Tag Archives: photography

Street seen: this place

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“I love Cardiff. I especially love it if I’ve been away somewhere and then come back. It’s such a great place!”

As seen in: Roath

Visit Dan Green’s Cardiff:Characters project

Photograph by Helia Phoenix

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“There is so much to be inspired by in Cardiff” – Rosie

Rosie Oxley

I’ve lived in Cardiff for almost 17 years… just under half my life so far (I’m 35). There is so much to be inspired by…

Almost wherever you are in Cardiff you can see the hills of the valleys to the north and the Bristol Channel to the south. As the Capital city of Wales, there are a wealth of cultural landmarks, civic buildings and tourist attractions.

My father Andrew Fitton is an Artist by occupation. He studied at Cambridge College of Art from 1967 to 1969 and later Swansea Art School from 1969 to 1972.

Andrew has produced art through his working life. He has painted a number of views of his favourite places in Cardiff. Many of these are iconic views of our city.

Andrew’s influences include Paul Cezanne (1839 – 1906) and two artists influenced by Impressionism… Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 – 1938) and Robert Delauney (1885 – 1941) The Impressionist style is much loved for it’s use of vibrant colour, subjectivity and depiction of outdoor views with the artist’s own individual responses and creativity incorporated into the work.

I’ve been inspired to set up ‘Impressions of Cardiff (and Swansea) a business bringing together his artwork in an online gallery, and selling a range of Giclees, greetings cards and gifts featuring images from his art. www.impressionsofcardiffandswansea.org.uk

The title reflects the influence of the Impressionist Art style on Andrew’s work, and also the fact that the art hopefully gives a good impression of the locations depicted…!

Individually and together, the paintings offer an excellent depiction of some of Cardiff’s most iconic locations which are significant to the city’s culture, heritage and social life.

Some favourites are…

Andrew’s painting ‘An Impressionist View of Cardiff Castle’ offers a unique depiction of this tourist attraction, and symbol of Cardiff’s heritage.

‘The Hayes Island Cafe’ portrays the popular venue in the heart of the City Centre, and shows people visiting the cafe and sitting at tables outdoors in the Hayes.

Andrew’s view of ‘Castle Arcade’ highlights it’s Victorian style architecture, boutique shops and independent cafes which contribute to Cardiff’s lively cafe culture.

‘A stall on Cardiff Central market’ shows a stall offering an abundant array of vegetables and produce highlighting the contribution of independent and local retailers in the city.

The image of Roath park depicts the expansive lake, the Captain Scott Lighthouse, and looks across to the tree lined verges and Lake Road East beyond it.

The business also features art by Andrew featuring views of Swansea.

I’m enjoying operating Impressions of Cardiff and Swansea. Independent businesses bring unique and diverse goods and services, and offer alternatives to high street chains. I hope this sector continues to grow and thrive in the years ahead.

Rosie Oxley was born and grew up in Swansea, has lived in Cardiff for almost 17 years, and currently lives in Fairwater. She set up Impressions of Cardiff and Swansea in 2011 shortly before the arrival of her young daughter Jessa. She’s an enthusiastic fan of Cardiff and of Impressionist Art, and is thrilled to be selling items featuring images of iconic views in the city. Visit the Impressions of Cardiff and Swansea website at http://www.impressionsofcardiffandswansea.org.uk Twitter @ImprCdfandSwans

Rosie was photographed at the Roath Craft Market in the Mackintosh Community Centre, by Amy Davies.

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“Butetown is my hometown” – Beatrice

Gavin Porter Giving a tour of Butetown-by Angelo Gianpaolo Bucci

Butetown and me have never been more than acquaintances. As a journalism student at Cardiff University back in 2009, I used to walk down Bute Street only to head to the Bay, unaware of what laid behind the terraced houses that decorate the sidewalk: I would glance at the African shops and the colourful murales on the right hand side of the street and assume I knew something about the place.

I couldn’t be more wrong about it. I ignored that since the early 18th century Butetown has been the multicultural spot of the city, a place where people from different continents lived in the same Victorian house; nor I knew the first Yemeni and Somalis sailors making landfall to the Bay where also the founder of Britain’s first mosque in 2 Glynrhondda St, Cathays. I knew very few about Butetown up until March 2013 when I visited the Diff again after working in London. This time I was determined to learn more about the area for personal and professional reasons.

On the personal side I needed to know more about African culture and migration. Despite being in Italy from Congolese parents I haven’t lived in an African community and so my knowledge of the  continent and its cultures was limited to what I read, watched and was told. The hunger for information wedded so well with my professional soul as I started to work on a documentary on migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Back in 2011 and throughout 2012 few trips brought me to Oslo, Brussels and Istanbul. And in these cities I couldn’t help but notice the urban isolation of African migrants. In Istanbul, tall, muscled men would appear during the day, selling goods on the Galata bridge over the Golden Horn and disappear when the sun sat down, like invisible presences. After doing some research and discovering how few has been written on these communities, I decided to work on a reportage called “Where we are”, with the aim of discovering and let emerge un(der)reported ethnic groups and cultures, baring two questions: are these groups isolating or isolated? How are people living there?

With these queries in mind and the will to avoid the same old representation of migrants, I began working with Gianpaolo Bucci, an Italian filmmaker who quitted his job at RAI, the equivalent of the BBC in Italy, to focus on social issues and human rights.

From a reportage confined to few European cities, the project became an ambitious multimedia documentary to be shot in 12 different cities of the world. It brings the name of (IN)VISIBLE CITIES.

Among those cities, Cardiff was the first stop and Butetown the main focus.

Butetown and me have always been acquaintances maybe because nobody properly introduced to each other. Our relationship status updated in March 2013 when the first episode of (IN)VISIBLE CITIES was shot and when I befriended with people who have lived in the area sometimes for their whole lives.

It was a long chain of people introducing us to other people that made everything possible. Never the “everyone knows everyone” expression was more adequate. Although Butetown might appear as a closed space, confined between a railway and the Taff river, it is a “town” where doors are literally always open. This works for historic institutions like the Butetown History and Arts Centre as well as for private houses. So shows the way Himmat welcomed us.

Himmat came to Butetown few years back after living in other areas of Cardiff and in Denmark. He’s originally from Sudan, but loves the idea of his two little girls growing up in an environment where children gather in the yard and don’t even notice whether they’re from Yemen or Somalia or Malta.

Race was never an issue for the Borge’s either, an eleven-people-family whose ethnical roots can be traced back to Malta, France, Somalia, India … just to name a few. So it’s entrenched their love for Butetown that one of the daughters, sitting in the loud and crowded kitchen a stone away from the Bay touristic restaurants, proudly told me she’ll never leave, because that’s her “hometown”.

Very few people told us about government benefits, how they have struggled to get where they are or crime, but those who did have diverse opinions on these issues. Some mentioned about how Butetown is considered or is a “tough area”, or has been isolated by the government or the place has been a safe haven for multicultural groups. But mostly we discovered intimate stories and African tradition we did not know about.

Like when we first met Maher, a single dad who lives near what was the historic Loudoun square. After recounting his tales of a former sailor coming from Sudan, he let us in his kitchen where we had a taste of Sudanese culture. Maher’s house was filled with a pungent and exotic perfume which he revealed being an incense women use before getting married. Back in the days, his mother might have used that too. He smiled when showing some pictures of his family and parents, especially his mom, who had two long excavation on her cheeks, apparently scarves resulting from a traditional mark made to differentiate tribes. He commented only by saying: “That’s what they do!” Like he wasn’t part of the Sudanese frame anymore.

This is something that happens to migrants and second generations: crisis and loss of identity. I experienced it myself when others were asking whether I feel Congolese or Italian. British actress Thandie Newton talked gorgeously about her identity crisis as a girl born from Zimbabwean mother and British father, in a TED Talk. But finding the same paths in people in Butetown just brought me closer and closer.

Hassan for example, was the youngest of the people we talked to. Born Somali in Denmark and now a happy resident of Butetown, he confessed he’s a bit confused about his cultural identity and hopes his children will have a clearer vision about this. Hassan is a poet, one of the group that together with producer Gavin Porter, created a two-day show on Somali culture in Butetown. The pièce, De Gabay, took place early in March and introduced to other people living in Cardiff a culture that is now embedded in the history of the capital.

I could go on and on talking about people met in Butetown and how they broaden the idea of (IN)VISIBLE CITIES, but it’s better not to spoil the contents of the documentary, that will soon be screened in Seoul in South Korea after being promoted in the U.S.

Not too long ago our chase for African migrants led us to Los Angeles and then continued as we crossed the US from coast to coast.

No question we’ll be back in Cardiff to show the documentary as well and catch up with what are now not only protagonists and makers of this adventure, but also friends.

Ngalula Beatrice Kabutakapua is an investigative journalist and photographer born in Italy but with Congolese roots. In her seven years spent working in the media she has collaborated with media companies such as The Guardian, L’Espresso, Radio France Internationale and the BBC. Focused on international development, migration and human rights issues, she has also been a staff member of the UN Department of Information and is currently an editorial trainer for the US-based NGO World Pulse. She is an active volunteer and works in Italian, English and French.

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“Lose yourself in the city and experience as much live culture as you can!” – Paul

Paul Evans Hitch

I was born in Cardiff and although I have lived elsewhere for short term contracts, there has never been a good enough reason for me to live somewhere else permanently. I like my city! So there would have to be a good reason to leave.

I have lived in Roath a few times, Cathays, Splott, Heath, Cardiff Central, Pen-y-Lan and Grangetown. I think Pen-y-Lan was my favourite, a great location, but that also has some of the best memories for the time of life and good parties in that house!

I currently work as a aerialist, acrobat, actor, director and choreographer. I spend a lot of time training and researching in this area, and that takes up a lot of my time. As well as working freelance, I’m Artistic Director for Crashmat Collective.

My favourite thing to do in Cardiff is going to live events. There are so many live music nights, theatre, and so on. Lose yourself in the city and experience as much live culture as  possible!

Paul Evans has over 20 years experience as a gymnast, performing with the Welsh Gymnastics Squad and achieving many competitive accolades. After completing his BA in Drama, Paul trained with NoFit State as an apprentice on their Tabu tour. Paul is a multi skilled performer and teacher specialising in aerial, acrobatics and acting. Paul also works as a director and aerial choreographer, creating individual routines and whole shows. He is Creative Director of Crashmat Collective and is currently performing in Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club show, Hitch. Catch Mary Bijou on Facebook or Twitter @themarybijou. Paul currently lives in Heath.

Mary Bijou’s show Hitch premieres in their purpose-built Spiegeltent in Cardiff Bay outside the Wales Millennium Centre between 31 July and 4 August 2013.

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Street seen: wag that tail

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“My dog’s a boy, but he’s had his bits off. So I guess he’s a half and half now.”

As seen in: Riverside

Photographs by Helia Phoenix

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Street seen: the SHO must go on

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“If we could go back to when we were setting up The SHO Gallery I don’t know what advice we’d give ourselves. We learnt so many little things along the way. The one thing we do know now is how little we knew back then!”

As seen in: Roath

The SHO Gallery

Photograph by Helia Phoenix

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Project Cardiff – new exhibition at Milkwood Gallery

Marc Thomas photographed for Project CardiffA new exhibition featuring the work of We Are Cardiff photographer Lann Niziblian is launching this weekend at the Milkwood Gallery, Roath.

The exhibition will feature portraits from Lann’s Project Cardiff – ‘a portfolio of photographs of people how have been identified as making a positive contribution to the creative life and soul of the city.’

A selection of the images has previously been shown at the Senedd and they will now hang in the Milkwood Gallery from 2-24 February.

Exhibition Dates: 2 – 24 February 2013
(Private View: 2 February 2013 from 6.00pm)

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 5.00pm

Venue: Milkwood Gallery, 41 Lochaber Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3RU

Image is Marc Thomas, Editor of Plastik Magazine, with thanks to photographer Lann Niziblian.

Two Cardiffs Caught on Camera: Images of a City, Stories of its People

We Are Cardiff photographer Jon Pountney publishes ‘Cardiff before Cardiff’

Cardiff Before Cardiff book cover jon pountney

During the 1970s and early ’80s, hundreds of prints and negatives of Cardiff were taken by the photographer Keith S. Robertson.

These were left forgotten in drawers in an artist’s studio in the city, with the photographer being told that his years of work had been burned and destroyed.

However, exactly two years ago the photographs were finally recovered by another photographer, Jon Pountney, who realised their value immediately.

The result of his restorative work on the photographs, and the reaction generated from the people portrayed or who have seen them, is published this week by Y Lolfa in a new book called Cardiff before Cardiff.

Jon Pountney
Jon Pountney

“I discovered the prints and negatives whilst renovating Warwick Hall, a building in the Gabalfa area of Cardiff, and was instantly struck by the quality of the prints,” explains Jon Pountney.

“The pictures were amazing; ordinary people going about their day, looking as if they could step off the page… What was very striking was the rich vein of community, smiles, winks and laughter.

“A couple of these pictures were stamped ‘Keith S. Robertson’, but that was all. So I created a new blog, called Cardiff before Cardiff, and shared a few photos on the website in an effort to learn more about this photographer. They were seen by a journalist, who subsequently put a number of the prints in a newspaper. The response was immense, and resulted in me being able to reunite Keith with his photographs once more.”

In Cardiff before Cardiff, Robertson’s powerful black and white images show the people and streets of Splott and other areas of Cardiff during the 1970s and the early ’80s, and Pountney’s work revisits some of those same areas today, showing how little has changed, and vice versa.

“Ever since I found those photos, I’ve been shooting Cardiff in a response to Keith’s work,” adds Jon. “It’s inspired me to step out into the streets of Cardiff and make the work I’ve always wanted to do. In this new book, my pictures appear side by side with Keith’s, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Alun Gibbard
Alun Gibbard

The book’s author, Alun Gibbard says, “What has breathed life into Cardiff before Cardiff is the response of the city’s people. On seeing the black and white images in the press, on the blog and Facebook, people began to respond. Someone would recognise themselves in a photograph, or their father, mother or child. Some saw photographs of their family for the first time.”

Jon Pountney and Alun Gibbard will be signing copies of Cardiff before Cardiff in the city’s WHSmith on Thursday, 20th of December between 4 and 5pm. YourCardiff has also published an interview with Jon today.

 

 

 

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“Cardiff Food Project has changed the way I think about food, photography and of course, Cardiff” – Lauren

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I grew up in the Vale of Glamorgan, Penarth to be exact, and although it was a great place to grow up in, as I got older I started to feel disconnected, and longed to live somewhere else. When I finished school at sixteen, I decided to skip sixth form and head straight to Coleg Glan Hafren. I still – to this day – believe this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It got me out into the world and gave me a chance to make new friends. In fact, it was at Glan Hafren that I made friends for life. All my friends there grew up and lived in Cardiff, and most of them still do.

After college, many of them went off to university and I stayed around to work, do some travelling and generally trying to figure out what I wanted to do. At some point, I needed to start making some decisions and one I really needed to make was the choice to go to university. I knew that economically it would make sense to study in Cardiff, I had job security and all my friends were here, so I moved to Roath and went back to college. Then at the grand old age of 23 (believe me, when the majority of your classmates are 18, 23 feels really old) I started university and never looked back.

Now, I am about to embark on my third and final year, I had one more decision to make – do I stay here after university? Or do I sail off into the sunset and see where the wind takes me? It was a tough decision, but I have spent my first 25 years of life here, so I think it is time to sail for a bit. However, I needed to remind myself of what Cardiff has given me over the years, and I wanted to create something that could represent that.

So this led me to creating a project that I could really connect with. I spent a few weeks going over ideas and came up with the Cardiff Food Project. I wanted this to be a blog that offered people a chance to find a new market or a new little corner of Cardiff they may have never knew existed. Through the blog, I have found new places and opportunities, and it has changed the way I think about food, photography and of course, Cardiff.

I’ve learned so much in the two months I’ve been running it, and I know I still have a lot more to learn. It has provided me with the confidence to try my hand at new things. I have set up a supper club, and am working on a new photography and travel website, and I hope to continue my writing. I have also become more aware of what is going in and around Cardiff and my local area. It has opened up my world to new possibilities and new connections, and really the only thing I have to thank for that is Cardiff.

I still have plans to head off in other directions, plans to work and live in different parts of the world. However, no matter where I go, Cardiff will always be home.

Lauren Mahoney is currently an event management student, often dodging the ‘typical’ students of the Roath area on her way to work. When she is not doing any of those three things, Lauren is working hard on her blog cffoodproject.blogspot.co.uk and her new travel and photography website (not yet launched) and getting involved in as many food, travel and photography projects as she can.

Lauren was photographed at Gelynis Farm by Ffion Matthews

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“I love Cardiff” – Justin

Justin

My name is Justin and I love Cardiff. I feel like I’m at an AA meeting…!

I write for Buzz Magazine from time to time and go to many gigs, I enjoy my life and these sort of things keep me happy.

Y’see it could’ve all gone a little bit different from this. For a few years certainly did.

I was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 27, which was a great shock. At least it was found in time. It had to be monitored at first as it was on the brain stem and in a dangerous position to remove, but after a couple of years it had grown too big and it had to be gone.

After the operation (which was carried out in London) I went into a coma and woke up a vegetarian (after dreaming I was a dead fish on a boat at sea). A few years of recovery has seen me walk with the aid of a stick, which is quite amazing considering the state I was in.

But after this operation some part of the tumour found another place to regrow, in a part of the brain that affected the sensations in my face. So I had a steel cage on my head fitted with pins while they attacked it with lazers in Sheffield, and I then had radiotherapy in Velindre hospital in Cardiff which involved getting a tattoo on my spine. They gave me Christmas Day off the treatment though!

The help of family and friends has helped me all the way though. I now attend Headway once a week. Headway is a charity that helps and encourages people from various brain injuries and it has done so much for me and many other people.

I now arrange a fundraiser every summer for Headway Cardiff with help from Cardiff musicians, promoters, and friends. Clwb Ifor Bach is one ‘friend’ who helps with everything. Clwb is probably my favourite place to go to gigs and I try to go at any opportunity.

The Cardiff music scene has endless bands and styles that could and does cater for everyone, so local music is my favourite and here is a list of (I know I’ll miss some, sorry!) my favourites: Islet, Them Sqirrels, Kutosis, Pagan Wanderer Lu, The School, Gindrinker, Threatmantics, Brandyman, Evening Chorus, Barefoot Dance of the Sea, Ratatosk, Right Hand Left Hand, Them Lovely Boys, She’s Got Spies, Strange News From Another Star, Future of The Left, Winter Villains, Little Arrow, John Mouse, Spencer McGarry, Sweet Baboo, H-Hawkline, Francesca’s Word Salad, The Method, Houdini Dax, Gruff Rhys, The Gentle Good, Euros Childs, Richard James, Cate Le Bon…

I could go on but I suppose you’re bored by now. So go to a gig instead, or ask to listen and  buy at Spillers Records, which is another favourite haunt of mine for info, cds,vinyl and tickets.

The things that have happened to me make me appreciate smaller things a little more and Cardiff is a great place for these experiences and has such great people. I shit you not.

News update: the most recent scan results for Justin were positive – he now now moves on to annual treatment, and his doctor at Velindre believes he is on his way to being completely cured.

Justin was photographed at Spillers Records by Simon Ayre

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“Cardiff’s hockey community is rich and diverse” – Lucas

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When it comes to sports, there’s a great deal out there for a person to get involved with. But like so many boys that went to school in the city, a strict diet of rugby or football in the winter and cricket or baseball in the summer was the menu for my sporting education. That said, it’s far from a secret that I have never been (and never will be, for that fact) any good at football. I remember the success of the men’s field hockey team at the 1984 Olympics fired a desire to play that sport, but with no opportunity to try the sport at school, the interest soon faded. So as a much younger Cardiff boy, rugby was my sole sport. I enjoyed it, as it seemed to be ‘for me’. A sport with a good mix of competitiveness and ‘physicality’. And if it wasn’t for a ‘seminal incident’ (aged 16 outside a Llandaff pub – that left me with a fractured jaw and a couple of weeks of soft foods) that knocked my confidence in the national sport I probably would have stuck with it.

The sport held onto me, post playing, as I got rigged into coaching juniors for a while. But for me, rugby was fast becoming a spectator sport. For years, a void steadily opened in my life, creating a space for a new sporting challenge. And a challenge did indeed coming knocking on my door. A challenge that would not only require the use of a stick, but also to learn a skill, which had resulted in so many cuts, bruises and broken lips, courtesy of the childhood walls and pavements of Canton. I had to learn to skate. Hockey was beginning to sneak into my life.

Progress was slow at first. Not least as I had to save for kit (no mean feat, when you’re a twenty something, with an almost religious attendance at the Philly!). First came the stick. A second hand lumber. But it meant I could join in, running around like a mad man, whilst my mates glided almost effortlessly around our training ground (read: the car park attached to a Llanishen office building).

Slowly, but surely, stick was joined by skates and then came my first pair of hockey gloves – a second hand pair of red leather gloves, that were far too big, seemingly manufactured for the Hulk.

The summer was good that year and a nightly pilgrimage to our ‘training ground’ was followed by a return trip, with bloodied knees from over-ambitious skating, or the odd errant stick. It was a tough apprenticeship, but one that was to lead to some great experiences and also some great friendships. Like many other sports, hockey isn’t just about the time on the court, but it’s more about the community. And Cardiff’s hockey community is rich and diverse.

In time, the guys playing in the car park moved indoors, as roller hockey started to experience a renaissance during the late 1990s and informal training sessions, lead to the formation of my first team. Around the same time, a team mate who had been playing on the ice, virtually since the old Welsh National Ice Rink had been opened, suggested that I might enjoy stepping on the ice. I never found the transition was a complete success, but as training sessions were generally followed (and sometimes preceded) by a couple of beers in Kiwis, I stuck with it!

And I’m glad I did. Playing both roller and ice hockey, I’ve been lucky enough to be stood on the blue line and hear Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau played at internationals in Deeside and also at the home of the New York Islanders, in the US.

After a few years, study and career somehow distracted my enjoyment of the sport I loved and I gave up ice hockey, followed soon after by roller hockey. Years passed. I got married, became a dad and the rink was knocked down for the mighty St David’s 2. Despite previous passion, I was blissfully unaware of the building that was to become affectionately known as the Big Blue Tent, being built as a temporary replacement home for the City’s ice sports. During physio for a slipped disc in my back, I was offered tickets to see a Devils game at the Big Blue Tent. Curiously, I accepted.

I hadn’t watched a match for years. The Cardiff greats of Lawless, Hope, McEwan & the Cooper brothers long gone. It was a new barn and it was Elite League hockey. It was all strangely different. But what surprised me, was that it also felt oh so familiar. It felt like home and an unexpected, long dormant feeling stirred in me, urging me to strap on my skates and get out on the ice pad of this unfinished looking building. An old, but familiar face suggested the urge could be fed, by getting touch with a guy who’s known as ‘Big’.

A trawl through the friend’s Facebook friends located the aforementioned ‘Big’ and with the niggling thought of ‘why do they call him Big’, I made it down to a Monday night training session. The 6ft7inch guy I met welcomed me to the team and over the coming weeks, the passion was well and truly re-born.

I can’t even hazard a guess at how long I’ve been back playing – is it four years, five years? Who knows!? – because it feels like I’ve never been away. Sure, I’m older, no doubt much slower (maybe a little wiser!?), and less skilful, but hockey is still my passion. It’s my release from every day stresses. It’s the place I go to be ribbed. It’s the place I go to rib others. It’s my sport.

And what makes ice hockey special is that I play for the Cardiff Ice Hounds. Sure there are other teams playing out of the Big Blue Tent – some bigger, some more established, more successful – but at the end of the day, we play a sport that forces us out of our own city, to play away matches, pulling on our jerseys, representing our home City.

I play for the team, I’ve captained the team, I’ve coached the team and I’ve helped run the club at committee level. We’ve tried to establish the team to offer so much more than just a place for people to get involved in playing competitive ice hockey, but to also provide an opportunity for people to get involved in hockey as a spectator sport – for free. We’ve worked to put Cardiff’s amateur ice hockey on the map.

The City is the home to the sport that we love. We are the Cardiff Ice Hounds and Cardiff is us. And in return, at home and on the road, we are Cardiff.

Lucas Howell currently plays for the Cardiff Ice Hounds as one of their ‘veteran’ defencemen. As far as the old grey matter will allow, he’s been playing hockey (ice and roller), on and off for about 15 years and in that time he’s toured to New York with the Cardiff Titans, represented Wales in roller hockey, captained the Bridgend Bullfrogs & Cardiff Ice Hounds and coached just about every age group in roller hockey, from tiny kids, through to adults. He still misses his two front teeth – lost to hockey. Whilst now living in Splott, his ‘official’ roots make him a passionate Canton boy.

Lucas was photographed in the Big Blue Tent in Cardiff Bay by Doug Nicholls

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“I need to be in a place where people are friendly and everything’s on your doorstep” – Jessica

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I have lived in Cardiff since I was born. I was never very adventurous in a travelling sense and stayed here to do my Foundation Course in Art & Design, and then for my degree in Graphic Communication. I can’t say I’ve ever regretted it. In fact I probably made the best decision. All through university we were told that London was the place to be for new designers. I frankly had a bit of a panic, because London is just so daunting to me.

I need to be in a place where people are friendly and everything’s on your doorstep. I know Cardiff like the back of my hand because I’ve lived in most areas. I was born in Pontcanna, lived in Ely for a bit, then in Grangetown, Llanishen, Llandaff, Thornhill, and when my mother decided to move out into the country I stayed and continued my tour, moving to Penarth, Cardiff Bay and finally Roath, where I mingled with my fellow students and loved every minute.

I met my partner not long after starting university and we’ve never moved from Roath. We now live in the heart of Roath and there’s so much to do. It’s amazing. The galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, awesome little independent quirky shops and funky bars are in abundance – not forgetting Roath Park. It’s just such a lively place to live and we’re lucky to have a number of friends all living in the same area.

We’re always popping to The Pear Tree on Wellfield Road for a cheeky drink, and mingling with the locals at The Claude or The Albany. We’re both also really lucky to work in the area and I count myself even luckier to be able to work for myself from home. I’ve worked in the design industry since graduating in 2009 and I’ve done everything from designing Christmas wrapping paper (all year round) to mobile application design for iPhones and iPads. Now I’m freelance and work from the comfort and convenience of my little studio under the name Jessica Draws. As I have the time, I’m getting involved in the community as best as I can. I’m in talks to supply some craft shops with my handmade greetings cards that I currently sell online and I am also involved in The Sho Gallery’s summer exhibition Art Flare (on Inverness Place), where I am displaying some illustrative prints and cards which are also for sale. My next stop hopefully is to be involved in the new St Mary’s Street Market and Roath’s Saturday Craft market. I’ve got lots of plans and I’m still getting in touch with local businesses to over my branding and marketing services.

It’s not just Cardiff that’s getting some Jessica Draws shoved in its face. I love to draw and it’s what keeps me cheerful, and so the illustrations I do aren’t always for clients. Some recent work I created for fun around the recent Marvel film releases was featured on some prominent online blogs (here and here), which triggered some awesome responses and a few commissions (now available in my etsy shop too).

Drawing is what I do and I like to think of myself as re-designing the world, one illustration at a time.

Jessica Donnan (also know as Jessica Draws) is a freelance designer and illustrator. Since graduating in 2009, she has worked in many areas of the design industry. Check out her online shop where you can find lots of goodies, and have a gander at her blog, where she posts giveaways, competitions and her latest news.

Jessica was photographed at The Pear Tree in Roath by Ffion Matthews

 

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