For the last few months, Balans have been hosting our lovely friends from Queer Culture Club as they drink and draw their evenings away in the back room at Balans. It’s been inspiring having QCC visit us and we’ve been wowed by the wonderful people and connections being made. Honing their creative skills and coming up with some utterly gorgeous artwork, we’re very excited to have a spooky collaboration coming soon…
We caught up with their wonderful co-founder Jessie, to chat about Queer Culture Club and what they do, lockdown life and the power of exploring your creative side.
Tell us a little bit about Queer Culture Club?
Queer Culture Club is an inclusive queer, womxn-lead collective in London, with a mission to fight the dissolution of queer spaces and isolation in our community. We run socials and events, focusing on community, creativity and positive wellbeing.
How did you come up with a plan to get drawing as a group?
We started off with online life drawing classes, led by one of fab art directors, Jess Webb, because she is passionate about body positivity and thought it would be a great way to come together as a community and celebrate beauty and diversity. Off the back of that, we were approached by Irina, who was really keen to run drawing classes and teach people to be more confident with their creativity. Her enthusiasm and talent won us over and her ‘Let it Draw’ and ‘Drink & Draw’ events were born.
What is it about drawing that you enjoy the most?
I just love how cathartic it is; coming together as a community to create beautiful and unique art together is such a special shared experience. You are quite vulnerable when you create and embracing and sharing that has really helped our community members to develop deep bonds with each other. I also love how much progress we can see in everyone’s talents!
How did you find the process of creating a community during lockdown?
It has been such a positive experience! For a start it kept many of us furloughed people busy and taught us a whole bunch of new skills but more importantly it meant that we never felt isolated even when we couldn’t physically see anyone. One QCC member sent us a message recently saying how grateful she was that because a year that could have been so tricky for her, was made fun and enjoyable because of the friendships and connections she made through QCC.
Had you come across Balans before you began drawing there as a group?
Yes! I’ve always been a big Balans fan! It’s always been my go-to first date place… you do the best Negronis in town!
What do you like about creating in the space at Balans?
It’s just such a beautiful space which makes it so much easier to get creative! Everyone who works there is so friendly and welcoming and just being in the beating heart of Soho makes everyone feel inspired.
What advice would you give anyone looking to start their own community or anyone looking to join one?
If what you’re looking for doesn’t exist… create it!
Honestly, the reason QCC has worked as well as it has is because we are a collective of people all contributing in our own ways and doing what we do best. People come to us and tell us what they’d like to see and we ask them to come up with a way to do it. The queer community is SO talented and when we all come together and bring our unique skills to the table, we can achieve great things.
How do you nurture your creative impulses?
To be honest, most of my creative impulses are being channelled into QCC right now! But I am also a dancer so when I get the urge, that’s my go-to.
Follow Queer Culture Club on Instagram here.
We loved Renuka Ramanujam’s letter to us with her idea for Balans’ Christmas card you see here. Click to see the picture in full.Read more
Balans has long attracted creative talent. Our liberal nature, 24-hour opening hours and the magic of Soho, means artists of all kinds and their spiritedRead more
It’s not often you start a discussion with someone who tells you that you share 60% of your DNA with a banana. That’s what happensRead more
Balans Kensington is stylish, classic and unfailingly charming. The perfect dinner spot when in West London. We’ve been in this location for 20 years. AtRead more
National Porn Star Martini Day is upon us (yes it’s a thing…) Celebrations are planned at Balans (responsibly), and artist Coco Bayley has created someRead more
We receive a lot of digital reviews and emails these days. But this one, handwritten and left behind on the back of a napkin madeRead more
George Skeggs, more commonly known – although there’s nothing even remotely common about him – as ‘Soho George’ is one of the last true SohoRead more
A forgotten remnant of old London, hidden beneath one of its busiest streets, there lies a tantalising glimpse into the lost history of Soho buried underneathRead more