Swindon Open Studios is an annual community exhibition during which artists invite members of the public into their studios and homes for a chance to see where and how their art is made during two consecutive weekends with a chance to buy original pieces of art. – Swindon Open Studios
As part of my aim in 2023 to get myself and my artwork out into the public, I signed up to Swindon Open Studios. I believed that exhibiting in a group exhibition space as part of the two weekend event would allow me to mix with local artists, as well as have the in depth conversations about my art that I felt as though I needed.
On the run up to Open Studios, I had my first solo exhibition. I was therefore able to do a lot of the preparation of the artworks before hand, which meant that I only had to organise myself and the works to get to the venue on time. Being prepared for this kind of event was key to a quick and smooth set up process. At home, I was able to prepare the sketchbooks that I wanted to showcase a wider range of my works and doodles, as well as additional greetings cards I had for sale.
The two weekends that we hosted Swindon Open Studios was a huge success. I found that even in the quiet times, the other artists that I was displaying with kept up the conversations and we all welcomed people into the building, encouraging more people to see what was happening. Being at The Barn in Stanton Park, we had lots of dog walkers and dogs visiting us, so we were all able to get a cuddle in with a four legged friend throughout our days.
I had invaluable conversations with aspiring collectors, fellow artists, and those who had simply wondered in to see what was happening. We discussed everything from my inspirations to my process through the different mediums I use. There was lots of discussion around the sketchbooks I bought with me, as the drawings in them ranged from 2013-2023. My style has changed a lot in the past ten years, with drawings and exploration of materials from GCSE, college, university and as a part-time artist. I still find that I can look through each of my sketchbooks and my works on paper now and find something different, so it was wonderful to be able to share this with the wider public.
I also sold lots of my seconds greetings cards. These were ones that are slightly imperfect, or those that I had one print of to see how they came out. These were flying out the door at one point alongside the vehicle greetings cards – of which the originals I had displayed. I only sold one piece of artwork, however I know that some of my larger pieces would not have been suitable for every home. From the experience of the Open Studios, I would like to offer more prints and smaller works that people can purchase and take away with them from the event, and this is something that I might look into doing more for next year.
The experience of Swindon Open Studios as a whole is fantastic as I gained lots of experience as an artist on promotion, setting up my work in different spaces, as well as collaborating again with a collective of creatives. The engagement with the general public felt wonderful, and the conversations that I had I will hold close. I would recommend to any emerging or established artist to look into participating in an Open Studios event, and to anyone who is remotely interested in the arts to attend one local to you. Not only are you supporting a local artist or creative, but you can also pick up something you may not have thought before too.