Becky Blair, 2021 AOH brochure cover artist, is preparing her Open House…
Photo credit: Emma Lee
Hi Becky, congratulations on being this year’s brochure cover artist! What does it mean to you to be the AOH cover artist?
I am so pleased and honoured to have my artwork on the cover of this year’s Artists Open Houses brochure and on publicity around Brighton. I love Brighton and it’s a wonderful place to be a working artist, it is a vibrant and youthful city. So to have my artwork going up on posters, lampposts and billboards is such an amazing feeling! I am really proud to be a Brighton artist and this is the perfect opportunity to shout about it. I think we are all so ready for and keen to be able to attend art events which makes this a really special experience.
Although you have exhibited in the Artists Open Houses Festival for many years, this is the first time you have opened your own house. Can you tell us about your exhibition and how you are preparing for it?
We are opening up for the first time and it feels very exciting as I get to curate the whole show and make the house really beautiful. I want to create a dreamy quality so it is very much focused on the colours within the space, I am painting the walls this week so that the colours in the paintings hum. We are keeping the space simple, with art pieces from a small selection of Brighton makers. I really like shops and galleries that don’t overwhelm me with too many things, so I have taken that as reference point. I want people to come in and be inspired, and feel great. Plus you can find something beautiful made by hand in Brighton, which is a great way to support the small local businesses. It’s a feel good house, we are all about a feel good feeling.
What are you most looking forward to?
Seeing all the artworks out and up. Meeting lots of people and hopefully seeing lots of happy faces! Meeting more of my neighbours. I think interacting with people is going to be a real buzz and possibly quiet exhausting.
You have been working on a really interesting new ceramic project – would you like to tell us about it?
Yes! So I approached Rachel Entwistle end of 2019 with this idea of me painting on her pots. It was such a joyful experiment that turned out better than we could ever have planned! The collaboration was ready to launch in May last year, but obviously that all slowed down with lockdown and we finally released our first collection online in October 2020. It went so well and sold out, so we have a new collection that we are in the final stages of completing and we are very excited about being able to launch it at my house as part of AOH!!!
You have also received some very prestigious commissions in the last year or so – would you like to tell us a bit about them?
I have been so lucky in the last few years with some great companies approaching me to take my artwork into homewares, fashion and product design. In 2018 I had a rug made by Habitat using one of my pastel drawings, blown up hundreds of times bigger to create this really stunning hand-tufted and carved rug. Then at the end of 2019 I was approached by Gorman which is the most amazing Australian fashion house, which every season has a collaboration range with an artist. When I received the email where they first proposed the idea, I ran around the house screaming! They have been such an incredible brand to work with, so professional, prompt and considerate. It’s really great as a very small one-man band business to get the chance to work with these industry giants and walk away feeling like they treated you as an equal. I do have a few other projects in the pipeline but its early days, so I can’t say any more!
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Well I am in the mid stages of producing one of my paintings as a silk scarf, which has required a lot of research and asking a lot questions. I am waiting for the sample to arrive any day soon and crossing all my fingers that I will have a few ready to show at the AOH this year!
See Becky’s Open House:
Becky Blair and Friends
66 Brading Road, Brighton, BN2 3PD
In the Hanover Trail
Photo credit: Hugh Fox