Open Studios: Pop next door for amazing art and original snacks

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to discover a plethora of talented artists producing world class art, on my very own street. This discovery was part of the 22nd annual Brockley Open Studios, a three day event where artists living and working in the area, open their studios to the public.

Open Studios is not an initiative confined to Brockley, if you search it’s apparent that many neighbourhoods up and down the UK hold something similar during the year. It’s a fantastic way to have a nose around your neighbours’ houses, make some new friends and discover original, often non-commercial art in an unintimidating environment.

We began by having a quick look at the beautiful miniature watercolours and murals by The Wonder Scope, a partnership between two artists working across a variety of mediums. My eldest daughter instantly recognised the watercolour image of the cafe on Hilly Fields. The portfolio of their mural work was also impressive, particularly the Tree House View of Greenwich Park; a bespoke commission for a resident who loved the view so much on the outside, they decided to bring it inside!

Just opposite we were warmly welcomed by the delightful Clarissa Porter and photographer husband David, with their collection of painting, drawing and curios. The perfect hosts, they had set out a table full of chilled water and wine, fresh cherries and some unusually large pork scratching crisps. As you can imagine, this stop soon became a firm favourite with the kids.

On the subject of food, Shopping in Lewisham Market 2014 was one of the first works to catch our eye. Awash with the remnants of Heinz baked beans labels, it was inspired by the comparisons between the rich experience of shopping in Lewisham fruit and veg market and a Parisian stroll. This tongue-in-cheek piece explored an idealised relationship between the market and a well-known local celebrity and food lover, who recently moved into the area from Chelsea.

Steering my youngest away from the curious yellow shoes (reflecting Clarissa’s love of high heels in her youth), we moved into the second room. Within minutes my youngest was making clippety-clop noises into my year, her way of telling me that she had spotted a horse in another interesting piece, Whisperer. A spiritual work, inspired by Clarissa’s love of horses, it serves as a reminder that if we can talk in whispers to these magical animals, we should always afford the same level of respect when talking to loved ones.

Before I’d had much time to appreciate the rest of the room, my 3 year old was insistent that we return to the first room. ‘Is there a picture that you really liked in there then?’ I asked. ‘No mummy, I want some more of those big crisps’. Ah ok. Time to go I thought, we’d certainly had our fill.

Images ©Clarissa Porter . Images of curios taken by Phillipa Ellis with the kind permission of Clarissa Porter.


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