Monday, 27 April 2009

BAF Bag competition - Win £200

At Christmas we launched a competition worth £200 to spend at the Brighton Art Fair / MADE09 for the most exotic picture of you and one of our art fair bags (any year!). The competition isn't necessarily for a picture of the furthest place in the world - if it were then Christine Ansell's picture would be pretty hard to beat (Brighton Beach in Perth, Western Australia) - although it blew my Amsterdam away by a few thousand miles!.

We'll pretty much need an Antarctic photo to beat Christine's on distance alone so if you want the money you'll have to get creative!

Even if you don't think you can win the £200, send in your pictures anyway and we'll send you a ticket for the art fair.

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Betsy Dadd

We came across Betsy Dadd's work at her degree show the other year and thought her animations were great and in a quiet way outshone all of the other work in the show that year. I believe she's been working at Glyndebourne recently and I came across this animation of hers on YouTube - the compression has ruined the quality but I think you can still get a good feel for the work. I hope she gets the chance to carry on making films I would love to see more work like this.

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Beautiful Brighton Hotels - Offers

Brighton has many wonderful hotels but we are thrilled to be working with three of our favourites in collaboration with the Brighton Art Fair and MADE09.

Hotel du Vin is situated just off Brighton seafront in the Lanes area of the city. Famous for being one of Brighton's most opulent boutique hotels Hotel du Vin not only offers luxury accommodation but also delicious dining in its bistro. Hotel du Vin are offering guests at the Private Views for the Brighton Art Fair and MADE09 reduced rates for the nights of the 1 October and 19 November from £140 Bed and Breakfast.

Hotel Nineteen is a small luxury B&B in the Kemp Town area of Brighton just a 3 minute walk from the Corn Exchange. The hotel is offering a 15% discount to visitors to both the Art Fair and MADE09 and a fabulous 20% discount to artists and makers exhibiting at both events.

One Broad Street is a super but simple guesthouse also situated in the KempTown area. The hotel is offering artists and makers exhibitng at Brighton Art Fair and MADE09 a 10% discount on room rates for a minimum 3 night stay. Booking must be made direct and not via the internet. Tel: 01273 699227.

To be eligible for any of these offers please contact the hotels quoting Brighton Art Fair or Brighton Craft Fair.

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Friday, 24 April 2009

End of the Pier Film Festival - Is Worthing England's Cannnes?

Roll out the red carpet, something unique and rather good is coming to Worthing, (our) much maligned town on the South Coast. It is true that even the locals expect Captain Manwaining to march round the corner at any moment and the journalists insist on padding the local papers with old news from World War II, however for one week at the end of April, Worthing plays host to to an international Film Festival - a lot of short films and a few UK and World Premiers of feature films - you might just see actors such as Brenda Blethyn, Christopher Walken and Alfred Molina walk the red carpet at the End of The Pier Film Festival.

The Festival does have a number premiers of feature films - including Undertaking Betty - (a riotous look at small town Welsh country life centered around competing funeral homes) on 1May.

The Festival kicks off tomorrow with the world premier of a new British feature presentation Ambleton Delight:

This all Sussex film, stars local Brighton actor and celebrity Brian Capron, who will be attending the celebrity screening along with, we hope, the cast and crew. The story revolves around a small fictional Sussex village by the name of Ambleton, which is rocked by a government proposal for a nearby motorway. (Sound familiar?) Filmed exclusively in Sussex, the film showcases local talent and scenery. Former Coronation Street star Capron, whose television career dates back to ‘Z Cars’ in the 1970s, plays the role of the village mayor. Ambleton Delight is Dan Parkes feature debut. A native New Zealander, Dan has been developing his Brighton based production company, Parke’s Productions, for several years. The film is supported by the End of the Pier International Film Festival's film development fund.

The festival continues all week at the Ritz Cinema in Worthing and specialises mostly in short and low budget movies
Saturday is the Drama and student shorts,
Sunday is Yong Filmakers competition,
Monday is Made in Worthing day,
Tuesday is documentary films,
Wednesday is European shorts,
Thursday International Films,
Friday is comedy shorts and
Saturday is the Awards ceremony and another UK premier - Photoshoot with John (Nasty Nick) Altman.

In addition to the screening of the shorts there is a feature presentation each day - see website for details.
Tickets available here

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Online Shop of the Week - The Shop Floor Project

The Shop Floor Project was set up by mother and daughter team Denise and Samantha Allen as a direct response to the need for a space where artists and designers from around the world could sell their work. The website is visually very funky and fresh - a mix of drawings, images from magazines and stills from film sets are collaged together to form the space. Denise and Samantha look to artists and makers who can offer limited edition or one off pieces to make the store as unique as possible.

Work for sale ranges from ceramics to textiles, furniture to books and hats to kitchen linens. My absolute favourites are the glorious tattoo tights! How gorgeous?

The Shop Floor Project has been been featured in a new book called iCatching which selected 40 innovative websites from around the world. They deserve it!

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Perdita Sinclair on Cork Street

Perdita Sinclair who exhibited at the Brighton Art Fair in 2008 is currently showing her work at the Hay Hill Gallery on Cork Street in London as part of their 'Life is a Dream' exhibit.

On April 8th Perdita also gave a talk on her work to the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute called 'Art from Evolution'. This talk will be published as an essay which Perdita is happy to send to anyone interested. Please contact her on

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Becky Blair at Castor & Pollux Private View Friday 24 April

You can read all about Becky as Artist of the week this week. Or pop into Castor and Pollux and see her vibrant, colourful paintings for yourself.
You can also see the full collection here

Or contact for further information.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Help Me!

We have the May festival coming up in Brighton in less than a fortnight's time. This year guest curated by Anish Kapoor who is doing some site specific works, we also have 200 Open Houses to go to and quite a few other exhibitions and events. Sarah and I are also exhibiting in 2 exhibitions - the pressure is on.

(Anish Kapoor)

In order to cover even the best bits of visual art and design for the blog in good time for other people to go and see the exhibitions, I need some help!

If anyone has a camera, and fancies a go at writing, please go round some exhibitions (ask to take photos) and write why an exhibition/open house is worth going to, what's good and why, what's unique or interesting - take some photos and submit 4 or 5 paragraphs to me and if we like it we'll put it up on the blog. (if you don't like something just ignore it)

It can be a fun thing to do, and you can publicise what you think is good.

(Christian Funnell The Forge South Heighton Newhaven)

If you want to write for us during the festival let me know and I could point you to previously good houses or just follow your nose.

The festival and the fringe brochure is already out and the Open House Brochure is launched tommorrow complete with a new curated art trail called HOUSE.

Contact if you can help.

(Sarah Young - 'The House of Newts' South Avenue Kemptown)

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Berwick Church - A visit, a walk and a drink.

At the weekend we had a beautiful walk on the Downs at Berwick, between Brighton and Eastbourne. For anyone looking for a beautiful place to walk and a good pub this is a great spot. The Downs are stunning and at this time of year all the fields are turning yellow with the Rapeseed plants coming into flower. The Cricketers is a lovely old pub with good food and good sized garden.

The spire of Berwick Church can be seen for miles and inside the church are murals by artists from the Bloomsbury group.
Influenced by the frescoes of Renaissance Italy, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant transformed this traditional Sussex church with a series of murals. They used their friends as well as local people and places to depict the life of Christ against the background of war torn Britain.
Opening hours
Open everyday until dusk.
Location and contact details:
Berwick Church,Berwick,East Sussex
Telephone: 01323 896008

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Brighton Art & Design Guide - IO Gallery

Brighton Art and Design Map
IO Gallery

io gallery – is a small gallery owned by 6 Brighton designers and artists;
Tania Corbett (Painter), Cath Laffan(jewellery and metal sculpture), Sebastian Pedley (fine artist and cabinet maker), Julian Stephens (jeweller), Dermot Kennedy (jeweller) and Michael Seal (design work – lighting, games, and fine art installations)

Tania Corbett says that the location is important because "Brighton has plenty of artists and craftspeople looking for places in which to show their work, and also attracts a wide selection of people – both resident and visitors, who are keen to purchase locally produced artworks"

The gallery is situated in Sydney street in the North Laine part of the city.
"It’s an excellent location for us because the people who shop in this area are normally looking for things which they probably wouldn’t find in the high street – and enjoy exploring the wide range of independent shops which make this part of town special"

The owners were all practicing artists or makers who felt it would be good to have some kind of more direct control over the retailing of their work. As a group, their range of skills was pretty diverse and all useful when they first converted and opened the gallery.

IO have invited many other local artists to show their work, and eventually have built up a list of around 140 artists. The gallery pay the artists regularly each month for all of their sales, so good administrative systems and enthusiastic helpers in the gallery are essential. Being so firmly grounded with the local arts community is important in enabling customers to get exactly what they are looking for - "we do make a strong point of organizing individual commissions, and can get all sorts of local work made to specification."

IO prioritizes showcasing locally produced, high quality but affordable arts and crafts. They have a wide range of work in different mediums – jewellery, painting, ceramics, glasswork, textiles etc…
IO also have themed exhibitions in the basement gallery space.

The gallery has a colourful, bright and funky feel. IO show a lot of work in a relatively small space so it has always been important to find the right balance between diversity and an overall cohesiveness.The wall mounted 2D work tends towards the abstract, semi abstract or decorative, and this harmonizes well with the exuberant shapes and colours of the glass and ceramics and jewellery.

IO currently show the work of about 40 jewellers, the majority of whom live within about five miles of the gallery.
Jewellers include Anne Schilk, Emma Wilcocks, Julian Stephens and Cath Laffan.
Paintings by Sebastian Pedley and Tania Corbett.
Prints by Helen Brown who produces beautiful images of the South Downs.
Guy Holder produces a constantly popular range of ceramic birds.
Richard P J Ray shows a variety of glassworks, many of which take images of Brighton and Hove as a starting point for his imagery.

The next themed exhibition is an exploration of the idea of ‘Deity’ and will incorporate the work of five local artists working in various media from metalwork to painting to poetry.
This show is scheduled to run through May‘09 as part of Brighton Fringe Festival.

"our customers are probably about 50% local and 50 % visitors to Brighton.
We are fortunate to have many very loyal customers, who come specifically to us when they want to find a special gift for a birthday or wedding or suchlike.
We do make a strong point of organizing individual commissions, and can get all sorts of local work made to specification."

Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Artist of the Week - Becky Blair

Becky Blair

Describe your work?
None of my paintings are planned. They appear organically through a web of under-painting. Lacy pools of watery paint, applied layer upon layer, provide the groundwork for my landscapes and people to appear. I aspire to imagery that’s fleeting and momentary and has the potential to be poignant. To retain some mystery, and have gaps for the viewer to explore with their own imagination.

One favourite living artist?
Peter Doig, for his ability through painting to overwhelm me with mystery and excitement. His exhibition at Tate Britain blew me away, I don’t feel words really begin to explain the dramatic effect his paintings have, that’s the beauty of them, they are beyond words.

One favourite historical artist?
Picasso, for making it look so easy and the earthy joy of painting that oozes from his work.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I never decided to be a painter, it just kind of happened out of me always focusing on doing what I felt like doing and people liking it.

What place in the world has inspired you?
India for its daily magic.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
At 15 my style was purely influenced by what I could manage when coping with the medium whether it was paint, pastel or pencil. And I think my art teacher and my parents helped me along by being into Art and seeing it as a subject to pursue seriously.

How do you set about starting a new project?
By switching my brain off.

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is in Brighton Phoenix, I have a wonderful spacious studio with 5 massive windows providing the natural light I need to work. I work by myself which I have done for about 10 years, I like the freedom of solitude. I listen to radio 4 a lot, but when that fails to please; folk, funk or rock’n’roll do the trick, almost never silence.

Guilty secret?
Picking my nose

Can anything be 'art'?
Yes, but it might be shit

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art?
Good taste and decency.

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Friday, 17 April 2009

Brighton Art & Design Guide - Ink_d

Brighton Art and Design Map

Gallery Director Jenny Ogilvie and Studio Director Dan Hipkin opened Ink_d in April 2007, in what was a disused Tattoo Studio - hence the inspiration for the name Ink_d (an American term for getting a tattoo and because they have a print studio downstairs) This small gallery is next door to Bill's cafe in the North Laine - down the hill from 'infinity foods'.


Jenny and Dan both worked for the print store artrepublic for a while before wanting to specialise in more original work and produce limited editions for the artists they worked with.

Req 1 - Girl

The gallery has become best known for urban and street art "although we are much more open minded than that! We just have to love what we show in the gallery. We also support a lot of local artists"

Obscure - Estate of the Living Dead

Jenny and Dan "wanted to create a relaxed space to show great contemporary art. The inside of the gallery is not the usual stark white walls. We even hang work in the kitchen and toilet areas!"
Maria Rivans

Gallery artists include Stanley Donwood, Modern Toss, Peter Blake, Miss Bugs, Eine, IMBUE, Pinky, Joseph Loughborough, Maria Rivans, Lester Magoogan, Graham Carter, Chris Kettle, James Cauty, REQ and Obscure and many more besides.

Joseph Loughborough

Exhibitions Lined up this year include

Modern Toss,
Lidia de Pedro,
Zachary Walshe,
Miss Bugs &

James Caulty

Ink_d Gallery/Studio
96 North Road
01273 645 299
Opening hours: 10am-6pm Monday – Saturday (closed Sunday)

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Thursday, 16 April 2009

Should Artists Pay to Exhibit?

I went along to an artists preview of a lovely new gallery space under construction in a so far gallery-less town on the South Coast. The space is in a historic building on the Seafront by the centre (but not in the centre) of town. The gallery itself looks like it will be smart - making use of the iron framework of the recently renovated Edwardian building with stripped back bricks, studio lighting and illuminated plinths.

The Gallery will be owned by the cafe and caterers who occupy the other unit in the building and run the impressive function rooms upstairs. The owners haven't any experience in the arts but are enthusiastic, want to make a quality and interesting gallery and are employing a consultant for advice and to initially source artists.

All well and good until I looked at the contract - 40% commission which seemed fair for a town not renowned for art appreciation or buying, however there was also an administration charge of £5 per item (refunded if the work sold) and a daily hire charge of £1 per item (refunded if the work sells).

Therefore if an artist exhibits 5 paintings for a month and sells 2 at £200 each then the artist would receive a reasonable £240 in commission for the paintings, but would owe the gallery £105 for the 3 unsold paintings.

I've been told (by the consultant) that many galleries operate this sort of arrangement and that it is the only way a gallery in this sort of location would be "sustainable". We personally haven't come across this sort of arangement in 15 years of exhibiting - we have hired venues occassionally but this was a hire charge and we kept all the proceeds. This contract seems to be the equivalent of a "each way bet" whereby the gallery gets paid whether or not the artwork sells.

Could someone tell me whether this is a common type of contract? have they come across it before? and if so have they had good experiences of it? Have I missed any advantages to the artist? or should artists support this contract as the price of getting a (hopefully) decent gallery in a galleryless town?

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Brighton Art & Design Guide - Abode

Brighton Art And Design Map

Lynda Everett & Phillipa Bereton opened Abode in 2004 in Kensington Gardens in the lively North Laine area of Brighton - an area full of interesting independent shops and cafe's.

Ibride Bernardo Tray stag

Abode specialises in well designed interiors, accessories and small furniture.
Makers and designers stocked by Abode include interiors accessories by Clarissa Hulse, Iittala, Marimekko, Design House Stockholm, Rachel Barker, Missoni Home

Interior of AbodeJonas Grundell - Nordic Light candlestick

Alvar Aalto Votive Candle Holders

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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Government Announces Something Quite Interesting

Hazel Blears the 'communities minister' has announced plans to help invigorate rundown town centres by allowing Artists and Social enterprises to use empty shops at little or no cost on short temporary contracts.

Hazel Blears said "Town centres are the heartbeat of every community and businesses are the foundation so it is vital that they remain vibrant places for people to meet and shop throughout the downturn.

"Empty shops can be eyesores or crime magnets. Our ideas for reviving town centres will give communities the know how to temporarily transform vacant premises into something innovative for the community - a social enterprise, a showroom for local artists or an information centre - and stop the high street being boarded up"

There is to be a £3million fund to give small grants to help enterprises take over empty shops.

There is already a movement helped in part by local authorities to use vacated premises for artistic ventures, and a network has been formed to share experiences, information and publicise temporary spaces.

Some small businesses have criticised the scheme saying that they need help and more art galleries and information centres won't stop the decline of the high street but the initiative points out that low cost temporary shops have in the past allowed businesses to take chances that they wouldn't have been able to given long leases and high rents and many of these temporary spaces have spawned successful enterprises. One example is Neals Yard who took over a disused warehouse in Covent Garden and are now a huge cosmetic and herbal medicine company and Neals Yard has helped to create a thriving area of small independent shoppng/businesses in a previously rundown area of central London.

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Friday, 10 April 2009

Brighton Art & Design Guide - Castor and Pollux

Castor and Pollux
Brighton Art and Design Map

Our favourite shop/gallery in Brighton opened in December 2002 in a small section of a more or less damp and derelict left luggage office on Brighton Beach, halfway between the two piers. The cavernous gallery now occupies three arches running under the promenade and Kings Road from the beach, and has an art & design bookstore, two gallery spaces for exhibitions and a gallery shop which shows jewellery, ceramics and textiles. At the back of the gallery is a framing workshop and pottery studio, where much of the stock is produced.

Mike Levy, the gallery director, says that the location is the key to Castor and Pollux - he scoured the South Coast for ten years before finding the right spot.

A huge amount of effort and time went into transforming these damp dark arches into a light, clean space. The initial transformation took 6 months and improvements are ongoing each winter.

Mike is a pottery designer and understands the gallery business from both sides, looking after and encouraging artists and presenting a gallery that encourages visitors to stop, linger and buy.

Castor and Pollux has an interesting, changing and varied selection of products and artists including - Michael Anchin, Anita Klein, Jonny Hannah, Mike Levy, Angie Lewin, Becky Blair, Rob Ryan, Paul Catherall, Chris Corr, Riley Burnett, Andrew Mockett, Suzanne Potter and Sarah Young.

Exhibitions this year.

Andrew Mockett, wood cut prints and handmade books
Becky Blair, new paintings
Paul Davis, drawings and prints
Derek Yaniger, prints
Sarah Young, new prints
Mike Levy, new pottery
Andy Lovell. screen prints (Not exhaustive and not necessarily in that order)

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