Who We Are and our art
Founder and Director
I am passionate about art and making fine art education available for everyone. I funded Hackney Fine Arts in 2015 and it's sister Community Interest Company in 2019, to teach adults, teens and children drawing and painting. I am a great believer in the equalising power of art and bringing communities together.
Throughout my life as a student and teacher, I noticed how little traditional drawing and painting techniques were being taught and how eager art students were keen to learn them. I created this art school to share what I've learnt and to equip our students with the essential toolkit to make the art they always dreamed of making. In the past, I have worked in the Further Education Sector, where I lectured Fine Art to young adults. I also taught art to students enduring life long mental health illnesses. I have great belief in the holistic power of the artistic process and the wellbeing benefits it brings to people, regardless of their age.
I was born in Argentina and settled in Hackney in 1999, where I found my home within this eclectic and diverse community. I have lived, studied and worked in three continents, South America, Africa and Europe; where I have showed my work collectively and independently. I hold a postgraduate Art & Design Postgraduate teaching qualification from the Institute of Education, a first class BA from The Cass School of Art and an Art & Design Foundation from City Lit. I was born into a family of artists.
Manager and Teacher
Edith is a practicing artist who explores mourning and intersections of the personal and political. After graduating from UCL with a first-class BA Hons in History of Art, Edith trained at LARA (The London Atelier of Representational Art) and gained a Diploma in Fine Art, partially paid for by the ARC First Place Scholarship which she won in 2018. She now works as an artist, exhibiting regularly and teaching drawing and painting privately and at Hackney Fine Arts. See her instagram for recent work and information about upcoming shows.
Manager and Teacher
Lex Shute read Sociology at the University of Greenwich where her studies in Anthropology informed her subsequent art practice. Shute studied Fine Art at the University of the West of England, gained a Postgraduate Diploma from Chelsea College of Art and a Masters degree in Painting from the Royal College of Art. Solo exhibitions have been Future Proof, Opus Gallery, Newcastle (2011) and Of Truth of Clouds, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Berkshire (2013). Recent group exhibitions include In (Matters of the Soul), ASC Gallery, Trace Elements, The Factory Project, and The Collector’s Room, JGM Gallery. She has been shortlisted for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, the Rising Stars Prize, won third place in the Woolgather Art Prize and in 2019 was awarded a place on the Travers Smith CSR Programme. Her work in painting and sculpture addresses the relationship between spiritual discourse, feminism and the natural world. With an interest in fictional realities and sci-fi utopianism, Shute explores the correspondences between trans-historical belief systems and cultural practices to propose an alternative society with alternate power relations.
Manager and Teacher
Polly Townsend’s paintings draw on solitary journeys through many of the most remote and hostile landscapes in the world. Recent works are inspired by visits to Kashmir and Kyrgyzstan and, as well as completing artist's residencies in Death Valley and The Badlands National Park, she will later this year be Artist in Residence in Antarctica. Her paintings present a view of the world beyond the familiar, of places vast in scale, apparently desolate and mostly uninhabited.
Townsend treats the land as a singular subject, a still life; disembodying the form whilst remaining faithful to original patterns, colours and light. This objectification helps probe the gap between the tender and the unnerving; the beautiful and the bleak. The use of titles and the blank space/void further highlights the current state of landscape – one of flux, impermanence and a challenging passage of time.
Townsend produces small works on site using a collapsible easel, sketchbooks and photography, building up larger canvases in her London studio.
Manager and Teacher
Jeremy is an Artist and Art Tutor currently living and working in London. His artwork comprises mostly of colourful abstract oil paintings, although he also frequently works from observation. For 9 years he has been teaching observational drawing and painting workshops in London, and has now moved some of his classes online. Aside from art, Jeremy is a musician, and has been composing classical sounding music on the guitar for most of his life. Music was his first real passion and it strongly influences his abstract artwork.
What I'm really looking for when I paint is balance. Most of the time I begin a painting without a plan, and allow the process to determine the outcome. Sometimes I'll sketch out vague figures, and other times I'll just make marks until there's something in front of me that I can build on.
Usually it all goes horribly wrong and I have to destroy the painting several times until it ends up looking nothing like the initial marks would have suggested. Through constant trial and error of placing, adjusting, removing and rearranging the colours and shapes, the direction of the painting starts to become more clear.
Drawing influences from cubism and futurism, my work is in essence very musical. Instead of melodies, it's colours and shapes creating the harmonies and areas of tension and release. I often feel like there's an element of ambiguity and mystery to the work, but maybe that's because the best bits tend to happen by accident.
Manager and Teacher
Born in Canterbury, Jake studied painting at the Slade School of Art. He currently uses painting and drawing to process the landscape in which he grew up. His work addresses tradition, the paranormal and nationalism.
Manager and Teacher
Sophie Spedding (b. 1995) they/them, uses a thematic intention of invitational painting. They explore the tension between these ideas by creating spaces of reconciliation, through balancing low-fi references and harboring the sentiment of role play. They're work explores a duality of using space; to create invitational POV as well as a curation of care into a character's introduction to you, to in-spell the viewer as the chosen victim in a narrative. They thus give life to heterotopias that manifest with hyperbolic saturation and abstraction through the intimacy of the scale, depicting posthuman scenes and characters.
Manager and Teacher
Maria Socias is a Spanish visual artist and medical illustrator based in London, with a background in Fine Arts, drawing and medical art.
She graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona (Spain) and a Masters in Drawing from London Metropolitan University. She is currently studying a Postgraduate in Medical Art with the Medical Artists' Education Trust.
Jess Page - Jarret
Manager and Teacher
My work is predominantly focused on intricately capturing the places and people I encounter. I work with a considered, patient, technical approach to create a convincing final result. I aim for each image to be multi layered so that both realism and nostalgia are tangible.
My education at Camberwell College of Arts involved consciously refining my understanding for complex three-dimensional forms by constantly practicing drawing from life.
Working directly from life, en plain air remains key to my practice and whether working in pencil, charcoal, oil or watercolour, I can be found with my transportable easel in the landscape or the city streets.
The main feature of my work is the meticulous attention to detail in microcosms crowded and dense with situations, through a miniaturist approach, supported by the use of a magnifying glass to define every square inch of the painting.
Urban contexts are dismembered in a dream-like swarm of architecture, forms and social relations are disrupted, provocatively juxtaposed with no apparent order.
Childhood memories and paranoid nightmares are recomposed with graphite or color on canvas and paper, often through pareidolia, returning a duel between the freedom of the absurd and arbitrariness of the rule.
A butterfly in the bin. Paradoxes, ugliness, drifts of our social system hidden inside the simple beauty of things. If you have the time to see this in my paintings, then you have the time to see it in real life. Think, act accordingly. Stay punk-surrealist.
The masters that have most influence on my work range from Leonardo to The Clash, Brueghel, Dali, from Hieronymus Bosch to Korn.
I am an artist who specialises in painting. I studied at Camberwell and currently have a studio in South East London. I have utilised many different painting styles and languages in the past. Currently my work appears as figurative and involves working in oils from digitally modified source material. I have exhibited widely.
Kate studied printmaking and illustration at Aberystwyth University and completed the Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School. She produces prints and paintings based on observation, and has a keen interest in functional wheel-thrown ceramics.
Andras Nagy-Sandor (1993) is a Hungarian artist based in London, UK. Having graduated from MFA Painting at the Slade School of Art In June 2022, Andras is now preparing for his debut solo show in The Room London, opening on the 1st of November.
The main focus of Andras' practice is unpicking the aspirations and ambivalences within his masculinity through the symbolism of armours as a link between painterly, emotional and conceptual dichotomies. The aesthetic of Andras' armours are narrative, in some cases pseudo-folkloric, however they do not need to be read as armours as they are the results of an intuitive design process, an embodied sensemaking approach that is based on Andras' imagination and memories. They are gestures, edges, shapes, colours, patterns, paint, materials with a conscience enveloping figurative moments, interactions between body parts, characters, groups, anthropomorphic multiheaded beings that float between cultures and identities, folklore and sci-fi.
Andras has recently had his first solo exhibition at Fest; Tisztit Gallery in Budapest, Hungary and is the co-runner of ongoing initiative "project hu", which created a collaborative residency, artist talks and a touring exhibition over the past four years.
Michal Raz (born 1984, Jerusalem) is a London based artist. In 2013, she completed her B.F.A.e.d studies at Hamidrasha School of Art and Education in Israel, with high honors. In 2018, she graduated, with distinction, the M.F.A program from the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL London with Jeanne Szego Prize.
Michal's work has been exhibited in Israel, United Kingdom, Europe, India and America. Her exhibitions include Mane Katz Museum and Weizmann Institute Gallery in Israel, Fold Gallery, Number20 Art Gallery, Strand180 and Unit 1 Gallery, in London, Tao Gallery in Mumbai, Jüdische Gemeinde in Frankfurt, Museo Hahim Isaias in Guayaquil, Ecuador, The Museum of Refugees in Thessaloniki, Greece and many more.
Her work has been reviewed and collected internationally with works included in the Ambani Family art collection, Birla Family art collection, Hahim Isaias Museum collection, amongst others. She was also a finalist for the Concord Art Prize and the Red Mansion Art prize.
Layering - augmenting what lies beneath, whilst simultaneously erasing it - is the fundamental principle in all of my painting, providing both its method and theoretical framework A finished work is a series of traces where one can glimpse vestiges of pop-cultural imagery, the austerity of high modernism, gestural painting, kitsch decoration; each stratum vying for our attention. The process relies on construction, destruction, deconstruction and reconstruction as the image is wrestled from conflicting elements.
I embrace the dizzying nature of contemporary experience, its endless stimuli constantly in throwing up unforeseen connections and conflicts that we are compelled to navigate.
Megan Menzies (b. 1995, UK) is a London based artist. She received an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2022 and a BA in Art History from the University of Bristol in 2016. Her practice involves drawing, painting and writing to explore memory, personal experience and storytelling. The memories, experiences and stories Megan chooses to work with and develop in her practice are often ordinary with a heavy, melancholic quality – they are what she calls heavy moments, where time thickens and small details are valued and intensified. They are moments of contemplation, imagination and sensitivity. Her work has been exhibited in galleries such as Arusha Gallery (Edinburgh) and Eve Leibe Gallery (London). She is a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (2021).
Jack is a working portrait painter from Essex. After graduating from Falmouth University in 2016 with a degree in Fine Art, he began to receive portrait commissions. In 2018 he was included in the BP Portrait Award exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery in London and Edinburgh. Over the last few years he has exhibited several times with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in their Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, receiving the Prince of Wales Award for Portrait Drawing in 2020. Jack works primarily in oils, specializing in a layered glazing technique, and is experienced in drawing and painting from observation as well as from photographs. Over the last few years he has run portrait drawing workshops and demonstrations in schools across Essex as well as tutoring a number of private students, which developed his passion for teaching drawing and painting techniques. He now lives and works in South East London.
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South West London based Artist, Matvi Khosho works with photography, film and painting to explore the psyche through mythology and abjection. He is committed to exploring and protecting nature.
Matvi’s photographic practice focuses on creating
performative rituals in collaboration with friends making them de facto muses. The figures depicted in his work dwell in desolate, decaying and natural settings in accordance with the symbolic world he builds with the mediums he utilizes. An alchemical element to the images lies in the chemical and physical mark-making of spiritual phenomena pertaining to archetypal symbols.
He graduated from MA Photography at UAL: London College of Communication in February 2021.
Matvi is inspired by Classical Literature, Arthurian Myth, JMW Turner, William Blake, Cecil Collins, Edward Burne-Jones, Mikhail Vrubel, Ivan Shishkin, Gustave Doré, Van Gogh and Paul Klee.