Kimberley Gundle

Kimberley Gundle
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

I first saw an exhibition of Kimberley’s work exhibited at Art First in London in 2009 titled ‘A Slice of London’.  I remember looking at these paintings and thinking, these are views of a South African seeing London as some Londoners can’t; Londoners believe they are progressive thinkers, yet these paintings are an illustration of how London really is in a traditional sense and how a foreigner may view this city, juxtaposed with what is about to happen or what passes you by somewhat like the film Sliding doors with Gwyneth Paltrow.   Kimberley moved to London in 1988, she lives in a leafy suburb with her family, her studio overlooking the back of the garden. 

Artwork by Kimberley Gundle
Slice of London, Kimberley Gundle
Ceramics Sculpture artwork
Ceramics sculptures, Kimberley Gundle

I first met Kimberley in primary school in Johannesburg South Africa, as friends we played together, visiting each other’s homes after school.  At the age of 12 we both went our separate ways, completely lost touch and never saw each other again until we both turned 47 and bumped into each other at friend’s house in London. Hard to explain what that feels like to meet someone again that you remember only as a child.  Slowly getting to know each all over again as mature woman, whatever that means really.  

Artwork art contemporary art photo portrait
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Gundle’s home and studio invites an unparalleled feeling of escapism from grey city pavements and beige -washed walls, with an interior shaped by her artistic vision, swathed in intense colour and eclectic décor.  The perfect backdrop for our photo shoot.  We sit down at her kitchen table (which she designed and painted) sipping coffee and chatting before the shoot.  Then over lunch, I am updated about her work inspired by the Maasai tribes of Kenya and Tanzania.

Maasai drawing by Kimberley Gundle
Maasai artwork, Kimberley Gundle

 

It has been almost a decade since Kimberley Gundle first encountered the Maasai, semi-nomadic pastoralists of East Africa. She continues to be captivated by the physical adornment of these bold and dignified people living a fragile existence in a changing world.  Gundle’s  first experience of the Maasai was during a charity hike across the Great Rift Valley in 2009, where she witnessed their struggle for survival during a terrible drought. Yet the woman were magnificently adorned in their ornate beadwork and flowing cloth.  She has resided in many remote settlements, making drawings and taking photographs of Maasai communities in both Kenya and Tanzania,  absorbing their culture and tradition.  She explains how she feels like an anthropologist recording a culture and tradition, that is slowly being eroded by the changing world: some positive and some negative changes. 

Painting artwork artist Maasai
Maasai collection, Kimberley Gundle
Art sculpture artwork
Maasai series, Kimberley Gundle

Physical adornment is integral to Maasai culture and tradition.  Kimberley celebrates the beauty of the Maasai.  The Victorian Art critic John Ruskin states “cameos are miniature sculptures.’’  In the cameo series Kimberley depicts each member of the Maasai community within this oval shape to reference historical miniature paintings.  Traditional cameos often depicted royalty, and could be presented within a locket.  The oval shaped portrait makes each work feel small and loved, a keepsake.  She wanted each portrait to feel special and preserved within the cameo; likened to a loved one, worn close to the skin, kept warm, shielded and protected.  Portrait miniatures reflected the social history of the times. Whilst her portraits may not be in miniature form they encapsulate the essence of the miniature.  Like a loved one, the existence of the Maasai people, their culture and tradition needs to be preserved, protected and cherished.  In October 2018, Kimberley will  be exhibiting a series of detailed bronze sculptures set onto reclaimed wood, the reclaimed wood having had a former life works well with the pieces as both have a story.

a series of detailed bronze sculptures set onto reclaimed wood,
Sculpture  Kimberley Gundle
Artwork painting contemporary artist
Painting Maasai collection, Kimberley Gundle

A percentage generated from the sale of all her work returns to the communities.  She has recently completed funding a water project bringing fresh water to 5000 in the Ololosokwan community in Tanzania. Kimberley has been invited to exhibit installations inspired by the Maasai at Palazzo Bembo during the Venice Biennale 2013, 2015 and 2017.  This year Kimberley Gundle will be having an exhibition end of October in London at the A&D gallery 51 Chiltern Street, London W1 6LU.  The sales generated from this exhibition will go to Enkiteng Lepa School in Kenya which Kimberley Gundle visited in June 2018.  This school  provides education and a safe-haven for girls, rescuing them from FGM and protecting them from early marriage.  It was founded by Helen Nkuraiya.

minature sculpture contemporary art
Sculpture, Kimberley Gundle

Kimberley majored in Psychology and Fine Art. After completing her postgraduate in Fine Art at Michaelis in Cape Town she moved to London for her Postgraduate at The Slade School of Art completed in 1990.  Kimberley has lived and worked in London ever since. Her work is a combination of both her understanding of the psychology of people and being an artist.  Figurative as opposed to abstract, colour and line is what matters she tells me.  As demonstrated in her series of paintings ‘Below the knee’ she explains the thoughts behind this concept to me “You cannot choose your face, but you can choose the shoes you wear.” These portraits are about lifting the lid of the letterbox revealing an intimate part of who we are.  She often has commissions by families who want their portraits done this way. 

artwork painting Maasai cake
Maasai, Kimberley Gundle

Her artwork extends to scarves and clothing printed with her works of the Maasai, and silk rugs colourfully designed with each commission almost as a portrait of her clients character she once explained to me.  Kimberley reflects a strong work ethic and responsibility, extremely gracious and humble.  Mother of three girls and a marriage coming up to 30 years.  However when you meet her everything about her is progressive and colourful, she is constantly on the move, always creating, frequently traveling, open minded and stretching boundaries.

She exhibits internationally. Recent exhibitions include 2017 Venice Biennale , Palazzo Bembo, Head of Society German Ambassador’s Residence London, 2016  SCOPE Basel, Johannesburg FNB art Fair, Discerning Eye London, 2015  Venice Biennale , Palazzo Bembo2015,2013. 

Portrait photograph artist CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson on Waterloo Bridge
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Sometimes you meet people who no matter what they put their mind to, just think out the box. I remember the advertising industry in the 80’s  and 90’s when the UK produced the best adverts in the world.  Everyone looked to this place for inspiration and no-one could do it as well as them.

I met someone who was equally inspired by this world, at an exhibition opening, Richard Wilson who enjoyed a career in advertising and was the mind behind ‘Care for the Rare’ a creative programme for global brand J&B Rare to help save rare species.  Perhaps one of the advertising campaigns which led the way to our awareness of endangered animals and acknowledged by Prince Charles at a midsummer party at Highgrove.

Care for the Rare brand

Richard Wilson Care for the Rare
Care for the Rare
Richard Wilson
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Richard is now predominantly a filmmaker, directing, producing, editing but still works as a creative consultant.  Richard’s filmmaking journey began when he was working for WWF as a brand and creative consultant. 

Riche Rich productions Wonderful World
Wonderful World

He worked closely with inspirational film director, Ossie (Osbert) Parker, to create the most heart wrenching film a ‘Wonderful World’.  The film flips the memorable lyrics of Louis Armstrong’s iconic song to emphasise how the human race is destroying the planet.  The film paid for itself before it was launched and was adopted by the WWF global network as their new brand film.  It was later partnered by Disney for their film, Brother Bear. 

Film by Richard Wilson and Osbert Parker
Our Living Planet

Richard worked with Parker to produce another successful film for WWF Our Living Planet’ and this gave him the confidence and appetite to shoot some films for himself.  In 2005, armed with a simple camcorder, a laptop and a hunger to explore Africa, he headed off to Ethiopia, Mali and Morocco and made his own film.  Just like that.  The result is an extraordinary collaboration of various cultures converging with the most exotic locations in breathtaking footage edited into a nativity story.

WWF animation Richie Rich Productions
One Planet Future

One of Richard’s favourite films is his animation ‘ One Planet Future’ for WWF made and illustrated by primary school children.  A beautiful example of how innocent illustrations can capture our emotions and consequently the result is a compounded message, more powerful than you would expect. 

Richard Wilson on his scooter with CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

 

 

 

Richard is the genuine free spirit, impelled to follow his own calling and find meaning in his work.  He resigned from a senior job in advertising to explore his spiritual and creative quest in the nineties.  After a short trip to South India to ‘think things through’ he decided to return to London, set up as a consultant, and use his advertising skills to help causes he cares about. His first challenge was to build Care for the Rare into a successful global programme

Trouble a film by Ben Steel
Trouble

Richard also works with aspiring young filmmakers – writers, directors and actors – mentoring them and helping them to create poignant, stories, like ‘Jasmine’ and  Trouble’  which was nominated and screened at the London Short Film Festival 2014.

Film by Richard Wilson
Seconds Out

With any creative person and their ideas is the devotion to what they do and the discipline. Although Richard is a free spirit it’s his sense of community, diversity and understanding of the world as it truly is that gives him meaning, provides him with his own niche and shapes his creative ideas.

Richard Wilson Film Maker
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Jonathan Wright

Artist Jon Wright
photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

If you go down to the sea in Hove you will notice a new installation, looking up at the sky the gold shimmers against the blue, the sculpture is like a golden charm bracelet, a skateboarder, a beach hut, a windmill, a ship, a seagull, all gracefully moving in the wind or breeze twinkling at you.  It appears delicate like a baby’s mobile that hangs above a crib, each object turning aimlessly.  It is strong and solid however ready to withstand all gales and hurricanes that should hurl their way across the UK, as it stands 3 meters on a 3 meter solid plinth.  You may have seen it in the news recently, as this famous seaside town presented the ‘Constellation’ for ‘Fourth Plinth’,  the sculpture, a model of planets orbiting, created by award winning contemporary artist Jonathan Wright

Constellation by artist Jonathan Wright

Jonathan once a local Crouch Ender borne and raised, attended the reputable Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ in London, although there was no spare cash in the bank with Jonathan’s single mother, she astutely had her two sons, Jonathan and his elder brother, sit exams for them to obtain their scholarship for this prestigious school.  He tells me how much he loved the school and the size of the art department, smiling his ever charismatic smile, that gets the girl on the opposite side of the road to reverse her car into another, as she tried to catch his eye with him through the car window, this had me laughing loudly.

Artist Jonathan Wright
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

 

He is understated and humble but ferociously intelligent.  He builds most of the art himself, a secret engineer, scientist, and carpenter he received a 100% in a biology exam that no one had ever accomplished but Jonathan is an artist first.  He tells me, he already knew he wanted to be an artist age nine. Always drawing in school, and when you are good at something people reinforce it, he says.  His inspirations are looking up and being grateful. 

I ask Jonathan about his golden boats, ‘Fleet on foot’  that you see curated along Tontine Street, high up on posts.  3D printed replicas, of actual boats with a history in this town, covered in 24 carat gold leaf, complimenting the paintwork of edwardian architecture in pretty Folkestone.  This is his new home since eight years, with his wife, actress Zigi and their two children Archie and Daisy.  Jonathan also has two elder children from his first marriage, Lottie 22 and Rufus 24.  His inspiration for ‘Fleet on Foot’ came from the golden lions in St Marks’s Square, Venice, he explains.  

Art work Jonathan WrightFleet on FootFleet on

What fascinated me abut Jonathan, when I ask him about this work, is that he gave me a whole new meaning about how to understand boats, educating me on what the hull actually does.  The pressure from the water below versus the weight from above, as I gaze at another art work in his studio ‘Hulls’, the sculptures are boats that are open on one side to reveal the hollow structure, the other inscribed with words.  One of them from Hemingway’s book Old Man and the Sea, the other sculpture the emotionally charged words from broken refugees fleeing Syria to come to Italy.

Water tanks Jon Wright
Artist: Jonathan Wright

 

Artist Jonathan Wright
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

His other passion is clear as he patiently explains how incredible water tanks are, as we discuss his paintings of them, the engineering, the energy they provide, the importance of living near water and why they stand high up tall on iron stilts.  His respect of water tanks and celebrity as an artist now has his work permanently featured in Folkestone as well.  The sculptures, known as the ‘Penthouses’ not one, but five of these artworks shine in silver in strategic parts of this seaside town.  Some large, that stand above the former public baths of Folkestone following  the small and sometimes disappearing Pent stream others almost hidden above buildings and the final one at the mouth of the stream going into the harbour, where we take one of the last portraits.  He shows me all of them as he takes me around Folkestone, giving me the guided tour, including a visit to the previous residence of the late  H G Wells. You have to come to Folkestone to find them, and his golden boats.

PenthousesPenthousesPenthouses Folestone

Artist contemporary Jonathan Wright
Harnessing light by Jonathan Wright

Jonathan graduated at Middlesex University, Chelsea and Royal College of Art, only to become a senior lecturer himself, teaching at Middlesex, RCA and Chelsea for 12 years, which clarifies why he is so good at engaging your interest.  He then began focussing more on being an artist himself painting for about seven years and working on shows, it is during this time  when I first met him, and encouraged him during a party session to contribute to the book, Reflections on Nelson Mandela: Icon of Peace,  later he turned to sculpture.  Accomplished as an art director for film, advertising and TV, including Candy Crush,  he is predominantly established as one of the United Kingdom’s respected artists, showing his work internationally, New York, Lisbon, Belgium, Madrid and at home at the  Folkestone Fringes, Triennial,  plus many awards under his belt, including the prestigious 3-D Verbier residency, three months in Switzerland with everything paid for.

Jon Wright on the beach in Folkstone
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Elspeth Gliksten

 

Marie Antoinette Cakes dog corsett
photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

I took a friend of mine to see Ellie’s work exhibited in North London, and whilst we ate our salads and enjoyed a deep dark slab of gluten free chocolate cake, we observed Ellie’s work.  Colourful and thought provoking collage; layers of it, and it’s the layering of it that makes some of the pieces really interesting.  On closer inspection you will see how they layer over and over each other, whilst revealing sections of earlier work – the hidden subject is something that intrigues.  Another aspect of Ellie’s work is the surreal, and English people love lateral thinking.

Artwork glass mirror cake
Remover of Obstacles, by Elspeth Gliksten

You will notice her work is all about India. Indian images, Indian art and culture. It’s obvious and it’s a question how a blonde, petite, lively creative, super exuberant, open minded and liberal has found her inspiration from India.  Most of her work thus far is of Indian inspiration.  So of course I ask her, as anyone would, if she has been to India and she tells me of one of her several trips to this country, a month long back packing adventure around Rajasthan.  Not only with her husband but their then two year old daughter, Nell, seven year old, Al and nine year old, Grace.  They toured this exotic country, famous for its religions, spices, history and all that is colourful, beautiful and exotic, but all that is hot and over populated, sticky and sexist.  Yet I don’t know anyone who hasn’t wished to go there and do know people who have been lucky enough to visit, however, not enough to inspire most of your art work.  So I dig deeper…

Collage art India
Collage artwork, by Elspeth Gliksten

Idi Amin, we all remember him as the notorious murderer, president, psychopath, power hungry leader of Uganda in the 1970’s.  So Ellie explains about growing up in Leicester. During her childhood the Gujarati Indians, who had been kicked out of Uganda and forced to emigrate to the United Kingdom, were sent to Leicester to reside and start a new life in safety.

collage art cake m
Collage artwork, by Elspeth Gilksten

Ellie recounts how her Grandparents were one of few families who stayed in the street, surrounded by the life, colours and culture of those Indian refugees, and how they framed her life and how her family integrated.  Ellie, an English girl with blonde hair and beautiful green eyes in the cold winters of urban Leicester, with the glowing orange of living room fires in England, embraced the traditions of her Grandparents’ neighbours.  Ode to the beauty of multiculturalism!  Who could have inspired this English rose, then growing up around the scent of the Indian Ugandan friends from the centre of Africa making home in this midlands town?

How a ruthless African dictator, ordering his Indian doctors, engineers, and scientists to get out of his country, Uganda and how this piece of African history and it’s refugees make home in England and this shapes the mind of a young English artist.  Like all stories and links and connections, there is always that element of surprise.  Although familiar with what happened in Uganda, and I remember Idi Amin and I remember what happened in the airport very well, for those of you not familiar with the story, I recommend you watch the film ‘The Last King of Scotland’.

Collage Art colourful
Collage artwork, by Elspeth Gliksten
tiger glass India tobacco mirror
Mixed Media artwork on glass, by Elspeth Gliksten
Artist Elspeth Gliksten
Photo Antoinette Haselhorst

Elspeth Gliksten and her family she grew up with were all artists she tells me; Art Directors, Creative Directors, Advertising, Dance and Film. Ellie is also a dancer, a specialist tap dancer and she runs a dance school in North London. I have seen her perform, tap dancing like Fred Astaire on the stage at Jacksons Lane Theatre, Highgate.  She was photographed during this performance, and a great photo of her appears in the book ‘Reflections on Nelson Mandela: Icon of Peace’ along with her written contribution. “I always felt I was an artist”she says and although discouraged by her father because of the competitiveness of the creative industry, it was her elder brother who really nurtured her interest.

collage mixed media artwork
New Dehli, by Elspeth Gliksten

However, it was her husband Matt, whose bohemian and fascinating upbringing amidst a family of antique dealers , who finally gave her the confidence to express her almost dark and eccentric side through her art, she tells me.

layered collage Jesus
Jesus, by Elspeth Glisten

The creativity in the family is encompassed by a solid family unit and admirable energetic work ethic, whilst shooting Elspeth, her daughters actively participated in providing the cakes and helping style the set.  Grace works as a City Forex Trader, Al is a professional Rugby player & Nell has just chosen her GSCE subjects, Art being one of them.

Ellie’s first works had a massive response, which she admits surprised her, and she watched her pictures sell rapidly with her first exhibition.

Indian elephant
Collage artwork,  Elspeth Gliksten
Eating cake cakes Marie Antoinette
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst, Hair and Make – up:  Aston Davies