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Arts foundation to be set up in memory of Shoreditch ‘shaper’

PUBLISHED: 16:54 29 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:13 29 February 2020

Gary Fairfull inspired and shaped the Shoreditch arts, music and events scene in the 1990s and 2000s. Picture: John Claridge

Gary Fairfull inspired and shaped the Shoreditch arts, music and events scene in the 1990s and 2000s. Picture: John Claridge

John Claridge

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched in memory of a man who ‘shaped and ‘influenced’ Shoreditch at the turn of the millennium.

After Gary's funeral bands and musicians like Alabama 3, Zoe Delvin Love and Ant The Rant performed at a party celebrating his life at Dalston's EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney). Picture: Alan MillerAfter Gary's funeral bands and musicians like Alabama 3, Zoe Delvin Love and Ant The Rant performed at a party celebrating his life at Dalston's EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney). Picture: Alan Miller

The money raised will go into setting up a foundation for emerging talent in the arts in the hopes of continuing Gary Fairfull's creative legacy.

Gary passed away at 58 on February 1 but his friends want to make sure the work he did promoting and encouraging poets, visual artists and musicians lives on through a foundation they plan to set up.

Gary's friend and GoFundMe organiser Alan Miller says The Gary Fairfull Foundation will give artists funding and support to champion "new and aspiring cultural talent" in Hackney.

He told the Gazette: "If you want to get into the arts you need to have a couple of pointers and introductions.

Gary was a poet and ran several venues and restaurants across Hackney. Picture: Alan MillerGary was a poet and ran several venues and restaurants across Hackney. Picture: Alan Miller

"They're important and can help - as well as a bit of money.

"We're creating a board and a trust of different influencers who knew Gary in areas like poetry, independent film and the visual arts so his legacy lives on."

Originally from Glasgow, "raconteur", poet and party host Gary Fairfull came to Shoreditch in the 1990s.

He started off in tech but soon found himself curating parties, often unlicensed shebeens and speakeasies, around Hackney.

Gary Fairfull's funeral was attended by many of the musicians and artists he championed. Picture: Alan MillerGary Fairfull's funeral was attended by many of the musicians and artists he championed. Picture: Alan Miller

He found he had a knack for hosting and bringing creative people from all walks of life together through art and music.

"You'd go and there would be artists there, kids from estates and trendy Shoreditch kids.

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"It was a real melting pot of different people," said Rob Star, owner of The Star by Hackney Downs.

Vanessa Fenton performed a choreographed dance piece as a tribute to Gary. Picture: Alan MillerVanessa Fenton performed a choreographed dance piece as a tribute to Gary. Picture: Alan Miller

Rob says Gary's parties paved the way for independent operators inspiring him to put on his own nights.

"I was one of those people going I could create something like this," he said.

Gary ran various venues and restaurants in Shoreditch. His legendary hang outs like his Cremer Street warehouse loft Gary's Place were frequented by impromptu performances and artists like Amy Winehouse and Tracy Emin.

Gary also helped host events to get the Mayor of London to set up a night time commission and appoint a night czar to protect London's night time economy.

Many people gathered to pay tribute to Gary on February 22. Picture: Alan MillerMany people gathered to pay tribute to Gary on February 22. Picture: Alan Miller

His last venue space was Arts Club East on Shoreditch High Street and he was a key adviser and introducer, helping 'enormously' with the launch of the Night Time Industries Association.

Gary's friends say he helped shaped Hackney over the decades and it would have been a very different, less creative place without him.

Friends like Andi Oliver, food presenter and restauranteur, said: "On the surface of things Gary was a punk poet beautiful party animal and at the heart of things he was an old soul, a true empath who felt everything very deeply."

Arts promoter Sir Harvey Goldsmith called him a larger than life character who will be hugely missed and good friend and Trainspotting Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh said: "Gary was a Shoreditch pioneer and an inspirational force of nature."

Gary Fairfull. Picture: Alan MillerGary Fairfull. Picture: Alan Miller

"He was the life and soul of the party," said Rob.

Gary's funeral was held on February 22.

To donate to the campaign click here

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