Interview with Together.and.Sunspell

1 – Happy New Year!

2 – I was interviewed and photographed by Irinu and Silvia, a lovely artist couple based up in Usk. They’ve just published the interview with a really lovely set of photographs!

You can read my interview here: Helia Phoenix | Writer and content creator | Cardiff

I wanted to show them around the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Nature Reserve and to Hamadryad Park – particularly this view underneath the A4232, which is one of my all-time favourite spots. Such nice perspective …

Intro quote from the interview:

I guess at heart I think of myself as a writer, although I work across a number of different mediums ‒ photography, film, I’ve made radio pieces and done various audio things. I’m a polymath, I suppose, interested in telling stories through whatever channel best fits them.

I was born in 1980s Wales to Iranian immigrant parents. We moved around a lot, but I eventually ended up back in Cardiff for university where I studied English Literature. I did my final year out at Berkeley College in the University of California, and then came back and did a Masters in Creative Writing, and in between a bunch of other jobs working in a record store and DJing, then as a BA for the BBC, and at a magazine publishers, I eventually did a postgrad in web journalism in Sheffield back in 2008. I interviewed for two jobs at the end of that ‒ one was for a digital producer on 6 Music and the other was for web editor at the National Assembly for Wales. I didn’t get the former but was offered the latter, so ended up back in Wales again, where I’ve been permanently ever since.

(click through to Together and Sunspell to read the full thing)

Check out the Together and Sunspell project

And happiest of happy new years x

We Are Cardiff – street scene

We’ve recently started a new series of posts on the We Are Cardiff blog called Street seen. It’s basically – you’ve guessed it – people we’ve seen on the streets of Cardiff. Or in parks. Or just around generally, you know what I mean.

Asking people to write stories about the city can be quite daunting, as evidenced by the number of people who ask about taking part in the site and then freeze as soon as they’re asked to write something, retreating slowly from my persistent emails like Peter Griffin backing slowly out of a room where he’s just accidentally set something on fire. I should know, I’ve been trying (and failing) to write my own Cardiff story for the past five months!

Anyway. To try and combat this and also vary things up a bit on the blog we’re doing these shorter posts that are more focused on the photography and the small but tasty morsels of information we find out about people while taking their pictures.

It’s been great motivation to take my camera out and start talking to random people (not that I ever need any encouragement to do that, but anyway). People do share the most unexpected information with you in passing. Also up until now I’ve just been doing mostly admin type things for We Are Cardiff – the ‘office’ backend stuff, so it’s nice to get into it and do something practical for the project. I do help out on photoshoots and I have been producing the We Are Cardiff film, but again that’s mostly admin or runner-type tasks. It’s nice to be doing something creative for it.

The first ‘Street seen’ post went up on Sunday and featured someone I actually know – Lia Moutselou, who runs the Lia’s Kitchen blog and was holding a stall at the Made In Roath Spring Fiesta. Most of the posts will be anonymous unless those photographed specifically want their details shared. I kind of like the different style of post compared with our usual ‘We Are Cardiff’ posts, which are intensely personal and packed with details. Variety is good, eh?

To read Lia’s post, click on her photograph below.

Photoblog: Cardiff Central Library

I went for a wander into town yesterday and popped into my local library, which happens to be Cardiff Central Library. It’s such an improvement from the old library (the horrible red brick monster on the edge of the Hayes, if any of you remember that). This one is big and airy and futuristic – all angles and open space and wood and glass and steel. I love it.


Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Cardiff Central Library, May 2013

Libraries are cool! I especially like ours. It still feels shiney and new, even though it’s a couple of years old now. You should make a point of popping in on your next trip into Cardiff city centre. They have loads of info about events going on in the city.

Thank you Project Cardiff

I’ve been nominated as one of Project Cardiff’s 50 individuals from the local creative community who are contributing to the life and soul of Cardiff in some way. Thank you, Project Cardiff!

As part of the nomination I’ll have my photo taken (in a ‘proper in-door sit down’ shoot with photographer Lann Niziblian, who is a great photographer and has done some lovely shots for We Are Cardiff). You can read Lann’s thoughts about this insane attempt to take portrait photographs of 50 people and print the images in time for the exhibition in October on the Project Cardiff blog here.

More about Project Cardiff take from their website (I have nothing to do with the organisation of this project, by the way…!):

The cultural identity of Cardiff makes the city a great place to live. Project Cardiff seeks to celebrate this cultural identity by profiling those who are making a positive contribution to the life of the city and highlighting their endeavours. The project intends to provide a starting point for conversations about the way in which Cardiff’s identity has been developed through local innovators and activists.

Project Cardiff: will be a portfolio of 50 portraits of people who have been identified as those who make a contribution to the community of Wales’ capital city. For this inaugural instance of Project Cardiff we have cast our focus upon the city’s creative community.

Project Cardiff will be launched with a two week exhibition at The Senedd in Cardiff Bay from the 13 October – 2 November 2012 and then followed up with a month long exhibition at Milkwood Gallery in Roath during February 2012

Make sure you head down there to see it. It’ll have my mush in it, somewhere!

Happy travels to Croatoan Design

One of my good friends in Cardiff is a designer called Adam. We met at work a few years ago. Now Adam is taking the leap from a 9-5 into a world of freelance, and he’s giving himself a creative reboot by heading off to Toronto for a few months (though potentially forever, who knows these things).

For those who don’t know him, this is Adam in his most frequently adopted photography pose. I don’t know why, but he always seems to end up on the floor when he’s taking pictures of things…

(photo by Amy Davies)

Adam is a brilliant designer and photographer and was one of the co-founders of hack/flash and the We Are Cardiff project. He also makes beautiful music and is lead screamer in the band Last Partisan, so I wanted to do a quick blog post about his work to lush him up and wish him well on his travels.


The posters for the Flux=Rad nights


Cover for Andrew Paul Regan’s album ‘The Silence and the Noise’

(Comes with three interchangeable inserts to change the cover – visit Andy’s bandcamp to order)


Posters for the Simply Rad band nights

(see the rest of the Simply Rad poster series here)


Posters for Modern Life is Rubbish

Other notable bits:

This poster for Flux=Rad


Had to put this one in – album cover design for Body Fossil (who is also my boyfriend and wrote me this album for my birthday last year)


One of a series of posters done for Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff…

I especially love this poster for Please Mind Your Head, which was made by filling a mask with water and paint, freezing it, and then photographing it as it defrosted in his sink.



Gruff Rhys at the BBC Club, Cardiff


Drains at Buffalo in Cardiff


Kutosis photoshoot in Bute Park, Cardiff


Bloc 2011


Cadence Weapon at Clwb Ifor Bach


Strange News from Another Star at Clwb Ifor Bach


Breakin’ The Bay


Bethan Elfyn We Are Cardiff photoshoot


Samoans at Clwb Ifor Bach

Goodtime Boys at Undertone


Los Campesinos at The Globe


Inhalite video shoot


Photoshoot for We Are Cardiff documentary filming


Adam’s also an honorary member of the Tiger Bay Brawlers roller derby team – he’s a regular fixture at away matches, and has photographed most of their bouts over the past year


Not a bad portfolio, eh? I’m really excited for Adam to be setting off onto a new adventure, though obviously I’m sad he’ll be leaving work, where I get to see him everyday. I can’t wait to see what he gets up to over there. Have an amazing time, mate!

Follow the adventues of Adam – aka Croatoan Design – on Twitter / Tumblr / Flickr

and check out his personal blog We Rewrote The Standards (I’m a big fan of this post!)