The day I meet Drew Copus to view and talk about his first curatorial outfit, I am excited. Urban Paradise, at The Union Bar on Cambridge Road is a beautifully immersive and cohesive show, pulling together a wealth of works for the viewer, ranging from spray paint to embroidery. Drew is excited to show me the exhibition and he is proud of what I’m seeing, and he has good reason to be, he has challenged himself and pulled off an exemplary exhibition. Urban Paradise celebrates the diversity of young Hastings Artists, and the works featured show that the artists have a wealth of talent, an awareness of their mediums and that of Historical and Contemporary Art.
This is not only a ‘street’, ‘urban’ or ‘outsider’ art show; it is the visual representation of someone’s idea, Drew’s idea that this not be a typical exhibition, and he achieves this. The exhibiting artists show a consideration of the space, and of each other’s works, Rebecca Snotflower and Kate Bruce’s no-sew yarn bombing living room set up works well, allowing a space to view the other works in the exhibition while being in the exhibition. The artworks create conversations between themselves, and when viewing the exhibition I have a want to touch and be up close to the artworks, inspecting the minor details, and I can do this.
I feel special being allowed to see the show while the pub is closed and quiet, it gives me a chance to take in what I’m seeing, and to feel the subtle change in the feeling of a once frequent haunt of mine. As a customer of the former Tubman over the years, there’s been a wide variety of decoration, and currently, Urban Paradise brings a whole new dimension, a good feeling, to the pub. The artworks are inviting to customers to explore the variety of artworks on show.
Special mention goes to Charlotte Brooks, whose works I found captivating, intricate and delightful, and set so much of the other feelings I have about Urban Paradise. It’s a show that not only feels good, but it also feels fun and exciting, something that I think art should be. Speaking with Drew, he says that he mused over a variety of display options, from framed canvas works to a collage effect, both of which were rejected. Working straight onto the wall, the works have a temporality that is indicative of a young artist, but it also displays the urgency, intuition and brevity that is also present.
Drew picked excellent artists, who share the same kind of passion he extrudes, there is a question mark for how long the show is on for, but that makes the whole thing so much more impressive. Drew talks wistfully of this being the start of something else, and that’s as exciting as the show. Drew Copus has not only championed his own works and place in the Hastings art scene but those of artists that you may not have seen before, and the championing of these artists is part of what makes the show so special. The artists have really made the most of their chance with this exhibition, and it shows. The quality of work is high and the ideas executed beautifully. Urban Paradise is a beautiful show, and even though it was born from a mistake, it was a risk that paid off well.