For many photographers, the digital age filled them with a fear of an unknown future after we entered the new age of Instagraming and smart phones. Photography’s most primitive foundations derive from the printed, physical photograph; the beauty of a moment captured on film. Our new era of technology has displaced that core foundation – albums of photographs can now be stored virtually, in one place, and can be viewed by an audience from anywhere across the world. Artist Chelsea Davine is embracing new internet business models, and is helping other creatives use digital media as a way of furthering their career with her online community, The Shed.

The Shed is the brainchild of painter and designer Chelsea Davine, and in keeping with the meteoric rise of the internet, provides artists with a multi-platform medium in which to showcase their work. Each member’s works are marketed, exhibited virtually and in galleries, and even printed and sold by the company. Fundamentally, The Shed provides a ‘space’ that many artists can struggle to secure, an issue that Chelsea herself is familiar with. “I used to work in my parents shed in the garden, and it was the only space I had to be creative in,” she said.

“My business partner Ben and I dreamed up this idea where we could help other people create a space to sell, promote and print their work; a fully functioning e commerce website, with a social element and a community aspect. People put their work online, we print it, mount it, send it and pay the artist. It allows people to come to the website and buy the work directly from us.”

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Cock/Albion/Bull by Chelsea Davine

The Shed’s latest exhibition ‘Albion’ will be held at the Cock ‘n’ Bull gallery, located in the basement of Shoreditch’s Tramshed restaurant. Owner Mark Hix’s venue compliments Albion’s theme, partly because of its traditional British aesthetic in cuisine, and partly because of Mark’s West Country roots that Chelsea also shares. Emerging artists will even have the pleasure of seeing their work exhibited in the gallery beneath the restaurant that features specially commissioned pieces by Damien Hirst in the award winning eaterie.

The inspiration for the name ‘Albion’ originated after Chelsea flew back into England and was greeted with an England “covered in glistening gold beautiful snow.” ”Albion’ is the oldest name for Great Britain and it is thought that the name Albion was ascribed to the White Cliffs of Dover. Chelsea said that it seemed a fitting tribute to Britain, a particularly after our sporting achievements this year: “I thought that makes a really apt theme, especially after the Olympics. This year has been really positive for Britain; Britain seems energised and creative. I think we have really turned a corner. I thought it would be nice to have an exhibition that celebrated that feeling of energy. I’ve tried to make it a bit fun; art should always be fun, engaging and accessible, yet beautiful and challenging.”

The Shed’s items are particularly unique as all photographs and pieces are printed onto aluminium. “I’ve never liked photography printed on canvas,” explained Chelsea. “It’s always been a bug bear because as a painter  the joy of photography is photographs printed onto a beautiful shiny surface. I’ve produced all of my images on aluminium.” Chelsea has also always had a role as a mentor to other creatives, and The Shed exits as a natural extension of her values as an artist. “I have a studio on street level and people come in and out all the time and ask me questions,” she explained. “I found that I was mentoring a lot of people and I began thinking that there are so many others I could help who don’t have any idea about the online or social media aspects of things, and so we came up with this idea.

Rachael Talibart, London City.
Rachael Talibart, London City.

“We will be showcasing some emerging talent and established artists at Albion. Photographer Rachael Talibart’s work is very exciting – she is extraordinarily talented and professional. She really stands out for me. Print maker Paula Youens does a lot of work at art festivals to show people how to draw; she has an endlessly generous spirit and is prepared to share her crafts with anyone. Michelle Frederick and Lauren Fox both make sculptures out of  reclaimed wood and steel, which is quite bang on the money at the moment. It’s reusing and recycling with a sense of humour. I think we now have 88 artists in The Shed – 88 of us squeezed into a tiny shed. It’s an obligation that they all give me a pack of hob nobs when they join, and then we have a virtual cup of tea together every week.

“I just want to get people’s images off hard-drives and onto walls.”

Albion will be held at the Cock and Bull gallery in the Tramshed restaurant from February 7 until March 4. For more information, click here.