During our Summer Salon exhibition we grabbed Eleanor for a quick 5 mins over a glass of Prosecco to ask her about her life at IAF...
What do you do at IAF?
'I am Director of Art. I also teach young people aged 4 - 16 as part of the MakeArt programme'.
How long have you been coming to IAF?
'I first walked in at the age of 11! I attended art classes here all the way through my teenage years. It was a really important part of my life at the time, offering me the space to develop my interest in art and my skills outside of school. I had a great group of friends who came to the class and I have really happy memories of those years. Years after leaving to pursue my art training at university, I was invited back as an art tutor. My involvement developed from there and I ended up leading the art department. I try to offer my students the same kind of experience that I benefitted from at their age; support, encouragement and a nurturing space for creativity to flourish.'
Tell us what IAF means to you?
'I just love the multi art environment. I think it is vital that places like this exist! I believe strongly that art has an important role in bringing communities together and giving people something outside of the everyday, to explore, be creative and find new passions in life.'
What is your favourite artwork?
'The Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio never fails to stop me in my tracks when I visit the National Gallery. I love the study of human psychology that this piece reveals, the drama and the perfect rendering of his subject.'
The Supper at Emmaus Caravaggio
Tell us something about IAF that might surprise people...
'Behind the scenes we keep and maintain a Moose, who regularly changes his dress to keep us entertained in the office. He is partial to Tutus, feathers and sequins and seems to be working his way through the Costume Department's vast collection with joyous abandon!'
What's your favourite local gem?
'Toni and Guy on Holloway road. A lovely stylist called Sylvia gave me the most fabulous restyle recently. Call me shallow if you will, but I firmly believe a good hairdo can give you all the confidence you need to move forward in life.'
Thanks Eleanor, before you get back to the throng, tell us what do you get up to when you're not here?
'My studio is in Forest Gate E7. I am currently working on a Forest Gate Portrait Project, where I make large scale pencil portraits of people who live or work in the area. I love working with communities and involving people in my art practice, either as the subjects of my work or as participants in workshops. Art is for everyone!'
Eleanor and her Forest Gate Portrait Project
Josh is our newest member of staff and like most of us he was a Islington Arts Factory user before he started working here. We caught up with him at reception to get to know the newest face at The Factory...
Josh! Welcome to the IAF, so what do you do here?
'Well right now I'm being the Office Assistant but I also dance here 3 times a week (Ballet and Contemporary).'
So far what is your favourite thing about IAF?
'I like how friendly and inviting everyone is.'
Aww thanks Josh! How long long have you been coming here?
'Just over a year'
What does IAF mean to you?
'IAF is a very significant part of my life now. I have and continue to develop here as both a dancer and a person in general'
What's your favourite Art work?
'Leonardo Da Vinci's ''Study of Crabs''.'
What have you learnt about IAF that surprised you?
'There are way more rooms and studios than you'd expect'
Where is your favourite place in Islington?
'I just recently discovered Cookies and Scream on Holloway road and their staff and food are amazing!'
What do you get up to when you aren't here?
'I'm studying for my A Levels at SMMA Sixth Form so a lot of my time is spent doing homework, but when I am free I go around London with my friends discovering new places'
Thanks Josh! We are so happy to have you.
Josh performing at last years Montage
Dan is our technician here at Islington Arts Factory, we took 5 minutes over a cup of Earl Grey and a biscuit to chat to him about his IAF...
Hi Dan. So what do you do at IAF?
'Everything! Sometimes all at the same time. I fix microphones, unblock toilets, make tea, eat soup, make music, deal with bands...'
What's your favourite thing about IAF?
'The people who use the space. I love the fact that anyone one can and does use our spaces - our users are so diverse'.
How long have you been coming here?
What does IAF mean to you?
'It's a place to come and be creative'
Who is your favourite IAF user?
'There are a couple of regular bands that I really like, Adia Victoria and Bikini Faso'
So tell us one thing about IAF that might surprise people...
'It has some of the nicest Art Nouveau fireplaces I have ever seen.' (they aren't in the public bits unfortunately).
What's your favourite place in Islington? (apart from IAF obviously!)
'St Pancras Old church, is that in Islington?' I think it's Camden... 'Well I live near the canal and love the bit between Kingsland road and Angel, and also Islington has lots of lovely old man pubs'.
What do you do when you're not here?
'Cycle around, drink coffee with friends, buy records, go to exhibitions'.
Thanks Dan! And finally what's the strangest thing you've ever overheard at IAF?
' ''Why can't I throw water over people?'' A good question I thought!'
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