If I could speak to a younger version of me, the one that left university with less confidence in her creative ability than when she started. I’d tell her, ‘It’ll be ok. Your passion for art will come back, you just need a little time, the right set of circumstances and a few inspiring ‘mentors’ to find your way again’.
It may have been over 20 years, but it was worth the wait!
Brighton Artist Open House; is so much more than art!
Last month I opened my home for the 3rd time for the Brighton Artist Open Houses festival. It’s become an annual event that’s very much a part of my life, something that I’m immensely proud of. Not just for the art that I’ve created, but for the people I’ve met and the community I’ve become part of.
When I opened my doors in 2019 I had no idea where it would lead, I just knew I wanted to be part of a festival that I had loved so much, as an observer for so many years.
Back in London, when I was feeling lost and confused by life’s choices, or what at the time, seemed to be a lack of them for me. I knew there was something missing in my life. At the time I thought it was a family of my own, or perhaps a partner, but I’ve come to realise that it was a lack of community and a sense of purpose.
That purpose it turns out, is helping others and experiencing the joy that art brings.
From the smiles on guests’ faces when they stepped over my front doorstep, to the laughter we shared amongst artists. It was 100% worth the time and effort that I put into this year’s festival.
Due to the time restraints of launching a new business, I wasn’t able to be as creative in the run-up to the festival as in previous years, but I needed have worried, as the response from guests was at some times overwhelming.
To some, I realise this might seem over the top, or even self-indulgent, but for me, it’s those reactions and the ‘thank yous’ from the artists that make it all worthwhile.
It’s the reason why I will be going again in 2024!
I’ve previously written about how the sense of community has played an important role in my happiness over the last 5 + years. Being ‘part of something’ that brings so much joy to people, makes me smile. The tears that followed the end of the festival were an honest reflection of those feelings, I didn’t want it to end.
Bringing joy through art
When I started Artists Open House in 2019, I didn’t have a particular method for its curation, aside from filling my home with art I love. That continues to be the direction for my home, and it just so happens that the art I love also seems to bring a smile to many faces.
One of the reasons I love art is because it’s so subjective. It reminds me that we are all different and we should embrace those differences, rather than let them pull us apart.
I choose to fill my home with art that ‘lifts’ the mood. Nothing too deep, but full of colour and creative design. I also like to think that the ‘mood’ is mirrored in the artists I share my home with.
In a world where the media focuses so much on doom and gloom, it’s refreshing to feel part of something that feels so positive.
Coaching provides direction and tools for creativity
By using the tools I’ve learned through life coaching I have rekindled my passion for creativity.
I try to reframe my thoughts around my own ability and use coaching tools to manage creative bumps in the road.
Unlike in 2019, I can now say ‘I am an artist’, which is a huge step in my confidence.
I still struggle to take compliments, but I’m learning.
My confidence is growing and that’s in part influenced by the people I surround myself with and the way I try and talk to myself. It’s not always easy, but what is?
Some of the best results come from trying things out and making what seem like mistakes. I’d argue there’s no such thing as mistakes, as long as you learn something from them. That’s the same in art.
How do you feel when someone buys your work?
Prior to 2019, the only piece of art I’d ever sold was when I was 17, at my end-of-college show. It was a life drawing, a piece that I was immensely proud of, even before it was sold. Fast forward to my first in-person sale of one of my original pieces at Artist Open House and I had no idea I’d feel so emotional.
Rhythm was created at a defining moment of the pandemic. For those of you who are based in the UK, you’ll no doubt remember the ‘exercise rule’ that was imposed on us. Let’s say I took full advantage of that rule and the beautiful beachfront in Brighton and Hove and ran and ran. Up and down I went, a time to process thoughts, and feelings and watch the world (well at least Brighton’s runners and walkers) go by.
When you sell art, it’s quite a strange feeling. I’m starting to realise, it’s ultimately an emotional process, influenced by the ‘sale process’ and the feelings associated with the piece. For instance, selling to a family who I got to meet, was such a different experience than selling online. Equally valid, but there was something about seeing their reaction to the piece, which touched me.
Every year of Artists Open House has been equally brilliant, but each one brings different emotions, learnings, and a wonderful set of new connections and friendships.
I can’t wait to see what creative memories I continue to make, and how I can shape Artist Open House 2024!
I hope you stay with me on that journey!