The final piece of the community artwork jigsaw at Rod Kitson’s Machines For Living In exhibition has been completed by this creative duo, Henry and Matthew. Kitson now wants the community to decide what the next interactive project should be at his open studio in Surrey Quays now that the management have asked him to stay onsite indefinitely, writes Michael Holland.

So far visitors have – in one square foot canvases – painted an intricately patterned rug that lies on the studio-gallery floor, and created their own screen printed T-shirts, but the artist wants something new and exciting to take this project to the next level. ‘I was thinking about a life drawing class,’ he says, ‘but the opportunities are endless now that Surrey Quays Shopping Centre have asked me to continue here, so that’s why I want the community to come up with ideas for what they would want from a community art centre… It’s been so successful so far that it will be great to take it further,’ he says excitedly.

‘No one gets judged on their skills, just encouraged to have a go,’ he claims. ‘Parents have returned to say how much more interested they and their children had become in art since visiting and having a go themselves: One dad said that his whole family now look at art differently since they were here and painted a couple of canvases!’

Rod Kitson explained that his exhibition is not about his own ego, and not about people coming to the gallery to look at his work, but about people coming to take up a brush themselves. He says the finished piece of 24 one foot square individual paintings is about the community, and not just the artwork. ‘People have come together to create this work and they should be proud of that,’ he declares with the passion of a true artist.

If anyone has an idea of what they would like to do in an art studio, get your suggestions in to him.

Machines For Living In is on each Saturday, 47 Upper Mall, (Next to Boots the Opticians) Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, SE16 7LL . Times: 11am – 7pm(11am – 3pm 21st Sept). Admission: Free.

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