Crack + Cider

Scarlett Montanaro (26), has worked in global advertising agencies in the UK and Asia on some of the world’s biggest, most loved brands. She is also a member of the Young Creative Council whose aim is to bridge the gap between between graduates and the advertising industry. Scarlett realized that her skills in branding and advertising could be used to spread positive messages across the world after creating the internationally successful Social Rehab campaign in 2012 and is continuing to do so with projects like Crack + Cider. Find her here @s_montanaro


1.Hey Scarlett! So happy to be talking to you – you’re doing some really cool stuff right now! How have you managed to juggle everything at once?  
To be honest, I don’t know. I suppose when it’s something you believe in and feel like you’re making a real difference in the world with, you can find the time, energy and focus to keep going even when you really don’t think there are enough hours in the day!
2. Can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment? 
Of course! My partner, Charley, and I have just launched CRACK + CIDER: Shop for the Homeless. It’s a shop where you can buy essential items for London’s rough sleepers such as backpacks, thermals and winter jackets and we will distribute them across the city in time for Christmas.
Due to the insanely positive feedback on the idea, we have been asked to write articles and give talks on the subject of homelessness and also consult on other peoples projects. It’s been very hectic but it’s also absolutely amazing.
3. Have you ever felt extremely unmotivated and what did you do during those times?
Yes. We had this idea last winter but we didn’t feel like we had the time or knowledge to pull it off. We also spoke with shelters and charities and uncovered what a vast and complex issue homelessness really is. After discovering all this, we started to think that our silly little idea really wasn’t going to solve anything. It was simply putting a band-aid on the problem.
We went away, gave ourselves some headspace from the problem and we realised that it’s ALWAYS better to do something than nothing. We can’t buy the people on our streets a house and we can’t go and write new policies at Number 10…but WHAT WE CAN DO is get some warm clothing to people who need them most.
Whilst we’re waiting for the big boys to change the policies, we’re tackling the short term issue: survival.
4. What has made you feel so lost and how – if you have – have you overcome it?
On a personal level, after thinking that this idea had no legs I started to feel unhappy and like I wasn’t making a difference in the world. I had a job with people that I loved but I wasn’t making the most out of anything. I wasn’t squeezing every day dry… I think I was stuck in a rut.
Thankfully, my job allowed me to take a break for 4 months. I travelled South America and I’ve come back focused and happy. I suppose you could say I’m found.
5. What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise?
A worthwhile purpose. My purpose before was to be a fun person and make adverts for brands.
Now, my purpose is still those things but also to make a difference to the world through CRACK + CIDER. We are not only donating essential items to people who need them but we are spreading awareness of a problem and starting a conversation across the world on a subject that really needs discussing.
6. What has been your favourite project you’ve ever worked on?
It has to be CRACK + CIDER. Whilst I love my job, I love working with Charley and just bossing it. We have nobody to answer to and just get shit done.
7. What inspires you and keeps you going?
The look on the homeless peoples faces when we give them the gifts the public have bought them. We haven’t done distribution yet as it’ll be happening closer to Christmas but I’m so excited to see them and meet them. I suppose you could liken it to when you know you’ve really nailed your best friends present and you just want to see their reaction. I know how much these people need these items and how much they need to know that someone out there cares enough to buy something for them.
8. What is the one thing that people wouldn’t know about you? 
Ha! Well, I am pretty much an open book except for one thing. But that’s a secret for a reason ;)
9. If you had any advice to give out to anyone wanting to get into your field what would it be?
“The world is moving so fast that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
As Nike would say… Just Do It. Make it a reality. Get your ideas out of your own head and into the world. People will thank you for it, believe me.
10. What does the future hold for you? 
Short term, we got £5K investment and rather than put it into growing our business, we’ve decided we want to put on a proper Christmas for the rough sleepers of London. We are currently looking for locations and planning that so it’s a big job to pull off in a month!
Long term, at the moment, it’s all up in the air. We want to continue CRACK + CIDER but it was originally only meant to be a little side project between friends that would end after Christmas. Now we have a responsibility to continue our work so it’s a lot of planning and next steps.

When in doubt, dance. And never work for free!

With beautiful alluring features, and at a statuesque and very leggy 6’2″, she is one of the tallest established performers the business. Sydni’s charming performance style is an entertaining mix of wit, finesse and sophisticated musicality.


In 2013 classic burlesque striptease artist, producer, instructor and singer- Sydni Deveraux “The Golden Glamazon” was recognized worldwide with the award of 1st Runner Up for Queen at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend which supports the Exotic World Museum in preserving the history and legacy of burlesque. She is also ranked in the top 50 burlesque performers of 2011 THROUGH 2014 as polled by the online magazine- 21st Century Burlesque. Having performed and taught internationally and nationally in multiple festivals and shows from her hometown all the way to places such as Finland, Amsterdam and Switzerland- her talents are featured in acclaimed shows that showcase the brightest and most recognized talents in the world.


1. Hello! Again, it’s an absolute pleasure to be writing to you. First of all; what was the last show you did and how did it go?

The last burlesque performance I gave was on Tuesday at my regular spot, Bathtub Gin- I’m there every Tuesday night, and Sunday brunch and dinner. I love performing there since it’s a floor show- allowing you to get very close and even touch the patrons. And it’s always fun to mess with them a bit or give them a little thrill. I’ve been particularly fond of kissing the tops of bald men’s heads lately and dropping my gloves in peoples laps. In general the show is always fun and last Tuesday was no exception.

2. Can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment?

Well, I’m currently typing to you;)
But in general I perform 5 nights a week thereabouts with Wasabassco and our friends! I’m also a producer for Wasabassco, an 11 year old burlesque entertainment company that puts on shows in 6 venues in NYC and one in Nashville. So I have my productions and then as a collective (there are four producers) we seek to grow the business to include more fun shows and more ways to give gigs to wonderful performers. I also travel, mostly nationally right now, but definitely have had my time over seas. I’m currently in contracts with a few places, which is keeping me close to my computer until they are finalized.

3. Have you ever felt extremely unmotivated and what did you do during those times?

Of course I have! it’s called being an artist. Now that I’ve gone through a few of these spells, I accept that they happen and I don’t try to fight them. I work with them. I start to do more improv- I dance. I just go into my little studio (it’s called the Pretty Pink Pony Parlor), put on some music and dance. I set a timer so that I stay in there. Sometimes it’s just 5 minutes, but if I get warm and listen to something silly or rad I’ll end up in there for longer. I also recognize when I do need a break from it all and I allow myself a short period of time before telling myself to get back to it.

4. What has made you feel so lost and how – if you have – have you overcome it?

Lack of work. When I was living in Seattle I wasn’t performing as much as I wanted so it was often challenging to stay motivated. I engaged in tedious, time consuming costuming projects to help me spend the time, and like I said earlier- I would dance.

5. What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise?

To make sure that Wasabassco and myself are very secure financially- to make a decent living wage as an entertainer and producer. Constant, consistent work is all I crave and delight in. That way I can finance new costumes and focus on playing in my parlor.

6. What really gets you going and makes you most passionate in life?

Entertaining people. Getting to love. Seeing art. Eating delicious food. My dogs.

7. When have you felt most proud of yourself? Best moment in your career?

I feel proud when people are entertained. I’ve had many great moments, but I don’t think I’ve have a best one yet. People want me to say that winning an award was the best, but really it’s not. However, making my mentor proud of me when I do is very satisfying because I love her and respect her beyond all else.

8. Where can we find you performing? Tell us all the places!!

It’s best to just send you to my website because it’s all over the city and the country coming up.

9. If you had any advice to give out to anyone in a similar career path what would it be?

Do everything you can to be uniquely yourself, even when it seems easier to assimilate. In the end, you will feel better. Also, try to be as self-aware as you can possibly be about your costuming, aesthetic, and how your body moves so that you can absolutely grasp onto your benefits and improve on things that need to be. Always try to be a better businesswoman. Remember that this is a business. Never work for free.

10. Do you have any upcoming opportunities within your field?

But of course. :).

Sydni Deveraux “The Golden Glamazon”

-International Headliner and Featured Performer
-Producer of NYC’s Wasabassco Burlesque
-Performing every Sunday and Tuesday at Bathtub Gin
-2013 First Runner to Queen for the Burlesque Hall of Fame
-Private/online instruction available!

The Storms and The Shelter


I am a Director of Photography & Editor, from Midsomer Norton, now living in Cardiff. I Graduated from USW in 2012, and freelanced as a cameraman for 2 years before joining Storm+Shelter, a production company based in Cardiff Bay. I most recently DoP’d on Novo Amor’s “Anchor” Video:

1. Hi! How’s it going man! You’ve done so much since you’ve left university – what’s been your favourite?

It’s going good, I’m currently half way through a pack of chocolate hobnobs and it’s nowhere near lunchtime, is this what being an adult is? But yes, lots has been going on for me since university, both professionally and personally. In terms of favourite projects I’d have to say that the most recent shoot I worked on is my favourite to date. I worked as a DOP on Novo Amor’s “Anchor” music video as part of the Storm+Shelter team. The locations were breathtaking and being able to get my grubby little mitts on a set of 1970’s anamorphic lenses really made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

2. Can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment?

As of late August I’ve relocated to Cardiff (for the second time in my life) and taken a full time position as a Directory of Photography & Editor at Storm+Shelter ( I’ve worked with the guys there on several projects as a freelancer over the last year and gave them endless grief about hiring me and eventually they caved (or at least that’s my version of events). They are such nice guys to work with, I honestly couldn’t be happier. Since starting full time I’ve worked on projects for several well known music artists as well as the BBC. I’m spending a lot more time growing my understanding of camera technology and technique; working here has really inspired me to push myself to the next level.

3. Have you ever felt extremely unmotivated and what did you do during those times?

Since deciding to pursue a career in film / television production there have definitely been times, sometimes great lengths of the stuff, where I’ve felt like a slightly overweight man chasing a donut on a stick selotaped to a treadmill. No matter what I did to try and progress I couldn’t push on through. Sometimes I lacked confidence to take a risk, sometimes I just couldn’t be arsed to get in the shower in the morning. The immovable,
instagram filtered professional in me would love to tell you all about how, when I was unmotivated, I’d take inspiration from the greats, to pull myself together and “get on with it”. In reality what I did was sit on the sofa, in a t-shirt and my boxers watching “Homes under the hammer” at 1 in the afternoon, eating as many chocolate biscuits as my self esteem would allow. This would last for about a week at a time. What I learnt from doing this was that (and this takes no credit away from Homes under the hammer) being unmotivated is actually quite boring, which in itself is a pretty strange concept. Soon enough I found myself looking for something to do, and for some trousers to put on.
4. What has made you feel so lost and how – if you have – have you overcome it ?

Whenever you speak to anyone in this industry, or any creative industry really, about how to be successful, they’ll tell you that you need to work hard. Not getting enough work coming in to pay rent? Work harder. Not getting the recognition you deserve for your best work? Work harder. Sleep less, see your friends less, work harder. There is a prevailing notion that the only way to get to where you want to be, the only way to successfully pursue your passion is to be a self sacrificing, target driven hermit. After graduating with a first from university I naively thought that I would be snapped up by a production company and whisked off to a happier existence. I was wrong. Instead, I worked 3 nightshifts a week
in a supermarket to fund my ambitions, doing what little freelance work I could get in the days I wasn’t sleeping. Weeks began to blur into months, and a year later I found myself in more or less the same position. Still in debt, still yet to reach my goals and still with the social life of a ghost. I felt lost. I was working as hard as I ever had, and getting nowhere. I began to hate filmmaking. This was really a turning point for me. In a snap decision I decided to start putting myself first. Thinking back, I’m really glad I did, because I was never going to produce my best work by isolating myself from others and working through the night 3 times a week. Despite my stubborn pride, I left Cardiff and moved home. The money I saved by not paying rent in Cardiff allowed me to go out and enjoy myself (and be
around other human beings), and obviously sleeping at night had many benefits. I soon found my creative spark reigniting.

5. What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise

I feel pretty “found” at the moment as it happens, which I guess means that working for a company I love surrounded by creative people that inspire me and being in a mutually satisfying relationship does it for me (that or eating half a packet of chocolate hobnobs has given me some kind of euphoric high). As cliché as it sounds, money has never really been
a big motivator for me, I always hoped to make a living doing something I found fun, and pay my way as some kind of secondary benefit. As much fun as being freelance is, its very hard to distract yourself from doing constant mathematics equations in your head to determine whether or not you’re eating from the reduced section of Tesco next month, which isn’t really ideal when you’re trying to be inspired to create your best work.
6. Do you have any upcoming opportunities for people to get involved in?

We get quite a lot of emails from people requesting work experience, we’re just trying to work out the technical details of taking people on, as well as way of really giving people worthwhile experience whilst they are with us. We’re also always on the lookout for new talent and quality freelancers, so keeping up a good online presence is the best way for us to notice you!

7. When have you felt most proud of yourself?

I think anytime when I’ve exceeded the expectations of others or indeed my own expectations of myself have made me feel proud. Being noticed by others in the industry for my work is also a great feeling. I think being welcomed into Storm+Shelter as their first employee has to be up there too.

8. If you could choose between all of the projects you’ve worked on – what has been the hardest?

The hardest project I’ve ever worked on is probably The Lap of Wales Challenge. Over the summer I headed off around Wales with the Storm+Shelter lads to produce a short film each day, following Welsh celebrities as they travelled around the circumference of Wales raising awareness for organ donation. As well as having to film in a variety of vehicles (speed boats, sports cars, zip wires) we were tasked with editing a film a day at the end of each day, which, for 10 days meant waking up at 6am and going to sleep at 2am. It was pretty brutal but a great experience.

9. If you had any advice to give out to anyone in a similar career path what would it be?

My advice to people looking to get on in the film industry would be to have a healthy appetite for learning and to never admit to yourself that you know enough. This game is constantly changing and if you get complacent you will be left behind. Always challenge yourself to produce better work, and be aware of the competition around you. Learn to make friends with them, chances are there are things you can learn from each other. And
don’t forget to enjoy yourself, because if you don’t there are plenty of easier ways to earn a living.
Thank you!



The View From This Height


Actors turned Vloggers Christina Joanna & Yanick Ghanty have transformed a blog into a youtube channel. They are currently travelling and vlogging about it and have made us a video interview! They talk about wanting to continue learning; how to get over vlogging nerves and It’s honest and sweet and they are captivating to watch. Check them out and subscribe to their channel!





Music Can Save Your Life, Interview with Rebekah Vyce


Rebekah Vyce is a Singer Songwriter, Vocal Coach & Session Vocalist based in the beautiful city of Bath. Have you ever been to one of those gigs where the crowd falls eerily silent and hangs on every word? Rebekah has that effect on an audience. An experienced vocalist with a voice blending subtle tones of soul, folk & gospel. A songwriter of beautiful melodies that will stay in your head for days, and lyrics that are honest, full of stories, hope and integrity – Rebekah’s music will captivate you. Following on from her Debut EP ‘Small Beginnings’, Rebekah has just released her first full length Album ‘Breath & Dust’.

Find out all about Rebekah here:

Connect on Facebook:

Connect on Twitter & Instagram: @rebekahvyce

New album ‘Breath & Dust’ available now on…



1. Hi! We’ve been anxiously awaiting your album! You must be so excited. How did this process come about?

Helloooooo, yes very excited (and just a little exhausted lol!)! I guess the process for this started as soon as I’d finished the last one. I independently released my Debut EP ‘Small Beginnings’ back in 2012 – just to experiment, start the ball rolling, learn how to do it all and experience the whole process. I caught the bug back then and I think I’ve been leading up to this new album
ever since. Back in spring this year I finished writing the songs and started rehearsing with the band. I was in the studio for two weeks in May. Mixing and mastering finished in August and the ‘Breath & Dust’ album was released on Friday 9th October and is now available everywhere!

2. What’s the back story of your project and can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment?

So, right now I’m busy with all the post-release promotion of the new album ‘Breath & Dust’ and I’m two gigs into an eight gig Album Tour! To me this album is about life in all it’s doubts, glories, vulnerabilities and joys. 10 songs written during a time where I feel like I’ve been coming to terms with my frailty, my mere ‘Breath & Dust’ and discovering that actually that fragile ‘Breath & Dust’ is a glorious and beautiful thing. The songs on this record are about me, but I believe that they are also about all of us. They are about my revelation moments. Moments of hope, moments of struggle, moments of discovery, moments of surrender and moments of both joy and sorrow. These are moments I believe we all experience. It’s about embracing who we are in all moments of life and realizing that actually our mere ‘Breath and Dust’ is capable of mighty things whilst not having to have it together all the time. It’s a revelation that has allowed me to become more vulnerable, honest, joyful and free than ever before. I hope you find a bit of that too when you hear it.

3. Was there ever a time that you felt something like this would never happen to you?

Constantly! I think the battle over your thought processes and the way you view the things you do or want to do as a creative person is absolutely HUGE! Somedays this is a battle I lose and I think too far ahead and despair that I will never succeed. Most days this is a battle I manage to win as I remember that all I can do is do my best, whilst maintaining my integrity and passion. What happens after that and how far it reaches is out of my control really. It’s hard to not compare yourself and your music to other artists around you. We are all unique and I constantly have to remind myself that our journey’s and our art do not all have to look the same. Theodore Roosevelt said ‘Comparison is the thief of Joy’ and this is something I try and constantly bear in mind.

4. What has made you feel so lost and how – if you have – have you overcome it?

I am what’s known as an independent ‘DIY’ artist. This means that it’s just me. I don’t have a record label, a team, a manager, an A&R person, a social media team. Nothing – just me. I made this record with the help of a few musical & creative friends, and I have done the rest. Covered all the costs, done all the promo, organized a tour, spent A LOT of time on social media, designed all the graphics, edited all the photos, made a video, dealt with all the logistics and done whatever I could to make it look/sound as professional as possible. All of that alongside the rest of my work as a Vocal Coach/Music Tutor. This has been an exciting and rewarding experience but it has also often been very lonely, frustrating and has left me feeling more than a little lost on many occasions. However, I have always had a strong sense of this being a role I was born for, something I am meant to be doing with my life. It’s something that I love and is the way I connect with people, process the world around me and tell my story. With this in mind I usually don’t feel lost for long, I just keep moving and trying my best.

5. What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise

The faith that I am created to create, that my life has a purpose, that God’s got my back and that he can work with the seemingly small seeds in my hand. I love connecting with people through my music. The moments where I feel like I’ve managed to put people’s feelings into words or their words into a melody – I feel like it’s all worthwhile when I make someone cry at a gig! It’s music’s job to help people feel, so therefore in those moments I feel like it’s job done!I think I can some it all up by saying that I feel ‘found’ when I am using the gifts that have been given to me, whatever form that takes.

6. Do you have any upcoming opportunities for people to get involved in?

I’m always up for working with other songwriters or musicians. As much as I love playing gigs just me and a piano and writing from the piano, I would love to write more songs in the future with guitarists and playing about with loop pedals and electronic production. Stuff that’s outside of my expertise. So if you’re interested in being creative with me then I’d love to hear from you :)
7. If you could do anything else at all, what would it be?

Oooo tough question. Music has always been my thing and I feel very blessed right now to be working in only musical roles. Alongside my Singer-Songwriter projects I teach vocals, songwriting, music theory and do session vocal jobs where available. I love to have my fingers in many musical pies. I was always quite academic at school and at one point almost decided to study human biology at Uni rather than music – I find it fascinating! So I guess if I had to pick something that wasn’t at all musical related then maybe something with biology – a paramedic or something. Or I could be a professional traveller – I would love to see more of the world. I really just hope that I can always do music.

8. What are you aiming for and what do you love about what you do?

When kids and young people find out what I do they often ask things along the line of ‘When did you first want to be famous?’ – quite honestly, the answer to that is:’Never’! I love music, it’s ability to communicate, connect, make us feel, give us courage, give us peace, give us space – it’s all about that for me. Singing and creating music is the gift that’s in my hand and I intend to use it to the best of my ability. I feel hugely privileged to bring music to people. It’s not about the size of my audience. Every single person that I can bring joy to through it is worth it. It sounds cheesy but I mean it. I hope that however big my audience gets, even if it never gets much bigger than it is now, that I will be always be satisfied with writing something that means something to just one person.

I heard some brilliant advice a few years ago that really helps me stay focused. That was that it’s our job to concentrate on the ‘depth’ of the work we do – the heart behind it, the quality, the integrity. It’s not our job to concentrate on the ‘breadth’ – how far it goes, how big our audience is, how ‘famous’ we are. Yes we should try our best and with that might come a large audience but I never want to lose sight of what a privilege it is to play music in the first place and all I love about it.

9. If you had any advice to give out to anyone in a similar career path what would it be? What would stop them from giving up?

Here’s a few…

1. Work on your skills, practise, practise, practise.

2. Work with other creatives. Find someone to bounce your ideas off who will be kind but

honest and constructive.

3. Don’t be too proud to ask for help or admit that you sometimes find it hard. Be real.

4. Surround yourself with people who will champion you, encourage you. (This doesn’t

mean that they have to completely understand you though! That’s usually impossible.)

5. If you write songs then write about what you know, be real, be honest in them, open

yourself up – people really respond to that.

6. Be kind to yourself. Always be yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for every little mistake.

7. ‘Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can’

8. Don’t compare your art to someone else’s. We all have a story worth telling and our own

way of telling it.

10.Any last words?

Thanks so much for having me. I hope this was an interesting read and that if you check it out that you love the new album – I’d love to sing to you at a gig sometime! You can get three tracks from ‘Breath & Dust’ right now over on Noisetrade FOR FREE!…


Look how far you’ve come


So it’s actually taken me a considerable amount of time to write this, with a grand total of 7 completely different drafts and 3 complete melt downs so enjoy or don’t. When I was originally asked to write a little something for Lost & Found, I felt as if I could have written this in a hour with my eyes shut. Turns out I couldn’t and I definitely did not think it would be as hard as it’s been to write what’s going on in my inner monologue. I originally had planned to write this article with a detached view to my experiences although the further I went into every draft the harder it became to detach myself from my journey. As thus I have come to my final and last tether and give you a completely uncut, un­drafted, un­spellchecked piece of writing which I feel holds the most authenticity, truth and accurate account of my journey. As you are all probably aware (or maybe not if you’ve never met me, lucky you) I have always been known to have a considerable amount of pent up anger, frustration and just general angst toward everything in life. I have been affectionately referred to as a “small ball of fury” which was at the time an accurate portrayal of how I dealt with pretty much everything in life.

If you have been one/are one of those people who find general emotions quite hard to show case to the world you will know exactly what I’m trying to get across to my audience, if your not one of us; lucky sod. I have never been a very outwardly emotional person toward my friends or family, and for a long time I thought this was one of my best attributes. My ability to completely shut down emotionally in the face of some very distressing and alarming events that have occurred in my life have been both a blessing but ultimately a curse. I am that person that can carry on walking through the worst storm of the winter to make it to spring just to make sure the people around me are okay and think that I am also. I won’t delve into or elaborate on the events I talk about throughout this article as I feel it is imperative that the people involved in those events fully come to peace with them themselves before they are shared. All I would like to say on the matter of those events are no 22 year old should ever have to experience what I have, and I would be hard pressed to find a similar story to my own.

Now back to my journey, as mentioned above I was pretty angry. As you can imagine when dealing with great loss, sadness and guilt possibly the worst emotion you can turn to is; anger. Anger is exhausting, it doesn’t let you sleep, all kind of positive outlook is completely over taken and awash with this absolute sea of red and nothing quite makes any sense anymore. I was in complete denial of being anything but a normal functioning human being, which for the record I definitely wasn’t. First off I ran to a city to attend a university I’d never even been to before just to run away from facing the demons which had festered from a young age. Secondly, I hid in a relationship I/we both knew wasn’t healthy for either of us, and thirdly I slowly became more and more detached from my close friends and family. Which as you probably all know is an absolute cracking recipe for disaster!

Whist I was in this city I wanted to re­represent myself as somebody I knew I once and still was, somebody who wasn’t angry 24/7, someone who was happy and somebody who could love. However I didn’t realise none of this was possible (for me) without dealing with what had made me so angry in the first place. I had this well over due epiphany thankfully at the end of my first year of University and booked myself an appointment to go and finally see a doctor. I didn’t find them very helpful. I’m not any kind of clinical physician and I don’t pretend to be so don’t quote me on this but I find the notion of giving somebody who is very sad & angry pills to ingest in order to relieve the symptoms without treating the cause of those symptoms, absolutely absurd. In fact I got very angry (true to form) and decided that wasn’t the option for me and instead I took theoffer of going to see the dreaded counsellor. For somebody like me going to see a counsellor was a huge deal, the thought of spilling my life story to somebody I didn’t know, trust or possibly even ike made me feel really quite nauseous.

Anyway I attended my initial referral with the counsellor and tried with my absolute might to give him the benefit of the doubt and answer every question as truthfully as I could, which I did. He rang the next day to book me into emergency appointments throughout the week which I didn’t feel too comfortable about and to be quite frank my pig­headed pride took over me and I ignored his voicemails for over a month. In hind sight those appointments could have been my saviour although I believe every little detail in life happens for a reason. So for the next chapter I went it alone.

I was gradually coming to realise I needed to address these issues if I ever wanted to move on or at least give myself some respite from own self destructive thoughts. So I decided to try as I might become a little bit less angry at those events and with specific trips which have helped me bring some peace and closure to those events I have gradually been able to not solely focus on the terrible things I have walked through but to see the positives in those events however small.

I have achieved this by doing something so simple and effective; talking. Talking to someone I trust and feel comfortable enough with to relay every minuet detail of those memories and why I felt so angry and frustrated that they had happened to me and not anyone else. I went for walks on my own late at night (probably wouldn’t advise kids) when I was feeling particularly restless and my thoughts wouldn’t settle. I decided watching Netflix and staying in bed all day to hide awaywasn’t a very good idea (but it felt so good at the time) & finally I decided any kind of alcoholic beverages and illegal substances were also a very bad idea. The last change I made was the biggest and it was the decision of removing myself from a city I felt so lost and alone in to return to a place I knew I had people that genuinely cared for my health and well­being whilst in recovery of being so damn lost! Which at the moment is working for me.

I can’t finish this article by saying I am now at the end of my journey because, I’m not. I have such a long way to go, I’m only beginning to scratch the surface of the things I need to address and come to terms with. I still get so over overwhelmingly angry, feel so incredibly lost, and can feel completely alone in a crowd of my favourite people. However the difference between me 4 years ago and me now is that I am not going to let myself be a product of my bad experiences. I will not let the anger I have destroy me instead I am going to cultivate it into something positive, I don’t know what yet but I’ll let you know if I do. I guess the whole reason I wrote this was so that people who don’t necessarily feel like they can share or talk about what is going on within them know that they are not alone, even if it feels like it. The only person holding you back from making a change is yourself, so when you feel like you are finally ready to make those changes – be brave.

Sade x


Interview with Abigail Reed


1. Hi! We’re so excited to talk to you today, your work is so beautiful and interesting. How would
you pin down your style?

I make vast drawings and paintings that capture a human fascination with animals and their ability to make us stare up in wonder. The natural world makes us think about the ‘other’, we feel less significant as a race and it detracts us from being consumed with ourselves. I work mainly in monochrome, keeping the raw and immediate qualities/ of drawing at the centre of my practise. I am drawn to fragile but magnificent subjects, animals that stand in their ultimate state, like statues, demanding your attention.

2. Can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment?

Last week I was hanging paintings at Badminton School as part of their Arts Week, I also put on a workshop for the students there. I also had to organise the shipping of one of my paintings to Hong Kong as I sold it to a couple who live there. I also took part in the Frome Art Fair, so I have been super busy! Now I am less busy and have some precious time to be in the studio (Jamaica Street Studios, Stokes Croft) and work on some new paintings to show in the New Year. I am also in the process of setting up my own shop online, making my work more accessible to a wider market. I am in most days but I also run an Art class at a care home and am involved with various community art projects depending on the time of year.

3. Did you see yourself where you are now when you first wanted to be an artist?

No! In some ways it is better but in some ways harder than I ever thought it would be. You have to be incredibly good at doing many different jobs to survive as an Artist. Some days I feel like I am a running a logistics company or having to be a business woman which I am not! But the magic feeling you get when you pull it all off is like nothing else­ that is the best bit. It is an emotional journey that I perhaps didn’t expect but the highs and lows definitely make life not boring!
the black dog is over him
4. What has made you feel lost and how ­ if you have ­ have you overcome it?

It can be hard when you feel as though nobody appreciates what you do, all the hours and energy that go into making art and sometimes you can have such high expectations then nothing comes of it, it can be very disheartening. It’s not like any other job, you don’t have a team to support you, it is just you and when you have a down day that can be a lonely place to be. I am very lucky to be part of a great community of artists that are always there for me here at Jamaica Street. They always have great advice and that is priceless! My rule is to always keep painting and drawing, even when you don’t feel like it. It is easy to give up and lose motivation when working for yourself but if you just keep at it and be disciplined, you will draw yourself out of the difficulty and maybe create something new along the way.

5. What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise?

Keep strong and grounded. Do what you do because you want to do it, not to please others. Meditation helps me stay centred, just having a moment each day to be peaceful works wonders! Keep a balanced routine between family and work life too, it’s easy to forget but friends and family are so important…work isn’t everything and they are themost beautiful distraction!

6. What inspires you the most and do you have any tips or tricks on how to get so much work done?

Draw every day! It actually doesn’t take that long. Go and see exhibitions. If I see another artist doing something really powerful it gives you motivation to do the same and want even more to be a part of that world.

7. When have you felt most proud of yourself?

Working for yourself can be lonely but equally when you reach success and have a really good day, you get all the credit. It is a huge sense of achievement and it feels amazing to be creating paintings that other people appreciate, want to buy and have in their homes to look at forever! As an artist, you can take some materials and weave something out of it using your hands, the result can be beautiful and magnificent…that never ceases to amaze me and drive me on.
Three Swans 2 (640x640)
8. If you could choose between all of the stages of being an artist: what has been the toughest?

When you don’t sell anything in a show, that is financially the hardest time. But also when you start to not believe in yourself and your own ability…dark times!

9. If you had any advice to give out to anyone in a similar career path what would it be?
Think seriously about how you can diversify your skills to help you survive financially and still satisfy your creative impulses. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you feel it isn’t working…be bold!

10. Any last words?

As artists, we are here to reimagine the landscape, to provoke thought and put beauty in an otherwise plain world… and that is a privilege. Art can sometimes be devalued in education and when funding is concerned but these things we make will go on living after we have all died, carry on translating how we saw and experienced our time on earth beyond our own mortality….that is something to think about!

Stag ( profile )100x100cm

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