All the artwork you see featured on ARTHOUSE Unlimited’s products or hanging as originals, start life in the ARTHOUSE studio on Godalming High Street. Sessions are held in the studio twice a day, every weekday with usually around six artists in each one. Some artists attend just one session a week while others come for more. The studio shares the ground floor of ARTHOUSE Unlimited Godalming HQ with it’s successful high street shop. This shared use of space is deliberate; it means that customers are able to enjoy seeing the artwork being created and, in turn, the artists are able to witness their work being sold. All the while, the integration and acceptance of people living with all types of disabilities is being developed in a meaningful way.
The art sessions themselves are led by professional artists, all of whom instruct based on their areas of artistic expertise and passion. Each instructor has developed ways of working with individual groups in a relaxed, inclusive environment. All contributions are valued, with the mix in levels of physical dexterity and ability bringing a raw and unique edge to all work created.
As soon as the Gorilla theme featured here was decided upon (we maybe the last generation to see Gorillas alive, so it’s an important topic) the artists in the two Friday groups spent weeks making initial sketches from photographs of the animals and their native habitats. These were then organised digitally into separate compositions for two long, large pencil drawings.
The compositions were transferred onto paper and the artists started on work, bringing out some of the details that first appeared in the initial sketches and occasionally bringing in something new. As with all group works, the focus is on a successful fusion of all the artists’ individual and disparate styles and techniques.
Following long-established ARTHOUSE ways of working, the Gorillas artwork was handed over to the specially trained design team who then set about transferring it onto products. This process is a painstaking one with the designers working diligently to ensure that the integrity of every single mark made by the artists is maintained. In this case, the original artwork from both drawings was composed into a design for a sheet of gift wrap. That design was then crafted further to wrap around a new exfoliating Honey and Oatmeal soap as well as a bespoke (and extremely tasty) bar of chocolate with hazelnuts.
Panda Party Design
Sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are led by an instructor who has a defined style of their own which, coupled with an in-depth knowledge about the artists individual strengths, makes for beautifully intricate and impactful artworks. Earlier this year artists in those groups collaborated on the vibrant artwork, Panda Party. The artists initially made a series of individual pen drawings based on photographs of the animals in various poses.The drawings were then scaled up or down and, after considering those drawings that worked best together, a large scale composition was born.
In total, about thirty different artists contributed initial drawings, meaning thirty very different artistic styles. The bamboo motif, created by several artists, weaves itself around the whole composition and unites it all together. Once it was fully mapped out, the artists then spent a number of weeks working in black pen on the detail. Finally, yellows and greens were added to the bamboo background.
Having been expertly adapted by the design team, Panda Party now adorns a number of ARTHOUSE products, with more in the pipeline. And if you like soap wrapper, the chocolate wrapper and the tea towel then you’ll love the 1.5 x 1m original. It’s also available for sale right here.