AOH visit & collage workshop

Review by SML College student Elai

During Brighton Festival we had the pleasure of visiting one of the Artists Open Houses. Sophie Wake, winner of last years ‘best newcomer award’ and mother to one of the students at SML college, kindly invited us into her home. We got to see and appreciate her artwork, which mainly consisted of oil and watercolour paintings. The main subjects in her paintings are animals; from horses to birds and all creatures in between, she does this in an attempt to express human tenderness through the expression of those to whom she can relate.  Personally, I love the emotion she has managed to express through each individual in the paintings. We were able to ask her questions about the process and her inspirations for the paintings as well as a few life questions!

Another artist displaying at the Open House was talented collage artist Seiko Kato. We saw some of her older, 30 works of dolls and clock parts and other vintage pieces, all oddly put together and displayed in jars, they were creepy and somewhat grotesque but also quite intriguing. Her newer works were intricate collages, keeping the idea of fusing various separate pieces to create one thing or image. The collages predominately featured birds, plants, flowers and butterflies, all individually cut out and arranged to create colourful and exciting images. My favourite piece was ‘The Bird Funeral’, a huge collage of hundreds of tiny pieces that from afar just looks like an explosion of colour but on second glance you begin to see the different characters and how carefully and cleverly placed everything is to create a story and capture emotion.

Seiko Kato has also made a book to make collaging fun and easy, filled with different activities and ideas. We also got the opportunity to create our own collage inspired by her work. She hosted a workshop giving us tips and providing many small images for us to pick and mix and create our own concoctions. It was interesting to see how we all created such different collages from the same materials.

Both artists were very interesting and it was fun to have the opportunity to create our own pieces too.