Traditionally trained as a ballet dancer at the Academy of Music and performing Arts
in Brno, in the Czech republic, he was already fully embarked on a life of global touring and rigorous practice when his knee injury occurred.
Son of a carpenter, Konvalina was familiar the discipline involved in craftsmanship and the prospect of expressing himself on canvas seemed quite natural to him but his influences were determined by his life outside the Czech republic.
“Living in Czechoslovakia during the communist rule in 1988, I was surrounded by the conformity of the baroque buildings that surrounded me. On my first trip to New York at 19, I was shaken by the boldness of modern architecture- the strong lines and their relevance to the modern world.”
Konvalina works using acrylic paints and a spray gun. The medium allows him to work fast and the scale at which he works, allows his to use free movement- both patterns assimilated from his life as a dancer.
“I think that I express myself abstractly as a reaction to the rigid rules of ballet. Abstraction lets you escape from a world that is purely figurative and allows you to put your own image and experience on the canvas.”
Konvalina’s transition into the arts has been further helped by joining Kindred Studios where the increasing scale of his work was made possible.
See more of Zdenek Konvalina’s work here: www.konvalina.co.uk
Some of his work borders on Op Art and his themes display the graphic and illustrative qualities of Manga.
He one day he hopes to focus his work on designing album covers and working hand-in-hand with new music releases.
“The first time I saw Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew album cover, those three heads stared back at me and I thought; that’s what I want to do.”
Barefoot shares a large fully equipped printmakers’ studio with five others he met on his course at Westminster University and works long hours in what he loves, to enable his dreams to take root.
Upcycling is at the heart of Verde’s work. Her talent for composition sets her apart. Always on the lookout for an interesting piece of gilding or quilting, she scours London’s markets in search of materials she can use and rework. Verde blends fabrics, leathers and even ceramics to create her pieces. “I select, deconstruct and create new compositions.” Verde ran a womenswear shop on Portobello for many years but eventually had to give it up. When Kindred Studios opened, Verde returned to creativity to join its community of makers and return to her place of inspiration. Her work is certainly part of the very fabric of Portobello’s infamous visual identity and she's back.
Following University, Gledhill attended adult education classes in drawing and painting and built a portfolio of work that enabled him to enroll on a postgraduate Painting Masters at the Royal Academy. The rigorous and intensive practice of the RA cemented in him a valuable life-long working ethic.
Gledhill’s oil paintings are large-scale and unique; bold colours, strong outlines, skewed perspectives, often with people and buildings featuring prominently. His work is widely recognised and collected privately and by museums alike. Last year, ‘The Last Elephant’ painting (last of a triptych) was successfully sold at an auction to raise funds for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. A print of it is in the permanent collection of the V&A.
Back in April, the closure of Clink St Studios, where Gledhill worked for many years coincided with the launch of Kindred Studios, which is located close to the artist’s home. Influenced by the openness of its creative community, Gledhill is currently producing a body of work featuring the many makers inside the studios.
“The wide range of things going on inside the building, each discipline with its own way of working is very interesting to me.”
Cadiot remembers her first encounter with ceramics when she was a small child and still holds onto the clay puppet that she made that day. After numerous courses, Cadiot worked as an apprentice for Rob Goldsmith’s Selborne Pottery in Hampshire, where she learnt much about the craft.
Cadiot makes mostly functional wares. She throws, hand-builds and uses a variety of techniques for surface decoration that she applies with elegance and precision. Her natural warmth combined with fastidiousness for detail makes her a natural teacher. She regularly teaches small groups from her studio.
Before being at Kindred Studios, Cadiot worked her ceramics from her home in North Kensington. “From half of my bedroom to be precise!”
Kindred Studios has allowed Cadiot to teach whilst nurturing her own need for discovery in the field of ceramics. A dream she hoped to be able to achieve in the far future landed quite unexpectedly in her own neighbourhood, a year ago last April.
After 6 months in Australia, Houghton started a job as a printmaking assistant at the Royal College. He spent most of his lunch breaks knitting, a skill he had picked up on his travels in Australia. It was a tutor there at the time, Tricia Stanton, who encouraged him to pursue it further. Houghton applied to Middlesex University and was given an almost immediate acceptance on the year’s enrolment after another student’s funds failed to come through. 3 years later, Houghton returned to the Royal College with his Ba(Hons.) to do a Masters in Knitted Textiles.
After years of working as a Senior lecturer alongside his own projects and commissions, with large clients by the likes of Top Shop, Houghton spent much of his time working from home. “I got fed up of working on my own. Knitting is already quite isolating; it’s just you and the material. That’s when this email came through about Kindred Studios and I thought- YES, that’s what I need!”
Kim’s simple and functional ergonomic forms are finished in earthy glazes that are inspired by the painterly landscapes of her hometown. Kim’s has enduring memories of helping her father landscaping, moving earth and the influence can clearly be seen in her work.
Kim moved to North Kensington shortly after joining Kindred Studios. She wanted to be close to her work and loved the borough’s vibrant feel and diversity. “I am happy here. People connect and get to show their work, which is really good. It is a nice balance of professional and social.”
Though music plays a prominent part in White’s films, intimacy and people are his main focus whilst his pace draws you in.
“I love Woody Allen’s films; the vulnerability in his writing, his character-building. Unlike Allen, I work with minimal dialogue to begin with, and then use short intense outbursts to keep the viewer engaged.”
Much of his work is presently shot on video to keeps costs low but White hopes to one day get a shot at directing a feature-length film. With a long successful career ahead of him, his talent and determination will surely one-day be rewarded.
After her first child was born, Turbe gave up her career as an advertising producer and embarked on a new course at London Metropolitan University, studying jewellery and silversmithing. After her studies, she set herself up and worked solo in a small workshop in West London. This contrasts with her existing workspace in Kindred Studios where she shares a large workshop with 6 other jewellers.
“There’s a lot of joy and laughter when working with others. We also regularly resolve problems together on how to do things better. It’s a really happy environment to work in.”