East versus west- Insider’s guide to the London art scene

The art-savvy readers may well already be regulars at many of the cutting edge galleries and creative spots in London. But a lot of you tell me you want to become part of this ‘secret’ world, join in with the events and opening parties, meet the artists, see creativity in action. But you just don’t know where to start.

How do you get invited? Where do you go? What’s the difference between a pop-up, private view, or open studio event? Is it free? (yes!) …So I’ve started to put together a bit of a  ‘guide’. I’ve also invited some curators, artists and gallerists to give their perspective. I hope it starts to unravel some of the mysteries and open the door into the art world for you…

East or West?

This week I have exhibitions opening at two different galleries located in very opposite parts of the London art world, so to kick off the ‘how to’, let me introduce you to the differing ends of the art scene. (or just rsvp to find out for yourself below!)

In east London I am part of RED,  a group show at cultivate gallery on Vyner Street: Arguably the most significant ‘gallery row’ in London, and ideally placed to enjoy the best of ‘First Thursday‘ – the monthly art celebration in East London initiated by Time Out magazine.  Full of  surprises, be prepared for anything this First Thursday. Last month saw vanloads of free beer arriving as part of a performance, art happenings in the street, a dash of nudity and a large amount of frivolity and conversation amongst a bustling group of artists and art-lovers who had come to discover new artists.

Vyner Street near Bethnal Green is characterised by its bizarre combination of car mechanics and auto shops lining the street alongside some very top end and cutting edge galleries. Dusty floors and white walls present us with contemporary art, meanwhile spontaneous art pieces pop up all around this stretch of the city in shop windows, reclaimed spaces and drawn directly onto walls. Both emerging and internationally renowned artists are shown on Vyner Street, whilst art students frequent the area for inspiration.

Conversely, galleries in West London are customarily ‘shinier’,  with a glamorous location which mixes  artists and aficionados with passers-by, art world newbies, and serious collectors who reside in the area. In Notting Hill, firmly grounded in its experimental and alternative nature but nestled among this more commercial art world, is Debut Contemporary. Catch my latest date stamp drawings being unveiled here for their first public show in the UK, during this month’s ‘First Wednesday’, west London’s answer to First Thursdays.

Come dip your toes in…

Whether one of these contrasting scenes has caught your attention or you want to try both, join me at the opening nights this week, or read a more in depth article about these shows and their locations later this week.

October Show, Debut Contemporary, Notting Hill

Opening night: First Wednesday, 5th October. Show runs until Oct 31st RSVP here (free entry)

RED, a group show at Cultivate, Vyner Street

Opening night: First Thursday, 6th October. Show runs  7th – 19th October  RSVP here or just pop along (free entry)

For invites to all of my events and shows, join my mailing list …More insider tips on getting involved in the art scene to come!

'Mneme', Nicola Anthony


Nicola Anthony is an artist living & working in London, seeking to discover things which make her mind crackle with creative thought. Catch @Nicola_Anthony on twitter, or her artist’s website


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