South West Creatives You Should Know
It’s the month of love, and we’re in the mood to spread some appreciation for those who inspire us. Artists, photographers, ceramicists, producers and set designers – we’re so lucky to be surrounded by a host of creatives all thriving in what they do. This time round we’ve stretched ourselves, geographically speaking, and we’re spotlighting creatives from our beloved Bristol and across the South West; Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.
Somatic / Sound Artist, Podcaster, DJ
Exeter-born, Somatic is influenced by his upbringing in the countryside, global music and sound system and dance music culture, all of which shape his distinct sonic persona. His two-part audio documentary ‘Sonic Landscapes of Colour’ sheds light on the experiences of young people of colour in the South West, aired on BBC and received an Aria Award nomination. When not busy hosting radio and creating music for theatre and film you can find him playing at Glastonbury Festival.
Rebecca McDonald / Artist & Set Designer
Artist Rebecca McDonald funnels her imagination and creativity to create site-specific design experiences to connect people with where they are in beautiful, bold ways. If you’ve partied at a UK festival, chances are you’ve stumbled upon a world created by Rebecca McDonald.
Alongside directing teams and creative and community projects, McDonald can also make giant origami animal totems for Glastonbury and 3D sculptures of children’s book characters. Talk about multi-tasking.
Malaika Kegode / Poet, Director, Writer
Kegode breathes creativity. Whether it’s through her workshops at Bristol Old Vic, in her role as Associate Director at Theatre Royal Plymouth or her writing, she champions it in all forms. Her zine Body Buffet, written ‘for the hungry and the horny’ is a poetic account about food and bodies, and is one of our faves.
Zoe Power / Multi-disciplinary Artist
With a portfolio spanning 300sqm murals, city takeovers and big-name brands alongside community projects and fundraising prints, Power’s ability to tell a story through her art has zero limitations. Think Zoe Power, think colour with striking hues and shapes her calling cards. Look carefully amongst the bold shapes and find intricate details that tell a narrative. Zoe’s profound sense of empathy shines through her art.
Marcus Smith / Media Creative
Presenter, producer, filmmaker, audio artist; Marcus Smith doesn’t mess around. His projects include local oral history podcast ‘12 Communities 1 Bristol’ and Bristol’s StoryTrails recounting stories of the city, on its streets, through VR. Marcus is a broadcaster and producer for Bristol Community FM, BBC Radio 4 and The British Library, as well as a freelance journalist for Bristol 24/7 and The Bristol Cable.
Lee Ellis / Artist
Forever an artist Ellis uses ‘anything he has lying around’ to scratch, paint and scuff the surface of his canvas when creating his artworks. His use of bright colours juxtaposes dark imagery to create unique, intriguing characters, with emotional angst a recurring theme of his works. With spray paint, oils and charcoal Ellis invites you into his world. We love Ellis’ dedication to and mastery of his craft.
HattyFrancesBell / Cinematographer
The common thread through all of Hatty Frances Bell’s work is her exploration of human experiences, driven by a commitment to social and political change. Through documentary, filmmaking and photography, she captures authentic narratives across arts, research, and non-profit sectors with cinematic intimacy. Her recent shorts are part of a series of films profiling regenerative farmers in the British Isles.
Llyr Davis Artist
Llyr Davies ventures beyond tradition in his dynamic paintings and drawings. His uses bold colours and textures combined with figurative motifs with gestural mark-making to create abstract and evocative pieces. Llyr finds inspiration everywhere from myths to domestic spaces, his art weaves together themes of humanity and storytelling.
Ottowin / Shoemakers
Bristol babes Ollie and Lucy have spent years honing the craft of shoemaking and it shows. With a dedication to slow fashion and sustainability without wavering from style and beauty, their classic boots and sandals are proven to last a lucky wearer for many lifetimes. Timeless yet contemporary, the unisex footwear is made by hand in their Bristol studio. They’re happy to share their craft too with workshops and kits available.
Georgia Gendall / Artist / Founder of Cornwall’s Worm Charming Competition
Satirical, absurd, moving and thoughtful; Gendall takes inspiration from her countryside location in unexpected ways. Take her now-famous Worm Charming Competition, where Cornish residents are encouraged to lure earthworms from their designated plot using instruments/homemade objects/anything they can get their hands on. Georgia takes delight in ‘unravelling our preconceptions of the rural as idyll and subverting the familiar to embody queerness.’
We’d love to hear about your favourite creatives in the South West. We’ve created a Noticeboard of Creatives over on our Instagram page where we can signpost and celebrate the amazing pool of talent across our county.