Louis's Art Exhibition - Meet Our Budding Artist
We’re featuring some more of Oswestry's local talent for you to discover! I wrote some of this week's blog live and in the moment to capture the excitement I felt!
It's Friday 28th July and I'm on my way to see ‘Graffiti Inspirations'. this is a collection of new artworks by Louis Eckersley-Carr, who is member at Designs in Mind.
I'm excited to view Louis artwork, not only to support him as a friend, but also as I attend the Designs in Mind studio on the same day as him. I often get a sneak peek of the lettering style Louis produces, as he is working on it in our studios.
As I'm being driven to the event I'm typing up the wording on the flyer, written by Louis's Mum, Yvonne. As a writer myself I appreciate how beautifully written it is:
"Louis invites you to a private view of his latest artworks in an exhibition.
Graffiti art has long been an inspiration to Louis, from the individual and creative works on streets of Berlin to the recent ‘Colours’ exhibition in Manchester.
Louis has been exploring letterforms and large scale mural design artist Geraldine Wilkins and this exhibition brings together his new work. As a member of Designs in Mind, Louis has also designed one of a series of wooden sheep with his creative take on letterforms (this is located in the Oswestry library).
From small to large scale artworks and models we hope you will be able to come and see, and be inspired by these new works which are unmistakably ‘Louis'.
Reading the flyer I am enthralled with the anticipation of seeing Louis artworks.
I arrived to see many framed pieces and prints of Louis’ work in the style I'm familiar with. I was also pleasantly surprised to see other things such as beautifully designed tie dyed and ice dyed T-Shirts, a model of Shrewsbury prison and furniture Louis helped prepare alongside Geraldine Wilkins. The furniture ,two chests of drawers that Louis upcycled with Geri, are being auctioned to raise money for Rocking Horse media to re-shoot the pilot for Henry House (a care home drama which Louis has a part in). This is being filmed at Derwen College.
There was also a book about the Art Car Louis was painting in lockdown. I thought to myself: ‘is there no end to Louis’ talent?!’
Me with Louis at the exhibition
Louis Tie-dyed T-shirts
I took lots of photos and chatted to Louis about his artwork and we agreed a blog, featuring his achievements, would be a fabulous idea.
One of Louis pieces
I asked Louis and his Mum, Yvonne to share Louis’ story with me and to tell me about his Designs in Mind journey.
Here's what Yvonne wrote: "Louis first started attending Designs in Mind round about the start of 2020. From March that year the introductory sessions took place on Zoom, due to the Covid lockdown, so it was great when he became a member and the in-person sessions were able to start up again.
We had seen the highly professional and creative works produced by Designs in Mind in the shop. Louis is a very sensitive person who has experienced poor mental health since being bullied in school. Both Louis' doctor and social worker made a referral to Designs in Mind. It is now widely accepted that people with learning disabilities are at a greater risk of mental ill health than the general population".
I was interested to find out how much of a support Designs in Mind have been to Louis. I was delighted to read Yvonne's words as I too value this unique long term and supportive opportunity Designs in Mind has created.
Yvonne wrote: "Designs in Mind gave Louis the opportunity to develop his art skills alongside other artists in a professional studio, staffed by practicing artists. This is something that was not otherwise available to him.
The consistency of Design in Mind for its members and the stable creative environment it offers is unique. So often, supportive, creative opportunities are time-limited and don't offer participants the chance to form a cohesive and supportive group or the opportunity to embed the art skills they are introduced to."
I wanted to know more about Louis’ artistic journey; was he already an art lover/artist previously to being one of our members?
Yvonne shared: "As both of Louis' parents are artists Louis has always been encouraged to express himself in creative ways and been taken to exhibitions and galleries from an early age. Louis has always enjoyed colour and mark making as this has been something he has received positive feedback for, whilst the basic literacy and numeracy skills expected of us eluded him.
He has a GCSE in Art and studied art and performance at Derwen College where he started in September 2014. At Derwen he was able to focus on the subjects he enjoyed and was able to experiment in a variety of different media.
Following a struggle for funding, Louis went on to study on the Living and Work Programme at Derwen College where he furthered his creative skills working to a professional standard on commissions, upcycling furniture."
I wondered if being a Designs in Mind member played a part in Louis going on to present his Graffiti Inspirations Exhibition?
Yvonne was happy to share:
"Louis has gained so much from being a member of Designs in Mind. His first exhibition featured a series of 'dotty pictures', which was a technique he first discovered whilst participating at Designs in Mind.
His graffiti work in which he creates compositions with shapes derived from letterforms was also developed from ideas and experiments first made at Designs in Mind, this led to him designing one of the Sheep for Love Oswestry's Ossie the Sheep Trail...
Louis Pink Ossie, with his unique style
Louis says he felt good about Ossie the sheep trail and was really pleased and it felt fantastic to see his design on the sheep. The sheep and other graffiti lettering work at Designs in Mind helped to get ideas for the lettering pictures which he has also been working on for a few months in his sessions with Geri and which feature in his 'Graffiti Inspirations' exhibition. Seeing his design on the sheep has given Louis a boost and lots of confidence, and has led to his latest design work."
I recall Berlin was mentioned in the promotional flyer, so I asked if there has been a trip to Berlin and how this also inspired the exhibition?
Yvonne wrote:“Louis' sister Frankie lives in Berlin so we go to see her whenever we can, and it is on these visits that Louis has been inspired by the wide variety and vast scale of some of the graffiti on the walls and buildings there."
I was keen to know why graffiti / why letters of the alphabet?
Yvonne wrote: "Although Louis has always struggled with literacy, he enjoys the forms and shapes of lettering and the abstract patterns and compositions with no literal meaning that they make when assembled together and colour is added. It is almost as if he has found a way to subvert and deconstruct the very thing that he finds challenging."
I personally fee lthe above statement is such a wonderful achievement for Louis and shows the power of art to not only express ourselves as individuals but to overcome challenges. This is often the case for many of our members.
Louis prints are available to purchase
I was keen to find out what's next in Louis art career.
"Now that the excitement of the private viewing is over, Louis will return to work with Geri to explore some new ideas, possibly in 3D work, as he enjoyed working on the model of Shrewsbury Prison. This new work might involve letterforms in some way. Another idea is to return to the Art Car project, to look at how the various elements of the car can be deconstructed and transformed. No doubt the work he does with Designs in Mind will also influence the direction any new work takes."
The model of Shrewsbury prison (pictured above) is a great piece that I was fortunate enough to see while at the exhibitionand the Art Carr (pictured below) project made me smile, it's been catalogued in a book that I flicked through while I was there. It was a project that kept Louis busy during lockdown.
As a final statement from Yvonne she shared: "Louis welcomes the opportunity to have his work promoted to a wider audience and would like to thank Willow and Designs in Mind for wanting to feature him in their weekly blog."
We thank Louis for being a valued member here with us at Designs in Mind and thanks to Louis, Yvonne and Geri for sharing his story so candidly with us and our readers.
We are very proud to have Louis as part of our organisation and wish him all the best in his future artistic endeavours.
If you like to purchase any of Louis Art then please contact Yvonne via email
Blog Written & researched by Willow, Member & Social Media Coordinator