Thursday, 25 September 2008

Artist of the Week - CHRIS KNIGHT

Chris Knight. everywherenowhere

I’ve always wanted to make art that people who don’t necessarily enjoy art will like. Maybe that they wouldn’t even call art because its not labeled that way, it's just general alteration to an environment and hopefully an improvement. I have a lot of respect for good quality street and public art, my ideas are always designed for the public realm but often sneak their way in from the cold. Still if you can trip over something or walk into it I like it.

Money spent on travel is never wasted
Even if you end up somewhere you don’t want to be, even if you get lost. I love getting lost; I do it all the time much to the annoyance of my friends. But you’re never really lost, just somewhere you haven’t been yet and besides you get to see a lot in the process.

One favourite living artist
Ron Mueck. I just think he’s incredibly skilled and perfect in what he does. I think I wish I could produce pieces so physically perfect, I’ve spent ages looking at his work trying to find faults but there aren’t any. Plus I love the distortion in scale and often placing of his work in a gallery, once I almost tripped over an impossibly small boy behind a door and it just made me laugh.

One favourite historical maker?
Everyone and everything that came before because it gave us what we have and everything that surrounds us today. That includes ‘God’, Nature and your Granddad, it’s a rich tapestry and everyone contributes in their own way.

What place in the world has inspired you?
I’d love to say somewhere exotic but Manchester really inspires me. It’s beautiful in its own way, dark dirty-bricked back streets and urban wildlife, rain and in turn puddles. It’s not a perfect or amazingly beautiful city but when there’s a lot of room for improvement there’s more room for ideas of improvement. Besides that the sea, or the view of the land from the sea when I’m surfing, out there alone its easy to think.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
I don’t often buy art; I’ve nowhere really to put it at the moment. The last piece I bought though was about two years ago, it’s a little ceramic bird by Jeremy McLachan and you can blow three musical notes through it. I absolutely love it but unfortunately so does my Mum so she ‘borrowed’ it.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
My high school art teacher really seemed to believe in me and gave me a worryingly free rein for my work. Of course I took advantage and got silly with my interest in ‘shock’ art but I had to go there to realise that wasn’t what I wanted to do. It’s not easy to be fifteen and it’s even harder to be around a fifteen year old but she put the time in.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I don’t dither too much with my ideas; I take them half-baked and try to make it physical. In doing this I always discover I don’t have the necessary ingredients to make it happen and get slowed down giving me time to think, reconsider and start over. After doing this a few times I usually end up with something I’m really pleased with and a small trail of destruction.

What do you have on your pinboard?
I stick things up above my desk with magnets attached to random nails so it can be quite disordered but generally I have a silly poem a good friend wrote (to keep me company), my list of how many birds I’ve made, random reminders that always fall down and never get to remind me and my collection of minute drill bits that I’d lose otherwise.

Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
My studio is usually wherever I’m living but my favourite was an old warehouse in Ancoats, Manchester. It was freezing cold and a little bit lonely but I felt really comfortable and energetic there. I played the same Bright Eyes album over and over until I knew every single word. I can’t imagine my neighbours appreciated that. Otherwise I like to keep the TV on, just for conversation.

Surprising activity/hobby?
People watching but that’s not so unusual really. I get in trouble for staring too much but really I’m just in my own world.

Would you rather be doing something else?
Yes and No. There’s nothing I’d rather do if the creating was all I had to do. The paperwork and networking in between gets to me a bit. Every week I have an idea for a new skill I’d like to learn but it always comes down to art in the end.
I want to be a jack-of-all-trades.

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Friday, 19 September 2008

Brighton Art Fair - Launch

We finally got Brighton Art Fair built, hung and opened with a Private View Party on Thursday night. The feedback amongst the guests was that it was the best selection yet and the show surprises and excites each year. The Private View was quite busy with visitors and there were quite a few sales.

My Camera died at a critical point yesterday so I don't have too many pictures of the art (I'll try and do some tommorrow) but here are some strange pictures of the private view.

We have a lovely review on the artists and makers blog - entitled "Brighton Art Fair is best one yet".

Chris Knight's birds - Chris has displayed 100 birds throught the show - on ledges, stand walls and in a large dove-cote in the cafe area.
The obligatory drinking chanpagne in front of art group shot.

Michelle Ogundehin (editor in cheif - Elle Decoration) and me (Jon Tutton - fair director) after Michelle opened the fair.

Happy campers Annabet and Mel, admiring the art and meeting old friends.

Sarah Youngs fresh (well wet) paintings - still lifes and more figurative narrative work.

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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Artist of the Week - RHODA K BAKER

Rhoda K. Baker


I describe my work as 'Paperscapes'. I create 2 dimensional low relief paper structures out of thick textured paper; often in multiple layers based on repeated motifs and complex patterns. I have a fascination with repetition, hidden messages, codes, ciphers and visual trickery.
I am enthralled by the way unexpected patterns reveal themselves depending on the arrangement of shapes and the prevailing light conditions. Shadows create new visual tricks and alternative views....endless possibilities constantly emerge demanding exploration.
Once I have decided what to do, I become absolutely consumed by the processes of measuring, cutting, gluing, perforating, embossing, scoring and piercing paper. The simplicity of my raw materials belies the intricate and sophisticated results that are achievable. The versatility of the medium and its endless exciting possibilities never cease to thrill and entice me!

My work is predominantly white on white, but more recently colour is creeping in, it is interesting how colour changes the whole way a piece is perceived, much of the subtly is lost but new things emerge.

There is a distinct link in all this to my textile education particularly weaving, which I did at the Royal College of Art in London, I left in 1980.

I am constantly experimenting with other media, though the problem I've got is there is never enough time to explore all ideas, they come too thick and fast to keep up with! Should probably spend less time on the answer to the next question!

Money spent on socialising is never wasted?
Because I really like meeting people and drinking. Having lived and worked rurally in the back of beyond for sometime, I have a lot of catching up to do! Also being an artist can be a very isolating business and I can easily not see anyone for days on end when I am totally immersed in my work. (bit like living rurally come to think of it!)

One favourite living artist?
I adore Peter Blake. He was one of the first artists I encountered when I saw his 'Toy Shop' in the Tate in London. Love his eclecticism, his interest in ordinary everyday objects, pop culture, paper ephemera and lettering. He is obsessed with collecting things and I really hope his personal collections of objects and ephemera can be made available to view by us mere mortals. Saved for the nation perhaps... fantastic job cataloguing it all!

One favourite historical artist?
I am very interested in Ben Nicholson. I particularly like his white on white carved reliefs that he created in the 1930's. They revel in the subtle play of light and shadow, using simple yet intricate forms. The clever balance of shapes, negative and positive, and total lack of colour entice me in.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
My dad recognising my creative urges gave me a truly brilliant book when I was 12 years old, about making all sorts of things with paper; mobiles, Matisse like papercuts, theatrical outfits, paper engineering,sculptural objects and much more. It is an American resource book for teachers, complex and clever (not like most craft type books published now.) It went a bit over my head at the time, but started my life long fascination with the versatility of paper. It has been invaluable ever since and is always a source of inspiration .

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
Not sure if this qualifies but I got a couple of huge fab polish film posters produced in 2006, during Brighton Festival. Unfortunately later spotted then on internet for about half the price! Anyway great quirky strong graphics by Bogna Otto-Wegrzyn.

Last best read?
James Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763. Flowery language sometimes but very personal and engaging.. He talks about picking up prostitutes, getting the clap and the unpleasant cure, and admiring the expanse of fields on the south side of the Thames! My copy has a marvellous map of London with the places he mentions marked on it, some still very familiar. Not so the 'cockpit' near Downing Street!

What do you have on your pinboard?
A really whopping great wish list of tools and materials to experiment with, and some info about artists studios to let which the council has just developed on Brighton seafront.

Where and what is your studio?
I work in the converted loft of my Victorian terrace house in Brighton. Its a truly brilliant space and the first time in my life I have had a proper dedicated studio where I have space to leave work in progress around. Its very hot in the summer though, bit worried about all my paints and glue drying up!
I have been addicted to BBC radio 4 since I was about 16, now I fit their demographic perfectly! I am a recent convert to 'La Fip' a French channel; really eclectic mix of sounds and very danceable if you're in late on a Saturday night!

Surprising activity?
I am totally addicted to rooting around charity shops, flea markets, boot fairs and second hand book shops.. Love vintage clothes and Victorian underwear! Do a lot of retail therapy on the cheap.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Most underrated artist/maker?
Billy Childish. Hugely productive and creative individual, musician, painter,etc. etc. I think he is underrated because he can't be easily compartmentalised... he simply does too much in multiple fields.
A real original character with diverse interests and skills who seems to do exactly what he wants to, and doesn't give two hoots about the 'market place' and the art establishment.... He dresses rather well too, looks like a 1940's chap!

Most overrated artist/maker?
Funny wouldn't have answered this but having just been to the Royal Academy Summer Show and seen her curated room I thought I would. - TRACY EMIN - Just don't like her work...or her taste.....not very analytical I know! ( I'm not trying to suck up to B.C. honest)

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
Well, what a question! I suppose Tate Modern wouldn't be bad. But failing that
I do really like Castor and Pollux on Brighton seafront, but I don't think my work is colourful enough for them! Its a fantastically accessible gallery/shop, with a graphics/printmaking bent.

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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Naive Textile Art

I came across Naive Accessories at a rather somnolent trade fair the other day. Not perhaps a good place to launch a new company to the world but what buyers there were seemed attracted by the originality and designs of Naive Accessories and they were the one stand with a queue.

Naive Accessories is run by daughter and mother - Becks and Susan Jennings - they use traditional techniques and natural materials to produce playful and original designs with a slightly old fashioned feel (in a good way!) The Jewellery cone above is french-knitted in Teeswater wool and crammed with lavender. The idea is that necklaces and other pieces of jewellery hand from the felt hatpins which if moved release the smell of the lavender.
The Cup-cakes again are filled with lavender and rings can be held within the folds of the 'icing' and earings pinned into the knitting.

The Cherryjelly Jewellery Box is handfelted into a vintage jellymould and crammed with lavender and is both a jewellery box (the calico cake stand) and can be used to hang necklaces etc from the bobbles.

Naive Accessories
also do boxes of 'chocolates', Icecream Cones, and Beehives.

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Artist of the Week - Ali Yanya

Ali Yanya. BA. MA. RCA

At the moment I am working on group compositions with shadowy, standing figures against unrecognisable spaces. The main idea behind these images is to draw attention to the transient nature of human existence. Without being too narrative my intention is to achieve a good balance between form and content.

Favourite Historical Artist?
My favourite artist is GIORGIO DE CHIRICO. because of his innovative and enigmatic imagery. Particularly the paintings dating from 1911 - 1920, "deserted city squares filled with mysterious shadows, stopped clocks and sleeping statues."

When and Where Did You First Want To Do What You Do?
I first realised that I wanted to be an artist during my history of art lessons. I felt that I had something to say and add.

At Age 15 Who Influenced Your Style? Was There Any Individual Who Very Much Who Helped you on Your Way?
From the age of 13 I had a summer holiday job working with my secondary school art teacher who had a signwriting workshop. When I finished High School, I was unsure about studying Art at university, it was his influence and confidence in me that led me to apply to the Art School. I had no preparation for the university entrance exam so, he sat me down and ask me a draw a plant which I did... after seeing my drawing he said "don't worry you'll get in!"

How Do You Set About Starting A New Project?
I work continuously thing leads to another!

Surprising Activity?
I love fishing.

Do You Have Good Work/Life Balance?
Even though I work very hard as a lecturer, it is only part-time which means that I get plenty of time to paint and have quality time with my wife and children during the school holidays. I never switch off from my work.

Can Anything Be Art?
It depends on the meaning implied by the artist.

What Do You Think Are Crime Against Taste and Decency in Art?
In my opinion the biggest crime against good taste and decency in Art is, people with influential power imposing their own taste and vision onto particularly young art students as if that is the only thing.

Most Overrated Artist?
FRANK AUERBACH. - In fact he is one of many. "Tons of paint on the canvas" not much is happening. "By the way, that is called painterly!"
Does one need to read all those psychological explanations and essays.

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Monday, 15 September 2008

Artist of the Week - Stephen David's

Stephen David's - Director and co owner of f-art gallery/store in Shoreditch London E2

Self expression painting, drawings Assemblages created as a means to communicate to a wider audience. My work is an extension of me and it a tool I use to communicate my fears my dreams my fun and my outlook. My work is a reflection is a mirror of me in all my complexities.

'Golly Gosh' - an article about Stephen, F'art, and Golly's in the Independent on Sunday

At the moment I am collaboration with an artist and we are working a line of work from prints to paintings. I am currently producing a series of Limited Edition wooden Art Toys that I intend to market through f-art.

Money spent on Crayons is never wasted?
I am an avid connoisseur of crayons and pencils. As long as I have access to paper I can draw and mark make anywhere

One favourite living artist?
Ralph Steadman. I respect his fluidity use of line and his power of execution

One favourite historical artist?
Cy Twombly for his mastery of the naive line and for being the godfather of Abstract Expressionism

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
12 but I was not supported. For years I suppressed my gift and my talent.

What place in the world has inspired you?
New York. I first went to Keith Harings Pop Shop in 1987 in Lafayette Soho and was blown away by the graphics and the sense of fun. I love New York for its mass, its energy and its organized chaos. Museum of Modern Art takes my breath away every time I visit NYC.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I work best in an environment that nourishes me and inspires me. I prefer to work alone as I find that my best work is created when I’m lost in my own thoughts.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
Fabriano Cotton Paper 300 gms smooth – Class!!

At age 15 who influenced your style?
Ralph Steadman – at aged 15 I did not understand Art. I understood comics and comic books.

Last best read?
Black People in British Art 1800 – 1900 Jan Marsh

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
I don’t.

Who would you say buys your work?
Educated, cultural savvy interesting people who are confident who they are and what they like and want.

How do you set about starting a new project?
After care, planning and research I attack with vigor and determination.

What do you have on your pinboard?
A picture of my dead Sharpei dog - Shi

Where and what is your studio?
My studio was a 2000 sq foot warehouse in North London. A stunning space, but it gave me no privacy. I work now in my house which is open plan and light and peaceful.

What is your favourite website? Outsider Art is art made from the Soul. I like the diversity and the stories of the artists and there individual personal journeys.

Surprising activity?
I collect Antique Ledgers

Do you have a good work/life balance?
If you switch off from doing your Art you burn out. Work Life balance is the ultimate in my success as an artist

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Would you rather be doing something else?
No, as Art chose me. I did not choose it. It is who I am.

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Yes, they are on the same – but different forms.

Are their other fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
Interior Design

Guilty secret?
I play the Lottery.

Can anything be 'art'?
In my world anything and everything is ART

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
QVC Channel.

Most underrated artist/maker?
Me. I do not promote myself as much as I should

Most overrated artist/maker?
Too many to mention. The ‘art’ of self promotion in the millennia has overtaken the Art of the Art.

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
The Serpentine

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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Maker of the Week - Alexis Dove

Alexis Dove Jewellery

Feminine contemporary designer jewellery inspired by nature and ancient traditions of adornment. Wild roses, bellflowers, shells and Brighton Ironwork dripping with semi-precious beads and pearls. Rich hammered 22ct and 18ct gold stacking rings twinkling with Indian rose cut and old cut diamonds and diamond beads.

Money spent on Chocolate is never wasted

One favourite maker?
Benvenuto Cellini, the salt cellar commissioned by Francis 1st is considered by some to be the finest piece ever made by human hand!

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I was travelling around Australia and New Zealand working in Agriculture, but became fascinated by all of the galleries and jewellers who were inspired by their environment and became determined to learn how to make jewellery and to stop being a farmer!

What place in the world has inspired you?
India, Thailand, Tibet, ancient Persia, Rome and Greece and my own garden. There is always something to be inspired by.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I work best in collaboration as I share my workshop with Justin Small and we discuss and work on the collections we both produce together. Often we can see the strengths and faults in each other's work and so we can constantly improve what we do.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
I bought a gorgeous knitted bag from Caroline Jaques - it's beautiful.

Last best read (book)?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly I had meant to read it for years and never got around to it.

Who would you say buys your work?
All age groups, but often women buying for themselves, my jewellery is very feminine and women are often drawn to it. When I design a piece I want it to look beautiful on the body and compliment the wearer.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I look in my note book which I always carry around so that if I have an idea I can make a note or sketch. Then when I want to create a new collection I look back and start to piece my ideas together.

What do you have on your pinboard?
A picture of Bonnie and Clyde, a picture of my sister on her wedding day and various pages from Vogue and museum exhibitions.

Where and what is your studio?
I have a gorgeous workshop in The Star Brewery in Lewes, it is small with a mezanine which has my office and a hammock for "contemplation" unfortunately Justin has usually got there before me!!! We listen to radio 6 and 4 and Justin listens to his 60's reggae and Blues CDs.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Brighton Art Fair Banners and Cotton Bags

Ok now for a little vanity - it's great when something you've had a hand in designing goes up all around the home town and it's even better when it looks good. The banners are designed and illustrated each year by the founder of our fair - Sarah Young and have a loose 'transport' theme - this year the lady is leaving Brighton Art Fair happy, with art purchases in her personal submarine. (of course)

On some of our literature the submarine imagery has printed more subdued than we intended but these banners really look great on the seafront and hopefully do the job of enticing art lovers into our show too.

We're well into the countdown for the fifth Brighton Art Fair. The Leaflets went out on the 18th August the banners and posters on Monday. Invites have been posted and the PR campaign spurred into action.

As you can see the sun always shines in Brighton, and we're keeping our fingers crossed for the one good weekend of the summer for the Art Fair.

Also in the post this morning was a pallet of cotton goodybags designed by Sarah Young, to be given away exclusively to visitors to the Brighton Art Fair next weekend! We rather liked the shocking pink last year but perhaps the dusky purple is more classy!

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Rob Ryan - Private view - Free limited edition laser cut for first 50 guests

To celebrate his exhibition
at Castor & Pollux

has produced this limited edition lasercut picture.

It will be for sale as part of the exhibition for £20, but we have fifty to give away to our favourite customers (you!).

This is on a strictly 'first come first served' basis and there is only one per customer, so come and pick your picture up at the private view on
Friday 12th (6-9pm).

You can also order your free picture framed in a wood box frame for £25.

Contact us by calling April or Mike on 01273 773776 or email

The lasercut measures 145x180mm and is in an edition of 500.

The Rob Ryan show runs from 13th September - 20th October, daily 10-5
and features papercuts from Rob's recent book and limited edition prints.

Castor & Pollux is on the beach, halfway between the piers Opposite the bottom of Middle St

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Artist of the Week - PAUL DEBOIS

Paul Debois.

My personal work is usually landscape based, either urban or natural. Over the last 18 months, I have been exclusively working with natural subjects, which naturally lend themselves to the peculiarities of pinhole photography. Although I am a digital convert, my personal projects tend to be an antidote for the constraints placed on me by commercial photographic work and I often use film. It induces a different way of thinking.

One favourite living artist?
I love the work Cy Twombly - although abstract, it is fresh and uncontrived.

One favourite historical artist?
Without any hesitation my favourite historical artist is Turner - his paintings, particularly his later landscapes, are always good reference. I've looked at his work on and off for thirty years - there is always something new to see. Frequently dark and sombre - and like many artists, not fully appreciate until after his death! See the 'Slave Ship' - a fantastic piece of work, with many levels.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
Consciously I don't do this - maybe unconsciously! As previously said, my personal work is an escape from commercial work. In the process of producing new photographs, I'm not really thinking of of the market place. These thoughts usually enter the frame once I have a set of images, when an edit is necessary, perhaps for an exhibition. Choosing the most relevant work with a unified theme becomes important - I suppose this has a leaning towards the market place!

Who would you say buys your work?
A wide range of people of all ages. And some people I've never met!

How do you set about starting a new project?
Difficult! It evolves from one small idea, usually turning into something completely different. I'm not usually a person who starts with a statement. This is something I find completely by accident and then develop. The Pinhole Impressions project started this way. I was experimenting with various film cameras and saw the Lime tree at RHS Wisley in the wind. (picture ref) It was quite sudden and the other images followed naturally.

What do you have on your pinboard?
Dozens of post it notes with obsolete software serial numbers and codes! I keep scrapbooks instead with anything that takes my fancy - often tearsheets, cards etc pages of brochures. I also keep old test prints with notes of what went wrong.

Where and what is your studio?
Don't have a studio as such. I just commandeer rooms around the house as and when necessary, much to my wife's annoyance!

Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
I always work alone - anyone else would be too much of an interference. But always with music - I find it difficult to work in silence. No specific music - depends on the mood, but usually loud. My daughters often tell me to turn it down!

Surprising activity/hobby?
Collecting old vinyl records. I always wanted to have a photograph on a 12 inch album cover - cd's don't have the same appeal to me - but it's unlikely to happen now. Shame as this was always a good source of groundbreaking art work.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I think I have a reasonably good work/life balance as I can spend more time with my children than a lot of people - mainly because I work a lot at home. But I find it very difficult to switch off from my work. Once I've got something going, that's it!

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Would you rather be doing something else?
Never in a million years - but I'd like an accountants salary!

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
Museum of Modern Art, New York - it's one of the greatest museums in the world. Think big!

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