Hi Lucy – it’s great to have you back in the AOH festival.
Thank you – lovely to be back!
Whereabouts is your Open House?
studio55 is at 55 Woodruff Avenue Hove, BN3 6PH. It’s within a couple of minutes’ walk of Hove Park, about ten minutes on foot from Hove Station and on bus routes 21, 21A, 59A, 55, 27B. It also has the luxury of no parking restrictions so visitors can drive here and easily park for free.
Although a little away from the other Open Houses we are happy to be part of the Hove Arts trail, number 22 on the map.
Your brochure image is of nailing jelly to the wall! Can you tell us something about the ideas behind your work?
I make a visual commentary on the frustrations and joys of daily life, injecting humour as I flag up the absurd, the everyday and the obvious.
The jelly for example (Impossible Task Tasked jelly, nail ) demonstrates how with a little creative thought even the most seemingly insurmountable obstacle, in this case the allegedly near impossible task of nailing jelly to wall, can be overcome.
The apples and pears running neatly up the staircase (To Bedfordshire apples, pears) reference the old familiar Cockney rhyming slang expression in a simple, site specific, unobtrusive way, while a stack of 500 leaflets, one crumpled and discarded (21st Century Paradox printed paper) with SAVE THE TREES printed on each one, serve to highlight the complexity and challenges of fighting environmental disaster and climate change from within the comfort of a consumerist and wasteful society.
My aesthetic is minimal, orderly, at times geometric, and more often than not monochrome. I’m also fond of a cube.
You have a broad range of artists exhibiting with you. How did you select them and curate the show?
There are 12 of us exhibiting at studio55, many of us, including myself, have recently completed an MA in Fine Art at The University of Brighton, some are still studying on the same course, and others who are not formally trained but are very talented artists in their different disciplines. We have painters, mixed media artists, a 3D and craft specialist, conceptual artists, photographers, sculptors, installation artists and a glass sculptor.
My aim in returning to the AOH festival was to create a very different experience to all the other wonderful Open Houses, both for the exhibiting artists as well as for our visitors: A White Cube style contemporary art gallery within a family home. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted studio55 to be: contemporary, not cluttered; art, not craft; crisp, not cramped; show, not shop; white cube not beach hut. Luckily, I live in a pretty minimal environment anyway and my children are used to their belongings being whisked away to behind closed doors and into cupboards as soon as soon as they put them down, so our home lent itself quite easily to the White Cube concept.
We installed, uniformly at queen’s eye level, gallery style, and had consistent labelling throughout to maintain the feel of a gallery environment.
I selected artists who I felt would embrace the White Cube concept and whose work would be sympathetic to that environment. The space available at studio55 is such that each artist was able to have their own area, including my studio, my son’s music studio in the garden, the greenhouse, the garden, as well as most of the ground floor rooms in the house. Each artist, once onboard, told me what they would like to exhibit and with their input I worked out which space would best suit their needs whilst showcasing their work and contributing to the flow of a cohesive exhibition.
Working with the other artists in installing, promoting and invigilating our Open House has been a genuinely enjoyable and hugely positive experience, a great group of people who have been perfect to share this experience with.
Is there also some outdoor work in the garden?
There is some fantastic work in the garden; amongst others: Now You See Me – our resident green sheep, Risen– a stunning block of granite ‘planted’ into the ground, Nature Tidied Up a white granite cube seemingly growing from a bed of white cobbles and White Cube Gallery– a three meter high stack of cubes made from white plastic plumbing components.
What do you like best about taking part in Artists Open Houses?
I love everything about it! From the initial concept, to selecting the artists, planning the space, curating the exhibition, designing flyers, engaging with social media, hosting the Private View, invigilating, welcoming enthusiastic members of the public into my home, being part of the Hove Arts trail with their members’ wealth of knowledge and experience and the underlying enjoyment of being part of an exciting and vibrant Arts festival in my own home city.
On a more personal level, living with the installed art in my home on a daily basis and having an unusually high house guest count of excited family members and friends is a massive added bonus.
I’ll miss it when it’s gone.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
We commissioned a local filmmaker, Ed Inglis, to make a one-minute video of the house, including an example of the work of each of the 12 artists. This has been widely used on social media and might be something that other houses may want to consider for next year. If nothing else, it’s a lovely record of the event and experience.
Hope to see you at studio55 soon!