Every now and then you come across cool little projects when trawling Facebook or Instagram which, nestled amongst the mundane and the day to day, add a real sense of light and hope as they try to give something back and make something better.
That’s the case with ‘Alex’s ‘Looking for Heroes’‘ which I first spotted on Instagram and which basically involves finding everyday people who do great things. Knowing that we all have a hero inside of us Alex Pawlowska has decided to trawl the streets in order to find people, take their portraits and tell their story. It’s such a nice simple idea that we couldn’t resist getting in touch to see if we could share some of that positivity here on Inspiring City.
For Alex it’s about “spreading positivity around and sharing good stories”. It aims to inspire, motivate and empower people. “Happiness” says Alex, “is an attitude! Let’s spread it around.” In total there are five key elements to the ‘Looking for Heroes’ project’ and they are ‘Positivity’, ‘People’, ‘Creativity’, ‘Diversity’ and ‘Colour’. Hit all of those and there’s a story fit for a hero.
Starting ‘Looking for Heroes’ was also about doing something more meaningful and inspiring. “I decided to start extracting positivity from people around me and to start sharing it with others” says Alex. “I think that everybody is a hero and it is all due to the small things we do – attitudes, choices, beliefs and simply because of who we are. I believe that happiness is an attitude and I want to spread it around. I hope that by getting to know other people’s stories we can see them in a different light.”
So, in what will hopefully be the first in a series of regular features of real life heroes, we decided to take a look at five of the ‘everyday artists’ whose stories Alex has already captured and who are shining through their very different forms of art.
Lookman Adekunle Salami – a man who wants to contribute to the history of music
Lookman always wanted to play. He had no one to teach him, and no instrument to play but he used to compose jingles in his mind. His friend gave him a guitar for his 21st birthday. Lookman learnt how to play on his own and found it a perfect meeting point for all of his passions: film, philosophy and writing. He loved making music and believes he is worth being heard so he keeps on playing. Lookman says he has to play. It is a form of self preservation to him. His main hope is to reach his full capacity, not to go to waste. He has written a lot of songs and would love to start recording them. Lookman Adekunle Salami is a hero because he believes in himself and patiently waits for his time to come. Do you too have something worth waiting for?
Lin – A sculptor who creates fantasy worlds
Meet Lin. She is 26 and creates fantasy sculptures. Lin is an artist and takes her inspiration from a fairy-tale world as well as from what she sees around her. She says she loves to wander and calls her world WanderLin. Lin uses natural materials mainly wool. All of her creations are hand-sculpted using a technique called needle felting. As a result no two sculptures can ever be identical. Sometimes it takes up to a month to make one sculpture. Lin is a hero because of her talent, diligence and because she brings her imaginary world to life. If you can imagine it you can make it, don’t you agree?
William – A man who chooses to be himself
Meet William. He is 19 and thinks that no one should have to choose between being a man or a woman.
William grew up on a farm in Essex. He went to an all boys school and he didn’t like it as it had nothing to do with art. When he moved to London he started fine art foundation before he goes on to university and he loves it. William does drag art. He used to have bad acne and his mum bought him foundation to cover the spots. His passion for make-up started from covering things he didn’t want to show and it turned into a way of self-expression. Now, after moving to London he can be open about it, but it wasn’t the case in Essex.
William feels like a mix between a man and women with masculinity being more dominant. Wearing make-up is like wearing a jacket to him. He blossomed into an artist and even shaved off his eyebrows so he can get a better shape of the eyebrows he draws on. To see Williams’s drag art @h0rridchild. It takes courage to be yourself but never stop. Never ever stop.
Furia – A street artist who paints powerful portraits
Meet Furia and his portrait of Pandora. Furia is 31 and creates art that empowers women. Furia thinks that society blames woman for a lot of problems. He wants to represent women who are seen by society as femme fatale and present them in a positive light. No one pays Furia for spreading empowerment on the streets of London. He does it because he believes in what he does.
I dare you to keep on believing in anything you want. Believe in values, in yourself and in other people. Believe you can change the world and that you can achieve everything you dream of. Believe against all of those who tell you you shouldn’t… You never know where your faith may take you.
Follow Furias story and his art on his Facebook page.
Genevieve – An everyday artist who loves colour
Meet Genevieve. She is 20 and is addicted to colour, especially pink. She is also addicted to fluffy things. Genevieve is an art student at Bath Spa University. She is obsessed with Disney and loves drawing the characters. Stitch is by far her favourite because as she says he is the “cutest little evil alien in the world”. In the future she wants to be a street artist but as for now she earns a living working as a cook. Genevieve comes from a posh background but has completely turned away from it and has chosen her own path. With her looks, tattoos, lifestyle, beliefs and dreams of being a street artist she actually enjoys being an outcast not just in her family but in general.
Genevieve makes her own colourful plaits and these help her stand out from the crowd. Being different is an art. She is an everyday artist. What is your everyday art?
My name is Alex I’m 25 and I am looking for heroes. I love writing so I chose journalism as my university degree. I did internships in newspaper and in television but it just wasn’t for me. There was something missing. I always wanted to write about people not politics. This project is a fulfilment of my dream. It comes from a need to create meaningful stories. I am the founder of Looking for Heroes. I follow my dreams. What is your story?