The 2015 Artists Open Houses festival kicks off this weekend with a whole host of events in Brighton, Hove and Sussex over the four weekends of May.
It is the largest event of its kind in the UK, with approximately 200 houses and studio spaces across the city opening their doors to exhibit the work of over 1,000 artists and makers.
Artists Open Houses offers the chance to buy artworks directly from the artists and makers themselves. There is a hugely diverse selection of artworks on show; from original paintings, prints, graffiti arts, ceramics and textiles to photography, sculpture, crafts, jewellery and many other media.
The houses are grouped into one of 14 trails around different areas of the city, each with its own unique character and atmosphere – from the fishermen’s houses of Hanover to the urban warehouse spaces of the North Laine and cottages of the South Downs village of Ditchling.
This year, the Artists Open Houses festival have chosen British designer Bernard Lodge, best known for his work designing the early Doctor Who title sequences, to design the brochure for this year’s festival. Bernard creates bright and bold woodcuts from his studio near Brighton.
Bernard will be exhibiting some of his woodcut prints, along with last year’s Artists Open Houses Artist of the Year winner Tony Bowen at The Old Market in Hove.
Over 40 new houses will be opening their doors for the 2015 festival, offering an array of new work for members of the public to see.
This year also sees a number of significant anniversaries, with Tichbourne Gallery and Dion Salvador Lloyd celebrating 25 and 15 years of Artists Open Houses respectively. There are also several new houses opening their doors for the first time.
Judy Stevens, Festival Director said, “We are really excited about the broad range of artists exhibiting their work in the Artists Open Houses Festival this year. On show will be work from many professional artists and makers both from within the city and region and guest artists from as far afield as Brazil, Venezuela South Korea and Japan.
“The AOH festival is also a truly inclusive community-wide event, including local schools, charitable, community and health and wellbeing centres. Artists Open Houses is a true believer in the value of arts and culture and its ability to illuminate and enrich all our lives.”
Some of highlights of Artists Open Houses 2015 include:
The Wildlife Photographer, 24 Balfour Road, Brighton
Acclaimed Brighton photographer Andrew Forsyth, one of only a handful of British photographers to make it to the final of the 50th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. His abstract and expressive image was taken during a long-term project on the starling murmurations in Brighton and is currently on display at the Natural History Museum in London.
AOH Artists of the Year & Bernard Lodge, The Old Market Exhibition
Artists Open Houses 2015 cover artist, printmaker Bernard Lodge, will exhibiting his woodcut prints at the Old Market. The exhibition will also feature the work of Artists Open Houses Artist of the Year 2014 winner photographer Tony Bowen.Tony Bowen’s recent work focuses on the exploration of found surfaces in nature and in the urban environment, His work has been shown in the USA and the UK. He was included in the “Art of Photography Show 2012” at the San Diego Institute of Art (California) and awarded an honourable mention in the 2012 Los Angeles International Photography Awards (California).
The Old Market, Marshall’s Row, Brighton, BN1 4JU
The Dog Show, 33 Sillwood Road, Brighton, BN1 2LE
If you love dogs, this house is a must-see. New this year, Joanna Osborne will be opening her Grade 2 listed house to exhibit dog themed art by 10 artists including successful portrait painter Sally Muir, winner of the Holburne Portrait Prize in 2012. Joanna and Sally are authors of the best-selling Best in Show series of knitted animal books. Owner of two cheeky whippets. Sally Muir will also be on hand for on the spot dog drawings on Saturday May 16th (booking essential). As well as a variety of doggy works, including knitted dogs, china and sculptures, there will be dog themed teas and dog biscuits! Dogs welcome.
The Handmade House, Beards Place Farm, 98 Lewes Road, Ditchling, BN6 8TZ
A favourite venue every year, The Handmade House nestled at the foot of Ditchling Beacon is a step back in time. The charming 1930’s cottage offers a wonderful array of work by local artists showcasing paintings, metalwork, sculptures, pottery and ceramics and more.
The Blue House – Screenings, music, book launch plus a small pub!
This house is for those who like to get involved! The Blue House will offer a wide variety of artworks and crafts, including jewellery, painting, photography, illustration, mixed media, wirework, cards and stationery, woodwork and more. Food will be available from Connie’s Kitschen, or try cherry topped cocktail at the Blue Boheme Bar, a fully licensed bar situated in one of the exhibition rooms. Other events include The Big Blue Screening, an evening of short films and live music, or ‘A Taste of the Mediterranean’, where you can expect cocktails and canapes on arrival, and then a sit-down meal of Mediterranean delights. On 16th May Emmi Saud will be launching her book, Luna’s Red Hat, which aims to help children cope with loss and suicide.
35 North Contemporary Fine Art
A new Brighton gallery which opened in September 2014, owners John and Sharon Whiting are veterans of the open house scene having opened their own home as part of the Fiveways Artists Group for the past 15 years. For the 2015 AOH festival the gallery presents an exhibition entitled Two Cities featuring paintings and drawings of New York and London by artist John Whiting. In addition to the gallery, John’s adjoining studio space will also be open to the public offering a unique opportunity to see the artist at work. The gallery will also be hosting performances by masters of brevity and wit Tony Felstead and Dave Waddell on Saturdays throughout the festival. Drop in and enjoy one of their 100 words stories which will be performed on demand – no need to book just press the buzzer and feast your ears on a tiny but perfectly formed tale!
Drawing Circus, Top Flat, 25 Compton Avenue, Brighton, BN1 3PT
An exclusive chance to try your hand at figurative drawing with the extraordinary Drawing Circus – for free! The Drawing Circus are a troupe of Brighton-based performers, musicians, artists, models and drawing tutors who put on theatrical figure drawing sessions in unusual locations. On Saturday 9th May, the Fugitive Ink open house will be taken over for a day of Circus-themed drawing sessions that will encourage everyone regardless of age or ability to make art. Costumed models will pose in domestic circus-sets with basic materials provided; no previous experience is necessary to take part!
Snug Gallery, 7 Caburn Road, Hove, BN3
Curated by artist Rosie Gifford and maker Jessica Christie-Miller, The Snug – which gets its name after its location as a secret, tucked away room in maker Jessica’s house-will be showing work from fashion designer Caroline Goffey, life drawing artist Abigail Bowen, furniture designers Jo Gibbs and Bryonie Porter and plenty more art, sculpture, craft and jewellery. Rosie will be exhibiting her life drawing artwork and Jessica is selling her handcrafted memo boards, adorned with silk flowers, animal skulls, butterflies and feathers.
11 Rugby Road
Every room of artists Dan McKay’s and Adam Johnson flat becomes a work of art for Artists Open Houses festival – even the bath is filled with driftwood and pebbles creating a plinth for the beautiful hand pinched porcelain lights fired in the flat by ceramicist Adam. Dan adds a splash of colour with contemporary graphic design and gifts. In the front garden you will discover a field of pick-your-own ceramic mushrooms. With over ten artists on show, expect to find a truly eclectic mix of arts on show.
Full listings can be found at www.aoh.org.uk