Sunday, July 10, 2011

OPEN STUDIOS...

The highlight of my neighbourhood's yearly social calendar is definitely the artists' open studios event, which took place last weekend. Living in the nearest leafy green enclave to Goldsmiths and Camberwell art schools has meant that my hood is brimming over with artists of all kinds - ranging from those who have been here for fifty years, to the huge influx of people moving here from East London since the East London extension line opened last year. (There are certainly a lot more hats, beards and bicycles around here than there used to be.) I think a lot of people come here intending it to be a stopgap, fall in love with the area and never leave. This has certainly happened to me - when I moved here almost a decade ago, priced out of posher near neighbours Greenwich and Blackheath, I thought I'd be here for five years at most. Roll on ten and it gets harder and harder to think of ever moving away. I grew up in the commuter belt suburbs, where creativity was definitely not encouraged and there was zero culture of any kind. Anyone claiming to be an artist was viewed with suspicion at best. And then I landed here, attracted by the pretty plum tree lined streets and Victorian townhouses but not really that aware of the flourishing artistic community living and working in the area. I soon found that a side effect of this was finding myself part of an actual community in an area that people cared deeply about - and were prepared to take action to improve for everyone's benefit. It's half an hour's drive and a million miles away from the mentality of people in the suburbs. How I ended up in exactly the right place in the first home of my own is pure luck.


Even though I go every year, I've never posted about the open studios before or taken photos on the way round because essentially people are allowing you into their homes, gardens and work spaces and it feels a bit wrong to go round snapping pictures of their work, homes and them, even if you know them. So last weekend I had my AE-1 on me and just took a few random pictures of what was around me, without being too invasive hopefully. There are certain studios and people I always visit, then we always try to go and see a few new ones we haven't heard of before. It's always interesting and inspiring to see the variety of work and the high standard of the artists living in the area. You get to see inside all the amazing houses you always wondered about, chat with excellent people, see old friends, make new ones and usually have a glass of wine and something to eat at each stop. What's not to love?






You can see all the artists that participated this year here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I fell for your neighborhood the moment you posted about the pony...

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Anon - Haha, I have to go and check on the ponies - the only downside of posting about them is that I get inundated with PR emails about anything to do with horse racing now!

Michelle said...

Looks really interesting. I will have to remember it for next year.

Nicola said...

I have to say Im so jealous, I miss these things so much that I want to try convincing some artists here (Saudi Arabia) to open their studios! Your neighbourhood looks wonderful.

Elizabeth MacCrellish said...

um, yeah-- just another reason I will one day be sleeping on your pull-out couch . . xoox, E

Bombay Beauty said...

sounds lovely - the true meaning of a neighborhood... xo bb

Obaging said...

Nice photos! There is no doubt that geniuses are behind these.

Ceciliae said...

After been burguled for the second time in 4 months in brixton, I feel i can take your blog as an inspiration not only for style, ideas and a good read but also where to move next. You can say your blog is truly inspirational! hope i can find some affordable rent......

LOLA said...

I like your "hood" - a great community of artists. Love the idea of visiting other artists, chatting a bit, having a glass of wine, a snack or two...and learning more about the people who live around you. Nice feeling. Your blog attracted me as I am Lola. Spanish nickname for Dolores.

lola is beauty said...

Ceciliae - ha, thank you, well it still has its issues but twice in 4 months is excessive! If you want to get a balanced view of what Brockley's really like I'd recommend looking at the local blog: http://brockleycentral.blogspot.com/

Lola - Lola says hi!