'Gina Southgate' live painter

I am well known on the London free music and jazz scene where I've painted and/or performed live at gigs for 25 years. I had my first solo exhibition of gig paintings at London's Jazz café in 1988.

I work with the frisson of the music observing the relationship between the musician and instrument. I try to capture the energy and essence of the gig in the real time. Sometimes I work solely with sound and ignore the visual content producing abstract imagery. In performance situations I use my materials and surfaces sonically.

The area of my work resulting in representational live gig imagery has flourished again since having an ongoing exhibition the new Vortex in Dalston. It has become a long term home to my work and enables me to create a changing showcase of current gig paintings. I have been resident artist on their festivals and had my live painting projected into Gillett square at Vortex 25, and again when I performed with The People Band. My work appeared on ‘Vortex Live' on the space.org.

I was resident artist at ‘On the Outside' festival of improvised music with an exhibition of the resulting work at The Newcastle Arts Centre. In 2009 this was the start of a relationship with the north east where I had exhibitions and became resident artist at The Sage Gateshead's international Jazz festival in 2010 and 11. Simultaneously I've developed a relationship with Somethin'Else, producers of Jazz on 3. I exhibited in their offices and I painted at Ronnie Scott's and various events in The London Jazz festival as their guest on several occasions. My work can be seen on the Jazz on 3 website. Throughout 2012 and currently I'm resident artist on the monthly Jazz In the Round series hosted by Jez Nelson at The Cockpit theatre.
In November 2013 to celebrate 25 years of painting at gigs I curated a successful exhibition and launch gig at the Rich Mix. It featured people whose work and its ‘product' relates to the diversity that exists within jazz. The exhibition comprised paintings, drawings, posters, cover art, graphics and ephemera that glimpsed the music's broad subgenres. It included Andy Sheppard of Lowlightphoto / Swiftyand Paul Bradshaw as Stereophonic supply co./ Treader label and Ashley Wales. Here is a resulting interview popupmusic

My gig imagery is used widely for publicity material and as graphic illustration. I painted the live cover and disc images of Dennis Rollins Velocity Trio '11th Gate' cd on Motema. This resulted in me going to the Jazzahead trade show in Brehmen Germany in April 2013, in part to paint at Motema's 10th birthday celebrations.
I've recently created live images and cover design for Jean Toussaint 4's recent release 'Tate Song' on Lyte Records.
33 of my gig images are currently available in Ltd edition print. Three of these prints, purchased by the BBC, can be seen in the current series of Holby City.

Although my passion remains with improv I paint many styles of music and in 2012 painted ‘The London Requiem' a classical piece live at dusk in Abney Park Cemetery. This was live streamed on the Space.Org.
In Septermber 2013 I was resident artist at The Kings Place Festival, painting foyer events throughout the weekend.

In contrast I love the fresh air existence of painting all weathers in the landscape. The intrigue began whilst camping and observing the forms of tents illuminated from within set against extraordinary skies. Landscape painting has become a major part of my working practice and I paint in much the same way I would at a gig, I'm concerned with the energy in the landscape as much as the form or light. I particularly like to work at dusk when fading light creates strong definition. As with gig painting, it is a ‘real time' experience and the work remains untouched after the event.

At the solid core of my practice is my abstract studio based work. I'm interested in the juxtaposition and layering of colour which I use in conjunction with collaged monoprinted papers. I paint and monoprint from surfaces to make texture. I create abstract work largely without narrative. I may have a title or a very loose idea but I mostly let the work take its own momentum. If I want to to simulate the energy of a live gig in an abstract work I'll play furious jazz or improv while painting. The forms in my abstract work, have ovoid, elliptical and kidney shaped references and holes that allow the lower surface to penetrate. These themes have reoccurred since I was a metalworker. This work has been described as 'mid century modern'

I have shown on almost a yearly basis at the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust since 2004
The art committee there have purchased and commissioned abstract work from me for their public spaces and have used this imagery on Trust book publications (Karnak books).

In January 2013 I began to show work at the East London Psychotherapy unit in Homerton. This is an ongoing and changing exhibition and I am about to make some site specific pieces to commission for the unit.

Influential artists for me are Picasso, Miro, Hepworth, Sickert, Hitchens. Pop art got me going with the realisation you don't need to be able to draw to make great art, though I do think it helps. I've also had the good fortune of having fantastic practicing artists, designers and musicians as friends and peers. I've always been surrounded by great talent. Including in childhood where although occupied with the bones of earning a living and running a family my mum and dad always cleverly made things. They went on in retirement to take up ceramics and my dad became a good painter.

I grew up in Essex and did a two year foundation at Southend College of Technology just after the emergence of punk. My foundation there was a turning point, I met an important and influential group of people who emerged from that place and time.

I moved to London to do a degree in silversmithing/metalwork at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts followed by a postgraduate year in pewter casting.
I have worked as a professional artist for three decades. I had numerous exhibitions as a metalworker, won design competitions, worked for architects, taught jewellery and metal in adult education and at foundation level. Was ‘artist in residence' for Art's Council of Wales exploring cast aluminium.

Through a growing interest in music and the aesthetic of musical instruments I began to paint at gigs which coincided with a desire to work in a faster medium than metal. Since then my music imagery has appeared on C.D. covers and in music magazines, I have created site and stage decoration, taken part in group and solo exhibitions, taught screen printing in schools and community groups, run painting with music workshops and perform using audio visuals and painting live at an international level with fine musicians. My work is in public and private collections across the globe.


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