Kevin Meredith
What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? is a monthly series in which we find and talk to interesting people in our local community, whether they run a business, have an interesting job or do something else that we think is worthy of wider attention.

Kevin Meredith AKA ‘Lomokev’ is a Brighton based photographer, famous for his use of film compact cameras. He documents different aspects of seaside life, from early morning sea-swims to Brighton street style, as well as writing books and teaching classes on photography. We caught up with Kevin at his studio to find out more about his inspirations and methods.

 

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WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPOSURE TO PHOTOGRAPHY? 

In 1996, when I started a GNVQ art course (kind of equivalent to A levels), students were given a list of stuff to buy for the course. On the list was an SLR camera, at the time I did not know what an SLR was. I did my induction into the photo lab and basic photography and I just got it. I did not go on to study photography at university but I kept it as something personal to me so it never became a chore. My photography really changed in 1998 when I got a Lomo LCA, which is a quirky Soviet camera designed in 1984. The LC-A changed the way I thought about photography, mainly to not take it too seriously. It gave me a lot of creative freedom; I could, and did, take it everywhere. The ability to use it in low light made it a game changer at the time. It seems funny now but when I got my LC-A there was not much to choose from if you wanted a half decent camera that could fit in your pocket, especially if you were on a budget.

 

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WHO WERE YOUR INFLUENCES? 

I have so many photographic influences, I could list them forever so I’ll keep it to three. Fabon Moharm ran the Lomo embassy in London and was responsible for designing the crazy events that made up the Lomo Olympics that pushed my photography at the time. I’ve always been a fan of Martin Parr’s work old and new and have had the good fortune to meet him. It turns out he is a really nice chap who is really into supporting the grassroots of the photography community. I’ve also got a great respect for Frank Hurley who was the photographer for Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17). I believe that if it were not for Hurley’s photos of the expedition it would not have been as well known. He did some ground-breaking work under extremely difficult conditions.

 

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HOW DID YOU GET INTO TEACHING? 

I actually started teaching because I was asked to teach web design at Buckinghamshire New University which was where I got my degree. After I wrote my first instructional photography book I was asked to teach a photography course at a local Brighton photography studio. Since then I have taught photography all over the UK and little in the US and mainland Europe.

 

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WHO ARE SOME OF THE CLIENTS YOU HAVE WORKED FOR? 

I did a pretty fun project shooting a lookbook for Dr Martins on Lomo cameras which was pretty fun, mainly because it they were shot in and around LA and San Francisco. I used to love shooting the trend spotting for Source magazine. I did it for 3 years until they stopped doing a print edition, it was great having to do something regularly as it forced me to be creative. Recently, what I am most proud of is the work I did documenting the construction of the British Airways i360 which included a two and half year time-lapse of the construction.

 

 

WHAT/WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST SHOOTING? 

I like documenting my swims with my friends in Brighton Swimming club. I’ve swam in the sea all year round with no wet suit for the past 14 years and documented it for most of that time. Also, there are rare occasions that you get an ultra-low tide sync with a sunset or sunrise on Brighton beach, it’s a bit cheesy but you get beautiful reflections in the sand of the sky that can look magical. Quite a lot people, even some who live in Brighton, don’t realise on certain low tides there is actually sand on Brighton, it’s not just stones.

 

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HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE USE OF DIGITAL & ANALOGUE PHOTOGRAPHY? 

I don’t shoot as much film as I would like to, having a busy work schedule and family life has made it tricky to shoot much film. That said I would like to restart doing my trend spotting which was all shot on film.

 

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HOW DO YOU APPROACH PHOTOGRAPHING A STRANGER? 

Approach them with a smile and simply ask if you can take their photo, the worst thing that can happen is they can say no, that’s it. It’s very rare that people reject you. It’s pretty simple but I can appreciate it’s a confidence thing.

 

 

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WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE YOU WORK? 

It depends what I am doing, if it’s writing I need silence. But musically I love Jungle and old hardcore rave. Every Friday on Rinse FM Uncle Dugs plays old school Jungle / rave music between 11am-2pm, Dugs never usually plays music from beyond the year 1995. I always make sure I have some kind of repetitive task that does not require much brain power when his show is on so I can really get into it. I could listen to the podcast but listening live is so much better it has a really pirate radio vibe.

 

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WHY BRIGHTON? 

I’ve always loved Brighton since I first came here. I worked in London for two and half years after university. At the time I used to visit friends in Brighton and towards the end of my time in London I was coming down 3 weekends in a row. At that point I realised it was high time I moved here. In my 40 years of life I’ve only spent 5 and half years inland. I love seaside towns and Brighton is the best.

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS? 

Seeing as it’s the new year, this is what I have got planed for 2018, after that who knows? After the long-term time-lapse project I shot for the i360 I would like to do more time-lapse work. I’ve recently acquired a special time-lapse camera which will enable me to take my time-lapses to the next level. I think this year I will also kick start my trend spotting portraits again as the old editor of source got in touch and asked me to shoot a portrait of Louise O’Mahony, a Brighton fashion designer, she makes über colourful clothes so it will work really well with the way I shoot my portraits. I have also got plans for couple of exhibitions, one in Brighton using some of my swimming work and one in London with my trend spotting photos.

 

 

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Mesh Studio
What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? is a monthly series in which we find and talk to interesting people in our local community, whether they run a business, have an interesting job or do something else that we think is worthy of wider attention.

Mesh Studio  is an art and design brand and studio based in Brighton and run by Marcelina Amelia, who uses various different mediums to create and sell artwork. We caught up with Marcelina at her studio in Hove to find out more about her and the art of running an independent studio and brand.

 

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HOW DID MESH STUDIO BEGIN LIFE? 

Mesh studio came from my DIY approach. Rather than waiting for a dream commission to come knocking on my door I decided to do it myself. I needed an outlet for all of my ideas, as I have a lot of them but little time to see them through.

One day it just clicked in my head – “I need to start my own art brand”. This way I can publish my own magazines, collaborate with other people and basically bring to life all of the things I wish existed. I think I sometimes had a hard time describing myself or what I do as the way I work is very non-linear. Before I start a project I usually write a lot, I photograph, research, mood board, mock-up tiny models etc. and then decide which medium to use.

 

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So it all started over a year ago, I was toying with the idea and then suddenly I just decided to call it a MESH STUDIO as this is how my brain works. I combine all those different pieces of information coming from different mediums, meeting them in the middle to make a final pattern/piece.

It is still very early days but I’m very excited about the endless possibilities it could bring!

 

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IS ALL THE ARTWORK PRODUCED BY YOURSELF?

Almost. It is all designed by me but I have collaborated with a brand HEIHO on a range of flags and cosmetic bags that they have produced. And very recently I have invited my friend Kamila (silKKjewellery) to work on a jewellery line together and I’m very excited by the results!

It will launch online soon at www.mesh-studio.co.uk. But most things are handmade by me, I have someone helping with t-shirts, but I print all of my limited edition screen-prints on paper myself.

 

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE JOB/WORK?

I don’t want to sound cliché, but creating is like air to me. I just feel so happy that I can finally do it full time! I love making, and I love this feeling of excitement and freedom, I feel like I am in a state of endless possibilities.

 

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WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THEMES AND INSPIRATIONS IN YOUR ARTWORK?

My first line of t-shirts was heavily inspired by women’s empowerment. I seek inspiration everywhere; from my childhood memories to polish folklore to Catholic iconography. But mainly my inspirations come from my feelings. For me, feelings are difficult to convey in words.

My latest series are very much about wellness and self-acceptance. Mental health is an important subject for me too. But it is never too serious as I like the juxtaposition and contrast. For example, this is the summary of the story behind my latest screen-print ‘Sunbathing’: “I was sitting at the beach with my partner in crime, aka Wild Beaver, when we came up with this idea. Letting our bodies soak in the sun, we thought of the Broad City episode about seasonal affective disorder and it all clicked together. I’m still considering buying a ‘Sad Lamp’, all the while hoping this print will help me cure my seasonal depression.”

 

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DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE MEDIUMS/FORMATS?

Drawing is always a favourite for me, but I do also love screenprinting, it’s quite magical.

 

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WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE YOU WORK?

I love listening to podcasts, ‘Art for your ears’ by Jealous Curator is my favourite. I did have a phase of listening to podcasts about minimalism. I like audiobooks too, my recent reads include: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa.

 

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WHY BRIGHTON?

I really like it here, it is calmer than London but has a lot of going on too. Also, it seems like people are about 80% happier here. I have a sponge personality so I do like to be surrounded by positivity and open-mindedness. I do love London but after 7 years of living there I felt like a tuna in a can.

 

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WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS FOR MESH STUDIO?

Hopefully, it will grow and I will be able to do more and more! I’m hoping to expand, meaning more products, more collaborations, more events, more possibilities. My dream would be to have a studio/gallery space where all the magic would happen and people could come in/join.

 

 

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Warren Pleece
What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? is a monthly series in which we find and talk to interesting people in our local community, whether they run a business, have an interesting job or do something else that we think is worthy of wider attention.

Warren Pleece  is a Brighton based comic book illustrator, graphic artist, and brother of our director Gary Pleece. Both Warren & Gary have collaborated on various comic book titles over the years the latest of which is Montague Terrace. We caught up with Warren at his studio to find out more about him and the art of illustration.

 

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WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU WANTED TO BE AN ILLUSTRATOR?

I’ve been drawing since day one and first took it out on my Dad’s prized Jazz albums in the late 60s for want of a good bit of cartridge paper. On my foundation course at Epsom art college I didn’t have a real plan as to what I’d be doing in the future. I was doing a lot of painting at that time. I remember a tutor explaining the difference between a fine art course and an illustration course when we were considering applying to degree courses, ‘With fine art, you probably won’t make any money, with illustration, you might’. I chose illustration. Not that I’ve always been flush from it, but it’s always suited my love of drawing.

 

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HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE BUSINESS?

A lucky break in 1986 when my degree show moved up from Brighton to Centrepoint in London. Paul Gravett, aficionado and editor at comics magazine, Escape, came and liked the comic strip I drew for my final year exam project, putting me on to a whole new exciting world of graphic storytelling. I had a few strips published in Escape, a few in Woodrow Phoenix’s Sinister Romance anthology, then I started up my own comic mag, Velocity, with my brother, Gary.

 

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FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE JOB?

I’m doing what I love, creating comics, stories, drawing, painting. I often get to draw projects I’m really interested in. When I was working for the Horrible Histories magazine, each commission was a joy; Vikings one week, Medieval Plague the next. I’ve also been lucky to collaborate with a lot of great writers.

 

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WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE COMICS?

I grew up in the 70s on British kids comics, Whizzer and Chips and Warlord, then got really into 2000AD. That’s when I first became aware of particular creators. I got in to the work of Munoz and Sampayo, the Hernandez brothers and people like Daniel Clowes once I’d started drawing my own comics in the late 80s. To be honest, there’s so much good stuff around at the moment, I find it hard to pinpoint favourites.

 

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FAVOURITE PIECE OF WORK?

Of mine? That’s difficult to say. I often hate the last thing I’ve worked on, only to rediscover it years on and think it wasn’t too bad. I just see all the things that could’ve been better. I was pretty proud of Montague Terrace but would love to have another go at it. Incognegro with Mat Johnson was a high point for me, too. Ask me in a few years time when I’ve stopped hating what I’m working on now.

Of someone else? Just look at anything by Alex Toth.

 

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WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE YOU WORK?

It varies. I’m sharing a studio at the moment, so I don’t like inflict my tastes onto the others here. When I’m left to my own devices, 6 Music evening shows on catch up, Radio 4 podcasts, instrumental stuff, Mogwai, William Basinski.

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WHY BRIGHTON?

I came here to do my illustration course in the early 80s. It was exciting, I was young and it wasn’t the suburbs. It’s kind of stuck. I’ve moved away a couple of times, raised a family, but keep finding myself back here.

 

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WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?

I’m working on a couple of books at the moment; a follow up to the graphic novel Incognegro (Incognegro Renaissance) written by Mat Johnson for Dark Horse Comics and a book about runaway slaves in 18th century Scotland with the University of Glasgow. Other things, when I can get round to it, will include the return of short stories online and in print under the Velocity moniker, the magazine co-written with brother Gary that started it all, celebrating its 30th anniversary next year.

 

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Bison Beer
What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? is a monthly series in which we find and talk to interesting people in our local community, whether they run a business, have an interesting job or do something else that we think is worthy of wider attention.

Bison Beer is an independent Brighton based craft beer shop stocking a wide range of bottles, cans and home brew kits. We spoke to Jack Cregan, co-owner of Bison Beer, to find out more about him and the business.

 

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HOW WAS BISON BEER STARTED?

Nick and I lived together at university and lived above an off-licence! Several years later we jacked in the day jobs and decided to open our own place, selling beer by the sea.

 

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HOW HAS THE POPULARITY OF CRAFT BEER CHANGED THINGS IN RECENT YEARS?

Craft beer has made people sit up and take notice of what they’re chucking down their neck. Once you’ve tasted delicious, hand-made beer it’s hard to go back to the mass produced stuff. It’s also created its own kind of community – full of like-minded people that value quality over quantity. Beer is a hugely temperamental product and thanks to the brewers, suppliers and sellers, people can now gain access to fresh beer much more often.

 

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WHAT MADE YOU CHOSE YOUR CURRENT LOCATION?

We opened on East Street because it’s perfect for people to grab a few beers and sit besides the seaside. It’s not a particularly residential area so we knew business would be quite seasonal – but we had a plan for that…

 

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WHAT DIFFERENT TYPES OF CUSTOMERS DO YOU GET?

Mainly guys and girls between 30 and 40 years old. It’s surprised us to see so many females buying beer, but with the massive range of different ales it’s easy to see there’s something for everyone. We still do a fair amount of ‘Dad’ beers but it’s hard to convert seasoned drinkers from good old cask into the fresh stuff we love. We pride ourselves on being able to find a beer for everyone – be it vegan, gluten free, no alcoholic with inclusivity and accessibility of absolute paramount importance. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, it’s only beer at the end of the day!

 

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WE LOVE ALL THE PACKAGING FOR YOUR BEERS, WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE?

Dan from See Creatures studios has done an excellent job creating our original labels in an industry that is full of awesome designers. The See Side label, which is a play on words to incorporate his studio name and our love of the beach, is hard to beat because it’s like looking at the best of Brighton on a can – Dan’s the man!

 

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WHAT IS THE BEST ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?

The many, many beers! And collaborating with really nice humans of course…

 

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WHY BRIGHTON?

It’s like being permanently on holiday.

 

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WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS FOR BISON BEER?

We’re opening in Hove actually. East Street is perfect for a pit stop en route to the beach but we’ve found a place on Church Road that we feel will be more convenient for residents. And this time they’ll be able to have a drink with us at the bar!

 

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Tidy Print
What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? is a monthly series in which we find and talk to interesting people in our local community, whether they run a business, have an interesting job or do something else that we think is worthy of wider attention.

Tidy Print is a screen-printing studio and shop situated in Brighton’s North Laine. They run print classes as well as printing jobs for clients and have become part of the Brighton art community. We spoke to Dan & Jade to find out more about them and how it all works.

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HOW WAS TIDY PRINT STARTED?

Jade: Over dinner in Morocco…! We had been thinking about opening our own print studio but hadn’t talked about the additional shop until we were chatting over dinner in Morocco. We wanted to create a space that helped make art accessible. Whether that be as a customer buying art and making sure it was affordable. Or coming on a workshops and getting creative, to being an artist and needing a space to create your own work or a platform for you to showcase it.

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WHY SCREEN-PRINTING?

Daniel: The core reason is because I love screen-printing. It comes out of a love of print making in general.

When we opened the shop/studio we wanted keep our art accessible, screen printing offers this, you can buy a hand printed original piece of artwork at an affordable price as it’s often a small run although it can be a one off.

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YOUR OPERATION IS IN AN AMAZING LOCATION –WHAT WAS THE REASONING BEHIND IT?

Daniel: The North Laine is a truly free and independent community of shops and locals where we knew Tidy Print could thrive.

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DO YOU CREATE YOUR OWN WORK ALONGSIDE TIDY PRINT?

Jade: Yes absolutely, if I leave it too long without making my own work I get itchy feet! We have a few of our own exhibitions in the pipeline so watch this space!

Daniel: Of course! We try dedicate time through out the week to making our own work.

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NUMBER 1 MUSIC FOR A PRINT JOB?

Daniel: Public Service Broadcast or any good movie soundtracks

Jade: At the moment Ahohni’s album ‘Hopelessness’

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WHAT KIND OF CLIENTS DO YOU PRINT FOR?

Daniel: A complete range, from artists who want editions of their own work, design studios getting artwork for shows and clients, to people walking in off the street who spot us printing through the window.

WHY BRIGHTON?

Jade: I am from Brighton originally and I was living in South London with Daniel when Tidy Print was forming, so we needed a place that we felt Tidy Print would fit. I couldn’t think of a better place than Brighton’s North Laine. I brought Daniel down and showed him the area and he immediately fell in love. The artist community here is so inspiring and everyone enjoys helping each other flourish we couldn’t be luckier with our location.

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WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS FOR TIDY PRINT?

 Jade: New exhibitions, expand our range of our own prints, launch our own small t-shirt line and to broaden our current range of screen printing workshops in the studio as people are really enjoying them. Watch this space!

 Daniel: Like Jade said we really want to expand the workshops to include the image making process as well as the printing itself. We are about to launch some two-day workshops where people can spend the whole weekend with us.

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