Geoff Hall

a black and white portrait of author Geoff HallIn my writing I continue to wrestle with the ghosts of Bresson, Bergman, Kieslowski and Tarkovsky as I seek to understand more of our spiritual condition and its many socio-cultural incarnations. My primary concerns are creating the depth of character for an actor to play with and the aesthetics of the cinematic/iconic.

A brief history
I started mentoring in 2001, after a student at my church was told that ‘her faith was inappropriate for a student at their college’. After talking at a meeting at the college in question, I found that there were others who had suffered the same kind of abuse. Whilst thinking I could limit myself to cerebral, even spiritual things on her behalf, I decided that personal commitment was needed. A monthly meeting was set up to provide encouragement and cultural critique, as well as giving the artists a space to talk about their work and have an ‘open critique’.

Over the years The Group has grown to over 60 artists around Bristol and the South West. The original focus on visual artists has expanded to include word, image and performance arts. In 2007, we put on an exhibition entitled ‘Set All Free’ at our local gallery – Grant Bradley – which included painting, sculpture, installation (including video), ceramics, photography and poetry. We had a gospel choir for the Preview, which had an impact on the proprietors; the place packed out for a wonderful show.

Between 2007 and 2009, ‘The Tree House’, a monthly café event, gave space for dance, fashion producers showing their work, film, performance poetry, cultural critique, a philosopher’s corner and talks on visual art, plus live music. We met for 2 years in Saint Stephens Café, in the Heart o’ the City of Bristol!

In the late 80’s we moved to Bristol to effect a change of direction. I studied at Bristol Polytechnic and majored in Art History. My dissertation was on the ‘Iconoclastic Disorders of the 16th Century’. In the 90’s whilst holding down a job as a photographic curator, I studied for a research degree at the University of Exeter, for which I received an MPhil.

I’m inspired by people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was part of the resistance to the Nazi Regime in Germany and also Jacques Ellul a writer of great insight and spirituality and a member of the French Resistance.

So, this is me. Part writer, part mentor. I’ve a heart for people and ‘things’, the ‘things’ which Jesus concerns Himself about, everyday life, everyday creativity, as well as everyday people. In the Postmodern landscape of fractured lives and fractured things, we need to walk together, not stand alone.

Chris Lorensson

a black and white portrait of author Chris LorenssonI was born 19th October 1981 in Corona, California. Growing up in Orange County and Los Angeles, I studied English Literature in advanced placement before dropping out of high school in my senior year. I started writing poetry at 15—feeling a sense of freedom in poetry which has never left me. In my late teens and early twenties I was deeply steeped in music and percussion for punk-rock groups and hip-hop.

My love for English Literature and my history in hip-hop lyricism naturally merged in my poetry, and it felt right, so I pursued that route, but my punk-rock sensibilities still seep through. I concerned myself, spiritually, with issues of community and social justice throughout my life, and it showed through in the projects I had undertaken. In 2000, I started the international arts collaboration M4TH, putting on art shows and fostering a communal feel through the art. I was working as a Chief Designer at a record label in LA then. In 2001, through my love for hip-hop, I met Shiloh Bradshaw who now runs Springfield Pulse and The Phoenix Arts Project in Springfield MA. Shiloh and I started Pulse in Downtown Fullerton. It was a collaboration of post-modern Christian artists. Alongside Shiloh, I helped organise slam-poetry events in Downtown Fullerton, and sometimes I performed my work, which quickly led me to realise my poetry was different- not traditional slam poetry (even though it was somewhat rooted in hip-hop), but more mixed with the anarchist tendencies from my past, and refined by my exposure to proper English Literature.

I moved to Bristol UK in 2005, where I have continued in graphic design as a career, and helped develop what is now quite a significant communal social-action project, LoveBristol. My past experience of alternative communities coupled with my current experience of LoveBristol has lead me to write a book on individuality and identity in faith communities, called Mirror, which will probably be completed in 2011 and published in 2012.