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Everything intertwined: Liverpool’s creative scene thrives by working together

Vuse’s Street Covers platform is spotlighting emerging music and art talent from around the world, showcasing the cities and streets that inspire them

  • 10 November 2023

Following on from its visit to Barcelona, the fourth instalment of Vuse’s Street Covers series sees international DJ and producer Anfisa Letyago and celebrated album cover artist Brian Cannon landing in Liverpool’s thriving creative community. The Street Covers docuseries follows the pair as they spotlight modern, urban culture in five cities across the world, and meeting the emerging talent that make their creative scenes tick.

Vuse is celebrating 10 years of championing emerging artists and Street Covers is this in its essence: showcasing talent who daringly drive forward their creative communities with their passion and eagerness to collaborate.

Liverpool – Where art and music collide highlights the way Liverpool’s artistic community works collaboratively to build a vibrant and flourishing scene, told through DJ and producer Dowd, real name Michael Dowding, and contemporary artist and Bold Place founder Cherie Grist. The film showcases Anfisa and Brian uncovering cultural melting pots like the Baltic Triangle creative district, a collection of previously derelict warehouses and docks which have been regenerated into a space full of music and arts venues, as well as Melodic Distraction, a radio station, bar, and cultural hub which has sadly since closed its doors.

As the stories of these locations and the collective artistic energy of Liverpool come to life, we see Dowd and Cherie meeting for the first time – although in true Scouse fashion, the pair quickly realise that they had already crossed paths prior to their linkup on the Vuse Street Covers project, when Dowd performed at an art installation event Cherie had worked on.

As [doc title] zooms in on Dowd and Cherie’s lives and creative journeys, and champions the Liverpudlian artistic scene, Dowd hopes that it reflects how much their community has helped them both and shows the creativity that is “bubbling away beneath the surface”. Anfisa echoed this, commenting “Liverpool’s music scene was a such a vibe, honestly it was such a wonderful experience for me. It had this incredibly unique energy. The city’s diversity and passion for music was amazing, and a pleasure to witness.”

Speaking fondly of the recently closed Melodic Distraction, which played a crucial role in his career, Dowd comments that the community radio station “changed the game in Liverpool” as well as for him on a personal level. He explains that it “forged life-lasting relationships” and inspired “a whole generation of artists to take that first step into radio, presenting, promoting parties, and events or DJing”.

Similarly, Cherie’s work stems from the “passion and pride radiating from Scousers everywhere” which she feels is “impossible not to soak up”. The artist’s celebration of a city full of ideas and brave creatives led her to establish female workspace Bold Place; a multipurpose community workshop space designed to empower female artists within the city.

Despite Dowd never having worked collaboratively with a visual artist, and likewise for Cherie with a musician, the duo overcame any nerves surrounding the Vuse Street Covers project and instantly clicked, thanks to their similar approach to the creative process. Bouncing off each other, Dowd’s track selection and creative decisions were inspired by the colourful vibrancy of Cherie’s artwork, and that track subsequently inspired Cherie’s new artwork.

Following on from their meeting in Liverpool, Brian and Anfisa had regular calls with Cherie and Dowd to support them on their journey of creative collaboration. Reflecting on these sessions, Dowd commented “Anfisa was a great help in the process of making my track for the Street Covers project. She gave me guidance on how to prepare for various types of gigs, from festivals to smaller club scenarios. Her schedule is mind blowing and it’s fascinating to see how someone manages that side of things”. Similarly, Anfisa was impressed with Dowd’s creative approach and energy, highlighting his “unique vibe” and “deep connection to music”.

Brian lauds the way that Cherie and Dowd worked together as a truly “exceptional” artistic collaboration, where the “results speak for themselves”. Working with Brian imbued Cherie with a new sense of conviction, as the Wigan-born creative designer asserted that the artist should always dictate what the best option is for their clients - something Cherie has already shared with her Bold Place community. She admits “Brian is our Bold Place icon…we often ask ourselves ‘what would Brian do?’”.

This North-West tradition of music and art intertwining together in a perpetual cycle is no surprise to Cannon; as a regular visitor to Liverpool, he has a strong appreciation of the city’s unique creative scene, where everyone knows and looks after each other. While the loss of Melodic Distraction is palpable, Cannon knows that Liverpool will live on as a shining, creative hub of the North-West. Aided by the infrastructure that has been set in place since the ‘60s, he is assured that the next generation of artists can flourish.

Watch Liverpool – Where art and music collide below.

Check out Vuse on Instagram.

Vuse contains nicotine and is addictive. For adult nicotine consumers only.

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