We caught up with Karen Ashton founder of The Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair to ask her some questions ahead of it heading to Hastings this Saturday.
Founder Karen Ashton The Vauxhall Art Car Boot fair 2014 , Truman Brewery, Brick Lane , Photo Nick Cunard.
The Vauxhall Art Car Boot travels to Hastings for the first time, could you tell us how this came about?
Last year as we were preparing for our Margate event I went to the private view of Rachel Howards wonderful show At Sea for Jerwood Gallery and at the dinner afterwards the gallery director Liz Gilmore and I were introduced and we were in their gallery restaurant looking out over this big open space known as The Stade with all the fishing boats behind it and the tall net sheds and I thought yes, perfect place for it!
Can you tell us a bit about the links to Hastings some of the participants, such as Sir Peter Blake and Sir Quentin Blake, have?
It’s amazing how many artists that we work with have a relationship with Hastings, in fact quite a few either live there or have a close friend or relative that does! Peter Blake has produced a special print based on a collage from his Memories of Place series that is made up from material that he foraged from around the fishing boats – exactly where we are holding our event in fact. And Quentin Blake is one of several major artists who have lived in Hastings for many years – Rose Wylie, Gerard Hemsworth and Keith Tyson are all locals too.
How did the participation of legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke come about?
This wonderful addition to our line-up comes through Lauren Jones of Alteria Arts and I have no idea how the plan for a talking print of Chicken Town came about but it’s such a brilliant idea! We’re really hoping that we can persuade him to do a live performance of this iconic poem on the stage on the day.
Marcus Harvey also has a solo show next door at Jerwood Gallery- and has created a work specifically for the fair- can you tell us more about that?
We had already decided to hold the Art Car Boot Fair in collaboration with Jerwood Gallery and then when we heard Marcus’s show dates we instantly decided that that would be the idea time to hold the event – on the opening day. My sister and collaborator on the ACBF also works closely with Marcus on the Turps Painting School and magazine and so we are delighted to be able to not only include Marcus in our line-up, but also have a unique special sculpture edition at the fair for a just-for-the-day incredible Battle of Hastings price of £106.60 – and appropriately enough for this seaside excursion it’s a sandcastle…though made out of ceramic stoneware, so it won’t disappear with the tide.
How have participants reacted to this year’s theme of ’the hand’?
In addition to all the rather funny puns flying around about hand jobs, palm readings, nail art and all the rest if it, there has been some amazing work ranging from Cate Halpin’s ‘Hands of Dead Celebrities’ to Bumble & Earwigs fantastic faux taxi-dermied animal paws. Joe Packer has produced a special edition hand themed woodcut to look out for at the Hastings event.
Music will also feature, including a performance by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed’s band, can you tell us more about that?
Richard Strange has put together a great line-up with Martin Creed’s full band showcasing their new album ‘Thoughts Lined Up’, Sarah Jane Morris singing ‘Don’t Leave me this Way’ and a wonderful old-school performance art band led by Geraldine Swayne – and our favourite revivalists The Band of Holy Joy!
What are you personally looking forward to this time?
I’m looking forward to seeing what all the new Hastings artist are going to come up with – I’ve already reserved pieces by Joe Packer and Amanda Jobson and will definitely be buying one of those inspired talking hand prints by John Cooper Clarke! Painters from the Turps school bring along an incredible selection of original works for around £100 so I’ll be looking through their boot with interest too. I’m also looking forward to introducing Sir Peter Blake to Quentin Blake and hoping to eavesdrop on the conversation between these two fabulous octogenarians!
Can you tell us of any future locations you’re hoping to pitch up at?
We are planning changes in 2017, and our road-trips will be heading west – plus I’m embarking on an Autumn/Winter road-trip in search of hidden unsung art talents in remote locations all over he UK, from the very young to the very old!
Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair will be taking place on Saturday 16th July at Jerwood Gallery, Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings, TN34 3DW between 12– 3:30pm. Entry is £3. Visit artcarbootfair.com for more information and follow #VACBF for the latest news.