Featured artists

Zdenek Konvalina, painter

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

Aiden Barefoot, printmaker

“As a kid, I was ALWAYS drawing. I discovered printmaking during my Art Foundation year. It felt to me like an extension of my ideas, a natural progression from my lines; it made complete sense to me.”

Influenced by the skateboard and music-scene aesthetic, Barefoot uses bold imagery and his work is an interplay of strong graphic elements. His prints begin as drawings, often using a tablet and after some digital manipulation, he screen-prints his layers onto large sheets of paper.

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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.

The work of Aiden Barefoot can be found at: aidybrft.tumblr.com

Giusi Verde, leather artisan

Daughter of a bespoke men’s tailor in Italy, Verde remembers reluctantly helping her father to finish and detail commissions. “I didn’t like to in those days but I only came to realise much later how much this period really influenced my life. My father’s shop was a relic from the 1930s in the heart of Cremona, very atmospheric. It was full of checks and tweeds and he used well-worn, old-fashioned cutting tools.”

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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.

Giusi Verde's work can be found on: www.facebook.com/G.VERDE.artisanstudio/photos_stream

John Gledhill, painter

During his English and Philosophy degree, Gledhill found himself quite by accident at an open-session ceramics workshop at Lancaster University.

“It was a place that was used informally by students in those days. That’s when I started finding out that I wanted to be an artist. My main influence though were the Beatles. As a lad, I was brought up believing that modern artists all had foreign names like, Matisse, Picasso, Rembrandt but when the Beatles came on the scene, well, they inspired a whole generation of us, especially from up North.”

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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.”

John Gledhill's work can be found at: www.artgallerydesign.co.uk/John_Gledhill

Odile Cadiot, ceramicist

A molecular scientist by training, Cadiot fell in love with ceramics whilst on a course with her mother and sister. Her meticulous recording of results and understanding of chemistry found a natural home in the complex art of creating glazes.

“I approached ceramics methodically and with my understanding of handling materials I took to it very quickly. I love the discovery in what seems like an endless subject.”

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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.

Odile Cadiot's work can be found at www.odilecadiotceramics.com

Ted Houghton, knitwear designer

“I came from a working class family, no one ever dreamed about jobs like that. My family never dissuaded me, always very encouraging towards me but after my 11plus they were advised that I should continue with normal studies, not art. Well that was that until I was 30.”

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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!”

Eunmi Kim, ceramicist

“I was good at making things since I was very young. Always using my hands rather than drawing but it was my father who taught me how to manipulate nature.”

Daughter of a landscape gardener, Kim followed her love of ceramics all the way to England, after an intensive year of research for the Korea Ceramic foundation, where she was working as a ceramic designer. It was during her research that she homed-in on the rich history of Britain’s infamous tea ware and decided to apply to Newcastle University to study Ceramics and Design Management.

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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.”

The work of Eunmi Kim can be found at: www.eunmikim.com

Perry White, film maker

“I loved films, and Graphics was getting too stationary for me; I needed to move. That’s when I started learning about making films.”

Driven and resourceful, much of what White has learned has been both self-taught and through working on collaborations. Now working on promotional creative video content, White has just completed the first of three artful short features for luxury bag company, Nosakhari. The shorts are commissioned to be aired nation-wide and starring artists from Kindred Studios.

“Having the talent already in-house was a real bonus,’ he adds.

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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.

Some of Perry White’s short films can be found at: www.perrywhiteart.com

Helene Turbe, jeweller

The ornate allure of antique jewellery dating from the Byzantine to Victorian eras are central themes in Turbe’s detailed work. The idea of passing on heirlooms underpins her concepts.

“As a child, I was always fascinated by my grandmother’s beautiful rings, they always captured my imagination. Later on, they began to symbolise for me the strength of women in gracefully dealing with the complexities of life.”

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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.”

Helene Turbe’s work can be found at: www.tomfoolerylondon.co.uk and www.econe.co.uk