Eight Manchester artists on the creative fabric of the city
In the day which preceded the Stone Island Presents Manchester event at the Old Granada Studios, Manchester-based photographer Scott Charlesworth photographed a handful of figures from the city’s creative community.
From the reggaeton hybrids of Swing Ting through to the subversive multidisciplinary theatrics of GAIKA and Jazz Purple’s Grey Collective – the city is full of musicians, illustrators, designers and artists who all look to its history and atmosphere for inspiration.
Starting in the Northern Quarter then venturing into the city’s regenerated financial district, we profiled a handful of individuals and acts who embody the artistic DNA of their environment.
All artists wear Stone Island.
Sleazy F BabyRapper
The fabric was about to rip at one point, but now I feel there’s a new wave of creatives that have put it back together because we’re all more close-knit than those before us. We believe in all for one and one for all and now it’s beginning to show. This city has motivated me to make a change within myself – to just go and do instead of pondering on things because you can miss everything going on in the blink of an eye. It’s taught me to keep focus because you can get lost in the sauce very easily. The city has taught me it’s about maintaining longevity because some things are here now and gone tomorrow.
There’s a great sense of community in the art scene in Manchester; everyone’s in it together, it feels more like a collaborative city of individuals that gets the best out of each other. Being around such a creative buzz helps inspire me with my own work.
What is definitely apparent is that the city is thriving with clusters of individuals birthing fresh and also redefined logic. Most, if not all, appear to be operating a freelance state of mind in approach to all areas contributing to culture. Fearlessness to experiment is prime, and this has led to self-made opportunity, which is reinforced by a solid support network. Everyone looks out for each other! Eventually one will find the confidence to just go out there a make a track, or start a party, open a bakery or whatever.
That in itself is an inspiration to us as artists, who – partially uninformed – started playing with FL Studio 9 in a bedroom somewhere. The infrastructure here also plays a huge role… A rich variety of architectural styles, textures, city soundscapes and interaction with people from all walks of life day-to-day inspires you to think a little differently. The grey skies call for an energy to brighten up the city in whatever way one can, and the rain, a beautiful and prominent feature, urges for excitement to be found indoors as well as out. For us this creates a borderline for our sound, which we feel sits on both sides of the wall.
We’ve got quite a rich history musically but our generation is geared on moving forward for the most part, pushing new sounds without hanging on to nostalgia, attempting to create new narratives instead. It’s an inspiring city due to how it can affect your work ethic. Manchester is a place where you have room to concentrate on mastering your craft, a place where ego is entertained less than in other major cities and hard work is respected more. What you put in is what you get back. It’s not really about who you know, it’s about what you do.
Jazz PurpleComposer / Producer
The creative fabric here is exciting and full of ideas. The creativity of some of the artists and producers I’ve worked with is of an extremely high standard. Personally, mainly it’s the outgoing character of the people that inspires me. Then secondly the weather – it helps with the escapism I try to create through music.
Luke MenikmatiFashion Designer
Manchester’s DIY, everyone just does, or knows someone that does. So between the whole team everything’s covered. Collaboration is everywhere and support comes in from all angles. It’s led me to venture into different mediums and learn other techniques, which in turn diversifies the work I produce.
Central Studio, SalfordVarious Creatives
Manchester is a city different to most, rich in creative culture, and it’s experiencing a boom in every industry across the board – the fashion industry firmly included. Manchester’s creativity is second to none right now and that is epitomised with the rise of a number of influential and popular new brands that have emerged from the city. Manchester’s creative fabric can be easily distinguished from other cities in the UK due to its originality and it continues to influence fashion trends not only around the North, but nationwide as well. Everyone within the creative industry in Manchester, whether fashion or music, bounces off and inspires each other to create new and exclusive concepts all the time.
Will Mellor (Rigato Ltd)
Manchester has inspired my own work, because I was proudly born here and the people living here are all excelling in what they do. Each and every one of us wants to be better than the next, it keeps us hungry and consistent. Everyone’s on a productive vibe, it’s why Manchester grows like it does each week. I take a lot of inspiration from this as to not get left behind.
Creatives over here that are coming up are very much in it together, everybody’s highs and lows are felt. The city inspires my creative work by giving me a mentality which always wants to create more than I already have. I think because it’s a young city that was built for workers it has naturally birthed grafters and I’m here to put the work in.