Husk Community Exhibition - Living Water

As part of their Christmas celebrations HUSK the Coffee and Creative Space in Limehouse East London are hosting a community exhibition on the theme of Living Water. Local artists, including myself, have been invited to show works in response to the question: What does water mean to you?

There's a wide range of artworks and styles on display including paintings, illustrations, photographs, and poetry. Plus a thematic installation designed and made by the HUSK creative team and members of the regular art group.

I'm pleased to be contributing the series of photographs and short poem shown below. As a photographer living in London I have long been drawn to the dynamic relationship between nature and the city. Water, light, and life are essential ingredients of any city and my work is a celebration of all three.

The images were taken at wintertime on the canals of Little Venice in Maida Vale, London. A word of thanks to my friend and fellow artist/photographer Peter Lanes who accompanied me on our regular photo shoots that came to be known as the HUSK walks. Together we have embarked on many journeys using the cafe as our meeting place and point of departure, it's fitting and gratifying to share something of these experiences on the walls of HUSK.

Arts Team

Special thanks to Kylie, Lulu, and Kirsty for your continual guidance, support, and inspiration. And to all the dedicated people at HUSK that help to make these projects possible. 

To purchase prints and other products using these images see my collection on Fine Art America


I came into the world
Like a pebble cast into water
My impact made a wave
That warped the mirror of time
Changing heaven's reflection
My presence rippled across the starry skies
To the very edge of eternity
Until everything I had touched
Came to be still again
And heaven looked just like before
True living water doth restore

The free exhibition runs from 22 Nov - 23 Dec 2017 at:

Husk Coffee & Creative Space
649-651 Commercial Road
Limehouse, London E14 7LW

020 7702 8802

Olympic Voices Project

During the summer of 2012 I was invited to participate in Providence Row's Olympic Voices project, exploring homelessness and social issues around the London Olympics. People with experience of homelessness and members of the local community worked closely with producer Shiraz Bayjoo to create documentary videos, stories and photographic works portraying a unique historical viewpoint of the Games.

Rich Mix Exhibition

The summation of this collaboration is on display at the Rich Mix gallery in London, from Wed 14 November - Wed 28 November.

The free exhibition features a timeline of diaries, images, testimonials, and videos from project participants, plus contributions from members of the Crisis Skylight photography group. It is also part of the 2012 international photography festival Photomonth East London.

Reaching The Tipping Point

Below is my short photo-story charting significant events during the Cultural Olympiad period 2008-2012, titled ‘Reaching The Tipping Point’. The piano soundtrack is by Alex Due, you can discover more of his CC-licensed compositions via his SoundCloud channel.

Also there are some images from my photographic series documenting the ‘Passion and Performance’ seen on London’s streets during the Olympics. You can view more of these images with titles and annotations via this online gallery.

The works reflect upon the build up to social change and the actual point of transition - the moment of truth. They also present a lighthearted and multi-layered view of the phrase tipping point. With any image try asking yourself: ‘Is there a tipping point here?’ or ‘Is there a deeper truth to be understood here?’

Reaching The Tipping Point by David Holmes from David Holmes on Vimeo.

Background to photography

The London Olympics and Paralympics presented a range of photographic opportunities and viewpoints to explore. From changes in the environment cosmetically such as advertising, lighting, signs and symbols, to the way people behaved and interacted in public spaces.

An unprecedented amount of events were taking place all over London, many of which were available free of charge to the general public. They included sporting occasions, art and culture exhibitions, street and theatre performances. Generally these activities conjured an atmosphere of good humour and togetherness often referred to as the feel good factor or people power.

I regularly journeyed from east London to the South Bank to photograph the people and attractions there. Using public transport from my home to Tower Bridge and then by foot across the Thames, I would travel up the riverbank through Southwark to Lambeth and the Westminster Bridge. Between both crossing points there was much to see and enjoy by way of public shows and entertainment.

I’m reminded of the parallels between a similar journey taken by Londoners some four hundred years earlier. People in Shakespeare’s time would have travelled across London Bridge to the Globe playhouse and nearby bear-baiting arena for entertainment. The bridge may well have been adorned with the remnants of another popular spectacle, that of public executions. These attractions were interconnected and in competition with one another. Incidentally many of Shakespeare's plays were originally staged at the Curtain theatre in London’s East End.

Including the South Bank, I chose to photograph activities taking place in other popular locations across London such as Canary Wharf, Greenwich, Hyde Park, Kensington, and Soho. As expected, digital photography was commonplace during London 2012, as was the sharing of images via the Internet on social media platforms. The ubiquity of image devices made taking pictures quite an open and casual affair, more so than was usual in these locations and public spaces generally.

Due to the large scale of these special olympic events I sensed a positive change in the mood of the public on the streets. I wondered if anything significant would come of this change in terms of something lasting, productive and beneficial. Perhaps a tipping point. Because of the immense organisational obstacles I felt people must have learned much about the nature of cooperation and that this would be to the common good. It was clear that the Games and any direct legacy would prove historically enlightening to later generations.


Big thanks to OV producer Shiraz Bayjoo, all the dedicated project participants, the helpful staff at Providence Row and sponsors Reed Smith. Also to Crisis creative arts manager - Paula Lonergan.

Related Reading

Malcolm Gladwell's book about the tipping point phenomenon is a popular read and his 2006 article from the New Yorker 'Million Dollar Murray' sheds light on 'why problems like homelessness may be easier to solve than to manage'.

'Art in Crisis' Exhibition

Over 50 artists are showing their artworks in a new exhibition starting today at the homeless charity Crisis's Bermondsey Project Space, London. It coincides with shocking news of a 23% rise in official figures for rough sleeping indicating the tip of a deep and growing homelessness problem throughout the UK.

The 'Art in Crisis' exhibition showcases art created by talented Crisis Skylight members - people that have been affected by homelessness, and artists campaigning to raise awareness of issues connected to homelessness. 

For the first time this special exhibition brings together a wide range of original artworks including paintings, photographs, puppets, and sculptures. Most of the works are for sale and all proceeds go directly to the artist.

I have 26 photographic images on display taken from my VAA Project, shown recently for the 'Collective Exchange' exhibition at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Some of the images appear below, they feature architectural landmarks around London's Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, and the London Eye. For many people, these iconic structures represent the boundaries of an impenetrable alien world they find themselves within but not really a part of - the inescapable intangible.

Also, long-term Crisis volunteer and photographer Mark Burton is showing a selection of large scale photographic portraits. Mark was given permission to photograph 'Guests and Volunteers' inside the Crisis Rough Sleepers’ Centre in London, which operates over the Christmas period.


Along with all the artists involved I'd like to thank the following people for their hard work in making this exhibition flow:

Crisis Creative Arts Manager - Paula Lonergan

Art Technician & Web Developer - Taidgh Corcoran

Exhibition Designer - Richard Knowles Mortar&Pestle Studio 

Exhibition Details

Situated on the ground floor, the spacious warehouse gallery provides multiple exhibit spaces, a seating area and essential public amenities. There is a flight of stairs leading up to the main entrance. The multi-disciplinary exhibition runs from 24 Feb - 4 Mar, 2012. Admission is free.

Open Thursdays to Sundays 1 - 6pm or by appointment. Telephone: 020 7036 241

Venue: Bermondsey Project Space Unit 7, 46 Willow Walk, Bermondsey, SE1 5SF, London

Bermondsey Project Space (Facebook) - includes map.

Campaign to Help the Homeless

If you would like to help people affected by homelessness Crisis offers a variety of ways to do it. You can join artists like Ed Sheeran and show your support for the current Crisis campaign 'No One Turned Away' by signing the simple online petition. Every signature makes a difference.

'Collective Exchange' - A Collaborative Art Exhibition

Since October 2011, myself and four other artists have been taking part in a London based collaborative art project called 'Collective Exchange'. Working with University of the Arts London and national homeless charity Crisis Skylight, we have been given an opportunity to develop our critical thinking and artistic practice through the process of researching and developing new artwork.

The results of this collaboration form the Collective Exchange Exhibition which goes on view in the entrance gallery at Central Saint Martins Back Hill Site from Friday 10-17 February, 2012 during normal daytime opening hours.

The Preview and Artists’ Talks will be held on Thursday 9 February 6-8pm and admission is free on all days.

The full address is: Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, 10 Back Hill, London EC1R 5LQ. 

Visualizing Ambiguity in Architecture

My contribution is photographic and explores themes of ambiguity in architecture. Most of the digital images combine long exposure times with compound camera movements to generate new forms, colours, and textures. Here are 10 of the 26 images I have on display as prints and digital media. There's further information about the images on my Behance Project Page 

Special thanks to the following people for their expertise, enthusiasm and continued support.

Project Tutors: Caroline Stevenson, Shiraz Bayjoo

Crisis Creative Arts Manager: Paula Lonergan

Art Technician: James Thomas

Exhibiting Artists

‘Collective Exchange’ refers to the conversations between the artists and tutors over the past few months that have inspired new ideas and helped their work to evolve. The artists are:

Stewart Ewin

Tom Hair

David Holmes

Conleth Moran

David Stark

SOPA & PIPA Information Tools

SOPA / PIPA Slideshow and Resource Toolkit
I've created a Slidestaxx presentation for information about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the US. Focusing on the current debate, opposing arguments, security and technical concerns, the package offers a resource toolkit for anyone interested in learning about the issues involved. Featuring content from prominent commentators, online awareness campaigns and a range of Internet protest tools. Links to both Acts are included.

'Lab Day LIVE' Report

Last week I was invited to Ogilvy's music and brands event ‘Lab Day Live’. I outlined the event in my previous post and here I'd like to mention a little about the success of the day and my observations.

Taking place in Ogilvy's Canary Wharf offices in the heart of London's banking and media district, the scene was set in an area symbolic of regeneration and financial strength. Private music festivals are rare in this part of town. 

For most musicians trying to scrape a living from the troubled music business, the invitation to arrive for work at 9.00am to the grand entrance of a Canary Wharf establishment, must have seemed about as far removed from reality as it gets. Of course musicians are used to playing in wildly exotic locations, quite often removed from reality, so this was not about to faze the Lab Day performers.

Subjectively the experience was slightly surreal and possibly what a lucid dream episode of Mad Men might feel like. Imagine 15 bands turning up to play loud sets of music on stages in open plan offices, full of Ogilvy employees, perched merrily if not bemusedly in front of their large Mac monitors.

Add to this hundreds of guests wandering from office to office, audio visual crews and equipment, food, drink, live Internet streaming, a cast of 30 music business exhibitors scattered at various locations, and you get the big picture. This took some planning and from my point of view as a guest it all appeared to run pretty smoothly. Although I hear neighbours Barclays bank complained about the noise.That’s impressive!

No doubt the uniqueness of the experience was carefully factored into Ogilvy's planning. The flair of the team to initiate such an occasion shows serious commitment to their vision of connecting brands with music. As the David Ogilvy quote high on one of the lobby walls states boldly:
"Look for people who aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine"

The Morning Talks
The first half of the day was devoted to a series of talks from a range of music industry figures. The 9th floor conference room with it's lofty views over the East End, carpeted in the agency's signature colour red, soon became full and there was a buzz of anticipation in the air.

Apart from a few of the long-time music biz professionals I had no idea who all these people were. The multitasking couple sitting next to me were constantly thumbing their respective smartphones and many were vocal in their contributions during moments of audience participation. The talks moved swiftly with panels and individual speakers stating their case for why music is important to brands in the digital age. The audience seemed keen to absorb what was on offer and the speakers were received appreciatively.

Here are some of the key issues that were expanded upon with links to further information. I've grouped the 'messages' under general headings and the order in which they are listed flows chronologically to give some sense of timing. A complete list of speakers is available at the Lab Day LIVE website.

For a visual representation of the key points take a look at David Coxon's infographic: Lab Day Live visualized

You can also view an online version of Julian Treasure’s opening address on: The 4 ways sound affects us

Speakers to Brands
  • Marketing agencies are desperate for engagement and the music industry is desperate for revenue (sales have dropped)
  • Generally music is a universal resource
  • There is huge growth in the semi-pro content creation market
  • It’s important to create communities that allow consumers to participate and connect with the brand
  • Advertisers can look to collaborations to drive consumer behaviour
  • Songs can be used as ‘media channels’ to capture consumer engagement
  • Record companies can look to break bands via advertisers
  • A desired shift to “Stepping back from celebrity and into the song”
  • Digital content curation is producing valuable collections that can engage fans
See Rock’s Backpages for an example of how to build engagement through the curation of music journalism articles.

Live Events
  • Brands need to create more ‘experience’ in order for consumers to remember the brand association to particular events and products
  • brands should make innovative use of technology systems for live events (text messaging, geolocation, etc.)
  • Brands can control engagement by creating their own events
See Eskimo Live for more about Experiential Marketing

Content Creation & Marketing Campaigns
  • Brands need to enter the space in a credible way to win the respect of the music audience
  • Create content such as webisodes that feature musicians and musical collaborations
  • Content can be distributed via popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
  • Commitment is required from brands and bands to build momentum
  • Brands can stage on-location events in unique, meaningful, sometimes secret locations
  • Generating brand content creates a ‘hook’ to help book more established artists
  • Brands can make genuine unconditional offers of products to help a band’s career
See Ford - Bands In Transit for an example of a brand music campaign.

Music Industry State of Play
  • UK music industry revenues fell by 4.8 percent to £3.8bn in 2010, down £189m.
  • The music industry needs more supply
  • Festivals are driving live music more than any other venue type (up by 20%), with increasing capacity and ticket prices
  • UK is outperforming USA in music exports by a factor of 3
  • Sync income has grown by 10% since 2008
  • Consumers now spend more money on games than music
  • Albums can be used as a promotional tool to sell games
  • Bands may be developed primarily to promote brands and exist only because of the brand
  • Tourism is a big potential area of revenue (Air flights, package deals, events)
  • Music can be treated as a service and used to sell products
For more on on the state of the music industry see Economic Insight - PRS for Music

Internet Music
  • has ‘scrobbled’ 57 billion pieces of musical data
  • Data is the currency and the audience expect their data to come back to them
  • Think about the audience needs
  • Super-fans and artists create an identity together
  • Use crowdsourcing to build engagement
  • Let the fans and bands take control
  • Find an artist/community and see what their metrics reveal, in terms of marketing products
Examples, and (US only)

Artistic Enterprises
  • Immersive soundscaping can be used to change crowd behaviour
  • SoundCloud becoming more engaged with artist enterprise
  • Art concepts can be used on products
  • Artists still need support like record labels used to
For more on immersive soundscaping and sound design see Illustrious

Record Labels
  • Music Industry asks brands: Embrace us
  • Music industry has changed beyond all recognition
  • WMG are focused on developing serious artists careers, long term
  • Synchronisation is growing, labels and publishers have put in a lot of energy
  • WMG want to integrate brands into the music industry, looking for partners
  • Music rights difficult to navigate, previous price points were incorrect
  • Creative process can be supplied by labels working directly with agencies at the creative level
Social Music Apps
  • Spotify says you need two things a)The Content (millions of songs) b) Good user experience (i.e. Apple)
  • Brands/music needs to be everywhere in order to be relevant to consumers (portable devices, appliances, cars, etc)
  • You have to be better than piracy, hence freemium model
  • You can only make music social if you have a free tier
  • Pinpoint music for campaigns based on demographics
  • Analyze from top down; Social engagement to personal engagement
  • 3 methods: Crowdsourcing individual reviews, surveying social interactions, identifying and testing top genres
  • Track highest volume of conversation
  • Socialization more important in Germany, hence digital landscape important to understand
  • Electronic music interaction is high in Germany
  • Search engines required to find and license music
  • Use systems to find out what resonates most
See Libspotify for information about Spotify’s API for third party developers, an example of a ubiquitous, freemium, social music application.

Sound Branding
  • Consensual contracts: Brands beware of jumping ship from one creator to another, the music business can track you
  • Minimum cost of copyright infringement £50,000 (cost of license)
  • You need a consistent branding strategy that enables consumer understanding when you bend the rules
  • Understand the context and how music is used in different ways from say, apps to live events
  • The brevity of a sonic signature is crucial e.g. at the top of an ad before people decide to skip
  • Brand and sound ‘fit’ is vital
  • When music ‘fits’, brand propensity to buy goes up by around 25%
  • Music in ads can change people’s purchasing behaviour e.g. from French wine to German Wine
  • It takes about 2 years for the brand sound to be understood by the consumer
  • In 5 years time sound will be recognised as a major part of the marketing investment
For more on ‘sound branding’ see Soundlounge

My Thoughts

Firstly this was a direct plea from the music industry for brands to: "Embrace us" and to "consider us in your marketing plans".

Economically this makes sense in the light of data from a recent PRS for Music press release:
  • Total business-to-business licensing revenues from PRS for Music, PPL and activities such as sync licensing and artist endorsement grew 2.2%
  • Advertising and sponsorship (including live music sponsorship, event creation, artist endorsement, digital, TV and advertising support) grew 4.2% on 2009 to £94m
Clearly B2B and licensing revenues are key growth areas. This includes music in computer games, films and TV.

However with brands creating their own digital content the boundaries between brand, record label and publisher are becoming blurred, effectively a brand could be all three. The same applies to games developers. The music industry recognizes this and is inviting brands to partner with music companies that can offer specialised creative services and resources.

Key to this strategy is metrics. Advertisers need to pinpoint their target audience and measure the market potential. Until now music has always been a last minute add-on for advertisers, frequently decided upon just days before project completion. Now with the development of Internet music apps and digitized services, music companies can provide valuable data that previously was missing. It's now possible to target the right song for the right demographics. This is a potential game changer.  

But still it's a complicated scenario and much work will need to be done to make these 'partnerships' realistic. Lets remember artists, writers, management, record labels, and publishers will all have their views on working with brands.

Essentially the music industry is diversifying as conventional revenue streams are falling. It's interesting to note the mention of other big areas of revenue such as tourism, considering we're at the end of the festival 'season', now expanded from May to October, and festivals show large growth throughout Europe. Again brands figure strongly in live events.  

The Music
 (my life as a lab rat for the day)

My analogy of a lab rat is apt. During the course of the afternoon I found myself scuttling the Ogilvy warren, in pursuit of the next fix to be found on one of the three stages located in different parts of the building.  

Given the circumstances, some of the musicians may have felt apprehensive, however on the day all nine of the acts I saw performed well and appeared to enjoy it. These were showcase performances lasting around 30 minutes each. Some of the bands like Wolf Gang rearranged their sets to accommodate the venue, providing a more 'acoustic' style of performance.

There was a special intimacy between the artists and audience intensified by the working environment. It’s easy to become a fan when you feel a direct connection to music in this way and I can honestly say I enjoyed every performance. It was a great opportunity to discover new music up close and in the flesh.

There are some live audio recordings over at Felt Music on Awdio from acts Digitonal, Kidda, and Wolf Gang. You can also check out the video wall to see what some of the artists had to say about Lab Day. During performances the live stream received 15,000 hits from 86 countries. Live video footage of artists taken from all three stages is available to stream via the Lab Day website (link at top of post).

And Finally 

Shortly after watching the final band of the day Tribes, who were great, it was time to leave. In the lift on my way down to earth I had a few moments to reflect on a quite other-worldly experience. On my way I bumped into some of the guys from Boy Mandeville and Digitonal before saying my farewells and venturing into the drizzly world outside. Ah, another day at the office. Canary Wharf won't feel the same for me, for a while, I think.

My thanks to the Ogilvy team for a special and enlightening day!

Twitter Buzz Tracking 

Related Links 

Ogilvy Hosts Music & Brands Event 'Lab Day LIVE'

International advertising and marketing agency Ogilvy Group UK are staging a one-day event called Lab Day LIVE designed to engage both the advertising and music communities. On the 9th September Ogilvy's offices in London's Canary Wharf will play host to a music industry conference and live music festival.

It promises to be an informative and entertaining occasion focusing on the latest digital media opportunities mutually available to brands and the music business. The morning conference panels and talks will feature key figures from Spotify, PRS and other leading music organizations (List of speakers). During the afternoon live music performances from name and up-coming acts will take place across three stages (see below).

Entitled: Making music matter as much to brands as it does to consumers

The event is part of Ogilvy’s on-going drive to help clients and their brands navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the music industry in the digital age.

In this video clip Lab Day organizer Tara Austin talks about her role in making music a more central part of the creative process at Ogilvy. To see what other members of the team are saying take a look at the Video Wall.

The Rules of Engagement

Ogilvy are looking to the music industry for innovative ideas on how brands can use music to to build engagement with their audience. Earlier in the year, at MIDEM 2011, they made a stirring appeal for music publishers to "‘look beyond the cheque' and contribute more than just a piece of audio to an advertising campaign" emphasising Ogilvy's vision to "create added value: value for our brands and, ultimately, value for the artist whose music our campaigns promote". 

I'll be attending the event and listening closely to what's being said about sonic branding and new ideas for using music to create a 'brand sound'. I'm also looking forward to learning more about the power of sound and music when applied to areas such as 'retail soundscapes' and how we can be informed by hard data.

As a long-time advocate of Open Media licensing tools, when and where appropriate, I'll be hoping to see more open and collaborative business frameworks designed to minimize the friction permeating traditional licensing models. Many Internet audio and video platforms have already successfully integrated Creative Commons licensing making it easy for people to share, remix and reuse media legally, notably SoundCloud and YouTube (list of corporate support).

Creative Commons has always been about promoting creativity and the power of openness to build communities based on shared ideas. Unfortunately the established licensing system, especially with regards to CC licenses in Europe, makes widespread media sharing difficult, thereby blocking the most valuable thing which is attention. Hopefully the wider debate around open and closed systems will eventually lead to innovation that fosters audience attention, participation, and better user experiences in the digital music space.


Event Info & Live Stream


 Full details and live streaming of acts from the 3 music stages on the day can be found at


You can follow updates using the hashtag #labdaylive plus there's further tweet analysis, tracking and visualization via my channel at The Archivist



Alexis Ffrench!/AlexisFfrench

Aloe Blacc!/aloeblacc

Boy Mandeville!/boymanband

Charlie Simpson!/charliesimo





Laki Mera!/LakiMeraMusic

Newton Faulkner!/newtonfaulkner

Pete and The Pirates!/PetePirates

Sophie Ellis-Bextor!/sophieeb

To Kill a King!/ToKillAKingUK


Wolf Gang!/wolfgang



Some of the performers appearing on the day


The Beating of Her Heart by digitonal




About Ogilvy


Ogilvy & Mather are an International advertising, marketing and public relations agency founded in 1948.


Visit the Ogilvy Museum on YouTube  to watch some of their classic ads, dating back to the 1950s. For more recent developments there's the Ogilvyvids Channel


Ogilvy Group Comms @OgilvyLondon for news and observations from the comms team at Ogilvy Group UK.

OGILVY @OGILVY their global staff blog aggregator.

Ambient Classical Music by Clem Leek

Latest tracks by Clem Leek

Clem Leek is a musician, composer and sound artist based in the UK. He creates modern classical ambient music which has been released on several independent labels.

Clem's works are subtle and dreamlike, using pianos, guitars, ethereal pads, field recordings, and other solo instruments. His SoundCloud stream features beautifully balanced compositions that perfectly compliment those special moments of solitude and creative isolation. These tracks will take you to a calm place and leave you floating in suspended animation.

You can discover more about Clem and his music via MySpace and Twitter

Luna by Sergio Altamura

A haunting composition played to perfection by Italian artist Sergio Altamura, guitar and loop machine. From his first solo album "Blu" produced by William Ackerman in 2004, available at

More info can be found via his website: and his Facebook community page at

Fans of solo guitar music can listen to more gems like this via the CandyRat YouTube Channel and there's a selection of favourite Solo Acoustic Instrumental Videos on this PLAYLIST