Trash Arts began life in 2007 as film production company.
But over the past decade it has grown and evolved into a group that encompasses a broad spectrum of the arts, putting on shows all over the city.
I was always hoping it would last forever, but then you actually get to that 10-year point and think, wow, we’re still aroundSam Mason Bell
And they’re celebrating making the 10-year landmark with a day of music, film and poetry at the Edge of The Wedge on Sunday.
Co-founder Sam Mason Bell started the group with a couple of friends who are no longer part of Trash Arts, but he says: ‘I was always hoping it would last forever, but then you actually get to that 10-year point and think, wow, we’re still around.
‘The first event we actually put on a was fundraiser at Bar Black [now the Fat Fox] for our first feature, Flummox.
‘There were a lot more promoters working around the city at the time. I started working with different venues and putting shows on and meeting people – like when we met some burlesque dancers, we started doing variety shows, and then last year one of our guys was interested in poetry and wanted to put on a poetry evening, so I said let’s do it, but not as people might expect, let’s do something interesting with it, and that’s when we started Open Ya Mouth.’
Sam has a very egalitarian view of the arts, which has coloured Trash Arts’ output.
‘Portsmouth is a very bizarre city. There are so many different types of creativity out there, but there are limitations on how many people can do a thing and show what they do, and that’s what annoys me.
‘Like with the poetry, there was a certain type of elitism there, but I wanted it to be an open forum – it’s an open mic, anyone can take the mic and go with the flow of it.
‘The poetry nights do their own thing now – they always get a decent audience in, it’s a dedicated audience too.’
He’s rightly proud of bringing an early show by Sleaford Mods to Southsea and, more recently, hip-hop firebrand Akala to perform here under their banner.
‘With our hip-hop shows, we work closely with the Naan Breddaz, a local act, because their manager has got the connections. Sometimes we get bands contact us and we see what we can do.’
Their next show is British hip-hop star Genesis Elijah at The Edge on April 19.
‘There are some brilliant promoters in Portsmouth who already supply a certain type of music – like Pilot Promotions, they do a brilliant job with rock and indie bands – so for me to step in would be unnecessary. They’re friends and I talk with them to try and avoid that.
‘That’s what it would be like in the old days, everyone would clash and be competitive, whereas now I think we need to work more together and to be able to get things moving. A scene develops from a collection of people, not just one person.’
And they’re also looking well beyond Portsmouth.
‘I love being able to work with international artists – we’ve worked with people from Holland and Denmark. We work with various companies in America and get our films streamed through their channels. And we went up to Essex last week to shoot a feature film, a co-production with a local company, and that’s the kind of thing I want to be more involved in.’
The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea
Sunday, April 16