What About Us?

For all of us, this whole world, we all see unrest, violence and hatred being talked about on the news, but it hurts when no one can get on.

How does violence in this world solve problems? Well, I know the answer to that.

IT DOES NOT.

Why is this world so messed up?

THAT’S IGNORANCE FOR YOU. A LACK OF CARE, RESPECT, EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND LACK OF INTEREST FOR OTHERS SHOWS HOW DISGRACED THE WHOLE WORLD IS WHERE VIOLENCE, UNREST AND HATRED COME IN.

Yes, I’m ranting, but with a purpose. That purpose is to get my point across that we, as a world, shouldn’t fight and hurt and disrespect others.

WE SHOULD LOVE, CHERISH, RESPECT, TREAT ONE ANOTHER EQUALLY, DIVERSELY, AND VALUE EVERY SECOND.

I’m not here to be political, I’m not here to judge, criticise or belittle anyone or anything. I’m here to spread positivity and treat everyone equally and diversely.

Enough is enough! Now, let’s all come together and love one another and respect, cherish and value every second that counts. Lives count, and so does yours, so stand up and be counted and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I hope this inspires you as P!NK’s record: “What About Us” sure did inspire me, and her inspiration is the reason why I wrote this article. Yes, it’s short and yes, it’s not as long an article but hey, it’s not about the length of an article, it’s the inspiration and hard work you put into it that counts.

Alex Smithson

Justin Timberlake is the Man of the Woods!

Back with a completely different sound that shifts away from his past albums, Justin’s the Man of the Woods with this EP as this new sound is unique, yet vocally charged in a different light to his previous album, The 20 / 20 Experience.

It’s no surprise to see Justin Timberlake go back to his roots, as this new sound is so unique it even has the old-school sounds that remind us all of how far he’s come since his breakthrough début album, Justified.

Filthy kicks off Man of the Woods with a bass-pounding bang, as Justin’s vocals come to life, with his wife, Jessica Biel, doing some voice-over as the record ends, meanwhile, Midnight Summer Jam is where the old-school vibe kicks in, as the nostalgia kicks in right from the off. Those who have listened to Justin Timberlake’s albums from the moment he released his début album will know and appreciate the new sound that Justin Timberlake has come back with. I appreciate his new sound as it’s different, but more importantly, I’m glad he’s taken his music in a different direction, as his new music sounds almost nothing like his past music, but Man of the Woods still captures the man we all know and love dearly.

You cannot fault Justin’s music roots for not even one split second, as Man of the Woods is filled with so much nostalgia that it’s like he never went away from the music scene. In fact, Justin Timberlake is headlining the Super Bowl LII (52nd) Halftime Show sponsored by Pepsi on Sunday 4th February 2018 and alongside him, P!NK will be performing as well, so there’s even more of a reason for all of us to be excited!

Man of the Woods is more of a personal album as well as a vocally charged album, as he explores his music roots deeper with a completely different sound that still captures the nostalgia of his past albums.

Below is the full tracklist for Man of the Woods:

  1. Filthy
  2. Midnight Summer Jam
  3. Sauce
  4. Man of the Woods
  5. Higher Higher
  6. Wave
  7. Supplies
  8. Morning Light (feat. Alicia Keys)
  9. Say Something (feat. Chris Stapleton)
  10. Hers (Interlude)
  11. Flannel
  12. Montana
  13. Breeze Off the Pond
  14. Livin’ Off the Land
  15. The Hard Stuff
  16. Young Man

Below is Justin Timberlake’s album cover for Man of the Woods:

To keep it as short and simple and as honest as possible, Man of the Woods is his best work to date because it carries the progressive sound of his past albums and isn’t one of those in-your-face kinds of album, rather it’s a vocally progressive, yet mindful album that shows Justin Timberlake at his most peaceful, but also at his most euphoric.

To listen to Man of the Woods, click on the Play button below to listen to Justin Timberlake’s fifth studio album on Spotify. Purchase your copy of Man of the Woods from all retailers via all physical/digital formats.

Heard Man of the Woods? If so, I would love to hear what you’ve got to say about Justin’s fifth studio album.

If you enjoyed this review, please feel free to feedback below in the comments.

Alex Smithson

© Jive Records, Zomba Records, RCA Records, Tennman Records & Justin Randall Timberlake

© The Man of the Woods album artwork, the article image and tracklist are all copyright of Jive Records, Zomba Records, RCA Records, Tennman Records & Justin Randall Timberlake. Full copyright goes to the respective owners.

Welcome to February!

Got through the Blues of Dry January?

Luckily, for almost all of us, we sure did.

February is set to be quite an interesting month as the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games will start on the 9th February and finish on the 25th February.

I still find it hard to believe it was exactly this time four years ago that we all witnessed the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games when the infamous Olympic Ring faux pas took place when the fifth Olympic Ring failed to open, which was later re-enacted in the Closing Ceremony by some of the ice skaters. It’s crazy how the time flies, but hey, February, despite being a very busy month ahead, is an exciting one too.

This month is going to be a whole lot busier than the first few weeks of 2018, meaning that less articles will be published, but some articles will be going up only when I get the free time.

Let’s all keep our heads held high this month and make sure we go for the best and as for the Winter Olympic Games, we are all in this together. Let’s make February the best month to remember!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup / February 2017

February sure flew by like the wind. It felt like it was yesterday that February just started and now we’re at the end of the month already. To end February, I will take a look back on the articles published over the course of this month.

1.2.2017 – As this month was set to be just as busy as January, I welcomed all of you to February on Mother Nature. I mentioned that this month would be a lot busier considering I had a Maths mock exam just around the corner, but also because I would be making sure to get out more and make use of the free time I have on my days off to photograph nature-based places for my Self-Directed Curiosity Project.

Also, in a surprise announcement, Beyoncé announced to the world that she is pregnant with twins. Her last pregnancy came in 2011 when she was pregnant with her first child, Blue Ivy Carter, who she gave birth to on the 7th January 2012.

2.2.2017 – As the hashtag, #TIMETOTALK, was officially trending on Twitter, Oli Regan asked me to write this article as this day was Time to Talk Day, in which anyone suffering from Mental Health can speak up about their Mental Health, as well as to how they feel the negative stigma affects and negatively impacts them and anyone else suffering from any kind of Mental Health condition. Oli Regan also appeared live on BBC Two at 9:30 AM and again at 10:30 AM on the Victoria Derbyshire Show. He would also go on to talk about Mental Health on BBC Newsbeat at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM, including how suffering from Mental Health affected him over the course of his life.

3.2.2017 – Continuing on from my first set of photographs that I took previously at Kelsey Park, I headed to Dulwich Park on the 31st January 2017 to photograph the scenery and also some ducks and birds. I saw some Mallards and Parakeets whilst I was there, including some squirrels, though to tell you the truth, some of the squirrels I came across looked bigger than their usual size, so I did make sure to walk very slowly to photograph them and I am pleased with the end result that I have achieved from this photographic collection.

5.2.2017 – Following on from my visit to Dulwich Park, I decided to visit Beddington Park on the 1st February 2017 to photograph some of the scenery, and I also photographed some of the gravestones, given the names on some or most of the gravestones consisted of people who may have died a few years earlier, including those that may have died up to more than 100 years ago.

7.2.2017 – As I wanted to set the tone of this article, I recommended Madonna’s True Blue record to soothe the soul, as this article was titled as Relaxation. I mentioned that after a relaxing day, despite doing the mock exam for GCSE Maths the day before, I mentioned that I wasn’t stressed, which was a first for me in a long time considering that I’ve been so focused on the coursework lately.

17.2.2017 – Just a few months after we all witnessed the marsupial make his comeback, it was officially announced that Crash Bandicoot would be coming back to PlayStation on the 30th June. I mentioned I would be pre-ordering the Crash Bandicoot N⋅Sane Trilogy, and the release date of the trilogy comes exactly two weeks after I mark my 19th birthday.

19.2.2017 – As it has been almost a year since we lost the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who passed away on the 21st April 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic music legend by drawing for this sixth artistic interpretation. This drawing was the first Artistic Interpretation for 2017 and I wanted to make sure that Prince Rogers Nelson would be the first musician I would draw for 2017.

24.2.2017 – After months of rumours and speculation, Cheryl officially announced she is pregnant! This news came at the perfect time and it was only a few weeks before that Beyoncé announced her pregnancy with twins to the world. February was most certainly shaping up to be a fun-filled and heartwarming month.

25.2.2017 – Following hot on the heels of my previous Artistic Interpretation which was based on the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, I worked and completed my 7th Artistic Interpretation which focused on the Destiny’s Child musician and solo hit-maker, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

Also on this day, the world lost a face of the film world. Bill Paxton, best known for appearing in Apollo 13, Titanic & Twister, sadly passed away at the age of 61 after complications following surgery.

Thanks for a great month everyone. Of course, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Bill Paxton by saying this: “Thank you for everything Bill Paxton. You are greatly missed but you’ll always live on in our hearts forever. Thanks for being the positive change this world truly needed. Thank you for everything Bill Paxton.”

Again, thanks for a great month and I will see you all in March.

Alex Smithson

Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

Following hot on the heels of my previous Artistic Interpretation which was based on the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, I started working on Artistic Interpretation #7 which focuses on the Destiny’s Child musician and solo hit-maker, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

I wanted to draw Beyoncé as a way of celebrating the heartwarming news that broke on the 1st February that she was expecting twins.

I decided to take my time to draw her because I wanted to make sure I could shade certain areas of the drawing so that her facial features stand out the same as I would want for her hair to stand out.

For me, drawing Beyoncé was quite a challenge, because I referred to the photograph that was taken of her that announced she would headline the Super Bowl on the 3rd February 2013, which was fantastic, given that Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams performed alongside her for the hit record, Bootylicious, with her most recent Super Bowl appearance being at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show that took place last year, when she performed alongside Bruno Mars and Coldplay.

Below is my artistic interpretation of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles
Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

I am pleased with the overall result, as I had made sure to spend time on drawing Beyoncé, given that I wanted to make sure this drawing would not just celebrate Beyoncé as a musician, but that this drawing would celebrate her music career, given that she has been on the music scene for a long time now.

Again, congratulations to both Beyoncé & Jay Z on the pregnancy and may both your twins be blessed with perfect health, love, compassion, care, respect and support. I love you both.

Please feel free to comment below what you thought of my artistic interpretation of Beyoncé. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Relaxation

To set the tone of this article, I recommend Madonna’s True Blue to soothe the soul.

“…the sun is bursting right out of the sky…” – Madonna

After a relaxing day, despite doing the mock exam for GCSE Maths yesterday, I can honestly say I am not stressed, which is a first for me in a long time considering that I’ve been so focused on the coursework lately.

I was so relaxed after yesterday morning because I submitted all of my coursework on time for the Formative Assessment and I was able to sign-post which sketchbooks went with the coursework I produced and I wasn’t at all stressed.

The mock exam I did for GCSE Maths yesterday went really well and I wasn’t stressing myself over it at all but I answered the questions I could do that I already have a knowledge of and the questions I couldn’t do I decided to leave blank only for the sole purpose that I still need a little bit of help here and there on the questions I am not good at, but other than that, yesterday went really well.

How was yesterday for you? I would love to know. Please feel free to submit feedback below. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Beddington Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 1.2.2017

Following on from my visit to Dulwich Park, I decided to visit Beddington Park to photograph some of the scenery, and I also photographed some of the gravestones, given the names on some or most of the gravestones consisted of people who may have died a few years earlier, including those that may have died up to more than 100 years ago.

Of course, as I am continuously making sure to improve my photography skills every time I make a photographic collection, I like to make sure I can play around with my Nikon D3300 DSLR‘s camera features, as this can help me to produce a professional collection of photographs, so I made sure when I was at Beddington Park to try and photograph certain areas in and around the graveyard, especially the scenery and also the church.

It was freezing cold, but wasn’t raining when I took these photographs which was a relief for me, as I was able to produce this photographic collection to a much better standard than I expected, but I did make sure to change the ISO throughout producing this photographic collection as I wanted to make sure these photographs were full of clarity and also full of vibrant colour, so that they were presentable and professional enough to be a photographic collection.

As far as my photography skills go, I am pleased to say I have experimented more with the ISO, as this has helped me to produce this photographic collection of Beddington Park to the best standard where possible. I have acknowledge some of these photographs may be slightly darker than they should be, but it’s because I want for you to see how I’ve worked with the landscape, as well as to how I see Beddington Park generally.

Have you been to Beddington Park before? If you have, please let me know, I would love to hear your feedback, and if you haven’t been to Beddington Park before, don’t worry, as this photographic collection I have created of Beddington Park will give you an insight into what Beddington Park, not to mention the hindsight of the landscape.

Alex Smithson

© The Croydon College Logo & Croydon School of Art Logo are both copyright of Croydon College & Croydon School of Art. Permission has been granted for these logos to be used. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Dulwich Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 31.1.2017

Continuing on from my first set of photographs that I took previously at Kelsey Park, I headed to Dulwich Park to photograph the scenery and also some ducks and birds. I saw some Mallards and Parakeets whilst I was there, including some squirrels, though to tell you the truth, some of the squirrels I came across looked bigger than their usual size, so I did make sure to walk very slowly to photograph them and I am pleased with the end result that I have achieved from this photographic collection.

One of the Moor Hens actually came a lot closer than I expected, which was perfect for me as I was able to photograph the Moor Hen with such detail and visual imagery, and because I frequently changed the ISO on my Nikon D3300 DSLR, this allowed me to play about with the light balance, including the saturation of colour and clarity of the photos.

This photographic collection I have documented of Dulwich Park showcases my current knowledge and photography skills, based on the 5 photographers I have researched; Ansel Adams, David Muench, John Shaw, Art Wolfe & Joel Sartore.

I feel that I have managed to produce this nature-based photography collection of Dulwich Park to the best standard where possible, as I have made sure to change the ISO to suit the mood of each photograph, and I have also made sure that my photographs are in full focus and aren’t too overexposed but more or less balanced.

I have deliberately altered the ISO to make some of the photos appear as if they were taken right before the crack of nightfall, because I wanted to explore the concept of nature and its wilderness. Some of the photos I took that were quite dimmed I wanted to try and create my own inspired form of photography based on the BBC TV Programme, Planet Earth, as I remember the camera crew did record video footage using time-lapse but with the camera focusing entirely at the sky with the trees in the distance, which is what I wanted to try and recreate myself but with my own form of nature photography.

I have researched the 5 photographers above as part of my Self-Directed Curiosity Project and I strongly feel that their photography work has informed my creative knowledge including the processes I have developed for this photographic collection of Dulwich Park.

What are your thoughts on this photography collection I have created of Dulwich Park? I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

© The Croydon College Logo & Croydon School of Art Logo are both copyright of Croydon College & Croydon School of Art. Permission has been granted for these logos to be used. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

#TIMETOTALK / Let’s End this Stigma Against Mental Health Once and for All!

As #TIMETOTALK is officially trending on Twitter, Oli Regan has asked me to write this article as today will be about being able to speak up about Mental Health, including the negative stigma that affects and negatively impacts those suffering from Mental Health. Today is Time to Talk Day, and this news came at exactly the right time.

You can catch Oli Regan live on BBC Two at 9:30 AM this morning, and at 10:30 AM, Oli will be appearing on the Victoria Derbyshire Show.

Oli Regan will also be talking about Mental Health at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM on BBC Newsbeat today, so if you want to help end this stigma once and for all, please make sure to use the hashtag #TIMETOTALK and please also make sure to spread the word and raise awareness for Mental Health.

Alex Smithson

#MENTALHEALTHAWARENESS #TIMETOCHANGE #TIMETOTALK #ENDTHESTIGMA #TIMETOTALKDAY

She’s a Grown Woman! Beyoncé is Pregnant with Twins!

In a surprise announcement, Beyoncé has announced she is pregnant with twins! This news comes after she uploaded a photograph to the photo-sharing service, Instagram, in which she cradles her stomach with a veil on in front of a floral display.

Who knew that this would be the best highlight of 2017. Beyoncé is pregnant! Her last pregnancy came in 2011 when she was pregnant with her first child, Blue Ivy Carter, who she gave birth to on the 7th January 2012 and now she has confirmed along with her husband of 9 years, JAY Z, that she is pregnant with twins.

I am so excited and words cannot describe how over the moon I feel at this stage. I am sending my best wishes and happiness her way and also to JAY Z. Congratulations to both of you, Beyoncé and JAY Z. May this year be a special year for you both.

Alex Smithson