Brighton artist captures Sussex in a new light
Artist Ruth Mulvie has called Brighton home for the last ten years, after a short spell in London.
“I hated it there,” she said.
“My brother always says ‘you’ve found your spiritual home’ when I moved to Brighton.
“I never forget the day I arrived and got off the train. I heard the seagulls and saw the sea, I thought yes, I don’t want to go anywhere else.”
Ruth describes her work as ‘contemporary fine art with a strong streak of pop’.
Much of her work depicts scenes set in a 1950s style.
“It’s not so much the decade although that is in itself an interesting conversation.
“It’s the way that a lot of the imagery that I use, which comes from old postcards, was staged and the Kodachrome colours in the images enchant me.
“The figures were positioned like dolls in the pictures. These perfect shots were set up and posed. Freezing a moment in time, and the colours were bold and bright.
“Nowadays we don’t use postcards as much…they are something that has died out as we all post holiday snaps on our social media accounts and use Instagram filters.”
Ruth creates paintings using oil and acrylic on canvas and sells prints of her work through her website.
How long each piece can take varies some she says can be really quick, whereas others can take ages.
“It usually takes a few months for a group of works,” she said.
Her work includes the above Weather Lovely, Food Great which was based on old photographs of a lido in Worthing, Golden Years which depicts Shoreham Airport and other pieces include Sinatra’s House and Shoot the Duck, which was inspired by Ruth’s love of skater girls and places of pleasure - sometimes real and sometimes imagined.
To create her work Ruth says it can take a while.
She said: “I figure out a group of paintings and plan them digitally.
“I take little pieces from here and there and make up a composition that I like and then I start working on the paintings.
“I usually work on four or five pieces at a time. I build up with layers of paint trying to let layers dry so I can keep colours fresh and crisp.
“The colour is the thing that really matters to me.”
And while she is keen to take on commissions she explains that she wouldn’t paint something that didn’t fit in with her aesthetic.
“Sometimes people ask me to paint them, or their children or animals but set up in a scene like you may find in one of my paintings.
“I enjoy this process because it allows the collector to be creative to.”
Ruth has recently taken her work to be showcased in America, visiting places such as Los Angeles.
“It was the first time I had a show there and it was amazing.
“Kind of surreal to be honest because I took a tour of a lot of places I have seen in images but never been to.
“Some of my paintings are places I yearn to go to but have never visited so I have fictionalised them by my second hand interpretations.
“The audience really embraced my work, so I definitely have plans to go back.”
Having always been creative from a young age, be that painting, textiles or knitting she has always loved making based projects.
“I still do now,” she said.
“Even when I’m not painting I have other fun projects on the go.
“Art is something that people can arrive at when all their basic needs are met, and I am truly grateful to be able to be able to do something that I love.”