Croydon Murals Defaced Beyond Recognition

Just a few short weeks ago, I recently photographed the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse: “Tears Dry On Their Ownmural, which was produced by the artist, Bareface, in conjunction with and as commissioned by the RISE Gallery.

Fast forward to Saturday just gone, while I was with my close friends, who I just recently photographed a few weeks ago, with some more photographs on the way soon, all three of us paid a visit to Katharine Street because we wanted to find out if the mural of Amy Winehouse was still in the same finished state it was when I photographed it just a few short weeks ago.

On closer inspection, however, I was devastated to discover that not only was the mural defaced, but a grey block drawn just below Amy Winehouse’s eye, with a teardrop also drawn just below her eye, with some graffiti included on the back of Bareface’s clothing has ultimately destroyed a true work of art.

I just, in the last few days, spoke to the man behind the Amy Winehouse mural, Bareface, over Instagram, and even he is just as furious as I am about the mural being defaced.

Bareface made this statement during a conversation I had with him on Instagram. Permission was granted by Bareface for me to release his statement on his mural being defaced alongside the other murals that were also defaced.

“I did notice in a few pics I was tagged in this week that it had been worked over. It’s a shame but sadly it’s the law of the jungle. These “thugs” seem to think it’s fair game if it’s out in the street to tag over something that’s already there. The bigger issue is that if it continues the council will think it invites more vandalism and it will put a stop to public art so it’s a tough one to tackle. I will be in town today so I will be able to see it up close but it would have been nice for it to remain “clean” for a lot longer as it is a legal wall, but that’s something the organisers need to consider for next time.”

Bareface went on to say:

“I had a look today and it’s a shame most of the work has been tagged over apart from the lettering “graffiti”. There is always a rift between people that do lettering graffiti and people that do stencil art and other styles but that’s another story for another time.” – Statement released by Bareface on Monday 7th July 2017.

You can see just by the statement he released to me in our conversation just how disgusted he is by the fact his mural was destroyed because I too would be the same in his shoes. To think that those who defaced this mural would go to such lengths to destroy such a beautiful and exquisite masterpiece, as well as two other murals proves the lack of respect those have. Those who did it should be ashamed.

Below are the photos I took, which were featured in two articles that were published in the Croydon Advertiser, the first article of which was published on Monday 7th July 2017 and also Tuesday 8th July 2017. You can also read the articles in which I expressed my fury on the murals being destroyed by clicking here and here.

It’s a distasteful and remorseless act and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Alex Smithson

Should We Change at the Expense of Others?

From a personal perspective, changing ourselves at the expense of others means we are putting ourselves in a position where we are made to change ourselves in order to be socially acceptable to everyone else.

I personally refuse to change myself at the expense of others because I am happy with who I am, what I look like, including how I present myself to other people.

So what, I don’t give a damn if some people don’t accept me just for being myself, at the end of the day, I refuse to let anyone change me so that I can appear acceptable to them.

It’s a messed up world, there’s no other way of describing this world, but at the end of the day, if no one can accept you for who you are, what you look like, including how you present yourself to others, and if they expect you to change yourself at their expense, forget them and just be yourself and never change for anyone.

Never change yourself.

If you feel what I have said here is powerful and eye-opening, please let me know. I would love to know if I inspired you as I want to inspire you all and for you to be yourselves and to never change yourselves at all at the expense of others.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: July 2017

This month certainly has been busier than the last, though I have been working on finding jobs in the meantime, whilst also trying to fit a few articles in. I can only apologise again for being less frequent with publishing articles, I’ve been making sure to prioritise my time more on finding a job whilst also going out and enjoying myself with friends following the end of my time in education at Croydon College.

I will be publishing some articles over the next few weeks but please keep in mind that it might be less frequent depending on how busy I have been lately considering I am searching around for jobs, so I can only apologise if I don’t publish articles as much.

Without further ado, I will take a look back at the articles I have published over the course of July.

1.7.2017 – Welcoming you all to July on Mother Nature, I described that the weather was expected to be getting much hotter and more humid, whilst also mentioning that I would be looking around for jobs considering that my time at Croydon College had almost reached the end.

14.7.2017 – This day officially marked the end. My education came to a remarkable close as I finished my final year at Croydon College. The end result from my final year of the two-year UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course was that I passed with my final grade being a Pass.

25.7.2017 – After hearing about the beautifully artistic mural that the artist, Bareface, had produced of the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, who sadly passed away at the age of 27 on the 23rd July 2011, on the Croydon Advertiser, I just could not resist seizing the opportunity to photograph the mural.

31.7.2017 – Would you find it hard to believe that it was exactly 21 years ago since Crash Bandicoot graced our screens? Remember the days where you would jump over obstacles, smash through boxes and tackle side-scrolling levels? Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

Also, to kick off my own photography series, titled: “The Concept of Expression”, I photographed two close friends of mine as I mentioned I would be intending to explore the concept of expression, as well as to how a facial expression can alter or change the mood of a photograph. In this case, the two close friends I photographed for my own photography series were Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford.

Thank you so much for such a great month. It’s been quite a busy month but it sure has been a great one.

Thanks again for such a great month and I shall see you all in August!

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression: Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford

To kick off my own photography series, titled: “The Concept of Expression”, I have photographed two close friends of mine as I am intending to explore the concept of expression, and how a facial expression can alter or change the mood of a photograph. In this case, the two close friends I have photographed for my own photography series are Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford.

Just like when I did my Final Major Project when I was at Croydon College, when my Final Major Project was based solely on Facial Expressionism, the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” completely focuses on my own photography work post-college and post-education, and this photography series intends to explore facial expressionism in more detail, as I want to make sure I can cut to what really matters in any facial expression, whether it’s natural or not, and that’s the emotion of that specific facial expression.

After I photographed the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse mural which was produced by Bareface in accordance with the RISE Gallery, I decided to photograph both Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, and by getting them to do some facial expressions, this helped me to lay the foundations of the photography work I wanted to produce. Some of the expressions that Saviyon & Shaquille made were completely natural and off-guard, though they weren’t aware that I photographed them completely off-guard until I showed them the photographs I took of both of them near the mural, and away from the mural.

Below are the facial expressions that I photographed of Saviyon Thomas.

Below are the black and white versions of some of the photographs I took of Saviyon, with different captions that I felt worked really well with the selected photos.

Below are the facial expressions that I photographed of Shaquille Roachford.

Below is a black and white version of one of the photographs I took of Shaquille, with a caption that I felt had a powerful connection with Mental Health.

Overall, with the photographs I have produced that feature my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I am absolutely glad to have finally got the chance to use my own Nikon D3300 DSLR after some time of not being able to use it due to using the Canon DSLR’s at Croydon College.

The photos I changed to black and white, which are present on this website’s Instagram account, received quite a lot of good responses, which stunned me as I have now noticed my photography work is slowly but surely getting noticed, which is what I worked so hard for.

These photographs will be in my E-Folio, so please make sure to visit my E-Folio as I will be updating it more and more over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more, as I will be photographing a certain someone again very soon who I photographed for my Final Major Project when I was at Croydon College, so I can guarantee you won’t want to miss the next person I am photographing very soon.

Please feel free to submit your response on the photographs I have produced featuring Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford. I am open to criticism as this will most certainly help me to outline the necessary areas for improvement.

Alex Smithson

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy / Review / Woah!

Would you find it hard to believe that it was exactly 21 years ago since Crash Bandicoot graced our screens? Remember the days where you would jump over obstacles, smash through boxes and tackle side-scrolling levels?

Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

With the source code more or less completely lost, along with the music files that made up the original trilogy, as well as the level designs, Activision Blizzard had to literally rebuild all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games from scratch.

Luckily, as the 3D Mesh Models for all three games were on hard drives provided to Activision Blizzard by Naughty Dog, this gave Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Visions the chance to rebuild and enhance all three games from the ground up, whilst keeping the remastered trilogy as true to the original.

It’s amazing how 21 years have flown because it makes you realise and appreciate the nostalgia of the past two decades, and I wasn’t even born when the first two games in the trilogy were released but I was around when the third game came out.

The one obvious thing to note about the remastered trilogy. It is much harder than the original trilogy, as you now have to time your jumps a lot more precisely as you progress throughout all three of the games. The same also applies if you skid and then jump, you have to make sure you time them both correctly, otherwise there is more of a chance you’ll fall before you try to reach the other side.

After a lot of anticipation and a lot of hype, the unfinished and unreleased level that never made it to the final release of Crash Bandicoot, Stormy Ascent, was finally released.

Of course, Stormy Ascent proved to be just as much of a popular level but was a major headache for everyone including myself to complete, but it was worth it for Activision Blizzard to release this level as the trilogy is officially finished. Signed, Sealed & Delivered.

Stormy Ascent is worth downloading from the PlayStation Store, because if you think Slippery Climb is a hard level, then try Stormy Ascent, and you’ll quickly underestimate just how hard it is to play.

To be fair, the level is absolutely hard, but it’s worth playing, and I am glad I finally got my hands on the level as I have played it and also completed it.

Below are the screenshots I have created whilst playing the groundbreaking Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, so if you have never played Crash Bandicoot, or if you have played Crash Bandicoot, then these screenshots will help you to remember and reminisce the nostalgia of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy, originally produced by Naughty Dog.

Since Friday 30th June, I have been uploading gameplay footage from all three of the games in the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy; Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped.

Below are the video playlists I have created separately for the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy. Please feel free to watch the gameplay footage I have uploaded to my YouTube Channel, and if you have a YouTube Channel and want to see gameplay footage from the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, please make sure to like, comment and subscribe.

The trilogy has not only proved to be popular but because it has done so well in just the first month of its release, Activision Blizzard and Vicarious Visions did the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy justice as their attention to detail really did hone in on the original trilogy’s music, including the visual detail of every single level.

Concluding this review, I can honestly say that the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, produced by Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Visions, is absolutely perfect, and this remastered trilogy stays completely true to the original trilogy produced by Naughty Dog.

What are you waiting for? If you haven’t purchased your copy of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, go out to your local store or to an online retailer and purchase your copy now. I am absolutely sure this is a trilogy you will want to play alongside the original trilogy produced by Naughty Dog.

Also, if you want to celebrate the marsupial’s comeback in style, download the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy theme packs that are available on the PlayStation Store.

Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Vision, you are awesome! Naughty Dog, you’re awesome too, in fact, all of you are awesome! Thanks for bringing back all of the happy memories of playing Crash Bandicoot!

Alex Smithson

© Activision Blizzard, Vicarious Visions, Naughty Dog & Origin Studios, 2017

© All of the Crash Bandicoot logos; Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Bandicoot: Warped and the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, including all the screenshots, all of the gameplay videos, thumbnails and official art, are all copyright of Activision Blizzard, Vicarious Visions, Naughty Dog & Origin Studios. Full copyright goes to the respective owners.

© The N⋅SANE THEN…N⋅SANER NOW!!! punchline is copyright to Activision Blizzard & Vicarious Visions. Full copyright goes to the respective owners.

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy / Rating: 10/10

Performance: 10/10

Visual Details: 10/10

Gameplay: 10/10

Controls: 10/10

Stormy Ascent: 10/10

For the Love of Amy

After hearing about the beautifully artistic mural that the artist, Bareface, had produced of the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, who sadly passed away at the age of 27 on the 23rd July 2011, on the Croydon Advertiser, I just could not resist seizing the opportunity to photograph the mural.

Artistically and eloquently visual as it is, Bareface made sure that his mural spoke volumes. This mural he has produced sure did speak volumes as it is not just powerful, is not just colourful, but is very musical considering that the mural is inspired on Amy Winehouse’s record, Tears Dry On Their Own, taken from her second and last album before her death on the 23rd July 2011, Back to Black, with the third and final posthumous album that was released shortly after Amy Winehouse passed away, titled Lioness: Hidden Treasures.

You have to admire Bareface’s hard work, effort and time as he has stuck to Croydon’s roots and produced such a fantastic piece of art work that connects to the BRIT School & Sylvia Young Theatre School, both schools of which Amy Winehouse was alumni for.

It’s such a beautiful and wonderful tribute to the late musician and I can honestly say that this mural is worth preserving for anyone who wants to visit and see this beautiful mural.

To see the mural in full, I have provided below three photographs of Bareface’s own take on the late music legend, Amy Winehouse.

 

Scratch that, it’s not just beautiful, it’s exquisite as Bareface’s take on the late music legend stands out from the crowd.

If you live in Croydon or you are looking to visit Croydon to see this mural, please seize the opportunity to see this artistic and eloquently beautiful mural of Amy Winehouse, produced by Bareface in accordance with the RISE Gallery.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow and be kept up to date on Bareface’s exquisite and powerful art work, please follow him on these Social Media Accounts shown below.

Instagram: @bareface_art
Twitter: @BarefaceTee

© Amy Winehouse Art Work Mural Copyright of Bareface, commissioned by the RISE Gallery. Full Copyright goes to the respective owners.

The End of the Road! I’ve Passed!

It’s officially the end. My education comes to a remarkable close as I have finished my final year at Croydon College.

Who would have thought that this time three years ago I would be starting my first day at Croydon College, only for the time to fly so much quicker than school? Even I am shocked myself by how far I’ve come since I started at Croydon College.

This time, three years ago, I had just marked the end of secondary school for good as I finished Year 11, and I can even remember starting my first day at Croydon College. I introduced myself to everyone and within the first day, I had made a lot of friends, as we instantly clicked with one another. Three years later, I have so many friends who I keep in contact with and even now, the support I’ve received from my family and my friends has made me realise that I can talk to anyone if I ever feel down about anything.

Croydon College, despite the ups and downs I went through over the course of the three years I studied, gave me the chance to realise my potential and now as I am at the stage of applying for a full-time job, I have officially decided to take a gap year to apply for jobs as I am considering possibly doing a degree in photography next year, which, for me, will really help me in many years to come.

I have enjoyed this year better than the last, but it’s safe to say I will miss Croydon College and everyone in that respect. On the plus side, I have left with my head held high knowing that I have done so well and I cannot wait to take on the best opportunities that become available to me.

Although my work is sufficient enough for a Pass instead of a Merit, I will settle for a Pass instead as I have managed to pass my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. That’s good because I have passed my final year. Result!

I am so chuffed to have worked so hard because despite spending a countless amount of hours getting work done, even whilst having to pull all-nighters that would last up until 8:35 AM or 9:00 AM in the morning, I am glad to have passed because now I can officially bring my time at Croydon College to a remarkable close.

Thank you, Croydon College, for all that you have done to get me to where I need to be and I shall continue to go the extra mile to really get the best out of the work I produce in the foreseeable, and thanks for giving me the chance to realise my potential to become a photographer. None of this would have been possible without your help and guidance, so thank you, Croydon College, I’ll miss being at Croydon College but my time at Croydon College has now officially come to an end. Thanks for everything.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to July!

Welcome to July! As the weather is expected to be much hotter and more humid over the course of the next few weeks, it’s safe to say that everyone, including myself, will need to be prepared in the event of sunburn, given the scorching hot weather we had at the beginning at June made us all feel like parts of our houses were saunas even after letting some fresh air in.

As I am looking around for jobs considering my time at Croydon College has almost reached the end, it’s safe to say I am going to miss Croydon College so much, given that this college gave me so much and helped me to realise my potential, and the fact that this college got me through difficult times that I went through in the past year, I am so glad that Croydon College was my first choice of college as this college changed my life for the better. Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

I will be making sure to publish more articles this month considering June was an extremely busy month for me, even though it was a fantastic month for me in the process given that I celebrated my 19th Birthday on the 16th June, whilst also celebrating the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy which only came out exactly two weeks after my 19th Birthday. On the 8th July, I will be heading around to my friend’s house as she is holding a party at hers, so it’s me and quite a few people who’ll be going next Saturday, so if there’s no sign of an article or signs of any articles on that day, it’s because I’ll be partying and making sure to make the most of the free time considering I won’t be able to do this as often once I’ve secured myself a full-time job.

The holiday is almost here so that’s a good sign but for now, welcome to July!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: June 2017

June flew like the wind and it sure was one heck of a ride, and a great one too! I celebrated my 19th Birthday exactly two weeks ago and today, PlayStation, Activision & Vicarious Visions officially welcomed back the gaming legend, Crash Bandicoot, after 21 years by releasing the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy.

There were only less articles this month because I met my deadline and did my maths exam, but I also needed to recuperate and take things easy considering I pulled all-nighters ahead of the deadline, also because I went out and had a great time at a friend’s party the following day after marking my 19th Birthday.

More articles are coming next month to make up for lost time, so keep your eyes peeled for any articles I publish over the coming weeks.

Without further ado, I will take a look back at the articles that were published over the course this month.

1.6.2017 – Welcoming all of you to June on Mother Nature, I mentioned that the weather was set to get warmer and humid considering we had lovely weather in the weeks leading up to the beginning of June. I also mentioned that I was preparing to finish my final year at Croydon College as all of my Final Major Project coursework, which solely focused on Facial Expressionism, was due on Monday 5th June 2017.

6.6.2017 – I released an open statement that followed the horrific terrorist attacks that took place down London Bridge & Borough Market, and I even did make sure to lay it all down on the line how I really felt about why I felt the foreign aid budget should be cut, though I paid tribute to the victims in the open statement by letting all those who were affected know that my heart, thoughts, prayers and condolences went out to all those who were affected by these sadistic terrorist attacks.

26.6.2017 – As I was able to meet my deadline with all of my coursework backed up to some hard drives, I did a massive clear-out on my laptop. I needed to get that much-needed storage space back as my laptop was being cluttered with all of the coursework I’ve done over the course of the entire year.

30.6.2017 – After 21 years, Crash Bandicoot marked his return to PlayStation in the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy. I mentioned how it was ironic that I mentioned in an article on the 9th July 2015 that it would be nice to see the trilogy being remastered, with mine and everyone’s prayers finally being answered on the 13th June 2016, just before my 18th birthday, that the Crash Bandicoot trilogy was being remastered and would be released for the PlayStation 4. This day was perfect and it was finally a relief to see Crash Bandicoot make a remarkable comeback to PlayStation.

Thanks so much for such a fantastic month. I can only apologise for publishing fewer articles this month but I will be publishing a good amount of articles next month so I can assure you on that.

Again, thanks so much for such a fantastic month everyone and I will see you all in July!

Alex Smithson

Go N⋅Sane for Crash Bandicoot!

Woah! After 21 years, Crash Bandicoot is finally back!

Ready to go N⋅Sane for Crash? I sure am ready, it was long overdue but it’s finally a relief to see the marsupial bandicoot make his remarkable comeback.

Just last year, Sony & Activision announced Crash Bandicoot’s return, which brought rumours and speculation to an end after so many years. It’s oddly eerie how I wrote a review on Crash Bandicoot: Warped on the 9th July 2015, because I mentioned in that review that it would be nice to see the classic trilogy being remastered and it was quite ironic to hear a year later before my 18th birthday that Crash Bandicoot was finally making a comeback to PlayStation. How crazy is that? To think I was talking about wanting to see the game being remastered, only to have my prayers and everyone else’s prayers finally be answered with the trilogy being given the official remaster treatment. I marked my 19th birthday exactly two weeks ago today so it’s triple the celebration for me.

The marsupial bandicoot himself, including his villainous counterparts, return to wreak havoc once again, as Crash foils Dr. Neo Cortex‘s plans for world domination.

I won’t lie, I am so pleased with the gameplay I have seen recently and for the fact that Activision have gone to all that hard work and effort to keep the trilogy as true to the original proves they wanted to make sure the games paid all the attention to detail whilst keeping the marsupial bandicoot breaking boxes while dodging dangerous obstacles.

The bosses for the trilogy are so good that it almost feels realistic, given that the attention to detail makes you feel like you’re in the game and for the fact that Activision have been showing footage of the games on YouTube proves that they wanted to keep it as true to the original trilogy so that we can all play the Crash Bandicoot games of the past and present.

I love the fact Activision have paid homage to Naughty Dog by slapping their iconic dog paw on Coco Bandicoot‘s laptop, which is really nostalgic considering that Naughty Dog’s efforts to release the games in 1996, 1997 & 1998 made Crash Bandicoot the iconic gaming legend he is today.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy! I pre-ordered it in advance of today’s release, but I will be uploading gameplay footage of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy to my YouTube Channel, so I can assure you that my YouTube Channel will consist of gameplay footage from all three games: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped.

Stay tuned as I’ll be publishing a review on the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy at some point over the coming weeks, but for now, let’s go N⋅Sane and welcome back Crash Bandicoot to PlayStation! We missed you!

Alex Smithson

© Activision, Vicarious Visions & Naughty Dog 2017

© The Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy Official Box Artwork, including the Crash Bandicoot franchise, are all copyright of Activision, Vicarious Visions & Naughty Dog. No Copyright Infringement Intended.