John Lee Bird marks ten years of his before encore project with an exhibition of 36 new portraits documenting London’s mercurial creative counter-culture at 20th Century Theatre

before encore is an ongoing portraiture project in which seminal London artist John Lee Bird documents the influential performers, muses, designers, musicians, poets and artists who exist within the creative spaces between marginal and mainstream popular culture.

2016 sees before encore enter its tenth year and 14th-15th June sees a two day exhibition at London’s 20th Century Theatre of the latest 36 portraits representing a diverse subculture of London’s performance/club/queer/music DIY/art scenes.


“It never occurred to me that before encore would still be ongoing after ten years, or that it would take on such a documentary importance in terms of recording what the outsider creative scene looked and felt like at different times. The whole project has gradually defined its own purpose, identity & relevance during the process of creating it, and that feels absolutely, perfectly appropriate given the subject matter,” says Bird.

The exhibition will be a riotous celebration of not only John Lee Bird’s work but also his subjects, with countless musicians & performers from the latest portraits taking the stage, as well as a number of surprise guests from previous series’ of before encore.

“I’ve painted many people who are now household names as part of before encore, but it has never been a predictive project. It’s never been a snapshot of the biggest deals at the time, but a representation of how the period felt – the energy, the direction, the possibilities – how that felt to me at the time, through the faces that were there. Yes, there are lots of performers, artists & musicians but there are also bar staff & club kids, because they were as much a part of how everything felt at that point in time.”

The exhibition, which is free and unticketed, runs from 6pm-11pm on Tuesday 14th June & from 12pm-11pm on Wednesday 15th with live performances from 7pm on both nights. Musicians & artists confirmed to perform include Madam, Mikkokoo, The Black Site, Catmilk, Chicken, Sam Amant, Bete Noire, Campbell L Sangster, Thom Shaw, Dale Cornish, Marisa Carnesky, The Budda Cakes, Mr Teds, Timberlina & Oozing Gloop as well as a number of surprise guest appearances.

About John Lee Bird
John Lee Bird’s work is defined by his distinctive use of line; influenced by pop art and 1950’s instruction and medical manuals yet entirely more detailed and personable. He uses diagrammatic line to make intensely human studies; whether the object be a portrait or a more abstract vision of matters of the human condition. He is best known for his ongoing iconic before encore portraiture project, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2016.

About 20th Century Theatre
The 20th Century Theatre is a beautiful Grade 2 listed English Heritage Building in the heart of vibrant Notting Hill with a rich connection to some of the most prominent musicians, authors, actors, playwrights and culture of the 20th Century.

For more Before Encore images, and coverage see ORGAN PREVIEW: John Lee Bird, one more encore, there’s always one more painting…

For more information, images, or to talk to the artists or anyone involved in the show please contact Ellie at the Blue Art List by return of e.mail

As always your coverage, support, news stories and coverage via your blogs and websites are more than welcome and of course very much appreciated

Thanks, Ellie Scott, Blue Art List


BLUE ART LIST: A round up of the Reveal show….

Welcome to our 2016, The Blue Art List is about connecting artists & art events to those those involved in the running of art spaces and to those involved in the art media, please do make contact if you want to know more, if you wish to be on the list and receive our information.

Reveal - opening night.

Reveal – opening night.

We ended last year by sharing details of the Reveal show with you, thanks to those of you who posted, blogged and generally share the news and the press release.  Good to see the Humans of Greater London website came along to the opening night and featured a couple of the artists and indeed colourful people who attended the opening via their social media….

Reveal - opening, Amy Kingsmill, Sean Worrall

Reveal – opening, Amy Kingsmill, Sean Worrall

Here’s some fresh Organ magazine coverage of Cultivate‘s Reveal show over in East London that we press released ahead of the rather busy event. A review of the opening night and a small feature on one of the artists involved. .

ORGAN THING: Reveal, An Art Show in a Railway Arch, the opening night reviewed… Reveal,  the show opened last Thursday evening in an East London railway arch, deliberately timed to happen as early in the year as possible, hopefully the first London art show of 2016, actually for once there was quite few things worth exploring on the first Thursday of the new year. Reveal happened at a space called Fount London, a white-walled railway arch right by London Fields over in Hackney, East London,  A show put together by read on

ORGAN THING: Megan Pickering, Will Anyone Re-blog This?  Megan Pickering is one of the more intriguing of the current crop of London-based artists. It isn’t easy to pin down what it was about the artist from Durham that first ignited curiosity and demanded we take a closer look? Was it the powerful sound of that film she… read on

REVEAL opening

REVEAL opening

The full list of artists taking part in Reveal read Amy Elizabeth Kingsmill, Caroline Reed, Cecily Baker, Deborah Griffin, Diane Goldie, Emma Harvey, John Lee Bird, Marnie Scarlet, Megan Pickering, Patrick Morrissey/Hans Hancock, Samuel Brzeski, Sarah Sparkes, Sean Worrall, Skeleton Cardboard and ThisOne, please do ask if you need any more information or wish to talk to any of the artists, they are all available to talk and such…

And while we’re here, you might like to check out Organ’s take on the 2015 art year…

ORGAN: How was art in 2015? Felt up in a sex shop? Giant cats? It all opens tomorrow morning… End of year full stops? The best of the music that passed this way has already been rounded up on the previous page, all tied in a red new year bow and thrown your way, but what about the art? How was 2015 in terms of art? Here’s the pick of our adventures in art galleries, on streets, on-line and…read on

Marnie Scarlet @ Reveal

Marnie Scarlet @ Reveal




Reveal_jan2016Blue Art List No5:  CULTIVATE REVEALS FIRST SHOW OF 2016

Reveal will almost certainly be the first Cultivate event of 2016, although the opening night of Reveal isn’t until Thursday January 7th, so who knows, there may well be some Cultivation before that, we intend having another pro-active maximalist year of cultivation.

Reveal with take place at Fount London, a pristine white-walled space by London Fields. The address is Arches, 358-260, Westgate Street, London, E8 3RN

Reveal will open at 6pm on Thursday 7th January and run until 6pm on Sunday 11th January. (open 10am until 6pm from Friday 8th Jan).

For those who don’t know, Cultivate started life as a rather vocal artist run space back in 2011, for the first three and a bit years, Cultivate was very deliberately based right in the middle of the then East London art establishment that was Vyner Street. We enjoyed 112 shows and events during the a never-ever-closed three an a bit defiant years in the street. Vyner Street is pretty much no more (when we moved in there was 14 galleries or art spaces, last time we checked there was two hanging on). the buildings once alive with art have all fallen to the developers, some knocked down, some taken over, a once very exciting and rather unique street is, as far as art is concerned, pretty much no more. Cultivate spent 2015 moving about, shows and events in all kinds of places – great big East London warehouse shows, seaside shows, gallery shows, even a dog show…

Cultivate, "Play" (in an East London warehouse, 2015)

Cultivate, “Play” (in an East London warehouse, 2015)

Cultivate will continue with the nomadic takeover of interesting spaces big and small for their first event of 2016. Reveal will happen in the East London railway arch that is home to the recently opened Fount London complex.

Reveal will reveal new work from Cultivate founders Sean Worrall and Emma Harvey,

Reveal will also continue with the tradition of revealing fresh work from artists that currently excite us, including one or two who have never revealed themselves at Cultivate before. Expect a typically busy Cultivate group show and a long weekend of New Year artistic intent, expect cross-pollination, expect artists who don’t usually show with each other, expect painters jousting with performance, expect sculpture, print



Expect painting, sculpture, performance, art, artists and more on the opening Thursday night and throughout the weekend both inside and outside the white-walled railway arch of a Hackney gallery.

Fount is found over the road from Hackney’s ever popular Netil Market and a two minute walk from London Fields railway station, as well as the busy food-filled thing that is Broadway Market and London Fields itself.

More details of events and artists to be announced over the next couple of weeks via the Cultivate blog and the various social media platforms that we all know and love, there’s a Facebook event page here

Artists confirmed for Reveal so far include the extremely colourful media manipulator Cecily Baker, Deborah Griffin, Diane Goldie fresh from her triumph down in Leake Tunnel, Emma Harvey, John Lee Bird revealing his ongoing Before Encore, Megan Pickering, performance artist Marnie Scarlet, Sean Worrall, Skeleton Cardboard, black and white street artist ThisOne, more to be revealed in the coming days…

Cultivate - "Play" 2015

Cultivate – “Play” 2015

more details via Blue Art List –