I do street art exhibitions … well not exactly that, but exhibitions with street artists. Also I manage artists. I’ve done my shows here and now I want to expand. I run these out of the gallery behind me. I used to work next door, and this space that became available. I knew I wanted my own area and was encouraged to take this leap of faith. There was one small bulb, the walls were green, full of holes and the place filled with rubbish basically. So for three days I locked myself away and created my gallery.
I left Bulgaria when I was 16. I‘ve had a passion for art since I can remember. There isn’t the same platform for art and what I wanted to do there, and I knew I would leave at one point.
Luis: We studied together in illustration, she works for a newspaper that I illustrated for, he is a skill full illustrator and he is a fashion professional in character – is that a good description.
Rafael: We met five minutes ago for the first time.
Manrutt: But it was planned. We have kept in touch through Instagram, and then Luis told us he was coming to London, so we all arranged this day to finally meet in person.
Luis: I never been in London before so I came with my husband for three days and then I messaged the group to say I’m here and we should meet.
Jeremy: Plan today? We don’t have any plan for the day. We don’t have any plan you know… artists(!)
Manrutt: It is really important to connect. Working individually as a freelancer can be very isolated. Sometimes we are treated very poorly by others in the industry. So it is good to meet other like-minded artists to share our stories, exchange opinions, and to know I have support and not to suffer in silence. This will build a genuine, loving, and supportive community. In the world of social media where everything is consumed digitally, I miss and value human contacts. This can become rare in the capital city and I would like to break this cliche and do it more often.
From left to right:Manrutt, Luis Camargo, Rafael Zugliani, Ana, Jeremy Combot
– check out the Profiles tab for more info. and contact details for on Manrutt and Luis –
“Once I finished law school, I worked as a junior lawyer back in Romania. I had shorter hair then.
But after that I got a project, in art – I wrote scenarios for theatre places and also played as an actor in a remake of Oscar Wilde’s book. We did an adaptation on his play, a Portrait of Dorian Grey – read the book if you haven’t done so. We adapted it to our day, with a modern version of the character. It’s a very psychological story, about religion, and power… and what happens to him once he takes his Uncle’s fortunes.
I chose to quit my both jobs – as a junior lawyer and as a manager in a big company involved in real estate construction. At that time I was engaged to a girl for four years, who was a judge. She fell in depression for a long time… and she saw things differently after her depression. You know, she studied a lot and didn’t go out anymore. After a long period of this, she didn’t have any more energy, any more power to fight against any of the difficulties. And you have to provide a happiness to your soul so you can keep good balance. She is now in a hospital for people with mental issues. So she came one day and said “I don’t love you anymore, I don’t want to be together”. And really I was doing both the jobs for her because I wanted to be able to provide her the comfort. As a man I do not need that many things, she needed more the make up, the clothes… I was just wanting to share the feelings with someone and have what I need, nothing luxurious.
After this I decided I can’t stay anymore in my country, everywhere I went we had a memory ‘we went there for the first time to eat’ or ‘we met at that corner’ and so on. So I knew I had to change places and start a new life. Then I got this project from a friend of mine, I met her in Milano when I was playing soccer for Inter Milan. She was a Director from the United States. So I showed her Milan and Italy, and we made friends. She knew I was writing poetry and other things, and she proposed me ‘you have talent, you should focus on this… look I have a good opportunity for you – we are going with a private theatre in the US. It is mostly with a charity but they are paying well, and you can help to write the scenarios with us’.
I accepted and started to work with them… and then they thought it was a good idea for me to also try as an actor. They gave me some training, and I started to let my hair grow, because it was for the role. Now the project has finished but I have decided to keep the hair.”
“I came here first with the idea to stay for one year; that was 7 years ago. Back home in South of France, there’s beaches, weather is good, food is good and… that is it, nothing else to do.
Music is my life, my theme of life – I’m a DJ, producer, I do events, parties, record music, radio shows, it is all I do and it’s what I have. And over all these years I have seen that with music, it really does change lives, it can open people up and reveal their inner thoughts and desires to them”.
“I remember seeing Nichole for the first time four months ago. And I thought she was horrible, she just stared at me in a nasty way I dunno what it was. But one day when a bunch of friends were hanging out, we didn’t spend too much time together during the day, but then she asked if I wanted to come home and I was thinking ‘um ok what’s happening here’. So I went, she introduced me to her flatmates and other friends, and since then I have been hanging out with her every day. It’s weird – but we just keep getting closer and finding out new stuff about each other.I don’t think you can get tired of a person unless you want to get tired.
I moved here 2 years ago from Romania. So I’ve studied everything, I did 18 subjects. And I was really good with Science but I realised one day I just can’t do this all my life. And I moved away because people there didn’t appreciate Art as much.
Since I was 11 I realised I wanted to direct. I remember helping direct a play for school and thought ‘I can tell people what to do and it’s art?… OMG I so want to do this’. As I read more books, I realised it was definitely for me and I told myself I got to move away if I’m gonna do this properly. So when I was 16 I spoke to my dad:
‘I’m moving to England’
‘What? No you’re not’
‘Yeh yeh I am, watch me’
‘OK then, maybe then, maybe don’t run away from home, do you need help with a place to stay?’
So here I am.
I tell Nichole every day – “you know in 10 years, Louis Vuitton will be our pocket money. Then we will be there on the red carpet and you will be there with me”… and then she will say two words and it will be quote of the year. She doesn’t talk that much and then when she says something, it’s the kind of the true spoken words.
“It’s funny you ask how we know each other, because we all just met today. They are from Holland, and I came over from France. But we’ve all come here to work for Jason Mabana.
It’s with the Condoco Dance Company. We’ve been chosen to work on a dance project, which we had to audition for back home. So it really was a big moment when I found out I had been chosen.
The project will be about Aleppo. Not in a sad, tragic way – but more to tell the story of it, in a creative style. And there are plans, I hope, that we will travel to refugee camps to do the performance, which will be so nice; but we are not sure yet when this will happen. For now, it is already confirmed that we will be at the Sadler’s Wells theatre, which should be great. We have one month here to work on this, and then again in end of April before performing.
The dance centre is not far from here, but I made a big mistake – we were told that it was in Edgware, and I when I looked at the map I thought it was Edgware Road! So I am staying quite far from here right now!
I’ve just been out shopping at Westfield, and I managed to get through it all without getting angry once. So that’s already my first achievement of the day.
I grew up in Norfolk – and even though there’s not much to do there compared to London, I recommend everyone to visit there because its famous for Dinosaurs and its petting zoo. Trust me it’s amazing.
Right now I’m studying Physio, because… I want to fix people. The body is weird and wonderful and I want to be able to fix it when it ‘goes wrong’. People in my team get injured all the time. I’m big into roller blading so I’m used to seeing falls and injuries. And sure, I’ve been injured myself – i’ve actually broken both wrists. And also, I broke my ankle… on Valentine’s day… how’s that for a treat.
My word of advice: do a good thing every day, even carrying someone’s shopping. That’s what I do. So I have something to feel great about every day.
We met in Thailand, about two years ago now. It was in March.
Was it? Yes around February or March.
Well it was actually March 24th. I always remember the dates that I travel to Thailand. And I remember this was the date I was flying home. I had seen her somewhere along our travels, but we finally only spoke at the airport when we were waiting for our flights. We sat together and we just talked and talked, about everything, what we do, our travels, our passions… common stuff, and we had so much in common. So then after about one hour we said bye to eachother, but hadn’t exchanged any contact information. What we didn’t realise, however, is that we had seats next to each other on the plane. In all our time talking we didn’t even mention what our next destination was. So it turned out we were not only going to the same place, but we were sat together also!
So we were able to speak even more now, she told me about her business where she is selling these Spinners.This time we did exchange information… we moved to London together, and now I am helping her with this in my free time. I’m a software developer – and right now this is a kind of sabbatical for me, so we found this spot in the market for Christmas to sell these.
Something I always really believe is if you want to do something, if you have an idea or a desire, then you should just do it, you won’t have a better opportunity than the present and you’ll never know where it will take you until you try.
We met through a combination of friends and Instagram… and we went on a date. I remember I cracked a joke which she found hilarious – and it was pretty much set from then on. The joke itself… you had to be there in the moment to appreciate its worth, but it was also very controversial. I’m quite upfront, and crude with my jokes, so I knew it would be a hit or a miss. The fact that she found it really funny made us click so much more.
In short, it involved a credit card and a butt crack, but I literally burst out laughing. I really liked his humour.
A turning moment in my life? That happened from the moment I met her. She gave me all the encouragement I needed… Before I was just working as a plumber and involved in stuff I really shouldn’t have been. And since meeting her, she has always had faith in me and pushed me in the right direction. Now I’m really focussed on my music and it’s all because she said I should. My plan for now is just to become the best guitarist.
We met in a funfair first. We are in a music band so we were friends first for a long time .. and he is the guitarist
Yes I play guitar – but I hope that is not why she first liked me, maybe it was…
… (haha) of course not. And I am the singer. So we met first like that and now we are together.
And I like that we get to do what we both love and we are able to be with each other.
We are still also best friends too. He came to London for 2 months to study English, and I have come for a few days to visit him.
London has a real culture, there is something to do all the time, but it’s so big. I came from a small city in Spain called Córdoba and the difference is very notable. In these 3 months I have appreciated many complexities of a large city, especially the public transport, which I got used to finally, how to manage with my university issues, how to find places that I needed to know: the banks, supermarkets, mobile and shipping companies… Things that were very easy to me in my hometown! I’d love to come back.. but I don’t think I could live here. It’s too big, the level of sanity here is lower than in Spain I feel.
And a remarkable thing for me is the sympathy of English people, they seem so serious sometimes. But anyway, I think that it is necessary to go abroad and learn on your own to survive in a city like London, you really value what you leave behind and what you earn when you come back.