To announce the winners of the Artists Open Houses Summer Festival 2021 an awards event was held at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton. Following good Covid 19 safety practices re social distancing and masks did not stop the nominees and judges enjoying the hospitality kindly organized by Sales Manager Carol Whitney and General Manager Jason Bramwell – and the warm welcome by our host, Festival Director Judy Stevens.
The Artists Open Houses festival provided significant opportunities to hundreds of artists and makers to be a part of the cultural renewal and recovery of the City of Brighton, along the coast and to towns and villages beyond the Sussex downs– giving residents and visitors the chance to see and buy a huge and diverse range of art in venues that included private homes, studios, gardens, lockups and even a funeral directors office! As a great example of a community event (supported by the Arts Council, England and the Brighton and Hove City Council) the AOH festival includes professionals and experienced artists in addition to ‘first timers’, school students, older people in residential care, and charities working with people with mental health or learning disabilities.
The Gemini Print Group team have been a long-standing sponsor and official print partner with AOH. Mark Tulley, Group Sales Director, explained “the partnership of superb art and design with professional printing is something the team is passionate about, so working with Judy, Fiona, and all the AOH venues is very exciting as it highlights the commitment to creativity in Sussex”. Suzanne Heaven, Marketing Director, said “working with the judges and the public nominations produced a ‘short list’ of more than 30 people. When there is so much diverse talent to review reaching the final decisions is a significant challenge. The one thing that everyone agreed on was that every artist, photographer and maker who displayed their work at the AOH Festival this summer deserved applause and acclaim!”
The Judges’ Comments: –
Gemini Print & AOH Artist of the Year 2021
Winner: Faye Bridgwater (AOH venue – 10 Dawson Crescent) Original paintings and the launch of limited editions prints – stunning joyful contemporary work that continued to bring smiles throughout lockdown including a sell-out online exhibition with Glyndebourne which saw Faye make use of the colour green for the first time as she was inspired by the beautiful gardens and rolling downs. Faye has motivated thousands of people in Sussex to become more aware of the “art around them” by launching the popular Facebook group ‘Brighton Skies’.
Highly Commended: Trisha Keith (AOH venue – Bowley and Gallagher) A nursing career had to stop due to severe arthritis – Trisha creates expressive impressionist landscape paintings with a fabulous use of colours and light inspired by locations in Sussex. Vibrant blues, sunshine filled yellows, and calming greens – the natural world in all its beauty.
Highly Commended: Sarah Jones (AOH venue – Milton House, 82 Clyde Road) Born in Yorkshire Sarah was a Brighton University graduate who became a leading illustrator working with leading iconic British brands who is now creating beautiful urban and rural landscape fine art prints – a combination of photography, drawing and collage.
Gemini Print & AOH Photographer of the Year 2021
Winner: Ben Nazarko (AOH venue -358 Ditchling Road) from plumber to photographer Ben has created an extensive portfolio of photography of Brighton and Sussex scenes – and very popular leading contributor and administrator to the Brighton Skies Facebook group that has grown to more than 23,000 members due to the consistent daily flow of beautiful images as everyone is motivated that they can also create great photographs of the landscapes around them.
Highly Commended: Anna Tinner (Princes Crescent Presents) portraits, pets, places, people ……. – with her iPhone! A broad portfolio of work that continues to grow in popularity – a demonstration that you do not necessarily need a collection of photography gear to create great art. Quirky subjects and the ability to engage with so many is reflected in Anna’s work.
Highly Commended: Matt Goddard (AOH venue: The Nature House, 113 Preston Drove) Excellent Sussex countryside and coast landscape photography. Highly skilled and precise with the highest standards of reproduction. He took up photography when he received a camera for his 21st birthday and then it was ill health diagnosed in 2016 that inspired him to make the great outdoors his ‘office’.
Congratulations to all the winners, and our thanks to everyone involved in organising and hosting Artists Open Houses. We can now all look forward to the next AOH festival in the winter.
If you missed seeing the artist’s work at the AOH festival do look at aoh.org.uk for the details how you can contact them.