The Art Cave Creations – Bronte Carr

Freelance illustrator, Bronte has recently finished her final weeks of the BA(Hons) Visual Communication course at Leeds Arts University. She runs my own online gift shop ‘The Art Cave Creations’ and currently has a mural she designed on platform 16 of Leeds train station.

Tell us a little bit about you! Where you are from, maybe something quirky

I’m 21 years old from Leeds, West Yorkshire. I graduate from Leeds Arts University in July and currently operate my online shop The Art Cave Creations from my bedroom. I love travel – so far, I’ve been to Rome, Brussels, Paris and Las Vegas; Next on my bucket list: Spain, Iceland and Amsterdam. Recently, I became the proud owner of two Axolotls called Mudkip and Pancake, and if you don’t know what they are I would 100% recommend checking them out on Google Images.

In January 2018, my illustration of Emley Moor Mast was erected as a 5ft mural in Leeds Train Station, by Network Rail. This was an amazing opportunity for me, as my work is on permanent display in one of the busiest stations in the country and I got paid for my service. It was a healthy taste of working on commission for big clients and I’m really proud of the work I put in; I feel enthusiastic and eager to work on more commission based projects in the future.

Press Release

Where would you like to see your online shop go/where can you see it going?

I’ve love to make my online shop into a full-time career, maybe even have a brick and mortar shop one day! I love the satisfaction of holding something I’ve designed and made by myself, and posting it off to a buyer. It’s very rewarding to receive lovely reviews and comments online. For the meantime, I’m happy taking sales as and when they come, focusing on improving every aspect of my shop to reach its fullest potential and have a consistent flow of sales.

Looking back how have you developed?

I’ve developed a huge amount since I first started out 2 years ago. I opened the shop back when I was first getting into illustration, so my illustration style and method of drawing was completely different than it is now. I used to scan in a lot of illustrations to be used for card designs, whereas now my work is almost all digitally drawn for a higher quality finish. My product range has expanded from just greetings cards to include stickers, notebooks, a colouring book, and just recently – badges and a mug! My branding has become a lot more professional and consistent, which has encouraged sales. When I look back at some of my original card ideas I can’t help but cringe a little, however if it wasn’t for those initial sales, I wouldn’t have grown to where I am today.

How do you feel now, currently as your practice stands?

In my practice right now, I’m a little bit nervous. I’ve officially handed in my final uni project, which means from now on there’ll be no tutors holding my hand, giving advice on my designs and ideas. However, it also means I’ll be free to explore my own ideas more, as I don’t have to worry about time keeping as much, or how many marks I’ll get for my work. To keep me on track, I’ve created a three-year business plan, including when I should be making new products, which craft fairs I should be applying to etc. This makes me feel more optimistic about my practice, as I still have goals to reach and a plan for what work I should be doing to succeed as a freelance illustrator and owner of my own online shop.

Who and what inspires your practice? 

I follow quite a lot of freelance designers and online shop owners who are really successful, as they represent where I ultimately want to be in my own practice. A few examples include: Katie Abey, who has thousands of Etsy sales and recently opened her own physical shop in Alfreton. Her illustration style is very bold and quirky and features a lot of pop-culture references. Secondly, there is Kristyna Baczynski, who creates a lot of illustrated story zines, which are always beautifully illustrated with thought going into every inch of the page. Her work inspires me to create more zines of my own. Another illustrator who I find inspiring is SavannahStormIllustration. Storm creates stunningly illustrated patterns which are then made into greetings cards and tea towels, of which I find the tactile quality and every day functionality to be an interesting way of showcasing a design.

I think it’s important to follow a range of artists with different styles and products, as it keeps the market fresh and brings me new ideas for my shop all the time. It’s inspiring to look at shops that have already ‘made it’ as it gives me vision of what my shop could look like one day, and gives me new ideas for how I can express myself through my art,

Long term what are your ambitions? Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?

Long term, besides having my shop as a full-time career, I would love to take on commissions. It would be a great way of working with other people creatively whilst still being able to direct my own vision as an artist. I’ve just created a 16-page full colour zine, called ‘Sloths: An Educational Zine’ which features information on sloths as a species and what we can do to help protect them in the wild. My aim is to send the zine to various different zoos across the UK that keep sloths in their parks, either to sell or to advertise my skills for other, bespoke projects. Ultimately, I’m going to send the zine to WWF, as they’re world leaders of conservation so it would be amazing to work with a client of such a high profile.

How would you describe your creative process?

My creative process starts off with me writing a list of anything I want to draw in the near future, be it fun sketches for Instagram or a new pattern idea etc. Sometimes I will sketch my ideas with a pencil on paper, however I prefer drawing with pens and will usually jump straight into Photoshop, drawing out a rough sketch on one layer and then gradually refining the illustration on separate layers. Anything that is fairly cheap and easy to produce myself, such as greetings cards, I make in my home studio. More exciting products such as mugs and phone cases are difficult to produce myself, so I enlist companies like Awesome Merchandise to produce these to a high quality. I produce all my own photography, which means my photos may not be the most professional looking, but they further represent my style and personality.

Any words of advice for someone just starting out and/or struggling?

My advice for someone who is just starting out is not to worry about your end goal for the time being. It takes years to grow into a successful freelancer, and part of the fun is finding your feet along the way. Embrace every idea that comes to you and work on building a community of friends and artists who you can turn to for advice, feedback and ideas to keep your creative process flowing.


How would you describe your work/illustrations?

I would describe my work as contemporary, cartoon-like illustration. My designs feature comic characters in vibrant, bold colours to create an upbeat and cheerful aesthetic. There’s no significant cause to my work, I just want to brighten up someone’s day with a jolly illustration.

Is colour something thats important to you?

Colour is very important to me as every colour represents a different emotion. A lack of colour would result in a lack of optimism and joy in my illustrations – colour is the element that makes them pop. I’m a very colourful person in day to day life, from the colours I dye my hair, to the jewellery I buy and the plants I collect. Using colour in my work represents the colour I see in my everyday life.

Where do you usually gather inspiration from?

I usually gather inspiration from the objects I see around me. I see my illustrations as an extension of my personality, so like to create characters that resemble animals that are of interest to me, my favourite plants and foods etc. I find it really difficult to draw people, and love making repeat patterns, so finding inanimate objects – such as ice cream cones, for example, are a great way for me to feel engaged and enthused with my work.

Instagram: @theartcavecreations

Zach Pygall – Singer-songwriter

Originally from Sunderland, singer-songwriter and producer Zach is now based in Leeds, he self produces, as well as playing multiple instruments on his tracks.

He has recently released a new single ‘Blue Skies’ now available on Spotify, iTunes and all the other major streaming/purchasing platforms.

Strong Americana/Country and British Folk influences can be heard on his tracks as well as his North East accent.


Tell us about your creative journey

I started singing in school when I was about eleven. I thought I was pretty good at it so when I got to secondary school I joined the school choir. I was pretty terrible at sports and I wasn’t that good in the choir either but it seemed like a much better way to meet girls at the time! My music teacher there was really amazing and would give me the keys to the drum room during lunch breaks where I spent every day for about 6 months playing ‘Seven Nation Army’ over and over with my “band” mate, Kieran. I kept playing different instruments until I decided on guitar when I was about 16. I’m actually a grade 8 in keyboards but have completely forgotten how to play! Partly on purpose to open up my mind creatively again after about 8 years of classical training.

When did you first become interested in writing your own songs?

I used to write a lot of stories when I was a kid and when I became interested in music as a teenager, that just kind of naturally evolved into songwriting. I got bullied a lot as a teenager and writing songs really helped get those emotions out at the time. I never showed anyone any of my songs until I was about sixteen. I started playing in real bands around then and wrote a few basic pop-punk songs with them but a couple years later I just started writing my own stuff and playing them at music college. People really seemed to like them and it made me feel amazing!

Do you remember the first every song you wrote? Is this one you use now?


I don’t remember the exact first song I wrote but sometimes a phone recording of the very first ones will come on my iPod shuffle and it’s always horrendous! Especially if it happens in front of people… But some of them actually have some decent lines and chord progressions which is pretty cool! Others are just me screaming “I FEEL COLD!” over one note on a keyboard haha. The first song of my own that I performed was called ‘Going Away’ and it wasn’t half bad. It’s probably hanging around on an old YouTube channel somewhere still! 

What inspires you to create music and lyrics?

A lot of things inspire me to be honest. I really love writing lyrics so they can often be inspired by simple things like a conversation on TV or on the bus but sometimes they’re a lot deeper with a political message. One of my newer songs, ‘Casino’, is quite political and touches on gentrification, minimum wage and high living costs. It’s really catchy though and because I perform it pretty passionately, people really relate to it and sing along at my shows.

Tell us about your newly released single! What inspired it, can you say what its about or would you rather others take what they wish from it?

Well my new single is a bit different to my usual material. A lot of my songs have quite an obvious message told through a story. Blue Skies is less on the nose, which I think it needs. Sometimes I explain my songs at shows before playing them but never with Blue Skies. It’s definitely one that’s open to interpretation. I think whatever you want to get from it, you’ll get. It’s been a lot of fun hearing what other people have said about it so far! It was also pretty fun to make because it’s with a band this time, it’s actually been in the making since 2016! The next release definitely won’t take that long, but I am looking forward to experimenting with a band more. 

Who would you say your influences are? Name some favourite artists

My favourite artists are all very American and not usually well known here at home sadly! John Fullbright and Josh T Pearson are definitely two of my biggest inspirations. I saw them both on Jooles Holland originally. When I saw John Fullbright play I thought “Yes! That’s it! That’s the sound I’ve been trying to get out of me!” and bought his album ‘From The Ground Up’ immediatly, without even listening to it first. It’s still probably my favourite album. I actually met Josh T Pearson after his gig at The Leftbank a few years ago. He was such a nice guy! He recommended this book called ‘The War of Art’ and it really changed my perspective on writing. 

Was your move from Sunderland to Leeds a choice you made for your career in music? If so how has this impacted it and what are the opportunities like in Leeds for artists trying to make it

I moved to Leeds for university in 2013, I studied Music Production at Beckett and I’ve been in love ever since! I was supposed to spend a year in Australia but I missed Leeds and it’s amazing music scene so much, I came home really last minute after six months. Leeds has so many opportunities for upcoming artists. The music community here is pretty tight-knit but super friendly if you’re trying to break into it. The amount of times I’ve bought some used music gear online and when I go to pick it up, it ends up being a promotor or an engineer or something I already know is crazy! But not only that, the people here seem really interested to come see the shows. Some of my songs are really quiet and emotional but usually Leeds crowds are more than happy to be quiet and listen.

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Any releases you know of this year that you’re excited for?

I was pinning all my expectations on Josh T Pearson’s new album, ‘The Straight Hits’. It seems to be doing really well on Radio 6 but I still can’t make my own mind up about it. It’s so different to his usual material. I am looking forward to hearing the new Tom Williams album though. I was an engineer on his last record and he decided to keep the same band for his next one. I’m mates with all the band so I’m looking forward to hearing what they come out with! 

Have your recent travels helped you to write music over there/give you some inspiration for some up coming tracks?

Definitely! I didn’t have a guitar most of the time while I was travelling so I have a lot of ideas written down that still need working on. It also helped me write lyrics before the music more effectively. I definitely feel a lot more motivated since moving back to Leeds and I’m already working on my next release for later in the year.don’t worry about it : )
Upcoming Gigs

LS6 Cafe, Leeds – June 17th and July 9th

Follow his social media for gig and music updates.

Currently, Zach tries to play every open mic he can around Leeds, his favourite being  Northern Guitars on a Monday night. He plans on booking a full gig there soon.

Isobel Budler – Bridges Not Walls

In January last year, when I was given the task of planning an RS-themed conference for Sixth Form, I wasn’t entirely sure of the slant I wanted to give it.

Five days later, Donald Trump announced his ‘Muslim ban’ on foreign nationals entering America and his plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. I found myself on a local Leeds demonstration that linked with an international day of action as part of the ‘Bridges not Walls’ movement; the focus for my conference became immediately clear.

 We are a Sixth Form that is located in a mainly white, rather parochial, town but with students who travel to us from the cities of Halifax and Bradford. The ethnic makeup of these students is diverse. In addition to this, Halifax is a place where refugees and asylum seekers are sent to settle.

The focus of the Bridges not Walls Conference is to build those very important ‘bridges’ in the experiences of our young people. I want our students to leave the day with an increased understanding of the world around them as well as the experiences of the people in it.

 The sessions we plan to deliver are: ‘Dispelling the Myths about Muslims’, ‘The Wall: Jerusalem and Bethlehem,’ ‘Refugees in Britain: tales from the front line at St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax’ and ‘Children of Calais.’

The people who deliver these sessions come from a variety of experiences and belief systems; they are teachers of diverse faiths and of no particular faith system, people who have travelled the Middle East, workers who support local refugees and asylum seekers, and campaigners. Their commonality is that they are all working toward a Britain of tolerance and increased understanding. Key to this is the youth; in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘The future depends on what you do today.’ I want the youth to dream big and dream beautiful, to look beyond their own lives and to look to help, and understand, the lives of others. And above all, to act.Nancy, Conference Organiser for the Bridges Not Wall project.

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She is currently in her in my second year, studying Photography at Edinburgh College of Art.  She tends to gravitate towards subject matters that challenge hegemonic constructs in society, from patriarchy, capitalism or challenging stereotypes. Her approach tends to be looking at peoples personal experiences that help enlighten me and my audience.

For Isobel the project was about challenging Islamaphobia in western cultures and to use her art form as an outlet for the amazing, inspiring work Sajeda, Sumayya and Waseem do in their community.

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Tell us about your project ‘Bridges Not Walls’
This project started by looking widely at Religion before coming into contact with the conference organiser of ‘Bridges Not Walls’. I then met Sajeda and Sumayya; two muslim women and teachers who will be leading the ‘Dispelling the Myths about Muslims’ talk. They are both  very active in their community at challenging stereo types attached to Islam; they asked me to photograph a conference they hold called ‘Bridges Not Walls’ at their high school. Whilst the conference that I will be photographing won’t be held for a few weeks, I was also able to photograph the last meeting they held regarding their talk. Using a medium format film camera, I took snapshots hoping to capture the passion they have towards challenging stereo types. I see my photography series as a good outlet for the amazing work they do locally while also educating myself and the viewers on Islam.
How did you approach challenging Islamaphobia in western cultures within your work?
My approach to this project was to reflect the subjects views through my project. As a non-muslim woman, I was careful not to reflect my own opinions as they don’t have a place in this particular project. I met both of the women leading the talk multiple times, in both casual and formal settings. The first time we had a conversation with them at their houses; this helped build a rapport before then speaking to them in a less relaxed setting. This helped me gather an understanding of the work they do to challenge Islamapohia in western cultures, so I could truthfully reflect their views.
What did you hope to gain from this project in terms of helping the community, awareness etc.
My hope throughout this project is that I would finish it feeling enlightened and that I have enlightened others. I came into this project knowing very little about religion in general, I now feel more educated. Furthermore, in our current climate the Muslim community is marginalised and islamaphobia is increasing. I hope my photographs along with quotes and a statement make the audience more aware of the change these local muslim communities are making and inspire them to also challenge how our society views the Islamic faith.
What do you think the importance of recording these issues through photography is?
For me, photography is an amazing outlet, it can capture a range of emotions through how a subject is presented. An audience can instantly feel connected to a photograph and the message it is conveying, therefore the power of the message is extremely important. It changes the viewers mindset, an example of this is Nick Ut who photographed children running during the Vietnam war in 1972. His work is titled ‘The Terror of War’ and it changed how the whole world saw the Vietnam war. It showed that the war was doing more harm than good. I think the impact his work had on the world is inspiring.
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What aspects did you find most enjoyable from the project? 

This project was extremely enjoyable for me, there were loads of aspects that I found excitement and passion in. Speaking to ordinary people about their personal experiences has always been a focus of my work, in past and current projects. Furthermore educating myself on religion is something I’ve found a lot of enjoyment in, it is a subject I lacked knowledge in previously however now feel confident in.

How do you make people feel a connection? Or is this down to the viewer?

I believe this entirely down to the viewer to feel a connection. All I can do is create work I am proud of and makes me feel inspired, however the connection cannot be forced.

How did you approach translating/ capturing these ‘personalities’ of these people into a photograph?

I think its important to first build a rapport with the subject. Despite not knowing the subjects prior to the project, after multiple interviews and shoots I can honestly say they are now friends of mine. Building this rapport and not treating them as a ‘job’ or something that you are forced to do to get a grade is extremely important.
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Instagram – @eizzibubler

Portraits Band – Georgia May Vocalist

Portraits are a Newcastle Neo-Soul band with a strong Jazz and Hip-hop influence. Georgia, the vocalist and Jamie the guitarist of the band have grown from writing music as a Duo into a full band with a Drummer, Ben, Double bass player, Adam and Saxophonist, Thomas. 

This interview is based on the vocalists, Georgia’s prespective.

Tell us a bit about the band, how did you start off?

We met through a combination of Studying at the Sage Gateshead and via mutual friends, on the music scene. We all get on so well musically and socially, the lads are all hilarious and make the experience of working together such great crack as well as being amazingly talented musicians and creating material we’re so excited about.

What’s your background in singing?

I’m pretty much a self-taught musician, I’ve never done singing grades or many private lessons but I did study music in school then onto college. I am now at University on the Sage Community Music degree. 

I’ve been singing professionally since the age of fifteen when I started out with a world music/function band called Soznak, they often busk in Newcastle City Centre. When I was singing with them we played at Mouth of the Tyne Festival, Durham Brass Festival and other local gigs as well as busking every weekend – this was great experience to kick start my career.

Since then I progressed into writing my own material, lyrics and chords. I would play acoustic guitar and sing as a solo act and also in a couple of bands and with accompaniment along the way. Generator were very helpful in supporting my musicianship I made it onto their Urban Music Training: VOX course where I worked with a producer and wrote a track which became my first proper release across platforms. Since then of course we’ve established Portraits and now my songwriting is developing and I can share the process of composing ideas with my band mates.


Photo by Matt Flynn

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What would you class your sound as?

This is always a tough question, probably for most artists, but we’ve settled with branding as Neo-Soul for those who don’t know, Neo-Soul contains ‘elements ranging from jazz, funk, hip hop and electronic to pop, fusion, and African music. 

It has been noted by music writers for its traditional R&B influences, conscious-driven lyrics, and strong female presence’ – Wikipedia definition. 

I think what is interesting about our band’s performing sound is that the main focal point isn’t always me (Vocalist) all of us write the music together and we want to not only tell stories with our music but also create delicious and interesting instrumentation. So there are a lot of layers of sounds, as well as the 5 main instruments (Voice, Guitar, Sax, Kit and Bass) we also feature Jamie (Guitarist) on Linnstrument, me on Piano, Thomas (Sax) on Percussion and Sample Pads and the Guitar and Sax both go through pedal boards which adds to our sound and brings the electronic/trip-hop element.

When sitting down to write, what’s your starting point or do you usually already have an idea?

As the lyricist, for me words tend to come first then melodies develop over time with support from the bands instrumental input. My lyrics are fairly personal about experiences that happen to me and I know from feedback that people can really relate to the stories. Whether it’s struggles with my mental health, or feelings post break up or even just love for my best friend. The lyrics seem to flow naturally once I get started, often I’ll be driving home listening to tunes then just think of a hook line about the way I’m feeling or a passing thought then I’ll repeat the lines to remember them and write them down when I get home. Sometimes lyrics have stemmed from writing letters to friends or exes about situations we’ve fallen into and I sing lyrics of things I find would be hard to say directly to someone it’s easier to make it in a song and hope maybe they’ll hear it someday.

What influenced your sound? Does this have anything to with where you’re from?

I guess we’re heavily influenced by the music we love to listen to. I grew up listening to a lot of 90s Hip Hop and R&B, my favourite MC is Guru from Gangstarr. I love his gravelly raw vocal and Gangstarr’s lofi beats have such a chill vibe, listening to their music takes me back to being in primary school with a minidisk player and huge headphones listening to Above the Clouds ‘…where the sounds are original’.

 I haven’t found many artists who we necessarily sound like and we really do want our sounds to be original in a world full of all sorts of music. I do take inspiration from loads of vocalists, particularly strong black female singers who I look up to, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and India Arie who I listened to growing up… when I got into Jazz I admired Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. That’s only touching on my vocal influences, the band sound is also inspired heavily by the likes of D’angelo, Kamasi Washington, Nate Smith, Badu and again many more.

The Neo-Soul scene in Newcastle is kind of in a progressive stage and we are hoping to increase it, which inspires us to cary on doing what we do and add to it and support it. With local venues like Hoochie Coochie showcasing similar artists and bands to us and helping the scene grow, with a love for good music!

Name some artists who you couldn’t go without? 

I mentioned earlier the artist we are inspired by so all of those names are relevant, also I love to listen to Haitus Kayote, The Internet, Amy Winehouse, Fatoumata Diawara, Mura Masa, Loyle Carner, and loads more I could mention but they’re who came to mind.

What should we watch out for/expect from you? Any future project ideas?

Watch out for our upcoming releases, follow us on Spotify and Subscribe to our Youtube channel and mailing list to get the latest updates but basically we’re planning to release the rest of the tracks we recorded in January at Loft Studios, keep gigging and expanding our networks and tour all over UK, hopefully further. Next year I’ll be in my third year of Uni and organising an event, which Portraits will definitely be playing.

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 Portraits are very excited to be playing debut gig in London on 15th June, at Pizza Express, Holborn, which is renowned Jazz Venue hosting amazing talent. This will hopefully be a stepping-stone for them to play and tour further in future sharing their music. – Tickets are available now online.

Their next gig in the diary in Newcastle is the local stage at Americana Summertyne festival at the Sage Gateshead on 20th July. They currently have 3 tracks released on Spotify and all other platforms and the leading track is available on Youtube. 

They’re almost ready to drop their next 3 tracks along with another video that they’re in the process of arranging and shooting but this should be available next month – keep an eye out.


“For anyone reading who hasn’t heard us already, please listen to our music, to put this all into context and I hope you enjoy it..”

Portraits Website:



My personal favourite track –  Siren 

Portraits Members 

Georgia May – Vocals

Jamie Jingles – Guitar

Ben Fitzgerald – Kit

Thomas Dixon – Saxophone

Adam Cornell – Double Bass

Xanthe Bonsall – Surface Pattern Design

Xanthe is currently a mature student returning to education after a few years break.  After she left school, she completed a BTEC in Fashion & Textiles near where she grew up in Nottinghamshire but was unsure what path to take after this. She then moved to Leeds to work for an engineering company and a few years later had a baby at 23.

“Having my daughter inspired me to dust off my sewing machine and I started making some bits of clothing for her as a hobby. This then developed in to making them for my friends children, this then turned in to full blown small business after a few months. It was very successful but extremely hard work, as I had to balance being a full time stay at home parent with also being self-employed and working during nap times and in the evenings.”

She decided it was time to go back to education, and managed to get a place on the Access to Higher Education course at Leeds College of Art. This helped her to narrow down what direction she wanted to take and what she actually wanted to do with her life in terms of a career. She is now completing her first year of the Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern design degree at Leeds Arts University.

“I credit my daughter with giving me the focus and determination to push myself to go back to university. It was a scary decision to make and it hasn’t been easy”

Some of Xanthe’s homemade pieces on her beautiful daughter Sylvie! – Taken around the time of Xanthe having her business

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“My practice is inspired by many aspects of my life.”

Being a huge fan of anything vintage, particularly the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s era’s, Xanthe takes lots of inspiration from these decades – especially being a huge fan of 70’s disco! There’s always a retro influence within her work, even if it’s something as small as a certain colour palette that she decides to experiment with.

Xanthe expressed that she is extremely lucky to live in the village of Saltaire, which is a world heritage site just outside of Bradford. It’s a Victorian model village which was purpose built for the workers of the textile mill to live in. Her favourite part of Saltaire is all of the different windows on the terraced houses, which have taken place in some of her work.

“I have the amazing Salts Mill just a few seconds walk from my front door, and also a massive variety of independent businesses and other local artists and designers living around me who inspire me daily. I’m also within walking distance of the moors and so much beautiful natural scenery.”

Having lived in Leeds City Centre for a long time and still loving being close to the city – she finds taking inspiration from both the urban and local natural landscape to be a really interesting mix.

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“I want to be in the position to start doing some freelance work or set up a business again after graduating”

In around 2 years time Xanthe will be graduating. Her original aim when she started her degree was to learn how to design and print her own fabric which she could then use to start manufacturing childrenswear again – But after having learnt so many new skills and fallen in love with so many different processes, she can’t say for certain if she’ll ever go back to sewing for a living. Setting herself some ‘mini goals’ to achieve over the next couple of years, she hopes to get so some print fairs and get involved with some local events such as Saltaire Arts trail.

Being self employed is something she is drawn towards because of the flexibility and it worked well for her, especially having a young family. Making her feel “lucky to live in an area with a few different creative businesses.”


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‘I’ve fallen in to a bit of a routine when starting a new project, after recently figuring out what works for me creatively.”

Usually, she starts off having a good think about the theme and concept she wants to begin working on, and make a list of places she can visit to gather research and inspiration – planning some day trips, taking her camera and often does a few quick sketches too. Xanthe is  constantly snapping photo’s when she’s out and about, “as you never know where your next bit of inspiration could come from.”

Slow crafting techniques, such as paper cutting and collage usually kick start off her visual development. Being a big fan of creating texture within her work she tries out lots of different processes to create this. Usually her next step is to scan in all of her work and carry on the process digitally using Photoshop.

Working digitally is also a process that Xanthe incorporates into her way of working, she finds it easy to try out different things in CAD without it being so permanent. Often she will keep working digitally right up until producing a final outcome, or use Photoshop as a tool to then go back to working in a more ‘analog’ processes, such as creating images to then hand screen print.

“I love experimenting so I’m keen to try and mix up my routine a bit once I start the second year of my degree after summer and see where it takes me.”

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“My favourite project I’ve worked on this year was a wallpaper design, which I hand screen printed for my final piece.”

Looked at tropical plants for inspiration and mixing it up with a 70’s influenced colour palette, Xanthe created this beautifully vibrant and fresh design on paper, with the idea that it would be used as a wallpaper. Xanthe has tonnes of prints like these that didn’t quite make it to her final hand in, due to slight miss prints (nothing too major) so if you’re interested in a print then keep an eye on her Instagram as she will be doing a sale of left over miss prints for a bargain price soon!

Email –

Instagram – @xantheprints


Having not done a lot of screen printing before this project it was a bit of a learning curve for her and her practice but she really loved the process and is something she would like to explore further. This  botanical theme was carried over into another of her projects that she has just finished working on – but with a contrasted in theme, looking at textures found in the city to create a series of abstract prints.

She also looked at including a bit of illustration towards the end of this project, which is entirely out of her comfort zone. “I surprised myself by loving the final result!” This has prompted her to push myself more often and be more experimental within her practice.


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“I have such a huge list of designers who influence me, so it’s hard to narrow it down.”

‘Bold and Graphic’ are words that best describe the work that Xanthe loves and inspires her and includes designers such as; Camille Walala and Atelier Bingo. One of her favourite things to do is to go to local print/craft fairs to hunt down and discover new designers, recently going to the Hepworth Print Fair in Wakefield she gathered lots of inspiration and also bought a couple of prints from Hattie Clark, whose work she absolutely loves!

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Knowing Xanthe myself I know how passionate she is about her practice and how driven she is to do well for both herself and her young family. Being only in her first year at university Xanthe’s work displays a high quality and lots of thought behind her projects.

This is only the start for her so keep an eye out over on her Instagram @xantheprints where she regularly updates on what she’s been getting up to.


Thanks so much for reading! Please feel free to email me at for a feature or any queries! 






Will York – Really Nice Pills

Will York also known as ‘Really Nice Pills’ has recently had a pivotal point in his Fine Art practice. After studying Art and Design at College and then Fine Art at University he struggled to engage himself until the last few months of his education.

Although he struggled to engage himself, Will was confident in where everything was heading with his practice and career, he recalls that perhaps he was maybe ‘too confident’.

He was getting regular opportunities though the music scene in Leeds and began to make some important connections in the art scene too. He even turned down several opportunities without checking them out properly. This turned out to be quite a big mistake.

Going through the struggle of finding yourself as an artist what advise would you give aspiring or artists in general who are struggling to be satisfied with their practice? Its so important to enjoy your practice. If you don’t enjoy it what’s the point? If you feel your work is becoming stagnant then change your medium and start experimenting.  Turning 25 was an important milestone for my creative practice. It was quite scary and made me feel like I had wasted a lot of opportunities and burned too many bridges along the way. This year has been pivotal.

Performance Paintings – His new and ‘improved’ practice

Will describes his paintings as being a by-product of stress and the lack of direction that he felt. Now he views them as an expression that doesn’t exist in an audible language. He always wanted to express something chaotic and aggressive yet beautiful and the performances are a product of anxiety – he got so stressed out and anxious at his own exhibitions he had to find a way to expose himself and grow not only as an artist but as a sociable human being. His recent works are expressionistic. Previous works are immersive. He has always been fascinated in creating experimental and emotive works regardless of medium. He gathers inspiration from ‘Anywhere and everywhere’. he believes he spends much more time thinking than doing, and feels that its very important for him to designate time for critical thinking. Usually his starting point is through build scenarios in his head, and then to do some experimentation.

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His new practice has not only opened doors for him but has added multitude of new dimensions for his thought process and future plans. Will doesn’t want to reveal any big plans at the moment bit he is aiming high!

Does collaboration interest you? It does interest me. As long as I have a mutual understanding with my collaborators it can be highly beneficial to combine skills.

Being a practicing artist is completely automatic to Will, he sees it as a way of life, a way of seeing and a way of thinking. ‘You can not turn it off, it’s exhausting’

As a practicing artist Will feels that having a job on the side is important, especially when coming to a crossroads in your practice. ‘I always make sure that if I do have a side job it has to be the absolute minimum commitment without starving to death or becoming homeless. The only way to create a balance is by working harder and sometimes compromising. More often than not this will be your social life.’

Emily Lynch – Lonely Spaces

Emily recalls always been fascinated by photography pretty much ever since she picked up her first camera – for a couple of years she has been making conceptual films but reverted back to photography which she is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh.

Street photography is something she had looked at for awhile, looking at Cartier Bresson’s ‘Decisive Moment’ for inspiration. These works evolved into looking less at people within street scenes and more looking at the architecture and composition of a Street Scene.


Cartier Bresson 2

Emily is now simultaneously working on two projects – the one promoted on the collectivef8 page is entitled ‘Lonely Spaces’ – through her study of History of Art as part of her joint honours she became near enough obsessed with surrealism through the lecture series, in particular Andre Breton’s idea that aspects of a typical ‘surrealist’ documentary style photo can question time, space and reality.

This was something that Emily wanted to mirror and having grown up in and around London she wanted to produce a series of photos that counter your average vision of a capital city and also can come across as melancholy and reflective.

What Emily had envisioned for her project ‘Lonely Spaces’ had really come across in these powerful images. At first glance this bustling city almost looks abandoned with the scattered litter and empty streets – Not what we envision a typical scene from London to be, she’s captured it beautifully.


When initially recording for this series she began to delve into abstract architecture as a focus which is what she exhibited at her end of year exhibition entitled ‘Urban Abstraction’.

Lonely spaces 1

Preoccupied with abstract shapes, bold lines and definitive contrasts of colour and surface which transformed everyday buildings into strange forms, she would pick out unusual shapes and matching colours and forms from the images she collected and present the images as a diptych so that two completely separate images would fit together purely by chance – like a jigsaw. This was despite the fact that they had been taken in completely different locations/times/lightings/under different circumstances, the images would connect through similarities in the objects depicted or shapes being created between subjects and tiny details.

The concept of this project to me is really interesting, how she is looking at taking similar images of similar subjects, which subsiquently seem to come together and fit. The nature of these photographs give a really interesting element – for me this makes the imagery all that more beautiful and interesting to look at.

Instagram – @e.lynchphotography

Collectivef8 Instagram – @collectivef8