Before Christmas, I went to an art exhibition in a barbers. It wasn’t anything I’d ever envisaged that I would do, but I had loved an artist named Roo Abrook from the moment I arrived in Southsea. When I found out there was to be an exhibition of her work I just had to go. It was on a Saturday night at 6 pm. On arrival it was so busy it was hard to get around but it was worth the challenge. Having never met Roo before I had a chat with her and got a chance to meet her hubby Barry who is the co-owner of the barber’s Hounds. This is why the exhibition was being held there because Barry had the space to pull it off and the style of the interior fitted so well with Roo’s artwork. My first reaction was ‘oh no, why couldn’t I have had more time to save for some of the key pieces’. Then I stood and absorbed the atmosphere and thought about what prints I could buy. Two lovely pieces stood out and that’s what I did, I bought two beautiful prints that will look just fabulous on my wall.
After the exhibition I decided I wanted to go back and find out more about the interior space in Hounds. As it was so hectic and crowded I wanted to take the atmosphere in on a mid-week day and soak up the space. So on a sunny day in November, I went along and spent quite a bit of time chatting with Barry and his co-owner Elliot. What I found intriguing and quite balancing is that they are so different in age. Barry is 52 and Elliot is 21. Barry has had careers spanning from a professional skater, to touring with a band, to a graphic designer. He’s designed women’s club wear across the world (very successfully) and he’s taught graphics in a local college. You could get yourself a huge mug of coffee and listen to his stories for hours because believe me he has many. He’s such an interesting guy and he met Elliot while training to be a barber. They clicked, saw a building and thought they would put all their ideas into one cool spot. Elliot although young has a presence about him. He’s a trendsetter in his looks and you can tell just from spending five minutes with him that he appreciates all different kinds of people. I wonder if that comes from working on his mum’s market stalls from a young age. His mum being Lou of Love Southsea. I think his work as a young man has enhanced his character into one of warmth and friendliness.
Sitting around the barbers you feel at ease. It has a vintage/industrial/eclectic edge. Elliot made a joke that the Chesterfield sofas were more of a hassle to get hold of than the vintage-looking barbers chairs because Chesterfields are in such high demand these days. There are two sofas with a nice side table for coffee and magazines. In the corner there’s a record player and there are vinyls to buy. Anglepoise lamps are dotted around and really nice Anglepoise ceiling lights make it relaxed and chilled. Barry said he had worked on some designs for Anglepoise a while back and the relationship was still there so they donated some on-trend pieces to the boys.
Speaking to Barry he said he loved how the exhibition had brought together local creatives and all those interested in art. He said he was hoping for there to be more exhibitions and certainly having various artists use the wall space to highlight and promote their work. As his wife Roo is an artist you can see he is passionate to push independent artists and give them a space to express their work in a relaxed environment. At the moment there is a painting by My Dog Sighs that stands out from outside the shop. I asked Roo what her thoughts were about holding it at Hounds. She said she loved the style of the premises and it fitted so well with her artwork that it just made sense.
I hadn’t ever ventured as far as Highland Road before so it was nice to find a few places I wanted to go back to in the future.
We can’t wait to keep popping back and looking at new creative art displays and say hi to the boys. If you haven’t been to Hounds yet then please pop in. They are open Tuesday through to Saturday 9am-5pm. Visit Hounds website for more info.
Featured Image – Carrie Lavers
Chair Image – Hounds Barbers
Other photos – Southsea Folk
By Louise O’Brien