Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses, a feature of the yearly Brighton Festival and Fringe, is one of the world’s biggest art festivals. Houses, galleries, studios and many more venues to enjoy. Each year we grab the brochure and take you with us as we explore some old favourites and highlight some great new finds.
This first weekend must be a record – five days of launches and artists’ houses and other venues on the 2016 AOH trail. Not all trails or houses were open on the first weekend in May, as the festival and fringe don’t officially open till next weekend. Some have different opening times – as always, read the brochure carefully to avoid disappointment.
Hove Venue 2: The Claremont
We begin as ever with parties! This gorgeous Victorian villa offers luxe accommodation, great breakfasts, vintage cream teas – and an exhibition of artwork on all floors. Brighton Gin in hand, we mingled with the crowd at the launch evening, enjoying the work and the pianist too – and we’ll probably be back later on to take a turn round the garden and pick out some favourites. Their own mini brochure carries details of the artists.
Hove Venue 9: Dion Salvador Lloyd
This award winning Royal Academician has had another great year of successes. Come to this elegant and accomplished show and meet Dion and Emma – the art and soul of this house. Winner of the 2015 Best Artists’s Open House, it’s a tough act to follow. We’ll be back.
Hove Venue 3: Cameron Contemporary Art
This gallery just opposite the Claremont offers an eclectic and engrossing show of painting, ceramics, pastels, solar etchings, sculpture and jewellery.
Matthew Draper’s dreamy pastel studies of sea and shore
Kevin Hensley’s Fashionistas – portraits of steampunk gangster gentleman style
Kirsty Wither’s glowing stlll lives
Seven Dials Venue 1: Cecil Rice
Vibrant watercolour and oil painting inspired by Venice, India and Brighton
Important note: the brochure gives the wrong times. Cecil’s house is open every Saturday and Sunday 12-5.
Hove Venue 13: The Wolf at the Door
Jill Tattersall’s friendly and welcoming house hosts guest artists, a pop up cafe and Jill’s own work.
Deepest blue night skies, medieval history, handwriting, handmade paper, gold and silver all feature in Jill’s work – especially loved the 1066 painting, commemorating this year’s 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
Linda Calvert’s fluid textured ceramic lamps
Hove Venue 1: 9a Hove Place
This terrific apartment is well established as the house where serious paintings & ceramics merge – glossy little vessels meet cave painting, fire, smoke and earth tones.
Hove Venue 14: 8 Bishops Road
Ellis Sykes in collaboration with Mind offers an exploration of the theme of mental health. We’ll feature Ellis’s work later in the month. A thought provoking and authentic look at experiences of and attitudes towards the health of the mind.
Central Venue 11: The Brighton gARTen: My Brighton x Artfinder
A rather perplexing title this, but head into the My Brighton Hotel, up in the lift to the meeting room which has been transformed for the festival with handpainted murals and astroturf floor. Birds, flowers, trees and butterflies inspire the art on show and create a green atmosphere for the various workshops. I did think the space could host much more work that was on show – perhaps a triumph of venue over content?
Central Venue 13: The Holistic Art House
The prettiest house so far – lovely jewellery altar, permanent wall mosaic, colour saturated paintings and a welcoming terrace garden … a turquoise, silvery, sparkly haven.
Cental Venue 15: Colour Laine
A slick contemporary show featuring double-exposure traditional photography and screenprint furniture, plus an honesty box for home made refreshments.
So ends our first weekend