A head turning new exhibition by two up and coming young Welsh artists will feature some of the world’s top DJs and a unique painting style using a violin bow.
Photographer Gethin Ceidiog Hughes will showcase stunning images of Cardiff’s nightclub scene alongside the ingenious music-inspired work of his friend, violin playing printmaker Llinos Gunn.
In what is set to be one of the most extraordinary events of the artistic year, the exhibition launch at the Cardiff Made gallery on October 3 will be heralded by drum and base rhythm from top DJs, including Killer Tom, Goldie Lookin Chain’s DJ.
The exhibition is part of an international photography festival called Diffusion and it’s also part of the Made in Roath arts festival.
The artistic duo met while studying for their Masters degrees at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
They hit on the idea of holding a joint exhibition after both amassed large bodies of work influenced by music.
Gethin’s mesmerising photographs offer a visual record of Cardiff’s meteoric rise as an underground music city, while Llinos produced her inventive prints using a unique painting method she developed herself.
She tied a long paint brush to her bowing arm so she could literally paint while playing the violin.
“It was basically a stick with a painting tip on the end,” she said. “I tied it to my arm so that as I played it made random patterns on a canvas I placed on the ground below me.
“I’ve Googled the method and as far as I can tell no-one has ever used this technique before.”
Gethin’s photographs followed on from his getting a part time job with Cardiff’s former Catapult music store, now closed down.
His camera captured the international DJ circuit’s biggest names including Brazil’s sensational number one DJ Marky, Radio 1 presenter Friction, and RAM Records co-founder Andy C.
Gethin said: “Catapult and other promoters ran club nights at venues all around the city and they asked me to take their official gig photographs. Pretty soon I was completely immersed in Cardiff’s nightclub scene.”
Gethin, 23, explained: “For such a small city Cardiff has become an international hub of DJing.
“It pulls in big name acts from around the globe but it also has a core of home grown DJs with a reputation for being the best in the UK, people like Dirty Knees, Boulevard, Bullion and Aperture, there are so many names it’s impossible to list them all.
“For anyone into dance music Cardiff is the place to be at the moment. That’s what really inspired me, the chance to record and recognise the city’s importance in this huge movement. My photographs are as much about Cardiff’s pioneering spirit and vibrancy as they are about the music.”
He took most of the photographs while studying for his original degree in product design, before going on to do his Masters in art and design.
He said: “The photographic project was a huge inspiration for me, and has fuelled my interest in other areas of art. I did my Masters thesis on a philosophy I labelled ‘hissism’ looking at the way art helps explain some of the basics of the universe.
“Now I am painting a lot more, printmaking and doing illustration work.”
He returns to Cardiff often and will be there for the duration of the exhibition, though currently he is living back home in Denbigh, North Wales, where he grew up. He is one of three brothers to his parents, PR company owner Ceidiog Hughes and his wife Hilary.
He attended Twm o’r Nant primary school, Denbigh, and then Ysgol Glan Clwyd high school in St Asaph but it was not until university that Gethin discovered his talent for art.
“I guess I represent the creative side of the family,” he laughed. “I’m the only one of us into art. My brothers, Gareth and Gruff work in PR and accountancy.
“At the moment I’ve put the camera down for a while as I am really keen to develop my painting. I am looking to find an arts residency position, maybe in London, so I can carry on with it full time.”
Llinos, of Talywern, Hendy Parc, Llangenech, near Llanelli, hails from a musical family. She started playing piano when she was five and went on to become accomplished at both piano and violin.
She said: “I was born into a family of talented musicians so it was something which just came naturally too me.”
Her aunt is a pianist, her mum, Alison Goodwin is a pianist and organist, and her step dad, Andrew Goodwin, is an organist and a music examiner.
But it was art which pulled Llinos when she left home to go to university, studying first for a diploma at Carmarthen, before moving on to Cardiff.
She said: “I’ve always been interested in art and especially fashion. I’m obsessed with the great designer Alexander McQueen. At university I studied art and design, specialising in fashion. Then, as I was doing my Masters, things just started to evolve when I came up with an idea to interweave my music into artistic concepts.
“I don’t know how I had the idea for tying the paintbrush to my bowing arm, it just happened one day. I was researching people who painted with music in the background, inspired by sounds and rhythm, but I wondered what would happen if I let the music itself take the lead. The results have been amazing, creating entrancing patterns.”
Llinos, 23, used the patterns to make silk scarves which will be on show at the exhibition, along with the intriguing copies of her original designs on canvas. She’s also considering installing a video to demonstrate her unusual method of painting.
A former pupil of Ysgol Gyfun y Strade high school and Llanelli primary school, Llinos is also living back home while considering her future as an artist.
She said: “I moved into my brother Owain’s room as he left to go to drama school. I am really excited about the exhibition and I’m hoping it will provide a stepping stone to fulfilling my dream of finding a position with one of London’s top fashion houses and eventually reach a stage where I can launch out on my own.
“In the immediate future I’m going to stay at home to concentrate on my website in order to get my name out there and provide me with funds for the big move to London.
Llinos and Gethin’s joint exhibition coincides with one of Cardiff’s other major arts festivals, Diffusion, which runs throughout October.
Gethin said: “Ours is a separate exhibition, but we’re delighted that it’s being staged at the same time as Diffusion, which is one of the biggest events in the arts calendar. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to be on show when so many people from the arts community will be gathering in the city.”
The exhibition runs for a week from October 3 until October 12.Cardiff Made gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am-5pm and Sundays from 11am-4pm.