The so-called "Artists' Corner" of Brighton: Gloucester Road
Brighton has an amazing amount of creators and artists who specialise in creating beautiful and affordable items. Usually people trudge into the centre of the North Laine or pop across to the South Lanes if they feel particularly glamorous that day.
These are all undoubtedly great places to visit, however, one such corner of the North Laine that is often overlooked as a place of real quality is the top of Gloucester Road. In December there are a variety of Pop Ups and temporary exhibitions settled up in this corner that would be a shame to miss out on. Knowledge Gallery and Art Schism have joined forces with the White Rabbit Jewellery store, which when combined with the permanent artistic homes of Gallery 40, Digs and Brush Brighton makes this area a real hot spot for Christmas shopping this year.
Since its permanent residency at 87 Gloucester Road closed in May this year, the creators of Art Schism an unusual, heavily politicised and street art heavy gallery have been looking for places to commandeer. As part of this year’s new look so called “artists’ corner” at the top of Gloucester Road, Art Schism have taken up residency beneath the White Rabbit jewellery store (conveniently 88 Gloucester Road). Here they have artists such as Petrusco’s Eye, Sinna One and Etienne Le Comte exhibiting their work. They have also managed to pull in some new faces for people to enjoy and explore.
Knowledge, as you may remember, had a home over on North Street until mid-2015 showcasing the works of Diversis Artibus (now the founders of Corridor Gallery), some makers from White Rabbit Gallery, as well as their own unique brand of alternative jewellery. Generally you will see this stock appear at markets and festivals throughout the year, and for Christmas they have settled themselves out the back of White Rabbit. This is a great place to pick up some alternative jewellery for that unusual gift.
Over the road from White Rabbit, Gallery 40 is a permanently changing space on the corner (40 Gloucester Road – hence Gallery “40”) that allows artists to recreate the space however they wish every week. I made my way up here to see work from Bah Humbug a show organised by David Apps. It had some brilliant work in, especially from Hizze Fletcher, Saffron Reichenbacker, Mark Wagner and the organiser David Apps who particularly caught my eye with his frames incorporating old toys (see photos). Throughout the month however there is a spectacular line up of artists including Nicolas De Jesus whose atmospheric drawings are certainly a recall back to the beauty of the renaissance era, Jake Spicer – the creator of Brighton Drawing, and general portraiture genius – and Mark Charlton whose work I have reviewed before at the same site.
Over the last few weeks I have become more and more impressed with this space, and I hope it continues its momentum of great work into the new year.
On the other corner we have 87 Gloucester Road, the old home of Art Schism and the new home of Digs. Digs specialises in decorative art and spectacular pieces that seem to defy the modest space it is based in. A slight leaning towards the gory, the surreal and the macabre, I have a real soft spot for this place and it’s bonkers way of being. So, if you ever fancy seeing or buying something that is beyond the normal, approaching the theatrical, then Digs is a great place to start.
Finally, just up the hill from this little corner we have Brush Brighton, possibly the most atypically “Brighton” hairdresser one could hope to imagine. The hairdressing business is supported by Hizze Fletcher (as mentioned previously) who graduated from Central Saint Martins and fills the space with unusual exhibitions throughout the year. The clientele are well used to people walking in and exploring the artwork, and despite its initial awkward feel, is always a great place to see some lesser known artists create magnificent work. The current exhibition of Mandy Webb and Romany Mark Bruce certainly reflects this. Mandy Webb creates spectacular dresses whose current piece is a memorial to those who have suffered and died from HIV/AIDS and Bruce's paintings are certainly a source of intrigue.