MEET THE ARTIST: Faye Bridgwater, (by Oliver Norris)

Inspired by the Sussex landscape and coastline, Faye’s paintings capture those fleeting moments of light, movement and feelings. Faye mark makes by using objects found during beach-combing adventures, from fisherman’s knots and driftwood to feathers and bottle tops.  These tactile objects are used as tools, to make brushes or pens to print and scratch the paintings. Together with the layering of paint and ink, charcoal and pencil the technique produces contemporary sea and landscape. The paintings are timeless and conjure distant memories.

Tickets to Sussex Art Fairs (East) 11-13 October 2019 are available HERE and also on EVENTBRITE

What is your background and where are you from?
Art, art and more art! It is all I was interested in throughout my education; from infant school, to Art college in Hertfordshire, and then to Sheffield for my Fine Art degree. Since leaving University I have always worked in or around art, whether it has been working in galleries, running studios or painting.

How do you classify your paintings and what medium do you use?
Well at the moment, they are definitely abstract landscapes. Sometimes they are more abstract and sometimes they are more “landscapey”. I have lots of ideas for sculptures that I would like to make but that will be in the future, when I have a bigger studio

Where is your studio, what’s it like and do you have any rituals?
My studio is in my home. Sometimes this is a blessing because I can work odd hours and get on with domestic jobs but other times it is frustrating because there are so many distractions around. My studio is extremely messy. It is hard to open the door or see the floor but when I am in the moment, painting, everything just get chucked about. My poor husband just ignores it now. I have gotten into a rhythm of tiding it up once a term. I always have the radio on and it is usually a station talking about the news. I spend a lot of time shouting at the it!! I start the day by having a coffee and sit and look at what I have done in previous sessions. That coffee cup usually ends up having a brush in it at some point!

What challenges have you faced in the art world?
Biggest challenge is motherhood. It is very hard to mix the two. Before I became a mum, I really thought I would embrace having my children in my studio and that we would all be painting together but in reality, I now know that I feel uncomfortable when they are in there. Poor things love painting but I shoo them out!

What is the main message of your work, what does it aim to say?
Ha ha. This is question that terrifies me! When I was at art school, it was the 90’s and it was all about Young British Artists – conceptual art, hammering a kipper to a table, etc and how we were going to push boundaries and change the world. There was some pretty mad stuff that went on in my degree course; making work just because it was aesthetically pleasing was frowned upon. However now I am older (and a little wiser), I feel I just want to paint and make marks that I love. My work is now about capturing that feeling of walking and breathing. It’s escaping all those jobs you have to do and imagining you are in that landscape and maybe bringing back a distant memory. They are my emotional response to the place, weather and mood.

Is there a common reaction to your work?
Very often people say how good my work would look on textiles. I have no idea about that world but. if anyone does, please do get in touch!

What are your inspirations and influences?
Gosh – so many. Everyday, something sparks an idea. From the story books I read my children, my Facebook group Brighton Skies (a photography group) and the way that pasta sauce lands on that plate. I’m dyslexic (hating writing this btw) so everything visual gets my mind going. My phone is full of photos of rusty railings, puddles, clouds, piles of washing, shadows cast from a shop signs, etc. I see shape form, colour and texture in everything!

Who would you say are your favourite contemporary artists?
This list could go on a while.
I have a great love of photography. Martin Parr work is visually stimulating to me.
Grayson Perry is bloody great and his work is beautiful with a message.
For painting, its Anselm Keifer and Joan Eardley – you know they are amazing with texture and storytelling. I am also drawn to Constable’s watercolours of big skies (not very contemporary!).
I also believe that public art work is very important. Rachel Whiteread’s work is so clever and always makes me think.

How have you developed since you first started exhibiting your paintings?
I am always developing but one noticeable development is that I think I know when to stop sooner. I am always pushing myself to try and be more expressive and less precise. Recently I have been really loving attacking the work with great big scribbles. You have to really work up to making the mark and then go for it. This can go either way: giving the work energy or just looking a mess so it has to go in the bin!

What do you have planned for Sussex Art Fairs in October?
I live in Brighton and the sea and South Downs are always so inspiring. I am working on my Studies of Sussex and, new for me, some great, big watercolours.

What are your plans for 2020 and beyond?
At the moment, I have my work in the Independent on Queens Park Road in Brighton and that will be there until January.
I also have the Brighton Artists Open House, this Christmas, and will be exhibiting at a beautiful house on West Drive: The Photographers Conservatory.
I will be at the Contemporary Art Fair in Surrey in March … with Suzi Lowe.
Keep an eye out for me on Landscape Artist of the Year on Sky Arts too.
I will be opening my own home in May for Brighton Artists Open Houses; part of the Brighton Festival. My top tip is always to visit Brighton in May. There are so many marvellous events on and the city is buzzing with excitement!
I will also be looking to be represented in 1 or 2 more galleries. That would be super 🙂

Tickets to Sussex Art Fairs (East) 11-13 October 2019 are available HERE and also on EVENTBRITE