Raw Arts Festival

Raw Arts Festivals  – Who participated?

Please scroll to the bottom to see an extensive list of participating artists and organizations from the five festivals

The story of the Raw Arts Festival

Between September 1989 and July 1993, I was a student at City and Guilds of London Art School. Whilst there, I was shown an early copy of “Raw Vision” magazine. Instantly, I knew where my interests lay and I quickly became interested in Dubuffet, Art Brut, Raw Art, and Outsider Art, etc. I visited the Art Brut Museum in Lausanne in 1992 after winning the travel prize. I also visited Monika Kinleys Outsider archive in London on a few occasions and became friends with Monika. She attended my private view in 1993.

I quickly realized that I wasn’t just outside the “Outsiders”, I was simply a free spirit that didn’t care to be pigeon-holed. So if I wanted something, I would have to get it myself. I signed up to do a degree at Middlesex University. This time, I studied ICT, Education, and Community Art. As part of my community art studies, I was keen to work with non-mainstream artists and organizations/charities that supported them. I thus worked with organizations in London, teaching art and helping them promote what they do, etc. In essence, I was using my ICT skills to promote art, fundraise, mount exhibitions of art, and teach, etc. A fuller description of my time with Hoffmann de Visme is detailed in a separate post. Please click here to read it. As a result of my efforts, I was awarded the University prize and realized that by combining art and ICT, I could do something that very few people would do.

After finishing University, I continued to paint and began to network with other like-minded artists. I created a website called Raw Art Link (which now doesn’t exist). It was a directory of raw artists and organizations that I had come to know, etc. I became involved in an ‘Outsider art’ chat forums and was quickly promoted to being a co-moderator. I was thus in a good position to mount the Raw Arts Festival. I contacted the Candid Arts Trust in Angel, Central London with the idea of hiring their massive two-floor space to mount an exhibition of non-mainstream art. They loved the idea and gave me a special discount, so I could mount it relatively cheap. I used the Candid Arts Trust for both the 2004 and 2005 Festivals.

So why did I create the Raw Arts Festival?

In terms of art, non-mainstream artists don’t have many options. The Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy Summer show, tend to serve artists that are usually well connected, and/or resourced. How on earth does a homeless artist get to exhibit artworks? Think about it! The press doesn’t usually help much either. Journalists, usually don’t have the time to find non-mainstream artists. So they will probably feature an artist they know or have been introduced to. The “Outsider Art Fair” in New York tends to focus on individuals that tend to fit their “Outsider” definitions. Who helps the homeless, autistic adults, LGBT artists, etc? What happens if an artist simply doesn’t care for classification? Do they simply get ignored? What happens to artists who want to explore LGBT issues?

To make things harder, some people have actively tried to stop me over the years. It is one of the contributing reasons why I had to get out of the UK. Moving about has also caused me a number of issues – such as losing my old portfolio and photographs (and spending years trying to find them again!)! Suffice to say, it is significantly harder for non-mainstream artists to create and exhibit their creations.

The Raw Arts Festivals set about bringing together a wider array of non-mainstream artists together under one roof. The first two Raw Arts Festivals in London thus exhibited artworks by Austitic adults, LGBT artists, Homeless artists, mentally unstable people, artists with epilepsy, artists from different ethnographic groups, Transgender artists, homosexual wedding artists, and professional types, etc. The festival thus aimed to prove that all kinds of people regardless of their class, status, wealth, religion, sexuality, and race, etc. are capable of producing truly great art and can come together under one roof to celebrate our common humanity. They did come together and the private views were extraordinary. To me, it felt very spiritual – almost electric in terms of atmosphere. The Raw Arts Festival is one of the best ideas I have ever had. The Raw Arts Festival thus aimed to fill a hole that is sorely missing in the British Art world and one that gets very little publicity – hence, this webpage.

With COVID-19 and Brexit reducing people’s freedoms in a vast number of ways, I suspect an increasing number of people will want to look for a way to express their freedom and humanity. This website proves that it can be done. I think that COVID-19 could well force many people (not just artists) to increase their digital footprint. If you are interested in doing this, please contact me…

The Festivals

August 2004 saw the birth of the first ‘Raw Arts Festival’. It included Folk/Intuitive/Marginalised/Self-taught/Visionary art etc. The exhibition featured at least 65 artists’ works from nine different countries. Furthermore, at least 46 artists and 4 representatives were physically present on the private view night.

As you can see many of these artists are both well-known and respected Outsider artists. They came from France, Israel, Poland, Switzerland, U.K, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.A, etc. This made the festival a truly international event. The quality of art shown was truly amazing. The Festival garnered a lot of media coverage and I was contacted by the New York Arts Magazine. So began a fruitful relationship. The 2005 Raw Arts Festival exhibited at least 85 artists’ works. The artists live in at least 12 different countries and virtually all of them (at least 60) were physically present at the festival for at least the ‘private view’. This festival displayed many well-known/established Raw (Self-taught / Outsider / Visionary etc) artists’ works. 

The London festivals succeeded in bringing together many different people from vastly different backgrounds and cultures as detailed earlier. The 2005 Raw Arts Festival is probably the most successful exhibition of self-taught/raw art ever to be mounted in London.

By this time, I had created another website called the Raw Arts Collective and featured 5 artist’s work on it. I contacted the New York Arts Magazine with a view to co-organizing Festivals elsewhere (especially in New York). The 2006 Festival was thus held at the Color Elefante Gallery in Valencia in Spain. The 2007 Festival was held at the Carrozzini von Buhler Gallery in New York.

By 2008, I was receiving applications from artists seeking fame, etc. This was not what the Festival was about and so shortly after the 2008 Festival at the Infusion Gallery in Los Angeles, I closed it down.

I think the Raw Arts Festival was a piece of art in its own right.

Since 2007

My interests have shifted. I need a “blank canvas” to work on both literally and metaphorically. I lived in Poland for ten years and had my own company. I then closed that in 2019 and now live in Vietnam. I am happily married, working as a Cambridge ICT Teacher, and working on my Gent’s Club website.

COVID-19 has changed the way in which we all do business. I think it is now highly unlikely that a large-scale festival like the one I created will be mounted for a very long time. The Political atmosphere has also changed and in the UK, citizens’ rights are being removed. I certainly won’t be doing another large-scale festival. So small-scale exhibitions or going online are simply the next logical steps. I have thus created a dedicated online Raw Arts Festival website.

Exhibiting artists & organizations

Artists A to C

Dover Abrams (U.S.A),

Philippe Aini (France),

Pal Akero (Norway)

Ambrose Anderson (Haiti)

Anto (France)

Jack Angelo (UK)

Robert Aros (USA)

Aster (Holland)

Jorge Berlato (Spain)

Fleur Barnfather (UK)

Roxy Beckman (USA)

Lorenzo Belenguer (Spain),

Claude Bolduc (Switzerland),

Claude Braier

John Byers (UK)

Maggie Campbell (UK),

Lyle Carbajal (USA),

Dan Casado (Canary Islands)

Sunny Chapman (USA)

Didier Chenu (France)

Cathy Chhetri (USA)

Keith Collins (UK)

Matthew Cook (UK)

Beth Cornell (USA)

Jano Coudrin (France)

Joel Crespin (France)

Artists D to K

Stephen Davids (UK)

Elsa Dax (France)

Davide De Angelis (UK)

Esther De Angelis (UK)

Jeremy Dennis (UK)

Valeria Dimitrova (Israel),

Destin Domond (Haiti)

Brian Dowdall (USA)

Nathan Eley (U.K)

Andrea Farley (UK)

Andru Fijalkowski (UK)

Kevin Fisher (UK)

Rosi Flood (UK)

Yvonne Mab Francis (UK)

Dai-Giang (USA)

Greg Gierlowski (Poland)

Artur Golacki (Poland),

Gillian Gordon (UK),

Stevie Hale-Jones (UK),

Sam Jacobs (UK)

Jenik (U.S.A),

Pauline Jones (U.K)

Jacqueline Jones

Stephen Judges (UK)

Mike Kelly (USA)

Evelyn Kharag (UK)

Lisa Kilty (UK)

Akiko Kitami (Japan),

Ann Koi (U.S.A),

Oleg Korolev (Ukraine),

Sue Kreitzman (UK),

Artists L to P

Klaus Lange (U.S.A),

Damian Le Bas (UK)

Delaine Le Bas (UK)

Andrew Lewandowski (U.S.A),

Jack Lipowczan

Loren (France)

David Magitis (UK)

Valentin Manz

Jay Marvin (U.S.A),

Andrew Masters (UK)

Raymond Masters (UK)

Ewan McDougall (NZ),

Judith McNicol (UK)

Franco Meloni (Italy),

Piers Midwinter (U.K),

Alex Milazzo (UK)

Kelly Moore (U.S.A),

Joe Moorman (U.S.A),

Karl Mullen (U.S.A),

Cheryl Muniandy (UK)

Kitti Narod (Thailand)

Remy Noe (UK)

Nemo (U.S.A),

Tony O’Brien (U.K),

Liz Parkinson (Australia),

Duncan Pearson (UK)

Lee Pearson (UK)

Vivian Pedley (UK)

Rick Petrea (USA)

Joel Pinkerton (U.S.A),

Adam Pinson (UK)

Paula Pipa

Artists R to Z

Ben Reche (UK)

Clifton Reddie (U.K),

Jonathan Ridley (UK)

Ody Saban (France),

Nina Sagen Sandsbakk (Norway)

Renate Seffer (Grand Cayman),

Robert Seven (USA),

John Sheehy (UK)

LauraLee Sikorski (USA)

Antony Simonen (UK)

Maureen Simpson (South Africa),

Julia Sisi (Canary Islands),

Josh Slavin (U.S.A),

Jason Soles (U.S.A),

Paula Sousa (U.K),

Brian Steimel (U.S.A),

Jean Stockdale (UK)

Mimi Sturman (USA)

Lynne Sweeney (UK)

Zoya Taylor (Norway)

Jessica Torrant (USA)

Elizabeth Turnbull (Australia),

Karin Van Der Plas (U.K),

Lori Vynalek (U.S.A),

Dave Whitfield (UK)

Tom Willer (U.K),

Stephen Wright (UK)

Ben Young (U.K),

Mary Zeman. (U.S.A),

Organizations

Bergen Kommune, (Norway)

Catalyst Studios (U.S.A),

Folkwares, inc. (U.S.A)

FOSAJ (Haiti),

Hoffmann for Autism (U.K),

Nearly Orange, UK

St. John-at-Hackney Community Space Centre (U.K),

Reston Arts (USA),

Thai Fine Art, (Thailand)

Many of the Stuckists took part too

Raw Arts Festival
5

Summary

London’s largest, most successful and best exhibition of non mainstream art



Author: Piers
I am an artist and a teacher. I live in Ho Chi Minh City.
en English
X