Camberwell Arts Festival, which celebrates creativity across SE5, turns 21 this year. The event runs from 20-28 June and, since there are so many great restaurants and food outlets across the area, this year there will be a food focus.
The #CamberwellFeast extends to culture too, of course, and as part of the weekend a host of Artists’ Open Studio events are taking place. We’re rather taken with the work of Jennifer Hooper, an artist based at Clockwork Studios whose paintings are inspired by nature, so we asked her a little more about it:
Why do you think Camberwell Arts Festival is so important?
It encompasses the whole community, using art to bring together and engage the local community with the cultural resources in the area. It’s also a celebration of a very unique creative pocket of London. Camberwell is a vibrant, artistic area which is home to a diverse range of practitioners.
Tell us about the works you’ll be exhibiting at the festival?
On display in my studio I’ll have some paintings including a triptych of large botanical oil paintings (pictured top) inspired by the time I spent as resident artist at Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (an NGO that works in defence of animal rights and ecological awareness in Bolivia). The paintings are a response to spending nine weeks living in a rare and biologically diverse forest and insight into the potential consequences of its degradation. I’ve depicted the intense colour in that environment, highlighting its beauty, vitality, strength and fragility. Using multiple layers of traditional oil glaze, I developed a technique to describe the texture, form and intensity of the colour present when light blazed through the canopy and foliage of the jungle.
This year’s theme is #CamberwellFeast – what are some of your favourite places to eat in Camberwell?
For good pub food I like The Sun on Coldharbour Lane – it’s very close to the studio and I’ve been frequenting it since my Camberwell College of Arts days! My favorite place to get coffee and cake is the Love Walk Café – aside from the great name, the coffee is excellent!
You work with paper, painting and photography – do you have a favourite form to work in and how do you choose which form sorts which project?
I work with oil, watercolour and ink and choosing mediums is both a practical and intuitive process. I enjoy experimentation, exploring the challenges and potentiality of different paints and pigments and how they behave on surfaces. When I am away from the studio it is practical and necessary to work with mediums that dry quickly and are transportable. I take a lot of photographs, sometimes these are an end result, and often they are visual records that inform work I develop in the studio.
You’re based at Clockwork Studios – what’s the artist community like there?
Clockwork Studios was established by Noel & Margy Perkins in 1985 and it has such a lovely atmosphere. All of the artists and practitioners care about its upkeep and contribute to its deep rooted sense of community; many have been there for over 10 years. I’ve had a space at Clockwork Studios for about a year and have found it the most productive studio in my career as an artist so far.
You studied painting and photography at Camberwell College of Art – how has the area changed since then?
I graduated from Camberwell in 2004 and have moved back only in the last year. I actually don’t think the area has changed that dramatically at all. There are a few more cafes and bars but Camberwell’s distinct identity remains unchanged.
You were nominated for a Dulux Let’s Colour Award – how did that feel?
I was really honoured to be shortlisted for this award. Apart from my work being in the running alongside some very talented practitioners and cutting-edge designers, it was wonderful that the project I was nominated for and the issues I have been raising gained some exposure.
See Jennifer Hooper’s works at Clockwork Studios as part of Open House at Camberwell Arts Festival (38 Southwell Road SE5 9PG)
Pauline Amphlett is a trained industrial designer turned printmaker, working in a number of techniques from etching and aquatint to lino print, drypoint and monoprint, as well as screen printing and textile printing. Pauline, based at Empress Mews, likes to work in series, such as the Tate Birches Series, etchings, drypoints and photographs documenting the mini birch forest outside the Tate Modern. Pauline exhibited at the Royal academy summer show in both 2010 and 2014.
Kenbury Street SE5 8BT
Joe Simpson has a gift for figurative painting that has seen his works shown at prestigious venues including The National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Albert Hall. Describing his own work as cinematic, Joe’s paintings are incredibly visually engaging, capturing moments in time with attention to the kinds of lighting and proportion that create realistic, film-like images. Catch him at Coldharbour Studios.
26-34 Southwell Road SE5 9PQ
Home to artists including Paul Catherall and Helen Clark, Artichoke Printmaking is the perfect destination to discover some of the best fine art in London. The gallery has built a reputation for exhibiting a wealth of local and international printmakers as well as up-and-coming artists from the region.
245a Coldharbour Lane SW9 8RR
Home to an array of talent, Vanguard Court has built a strong reputation over the past 30 years as a unique creative community. The space was converted from an old suitcase factory to become a home for approximately 50 artists and creative small businesses. Camberwell Arts Festival guests will be able to see the work of a range of creatives including some of the finest ceramicists and silversmiths – like Sue Wainwright (work pictured below) – in the UK.
36-38 Peckham Road SE5 8QT
For the full events listings, including the arts and food market on Saturday 20 June and a series of specially commissioned picnic benches featuring public artworks, see camberwellarts.org.uk