I am pleased to announce a second screening for both ‘The Last of Letchworth’ and ‘Panic Attack’ short films at the finale of the Video Art Film Club at the Leyden Gallery in London on November 17th. These two films will be shown alongside a number of other experimental short films.
Video Art Film Club #3.
Screening of films start from 7pm until 10pm and are on a loop.
I will be taking part in a group show called ‘Unity Muse’ at the Community Museum in Letchworth Garden City in October. I am putting together a small video installation for the show. I will be adding work in progress shots to my Instagram account, please do take a look:
The exhibition has been devised by members of ‘Meet|Critique’, a group of practicing artists that meet once a month at the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth and will feature a range of media including photography, video, sculpture and painting.
The exhibition will feature work by Callum Abbott, Kasia Burke, Liz Harrington, Louise Lahive, Adrian Marden, Rhiannon Moxham, Sean Pearce, Max Plathan, Katherine Roberts, Venice Shone, Chantelle Stevenson, John Vincent and Sian Wilson.
Address: Community Museum, 12-14 The Arcade, Letchworth SG6 3ES
Dates: Sat 6th Oct to Sun 14th October 10.00am-4.30pm. (Closed:Monday 8th Oct.)
I am pleased to announce another screening of my short film ‘The Last of Letchworth’. It will be shown alongside a number of other experimental short films at the very first Video Art Film Club hosted by the Leyden Gallery in London.
Originally exhibited as part of the ‘Alternative Letchworth’ exhibition at the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth, the film is based on the activities of early residents of the Garden City.
Although not currently available online, more detailed information about the film can be found in this previous post: ‘The Last of Letchworth’
Event details and ticket information can be found here:
In 2016 I was commissioned to create a film for the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth Garden City. ‘The Last of Letchworth’ featured in the ‘Alternative Letchworth’ exhibition at the Broadway Gallery and is now available to watch online via Vimeo (see details at the end of this post).
The Research Behind The Film
In a review of the exhibition in Dezeen, Owen Hatherley described the film as “a hallucinatory film in which a toga-wearing figure limps through the garden city.” Clearly he was not entirely sure what was going on so to help, here are some key points from the research behind the film’s somewhat surreal narrative.
The film opens in the morning with a red sky. The central character in the ‘The Last of Letchworth’ with his shepherd-like appearance is loosely based upon recollections of an early Letchworth resident – Earnest Edward Ironside. He was a simple lifer who, according to the recollections, would walk along the Pix Brook wearing sandals, a loin cloth and walked with a crook. For the purposes of linking the film stylistically to one of the main archive images in the exhibition, he wears a toga more akin to this image: http://gardencitycollection.com/object-lbm1158-1. The character to the top right in this image represented the simple lifer, often referred to as ‘cranks’. Cross-referencing with other records allowed me to pinpoint the position of Ironside in relation to the Pix Brook and his possible route. Choosing specific locations was an important factor in the making of the film.
Ironside is symbolic of the steady decline of the early pioneers’ way of life leading up to World War I. The explosion, part way through his journey, references a bomb dropped on Letchworth (albeit in Willian) during World War I by a German Zeppelin.
Ironside is also followed by another character in the film, William Gaunt. Gaunt takes on various forms in the film, including an animated version of a 1940’s poster (See: http://gardencitycollection.com/object-lbm1150-2) and an incarnation of the WWI Zeppelin itself. Gaunt is represented as the figurehead of a First Garden City Ltd actively opposed to the simple lifers, fearing at the time that they may deter businesses from coming to the town.
The film is intersected at the point where onlookers come to watch the simple lifer Ironside by the appearance of Miss Black. Black lived along the same road as Ironside but was a starkly different character. From the recollections she had a dislike for children (her line ‘King Herod was the wisest man that ever lived’ indicates quite a disdain for youngsters) but most interesting it was rumoured she had two homes, ‘one for herself and one for her cats’. This rumour is partly backed up by cross-referencing with directory listings from the time – she is indeed registered at two neighbouring addresses in 1916. Her significance in the film will be discussed later.
Ironside comes to the end at a point where it is visible that the Pix Brook has been slowly covered over the years, burying an aspect of nature under the tarmac of a car park. The real life Ironside died in 1916 mid way through WWI at a time when attitudes in Letchworth were changing and the early pioneer days were at an end.
A fourth character based on Charles Purdom, exists in the background and informs much of the film with his ideas of the ‘spirit of the place’ and the ‘Wolf Gaunt’ through his work as a clerk for the First Garden City Corporation and as an independent writer. As far as I could see, he sat somewhere between the attitudes of the business minded and simple life communities. It is almost as if his character is a silent narrator in the film.
Ghosts Through Time
I was interested in creating a time traveling aspect in the film where the characters would phase in and out of their time and ours. I was also interested in location. I chose locations in Letchworth that matched closely to the places I had once lived and localised the research to those points.
Ironside is continuously tracked throughout the film as if electronically tagged. A suggestion perhaps that today, someone with his ideas and way if life would be face suspicion and derision.
I used to live close to Wilbury Road on Grange Road where three of the four characters used to live. New meaning was added to another road I was very familiar with – Gaunts Way (at the far north of the Grange Estate) but the most astonishing discovery – and with a fear of sounding like a crank myself – a real life (childhood) experience of a scary apparition of a Victorian woman whilst living on the Grange was the central reason for including Miss Black. Living only a stones throw from the house where Miss Black used to live – could that have been her coming back to haunt the local children? A coincidence I could not let go.
Showing in its original form with text from the exhibition, and some minor audio corrections, here is a link to The Last Of Letchworth:
Yes. It is that time of the year, so here is where I am at…
Despite other commitments and developing work in digital media, I have maintained my oil painting practice and have completed my first in a new series of paintings.
The above painting is drawn from the town in which I live. ‘The Streets Have Teeth’ painting is based upon a part of the town I am familiar with. The murals on the wall appear to be aimed at children but, by sharp contrast, are the pyramid structures on the ground in front of the murals along this passage way. At first glance I thought that the purpose of these were anti-homeless, but on further reflection, I suspect they are there to prevent the gathering of adolescent children. They appear to be an instance of ‘defensive urban architecture’ mentioned in this Guardian article from 2014. I could be wrong.
In essence, this series of paintings are snapshots of Britain at a moment of change symbolised in the work by a quieter battle on the streets between sodium light and bright white night lighting – old ideas and new merge garishly. The themes in the paintings complement the short films that I have finished and currently working on.
I have a new film ready and I am currently looking for places to screen it. A dark, noirish film set in a surreal world where a woman seeks escape from her life as it spirals out of control.
‘Panic Attack’ (co-written by and featuring Myriam Mégharbi) is a short film inspired by another film from 1955 called ‘Dementia’ (AKA ‘Daughter of Horror’). ‘Dementia’ can be viewed here: https://archive.org/details/daughter_of_horror
Further details (images) can be found by clicking on the film images in this post. I will have a more detailed post about this film when I finally secure a screening for it.
If you would like to preview the film for a screening event, please do get in contact.
If you are on Instagram, so am I. I have been using it over the last few months as a test bed for a variety of ideas/research with drawing sketches, video sketches, work in progress and photography. Do not expect consistency, rather this is a spew of images and thoughts, what I am working on at the time or just a playful interaction with this digital platform. GO HERE: @johnvincentart
The Instagram posts are also shared to my Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter accounts should these be preferable.
Expect more painting in the series, a new UHD video to compliment ‘Panic Attack’ and further photographic experiments.
Most images are available as prints or as originals, so should you wish to invest in some of my artworks or indeed commission new works, please do get in contact.
I am taking part in an exhibition toward the end of June. It is largely an extension of the ‘Alternative Letchworth’ exhibition which finished earlier this year at the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth. There will be some new work by the other artists involved and another chance to see my film ‘The Last Of Letchworth’. The show will also feature live ambient music by ‘Dark Room’.
Designed and built based on a dream by Annie Lawrence, The Cloisters in Letchworth is an unusual and fascinating building, both visually and from its use. The building was previously used for the study of Psychology, Theology and is now a Masonic centre.
If you are interested, you can find more about its history here.
Sunday 25th June, 4pm-7pm, admission Free.
Featuring : Trails & Tours, Crafts For Kids, Local History, Contemporary art and a bar!
How to get to Letchworth:
By Train: From Kings Cross or Cambridge stations (or from Peterborough changing at Hitchin).
The Cloisters is a short walk from the town centre. From Broadway Gardens, take South View walking all the way down to a small green (crossing over Sollershot and then Baldock Road) before following Cloisters Road until you reach the building.
I have recently split my online portfolio in to two parts as well as setting up an alternative blog and Facebook page to promote my Illustration & Graphics, Digital Painting, Commercial Photography/Retouching and Web Design. To follow the development of these, you may wish to like/follow to the Facebook page or sign up to the emailing list on the new blog via the links above. To view my new Illustration, Design and Photo website pages, follow this link:
The blog you are currently reading and associated mailing list will now concentrate on my (Fine) Art based activities – Painting, Video and Photography alongside my refurbished website fine art portfolio: