Visual art is making its mark at this year’s Watford Live! Festival. There are pop-up galleries in unusual locations for visitors to browse around, art in theatres, art and craft workshops and there’s also a display of images on show at Watford Museum that have been made specifically to capture the spirit of our town.
Newly elected MP Richard Harrington got an interesting new view of Watford when he presented his challenge cup to the winner of the Watford Now competition show at the museum this week.
The show, organised jointly by Watford Area Arts Forum and the museum, is a fascinating take on the town by painters and photographers, who have addressed the topic with a mixture of detailed observation, quirkiness and dark and light humour.
A wider spectrum of local artistic talent, the annual WAAF Open Summer Exhibition, spreads its wings across the gallery above the Harlequin Shopping Centre. A section of this show is devoted to young talent, bold, contemporary works of art by students from Watford Grammar School for Girls. Both shows will remain open for the duration of the festival.
A new venue for Watford Live!, White House Hotel is showcasing the work of self-taught digital airbrush artist Zim (Jim Golding) whose collection of famous faces, landscapes and original abstracts goes under the name Art & Soul – Iconic Art. Jim, 31, has been producing artwork from an early age but has no formal training. He attended Bushey Meads School and went on to do media studies at West Herts College.
Jim lives in Watford but has a studio in his parents’ house in Bushey where he works on his art.
“I’ve been drawing since I was old enough to pick up a pen,” says Jim. “It’s usually all done in my head. I might start with a pencil, paintbrush or a photograph but it goes onto the computer from my thoughts.”
Jim says his ideas about art influence his music, he’s in a guitar-based duo called Cudabar and is starting out at open mic nights with a view to playing gigs later in the year.
Like many other artists, Jim has found inspiration in the urban legends, rock stars and icons of his time. From Marilyn Monroe to Bob Marley, Elvis Presley to Johnny Depp, each image is specially airbrushed and the effects range from Warhol pop-art style to the vivid tones and subjects of David Hockney.
Art & Soul – Iconic Art until the end of July at White House Hotel, 27-31 Upton Road, Watford. Details: 07804 038570.