a sense of tranquillity and an air of mystery
Clare Lee catches up with Brighton artist Serena Sussex
Serena Sussex is a UK and international-selling artist whose passion for art further developed during the recession in the 80’s. She concentrated more on her art in between part time jobs, which led to an exhibition at the Barbican Library, London City Airport and to exhibiting regularly with the Ilford Art Group.
Moving from London to Brighton accelerated her art career after she joined a large, creative art community in Brighton. Living on the 9th floor of a tower block in Kemp Town, she became known for having the highest exhibition in Brighton during the May Artists Open Houses Festival! The spectacular sea and roof top views have inspired her in her Brighton/urban paintings, with the sea as a great backdrop.
In a recent interview with Serena I asked her which was her favourite season – to which she replied “autumn, with its bright reds, yellows and all sorts of browns”. This she portrays very well in her landscape paintings. Hiking around the local countryside of the South Downs she finds great influences for her landscape and nature oil paintings. Her aim is to portray a sense of tranquillity and an air of mystery, showing the wonders of nature and the environment. Serena learned her unusual oil painting technique from her art teacher at school; he was very experimental, she informed me, getting his pupils to use mini rollers rather than paintbrushes right from the start.
After winning the title of Brighton Artist of the year in 2005, Serena was also selected from 3,000 people to recreate Holbein’s Henry VIII together with 107 other artists as part of the BBC’s ‘Rolf on Art – The Big Event’ which was broadcast live from Trafalgar Square, London. Six years later she got a call from the BBC asking if she would like to take part in ‘Rolf Paints the Jubilee’.
I was curious to know what advice Serena would pass on to young artists starting up. She offered the following: that over the years of exhibiting and painting always ask and take on board any feedback, so you can improve yourself and keep in touch with what is going on. If you find something you are skilled at concentrate on that and improve it, especially if you have a niche skill. Always embrace the internet to market yourself – most important – you have to sell and promote yourself! It is tough out there, but it can be done. Never give up always try something at least three times or get some guidance and this will help you to move forward. I found this interesting and constructive advice.
Serena’s paintings are on sale as cards through Vivid Greeting Cards, and she is artist in residence with an exhibition at the Laughing Dog Gallery, Brighton Marina (free parking). Well worth a visit.