Blackhorse Lane Open Studios

[All images taken by Alba Ceide]


During the weekend of the 6th – 7th of June, Blackhorse Lane Studios in London hosted an open-day weekend where people could come along and watch artists working in their “natural habitat”. It was a first hand opportunity to see the new projects these artists are currently working on, as well as a chance to observe them as they utilise different styles and techniques. I attended this open weekend and had the opportunity to speak with some of these artists.

Francesco de Manincor is an Italian visual artist based in London. His work is very colourful and has a lot of humorous elements. He describes it as “cartoony with iconic characters that people can relate to”. Children love his colourful and vibrant work, and Francesco likes to listen to their opinions because “they are honest and always tell the truth”. Music is a large influence on Francesco’s work. You can easily spot big speakers in most of his illustrations. Other key influences for him are street art, comics and graffiti. The latter was one of Francesco’s first approaches to art in his native Italy.




William Stok was another Italian artist I had the pleasure to meet. Stok works with both sculptures and paintings and his work is abstract, letting the spectator choose whatever he wants to see in his creations. He compares his artwork to clouds due to the subjective nature of their shapes. His statement that “everything is an inspiration” is reflected by his unique interpretation of daily objects, with my personal favourite being a reworking of an umbrella.




Valerie Large also believes in the free interpretation of the public when they contemplate her artwork. Her paper sculptures hang around the room in different angles and positions and are fragile and powerful at the same time, with Large stating that “they change depending on your angle”. She’s been working with plastic and paper all her life (manipulating and using both of them for different purposes).




Sandie Sutton is another artist who works with plastic and organic materials. Sutton is a sculpture artist who wants to highlight the damage humans are inflicting upon nature, and in particular how plastic is very dangerous for animals and other creatures.For this purpose she creates beautiful and colourful sculptures with plastic materials she finds around her. Right now she’s working on a piece that I found particularly beautiful; a piano which is going to be fully covered with plastic.



Jonet Harley–Peters’ inspiration is also nature “in its broadest sense, mainly the elements; earth, water air etc. but also the effect of wind, rain and storm, frost and snow”. In her pictures and paintings she often contrasts colours, giving you the impression of seeing the world through a kaleidoscope. One of the main colours in her work is blue “for its calming effect. I have done lots of commissions for hospitals and health clubs where art work that calms is needed and blue does this very well”.

Neil Irons is a painter whose work also reflects contemporary events and natural disasters. His paintings present isolated houses in a flooded world; his main inspiration for these paintings comes from BG Ballad’s book “The Drowned World”. His paintings – water colour and ink – show us a hypothetic future that could easily turn into reality.




Charlotte Gerrard is also conscious of the damage humans are causing to nature and her work is a reflection of that. Cows are a main theme in her work; she contends that we over exploit them without taking into consideration the numerous benefits they afford us. Another topic in her artwork is her childhood and early memories, and in particular the dogs and ducks that made up her early life.


Michelle Reader is also in touch with her childish side, with most of her commissions for children’s exhibitions or fairs. When I visited her she was working on a project for a children’s carnival, and I was impressed with her large figures of different wild animals and bugs. A massive bee particularly fascinated me, as Michelle managed to give realism to this sculpture by using different materials.




Tam Joseph is another artist whose work has a considerable impact. One of Tam’s main inspirations is music and we can spot references to his iconic music idols, such as Jimmy Hendrix and Miles Davies, in his paintings. A piece that particularly intrigued me is a huge canvas depicting a boy holding a rifle titled “John Wayne”. For this piece Tam used house paint for the background as he found the colour and the texture were fitting. “Hypnosis” is a colossal acrylic where we can spot birds flying in a sky covered with clouds. The impression is – as the title says – both hypnotic and quite dreamy.




Jean – Pierre Mas also mixes reality and dreams in his work. Mas is a French musician who plays the acoustic guitar, creating relaxing and soft melodies that involve the atmosphere. He is self taught guitarist and since 2009 he’s been working as a photographer as well. He edits his pictures after taking them, adding different layers and textures to give the impression of looking at a surrealist painting.




For more information on all these artists please visit:

Francesco de Manincor:
William Stok:
Sandie Sutton:
Jonet Harley – Peters:
Neil Irons:
Charlotte Gerrard:
Michelle Reader:
Tam Joseph:
Jean – Pierre Mas:

Lucía Vázquez Bonome