Floramora Art

Carrie Swinburne is the latest artist to feature on the cover of Southsea Folk. When I saw her collage called ‘Southsea Folk’ which has a huge part of Albert Road or “The" Albert Road as Carrie likes to call it, I just knew I wanted it to have pride of place in the magazine. So much vibrancy and colour, it really lifts your heart and you can’t look at the front cover and not smile whilst thinking of all the fantastic independents we have along that one stretch of road.

Living in Southsea for many years, Carrie has seen Albert Road change so much and grow its own little community. The first Albert Road collage was created by her about 2 years ago, so this time was a chance to add new businesses like The Southsea Deli where both Carrie and I visit regularly. This idea became the inspiration for the new piece of art, as Carrie wanted to feature new places she loved and set to work on it back in May. Highlighting all these fabulous independents is Carrie’s way of also adding to the sense of community and that is what makes Albert Road special; businesses in the daytime offering a wide range of services and then continuing into a vibrant nightlife of bars and music venues. It’s a cool place and many locals and visitors alike appreciate its independent, rebellious streak.

When you look closely at the new artwork you can see pieces of old Southsea Folk issues cut out and used. Carrie asked me if it was ok to use pieces of the magazine and I agreed but I never imagined it would turn out the way it did – what a surprise!

Loving mixed media and collage, Carrie is a self-taught artist and really made it a focus after her retirement about four years ago. Having always dabbled with paints when she was younger and then trying an online class, she realised paint wasn’t enough and so joined the painting style with decoupage. It was her dad that pushed her to spread her wings and he encouraged her to enter into the local art trail. He was worried Carrie would have too many pieces of art stuck at home for nobody to see and he loved how talented his daughter was. He passed away soon after the arts trail but Carrie has fond memories that her dad was the inspiration behind stepping up her game and this pushed her to join the collective group, Fire Monkey Arts.

Discussing Fire Monkey Arts, Carrie said it has helped her to grow as an artist. Making friends and helping each other is a huge part of the collective, it creates a supportive atmosphere which you can feel when you visit and offers artists the opportunity to have a creative space without covering all the costs on your own. Added to that is the 2.5 mile walk Carrie has from her home to the studio. She loves the view, taking in the sea air and the chats with people along the way which makes it even more special to her. Moving naturally on from collage Carrie has found a love of acrylic paint and has developed her technique to create a very individual style. You can instantly tell it’s her work and I love that. Her style in paint still uses vibrant colours, has richness, layers and a real flow to her work. More recently Trinity Church on Albert Road approached Carrie to help bring the lobby more to life. So along with 3 other artists, the work has been going on behind the scenes to bring the front area to life with beautiful colour and focus. Carrie’s mum spends a lot of time at this church and it means a lot to the artist to dedicate time and effort to such a good cause. Being heavily involved in Free Art Friday and donating her art, Carrie demonstrates her compassion, flair, and love for the community in so many ways. You can catch the latest piece ‘Southsea Folk’ at the Southsea Deli now, hanging nicely on the wall amongst the eclectic items on display.

Away from art, Carrie loves singing, and especially folk dance which she does on a regular basis. Instruments like the fiddle and melodeon guitar are a favourite past time too. There are art workshops planned that have a relaxed feel about them and the next one is a beginner’s FRIDA inspired workshop on the 13th and 18th November where you can chat and just have fun with art. These workshops are down at Studio One – Hot Walls, where Fire Monkey Arts sits in a beautiful part of Old Portsmouth.

I don’t think we have seen the last of an Albert Road collage and I look forward to seeing the next one 🙂

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Featured Image – Carrie lavers

By Louise O’Brien