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From dreamscape to dream state

Come to the exhibition and explore the world of surreal and humorous paintings by Hackney-based artist Michael Crosswaite in his first solo exhibition, opening tonight at Outpost, Holloway Road, north London.

Drawing on an appreciation of the ridiculousness of life, in glorious technicolour, each painting tells a story through dreamlike scenes from his imagination, juxtaposing animals or figures, and some social commentary, in strange landscapes, with a mix of fact and fantasy.

Michael says, “With my painting my thing is humour. The more ridiculous the better. I loved Monty Python and the whole silliness thing. I think the world is a very silly place and hopefully this comes through in my pictures.”

After years spent travelling and squatting, Michael ended up homeless in London with a drug habit. “I got into a hostel and eventually got myself clean,” he says of his recovery. “Now I’ve got a Peabody Flat and things are cool”.

The majority of Michael’s artwork was painted at 240 Project and Crisis art groups, where he has made progress personally and creatively. Both charities provide free arts tuition and social support for people affected by homelessness and exclusion.

As well as being an artist, Michael is also a talented musician. He plays the guitar, mandolin and piano, and can be heard busking around London. He shares his musical talents with others at Providence Row – The Dellow Centre, a homeless charity that offers support, recovery and training programmes to help people get off, and stay off the streets.

Michael says of his journey to art, “I only did it for a laugh. My art tutor at Crisis was a fantastic and cruel teacher who I could never seem to please. Each week I would go to his life drawing and painting class and endure his painful crits on my technique. After a couple of years however he told me I had created the almost perfect painting, it was of two men in a rowing boat called ‘Escape’. I finally knew it was time to spread my wings and fly. Since then I've developed my style further, drawing on my appreciation of the ridiculousness of existence”

Technicolour Dream State exhibition is a partnership between Café Art and Outpost, the social enterprise shop and gallery of Peter Bedford Housing Association. PBHA are proud to provide a platform for Michael to showcase and celebrate his artwork, as part of our Big Lottery funded Enterprising People - Supporting Makers programme. We provide one to one tailored support for talented artists and makers from North and East London experiencing barriers to inclusion. This could be through disability, poor mental health, homelessness, drug or alcohol issues, or multiple support needs.

Café Art connects people affected by homelessness with the wider community through helping them to exhibit their art. This exhibition is part of a new mentoring programme by Café Art for artists affected by homelessness to move into mainstream education and or develop their practice and find outlets to sell their artwork.

The mentoring programme run by formerly homeless artist Geraldine Crimmins and is supported by funding from Oath Foundation. Oath's grant also paid for the framing of the exhibition.

All original artwork is for sale at affordable prices. Proceeds go to Michael Crosswaite, and 30% helps to support creative programmes at PBHA. Why not treat yourself and brighten up your walls, or find that totally unique gift to make your loved one smile!

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