Interview: Ty Abiodun

Next month in Brighton, a new exhibition opens that focuses on what it means to live and work in Sussex. Miniclick was founded in Brighton, 7 years ago, and although we’ve spread our wings since then, the city remains our home. The exhibition, ‘A Sense of Place’, includes work from 17 different graphic designers and illustrators and all the prints will be on sale, with the proceeds being split between Refugee Action and The Clock Tower Sanctuary. We spoke to curator, Ty Abiodun to find out more.

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22nd to 30th Sept, PV on Sept 21st, 6-9:30pm.

Generally, 10am to 4pm, Free Entry

Bozboz Gallery, 30 Richmond Place, Brighton, BN2 9NA

RSVP for PV: info@senseof.place 

More info: senseof.place

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Andy_Smith

Andy Smith

Whats’ your own relationship with Sussex?

I’m originally from Manchester and used to visit Brighton at lot in my younger days to visit friends. I finally moved here about 7 years ago and I’ve been slowly discovering all the areas and towns Sussex has to offer; I know I’ve only scratched the surface.

When you grow up somewhere, you have experiences and memories of areas. And having moved to the area, these are all new and just happening for me. My daughter was born here, and its fascinating watching her grow up and form links with the area. So I guess my relationship with Sussex is still forming.

Stacey_Thomas

Stacey Thomas

Where did the idea for the exhibition come from?

There were numerous reasons for doing this exhibition, one was to take me out of my comfort zone of just turning up to places doing freelance work. But the main motivation was all the doom and gloom we’ve had over the last year or so, and I wanted to do something positive. With all the talk of about Brexit, immigration and building walls, no one knows what kind of effect this will have on us long term. I learned recently that Steve Jobs’ Father was a Syrian refugee. Now look at that legacy!

Having travelled and moved, you sometimes notice differences between cites, the landscape and the people. There are stereotypes in people and places and I guess as a result, I was asking myself; why is that? Where does it come from? For example, when the attack happened in Manchester, people were talking about the Mancunian spirit and how people came together.

You also get ethnic communities and areas, which all have their own feel. I remember watching a program about the first wave of black migrants coming to England from Jamaica. Everyone knows Brixton as being a predominantly black area.  One of the reasons for this was that it was where the nearest employment office was located to where some of them were initially housed – in bunkers in Clapham & Stockwell. So it made sense for them to live somewhere close, so they could get work. And look at the result, Brixton has aspects of Caribbean culture and a certain energy. Going further, some of those migrants have become a vital part of British society and, in the process transformed aspects of British life.

Brighton has always seemed to be one of those places where people are allowed to be who they want, it’s slightly hedonistic and challenges the status quo. Looking back, Sussex has a rich history of radical artists, writers and counter culture. You had the designer Eric Gill who created the famous Gill Sans font, the painters Duncan James and Vanessa Bell making their home at Charleston. Constable painted some of the beautiful Sussex Downs, which is literally on our doorstep. Some of these artists not only worked here, they created experimental communities and ʻspacesʼ, challenging political and social norms. This disruptive artistic legacy seems to continue today here in Brighton, with free thought and independence welcomed.

I’m not a massive protestor or activist, but I think its important to do things like this, especially now, no matter how small, as you never know what impact they might have. I was talking to a friend a while back about the rave period. Aside from the music, it partly came out of the need to escape the humdrum and hardships of the time. The parties were sometimes held not to oppose anything, they were just an excuse to have a party and come together. And 20 odd years down the line, its had a massive influence on our lifestyle, culture and politics. So I think you can certainly do some good, reach people and encourage change by just doing something fun.

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel, move around and study. So I think its important to help those who aren’t as fortunate. As a result I’m intending to donate the profits from the sale of the work to The Clock Tower Sanctuary here in Brighton and to the nationwide organisation – Refugee Action.

Lucy_Sherston

Lucy Sherston

How did you curate the artists and designers involved?

There are some great artists, designers and agencies down here, some I know and some I’ve always wanted to work with or approach.

Initially, the aim was for all the work to sit together, but that became about my tastes and too controlled. So I looked at opening it out, and approached some artists whose work was deliberately different from each other. I was also hoping to challenge my perception of what would work as a print. So, for example, one of the artists is a pattern designer, which is something I’ve never had the chance to work with before. I thought it would be great to see what they would come up with in response to the brief.

I would’ve loved to have featured more artists and different disciplines but due to people’s availability and the scale of the exhibition, it just wasn’t possible.

Will_Blood

Will Blood

The breadth of work is incredible. Given the theme, did you see any common threads appearing?

Funnily enough, I don’t think there is any theme or connection between the work. But I think thats a good thing as it kind of represents all the different viewpoints, styles and thinking.

So I guess if there is a theme, then its the diversity in the work.

I deliberately set out to create an open brief which asked the artists to think about their own ‘sense of place’. It also gave them a wide choice of colours and print styles. Which I think encouraged the work to be different.

Another thing that seemed to be evident, but I guess fairly obvious, were the differences between the designers and the illustrators. The designer’s work tended to be a bit more graphic and structured, where as the illustrator’s work tended to be a bit more free.

I think its fascinating to to see the stories, memories and outlooks the artists all have and what shapes and inspires them. And I hope others, upon seeing the work, see this too.

In addition to the images show here, the exhibition also includes work by Andy Smith, Atelier Points, Bella Gomez, Benjamin Phillips, Jon Dowling, Leah Money, Lewie Evans, Lucy Irving, Lucy Sherston, Mister Phil, Nik Hall, Stacey Thomas, Stuart Tolley, Tim McDonagh, Ty Abiodun, Very Own Studio, Will Blood.

Stuart_Tolley

Stuart Tolley

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22nd to 30th Sept, PV on Sept 21st, 6-9:30pm.

Generally, 10am to 4pm, Free Entry

Bozboz Gallery, 30 Richmond Place, Brighton, BN2 9NA

RSVP for PV: info@senseof.place 

More info: senseof.place

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Nik_Hall

Nik Hall

 

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