Month: July 2016

Former student lends carpentry skills to mermaid-themed Multiple Sclerosis charity event

​​Former City College Brighton and Hove Carpentry student Leo Mumford has used Mermaid chair 16 2the skills he’s gained at the College to construct a sedan chair which Multiple Sclerosis campaigner Shana Pezaro will be using during a mermaid-themed fundraising walk from Brighton’s Palace Pier to Hove Lagoon. The event, scheduled to take place this Sunday (31st July) is to raise money for the Sussex MS Centre in Southwick. City College provided Leo with workshop space, fixings and reused timber to construct the chair which was then decorated with a Regency/seaside theme by professional theatrical prop-makers/sculptors Rachel Williams and Wendy Hall. On the walk, Shana will be carried in her sedan chair by friends and supporters dressed in a mermaid costume designed by Red & Bex from Brighton based company, Redblue Threads.

Mermaid chair- Shana 16Shana Pearo says: “I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis eight years ago and am now predominantly a wheelchair user so the support that Sussex MS Centre provides has been a massive part of my life. We’re hopeful that this event will raise significant funds for a Centre that provides absolutely essential emotional support, exercise classes and therapies to people living with MS and their families.”

Leo Mumford adds:

“As a friend of Shana’s, there are times when she’s relied on me to carry her from aMermaid chair- ​Leo Mumford​ 16 - Copy seat if she can’t get up, or over steps if she can’t cross them. So this got me thinking about the idea of carrying her for charity, representing the trust that’s needed between people with MS and society. I was therefore delighted and grateful that my former tutors were supportive of my goal, as was the College, which has meant that we’ve been able to turn my original idea into reality.”




To donate, see:


In advance of event: Leo Mumford – 07883 800423, Shana Pezaro – 07704 155283

During event from 8.30am on July 31st: Annie Smythe or Katie Walker – 07704 155283

Sussex MS Centre: Hilary Green – 01273 594484

For City College media enquiries, please call Brian Bell on 01273 667788 Ext. 488 or email

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From Physics to Fine Art – Miguel’s journey

Since completing his part-time Foundation diploma in Art and Design course at City College in 2013, Miguel Sopena has gone on to study portraiture at  the  Miguel - self portrait web renowned Heatherley School of Fine Art (famous alumni includes Henry Moore, Franz Kline and Walter Sickert) and embark on a life as a self-employed fine artist. Stylistically, Miguel’s work revolves strongly around the human figure but he has recently started experimenting with abstraction and landscape-based painting. His stunning work features in Exhibit Here’s 2016 Summer Exhibition at London’s Menier Gallery, as well as Highgate Contemporary Art’s 2016 Summer Exhibition. He’s also recently been offered an artist’s residency in Joutsa in Finland and has already been successful in finding eager buyers for his work through Degree Art, the market leader in UK student and graduate art sales, which hand picks and promotes the most promising artistic talent.

Hailing from Valencia in Spain, Miguel had originally studied Physics and after moving to the UK he studied for an MSc at UCL in London and subsequently a PhD in Theoretical Physics at the University of Sussex. It was while living as a student in Lewes that he started drawing and taking short courses which led to the decision to explore his new passion at City College.

“My time at the College had a massive influence,” Miguel recalls. “The Foundation miguel - abstract landscape webcourse was really what convinced me that I wanted to train and work as an artist even though I came from a completely different background. Another great thing about the course was that we were such a diverse group of people with all sorts of backgrounds and interests. The course also really broadened my horizons, from having worked mainly with drawing and photography to exploring and having fun with a huge range of approaches and techniques which is what’s so great and unique about the course. I’d definitely recommend the course to anyone who wants to develop their creativity.”

Like most self-employed artists, much of Miguel’s time is consumed with non-artistic aspects such as marketing, promotion, looking for exhibiting opportunities and trying to sell his work online, but it’s the creative aspect that he finds most miguel - absract 1 websatisfying: “The creativity is what it’s all about and it’s what makes everything else worth it and keeps you optimistic.  As an artist, regardless of what’s going on in the ‘real world’, often the most exciting moments come from producing interesting results or realising that all your hard work and all that practice are getting somewhere. It’s very exciting to look back on work you did some time ago and feel you’ve made progress, and to get positive feedback from other people.”

Miguel observes that many of his former City College class-mates have been highly adept at finding their own career paths but to anyone who’s just starting to consider a career in the arts, his advice is simply to keep working: “Work to enhance your creativity and also to find out what your practice may be about and the opportunities which are out there. I think any artist will tell you that nothing comes free but conversely the effort you put in will enrich you and be rewarding one way or another.”

Personal website:

Facebook page:

LinkedIn: Miguel Sopena

Twitter: @Melmoth71

Instagram: @miguelsopena1

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