and is a prolific potter. Often the drawings relate to his radical ceramics. The illustrations and ceramic objects are responses to different situations that he considers to be his ‘real’ life’s work as an artist. He uses experiences from different time periods and places which are organised in such a way to enable him to express his views. His visual language conveys a sense of history and how life is now.

For more information on the artists and exhibition, contact:

Mental Spaghetti & Uncooked Culture present: One Bare Foot Square

What: One Bare Foot Square
When: Mondays only, 7 November – 19 December 2016, 12 – 8pm.
Where: The Dragon Cafe in the crypt of St. George the Martyr, London, SE1 1JA.

Mental Spaghetti is proud to be working in partnership with Uncooked Culture to bring touring exhibition One Bare Foot Square to its next world stop in London – The Dragon Café.

Everyone is welcome to attend the private view, and meet exhibiting artists, on Monday 7 November 2016, 7-8pm (exhibition is open from noon onwards). From 7pm curator and artist, Nok, will introduce the project, followed by character comedy from Catherine Goodwin aka Badwind, and spoken word from Rosemary McLeish and Gareth Hughes.

Anyone wishing to create their own square to add to the travelling exhibition should contact Nok, Uncooked Culture,, or speak to us directly at The Dragon Café private view.

Artwork ©Rosemary McLeish


‘ONE BARE FOOT SQUARE’ is a collaborative artist-led travelling mosaic canvas – the individual artworks uniting to form one large wall piece.

Traveling from its first stop at Amsterdam Outsider Art Gallery, at The Hermitage museum – The Netherlands (30 July -13 August 2016), the travelling mosaic has arrived at its second stop, hosted at The Dragon Café, London, co-curated by Marie-Louise Plum of Mental Spaghetti.

Artists create a one foot square canvas, ultimately forming a larger piece of art, with variable dimensions depending on the exhibition space. Outsiders, Neo-Outsiders & artists from all other stops, will be contributing their creations as the ‘uncooked’ boundary-crossing tour progresses.

The mosaic canvas projects a wide spectrum of experience, weaving together each artist’s life journey; reflecting on their memories, hopes, thoughts & imagination through their diverse practices, from illustration, painting, stencil to mixed-media.

One Bare Foot Square’s destinations are led by participating artists, who initiate which country it will be exhibited next. Before the project departs from each stop, local artists are encouraged to add art in the next location, with their own one foot squares on canvas.

Artwork exhibited at The Amsterdam Outsider Art Museum, ©Uncooked Culture


78 International Artists living/working in 15 different countries

Isis Nedloni – Netherlands, Julia Sisi – France, Dan Casado – France, Jim Lockton – UK, Louis Vuittonet – USA, Ian Pyper – UK, Marie-Louise Plum – UK, Alison Silva – USA, Henk Koekenbier – Netherlands, Gustav Glander – Spain, Jim Meehan – USA, Rinaldo Klas – Suriname, Dion Hitchings – USA, Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi – Suriname, Evgen Copi – Slovenia, Vasko Vidmir – Slovenia, Edward Woltemate, Jr – USA, Josianne Ishikawa – Japan, Ascension Lorente-Huguet – UK, Kobina Wright – USA, Werens Puig – Spain, Kate Bauen – Switzerland, Carlo Keshishian – UK, Brian Gibson – UK, Rufai Zakari – Ghana, Stephen Judges – USA, Risja Marie Henriëtte Steeghs – Netherlands, Shaundell Horton – Suriname, Jenny Hartley – New Zealand, Lynn Todd – New Zealand, Andrew Stahl – UK, Chakkrit Chimnok – Thailand, Susan Biebuyck – USA, Timothy Campbell – USA, Sancha Sullivan – Suriname, Zoran Milavera – UK/Macedonia, Mahlia Amatina – UK, Tontxi Vazquez – UK, MaryAnn McCarra-Fitzpatrick – USA, Nick Stavrides – USA, Renée Rey – USA, Patrick Jude – USA, Mow – UK, Christy Symington- UK, Hiroko Nakajima – Japan/UK, Tom McGill – USA, Chris Czainski – UK, Paul Czainski – UK, Erin O’Rourke – UK, Kristen Woodward – USA, Liz Parkinson – Australia, Bert Schoonhoven – Netherlands, Carla van Slooten – Netherlands, Pam Santi – USA, Jeff Roland – France, Jade Chorkularb – UK, Gareth Hughes – UK, Sandra Mendelsohn – Netherlands, Sejin Park – South Korea, Yvonne Mabs Francis – UK, Miranda Sky – UK, Helen Roeten – Netherlands, John Adkins – USA, Edward Kingsbury III – USA, Eva Preston -USA, Jeroen Rolf Schoonhoven – Netherlands, Rosie McLeish – UK, Florain Haeck – Netherlands, Ezra Swaanswijk – Netherlands, Judith McNicol – UK, Cathy Ward – UK, Yairs Agam-Aa – Netherlands, Norbert de Jong – Netherlands, P.M. Jordense-Michalski – Netherlands, Ralf Kokke – Netherlands, Jason Hankins – USA, Sophie M. Adams – UK & Chutima Kerdpitak(Nok) – UK.

Chutima Kerdpitak (Nok), Uncooked Culture ( /
Marie-Louise Plum, Mental Spaghetti ( /

Call for Submissions: ONE BARE FOOT SQUARE

WHAT: Call for art submissions for One Bare Foot Square.
WHEN: Deadline, 7 May 2016. First show runs 30 July – 13 August 2016.
WHERE: Launch exhibition, July 30 2016, Amsterdam Outsider Art Gallery.

Are you an artist interested in exhibiting with other artists, in a collaborative touring exhibition, with the opportunity to host the artwork locally? Yvonne Mabs Francis alerted us to this excellent opportunity from Nok and Uncooked Culture, read on to get involved…

Following 4 years of travelling art work, across the UK and three continents worldwide, UNCOOKED CULTURE are calling for art submissions to be part of their new new touring exhibition, ‘One Bare Foot Square’.

Example of artwork: Painting created by Bert Schoonhoven on bare canvas,
16 x 16in (30 x 30 cm) including blank borders.

CONCEPT: ‘Led by artist ‘Nok’, the founder and director of Uncooked Culture, this new touring art project aims to “create mobility and accessibility of art and build a Sustainable Artists Community across the world”, and they “encourage and invite artists from all disciplines to participate in the project.”

BRIEF: Dimensions of the work must be 16 inches square, consisting of a painted area on bare canvas (without any support or stretchers). The painted area must be 12 inches square, leaving a 2 inch blank/unpainted margin around the artwork. Each individual artwork will be stitched onto a piece of fabric, to form a large collaborative artwork, using the four corners of the 2 inch margin area to create a big wall mural on large scale fabric support. 

The required 2 inch surrounding margin around the painted area is designed to serve the purpose of selling the work. Once an artwork is purchased, the work can be wrapped and fixed onto a standard 12 x 12 inch stretcher (canvas frame). Some stretchers/canvas frames and mounting service may be provided in the exhibition.

THEME: ‘Paradox of Life… Bright & Dark side of the Moon’. Your life expression, or story, on each single square canvas will be a part of this collected ‘Life Journey Mural’. The mural will reflect the spectrum of human paths, experience and psychology.

KEY WORDS: Life journey, bright or dark side – Imaginative journey – Fantasy adventure – Reality – Capability – Incapability – Coordination – Fragmentation – Dream – Struggle – Naievety – Purity – Manipulation

INSPIRATION: The project is inspired by artists mosaic canvases from the previous Uncooked Culture art project, ‘Circus Terminal Worldwide’, Suriname, South America 2014.

Deadline for expressing your interest: 25 March 2016
Deadline for artwork JPEGS (work in progress images are acceptable): 30 April 2016
Deadline for artwork delivery to Uncooked Culture in London, UK: 7 MAY 2016
Submissions must be sent to: /

LAUNCH EXHIBITION: ‘One Bare Foot Square’ is scheduled to be launched 30 July 2016 at The Amsterdam Outsider Art Gallery in The Netherlands at its old location in Amsterdam (Nieuwe Keizersgracht 1A, 1018, DR Amsterdam), with the first exhibition from the project. Dates of the debut exhibition are to be concluded.

SELLING WORK: All works will be at set wall-price of £200 each, including 20% contribution to the project from the sales of artwork. Pricing your artwork in an exceptional cases can be discussed. Changes of price are possible, based on situations such as required commission from the venue/gallery hosting the project and nature of different currency. All participating artists will be informed in advance if the set price would need to be adjusted.

OPPORTUNITY TO HOST THE PROJECT: All participating artists are invited to host the touring wall mural in their town or city. ‘One Bare Foot Square’ adopts a format used in the ‘Uncooked Culture – Circus Terminal Worldwide’ project, bringing local and international artists to collaborate and share their inspirational creativity together. Everywhere the project will be held, local artists will be invited to create square canvases to incorporate the mural from international artists. Lead artist(s) of each exhibition stop, where the project will be held, will be working closely with Nok, the project lead artist. Additional events, such as workshops, are encouraged to be held along with the exhibition to inspire creativity to the local community.

Please feel free to get in touch if you are interested in hosting this project with Nok in your community:

PLEASE NOTE: Only original artworks will be accepted. Computer generated work and any forms of reproduction, except handmade print-making, will not be accepted. Only recent artworks created during 2013 – 2016 will be included in this project. Artists can replace their sold artworks with other artworks that follow the format required for the project.

WHO CAN SUBMIT: Both non-members and members of Uncooked Culture at An artist can submit various forms of art on canvas – drawing, painting, collage, handmade print-making & mixed-media. A maximum of 3 works per artist can be submitted. Sculptural works can be submitted upon discussion of format, dimensions and weight condition, please contact Nok to discuss specifics:

More info about Circus Terminal Worldwide, on Facebook:

Circus Terminal Worldwide at Uncooked Culture’s Archive

Installation viewing with added mince pies!

Back in October, in collaboration with Free Space Gallery, Mental Spaghetti and eight contributors* made an outdoor installation. Using plaster of paris, we cast, carved and sculpted our way to making ex-voto style offerings, on plinths, to sit in the front garden of Free Space Gallery.

The collaborative sculptures are now installed in the front garden at Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town Health Centre. Please join us, this Friday 18th December, from 3-5pm at Free Space Gallery. Melissa from Free Space and Marie from Mental Spaghetti will be there, with mince pies and mulled wine, and we hope that you can all make it along to view the installation.

As well as seeing our work in the garden, there’s also an opportunity for you to view the latest Free Space Gallery exhibition – ‘Vulnera’. Hope to see you there!

*If you would like to take part in making something like this artwork, look out for upcoming workshops by following the MS blog.

A huge ‘thank you’ from Barking!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came down to our private view for the Mental Spaghetti group show in Barking last Friday, and to our ever-helpful and accommodating hosts, Studio 3 Arts.

An especially big thank you and congratulations goes to our featured artists!

The exhibition continues until Friday 24th July, so we aren’t putting all the photos online yet. Here are a few sneaky peeks for you!

We had a steady turn-out of folks over the evening, despite being situated off the beaten track, who all thoroughly enjoyed viewing the work by Lazz Ozerden, Jan Arden, David Feingold, Marie-Louise Plum and Faye Scott-Farrington. The sun was out, the garden was glorious and drinks were flowing. Oh, and Chipsticks. Essential!

A few snaps from the evening…










…and a digital postcard from Barking itself…

Hope to see you here before we head for pastures new in August!

❤ Mental Spaghetti

Thoughts on our Outside In visit

Mental Spaghetti took a rather scenic South Downs-traversing train trip to Chichester last week, to meet our friends at Outside In, hear their latest news, and to finally check out the fine collections on display at Pallant House Gallery – more on that later.

If you’re reading this right now, it means you’ve found our site, which presumably means you’re interested in the arts and mental health…which almost certainly means you’ve heard of Outside In.

Founded in 2006, by Pallant House Gallery, the Outside In programme is led by Executive Director Marc Steene and his team, and “provides a platform for artists who see themselves as facing barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation.” 

Since Outside In started, it “has engaged more than 5,000 artists traditionally excluded from the mainstream art world, 170,000 audience members and 80 partner organisations nationally”, and has “held over 30 exhibitions and currently supports 2,000 artists.”

Detail of foyer installation at Pallant House Gallery, partnership project between Outside In and Graylingwell Heritage

Marie went down to meet Outside In manager, Jennifer Gilbert, and communications manager, Kate Davey, (who also runs KDOUTSIDERART, a thoughtful and informative blog focusing on Outsider Art, and artists). We spoke about our own projects, what direction we’d like to take Mental Spaghetti in, and what Outside In had been up to recently, what they have coming up (Nek Chand! See this post here).

Then we came to talk about the Step up programme.

Step Up is the training and professional development arm of Outside In which offers two courses, one to train artists as workshop leaders and another, which offers the skills needed to make critical and contextual studies of gallery collections. Whilst on the programme artists are trained over ten sessions to lead workshops and to carry out research, which currently happens with the collections at Pallant House Gallery.

Jennifer explained to me that artists on the Outside In:Step Up programme can really choose whether to disclose their experiences of lived mental health difficulty once out in any professional setting, as, unless dealing with future employers, groups or individuals who are aware of the programme, it carries no glaring ‘we’re working with mental health service users’ tagline. At this point I should make it clear that, like Mental Spaghetti, Outside In work with people from all sorts of backgrounds and reasons for experiencing life on the margins, yet mental health difficulties always feature in some way.

What I find really interesting about Outside In and the Step Up programme, as well as it being a fantastic programme and opportunity for artists, is the tone of their activities and initiatives (which I first gathered from their smart and clever name), and the subtle and sensitive approach to marginalised individuals ability to infiltrate a mainstream on their own terms. Artists have the option of not disclosing their mental health or related experiences, if they so wish.

Detail of foyer installation at Pallant House Gallery, partnership project between Outside In and Graylingwell Heritage

The discussion for me was of particular interest as, well, you can’t really get away from our name and its connotation – we’re Mental Spaghetti, for crying out loud, literally! We’ve found that it suits the artists we feature, at the point of their participation in our workshops, exhibitions or being featured on our website, in a sort of ‘coming out’ way. But we have been met with criticism at times, and our tongue-in-cheek name has caused offence before. A good example being that we’ve just had to change our latest show title, ‘Barking Mad?’, to something a little less contentious for the area of, er, Barking. Understandable, of course.

The discussion with Jennifer and Kate carried on a similar theme chewed over with Bobby Baker and her Daily Life Ltd team sometime last year – how to make it known you are working with service users, and how to promote mental health awareness, without either being bogged down with the more corporate, heavy image of mental health – all clinical and medical and officey – or coming across as not taking things seriously enough.

How can mental health awareness be just that – being aware – but not something that is forced on people, yet highlighting the plight of awareness at the same time? Treating people differently if their needs require, or to be aware of their differences and needs, but not making a big deal out of them, or making people feel even more on the outside.

For artists, being aligned with Outside In provides a serious way of integrating yourself into the art world, and any community or workplace, having the choice to proceed without fear of stigma, or without being pigeon-holed as a ‘mental health artist’, or similar. I asked Jennifer if this approach has faced any criticism from anyone who may see it as shying away from being associated with mental health awareness, but of course, it has not.

Tile installation in Pallant House Gallery foyer

With just three team members and Marc at the helm, Outside In is an exciting and impressive organisation, led by people who personally care about their artists and Outsider Art (although, do remember, not all the artwork they featur is Outsider Art). Jennifer has a Masters in Art, Health and Wellbeing, her passion lies with Outsider Art, Kate has Masters in Art History and Museum Curating, specialising in the ethics behind curating exhibitions of Outsider Art and Hannah, who I sadly didn’t meet this time, also has a passion for Outsider Art and a degree in Fine Art. You can meet the team, virtually, here!

I would urge absolutely everyone to check out Outside In, but especially artists looking to have their own online gallery, the opportunity to sell work on their site, and to further develop skills and experience not as readily available to those who find themselves marginalised or behind barriers of accessing the mainstream art world. I would also urge you all to go and visit the gem of a gallery that is Pallant House.

To those in the know, Pallant House Gallery is home to a large cache of impressive British art (but not only), with about 50% of their collection in storage (this means you need to not just visit once – things change!). Their invigilators are extremely knowledgable about the work both on display, and in storage, and I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of an impromptu one-person guided tour of the permanent collection, before getting lost in the world of Leon Underwood, their main temporary exhibition, running until June 14th. There are three other exhibitions on at the moment, all well worth checking out – more info here.

I’ll leave you with some images from my day in Chichester, but not before I thank Jennifer and Kate for being so kind to spend some time chatting to me – Thank you ladies!

‘China Dogs in a St. Ives Window’, Christopher Wood, on display in the permanent collection

‘Still Life with Bow Teapot’, Bouke De Vries

‘The Three Graces’, Leon Underwood

Francis Bacon

Entrance to main collections and side galleries

And finally, a remaining panel of one of the most enchanting installations I have ever encountered, Susie MacMurray’s ‘Shell’, which I implore you to investigate further, starting here.

‘Shell’, Susie MacMurray