London Art Spot: Femme Fierce

Photo from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

When I heard about Femme Fierce, my ears perked up: A week-long, all-female street art event drawing nearly 100 artists into London from around the world with a Leake Street takeover on International Women’s Day (March 8) and a documentary about women in this male-dominated scene? Count me in! There’s lots of free events and one cheap one for which the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Awareness charity. To find out a bit more, I’ve thrown a few questions at a couple of the key people involved in making this fabulous event a reality and they were kind enough to answer. Meet Zina and Chock (from the Girls on Top Crew), two of the artists involved; Darren, the curator; and Catherine Cort Koppel, the film-maker behind the documentary.

Photo of Zina from Cre8 Gallery

LLO: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where are you from originally?
Zina (Artist): I’m an Illustrator and Street artist based in London. I’m Norwegian, and yes I’ve got an accent. I did a bachelor in illustration at Falmouth Uni, in Cornwall. I moved to London in 2010, and started spraying after few months in the city. It was hard to not get inspired walking around seeing all the art around East London, even though with an older brother who is into graffiti, I was already familiar with parts of the scene. Music, mainly hiphop has been a great inspiration when making my art.

Photo of Decent Beatz from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: What are some of your main hobbies or interests? 
Zina: The thing is, I’ve been working on making my hobby my full time job. Maybe not the safest bet some would say, but if I try hard enough and sacrifice a little on the way, I might just get there. Hopefully very soon. Other then urban art, illustration and painting, I enjoy music and dancing. Also, I love researching and looking into subjects like philosophy, consciousness and symbolism, which also influence the subjects I paint.

Photo – CBloxx from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: Femme Fierce must be one of the biggest all-female street art events ever. What can we expect?
Darren (Curator): We are hosting a 7-day art exhibition featuring artists like Amara Por Dios, Artista, Ashes 57, Boxhead, Girls on Top Crew, Theiu and Zina. Imagine a female ruled planet where street art defines the rules and what we call reality. This exhibition will provoke the thought of a female planet that is governed by art… a world where you will find everything from the earthly, surreal to otherworldly. Over the seven days we also have the Leake Street takeover event, a graffiti workshop and film screening, plus all the girls are going to come together to create a group mural for the closing.


Photo of freakSTATIC from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: It’s a huge undertaking and very exciting. How and when did the idea develop? 
Darren: We (Earth Tone Arts / Cre8 Gallery) were in the process of developing an all female street art show towards the end of last year for 2014… Ironically, the Street Art Agency were coordinating the Leake Street event around the same time and we were both talking to some of the same artists. After a meeting at the gallery and a little give and take between both parties, we decided to pull our resources together and make the projects bigger and better. Femme Fierce was born and the rest is history…or better yet – herstory.

Photo of ZABOU from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: With 100 artists involved, it’s hard to narrow it down, but tell us about three you are most excited about.
Darren: That’s difficult… All the ladies involved in the gallery exhibit are top notch and some of my favourites, but if I had to pick three, I’ll choose, Amara, Neonita and Zina because they all have an indigenous surreal style, look and feel to their work that I personally like and I’m interested in that kind of artwork.

Photo of NEONITA from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: It’s a wonderfully international bunch of artists. Where are some of them flying in from and how did you all connect?
Darren: We have people coming in from all around the UK, plus artists flying in from South Africa, Japan, Dubai, Sweden, Norway and Italy to name a few… The internet is the tool we used to make it all happen, taking advantage of all the social networking sites plus our contacts to spread the word.

Photo – work by Midge from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: Tell us more about the documentary film “Women on Walls”, which will launch during this time. What is the storyline and the message the film aims to communicate?
Catherine Cort Koppel (Film Maker): The documentary explores how it was to be a female in the male-dominated graffiti scene in the late 90s and how the coming of street art changed the scene for women involved in the subculture. Graffiti and street art has been a popular topic for yearss, but much attention has been given to the male artists. For the first time some of the few English female graffiti writers active in the 90s tell stories of their experience being a female in a rough, sexist and male-dominated subculture. In the early 2000s, the face of graffiti changed with the coming of Banksy and street art. Through the eyes of graffiti writers, street artists and experts, “Women on Walls” looks into the current street art and graffiti landscape and how the scene has changed for women artists involved over the last decade. The documentary showcase female talent and asks why the scene has been so male-dominated in the past and why that is rapidly changing as more female street artists gain recognition for their work in the current climate.

Photo – work by Hannah Adamaszek from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: How has the street art scene evolved recently to attract more female artists to something that has typically been male-dominated?
Chock (Artist): I think over the past 10 years, there has been more internet and media attention and graffiti and street artist have been shown not just to be angry little boys vandalising peoples houses anymore. People have begun to realise that it is a legitimate art form too. There have always been a select group of hardcore girls as there are hardcore males, but with the arrival of Instagram and social networking, it has become more fashionable and girls love fashion. Haha. Artists such as Mad C totally destroying most guys skills has really pushed graffiti to the max and inspired many female artists to push themselves, I believe. Street Art has become very accessible and an industry has built up around it now, especially in East london. This makes it more open to anyone and less elitist.

Photo – work by Amara Por Dios from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: Why is street art important?
Zina: Street art for me is about sharing art, thoughts and ideas with more people, instead of hiding it all in a gallery. It’s also good exposure of one’s work, and personally I enjoy the feedback, seeing people’s reactions and appreciation is great. Their excitement about the work is what makes me want to keep painting, and I wish sometimes the excitement will rob off on me too.

Photo: Steffi Bow from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: How much do tickets cost and where does the money go? Where can we buy them?
Darren: The exhibition, workshops and film screening are all FREE events. Tickets cost £2.50 to take part in the Leake Street event. All the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Awareness charity. Tickets can be purchased through eventbrite.

Image – work by Pyklops from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: What does this project mean to you personally?
Zina: This show is a great start to the year and it seems lots of people have heard about it already. It’s nice to be more involved and get to know the other girls who are spraying. I’m looking forward to the Leake street takeover more than anything, to meet people and see new and different art work.

Thanks Zina, Darren, Catherine & Chock!

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London Art Spot: Orban Wallace

orban-wallace

Have you seen the fun new “Skateseeing” videos? There’s one that features someone on a skateboard cruising through East London (below), which I love. Anyway, Orban is the film director for the project, one of the creative minds behind what is going to be a whole series of “skateseeing” clips in different destinations around the world. I decided to take some time to pick his brain about making this intimate video of East London and his career in general.

Below, Orban talks about working on one of the Harry Potter films, a random keyboard player in Shoreditch and a favourite London discovery that I have not yet had the pleasure to visit. 

LLO: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where are you from originally, how long have you lived in London and what brought you here?
OW: I’m originally a country boy, growing up in the wilds of Dorset in a very remote cottage. I lived there until I was 18, before deciding I needed to travel the world. I was always fascinated by film and from an early age began to make films with friends at school and college, using our rural location to come up with Blair Witch-style horror movies and films about poaching.

On returning from my travels, I had somehow wangled a job on the Harry Potter 6 film as a runner in the VFX department, through a family friend. I moved to Hemel Hempstead to work at the studios in Leavesden. I was really thrown in the deep end and had to learn very fast how to work in a department which I previously knew nothing about, in a fast-paced and streamlined production. It was an amazing insight into the top end of the film industry. I learnt a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of production and had an incredible time exploring the world of Harry Potter, constantly finding excuses to escape the office and find a way down to the sets and the action. We then moved to Soho for post production. I moved to Old Street and gained my first experience of London life, in particular East London: the joys of Brick Lane, Broadway Market and the late night party scene in Shoreditch.

I have just returned to London now after spending the last four years in Brighton completing a film degree at Sussex University and establishing my own production company with three close friends.

bat-on-ball-shoot

LLO: You recently made two videos for HotelClub – one in Brighton and the latest in East London – for a series called ‘Skateseeing’. What’s the vision behind this project? Why skateboards? Is Skateseeing something people can get involved in?
OW: We made these videos when Matt Lindley of HotelClub.com got in touch with us to create a series of travel videos showcasing alternative destinations in the UK and further afield. Cruising around on a skateboard seemed like a really natural way to explore these areas. It gives the audience the experience of gliding through these spaces, picking up the details of the characters and lifestyles, which characterize what makes these places unique.

We welcome other people to make their own Skateseeing movies, and in fact I think that’s where the series is heading to next!

Click the image below to watch the East London video:

Skateseeing

LLO: What are some of your favourite places that feature in the London video? What do you like about them?
OW: I love the markets, the hustle and bustle, people watching, the smells and the banter. My favourite place is the canals on a sunny afternoon, and the atmosphere of everyone hanging out.

brick-lane-head

LLO: Tell us how your career has progressed. What have been some of the key highlights so far?
OW: After a year as a runner on the Harry Potter film, I decided I wanted to try my hand at producing my own films. I began a filmmaking degree at Sussex University, and embarked on my first documentary, an observational film following the notorious climate camp activists. The main subject of the film was the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, which saw thousands of activists descending on the city for a week of madness. It was an intense week, trying not to get arrested and learning how difficult it was to film in minus conditions in very volatile protest situations. We survived and came out with our first film, Copenhagen the Musical.

I continued as a freelance filmmaker making numerous films, before collaborating on my first short narrative, with the incredible guys I work with now. The creativity, tireless nights and laughter that went into our first film together is really what inspired us all to form the company we run now, Gallivant. Gallivant specializes in music videos and commercial content and have made films across Europe, our last being a ski promo in the French Alps, which was alright! We are now in the process of developing our first feature film.

filming-outdoors

LLO: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your work? And the most rewarding?
OW: The most challenging is always the endless amount of work which goes into pre-production and planning. Learning to be a seamless multi-tasker is what’s hard, but this is what makes a good producer. Directing, filming and being on the shoot are always great, especially by the time you’ve planned some weird and wonderful concept and you’re hanging off the top of a fishing trawler, with your friend performing a live music video, as cuttlefish and ink fly past your head.

bat-on-ball-boat

LLO: Tell us about a memorable encounter you had with a Londoner while filming Skateseeing East London.
OW: The old guy dressed sharp as nails, playing the eeriest music on his Casio keyboard, was a welcome surprise as we passed under the bridge next to Shoreditch Overground Station.

shoreditch-high-street

LLO: How did you choose the music for the video?
OW: I was driving, listening to an old mix CD when this song came on, and it just clicked for me. I’d been a bit stumped beforehand as to what tone and mood to go for, but this song just had that groove and pace which I felt would really work. Amazingly, the artist GUTS, a renowned French trip hop producer, was cool for me to use it when I wrote to him. We have now established a working relationship and I’ve used more of his tunes for other projects. It regained my faith in how it’s always worth it, just to ask.

bat-on-ball-bulgaria

LLO: What’s been your best East London discovery?
OW: Picking up vegetables at Ridley Road market and sitting on the locks at sunset.

regents-canal-skater

LLO: Where is the Skateseeing series heading to next?
OW: There’s a Sydney video currently in the pipeline, then there’s talk of us flying to the Philippines to shoot one in Manila. After that it remains a mystery!

brick-lane-beigel-bake

Thanks Orban!

London Art Spot: Sanja Hurem


Sanja’s personality – her belief in noticing the “little things” shines through her photography. It’s obvious from these images that people warm to her, let them into their lives a bit through her lens. She manages to capture an intensity, a connection, in their eyes. There’s an honesty in her street portraits that I admire.

She tells us in her London Art Spot interview below about how her incredibly international background (living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, US, Czech Republic, Argentina and London not to mention holiday travel) continuously influences her work, why she is attracted to photographing strangers which led her to start the project “A Hundred New Faces” and what the term “urban poetry” means to her.

The cover image on Sanja’s Facebook page is a Friedrich Nietzsche quote: “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music.” Just by looking at her photography and reading her answers below, I’m pretty positive that Sanja is one of the dancers. 

LLO: Where are you from originally? Tell us a bit about yourself as an artist.
SH: I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina, but spent the vast majority of my life growing up in Germany. I ended up in photography somewhat haphazardly. I had always had a passion for art but it wasn’t until I was 23 that I picked up camera and just started taking photos I loved. From that very moment, I knew this was for me. I didn’t even think about myself as an artist. I just wanted to take pictures. I distinctly remember the moment – I was at a botanical garden in Buenos Aires called Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays. It just felt completely right, and I wandered the streets of Buenos Aires for weeks and months thereafter, losing any sense of time. Over the past years, I got a better sense of the “it” factor I was seeking. Some very good mentors have helped me along the way and ever since I was not able to let photography go.

LLO: How did you end up in London, studying at Central Saint Martin?
SH: The story of how I ended up in London is probably reflective of my rather unconventional background as a photographer. As I mentioned, before spending time in Buenos Aires, I had no idea how much I actually loved photography. After the epiphany moment in the Botanical Garden, I simply continued taking pictures without thinking much of it. However, having graduated from university just a couple of months earlier I had previously signed a contract and was ready to start working. That job was based in London. It turned out an amazing city for photography. I soon ended up quitting a less fulfilling job and decided it was time to turn to what I really liked. Among other things, this led me to sign up for part-time classes at CSM, where I met some really interesting people.

LLO: You have a very international background. Tell us about the other countries that have been a major part of your life and in which ways this inspires your photography (if it does!)
SH: I think that the countries I have lived in influenced my way of seeing the world, which in turn impacts my photography. Throughout my travels, I learned that the real beauty of a place is revealed in the details. When I went to Buenos Aires, I was impressed with the overall skyline and view of the city, but nothing caught my attention more than the way they serve coffee with a little piece of chocolate, or the way the streetlight softens the edges of the buildings at night. The realization that beauty lies in detail has led me to pay more attention to these “little things”. I think this is reflected in my photography. I focus on individual situations, trying to isolate the random from the larger picture. This is true in particular for my street or urban photography. When I take portraits, I similarly love to see the details of a person’s face. All the little imperfections that others may retouch – l usually leave them as they are. I find them beautiful. Living in the US, on the other hand, lead to entirely different insights. I went through a phase where I really missed the elaborate details in architecture so characteristic of European cities. However, I soon started to revel in the mundane nature of many suburbs. I feel that this appreciation of the mundane was in fact a major catalyst for my photographic practice.

LLO: Favourite places in London to take your camera and why?
SH: This is a no-brainer for me: London markets. Borough market, Camden Lock, Hackney Wick – these are all great places to encounter some beautiful moments. People feel anonymous in the crowd, yet the very nature of a market requires individual interaction and the presence of, well, “little things”. A child reaching for candy, a man eating his food in a rush – all these can make for interesting moments.

LLO: One of your goals as a photographer is to capture the faces of 100 strangers for a project called “A Hundred New Faces”. Why did you start this project? How far have you gotten? 
SH: When I moved to Berlin, I met a photographer who taught various darkroom workshops. I signed up for one of them and one of the assignments involved taking portraits. Since I barely knew anyone in Berlin, I ended up taking photos of strangers. I found it a great way to connect with the people in a new environment. In many ways, it brought me back to my initial draw to photography – using the camera as a means to connect with your environment. After my first attempts, I found out that photographing strangers was a whole sub-genre. Overall, it really seemed like a worthwhile and beautiful undertaking.

LLO: Tell us about the most interesting stranger you’ve photographed so far. 
SH: If I had to pick one, it would be one of my very first strangers. She was a Bolivian woman in her mid-twenties who had come to Berlin for the Carnival of Cultures.  She was wearing traditional clothing as a display of her culture. It was a beautiful event, an explosion of colors. At the same time, it was also surreal to see how parts of culture can almost be transplanted from one part of the world into another.

LLO: Have you ever had a negative experience photographing a stranger? If so, what happened?
SH: I did have some negative experiences photographing strangers. Among one of my first visits to London’s Borough Market, I photographed a lady selling fruits. It made for a particularly beautiful image since her fruits and her face were reflected through a number of metal objects surrounding her. She soon became very enraged and started yelling at me. I still managed to take a couple more pictures though.

LLO: You have another section on your website called Urban Poetry. What defines “urban poetry” for you? Share a photo that you’ve taken that most strongly falls into this category.
SH: Urban poetry is this moment when amidst all the chaos of big city life, an image of simplicity and connection emerges. The images appear almost orchestrated by the flow of the city. It’s as if there’s a rhyme to all the craziness, a rhyme that makes the scenes appear poetic. As an observer to these moments, I feel connected to this beautiful flow, and simultaneously privileged for having caught these scenes. I think the image “Boy/In My World” (below) is a good example of Urban Poetry.

LLO: What do you hope to communicate through your work?
SH: I hope to communicate that people and situations that appear commonplace at first can reveal a stunning beauty when you really connect to them. For me, the ultimate moment of connection takes place when you take the photo. It is in that moment that I get an intense feeling and understanding for the person or scene photographed. This is what makes photography such an intimate medium. The understanding of the other person comes through a feeling rather than a cerebral approach. Hopefully, the viewer can connect to my perception and feeling as they see my photographs.

LLO: Favourite discovery while you were living in London?
SH: That’s a tough one, since London is so full of places to discover. I’d have to say that Pollock’s Toy Museum in Fitzrovia is a real treasure. It’s one of those places that make you feel like you’re living in a magical Harry Potter-type land.

Thanks Sanja!

You can also find Sanja here and here.

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

London Art Spot: Penelope Koliopoulou

I first spotted Greek photographer Penelope Koliopoulou’s work in Completely London magazine. I looked twice when I found out she was the only person in her images.

Penny’s portfolio is lead by an obsession with taking self-portraits combined with a fascination with the way relationships function and couples interact. She uses her most convenient resource – herself – to represent both parts of many different couples. Most of her images depict the most mundane moments in the daily existence of a couple – watching TV, lounging in bed, chatting, eating. She hopes that we recognise our own relationships in her work. Do you see yourself in any of these scenes below? 

Read on to hear more about Penelope’s vision for this project, how she creates her images and the diary of an imaginary boyfriend she’s just started putting together – another project I’m sure will prove to be very interesting.

LLO: Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what brought you here?
PK:
I am from Athens, Greece and I’ve been leaving in London for 2 years now. I came here for my MA in Fashion and Film (LCF).

LLO: Tell us about your self portrait series. When and why did you begin this project?
PK:
At the university where I studied Fine Arts, I always did self portraits. This was my small obsession. I was experimenting a lot, trying either to disguise and play different roles, or picture myself and explore notions of identity, gender, intimacy, everyday life and through this to discover myself and find out who I am. In my final project, I wanted to picture couples in intimate moments and represent true moments of a relationship. The fact that I was going to “do” both parts of the couples came naturally. Moreover, my intention was to make a comment on how easily masculinity and femininity can be created – for example, how I can pass as a man only by turning my back to the camera. To show that both sexes carry masculine and feminine elements. Lastly, using the same person to do both parts of a couple could work as a metaphor for how a couple unites and we become one or see the reflection of ourselves in our partner.

LLO: How do you create the images?
PK:
First of all, I imagine a couple – their look, lifestyle, clothes – and then I think of a scene from their everyday life. According to these, I find a place that most suits the profile of my couple and choose clothes that I mostly take from my wardrobe or friends. I dress as one part of the couple and take a picture, then I dress as the other half, creating different ways of interacting between the two. In the end, I use Photoshop to put the two pictures together and create my couple.

LLO: From the Athens suburb where you were born to the madness of London, do you think the mundane moments couples experience differ?
PK:
It doesn’t have to do with where they live, it has to do with the couple. It may sound cheesy, but I believe in a couple’s chemistry. Either they live in London or in Greece. You see couples that are not really ‘compatible’ but they remain together for other reasons (insecurity, because it became a habit, or for practical reasons, such as children) and some others that are a perfect match. Relationships are hard. They need a lot of time, devotion, honesty and selflessness no matter class, sexuality, race, region.

LLO: What do you hope to communicate through your work?
PK:
I like to tell stories. I hope I tell stories that make people identify with my protagonists. What I wish is when someone sees one of my couples to think “I’ve been there. It was hard (or nice).”, to create feelings, to bring back memories and make them think about their relationships.

LLO: What has been your favourite scene to recreate so far?
PK:
Ha, my favourite scene was the couple having a private after party in the morning. Technically it could be a better picture, but as it was my very first so I excuse myself and also I believe I’ve managed to create the right atmosphere which is more important to me.

LLO: Tell us about another artist you know in London who is doing something worth talking about.
PK:
Zero-tau, a collective of mix media performance.

LLO: What are you working on now?
PK:
At the moment I am not taking any pictures for a personal project, but I’m working on some new ideas, like a diary of my relationship with an imaginative/fantastic boyfriend and also some more couples but from a different approach.

LLO: Best place in London for food and/or drinks?
PK:
My place, with good friends.

LLO: Favourite London discovery?
PK:
Kaos party.

Thanks Penny!

You can also find Penny here.

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

London Art Spot: Xuesong Liao

Xuesong has guts. That’s what I like about his photography. He doesn’t think twice about walking up to people in the street and taking the shot he wants. And people either warm up to him quickly or they don’t. Xuesong comes from China. He has travelled (as you can see from his Flickr account) from India to Spain to NYC to Jamaica and lots of places in between, but he’s lived here in London for over a decade. 

Read on to find more about his approach to people on the streets, what he hopes to accomplish with his photography and the story of a crazy woman with a dangerous Zimmer frame weapon in Barcelona.

French Graphic Artist - "Ozas99prod"
French graphic artist – “Ozas99prod”. He designed his own t-shirt and hat.

LLO: Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not taking photos? Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in London?
XL:
 I’m Chinese. I come from a city called Nanjing, in the middle eastern part of China. I studied a BA Fine Arts in China then came to the UK to finish my MA in Digital Arts at University of the Arts, London. I have been living in London 12 years now. When I’m not taking photos, I do some drawing, painting or graphic design and I am bit of a foodie. I love cooking too.

Kiss
Kiss

LLO: Tell us about your style and approach to photography in a few sentences.
XL: 
I like artistic photography so that’s the style I try to have. Also I like to shoot people in their natural way, not much posing and candid style. At the moment I use 50mm and 24mm prime lenses to shoot street photography.

Nothing to read, just looking at floor, thinking.
Nothing to read, just looking at the floor, thinking…

LLO: As a photographer, your focus is mainly on street photography and portraits. How do you feel Londoners react to being photographed compared to people you’ve photographed in other cities?
XL: 
I think London is a great place for taking street photos. In general Londoners are okay about being photographed; sometimes they even pose for you.

A Rajasthni local worker
A Rajasthani local worker in India

LLO: How and when did you develop an interest in street photography?
XL: 
I was always interested in photography since I was young. When I came to the UK I saw so many different interesting things and people on the street. I started to shoot them, lots of them, and then I gradually developed interest in street photography. Now I can’t go anywhere without my camera!

Can't face life?
Can’t face life?

LLO: You have some beautiful portrait shots from around the world. How do you decide when to approach someone and what do you say?
XL:
Thanks! I don’t decide. When I see someone that catches my eye, I just go directly to take a shot. If they notice then I smile at them or say “I like your face”, “beautiful” or something. I don’t use a long lens for street photos. I don’t really ask but sometimes if I pass someone I really want to take a photo of I’ll stop them, say “I would like take a photo of you; you are very good looking” or “I like your beard.” Just pay them a compliment. Most times it’s not a problem. Sometimes they say no or get angry, but that’s fine; I just leave it. I don’t feel embarrassed or anything. You don’t lose anything.

Afro hairstyle guy with sunglasses
Afro hairstyle guy with sunglasses

LLO: Have you ever had a negative reaction when photographing a stranger?
XL: 
I do get a negative reaction from time to time, but that’s just part of street photography. You get used to it. Most of the time they just swear at you or put up a hand gesture. I only had one crazy time. In Barcelona I tried to take a photo this old lady with a Zimmer frame and her two dogs. She saw me try to take the photo so she suddenly lifted up her Zimmer frame, started running towards me and tried to smash me! She nearly hit me! I just wish I’d had a fast lens to catch that moment. It would have been a winning photo.

Cheese...
Cheese

LLO: What message do you hope to communicate through your body of work?
XL: 
I try to document the moment, what happens on the street, people I see on the street, show the social environment, living conditions, humanity and fun. I hope people can see beauty everywhere through my works.

Pipe,Beer,Crossword
Pipe, beer crossword

LLO: Where are your favourite places in London to shoot street photography? Do you prefer to wait or wander?
XL: 
London, West End. It’s always busy there, so many people to choose for a shot and nice buildings in the background. I normally just wander around but if I see some nice setting I will wait until something happens or someone comes into picture.

Nice flower,man.
Nice flower, man

LLO: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face so far to get a shot you wanted?
XL: 
I don’t think I have done many challenging shots so far. Maybe I should do more challenging work in the future.

Cool Britons
Cool Britons

LLO: Which other London-based artists inspire you and your work? Why?
XL: 
London is good place to find art inspiration. So many artists’ work inspires me I can’t even name them. But most of my favourite artists are old masters, not London-based, like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Steve McCurry. Their works are classic and timeless.

Angry looking old wrinkled woman
Angry looking old wrinkled woman

Thanks Xuesong!

You can also find Xuesong on Flickr.

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.