The director of Sweet Art founded in 2012.
When did you guys start and what was the idea behind the project?
Sweet ‘Art launched in March 2012 with a large group show in aid of International Women’s day. That came about through my frustration that there never seemed to be any art events in London for International Women’s Day, so I decided to host my own! We held ‘Show #1’ in a crypt! Each cavern had an exciting art happening for visitors to get involved with. We had the film maker Laura Healey project her film ‘Siren’ floor to ceiling into one of the catacombs which was stunningly eerie. Fashion designer Shara Hayz created an interactive digital fashion installation with models wearing her amazing garments, inviting guests to kneel at the ‘Futureritual’ alter to get a shot of Black Cow vodka, who were our sponsors for the night along with Asahi beer and I made a huge detailed dress out of porn mags and lads mags! As you do. We had vagina cupcakes and other fun freebies and great art. Over 400 guests turned up for our opening with queues around the building and it was hard to get them to leave at the end of the night! We had great fun and realized we had hit on a really interesting mix of the quirky, fun and interactive alongside the more traditional, challenging art works and the vibe of the opening night was conducive of a fun night out but where important questions were being asked and issues being raised. This really inspired Sweet ‘Art to develop in the way it has into an accessible, approachable organisation for both exhibiting artists and those visiting the shows and buying art to engage with.
What was the most exciting exhibition/event that you have organised so far?
We like to think they are all exciting in their own way! We really like to take a theme and run with it and push it to a new, fresh place with regard to the overall event. We all really enjoyed Seams which was our London fashion week show. We had some great sponsorship with two vodka giants Sipsmiths and Crystal Head vodka providing the drinks. We had fun with a 2am photo shoot at the outside bar at Hoxton Arches Gallery with the garments of Fashion Designer Shara Hayz back again, Crystal Head vodka and some lovely Sweet ‘Art interns! Some great shots!
The show also critiqued and challenged the fashion industry and its impact, particularly on women. We had some really moving artworks including neon works by Rococo Wonderland and amazing paintings by Carl Grauer and John Gathercole. We also showcased an interactive piece created by the Sweet ‘Art team in the form of a satirical online shopping web site. Take a look! http://info10170.wix.com/sweetshop
The fashion and media industries through the eyes of Sweet ‘Art!
How many artists do you work with?
We have large group shows with an open submissions policy around every 3 months. We then have smaller shows and other events inbetween and I would estimate that since our launch we have worked with over 500 artists. We now also offer mentoring, portfolio review and general support services to artists on a one to one bespoke basis as well as moving into arts event management which is how we were lucky enough to meet Dressedandnaked! We are really excited to be working with you on your launch to help you make it the event of the year!
What are the main locations you use for your events?
So we work on a pop up basis, sourcing venues that suit the show and particular theme. We have exhibited in crypts, bars, tattoo shops, railway arches along with the more traditional white walled galleries. Its really important for us to find a space that fits the show and will work best with the overall curating plan we envisage. In terms of location we tend to host our events around east London, Hoxton, Shoreditch and Dalston. Although we have had shows in Kings Cross and Soho, our stomping group tends to be east.
What does it take to be a great artist?
Passion, courage, intelligence and a good work ethic! An ability to see the world differently and a burning desire to communicate that perceived difference to others. You have to kind of be opinionated I think! Whether that is in an introverted or extraverted way. There is no harder industry to make your way in than the art world, you need to be very thick skinned. Part of Sweet ‘Arts ethos is a response to the difficulty that artists face starting out and maintaining the energy to keep going. We know as artists ourselves how many exploitative and elitist people there are out there. We have met a few! We hope to be something different, inclusive and approachable to those talented artists that need a platform.
The craziest exhibition you’ve hosted?
We did host a show at Juno bar in Shoreditch last year that was entirely of portraits of the character Dr Huxtable for the Cosby Show! It started as a bit of a joke between a few Sweet ‘Arts on Facebook and in the pub and then we basically took the joke too far! We all loved that character though and its seems so did everyone else as it was a really popular exhibition. Juno said it was the most visitors they had seen visit a show and the London Metro covered it as their exhibition of the week to visit! We also sold a lot of the works, which is just weird!
Do you agree that nowadays being provocative and daring are the main traits to get yourself and your art noticed?
No I don’t think so. I hope not anyway. I think honesty is important and shameless provocation can always been seen through if it has no honest foundation or intention with regards to a creative process or expression. I think art should push boundaries and explore taboo for sure, it should always be daring but that doesn't mean it needs to be socially shocking. For some it is daring to expose a very private part of their internal world through their art that others may feel is insignificant, but if it is honest it will be moving regardless. It also has to be considered that what is seen as provocative or daring changes within varying social contexts. We are experiencing issues surrounding this with the promotion of our up coming show Y Not? We are collaborating with organizations that are based in different countries and within different cultures. In some of those contexts our Y Not? poster is provocative and shocking. Here it may be daring but in a very different way.
Who is your favourite artist?
This is a hard one! I cant say just one, so I wont say any.
Do you have any ongoing or upcoming projects that you’re very exited about?
So Y Not? is very exciting! Its not long now until we open on the 31st March in aid of International Women’s Day. We have selected the work of around 50 amazingly talented artists who identify as any gender and who’s work addresses issues surrounding female identity, the female form, feminist or women’s issues. We are collaborating on this event with two amazing creative organisations. Lensational are a charity that empower women in developing countries through providing photography workshops and equipment. They are going to be curating a small area of the exhibition with the photographs of the women they work with. We are also doing a work swap with the LPM Gallery in Austin Texas which is really exciting! They are hosting a Y Not? exhibition in parallel to ours over in the States. Its going to be a great show so do make it down to the private view night on Thursday 2nd April, drinks courtesy of Courvoisier!
Describe Sweet’Art in 3 words.
Inventive, fearless and sweet!
"I think art should push boundaries and explore taboo for sure, it should always be daring but that doesn't mean it needs to be socially shocking."
"Part of Sweet ‘Arts ethos is a response to the difficulty that artists face starting out and maintaining the energy to keep going. We know as artists ourselves how many exploitative and elitist people there are out there. We have met a few! We hope to be something different, inclusive and approachable to those talented artists that need a platform.""
"We had vagina cupcakes and other fun freebies and great art. Over 400 guests turned up for our opening with queues around the building and it was hard to get them to leave at the end of the night!"
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