Newman, Cover, Wilson: Futz
  • Ben Newman
  • Jay Cover
  • James D Wilson

Futz verb - to tinker, busy oneself.

These artists know a thing or two about working to a professional creative brief from their day jobs. But what happens when they divert that attention to experimenting without expectation and have the space to play freely, to futzing? Their approaches overlap through a fondness for repetition, self-editing and exploration within simple bounds, to the point of abstraction. They invite ‘happy accidents’ by placing importance on the ‘doing’ of their process rather than the destination.

On display at The Crown, Hastings for the month of April are an array of paintings and drawings that celebrate being in this method.

Mervyn Long: Merv's Eye View

“Merv’s Eye View” is a collection of original recent pen and ink posters, cartoons and drawings inspired by old seaside postcards, living by the sea, local events and sea bathers in Pevensey bay.

All drawings have been completed recently at my studio on the beach in Pevensey bay. I never quite know how the drawings will turn out when pen hits paper - I only hope they make you smile as much as they do me…………Merv.


Scott Garrett: Parallel Universe

After a recent deep rummage in his St Leonards studio, artist/illustrator Scott Garrett unearthed a box of over 200 of his Parallel Universe cartoons. Originally created for The Independent, Sunday Review section, they ran from 2001-2004. 20 years in a box seemed like too long, so now he is sharing a selection of them in our Snug for February.

All originals are available to buy and prints are also available to order.


Jon Lander - Sea | Humans

Jon Lander exhibits a series of ink, crayon and watercolour drawings on paper, depicting the sea and the humans who are drawn to it.

Jon Lander is an artist and children’s book author-illustrator who lives in Hastings. His work has been acclaimed by the Guardian and the Book Trust.

Philippa Bogle: Waves

Philippa Bogle’s exhibition includes paintings and monoprints inspired by sea swimming, the energy of nature and the changing moods of the sea.

Philippa lives in Hastings and is studying for a Masters at the Royal College of Art.

Sophie Malpas: Reimagining

“Reimagining” is a collection of paintings by Sophie Malpas inspired by moments of bliss. In her work Sophie is often drawn to observations of joy and seeks to create playful pieces to spark elation for the viewer. With a profound interest in the psychological power of colour Sophie’s paintings explore colour relationships through shape and form that cultivate feelings of happiness, pleasure and a free mind.

All paintings were completed in her studio at The Old Ambulance Station in Bexhill.

Whatley / Bleckmann / Burton / Waller-Hill / Mammone

A joint collective exhibition of Hastings and St Leonards photographers; featuring Alexandra Whatley, Andreas Bleckmann, Jillian Burton, Tim Waller-Hill, Chris Mammone.

In the snug we have a special show from Ukrainian photographers.

Linda Williams: Secrets From The Greenhouse

Linda Williams latest exhibition brings an exciting array of mixed media, abstract, bold and fine line work presented on paper and board. 'Secrets from the Greenhouse' is an ongoing art project which began in 2022 during a six month stay in Lisbon. Linda took inspiration from the many botanical gardens and parks around the city and carefully noted the seasonal differences.

The title for the exhibition arrived from a beautiful Victorian greenhouse she came across at the entrance of the Botanical Garden of Lisbon which never opened. As she couldn’t go inside, she sketched and painted what she imagined might be hiding in there.

Rachel Williams: Carnivalesque

A veritable carnival of biped and quadruped madness to liven up the darkening days. With works ranging from embroidery and wall hangings to monotypes and even a mask or two. Major influences on Rachel's work are to be found in cave drawings and works from the ancient world.

Laura Ribbons: Lesson From Plants

In this latest exhibition Laura Ribbons continues to explore her fascination with plants and asks what we can learn from them in the context of the climate crisis. This exhibition at The Crown showcases two new bodies of work. The first, a selection of pieces on repurposed canvas featuring stitched text, which pay gentle homage to the history of protest art. They can be seen both as a personal form of protest and an expression of quiet frustration, whilst continuing to pursue hope and joy through nature. A second series of works on paper represent an increasingly intuitive side of Laura's practice and stem from the discovery of an old photo album. They display crumbling southern architecture and sprawling Mediterranean plant life, interjected with abstract flicks, scribbles and drips - perhaps representing the meeting points between humans and 'nature'.

Laura Ribbons (b.1990) is an artist, curator, educator and environmentalist. She graduated from Wimbledon College of Art in 2012 with a BA honours degree in Fine Art (Painting), she also holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Kent, 2016. She has exhibited across the UK and internationally, including in Spain, where she lived from 2018-2019. She has a number of works in private collections and has worked as an artist facilitator with institutions including Pallant House Gallery and the Towner. She lives and works in Hastings and can be found at Blacklands Studios during this year's Coastal Currents Festival.