St Anne’s Urban Arts Studio, a community space and café, regularly opens its doors to all types of creative arts. When I met up with artists Ben Hunt and Aimi O’Donnell to talk about their upcoming art exhibition ‘Illuminescent Futures’, a street dancing class in the studio fought for our attention as we sat in the brightly decorated cafe space to chat. The venue hosts a different exhibition every month showcasing the work of local artists. Ben and Aimi told me about their unique style which they are bringing to the studio this June.

Linda: Tell me about your art.

Aimi and Ben: We were working in ‘proper jobs’ when we met 7 years ago and discovered a shared passion for art which we had both neglected, but together we were motivated to get back to creating with paint. We’re inspired by everyday events, comic books, popular culture, sometimes just a knee jerk reaction to an incident or conversation. There’s nothing forced. We are also in a band together which influences us. Bright colours are vital. Collectively we paint really vibrantly.

L: Your art works are created on a shared canvas, painting at the same time. Don’t you get in each other’s way?

A and B: We never have any problems. One of us may sit back and watch for a while, but it works just as well when we are both working at the same moment. We make a night of it and play loud music!

L: Have other artists worked in this way in the past?

Ben: Rossetti allowed his muse, Elizabeth Siddall, to join in but I don’t think he really gave her credit.

Aimi: John and Yoko?

Linda: You have called yourself ‘Illuminescent Artists’ and the exhibition ‘Illuminescent Futures’. Why?

A and B: Our paintings have a luminescent quality, so depending on the light they change. We love to play with pigment and light. At the launch night there will be UV lamps so that as it goes darker outside the colours will change and the works take on a different look.

Ben: The word futures is there because we’re obsessed by sci-fi! That’s the joyful part of it, our paintings reflect who we are.

L: In an article about your work what would you like to read that truthfully describes your art?

A and B: Joyful. Engaging. Fun. People have bought pieces which have had a big impact on their space.

L: I understand that on the launch night it’s not just about the exhibition. What else can we expect?

A and B: Our band will be playing, there’ll be DJs, and some of our mannequin sculptures. Expect a fun night. Very energetic and very loud! Plus people can get acquainted with our art and have a drink and a chat.

L: Can you sum up what you do in three words?

A and B: Bright, bold and bonkers!

So for a night out with a difference, with free entry, make a date in your diary and come along and see for yourself, meet the artists and chill with the beats.

Illuminesecent Futures Launch takes place at Urban Arts Studio, 11-12 Back St Annes Road West, St Annes, FY8 1RD on Friday 16 June from 7pm onwards. Exhibition continues throughout June to early July. For more information visit the Facebook event.

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