Jilliene Sellner

You may not have seen it yet…it’s ‘all the way’ up Queens Road, just past Morrisons. Newly opened in June, this commercial gallery with a twist is located in what I had a while back started to, almost jokingly, refer to as ‘Queens Quarter’, but now more seriously actually refer to it as such, as it shifts into a new era of independent shops (coffee, micro beer, books and so on). Not only does See Spray exemplify this recalibration, it fits right in with the community minded spirit already very well established in Hastings and St Leonards.

Rheum by John Hurford
PICTURE: John Hurford

Owners and curators, Ella Matthews and Jay Warner, from London and Nottingham respectively, told HIP that they really want to build a thriving art community base that would serve artists in the area as well as the public just wanting to dip into creative explorations. Based on a sale or return policy, See Spray really does fill a gap in the market by providing space for contemporary artists to show and sell their work locally. Their aim is to run community focused art workshops in the upstairs area which will also serve as an exhibition space, in parallel with the gallery downstairs. The first workshops are ceramics on Tuesday morning and will soon expand to printmaking, woodcut, collage and so on.

The first solo exhibition is Tom Bartlett’s with his brilliantly cheeky framed collages, socially and politically apt commentary which may find you involuntarily laughing out loud. It is notable that the price points vary at See Spray and it is possible to pick up an original piece of art for as little as 50 quid or as much as several thousands. Much of the work on display plays on the fringes of pop art and psychedelia and is for the most part an excellent collection with local artists Shuby, Peter Quinnell and John Hurford among many others available to buy.

The next solo show will feature Brighton-based artist Salty De Soufflé’s whimsical irreverent mixed media collages made from found materials (Friday 13 July with a private view from 6pm – 8pm). Following that, legendary psychedelic artist John Hurford who is responsible for many classic ‘60s and ‘70s album covers, whose work appeared in Oz, IT and Gandalf’s Garden magazine and who has been painting prolifically for the last 50 years. Hurford’s current work focuses on hyper realistic nature studies.

It is really exciting to see this enterprise, with so many brilliant contemporary artists having their home in Hastings/St Leonards, opening up in the area as it offers much needed artists’ resource and support. I highly recommend popping in and supporting See Spray and its associated artists.

See Spray is open Mondays to Fridays, 9am – 5pm and Saturdays 10-3pm, 153-154 Queens Road, Hastings, TN34 1RN.

• For more information go to seespray.co.uk

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