AFTER the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns at the weekend for its 20th festival celebration of the city’s creative talent
Preceded by Friday’s preview evening, the event will see 145 artists and makers open 95 studios, homes and workplaces on July 10 and 11 and July 17 and 18, from 10am to 5pm.
Among them will be 43 debutants, prompting CharlesHutchPress to highlight six newcomers a day over the week ahead, in map guide order, as York prepares for a showcase of ceramic, collage, digital art, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, furniture, sculpture and textiles skills this month.
Pennie Lordan, painting, Greenwood Barn Studio, Moor Lane, Copmanthorpe, York
PENNIE’S oil paintings explore the stark contrast and parallels that exist between loss and hope, sensitivity and brutality, isolation and connectedness through the theme of Edgelands.
“My paintings are developed from studies that come directly from location sketches, often on pre-prepared grounds that reference a sense of composition and atmosphere,” she says.
“These studies then develop into oil paintings, built on varied prepared grounds and developed through the process of multiple thin layers of oil paint and cold wax, often applied, wiped back and re-applied.”
Her work is painted on linen, incorporating subtle stitching, or canvas or disregarded found materials, such as pitched pine, board or aluminium.
Londoner Pennie runs two creative businesses in York with her husband, having arrived here with a background in animation, art and education. She has completed three years of studying landscape painting at Leith School of Art in Edinburgh.
Lincoln Lightfoot, digital prints and oil paintings, 118 Brunswick Street, South Bank, York. First weekend only
LINCOLN’S surreal images draw on the B-movie imagery of the 1950s and ‘60s, his broad theme being ridiculous and surreal encounters with beasts that appear to us in recognisable locations.
Not so much King Kong climbing the Empire State Building in New York as a tentacled dayglo Creature From The Bottom Of The Ouse attacking a bridge in York, as the ancient city’s heritage resonates in the present day.
What does the city of York conjure in Lincoln’s mind? “It’s a story-book city, conjuring up tales of the past. Walking through its streets, your creative mind can just let loose and go to work. It’s not hard to imagine incredible things happening there because they already have.”
In his artistic response to walking those city streets, the Fine Art graduate from York St John University questions what might be in store for 2021.
So, Lincoln, what exactly is in store this year for you and the rest of us? “Aliens, man, definitely aliens,” he warns. “There are more influential individuals making statements and releasing information by the day.”
Amy Stubbs,textiles,51 Balmoral Terrace, York
RELOCATED to York in a return to her northern roots, pattern print designer Amy now works from the PICA Studios artist hub in Grape Lane.
This textile design graduate from Falmouth University draws inspiration “from a wealth of experience brought to her by her strong Yorkshire family heritage and the opportunity to experience varying cultures”.
Consequently, Amy’s textile work combines manually drawn abstract elements with the aid of digital technology to create her surface pattern prints that feature strong mark-making motifs and collaging.
She will be sharing her York Open Studios space with Emily Stubbs, who creates hand-built sculptural ceramic vessels – cheeky, bright and full of life in character – that explore the relationship between colour, form and texture.
Jilly Lovett, textiles, 212 Bishopthorpe Road, York
JILLY designs and sews one-of-a-kind dolls in a folk art style, using recycled felt, incorporating embroidery, applique and other vintage finds to create original works for display.
Since studying Fine Art at Edinburgh University, she has worked in creative industries variously as a botanical illustrator, editor, art director and now a textile artist.
Her main focus is on creating quirky, characterful art dolls with unique details, such as pearly kings with button-embellished coats and fearsome pirates armed with silver fish knives.
Private commissions give Jilly the chance to research new subjects and to experiment with different materials and patterns.
Elliot Harrison, illustration, 21 Finsbury Street, York
ELLIOT creates architectural illustrations, prints and posters showcasing iconic York buildings and views, favouring a vibrant colour palette inspired by Art Deco design and vintage 20th century travel posters.
His distinctive retro York portfolio has been catching the eye for the past five years, whether at Frankie & Johnny’s Cookshop, Blossom Street Gallery or O & M at Snowhome or in exhibitions at York Hospital and the Rowntree Park Reading Café.
Among his most popular illustrations are Rowntree Park, Bishopthorpe Road, the Blossom Street Odeon cinema, the former Clifton Cinema, the former Terry’s factory, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre and York Minster.
His commissions include illustrations for York Theatre Royal, The Piece Hall, in Halifax, York Bunny Trail and home and shop-front portraits.
Elliot, who gained a degree in art and design from York St John University, has expanded his repertoire to take in running medals, mugs, coasters, cards, Christmas cards, York calendars and hand-pressed lino prints of York architecture.
Demonstrations will be available over the two weekends. In the meantime, check out his work via email@example.com.
Nicola Lee, drawing, Southbank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York
NICOLA has a quiet practice, wherein observation and encounter are fundamental aspects.
She uses drawing, folding and photography, exploring through process and the inherent voice of materials to record, respond and evoke her experience of looking.
Her practice has drawn from notions of traditional Japanese aesthetics found in Tanka poetry. Under the shadow of these influences, she uses a digital camera, plays with camera-less photographic methods and creates series of drawings and artist books.
“My visual interest lies beyond the object,” Nicola says. “I’m drawn to line, pattern and shape occurring in peripheral space. A space which is fluid, ambiguous and lacking in definition. A space in which the peripheral becomes the object.
” I use process and material to play with ideas of repetition, reduction and abstraction in order to explore my encounter with the space between.”
NEXT UP: Caroline Utterson, Rebecca Mason, Henry Steele, Sarah Cornwall, Laura Masheder and Silva Rerum.