Guest Blog by Jon Tutton (Tutton and Young)

Image: As Intended BPF17

This year we’re not running the Brighton Art Fair as the Corn Exchange is unavailable due to an extensive restoration but we’ve taken the opportunity to play and organise a show that we’ve been thinking about for some time.

Sarah and I have a strong history as printer and printmaker, right from when we first started working together. We first started exhibiting prints at generous friends Open Houses in the Round Hill area, then Stanford Avenue and then Queens Park before we opened our own new studio Atelier51 as an open house in Central Brighton. Printmaking has always been a special interest and an area we are keen to promote.

So preparations are in full swing for the first Brighton Print Fair which kicks off with the Private View on Thursday.

It’s a totally new type of show for us, a new format; the show takes place over 10 days, is free entry to the public and there are lots of classes, talks and other events including an additional one day printers tabletop fair – the Brighton Wayzgoose on Saturday 23rd. We’re also hanging the show in a new way, using magnets to hang the prints unframed and unmounted.
To be honest we’re wondering what we’ve taken on by organising such an extensive and complex show, and one where virtually everything is new for us!
Jane Walker BPF17

Image: Jane Walker BPF17

However the response has been great from both the exhibitors and the public. We’ve got a great selection of printmakers exhibiting in both the main printmaking exhibition and the tabletop show (where printers can sell printed produce – textiles, books, ‘zines etc). The classes are getting sold out already but we still have spaces on the one hour courses on Saturday and Sunday where both adults and children can and learn the basics and produce simple screen prints – book the whole family!.

So days and nights at the moment are being taken up making print browsers, preparing signage and labeling. We’re leafleting, and putting up posters at the moment as well trying out guerrilla marketing (such as chalking the pavements with logos and arrows pointing the way to the Phoenix)
This Wednesday the big build begins! We have to line the whole Phoenix gallery with 400 metres of steel strips (so that the magnets have something to stick to) paint over the strips and build 50 print browsers, carefully hang the work of 70 artists, lable everything, organise a pop-up print shop and look smart, cool and collected for the start of the Private View on Thursday evening!

We’re a little daunted but we think that the show will be one of the most engaging shows we’ve ever organised, with a lot going on as well as a lot of interesting artist’s prints to buy. Its free of charge to visit so do come along