Visiting House Warming at 69 Evering Road in Stoke Newington felt like crashing an 80s house party. With all the best bits and a friendly crowd made up of friends sharing drinks and stories with random strangers walking in from the street, but with better art on the walls.
Time has literally stood still in this unassuming terraced house with its swirly carpets, beige tiled fireplaces and melamine light switches; the sort of place we used to rent or squat back in the day, temporarily filled with original artworks, paintings and prints to complement the peeling wallpaper and faded curtains. All artfully curated by Shona Bland in keeping with the rooms’ former use.
Photos leading up the stairs help you identify the 15 Art Friends sharing the space. Being greeted by the event’s official host Martin O’Brien was a special treat, a charming performance without the discomfort of the durational pieces he is better known for from the Tate or Whitechapel Gallery.
Screenprints of favourite tipples by LouLou and Molly Braithwaite’s culinary paintings adorn the kitchen area alongside a creepy chest freezer, while the gold lettering on Dave Buonaguidi screenprinted maps in the hall remind you of where you are as you stumble home.
Visual feasts include two children’s bedrooms on the top floor where Craig Keenan painted one to match the artist’s cyanotypes, and Matt Dosa built an installation around a bicycle skeleton found under the floorboards of the other. I loved the added touch of a sampler of mixtapes left out on the landing.
PV visitors were served drinks in the master bedroom surrounded by Adam Bartlett’s bespoke mural and an ambush of playful prints from his Tigers of the Universe series. Returning to the main reception room brings everyone back together again. A group hang and browsers serve as a reminder that all works are actually for sale – at very affordable prices and with a share of the proceeds donated to Crisis. I loved the added touch of a raffle and insisted on paying for my tickets in cash as I momentarily forgot which century we are in – winners will be announced on the last day of the exhibition.
I wish more estate agents would trust artists and curators with their keys while waiting for the sale to go through. The complimentary cleaning and ghostbusting service should count as an added bonus as the team cleared the house of living and inanimate debris ahead of the event – pigeons were the only remaining squatters and I wonder if anyone dared lift the lid on that chest freezer.
Housewarming continues until Thursday 15 February and is free to visit by appointment booking link: ticketsource.co.uk/art-friend
Keep checking as additional tickets may be made available and there’s been a rumour of another house party next week.
About Art Friend:
Art Friend throws art jargon out the window and invites everyone to the gallery. A non-conventional, inclusive space run by female gallerist Shona Bland, Art Friend makes art accessible, inviting and fun by showcasing and celebrating art from artists of all backgrounds and identities. This is a safe space where everyone can enjoy art – no stuffy vibes and no admission fees. @everyonesartfriend
Jungly AF: Adam Bartlett (Tigers of the Universe)
Charming AF: Claud
Bright AF: Charlotte Farmer
Wordy AF: Dave Buonaguidi (Real Hackney Dave)
Engaging AF: Dawn Beckles
Empowering AF: Hannah Gilson
Playful AF: LouLou
Folk AF: Mathilda Mai
Pattern AF: Matt Dosa
Vibrant AF: Molly Braithwaite
Fadey AF: Ricky Byrne