Charlie, a LOWE guardian of two years at the Artesian Well, is exactly the type of person you want at the helm. He is independent, driven and knows how to hustle for opportunity. Born in the rolling countryside of Sussex, Charlie came to London as soon as he could. He studied a humanitarian degree at Goldsmiths, which Charlie says despite its general ‘unhirability’, was incredibly valuable and led him down the path he is now on as an artist. He has done every job you can imagine across so many creative industries, from working as a barista to an artist assistant, a commissioned artist to a sound technician; it’s safe to say he knows his stuff.

In his spare time, Charlie likes to do any kind of exercise that is “childish” – trampolining being the top of that list. Something many people don’t know about Charlie is that he has been teetotal for 8 years, reaching for a non-alcoholic beer over a pint of coke as that sugar/caffeine high is almost as bad. He loves to garden and is involved with Thrive, a charity that uses gardening to change lives. The lockdown has obviously taken its toll on everyone to varying degrees, and Charlie was so pleased to be living in a guardianship with a community to help ease the burden.

The institutionalisation of any creative practice is always going to be equal parts positive and problematic, and after witnessing first-hand certain pitfalls of the institutions, Charlie took things into his own hands. The Wells Project is a community project that Charlie and other LOWE guardians have developed over the past few years that gives opportunities to up-and-coming artists. The Artesian Well is a former pub in Clapham, that just needed the right people to realise its full potential as an art and theatre space. One of the biggest problems for artists is simply finding the space to show their work. When you are just starting out, this is incredibly difficult and at times very expensive. Charlie and his fellow guardians saw the potential for this space to address this issue, so pulled together and began organising small art shows. Word got around, and two years later things have exploded with constant enquiries and strong relationships with art groups outside of the guardianship. They have held countless art shows and the odd spot of theatre and comedy as well.

Charlie believes that guardianship properties can provide a public purpose, and this is the time for guardianships to really reach out to the community and open up the doors, be that virtually or otherwise.

Check out what Wells Projects have been up to here! @wellsprojects

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