All the very best to the venue owners, artists and organising team – so sorry not to be setting off on our first trail tomorrow, but looking forward to the day your doors open again.
What is Artist’s Open House? …
Our 2018 art trailing starts right here
Some of our favourite images from this year’s Brighton Artists’ Open Houses festival
Our visits to houses over the final weekend
A brief trail report for us this weekend. Our house guest had asked for a guided tour so we’ve revisited quite a few of the houses we’ve already covered, including Wolf at the Door, Dion Salvador Lloyd, Milton House, Glass in Fusion and Cecil Rice, along with some we hadn’t been to yet this year.
Final weekend impressions … have felt a little put off by several times being told ‘there is art for sale all round the house and the garden … ‘ I understand that’s the goal for all artists, but I don’t need to be prodded quite so much.
I’ve found I most enjoy the houses that keep to the Artist’s Open House ethos. I’ve felt most at ease when I’ve clearly come into the artist’s home, have the chance to meet them and chat about their work, and don’t feel as if I’ve strayed into a gallery or department store. I do wonder if the cost of appearing in the brochure drives a need to have as many guest artists as possible?
Each year there seems to be something that pops up quite frequently, and I noticed this year the image of Frida Kahlo appearing in paintings, prints and jewellery by several artists.
The cupcake seems to have had its day …
Seven Dials venue 11: The Magic Lamp
Up to this pretty, friendly lamplit flat on Dyke Road, for small scale gifts in digital, paint and thread for friends and home.
Rubandagar’s striking shadow and flaming tree painting
Caroline Jones’s sleek wood work
Seven Dials venue 8: Salon des Sources
An engrossing exhibition, particularly strong on ceramics and wearable art jewellery
Jaq Buckeridge’s Chinese – inspired ceramics
Kate Hackett’s Brighton ceramics with a Swallows and Amazons nautical air
Caroline Smith’s Decorated Woman power pieces – confident statement necklaces
Steve Carroll’s prints with vintage spaceman style
And I absolutely loved Rosie Odette’s powerful and striking gem-dotted gold bangle
Seven Dials venue 7: Family Art Line
Ruffell and Slade and friends welcome visitors to home and garden again this year – they’re a long established family show. Visit the garden studio for paintings and prints too.
CR dynamic London oils
Frances Doherty’s garden ceramics have real presence
Beyond the Level venue 9: The Stanley Road Store
Quirky clothes and vintage jewellery, textiles, lamps, plants for sale and a fun portrait tent in the garden. A bit of an ‘everything must go’ feel with prices-slashed announcements to each visitor …
Beyond the Level venue 8: Circus at the Circus!
Curtis Tappenden’s solo residency at the Circus Coffee House documents his time spent around circus artistes, capturing moments of their performances with energy, humour and speed.
Beyond the Level venue 10: 38 Viaduct
Pausing only to admire the vintage steam roller parked outside the Duke of York, we headed up Viaduct Road next to see Judy Martin’s adventures among characters, catacombs and corpses captured in pen and ink, biro and watercolour – swift portraits of life and death. Particularly struck by the Him series – little studies of the mediaeval mummies of Palermo.
Beyond the Level venue 7: Glass in Fusion
As the last few minutes of the last day of the 2016 Artists Open Houses festival ticked away, we dropped in for a revisit and a catchup with one of our favourite venues, where Stephanie Else creates the most marvellous glass.
Next stop Christmas …
4th – 19th June
We’re planning our visits to the AOH 2016 show.
Our reviews will appear here over the next month.
Watch this space …
We report from this year’s event
We spent most of our weekend at the Brighton Centre, enjoying Brighton Modelworld 2016.
A packed centre saw exhibitors, model makers, dealers, demonstrators and clubs all drawn together by their love of making, showing and using their models.
For the railway fans there’s everything at every scale to see, experience and buy. Vintage steam trains and layouts, a whole Lego seaside town, intricate worlds created by dedicated societies. Go up in scale and you can ride on a miniature working passenger train in the main hall, or find out how to go and visit real working lines and stations.
It’s not just about trains. Dolls’ houses, narrowboats and caravans create entire little worlds in miniature and there’s a whole room dedicated to the sights and sounds of circus and fairground. Radio-controlled boats on a pond, planes, helicopters, racing cars, Tamiya trucks and drones are attracting the have-a-go fans, and there are plenty of comic and film figures, fantasy wargaming characters and model soldiers. Whatever your interest, there’s an amazing variety on show and certain to be something here for you.
We were surprised there were so few Star Trek and Star Wars models represented – perhaps it’s a different crowd, served more by the Brighton Film and Comic Con? But Doctor Who was a strong presence – a full Tardis police box, console and set, with a team of Doctor cosplayers were hugely popular, the roving interactive talking Daleks a real highlight.
Exhibitors are happy to discuss their work and to demonstrate their models – find out how to construct incredibly detailed model houses from cardboard packaging, coffee shop stirrers and Weetabix, and watch the close work involved painting intricate wargaming characters. There are painting and making workshops on offer for a few pounds.
So who’s it all for? Traditionally it’s seen as something for boys and yes there were certainly more boys than girls represented here, and not many older teens. The little boys and girls at this weekend’s Modelworld are the future of STEM in the UK and it was great to see so many families, often three generations all out having fun together.
Not crowded but with enough people to generate a real buzz, they’ve got the scale and venue right. We weren’t so keen on the Brighton Centre catering and pricing – we tended to pop out for some fresh air and coffee nearby, and we’d welcome more seating inside the various halls.
Must see – Titan the Robot. This huge walking, talking, singing entertainer gives three daily performances. You’ll believe he’s talking to you!
Favourite image from the show – passing the skills from one generation to the next.
Best memories – we waltzed with a Dalek, got squirted by Titan the Robot, and made and flew a plane.
Looking forward to Brighton Modelworld 2017
Mummeee … I think there’s something a bit funny about the new au pair …
Thoughts from a weekend visiting Made It; the 2015 University of Brighton graduate art show
Thoughts from a weekend visiting Made It; the 2015 University of Brighton graduate art show:
It’s Saturday afternoon at the beginning of the Show, yet the university isn’t Tweeting or reTweeting. For an organisation launching inexperienced artists into a saturated market, isn’t this a significant missed opportunity to promote?
And the scowling black clad security guards add an unexpected air of menace – although we did wonder if they might be an installation…
If you’re looking for drawing, painting, print, graphic design, sculpture, 3D and illustration, you’ll find them all and more represented best in Fashion and Textiles, rather than in their dedicated courses.
Clear, focussed research into themes and their execution – and exuberant flights of fancy in texture, colour and detail. Many of the designs, prints, swatches and experimental knits are covetable works of art in themselves.
Tellingly, these courses also feature Business Studies – but why does the University itself describe this as ‘a rare mix’ in its prospectus entry for the course? All their courses should prepare students to survive and prosper in the real world.
Digital sound and video showcase enigmatic film, fragments and noise – the digital game, sound and SFX professionals of the future practising their scales in public.
BA Hons Architecture
Future British cityscape being created right here at the old fruit market – spectacular location!
Some fascinating models and plans
As ever, much is mysterious and enigmatic; ideas are pursued down the rabbit hole and the results and ‘outcomes’ described in the most impenetrable of artist statements.
A selfie-obsessed extended childhood stretches across the borders, making it often difficult to tell which discipline you’re in.
With the pushalong toys, budgies, pink fluffy soft fake fur, glitter, giant Quality Streets and a big straw hut, there’s an ephemeral child-like theme in the Sculpture room – at least the boat is a full size outline of a Viking longship, to add a bit of ballast.
The back to the womb tone continues in Fine Art Painting and Performance & Visual Art, where things are happening in soft pink or dark little rooms; ballooning clown shapes and comforting wraps dominate the Fashion show and there are pompoms, a pink fluffy bathrobe and several projects about childhood bedrooms in Illustration and Graphic Design.
In something of a contrast, there’s also quite a penis fixation this year – painted, sculpted, papier mache, joky bananas and bracelet charms … I took to playing ‘where’s willy’ as we visited each room, and can’t help wondering what’s been happening here recently …
Students are allowed to produce video and performance work of a standard that would not get them cast or hired in the real world and it’s difficult to imagine what a cinema and theatre-literate audience makes of them. They need to know how to write, use a camera, produce quality sound and speak and move on screen and it looks like they aren’t being taught how. The answer ‘but this is performance art, not theatre or film’ doesn’t cut it in the real world.
So few of the artists’ statements and name labels include Twitter, Linked In, Instagram and website details, and there are few business cards around. One student is showing a brilliant commercial idea – yet told us that he has no business plan, funding or online presence set up over his final year ready for graduation into the real world.
Preparing students for practice and business in the real world should surely include highlighting the importance of networking, personal brand and online presence, as well as the business plan and essential funds.
Utterly loved the budgies and went back to say hi again.