Brilliant Brighton (a not-for-profit organisation formed of 517 of your favourite city centre stores, cafes, salons, restaurants and bars) has teamed up with Brighton cultural organisations, artists and creatives from the ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan to showcase Brighton’s vibrant art scene with a colourful art trail with work by local artists encompassing walls, bus stops, lampposts and street furniture throughout Brilliant Brighton, under the theme ‘community and kindness’.
We’re thrilled to have commissioned Liberty to create positive artwork, displayed on litter bins throughout the city centre. We caught up with Liberty to hear more about the inspiration behind her work and why public art is so important…
Hi Liberty! How long have you lived in Brighton?
3 and a half years, I came here for University and decided to stay.
How did you become an artist?
I have always drawn and liked making things since a young age, but I started to pay attention to it more at school and enjoyed it compared to other subjects. Then for sixth form I decided I wanted to focus solely on it, and went to Brit School to study.
After that I needed some more time to focus on what I wanted to specialise, as it wasn’t time for me to go to university yet. I did a foundation in Kent and loved every second. I produced so much work in such a short space of time, and really learnt that sculpture and three dimensional artwork was what I needed to do. So I’ve went to the University of Brighton to study Fine Art Sculpture. I really learnt how to conceptualise and present to an audience. I had a huge studio and great technicians that helped me explore. But it wasn’t until my final year at university where I taught myself to tuft. Tufting is a technique to create rugs. However I like to use it as a medium where I can create paintings make out of textiles. Kind of like a form of drawing but with wool. Now I am a resident at Phoenix Art Space where I won the Cass Art x Phoenix Studio Award.
Can you tell us a little about the process/es behind your work?
The work shown at the trail is slightly different to my usual textiles artworks, as they are all digital. When Covid hit, I started to learn more how to create digitally and even though it is not my specialised material, I do enjoy the ability to play through digital art. I simply create shapes and text on Photoshop and make them colourful and bright.
Where do you work from?
Fortunately I have been given an amazing space at Phoenix, where I have space to be creative mentally and physically. Sometimes I still work from home, but I struggle to have a work life balance when I create from home.
What was the inspiration behind your work for the Enliven Brighton Art Trail?
I was given a topic of kindness and culture. So I used my social media to present research and stem ideas with my community on how they perceive the word kindness. I then used their responses and my own ideas to create fun and colourful illustrations.
How did it feel to know your work had been put forward for the trail?
It came as a surprise as I had no idea! I think it’s quite honourable that someone thought my work would bring brightness and colour to the city.
… And how does it feel to see it in situ in the city centre?
I feel so proud. I know its on a bin, but it’s one of the largest audiences I’ve ever had, and a huge variety of people too. Not everyone chooses to step foot into a gallery, but everyone uses the bins in town. Public art is a great way of recognition and if it means I’ll make someone’s day by chucking away their rubbish then that’s fine by me.
Does living in Brighton inspire your work at all?
Of course, I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people and the acceptance here is a lot more than most cities. To be free and bright and wear whatever I want, allows me to express myself, which is what is reflected back into my art.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
The ability to actually be able to spend time on it. It’s hard to be an artist, especially a working class one. So to say what I enjoy about it, is that I actually am able to do it, is the reality of our society. Not many people can afford to be creative, so to say I am fortunate to have a studio paid for and a hugely supportive team at my other job, means I am able to enjoy making with less financial stress.
Finally… what do love most about living in Brilliant Brighton?
My friends, the community, and freedom. I’m close enough distance to my family where I can visit but also be independent. I love the music, the events and the coffee is pretty good here too!
See Liberty’s work on bins throughout Brighton city centre and on Instagram @libertycheverall.