Josh Simpson, The Art Mill

Kendal based artist Josh Simpson is behind Picasso’s Playground, a project to bring a theatrical life drawing experience for all the family to festivals and schools.

Josh runs The Art Mill, at Mealbank in Kendal, home of the upcycling initiative Ragtag Community Scrapstore, and studio base for emerging artists, along with his sister, Emily Dewhurst.

He moved to Kendal, where Emily had already settled, after growing up in the south of England acquiring a degree in fine art, travelling and spending time with a circus.

He said: “I cycled to East Germany and joined a ragamuffin group of Europeans and we travelled around making street shows which were a mixture of circus, theatre and music.

“My sister and I kept saying we should collaborate on something, so I came to Kendal and we started Ragtag.”

Josh is now an artist, maker and performer. He successfully applied for Great Place: Lakes and Dales seedfunding and is now teaming up with Kendal College and other local artists for Picasso’s Playground.

He explained: “We will set up easels and there will be characters or objects to paint or draw. Performers will play the parts of famous artists and run the workshops giving advice on drawing techniques so everyone can create their own masterpieces and learn at the same time. Children in particular love this experience of being a ‘proper’ artist.”

Look out for the project at festivals this year, including Lakes Alive in September.

Josh Simpson of The Art Mill