I'm back from my travels abroad for the Global Art Gathering, what a magical trip! It seems the beautiful weather followed me around wherever I went: in Brighton, Paris and even London. I saw some incredible exhibits (Alexander Mc Queen at the V&A, Klimt at the Pinacotheque de Paris), interesting buildings everywhere, funky shops, and of course there was the gathering event in Brighton!
The day before the event I met a couple fellow artists at Marwood coffee shop in the morning. We chatted a while in the cafe's sunny back patio and then walked around town and the beach before joining a larger group on a special shopping tour with Lilla Rogers.
Brighton is an eclectic town filled with fab little indie shops clustered in an area called the Laines, the perfect ground to have Lilla talk about trends and what makes this or that art stand out. Pretty cool to hear her right there on the spot when we're so used to see her on video! After walking around, chatting and taking lots of pictures, we ended up on the beach sitting around a table each with a tasty cone of ice cream followed by drinks and dinner at a local pub.
The morning of the event, each with our hand lettered name tag, we all gathered at the Brighton Dome excited to put faces to familiar names from the facebook groups and chatting over refreshments and live music.
The morning started with a session featuring Lilla and Kelly Ray Roberts talking about finding our creative joy through passion, connection and community. By supporting each other and finding our niche we can choose community over competition. As Kelly said, "when you're fully you, there is no competition". So true! Followed an exercise for motivation to success, we used Lilla's book "I just like to make things" (p.122) to dream about where we want to be in 5 years and (importantly!) take steps to make it real. Something Lilla said is, "always ask, day to day, what do I want?" For a start, I want to remember to ask myself that!
After a short break there was a session about branding, marketing and individuality with Rachael Taylor (who teaches surface pattern classes), Joanna Hus (an agent at Lilla's Studio) and Margo Tantau, creative director at Midwest CBK. Margo stressed having a strong brand, unique voice, and artwork that tells a story over several items. Susan McCabe, another of Lilla's agent, was also there to answer questions. We then had an exercise creating our own affirmation with fun lettering (all in about five minutes!). And did I mention the bag of goodies?
In the afternoon Lilla spoke about trends, both in illustration techniques and colors, and did a live review of the tea towel assignment (with everyone included in the review!). With a smaller group at the gathering than in the courses she took the time to visit some people's websites and pull pieces to show together with the assignment, which was a cool way to get a taste of people's other work. The team also officially launched the Global Talent Search, with last year's winner Flora Waycott there to talk about her experience. The day ended with a final Q&A bonanza and many of us lingering afterwards for dinner and drinks, our hearts fulfilled and ready to go make art!
To end I couldn't resist including a few colorful pictures of Brighton, which reminds me a lot of Venice Beach and Santa Monica with its pier, carousels, and funky storefronts! You can see many more photos of the event from everyone there with the matsbrighton hashtag on instagram: https://instagram.com/explore/tags/matsbrighton/. Enjoy!