Janie Ranger at Number 10 talks to AOH

Welcome back to Artists Open Houses – how many years have you taken part in the AOH Festival?
I’ve taken part in AOH for about five years now. I used to have a solo show in a tiny basement flat when we lived here part time, but since living in Brighton permanently for the last three years, I’ve had more space and have been able to invite other artists to exhibit with me. I really love showing with other artists. We have a great time chatting to visitors about our work. The gin and wine comes out at 5pm.

Mmm! We must remember to visit you then!
Your work is amazing and incredibly detailed–can you tell us a bit about how it is done and the ideas behind it?

My work is largely informed by my love and collection of bones, insects and other organic matter. I work almost exclusively on paper using inks and water soluble crayons, graphite and anything that makes a mark, but I rarely use paint. I don’t really plan anything beforehand – I sometimes have a vague idea about colour and feelings that I want to evoke. Layer upon layer of colour is laid down and I finally bring the work to life with fine pens and pencils. The process is as organic as the inspiration.  We travel a lot and recently I’ve been working on landscapes from memory.

You have a really great range of guest artists – how do you go about selecting them?
I love artists who use recycled and quirky materials, who produce something of quality, something slightly different, but mostly whose work will fit in as a group and sit well in the space. Artists come by recommendation, but occasionally I will find someone on the AOH website. I’ve twelve other fabulous people showing this May. As I’m setting up the show I have to restrain myself from sticking red dots everywhere!

Artists exhibiting are:
Julie Kuyath Collage artist
Tiffany Lynch  Paintings, prints and cards
Designs from The Engine Room Unique mechanical artefacts
Claire Scott Ceramics
Ayşenil Tosun Ceramic figures
Alej ez Illustration and art
Jewelfloozy Ceramics, sculpture and decoupage
Suzie Waters Twist and Rock handmade jewellery
Matthew Burns Figurative painter
Kate Thompsett Jewellery
Julia Bratton Unique handmade bags and jewellery
Sublime Vintage Handmade and vintage inspired cushions and gifts
Janie Ranger Drawings and paintings

Everyone loves visiting your Open House because of the art, of course, but also because of your eclectic vintage collections  – would you like to tell us a bit about them and how they form part of your Open House?
Our flat has been described as a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ by several visitors. I’ve collected ‘stuff’ for years and can’t bear to get rid of anything. We inherited a lot from my mother-in-law who kept everything (including the family ration books from WW2 and every postage stamp that came through her door). I try to leave out as much as possible for visitors to enjoy. We also have a storage unit full of goodies we have yet to unpack from when we downsized three years ago.
Are you providing any refreshments in your Open House?
We were going to do refreshments this year in aid of Shelter,but circumstances have changed so, sadly,  we will not be able to do so.

What were you doing previously, before becoming a full-time artist?
I worked for Mary Quant as Assistant Designer way back in the 1970’s. There is currently a retrospective exhibition at the V&A Museum in London. Two garments I wore are included in the show together with other items I had a hand in creating.  I was also fortunate enough ten years ago to receive a commission to provide 12 pieces for The Coda Restaurant at The Royal Albert Hall in Kensington. Apparently they are still hanging there.

What are you most looking forward to in opening your house?
We love welcoming people into our home and we are lucky to live in a Regency/Victorian flat in one of the most beautiful squares. I really enjoy meeting and chatting with people about the house, our collections of ‘stuff’ and of course the art works on display. We like people to spend as long as they like (and as much as they want!) here in what we hope is a very friendly atmosphere.

Number 10, 10 Palmeira Square, Hove, BN2 3JB