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Interview with Rose Electra Harris & Ocki Magill

This year’s AOH will mark Printmaker Rose Electra Harris’s first solo exhibition. ‘The Difference Between Things’ will take place at Blue Shop Cottage, an alternative gallery space and home to Ocki Magill.

Describe your creative process.

Rose: I start everything with drawing simply in black ink. I won’t start with a preconceived idea of the interior or space but I will begin with an object- like a chair or a vase- and then work my way out from there, adding a patterned carpet, a window, then a chandelier etc. I like to fill the space with decorative or functional objects that either fill the everyday home or the dream home. This drawing will then either translate into an etching or a screen-print but never exactly the same composition.

When did your interest in art begin?

Rose: When I was younger I loved drawing but hated colouring in so would get my mum to do it as I found it too boring. It wasn’t until we did an art project on India when I was 14 that I realised how much I loved the process of making art. My mum had designed jewellery in India so the project was a really exciting way in to exploring my own love for pattern and colour.

Where do you take inspiration for your art from?

Rose: I grew up with a father as an antique dealer, which meant that home was always full of a very eclectic range of furniture. He has an amazing eye for very unique but fun pieces, for example we did a pop up show last summer on the Golborne Road and he placed a 1950’s French circus light in the window which had around 50 different coloured light bulbs.

Which artists have inspired you?

Rose: My biggest inspiration has always been Matisse but I love Peter Doig, Grayson Perry, Vanessa Bell, Hockney, Pheobe Unwin, Jonas Wood, Dexter Dalwood to name a few.

Domestic interiors is an important theme in your work .. why?

Rose: I love the concept of the home – the way you choose to decorate it, how you choose to fill It, what sort of decoration makes you feel comfortable and at ease when you are at home. I wrote my dissertation at Brighton University on how the home can be an extension of the artistic practice – it is a way of self-expression. However I also like the way you can have a dream home, mine is often abroad somewhere more tropical but with familiar objects around me.

How do you know Ocki and where did the idea come from to exhibit at Blue Cottage?

Rose: Ocki and I actually went to school together but were a few years apart. I love what she is doing at Blue Shop Cottage and when she approached me asking to collaborate for the Dulwich Festival and AOH, it seemed perfect as BSC is a warm space and I was excited at creating an immersive home-like setting with hand painted objects to accompany my work. It is the perfect setting for my first solo show.

Ocki: Blue Shop Cottage is a live/work shop front and space that I bought in 2016 before renovating it into my home and events space. At Blue Shop we like to keep it varied and interesting for people in the local area and for people coming from far and wide to visit, one of our main aims is to break down the concept of ‘the shop’ or ‘the exhibition’ we do this by creating a more interactive experience ie with panel discussions and workshops for children and adults so people can choose how closely they interact with the shows and pop ups. We’ve had a cafe. a flower shop, cocktail bar, live music, supper clubs, debates, bike shops, workshops and so much more. I like to see the space as a blank canvas for their ideas. By creating a more interactive element we are heroing the people as well as the craft under which they practice.

Why did you get involved with AOH?

Rose: It is something I have always wanted to be involved in and I love the idea of artists opening their homes to exhibit their work. I am super excited to be involved.

Ocki: I discovered Artist Open House when, last year, I had left the shop door open and all these wonderful people started wandering in, I soon gathered that they were in the area for the AOH so this year decided to open a show along side it. The support and sense of community has been wonderful and both Rose and I are very excited.

What appeals to you about AOH in particular?

Ocki: I feel that sometimes art and the life of an artist can feel very detached somehow from community and the AOH seemed to really celebrate a sharing and openness giving lots of people the opportunity to meet artists and discuss their work.
People’s homes say so much about them and how they live their life and having that little glimpse through the door is such an exciting idea to me – or maybe I’m just innately nosey!

What can we expect from your exhibition ‘The Difference Between Things’?

Rose: A mixture of etchings and drawings, ceramic tiles, hand painted pots, chairs and mirrors. I like the idea of the interior of the show being an extension of the prints being exhibited within it.

Ocki: Rose Electra Harris is a prolific printmaker and her work is so joyous and free. Her interiors celebrate colour and pattern and the joy of home, she will be pairing her work with painted ceramics and furniture to bring the space and the work together.
The shop space will be filled with all her beautiful work and we will both be there to welcome you, our friends at Forest Road Brewery have even sponsored the event, so come and have a beer with us under the awning!

Dulwich Festival YouTube @Blue Shop Cottage

The Difference Between Things’, 11 – 13 May 2018, 10am-8pm
Blue Shop Cottage, 113a Grove Lane, Camberwell, London, SE5 8BG

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