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Meet the artist behind our Brilliant Brighton bunting!

If you’ve ventured down Bond Street, Gardner Street, Kensington Gardens, or through Market Street and Meeting House Lane, you’ll have likely spotted the bright and beautiful bunting – chosen by the Brilliant Brighton board and designed by artist Finlay Coupar. Finlay’s also created banners to brighten up Preston Street during the summer months, as part of our Dressing The City project.

We caught up with Finlay to find out more about him and his work (inspired by discarded debris and rhythms):

Hi Finlay, first things first, how did you become an artist?

I attended Edinburgh Art College and mostly lectured thereafter. While lecturing, was time consuming, it was only appropriate that I continued with my own practice. This I did until my retirement but it is only since then that I have devoted so much time to my own work.

How would you describe your style?

This is difficult! I don’t think about it as a matter of course. In fact, I think that that kind of introspection would make me too self-conscious. I would be better identifying what my interests and antipathies are. I dislike art that is repetitive or which doesn’t accept that post modernism has occurred. If I found that I was in a stylistic rut I would actively try and make an imaginative leap to move forward. I am also not interested in: any kind of fantasy.

I am interested in exploring compositional typologies; in material properties; and in the ways in which my perceptions can be given imaginative form.

Your Brighton banners and bunting is inspired by your work with discarded debris – can you describe your process?

The original paintings, from which my subsequent work emerged, were based on the accumulated rubbish in gutters in York. These paintings explored, in the main, a laminated form, where the stripes of rubbish contrasted with the more static ribs of the gutters. These in turn led to my card reliefs which are on display at Kellie Miller Arts. In these card reliefs I isolated single or double stripes to create horizontal ‘pathways ‘and vertical ‘totems’ which explored the rhythms of the assembled elements. Some of these utilise painted card and others utilise ink jet printed surfaces.

To create the banners I took photographs of sections of the assemblages and enhanced these in Photoshop in an attempt to create a form of pattern and colour which would best serve the function of banners and pennants.

How does it feel to know your work is brightening up people’s days all the way down the country in Brilliant Brighton?

I am very happy that my work has been chosen and I hope that is adding to the enjoyment of residents and visitors to Brighton.

See Finlay’s banners and bunting throughout Brilliant Brighton. Finlay’s work is also on display at Kellie Miller Arts Gallery, 20 Market Street, Brighton.