Last year a number of talented individuals formed The Creatives group, a collective that helps support one another, share ideas and swap artistic skills. Here, one of its co-founders, Elaine Gill, tells the Times all about the project and previews the group’s latest exhibition at Trinity Theatre
“In 2015 a group of local artists across all disciplines got together in order to provide a focal point for those wishing to meet fellow creatives.
The aim was to share ideas, support one another and have the opportunity to collaborate.
Working as an artist can be quite a lonely existence, and one of our co-founders, Julia Stockwell Hamid, recognised this, so invited a few creative friends for an informal meet over coffee at Woods Restaurant.
Six people turned up, and from that meeting the Woods Artisan Market was organised, and so our project began.
We named ourselves The Creatives Group and had an exciting first year with most of us getting opportunities we could have only dreamed of it if weren’t for the collective.
Our monthly meetings at Woods generated other enterprises, too, including a pop-up gallery in Ely Court at Royal Victoria Place, as well as a rolling exhibition in Woods.
We also secured wall displays for our artists in various cafés and shops in town and oversaw the creation of the White Wall campaign, where people can exhibit their work at Royal Victoria Place.
From that initial meeting back in June 2015, we now have over 90 members.
It’s quite amazing the amount of talented artists who are based in and around Tunbridge Wells, but as we grow and take on exciting opportunities and meet like-minded people, our demographic widens.
We now have representatives in Dartford and Brighton as well as Julia, who has moved out to Tanzania. So I guess you could almost say we are now international!
We represent a huge number of different creative disciplines, which range from watercolour painters to sculptors, jewellery makers, animators, fashion designers, silk screen printers and photographers.
In June, a number of our artists opened up their homes to the South East Open Studios, and then took part in the Tunbridge Wells Art Fair.
From both these events many opportunities have arisen, with one of our members being represented by galleries in Wiltshire, Sevenoaks and Brighton, and another being accepted for the upcoming Graphic and Illustration show at the Menier Gallery in London.
Someone else is just back from a six-week art residency in Beijing, and others have had positive reviews in national magazines, general commissions and book illustration work.
It’s so exciting to see the Creatives growing in confidence, too, and we’re delighted that some of them will be exhibiting at Trinity.
We were contacted by Jocelyn Cheek, from the venue, who asked us if we’d like to collate a show.
The beautiful gallery space has now been transformed into an exhibition that features two pieces of work each by 15 of our artists.
There should be something on display there for everyone to see, as the art ranges from mixed media collages to traditional pastel paintings.
It’s on until October 30, and on Thursday, October 6, there will be a Meet the Artists event from 5-7.30pm, so if you’d like to see what we do please do come along.
Alternatively, people can drop into our monthly meetings, which take place on the first Thursday of every month at Woods from 10am to midday.
We’re hoping to bring in a variety of speakers over the next few months who can guide us on subjects such as social media, good printing techniques and how to write a personal artistic statement.
The Creatives is a voluntary group and our main goal is to share the love of art.
We only ask for a mutual respect, so if this sounds appealing to you then you’re more than welcome aboard!”
For more about The Creatives Group go to www.creatives-tunbridgewells.com
Their current show is on at Trinity Theatre until October 30 and can be viewed daily from 10am-10pm