Brockley Open Studios - the agony and the ecstasy

If you want to feel bad about your crappy house, your unkempt garden and your unrewarding desk job, then Brockley Open Studios is the event for you. It is also one of the finest ways to spend a sunny afternoon:

Strolling around Brockley's beautiful, sun-dappled streets, popping in to any doorway with a poster outside, appraising their work, nosing around their amazing houses and gardens, chatting to the uniformly charming hosts and eating their crisps.

We had been aware that Brockley is an artistic community, largely because people kept telling us it was so. But we never really felt it. Today, we did. Some of the work is fantastic - all of it was pretty good (although we seem to be more generous in these matters than some). Biddy Bunzl could charge admission for her technicolour beachcomber house.

Monday is the last night of this year's event. If you've not been, go. You may hate yourself if you do, but you will hate yourself a lot more if you don't.

Click here for details.

...

Walking along Wickham Road, we bumped in to Brockley Sarah, who had a map of the event, with notes from the last two years' events. She's seen nearly every artist and we are hoping to persuade her to write a comprehensive review.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but B Bunzl has (and may well still) charged admission to her garden in the past.

As you say, nice houses, but most of the artworks depressed me with their lack of passion and superficiality.

The Brockley Telegraph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lb said...

The artists I've known have uniformly lived in appallingly chaotic rented pigsties, not in nice big houses in Brockley. These people were all Goldsmiths lecturers and graphic designers rather than 'artists' as such I presume?

Might explain Anonymous@22.18's observation, anyway...

Bea said...

Had a great afternoon on Saturday. My sisters came over from France and Belgian especially for it - one to see the art the other to nose round the houses!

Of course the art is of mixed quality but then again I wasn't expecting a visit to the Tate Modern or National Gallery.

Despite the criticism above there are a number of artists showing at Open Studios who are displayed in museums or have regular pubic commissions - so obviously some like their work.

Hugh said...

A lot of people who own the larger Brox gaffs got in a long time ago, when Brockley really was unknown. We're talking 1970s/early 1980s, and earlier. In those days even lecturers could snap up 7-bedders.

Is it fair? No. Are they socialists? Socialists who pull up the ladder if there's a buying opportunity. Is Brox a hotbed of principled old-school labourites? Pull the other one.

fabhat said...

or they are people who bought large houses in a downtrodden area many many years ago, and have continued to live in them and use them as houses/studios, rather than seeing them as cash cows and trading up on a regular basis until they hit notting hill...

Do dah said...

"depressed me with their lack of passion and superficiality".

Yes much of contemporary art has that effect on me. Tis the age we're in. The art reflects the times, a time where crass commerciality fills that empty void we call a soul.

Right! I'm off now to read Dulwich Mum and Heat magazine, whilst I surf the internet on my macbook pro, with wireless broadband access in my divine garden and daydream about what feast I'll lay on for dinner tonight...

lb said...

I have to admit that despite having written a 100,000 word thesis on one of Europe's foremost modernist painters, looking round art exhibitions usually leaves me cold. Perhaps it's just something about me, but I haven't any particular urge to go and gawp at artists' personal collections for any reason other than to pick up interior furnishing tips. Or perhaps for the free snacks.

How about just a "Brockley Open Houses Costing More Than About A Round Million" day? Lay on some decent Chablis and even I might go. We could probably get Foxtons to sponsor it.

Headhunter said...

I had a great time wandering around. Love some of Leo Stevenson's stuff and Ruth Monchaux's botanical drawings (neither is "modern art") . Also some of the artists along Twyrrhit Rd. Last there were a few more places open but also a few new ones this year - loved the photos taken by that guy who lived in the flat on the lower end of Tressillian. Saw all of them last year, but didn't manage every one this year.

Loved the house at the top of Tyrrwhit near the park with the huge front room and the one further down with all the textiles.

brockley mutha said...

@ HH - my view of tyrwhitt road - loved the houses, hated the art.

i didn't get to do the full grand open studios tour - and i agree the quality if variable. My highlights - based on a very speedy and incomplete circuit - are the excellent ceramic artist on wickham, the breakspears road painter (not BB) very feminine, small scale, locally influenced, work.

next year i'll start earlier and do a few more.

tyrwhitt ali said...

I'm still working up the energy to wander across the hallway to see my landlady's stuff. I'm sulking after everyone kept ringing my doorbell yesterday ;-) Still am glad people like her art/house....

Brockley Sarah said...

Like the hint Nick! ;0)

I would love to give you a rundown of my 'open studio' tour!

This was my 3rd year and I have to say, the best yet!

Will return with a more thorough review...

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