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

Hello…It’s Me, Adele. (Artistic Interpretation #5) [Article #400]

I wanted to celebrate this 400th article in style by drawing Adele for my fifth artistic interpretation.

I thought it would be a lovely idea to draw Adele considering the massive global success she has and is thanks to her third studio album, 25, going to Number 1 in almost every single country, including her Hello video receiving well over 1.5 billion views in just under a year.

I can admit, there will be some confusion regarding this drawing, because when I was drawing Adele completely freehand with a photo reference of her looking up, I did notice that I could somewhat see Ruby Wax, and a hint of the musician, P!nk, including a slight hint of Elizabeth Taylor, given the eyelashes.

I wanted to draw just the features of Adele’s face like I did previously with Amy Winehouse, as I wanted to make Adele’s facial features stand out.

Below is my fifth artistic interpretation drawing of Adele in its full glory.

Adele Drawing by Alex Smithson

Overall, I feel I have improved quite a lot since I’ve been developing my drawing skills more, and I feel absolutely pleased with the end result I have achieved from this drawing I have done of Adele.

If you enjoyed this article and loved the drawing, please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: June 2016

After a busy and productive month, I will be taking a look back at the articles I have published over the course of June.

1.6.2016 – With the weather being expected to get warmer considering that Summer was almost here, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for June. I mentioned that it was great to know that the Summer Olympics in Rio are almost here, considering just how amazing and how quick the time has flown since the London 2012 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games concluded.

6.6.2016 – 3 years ago to this day, Mother Nature started up as PhotographyNature: To bring the vibrancy back into your life. What started as a nature blog turned into a website, as I expanded my interests beyond nature into technology, college-related studies, music, games and also topics, some of which would focus on certain things that have gone on throughout the course of everyday life.

12.6.2016 – After a few weeks of working on the drawing, I finally completed my third artistic interpretation of Madonna. This drawing was based on a photo that was taken back in 1994 for a song called: “I’ll Remember“, which Madonna produced for an Original Motion Picture film called: “With Honors“, which would see her undergoing a radical change in her image and style for this particular song.

13.6.2016 – In light of the recent events in which 50 victims lost their lives as a result of the deadly massacre that occurred in Orlando, I published an article announcing the news that I wouldn’t be publishing any articles for Tuesday 14th & Wednesday 15th June as I wanted to pay my full respects to all the victims and families who are grieving at this time. I also mentioned that Mother Nature would resume operation on Tuesday 16th June. I created a Pray for Orlando badge that could be used on any blog/website, in which I asked all of you to show your support by placing the Pray for Orlando Badge I created on your blog/website.

16.6.2016 – Almost two weeks before, I took the opportunity when we had the lovely sunny weather to take some photos out in my garden, and for the first time with my Nikon D3300 DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex), I used the Aperture Priority (Av) on all of the photos, which delivered spectacular results that I didn’t achieve as much as I used to before. The Natural Roots of June consisted of all 31 colour photographs, including 5 black and white photographs of some of the colour photographs I hand-picked at random from the photo collection.

21.6.2016 – We all experience certain moments of tranquility and euphoria at certain stages in our lives, but what is so good about tranquility and euphoria is that they both connect and merge together very well, as tranquility can be recognised from certain angles; peaceful, tranquil, quiet. Euphoria, on the other hand, can be recognised from other certain angles; happiness, excitement, and paradise. Having a mixture of both create a sense of joy and happiness which can be found to be overwhelming at the best of times. The article, Tranquility & Euphoria, was all about finding out different perspectives of tranquility and euphoria and how they both work well together.

Also, on the same day, I published another article, titled: “It’s a Beautiful Day.”, as we had such lovely weather on this day, and I ceased the opportunity to publish a photograph I took in its edited and original form so that you would get a choice of the same two, depending on which one took your interest the most.

23.6.2016 – Five years on since her untimely death on the 23rd July 2011, Amy Winehouse, the iconic music legend that made her mark with her unique musical sound, released two of her most iconic albums, which were Frank, and also Back to Black. Her posthumous third studio album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, consisted of some new songs which were previously unreleased, including different versions of certain tracks that we listened to and grew to love, given that the iconic look for Back to Black and Lioness: Hidden Treasures saw Amy Winehouse with the iconic beehive hairstyle, which has since become the biggest trendsetter for all independent women in fashion.

I took the opportunity to draw Amy Winehouse, as I wanted to pay my full respects and pay homage to the iconic music legend as it has been five years since her passing. She was a talented young musician who was gone too soon. I’ve put her age, 27, in brackets, in the article title, as that number is the age she was when she passed away on the 23rd July 2011.

I wanted to make sure to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse by drawing just her face, and nothing else, as I wanted to make sure the most important features of her face stood out, which were her eyes, her nose, her piercing and her mouth and teeth.

Also, on this day, I published an article about the EU Referendum being the most talked about event of the year, considering the controversy and history behind it. I chose to vote Leave and was pleased that the Leave side of the campaign won, and I gave my reasons for why I chose to Leave the European Union in the article: “The EU Referendum. The Historical & Most Controversial Voting Event in History.”

26.6.2016 – Since I voted to Leave the EU on the 23rd June, which I don’t regret in doing so, I have noticed the large amount of Facebook statuses on my News Feed, not to mention the large amount of tweets that have appeared on Twitter that are xenophobic, racist and even disgraceful, especially certain statuses that have come up on my News Feed from those who feel I should have to delete them off of my Facebook because I chose to Leave. I wrote this article in which I vented my frustrations loud and clear, and not for a split second did I even hold back.

I was sick and tired of the way everyone was reacting to the result on social media, and I felt by writing and publishing this note, I could get all of my frustration off of my chest, and it actually felt good to use this note as my opportunity to shut the kind of people down that kept complaining that they didn’t get the result that they wanted by giving those my full outlook on what I thought about the whole thing.

30.6.2016 – Recently, I mentioned to all of you I had some stuff personal-wise going on with college work, well these past few weeks haven’t been easy for me, as there has been so much stress and upset given something far more serious which I can’t discuss for certain reasons in mind, but the work has been stressful lately and with learning the news about something as horrible and grim, it just sent me over the edge.

I wrote this article explaining why I wasn’t as productive and I also apologised for not being as productive recently, but I also used this article I published as my own way of letting go of it all. Writing this article was my way of letting go and releasing it all, so that I could, in other words, never look back, but most of all, look forward.

Thanks so much to all of you for a really good month, and again, I am sincerely sorry for not being as productive lately, but as I am finally on the long Summer break, I will be concentrating more on getting more articles published on Mother Nature.

Until then, thank you all for a really good month and I’ll see you all in July.

Alex Smithson

Madonna | Artistic Interpretation #3: I’ll Remember (1994)

After a few weeks of working on the drawing, I finally completed my third artistic interpretation of Madonna. This drawing is based on a photo that was taken back in 1994 for a song called: “I’ll Remember“, which Madonna produced for an Original Motion Picture film called: “With Honors” which saw her undergo a radical change in her image and style for this particular song. This song, which was produced for the Original Motion Picture film, With Honors, came two years before the huge movie role which would completely change the way we would see Madonna, which was Evita. The movie, Evita, released in 1996, would see the Queen of Pop Songstress, Madonna, portray Eva Duarte Perón, who passed away on the 26th July 1952 during the 1952 Summer Olympics from Ovarian Cancer.

This drawing took longer to produce considering I had my studies to focus on, which is why I wasn’t able to get around to completing it until last week. I must say that I am absolutely pleased to have achieved the result that I wanted from this drawing, as I have changed the hair style over from the traditional fringe hair style she used for the video to a hair style that is more free, where she has no fringe whatsoever, but instead, long hair.

Below is my third artistic interpretation of the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, in her full glory.

Madonna (I'll Remember) [1994]
Madonna (I’ll Remember) [1994]

I feel absolutely pleased with the overall result I have achieved from producing this drawing, but I have made sure to carefully fine-tune certain areas of the drawing that did need some small changes.

I can admit when I began to draw Madonna for the third time, it was quite difficult for me to draw her from this angle, as her head is tilted slightly, which meant I would have to work very carefully with the face proportions, including getting the features of her face almost correct, but overall, I am absolutely thrilled with the final result I have achieved from my third artistic interpretation of Madonna and I couldn’t wait to share my creative side to drawing with all of you.

If you liked my third artistic interpretation of Madonna and if you enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to submit feedback below. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

The Girl With Silver Hair

As I was recently requested by one of my friends about drawing them, I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and do so. I must admit, I loved the final result as it was how I wanted it to be.

I can be entirely honest with this drawing though, I have done this drawing entirely from memory and not from a single photo reference.

It was initially meant to take at least three to four days to complete, but it took me roughly two weeks to do as I had dedicated more time to writing and publishing articles, as well as doing coursework for college.

The Girl With Silver Hair
The Girl With Silver Hair

I wanted to make sure that I could get the natural hair tones just right, so that there would be shadowing of the silver hair, as well as creating hints of shadow across the whole drawing in general.

Overall, I am absolutely pleased with how the final result of this drawing turned out and a close friend of mine who I sent this drawing to first thought this was so cool, and then after I sent it to my close friend first, I then shared it around and sent it to a friend of mine who requested I draw her, and even she absolutely loved how it turned out. She even said that she can’t wait to hang it up considering I sent it to her after sending it to my close friend first.

To be honest, I felt really pleased with the feedback I was given by my close friend, my friend who requested I draw her and everyone else, as I felt like I had made everyone smile, and it shocked me. Although it was really well done, I was given a bit of critique, which wasn’t bad, but was just a bit of critique that I’ve since taken on board to improve for next time, but overall, I loved how it turned out, and I’ll be making sure to continue making drawings, as well as making improvements here and there to make any future drawings better.

If you liked the end result of this drawing, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated, and if you also enjoyed reading this article based on this drawing I did for my friend, then please feel free to share this article around.

Alex Smithson

Madonna: Artistic Interpretation #2: The True Blue Era (1986)

As I kicked my two-week holiday off with a bang, I took the opportunity to draw the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, again, but this time in her True Blue era, as I saw that a lot of fans had created pieces of artwork inspired by the True Blue photograph that Herb Ritts took of her back in 1986.

This drawing took from Friday 25th March to Tuesday 29th March to complete, and has to be one of the most difficult drawings I’ve produced yet. It’s worth the time drawing, because I can finally set my creativity free after a long while. It’s amazing what a 5B pencil can produce, and I just feel so fortunate that I can draw what I’m good at.

Over the course of the few days I’ve been producing this drawing, I’ve already been asked by one of my friends upon request if I can draw them, and I will, and I recently had some feedback given that I’ve been documenting my progress of this drawing on the photo-sharing service, Instagram, and I was told by one of my Instagram followers that it was so good, and it really brought a smile to my face.

I think with this drawing I wanted it to be based around not just that era, but also around how I artistically interpret Madonna as a musician.

Artistic Interpretation 2 - Madonna - The True Blue Era (Final Version)

The final statistics of the Rebel Heart Tour that Madonna brought to a remarkable close on the 20th March show that the tour has officially grossed $169,804,336, with full attendance (1,045,479 / 1,045,479).

This is a fantastic milestone of its own that marks the end of the Rebel Heart Era on such a positive note. I also feel glad to have done this drawing freehand with the photo reference of Madonna during her True Blue Era, which was all the way back in 1986. Exactly 30 years ago. Wow! Time sure has flown.

To celebrate this milestone, I have officially uploaded and published a video of this drawing whilst it was in progress, and it will show you the progress that I have made in drawing my second artistic interpretation of Madonna, right up to the very end ☺.

If you liked my second artistic interpretation drawing of Madonna, then please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated and I hope you liked the drawing and the video ☺.

Alex Smithson

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

From Friday 11th March 2016 to Monday 14th March 2016, I worked on my drawing of the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, and this drawing that I worked on was inspired on one of the photos that was taken of Madonna during the Ray of Light era. I can be honest with you all, this was my first proper attempt at drawing someone including their face, considering that a few years ago, I couldn’t draw a face properly unless I used a photo to trace over the original.

In this drawing, however, I did use a photo of Madonna from the Ray of Light era, but I didn’t trace her at all. Instead, I did the drawing freehand by looking at my computer screen, and then I drew freehand as I went along. I studied the photo while I was drawing, so that I could create my own interpretation of Madonna during the Ray of Light era.

Because it took some time to complete, I wanted to make sure that I could show my creative side to life in the artistic sense, and because my drawing skills had rapidly improved over the course of last year and the year before, I thought it would be nice to pay homage to Madonna as she has left a positively remarkable impact not just on my life, but on the lives of all of us, and there is no doubt that she is actually one of the most revolutionary musicians around.

I don’t care about the controversy at the end of the day that centres around her, all I care about is that she is putting herself out there for all of us and making sure to stand up and fight for what we all believe in, and it’s about time. I look up to Madonna as she is always there to inspire and make us all believe in ourselves and that we can be the best we can be.

But one thing I can say about her is she is brave at being dangerous at certain things, because I certainly couldn’t take the kind of risks she can take, and I admire Madonna entirely, because she might feel afraid to do something like any of us would, but she is brave because she goes for those risks head-on and it’s been a lot of strength, determination, courage, passion and love that has made Madonna the independent woman she is today.

As yesterday drew Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour to a remarkable close, I thought it would be a good idea to showcase the drawing I’ve done. Please keep in mind that it will of course look different to the original drawing, but I wanted to make sure my artistic interpretation of Madonna was original.

Without further ado, here is my artistic interpretation of the Queen of Pop Songstress, Madonna, in drawing form.

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

It’s the first time in almost a year since I last did anything drawing-based, and this is the first time I’ve ever attempted drawing someone famous including their facial features and hair, so as you can imagine it was difficult for me to draw this, but all that hard work and free time drawing Madonna was absolutely worth it. I love how it’s turned out to be honest, and it’s a way of me saying with inspiration from Madonna that we should all be ‘Living for Love’ no matter what, because after all, love really does lift us up even at the most difficult of times. I hope my drawing inspires all of you :-).

If you liked my first ever artistic interpretation of Madonna, please feel free to feedback your thoughts on my first ever artistic drawing. Your feedback is absolutely appreciated.

Alex Smithson