About the Artists
In our original gallery in The Pantiles we primarily exhibited the work of our prolific Artist in Residence - Andrew Redden. However, with the enhanced space that the Forest Row gallery provides we are delighted to be showing the work of an increasing number of other highly skilled artists profiled here.
Most of the artists we represent have their studios in Sussex, Kent and surrounding areas and their work reflects the beauty of local landscapes, architecture, wildlife, trains and heritage.
Andrew has painted and drawn for as long as he can remember. As a child he was also a prolific model kit builder – predominantly aircraft and ships – as well as being fascinated by wildlife and fishing. All of these, coupled with a love of coastal landscapes, the English countryside and historic architecture, have profoundly influenced the subject matter of his paintings and drawings.
He studied art at Canterbury developing a portfolio and social skills that enabled him to land his first job in a major London advertising agency. This was the tail end of the 'Mad Men' era, so there were no computers and plenty of thinking and drinking on your feet. Andrew learned a whole range of traditional skills from typography to quality control of the production process working across press, print and television. His favourite medium was the poster.
As his career built through various big name agencies, he won many creative awards for his work on accounts such as British Airways, Tesco and Motorola. But he always kept his hand in, occasionally creating original artwork for campaigns, as well as a set of illustrations for a children's book. In 2003 the corporate world lost its appeal and Andrew decided to return full time to his love of painting and drawing.
Initially he specialised in wildlife, working in pencil, oils and acrylics. He also produced book illustrations for Christopher Helm and a number of commissions for naval and air force organisations. He exhibited at Hampton Court and Tatton Park and held a number of successful one-man shows.
In recent years, other influences have affected his work, particularly a growing love for pre-war design and technology and the bold, evocative images of the railway posters of the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
Andrew exhibits at a few select galleries on the south coast and Cornwall, but by the most comprehensive and up-to-date collection of his work is to be found at the Rare Skills Gallery.
Jan has always loved painting and it has become more and more of a passion throughout her life. Inspired by nature, she paints mainly landscapes that are more abstract than representative.
Her paintings are experimental combining wet in wet, inks, pencils and wax to add texture to her watercolours.
As she says "It is exciting just to let the paint run and granulate, then explore the possibilities they represent."
Jan began exhibiting in 2002 in Brighton Festival Open Houses. More recently her paintings have been accepted for the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and The Society of Women Artists both at the Mall Galleries, London.
Graham's paintings are mostly inspired by the unique landscape and architecture of East Sussex.
Famous local landmarks, neglected Oasts, ancient churches, the humblest of cottages and sheds...all are depicted meticulously predominantly using layer upon layer of carefully stippled acrylic paint on board.
Little is overlooked: roadside telephone boxes, post boxes and all forms of signage have an important role to play in his compositions, resulting in a stylised realism or 'unnatural perfection' for which his paintings have become well known.
Graham's passion for architecture has led to many commissions for house portraits, and also for such iconic buildings as York Minster, Batemans, Gisborough Priory and Belle Tout Lighthouse. All are portrayed with the same attention to detail that has become such a recognisable feature of his work.
Painting is an extension of Alison's imagination, a
way of expressing how she feels about
colour, pattern and texture. Alison may start out with specific subject matter,
but likes to let the paint speak for itself, which is why she loves
watercolour. It also lends itself to experimentation, and combined with other
media is diverse and interesting. Much of Alison's work is now on canvas.
Alison's paintings usually start with a structural base, layered up with a mix of collage, sometimes relating to the subject. Although she likes atmosphere and space, she also gets excited about structures and architecture, which she builds up with pattern, collage and paint. Alison also likes to think that there are stories in her paintings that invite speculation - a throwback perhaps to the days when she was a magazine editor.
Alison is a member of various artists' groups,
including the Sussex Watercolour Society and the Association of Sussex Artists,
and exhibits regularly each year wherever she can, including in London and
abroad. Many of her paintings are available as prints.
Sonya Tatham is a self-taught artist who paints her environment, producing works from a direct connection to the subjects. Often very spontaneous, created without restriction or hesitation, the results are bold and atmospheric.
Sonya uses her great love of colour to express the emotions and drama that she wants to convey from each scene.
Happily, she has gained a loyal following and has exhibited both solo and in joint exhibitions. She regularly takes part in the Eastbourne Art Festival and Christmas Open Houses, and is a member of The Sussex Watercolour Society.
Claire uses the technique of photomontage to explore a sense of the places and spaces that surround us. She is particularly fascinated by our coastal towns, many of which have drifted into quieter, more sleepy existence since their heyday in the middle of the last century.
Claire photographs these places on days out and then returns to her studio to create a memory of the place. She aims to create a more intense sense of the coast than perhaps a photograph alone could do, by layering, juxtaposing and editing the original photographs in much the same way as we combine and edit our memories. In doing so she creates a new scene, which is both familiar...and different.
Slightly surreal in places, the ambiguous use of space within the images adds depth to the pictures, which at first glance seem straightforward.
Her passion for colour and texture, inherited from a background in Textiles, result in rich and poetic images which hopefully tap into memories or ideas of the coast that are common to many of us.
As an Artist, George Antoni is primarily self taught.
Although he studied art at West Ham College of Further Education after leaving school, he also had an interest in drama. A three-year course at E15 Acting School led to a thirty year career in film, TV and theatre.
He briefly practiced black and white photography, but it was only when he left London and moved to Brighton that he took up painting again, initially inspired by the expansive skies and dramatic seascapes. Although the work is ever changing, the influence of coastal life is still evident in his current works.
The works are of mixed media, using predominantly, layers of household emulsion on fibre board, but also acrylic pigments, ink and, in some cases, wood dye. Each piece undergoes a process of construction and degradation impossible to replicate.
When finished they are wax polished, not only for protection. but to add a further dimension. The works are highly tactile.
Claire studied graphic design and illustration at Central School of Art and Design, Kingston University and The Royal college of Art.
She became a professional illustrator of children's books in 1990 and rapidly came to the attention of parents and critics alike, winning the Mother Goose award for her work in collaboration with Angela McAlister on 'The Snow Angel'.
Claire has lived in Hastings for 16 years an co-founded 'Made in Hastings' which features her work and that of other local artists and artisans.